¡Marzo!

¡Marzo! = March!

I cannot believe that it is ALREADY March, and almost Spring Break!  Yeesh!  Where did the time go?  I hope you are gearing up for some relaxing time with your fifth grader during break.  But before you begin to think about checking out and relaxing too much, here are the topics in this week’s post.

  • Conversation Starters
  • Math and Foldables
  • Literary Essays 
  • Science WebQuest
  • Library Visits
  • Reading Plus for ALL
  • Maniac Magee
  • A Smile for You!

Conversation Starters:

  • You continued to work on writing literary essays this week.  Why do you think it is important to know how to write a literary essay?  When might you use this skill in your life?
  • What do you enjoy about Reading Plus?  What is difficult about Reading Plus?  How does Reading Plus make you a stronger reader overall?
  • What have you and your partner learned about classification this week as you worked on your WebQuest?  What kind of animal are you creating together?

Math and Foldables: This week, we continued to do a lot of hard work with decimals and converting units. We also began an assessment today that we will finish tomorrow.  However, this definitely doesn’t mean we are finished with discussing decimals.  Next week, we are going to create a graphic organizer called a “Foldable” to support our learning on decimals AND fractions so we can apply our learning to real life situations.  Foldables are graphic organizers that have the potential to greatly enhanced student learning.  Because students create the Foldable, they assume ownership of their work from the start.  Foldables also allow students to complete the same activity yet be creative and different from their peers. Establishing ownership of their work produces better student learners.  Until we get to our work on Foldables next week, check out a couple of photos below of our work from this week.

Here is a picture of Winter working on a conversion problem from an activity with task cards.
Here is a picture of Winter working on a conversion problem from an activity with task cards.
Here are some other math thinkers working on conversion during our flex group.
Here are some other math thinkers working on conversion during our flex group.
And . . . here are some SUPER hard-working mathematicians taking an assessment.
And . . . here are some SUPER hard-working mathematicians taking an assessment.

Literary Essays: As you know, we began exploring literary essays over the past two weeks.  Remember, a literary essay is when a reader thinks BEYOND the text and what the deeper meaning or theme is from a story.  Just this week, when the children were working, I heard one author say to his partner, “Let’s think really deep!”  What fun, huh?   Building on  that enthusiasm, your fifth grader has been creating some incredible work!  We continue to add onto our anchor chart with strategies for literary essays (look at that below) and have written great essays so far.  Just yesterday, we discussed what kinds of things to include in a conclusion in a literary essay.  Check out some of the examples below because I am confident that you will be impressed.

Here's our anchor chart about literary essays.  We added on to the bottom about what to include in a conclusion for a literary essay.
Here’s our anchor chart about literary essays. We added on to the bottom about what to include in a conclusion for a literary essay.
Read this incredible conclusion to a literary essay about a story we read called "Spaghetti."  Click on the piece to make it easier to read.
Read this incredible conclusion to a literary essay about a story we read called “Spaghetti.” Click on the piece to make it easier to read.
Here is another fantastic piece.  Again, click on the literary essay to make it easier to read.
Here is another fantastic piece. Again, click on the literary essay to make it easier to read.

Science WebQuest:  As you know from last week’s post, your fifth grader has been working on  a WebQuest to learn about classification in science.   Click here to go to the site with this WebQuest and explore what your fifth grade scientist is learning.  Next week, your child and his/her partner will present their newly discovered animal to our classroom.  I can’t wait because I know it will be a lot of fun!  Look at some of our photos below to see what the children have come up with so far during their exploration.

Here is some visuals that a group has created  so far while they are "discovering" their animal.
Here is some visuals that a group has created so far while they are “discovering” their animal.
Another group has quite an interesting animal!  I am excited to learn further about this one too!
Another group has quite an interesting animal! I am excited to learn further about this one too!
As children complete the WebQuest, they need to explore possible habitats for their animal.  I love seeing kids exploring the globe as they learn together.
As children complete the WebQuest, they need to explore possible habitats for their animal. I love seeing kids exploring the globe as they learn together.

Library Visits:  I was thinking the other day and realized that I don’t think I’ve ever told you about what we do most Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  We are lucky enough to visit the Robinson Library to read and check out new books.  Many of the children love this time so they can sit back and dig into a book.  Now you can see some of our very happy readers in the photos below. 🙂

What a enthusiastic reader!
What a enthusiastic reader!
Here is another lovely fifth grade reader.
Here is another lovely fifth grade reader.
And finally, another whole group of fifth grade readers!  I love it!
And finally, a whole group of fifth grade readers! I love seeing things like this!

RP_LogoReading Plus for ALL:  Recently, I decided to engage all of our readers in a computer-based program called, Reading Plus.  This program develops a student’s silent reading fluency, reading rate, and stamina in order to make reading comfortable and productive. The program provides essential structure to silently read by scaffolding content, rate, repetition intensity, and lesson formats.  Students build independent reading skills and confidence that prepare them for academic success and challenges beyond secondary school.  As students develop and automate reading efficiency and fluency, they are able to focus efforts on comprehension and gaining knowledge, rather than on the process of reading.  Please ask your fifth grader about Reading Plus this week.

Maniac Magee: We started a new chapter book!  I have recently read several books by an incredible author named Jerry Spinelli.  He writes amazing works for children that challenge the ways in which we live our lives today.  While we  have only read 3 chapters in Manic Magee so far, look below at what we have learned about two of the main characters.  Of course, we will continue reading together next week.

Here is the beginning of a character analysis chart about our new chapter book, Maniac Magee.
Here is the beginning of a character analysis chart about our new chapter book, Maniac Magee.

A Smile for You!  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  What a dilemma I had of what to put in this week’s post to make you smile, so look below to see what I chose.   Plus, you might have wanted a sneak peek at our class picture that was taken today.  Thanks for reading this week’s post.  Have a great weekend – and SMILE!

We sure are a CUTE bunch, huh?!?
We sure are a CUTE bunch, huh?!?
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