Friday, April 26, 2013

Help Us Create the Best Summer Reading List Ever!

This year has been the year of reading; I don't think I have ever read so many fantastic books, I don't think I have ever spent so much money on books, and I couldn't be happier.  Except now I am faced with a problem; my 5th graders are starting to seriously ponder what they should read over the summer and I running out of ideas.  I have about 30 books to read myself and I have been piling books on their desks but we need a seriously massive list to get us through the summer.  So please help us by filling out any of these boxes on our form.  Pass it around; ask your students, your colleagues  your favorite librarians, and we promise to share all of the results.

Please help us make the best summer reading list ever!

Newsletter April 26, 2013

Special Notes
* Don’t forget to send in Box Tops and food donations for our big fundraiser to send Mr. Macklem to the roof.
* Track meet is next week Thursday (hopefully) and students need to bring a BROWN BAG lunch.  We simply do not have rooms in our coolers for any fancy bags or anything like that.  Also, all items in their lunches need to be disposable or students will have to carry them in their backpacks.  Please check the weather forecast the night before to make sure your child has enough warm clothes or sunscreen if need be.  Extra socks are always a great thing to pack.  Parents are more than welcome to come and see the events.  I will try to post a schedule of approximate times on our website.
*  The first project was due for Tangle of the Titles today, I love hearing the students give their honest opinion.
*  One final book order for the year will be coming in May; there are great books in the magazines for summer reading.
*  Please make sure your child fills out the Innovation Day form, it is due on Tuesday.
*  Speaking of Tuesday; we go to Glacier Creek at 8:15 on Tuesday, that means students have to be here by 8:15 if they are being dropped off.  We will wait for late busses but not late kids being dropped off. 
* The egg drop is coming and we are still looking for someone to donate eggs or Ziploc bags, let me know if you are interested.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Glacier Creek visit April 30th 8:30 to 10:15 AM, 5th grade track meet Thursday, May 2nd, MAP testing Map 6th and 7th 1 PM, Innovation Day Wednesday, May 8th all day, Sub all day May 15th, Tangle of the Titles May 20th1 PM, Lock Out June 5th all day, 5th Grade Graduation June 7th 1:30 PM in lunch room.
MathWe started unit 11 this week and it is a very short unit reviewing geometric solids as well as volume.  So far the test is scheduled for May 9th.  This unit highlights many concepts that were introduced both in 4th grade as well as earlier in the year and so many students are quite successful in this unit.  We then start the final unit on May 13th.
Social Studies – We wrapped up the timeline of the Revolutionary War and students were handed back their timelines with an assessment rubric.  We also did our final genius hour researching self-chosen topics about government.  We then start to discuss the formation of the government, as well as the Constitution.  We hope to squeeze in one more simulation as well before the end of the year.
Science – We will plant our plants on Monday and start the final unit; Environment.  We are also working on our biome projects where the students have to research and teach the other students about their biome.   Students will hand in their lesson plan and be ready to teach on May 28th.   Guidelines as well as sample lesson plan is on our website.
Reading We have been using Time For Kids to practice our critical reading strategies and heighten our awareness of how we answer comprehension questions.  We will continue to hone our skills until the end of the year.     
Writing We are busy publishing our poetry.  Some students have been brave enough to publish their poetry on our blogs; bravo!  We start memoir on Monday and students need to bring in a meaningful photograph from their life to discuss.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Biome Challenge

Biome Challenge Breakdown
Goal:  To teach the rest of the class about your selected biome and assess their understanding.

Lesson plans due May 28th.

Products: A lesson plan detailing what you will teach and how you will assess student knowledge.

  1. Determine the top 3 biomes you would like to research with your group:  Savannah, desert, tundra, rainforest, grasslands, or deciduous forests.
  2. Within group, research the various parts of your biome, such as: people, climate, plants, animals, locations.  You decide what the most important parts are.
  3. Use sources from the library as well as from our LiveBinder to research.
  4. You can team teach or you can do it by yourself.  Each lesson has to have its own lesson plan.
  5. Work on extension project for teaching, ideas are: PPT, Prezi, Animoto, Posters, diorama, terrariums, movies.  You are the teacher, how would you like to be taught about a biome?  Make it interesting.
  6. Work on how you will assess the students learning.  How will you know you did a good job teaching them about your biome?  Ideas for assessment include: question sheet, asking questions, have students write what they learned,  have students draw/diagram their learning, have them write a song, create a concept map, do a compare/contrast, check their pre-knowledge and then their post-knowledge, true or false, word search, definition match, crossword, write a blog post that talks about your learning, solve a problem, student choice
  7. You need to know your facts as the teacher, figure out who will do what etc.

Day of presentation:
  1. Students will be asked to do a mini-reflection on how the lesson went:  Was it interesting?  How was the speed/pace?  Could you hear/see?  Did you learn something?  Suggestions?
  2. Group presents and then meets as a group to start their group and individual reflection.  Questions to reflect upon include:  
    1. What went well?
    2. How successful was it with the audience?
    3. What didn’t go as planned?
    4. What did not work?
    5. Did the tools created help support the learning?
    6. Was your lesson hands on?
    7. If not?
    8. What would you do differently?
  3. Once group has reflected, they meet with me to discuss how it went, how they would improve etc.  We also use this time to digest student evaluations.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Newsletter April 19, 2013

MathUnit 10 wraps up on Monday with the test.  Unit 11 goes into more detail with volume which will be somewhat of a familiar territory.  I have been excited to see great gain in math facts knowing how crucial they are for the rest of our lives.  I have been lucky enough to teach advanced math this week for Ms. Weber, what a lot of fun that has been.  Ms. Weber returns on Monday.
Social Studies – We have been busy creating timelines of the 7 most important events of the Revolutionary War as determined by each student.  Students really have to use their comparing and contrasting skills for this and I look forward to seeing their thinking on Monday when it is due.
Science – We finished our Grand Canyon Challenge last week but have been out of toner.  As soon as we are able to print them, the students will be defending their designs to the class and we will display them in the hallway.  We also finished and discuss our landforms assessment.  Students had to work their way through it using known resources and they ended up grading themselves as well.  The most important piece of this was the self-reflection that happened after the assessment; how can they grow and use this experience?
Reading We have been using Time for Kids a lot as we work on reading for information and reading for learning.  We have also been busy with our tangle of the Titles books, first projects are due next Monday.  We have been reading and reciting a lot of poetry as well.
Writing We have continued our poetry exploration and written poetry inspired by the sounds in our lives, as well as some inspired by the dreary rainy days.  Today we have two slam poets coming from Madison to visit us and discuss what it means to be a professional poet and where they get their inspiration from.
Special Notes
* Schedules get really wonky in April and May for 5th grade so I continually update the calendar with information and deadlines as well as other events so do check it out.
* What a week it has been.  We are looking forward to a much calmer and quieter week next week.
* Thank you to the wonderful parents that were able to come with us to the Engineering Expo.  The trip is such a hit because of how many parents we are able to bring.  The students really represented us well; I am very, very proud of them
* The Egg Drop is coming!  But not until May… The students are thrilled they get to partake in this 5th grade tradition.  We are looking for people to donate a box of Ziploc sandwich bags, as well as 4 dozen eggs.  If you would like to donate one of those items (such as one dozen eggs) please let me know as it will be used for the egg drop.  Eggs will not be due until later in May.
* Yes, it’s true; there will be another lock out this year.  This year’s event will take place June 5th and more information will come in May.
* Graduation save the date has been sent out.  Thank you to Fran, Sharon and Darla for spearheading!
* Innovation day planning slips are due April 30th with parent signature.  All materials needed for the day needs to be brought to school by May 23rd.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Early Release CRT Tuesday, April 23rd , Glacier Creek visit April 30th 8:30 to 10:15 AM, 5th grade track meet Thursday, May 2nd, MAP testing Map 6th and 7th 1 PM, Innovation Day Wednesday, May 8th all day, Sub all day May 15th, Tangle of the Titles May 20th1 PM, Lock Out June 5th all day, 5th Grade Graduation June 7th 1:30 PM in lunch room.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Newsletter April 11, 2013

MathWhat a math unit this is; lots of pre-algebra happening and the students are definitely putting on their thinking caps before putting answers down.  I will continue to stress the need for secure math facts as 6th grade approaches; it is simply a lifelong skill that needs to be emphasized.  With only two more units to go, the test for unit 10 will be April 22nd.
Science We did our assessment by figuring out the resources we needed to figure put the questions.  Students will then self-correct their assessment and then take it home.  We have been excited about the Grand Canyon Challenge this week, more information can be found on our website.  This means that we have been working with Sketch Up; a fantastic free engineering and design program where students can sketch up their inventions in 3D. 
Social Studies – We are wrapping up the Revolutionary War and will be time lining 7 major events next week.   Then we get to the formation of the new government as well as starting a simulation on passing laws.  I love the enthusiasm for social studies in this class with many students expressing their excitement to study government.   We have also been busy doing genius hour, an hour long student-led exploration. Students are focused on researching and creating something while managing their time. 
Reading We finished and presented our author studies with mixed results.  Some students knocked our socks off while some left us wanting more.  As always reflecting on one’s success and shortcoming is a powerful tool to move our learning forward.
Writing We are poets.  The students and I have been studying poetry and writing some of our own.  We are currently focused on slam poetry and how using one’s word to get a point across is a very powerful writing tool.  Great blogging challenge this week as students ponder what the purpose of standardized testing is.  I love how they make me think about unintended outcomes and we discuss how to best get through the tests.  We will have 2 special guests next week as we wrap up poetry.
Special Notes
* We are at such a fun stage of the year where we get to have lengthier discussions as well as long-term explorations of topics.  The students have the stamina and the tools needed to research with some guidance from me and I love seeing how invested they get.  Also, the feedback given to me at various stages in invaluable.
*  Lots of 5th grade events coming up; Engineering Expo, visit to Glacier Creek and the track meet.  Egg Drop will happen in May, as will Innovation Day.
* Innovation Day is coming!  On May 8th, students will get a whole day to do whatever project they choose.  Some students are researching and building models, others are thinking of making movies, whatever they would like to learn more about.  Planning sheets will be sent home tomorrow and are due to me April 30th.  This day promises to be another fantastic learning opportunity for these amazing 5th graders.
*  Marilyn Bowers, the guidance counselor from Glacier Creek pays us a visit on Tuesday.  I look forward to hearing more about the middle school experience.
*  Tangle of the Titles 2013 was introduced last week to much student excitement.  More details about this great reading event can be found on our website.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Counselor visit April 16th 1:15 PM, Engineering Expo April 18th all day, Early Release CRT Tuesday, April 23rd , Glacier Creek visit April 30th 8:30 to 10:15 AM, 5th grade track meet Thursday, May 2nd, MAP testing Map 6th and 7th 1 PM, Innovation Day Wednesday, May 8th all day, Sub all day May 15th, Tangle of the Titles May 20th1 PM, Lock Out June 5th all day, 5th Grade Graduation June 7th 1:30 PM in lunch room.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Choral Poetry Performances

April is all about poetry and so why not do some choral performances?

Our Very First Lip Dub

We were invited by Mr. Dean Shareski to take part in a lip dub with kids and teachers in Canada and the US.  Here is the epic final result

I.S.S. The Lip Dub from shareski on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tangle of the Titles 2013

Tangle of the Titles 2013

TEAMS: * 4 to 5 students per team
* Team is responsible for reading all 8 books
* Team decides who reads specific books
  (with teacher confirmation/input)
GRADES: * The 4 point rubric will be utilized by each teacher
* Each student is responsible for 2 books/projects
* Additional books will only require a book review

PROCEDURE: * As you read each book, write 10 questions that will
  challenge another team
* The sheet of questions must have your complete
  name, title of book, author, & teacher’s name
* Each question begins, “In which book…”

PROJECTS: * Select a project from the Project Choice sheet, or get
  approval from your teacher for other ideas
* First book, project, and 10 questions due 4/26/13
* Second book, project, and 10 questions due 5/17/13
* Additional books and review due 5/20/13
* Each project may only be chosen once by a student

BATTLE: * Will take place May 20th, it is optional if your team  
  wants to battle or not.
* An extra point will be awarded for naming the author,
    in addition to the book name for any given question

FINAL BATTLE:   Special recognition will be given to the 1st and 2nd
  place teams

Newbery Award
Lexile Level/Challenge*

Babbit, Natalie
Tuck Everlasting

Sachar, Louis
Realistic Fiction

Stead, Rebecca
When You Reach Me
Realistic Fiction

Riordan, Rick
The Lightning Thief

Schmitt, Gary D.
The Wednesday Wars
Historical Fiction
2008 Newbery Honor

Paulsen, Gary
Adventure, Realistic Fiction

Flesichman, Sid
The Whipping Boy

Byars, Betsy
Historical Fiction

TEAM NAME:___________________________________________________

*Select a first, second and third choice.
*Make sure that EACH book is represented by members of your group.
*You MUST finish the book, 10 questions, project and summary before getting your next book.

Are you ready for Tangle of the Titles projects?   You may choose from this list, or come up with your own project!
  Be sure to have it approved by your teacher before you begin.

Book Jacket: Don’t judge a book by its cover… unless you are designing it! Imagine you work for a publisher. Your job is to design an eye-catching book jacket. This project must include a front and back cover that is authentic to you!  Do not copy the current cover, instead be unique and draw upon the story’s theme.  You must also include a summary inside the front flap and an “About the Author” on the back inner flap.  

Maps: This project will showcase various locations of scenes throughout the novel.  Label each site with what occurred there and what the significance is to the story’s plot. Maps may be of any nature (global, country, city, home).
*If you find your novel has all of its major scenes happening in one location or your book already includes its own maps, then this project is not for you!

Models: Do you enjoy creating 3D models? Then this is the project for you! In this project you will create a 3D model representing any scene in your novel.  Be as creative as you like and include small details to really make it come alive.  You will need to include a ½ page written explanation of your model including significant events.  

Posters: This project includes a series of 3 posters illustrating key points from the beginning, middle and end of your novel.  Be sure to include a short written summary displayed on the front of each poster.  Please, no larger than 8 ½ x 11 per poster size. You may use a multitude of art supplies for this project, be creative!

ABC Book: Create your very own ABC book with your novel as the subject!  Using the entire alphabet, write an ABC book with each letter describing something from your novel.  Each page will be devoted to a separate letter and illustration. Add pizazz to your project by being unique in how you bind your book! Again, great resources can be found in our school library if you need a mentor text to get your creativity flowing!

Animoto Book Trailer:    This project has to entice other people to want to read your book while showing that you have read it.  You should have a mixture of pictures and text to support your trailer and even the music has to fit the feel of the book.  
Screenplay, Play, or Recorded Play: Broadway is calling! Are you up for the challenge? Create a screenplay, play or voice recording of a scene you find intriguing from your story.  You may also create an “alternate ending.”  

Timeline: Choose ten important events from your story and create a sequential time line.  You must include illustrations and write a short description at each point.  Your timeline should also be titled, neat, colored and easy to follow.
Sculpture: Design a 3D sculpture of a character or key item from your book. You may use any materials to craft your work of art.  Include a written explanation of why it is important to your book.

Board Game: Roll the dice on this project! Create your very own board game with your book as the theme! Your game must include everything that will be needed for game play (pieces, dice, game board, depending on your game) as well as clearly written instructions and a minimum of 7 elements from your book.  Your game must also be titled.

Word Search: Hunt for vocabulary in this project! Choose twenty vocabulary words from your book.  All words you choose must be written and defined on one sheet of paper.  Be sure to add pictures and color to your project. On another sheet of paper create your word search using the twenty vocabulary words.  Don’t forget to include an answer key for your word search!

Travel Brochure: Have you ever read a book and wished you could visit its setting?  In this project you can imagine! Craft a travel brochure encouraging others to visit the area where it takes place. You’ll want to draw on your persuasive writing skills and lure them to your destination using details from your novel. Be persuasive when telling
all about the setting and important events in the book.

Newspaper:  Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Hail to the Editor in Chief! In this project imagine you are running your own newspaper.  Create a newspaper that features articles all about your book, characters, dramatic scenes…the possibilities are endless!  Your newspaper should be a minimum of 2 pages.  You must include a newspaper name and clear article titles.  Use a real newspaper for inspiration on content ideas or formatting.

Story Box: Use a small box, such as a shoe box, to create a collection of ten items that relate to your story or characters in your book.  They can be actual items, drawn items or items neatly cut out of a magazine or newspaper. Be sure to “tag” each item by writing a short paragraph describing the importance of the item and how it relates to your book.  Don’t forget to decorate your box!

Crossword Puzzle: Choose twenty vocabulary words from your book. On one sheet of paper write the words. On another sheet create your crossword puzzle, complete with clues to each “Up” or “Down” column of clues.  Don’t forget to number the clues and corresponding puzzle boxes!
           Remember, you can always create your own project idea!
Just be sure to get your teacher’s approval first!  Have fun!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pictures From Our First Genius Hour

Students got to do their first genius hour today; an hour of free exploration and creation regarding the Revolutionary War.