Due to some homework completion concerns, the fifth grade team is offering an incentive to students who are being responsible! Starting Monday, November 3rd through Friday, November 21st, all students who have 100% on-time, homework completion will be rewarded. The students who have no missing or late work will be invited to attend a movie celebration! The students will also be able to bring a peanut-free treat of their choice. Although we encourage students to keep track of classroom work in their google calendars or planners, this party is solely focused around homework completion. Please help and encourage your students to be extra responsible now through November 21st!
Thank you for your support,
The Fifth Grade Team
Last year, our school raised money for a well to be dug in Sierra Leone. By collecting small change (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters), we were able to raise more than $1,700 to make a BIG change! The money will be used to dig a well that will be regularly treated and sanitized to ensure children and families will have access to clean drinking water.
This week, we have read about the importance of clean water around the world, and the effects that water scarcity has on humans. We have been shocked, and saddened, by what we have learned. Did you know that more people die from diarrhea caused by unsafe water than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined?
On Monday, we had an incredible opportunity to have a guest speaker. Samuel Menyongar is a principal from Sierra Leone, in the area where "our" well will be dug, called Konde Farm. The money will be sent to this through a charity called Touch the Nations, based out of Omaha. Mr. Samuel, as the kids called him, spoke to us about life in his home country, which included some discussion of the access to water, home lives, and what school is like. We were also able to hear a little about his personal background, which includes some heartbreaking stories about his escape from Liberia during their civil war as well as the diamond conflicts still going on in his adopted country. Samuel has been in the US since July - he came to do some speaking engagements, and has been stuck here since the Ebola outbreak.
We were so lucky to hear his perspective and to learn from a person who has experienced so much first-hand. He was thrilled with our donation - and we were able to present him with a check directly. We also made a giant fake check, because that's more fun to give! Our students made a sign with their thumbprints for Konde Farm school, which Samuel will take back and hang in a classroom.
Mr. Samuel talked to our students about a famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi that says, "Be the change you want to see in the world." The kids took that to heart and were asking Samuel what sort of things we could do to help improve their way of life even more. We are proud of their giving hearts and can't wait to see what kind of changes they are able to make in the future!
Be sure to check out the student blogs to read about their reflections on this amazing experience!
As we continue to settle more into the routine of the school year, we are able to deepen our activities and discussions, which leads to better learning. This was on display during our science lab investigating "unknown" mixtures and using the properties of matter to categorize and classify. Luckily for us, our unknown substances turned out to be delicious, as well!
We finished reading The Fourteenth Goldfish this week (and began our next Brixton Brothers book). The novel is written by Jennifer Holm, who is probably best known by our students for her Babymouse series. This book is a perfect one to share as we have been working through the scientific method and scientific thinking. We learned about several real scientists while laughing at a science-fiction story that imagines a grandpa reversing the aging process and going back to middle school. We were able to have some great discussions on what makes something a "good" discovery. I love experiencing a new book with a class, and I thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful metaphor involving a jellyfish -- ask your reader about it.
Band lessons began this week - and I am thankful everyday to Mrs. Anderson for her ears of steel. I'm sure some of our parents can relate! All joking aside, we are incredibly lucky to have Mrs. Anderson in our building, and I am very grateful our kids are able to have such a wonderful introduction to the world of instrumental music.
We also participated today in our first "speed-booking" of the year. This is an opportunity for the kids to share one of the best books they've read recently in a one-on-one format with another student. Each child gets one minute to talk before moving on to their next partner. We made some great additions to our "to read" lists!
In honor of the upcoming Iowa vs. Iowa State football game, we are representing our favorite team today. While I'm saddened to see only a few Hawkeye shirts in my room this year, I love that our kids are excited about the friendly (we're focusing on that word) rivalry.
We've been very busy in fifth grade, establishing procedures and routines that will help to ensure a successful year. We have also fully immersed ourselves in content. I have been benchmarking students with every free second, which will help me to better know them as readers - but this resulted in no new pictures to add. I am making it my goal for the next week to be a better photographer!
The students continue to become more comfortable with their Chromebooks and we're beginning to be able to use them to create some really cool projects. On Friday, the kids were able to make their first blog post! I'm excited to utilize these blogs as place where students can showcase their work and display their growth.
Also on Friday, we put together our Data Binders. These will be used by the kids to keep track of their progress and give evidence to show that they have mastered standards. The students were able to record where they currently are with 3 "I Can" statements related to our Prime/Composite standard. This will be a great way for the kids to take ownership of their learning and develop a "growth-mindset."
I'm looking forward to a great week!
I must start by saying how pleased I was so see so many parents at Back-to-School night. It's great to know that our parents are so supportive of education and the kids!
As I'm sure you've heard by now, the students received Chromebooks today. This is a very exciting day in 5th grade! While it tested every ounce of their patience, the kids did a great job of listening to guidelines and learning procedures and expectations before getting to sign-on. I'm thrilled for us to get going full-speed so we can really see the growth and production that occurs with our added resources.
Of course, there was much more to our week. We've been focusing on building excitement for reading, while still keeping in mind choosing "just right" books. Science focused on the Scientific Method, which the students were able to experience by testing how many drops of water fit on a penny -- probably more than you think! We've also continued to get to know each better and are developing a sense of teamwork and community in the classroom.
Below are some photos from our week.
The school year has gotten off to a great start! We spent the first two days getting to know each other and learning about 5th grade. I am thrilled with my group this year and can't wait to get to know all of the kids!
One of the more exciting activities we did was called, "Save Fred." This was an activity that required teamwork and some creative thinking from the students. Fred was a gummy worm whose boat capsized. Fred, being unable to swim, is stranded on top of the boat, while his life preserver (a gummy Lifesaver) is still in the boat. Using only paperclips, the students needed to work together to get the too-small life preserver onto Fred. I was very impressed with how successful we were! It was great to hear the laughter while the students were cooperating -- a definite reminder that I'm glad to be back! Be sure to ask your child about Fred.
I'm excited for next week, as we will start to get into more of a routine, and begin to do some work with Chromebooks.