Friday, January 31, 2014

Newsletter, January 31st, 2014

Dear Parents and Families,

My name is Ms. Gould, and I will be Mrs. Ripp's long-term substitute for the month of February.  I got to meet the students this week, and I am very excited to be working with them. I observed Mrs. Ripp on Wednesday and Thursday morning, taught Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, and today was my first full day with the students.  


We have such a great group!  This week, the students helped teach me the classroom procedures and expectations.  After the craziness of this week, we're all really looking forward to having a "normal" week next week.  I've included more information about what we've been working on and what's coming up below.

I should have a district email address by next week, and as soon as I have that, I will send my contact information to you.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me via the room phone (829-9009).  Otherwise, Mrs. Ripp said she will be happy to pass along emails to me as well.


Thank you for your time and patience.  I look forward to getting to know you and and the students more over the next month!


Best Regards,


Ms. Gould


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Special Notes –

  • Today was our Kindness Retreat, facilitated by Youth Frontiers.  Students participated in high-energy, interactive activities as well as small-group discussions to reflect upon and make an action plan for being kind.  For more information, click here.
  • For Valentine’s Day (Friday, February 14th) students can bring in a Valentine, however, if they do, they need to bring one for everyone in the class.  They can attach a candy or trinket to their Valentine but this is not expected. There is a class list with first names on it on our website.
  • The PTO is looking for volunteers and prizes for the winter carnival on February 8th, please contact Sara Vogel or the PTO for more information.
  •  Upcoming dates for you to put on your calendars include: 
    • Carnival Saturday, February 8th at 2 PM
    •  Valentine’s Day Party 2 PM February 14th.

Math – We are finishing unit 6 this week.  The test is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4th.  Students have been given a review packet to help them prepare.  The next unit is about exponential notation and the subtraction and addition of positive and negative numbers. 


Science  Students began the assessment for the landforms unit on Thursday.  Our next unit will be Mixtures and Solutions.

Social Studies – We have been busy at work on our projects.  The deadline for all our student projects is February 6th.  As a twist we will also be presenting our projects to another 5th grade classroom in Vermontvia Skype.  These students are therefore the audience we are working with in mind. 

Reading – We set new individual reading goals for February.  If you have time, check in with your student and ask about their reading goals.  We will soon set our goals for the February book challenge.

Writing – Students are busy working on their writing projects.  Students choose to write either a historical research paper or a historical fiction story, and they continue to seem to be excited about their projects. Requirements are posted on our website.   

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Newsletter January 23, 2014

Special Notes
* We had a fantastic interview yesterday and think we have found my sub.  Paperwork is now being processed and if all goes well she will be in our room for a few days next week as we start to transition.  I am very excited after the interview and think the students will be in very capable hands.
*  Homework and using time well in the classroom continues to be a struggle for some students, I am reaching out to parents as much as needed but now may be a good time to check in with your child and see if they are on top of things.
* For Valentine’s Day students can bring in a Valentine, however, if they do, they need to bring one for everyone in the class.  They can attach a candy or trinket to their Valentine but this is not expected. There is a class list with first names on it on our website.
*  Congratulations to Zach for winning the geo bee – what a great accomplishment!
*  Also congratulations to Colin, Zach, Sydney, Rose and Kevin for representing our district at the Yahara River Writers Contest.  I am extremely proud of all of our students and this year I submitted more entries than I ever have.
*  Next week may be last week before the sub.  We are hoping for good news from the NICU as far as Augustine’s discharge but I will keep you in the loop.  I will return in March. 
*  The PTO is looking for volunteers and prizes for the winter carnival on February 8th, please contact Sara Vogel or the PTO for more information.
*  Students should pack a lunch for the Kindness Retreat next Friday if they have not ordered one from school.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: No school Friday, January 24th, Read-in party (if we make our reading goal) Thursday, January 30th, Kindness Retreat field trip all day January 31st,  Carnival Saturday, February 8th at 2 PM, Valentine’s Day Party 2 PM February 14th.
MathWe are close to finishing unit 6, the test remains scheduled for Monday, February 6th.  The next unit is about exponential notation and the subtraction and addition of positive and negative numbers. 
Science Students are working through the landforms unit, this week we have worked on building mountains out of foam and creating their profiles using topographical maps. 
Social Studies – We have been busy at work on our projects.  The deadline for all our student projects is February 6th.  As a twist we will also be presenting our projects to another 5th grade classroom in Vermont via Skype.  These students are therefore the audience we are working with in mind. 
Reading We have been digging deeper into theme and comparing characters to each other as well as to ourselves.  We have also started new reading partnerships where students meet in groups of 3 as we move toward book clubs.  We are reading at a furious pace as we try to meet our January book challenge, however, with only a week to go we have to read more than 300 books in a week, things are looking dim at the moment but I still think we can do it. 
Writing Students handed in a sample paragraph to me yesterday so I can see the beginnings of their work.  We have also discussed the two options for the project, a historical research paper or a historical fiction story.  Students choose which one they want to write and seem pretty excited about their topics.  Requirements are posted on our website.  Spelling resumes next week. 


Class list for Valentine's Day Party

For Valentine’s Day students can bring in a Valentine, however, if they do, they need to bring one for everyone in the class.  They can attach a candy or trinket to their Valentine but this is not expected.

Colin
Alex
Kevin
Bruno
Ella
Michael
Leona
Rose
Saffron
Billy
Aunisa
Ciana
Maria
Nathan
MacKenzie
Trayahna
Logan
Emma
Morgan
Jack
Alli
Isabel
Charles
Sydney
Zach 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mission US Games


Some of my favorite free games to play with the students are the Games on Mission US ( A PBS website).  Today we played "Flight to Freedom" that has to do with slavery and the students loved it.  They can access this game from home as well, just go here.  They can use the same login as we used in class. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Isometetric App Used in Art

Mrs. Hyland has been doing fantastic things with the students in art and wanted to share this symmetry app with the students.  To access it, click this link 

Also, she has been filming and taking great pictures in art.  To see the students in action, click this link.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Paragraph about Theme Assignment

The class has spent some time learning how to identify a theme in the book they are currently reading or have just finished.  We have learned that this often happens in different ways in our book, along with the fact that a book can have different themes.  In class I have also modeled how to support your theme and write a paragraph about a certain theme. Below are some items to help you with the assignment.


Structure should be:
  • Topic Sentence: name the author and book and present the theme.  Use the sentence frame below to begin your topic sentence:         
“In [his/her] book “_____________”, [author] illustrates the idea that_____________________________  (your theme goes in the blank).”
  • Proofs: two examples from the short story (character’s words and/or actions, plot events) that explain/prove the theme you have chosen PLUS
explanation of how each explains/proves your theme.
  • Concluding Sentence: this should tie the theme of the story to life in the
real world.  It should be thought-provoking and reflective (show that you have thought about how this theme ties into life).  It should also effectively sum up your paragraph.



Theme ideas:
  • Friendship
  • Survival
  • Trust
  • Justice
  • There are many more




Due Date
Tuesday, January 21st

Example done in class:
In his book "Unicorn," Bob Shea illustrates the idea that we should not judge people by our first impression. I know this because in the book, Goat judges Unicorn just on what he has seen him do without having a conversation with him. He also badmouths Unicorn to the reader, but when he finally has a conversation with him, he discovers that Unicorn is a great person. From the book I have learned that we should always hold off on our judgement until we have gotten to know a person. This is helpful for me since I work with many new teachers and other people every day and I want to make sure I have an open mind.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spelling List

Group 1 Spelling List 6
Name:  __________________________

Pattern: Short-u and Long-u

cube
broom
food
bump
fruit
juice
crust
trust
bloom
build
smooth
moon
suit
prune
from
spoon
dude
tooth
skunk
mood

Group 2 Spelling List 6
Name:  __________________________

Pattern: Review of prefixes (re, ex, in , de)

replay
reconsider
inflate
inmate
exhale
excess
deflate
decrease
reappear
reruns
interior
exhaust
exile
delete
defrost
research
reclaim
inhale
inhabit
exterior
explore
install
deprive
reaction

Root Words Exploration Week
Name:  _______________________________________



Evidence
Evident
Carnivore
Savory
Terrain
Improvident
Devour
Territorium
Verbalization
Provident
Territory
Verbalize
Videography
Carnage
Verbally
Extraterritorial

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Lens of History Writing Project Details

Our current writing project is titled "The Lens of History" and has to do with researching a historical event and then writing about it.  We decided to make it a bit more interesting though by giving the students a choice.  They can either choose to write a research paper detailing their event or they can turn it into more of a historical fiction story (which is harder to do).

I have given the students the following criteria so far:

  • Be specific, rather than pick "slavery" for example pick a certain part of slavery such as the North American Slave Trade.  Otherwise their research will be much too broad.
  • Put yourself in someone's shoes, take on the perspective of someone who has lived through it to develop deeper thinking and empathy for the situation.
  • Limit your pictures, but make sure the ones you do include contain vital information.
  • Include at least one map.
  • Sources should be cited using Easybib or something similar.
  • Research now, we will start to write in a few weeks after we do outline etc.
  • Use books whenever possible as your starting point.
  • Length should be between 4 and 10 pages typed, double spaced, size 12 font.
  • Pick something of interest to write about, you can pick any event in history that you want to learn about.
  • Figure out how to best keep track of your research.
More info will come as we get further into the project.  Project due date will be mid-February dependin gon how we are doing.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's a Read-In Party (Perhaps)

To stir up excitement for reading in the January humdrum ,we have a January classroom reading challenge.  The concept is very simple, each child wrote down a secret goal of how many books and picture books they are going to read in January and handed it to me.  I then calculated what our total goal is for January and it is an impressive 492 books!  Students have left me book titles on my desk and I keep track every day of how many books they are reading.  If they meet their goal two events will take place:

  • A great Skype visit from Jenifer Nielsen - the author of The False Prince!
  • A Read-in party on January 30th.  
The Read-in party will be all day celebration (beside math and specials) where the students will get to read in sleeping bags (or blankets) and even watch a movie based on a book. 

We are also hoping for some treats so I will be asking for volunteers for that later in the month.

If we do not make our goal then we cannot have our party, so we are all very eager to read!

Our New Social Studies Project Details

Since we will have a lot of subs in the afternoon, we wanted to make sure that all of the students have something meaningful to work on in the afternoon while keeping it simple for the various subs.  Therfore the students and I brainstormed how we best could keep social studies interesting, while they still covered the next chapter.  They did an excellent job brainstorming this month's project, the details are as follows:

  • Students are currently working through chapter 4 of the social studies book, reading it and taking notes on main ideas and details.  This is to offer them the background they will need to decide what to become experts on.
  • They will then use the remaining social studies time to create a two-pronged project on something they want to learn more about from chapter 4.  This is a great chapter for them to explore more as it discusses Jamestown, slavery, Virginia, and many other great early colony topics.
  • The final project is in 2 parts:  Students must present on their topic (make a presentation) and they must create something else to showcase their knowledge such as a model, a movie, a poster etc.  It is their choice.
  • Students may work together or with a partner.
  • All students should be ready to present on February 6th with a time limit of 4 to 7 minutes.
  • We will decide as a class how the project will be assessed.
Please let me know if you have any questions.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Newsletter January 10, 2014

It is great to be back!

MathWe finished unit 5 this week and pre-tested for unit 6.  Due to the geo bee, the unit will then start on Monday with new groups.  My afternoon sub will be teaching math but I will try to monitor and help as much as I can.  The first part of unit 6 is heavily focused on working with data and then the second half is all about adding and subtracting fractions.  To make fractions more tangible please point them out outside of school such as in cooking or shopping. 
Science We have been busy with our landforms and will continue working with that throughout the month of January.  Our super tube challenge was a blast with students focused on their build for 45 minutes.  Pictures will soon show up on our website.
Social Studies – I am incredibly proud of how the students lesson planned with me for the month of January.  Since we may have a different sub every day, we wanted to make sure that students stayed engaged in social studies and also knew what to work on.  We therefore created a long-term project for them all to work on.  I will post details on our website soon.
Reading We started our new unit of looking at themes and discussing characters, this unit reintroduces important concepts that we discussed earlier in the year, leading to a deeper understanding.  We will also be refocusing on thinking deeply about our books and having better partner conversations.  Finally, I revealed the January book challenge as well.  Details to come on our website!  I have also been adding many new books to our library thanks to the generous Amazon gift card, there are just so many great books out there!
Writing Our next writing unit was revealed yesterday; an informational book about a historical event.  Students will research a specific historical event and then try to take on the perspective of someone living through it.  This project will wrap up in the beginning of February.   
Special Notes
* Augustine is ending the week on a better note than she started, they do not think she has NEC (huge sigh of relief) but a viral infection instead.  They therefore cautiously took her off antibiotics yesterday and resumed feeding her in very small doses.  We are now keeping our fingers crossed that she can tolerate the feeds and does not need further treatment for this problem. She also finally crossed 2,000 grams this morning.
* It was a great short week to be back, the students and I are coming up with plans on how to best deal with all the subs in our room and I am proud of how they are approaching their learning.
* Please remember to send in report card envelopes as well as field trip permission slips.
*  Book orders will also go home today and will be due next Friday – there are some great books in January.
* Blogging challenges are back on track with the new one being poster later today.
* I am out of the building all day Monday at a meeting, I am so sorry for the inconvenience.
*  We have 12 applicants so far for my maternity leave sub, I will be looking at their applications these next few days and then we will get interviews rolling. Hopefully we will have it taken care of soon.
*  We did our MAP test for reading on Wednesday and will do math next Wednesday.
*  I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: MAP testing January 15th, No school Monday, January 21st and Friday, January 24th, , Read-in party (if we make our reading goal) Thursday, January 30th, Kindness Retreat field trip all day January 31st,  Carnival Saturday, February 8th at 2 PM, Valentine’s Day Party 2 PM February 14th


Monday, January 6, 2014

A Cold Monday Brings a Setback

This morning we received a phone call from the NICU that Augustine has an infection on her bowel, called NEC .  The good news is that they caught it early, meaning they can start treatment right away, the bad news is that this is a pretty big setback for her release.  
 
What this means is that all feeding has been stopped, she will receive nutrition through her IV instead for the next 10 to 14 days, they are doing x-rays every 6 hours, plus growing blood cultures to finalize what it is exactly she is battling.   They are hoping to get it under control with no surgery needed.  

Thank you everyone for continuing to keep us in your thoughts, she is a fighter and we are sure she will fight this as well.  It goes to show once again that she is in the right place, even if it is hard for us.  

This picture is from the a few days ago, the first day she got to wear newborn clothes rather than preemie size (she is too long for preemie clothes now).