Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Swap!

Book Swap!
It’s easy!  It’s fun!  Clean out your children’s bookshelves and closets of used paperbacks, comic books, picture books, hardcovers and any book in good condition that a child at the 5th grade would enjoy.  

In honor of literacy week, our grade level will be doing a book swap on Thursday, March 7th at 2 PM.  We therefore encourage each child to bring up to 3 books in to exchange before Wednesday, March 6th.  

During the book swap, your child may choose up to 2 books.

Please send in all gently used, grade level appropriate books by Wednesday, March 6th.

Thank you and happy book swapping!


Friday, February 22, 2013

The Connecticut Colony

The Rhode Island Colony

The Massachusetts Colony

The South Carolina Colony

The North Carolina Colony

New Hampshire Colony

The Maryland Colony

The New Jersey Colony

The Delaware Colony

The New York Colony

The Virginia Colony

The Pennsylvania Colony

Students researched the 13 colonies, here is the video of their presentation.

Newsletter February 22, 2013

MathWe are almost halfway through unit 8 and it has been fun to have a big group of students working together.  I particularly enjoy when they have different answers and the ensuing discussion trying to prove their answers.  Missing homework is becoming less of a problem; it is wonderful to see the students use their time wisely. Test is scheduled for March 7th.  Then only 4 units left after that.     
Social Studies – I love the initiative I am seeing with this self-chosen colony research project.  We have discussed what it means to research, how to take notes, how to organize them and then how to turn that into a presentation.  We will be presenting our Prezi’s today, I cannot wait to see what the students uncovered and how they have grown as presenters.  It will be videotaped and students will evaluate their own work as well. 
Science We handed in our science research papers today and will start landforms today as well.  This unit will take us past spring break.
Reading Students are busy reading their genre study books and the unit will culminate next Friday.  We are also busy discussing all of the great books we are reading.  I have heard more incredibly excited students discuss their books than ever before, it is a beautiful thing indeed.
Writing We are busy writing about our reading and the students are having deeper discussions about their reading as well.  I am really excited to see them expand their thoughts as they start to analyze the text.  Students were also given back their fiction stories this week, I do hope they shared them with you.
Special Notes
*  We had a busy week in 5th grade but I love how hard they work. 
*  Don’t forget to send back the guidance slips as you get them filled out and signed.
*  All middle school forms were passed on to Glacier Creek yesterday and we are busy scheduling our visit there in May.
*  Track meet will be May 2nd with a rain date of May 9th.  This is definitely on e of the highlights of our 5th grade year and West Middleton always does well.
*  I will be in Chicago on the 28th presenting at a conference so Mrs. Johnston will be subbing.  I will therefore not be at the choral performance that night but was lucky enough to see the students rehearse yesterday.  We have quite a group of singers!
* Literacy week is coming the first full week of March and with it comes a book swap.  On Thursday March 7th at 2 PM our 5th grade students will partake in a book swap, more info will be coming soon.
*  The students did a phenomenal job presenting to the group of teachers in Oklahoma and the teachers agreed.  See our website for their principal’s reaction!
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Sub all day February 28th, PAC Choral Performance Thursday, February 28th at 6:30 PM,   Pi day and Mrs. Ripp’s birthday March 14th, Spring Break starts after Friday March 22nd and goes to March 31st.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's a Read In

A few pictures from our fantastic read-in and Skype with author Adam Gidwitz.

Teaching Teachers about Mystery Skype

Last week I was approached by a principal in Oklahoma whether I would present on mystery Skype to his teachers.  I immediately said yes but rather than have me present I wanted the students to do it.  So we prepared a presentation and yesterday we Skyped with 8 teachers in Oklahoma and taught them all about Mystery Skype and why they should do it.  I could not have been prouder.  The students were professional, knowledgeable, polite, and well-prepared.

Later I received this messages from Principal Blankenship

Way to go Students!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Newsletter February 15, 2013

MathWe finished unit 7 with many students successfully completing the unit, though some students are having a harder time with the concepts as they get more abstract and more reliant on prior knowledge.  We start unit 8 Monday which covers more fractions and ratios, with the test tentatively scheduled for March 7th.    
Science We have been busy chewing gum and blowing bubbles in science as we explore how to write a research paper on the best bubblegum.  The research paper will be due next Friday and should be set up in the format shared in the sample paper sent home today.  Next week we will start our third unit of the year; landforms. 
Social Studies – This week we have been busy working on our Prezis as we prepare to present on the 13 colonies to each other.  We have also decided we need to figure out our favorite president which will be explored during resource time. 
Reading Genre study has been a blast so far and the students are zipping through books.  I am having a hard time keeping up with all of their reading, which is a wonderful thing.  My group will be in the lab next week as we start to plan our book trailers and using Animoto to set them up.    
Writing I truly loved the fiction stories created by students; such an imagination and sense of problem/solution.  I will be conferencing with them today and then sending home all of our feedback along with the stories either today or Monday.  We start our next writing unit; Writing about Reading, this afternoon.  A wonderful unit that allows us to really explore and connect deeply with the things we read.

Special Notes
* What a great week it has been, we are in a groove, the students are working hard and we are enjoying what we are learning.    It is a joy to come in and be their teacher every day.
* Thank you so much for an incredible Valentine’s Day Party.  The students loved it, the food was yummy and the kids ate way too much candy.
*  Thank you all for signing up for conferences, notes will be sent home with available times if you have not signed up yet.  Please indicate 2 choices of those times and I will get you scheduled.
* Thea and I will be at the carnival tomorrow, she will be the little girl all in pink and a tutu I am guessing!
*  My literacy assessment meeting went very well and we had some great discussions of how to move forward challenging and reaching all students.
*  If your child will miss school around spring break, please let me know.
*  Guidance has been sending out Step Up slips to discuss and sign with your child, please return them as soon as possible.
*  We are going to the Engineering Expo on April 18th all day and will take as many parents as possible!  This all day field trip is a fantastic chance for students to get interested in all aspects of engineering and it is a great field trip.  Please email me to let me know if you would be interested in going with us.
* The students will be teaching teachers in Oklahoma on Monday how to do a Mystery Skype.  I am excited to give them this opportunity to present to adults. 
* Literacy week is coming the first full week of March and with it comes a book swap.  On Thursday March 7th at 2 PM our 5th grade students will partake in a book swap, more info will be coming soon.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Carnival Saturday, February 16th 2 PM,  Sub all day February 28th, PAC Choral Performance Thursday, February 28th at 6:30 PM,   Pi day and Mrs. Ripp’s birthday March 14th, Spring Break starts after Friday March 22nd and goes to March 31st.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ethan Gets Creative

As we are researching the best bubblegum for science, Ethan showed of his creative side.  He is an artist indeed; that is made of a piece of unchewed bubblegum.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Reminder: Sign Up For Spring Conferences

March 7th and 12th are our spring student-led conferences.  Please make sure you sign up or contact me to set one up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Literacy Week is Coming!

March 4-8 
Monday:  Assembly for Novel Ideas
Tuesday: Children listen to a story from another teacher
Wednesday: Wordy Wardrobe (Wear Words on Your Shirt Day).
Thursday: Recycle and Share gently used literature
(Students bring a book or many books from home to give away.  These may come to school before the recycle day.  On this day, students select “new” books!)

It's time again for books to “come alive” at West Middleton!

          To help celebrate Literacy Week, West Middleton students and staff are invited to come to school dressed as a favorite book character on Friday, March 8.

          Outfits can be worn all day, so comfort and simplicity are important.  Costumes need not be elaborate - a tie, a scarf, or a special shirt may be sufficient.  Students should bring a copy of a book featuring their character, if possible.

          Need some book character suggestions to get you thinking?  How about:

          Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Fancy Nancy, Junie B. Jones, Skippyjon Jones, Amelia Bedelia, Greg Heffley, Arthur, Pippi, Fern, Pete the Cat, the Cat in the Hat, a duck, a pigeon, a blind mouse, a fairy, a princess, Olivia, David, Clifford, Froggy and . . .

          Thanks for your help. We're looking forward to a great week.  Questions?  Ask your child's teacher or call Mr. Powers in the library - 829-9408.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine's Day Class List

Dear Families,

On Thursday, February 14th, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in our classroom.  Here are just a few guidelines:
·        If your child chooses to participate in passing out valentines, please include one for each child in the class.  We have 20 students in our class.
·        Historically valentines were just a paper valentine!  It seems as though times have changed and valentines now come with candy, lollipops etc.  It is not at all necessary that your child have these “extras” attached to their valentines, however, it is certainly okay.
·        Valentines can be brought to school anytime on or after February 11th.  Please write the child’s name on the outside or on the envelope of the valentine.  Also, do not forget to have your child sign his/her name.  The children will have an opportunity to distribute their valentines to their classmates.
·        We will create valentines holders at school, so there is no need for your child to create a box, bag, etc. at home.  You will find a list of all children in our class to help your child address their valentines.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Class list:
Noah E
Noah H

Friday, February 1, 2013

Newsletter February 1, 2013

MathWe are moving through unit 7 with a lot of vocabulary being introduced as well as deeper concepts.  We have discussed order of operations (PEMDAS) and powers of 10.  Due to the snow day the test has been scheduled for February 13th.
Science We didn’t have science this week with the day off, snow day and then the read-in party.  On Monday we will start the science variable test where students go through it the first time with just their memory to help them, second time through is with their notes. 
Social Studies – Students have starter their self-driven research projects on one of the 13 colonies.  They have been busy coming up with questions to research and figuring out how to evaluate their sources.  Our next step will be to use Prezi to showcase their learning and practicing how to present with note cards.
Reading We are readers indeed!  I am thrilled that we met our 220 books goal for January, I even read a lot more then I normally do.  I am excited to celebrate this huge accomplishment with the kids today as we get to read most of the day, Skype with our very first author Adam Gidwitz (who wrote A Tale Dark and Grimm – one of our favorites) and even watch Harry Potter.  I am excited to reveal that next up is a grade level wide genre study where students get to pick which genre they want to study and then learn more about their genre.  My group will create a book trailer as a culminating project.
Writing Yesterday the students asked me if they could please keep writing!    They are busy writing and typing their ordinary moments fiction stories and I must say the deep thinking happening within their problem/resolution is remarkable.  We hope to wrap this uni up next week and I cannot wait to have students hare their stories with you.  Next up then is writing about our reading.
Special Notes
* What a strange week it has been, it hardly feels as if we have been in school.  Now we settle in for a long haul with no days off before spring break.  I love this stretch of time since it allows us to really dig in and create. 
* Students are slowly handing in their Read to Succeed Six Flags logs, please hand them in before March 1st.
* Conference sign up has started.  Please see our website for the link.  These conferences will be 15 minutes and will focus on how the goals are being met as well as middle school readiness.  All students are expected to attend their conference.
* We did another Mystery Skype last week and it did not go as planned.  Instead of being bummed we took action and the students had a long discussion of how to fix it and came up with both new rules and new jobs.  I love the take charge attitude we are fostering in here. 
* Speaking of Mystery Skype, I had an article published about it in this month’s Learning & Leading Magazine.  If you want to read it here is the link:
*  I was also named a Microsoft Global Hero of Education last week, which Brandon has been getting a kick out of because who comes up with that long of a title?  If you would like to see the interview of me for that, here is the link to that:
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Valentine’s Day Party 1:30 PM February 14th, Early Release February 12h,  Sub in the afternoon Wednesday Feb. 13th, Carnival Saturday, February 16th 2 PM.