Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher

Wednesday
Oct172018

Fifth Grade News - October 18, 2018

As if the weeks don't go by fast enough, now we only had four days to get everything done!  I hope you enjoyed the extra long weekend as the teachers attended the Northern Illinois District Teachers' Conference.  I'm hoping to learn some new things to bring back to fifth grade, but as always, I'd much rather be in school with the kids!

This week we almost finished with the books of the New Testament.  We will make a study guide and review, and then have a test on them sometime next week.  In Math we finished up adding and subtracting and will begin multiplying.  We are working on nouns in Language Arts as well as writing an essay about a weather story.  In Reading the kids started an independent novel which they had to choose based on the person on the cover looking like them.  They will be using this book for their first book report which will be done mostly in class.  Hopefully we can get it all done here, but if not, it may come home for some final touches.  In Social Studies we are talking about the geography of the world, including checking out where our clothes came from (a lot of things came from Vietnam which I found interesting) and then making up their own country.  Some of the kids came up with some really clever ideas - New Guinea Pig - Hamsterdam!  In Science we are working on body systems, so look for some bodies to be hanging in our room soon.  We didn't get to Art this week because we just had too many other projects in the works.  The kids did have Spanish, Music, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  In Gym we continued with our unit in volleyball, and some of the kids have gotten quite good.  

Next week is a busy one for the boys' volleyball team - games on Monday and Tuesday at home, and their first match of the St. Philip's tournament at St. Philip on Thursday afternoon.  Depending on if we win or lose, we would either play at 9:00 or 12:00 Saturday morning.  

Next week on Wednesday we are going to Harmony House for our first visit.  Thanks to the many parents who offered to drive.  I'm going to have the kids share their many talents, and we always play a game of bingo with plenty of candy prizes.  I love being able to do this with my class - it not only brings so much joy to the residents, but to the kids and me as well.

Believe it or not, next Friday, October 26th, is the end of the first quarter.  Parent-teacher conferences are being scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1st and 2nd.  As I mentioned in my homework e-mail yesterday, please let me know if you have a prefered time - either before or after school on Thursday or Friday morning.  

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!

Thursday
Oct112018

Fifth Grade News - October 12

First of all thanks to everyone who volunteered to make the PTL Walkathon a great success!  I know that it takes quite a bit of planning, and we all appreciate and benefit from the money that is raised by this event.  Fifth grade thanks to Mrs. Barrera and Mrs. Carey who joined us for our walk over to Luther North.

Do you know how the Chicago Bears or Chicago Blackhawks got their name?  This was the latest Social Studies project that the kids were working on in connection with our study of the United States.  They researched how various professional sports teams got their name, and then made a map with map keys to show the results.  It was fun to watch and hear them work on this together.  There were Chromebooks everywhere, and I would often see kids standing in front of a map trying to figure out where various cities were.  This is the kind of learning I love to see happening in my classroom!

We started our study of the New Testament books this week.  I am glad that we are taking the time to do this study of the Bible because most of the kids are not so good at finding things in the Bible or recalling Bible stories.  But they have gotten much better during devotions where I often tell a story, share a Bible verse, and then we talk about what that means for us.  Memorizing Bible verses is important, but being able to apply them to your own life is what helps us the most in our faith walk.  In Math we are working on adding and subtracting both whole number and decimals.  It's funny how just including a decimal point makes a problem seem much more confusing.  But generally everyone seems to be doing okay.  We will be having a Math test next week - a study guide will go home first so you can help your child prepare.  In Langauge Arts we starting working with nouns.  The person, place, or thing part is easy, but an idea like happiness, joy, and peace was kind of confusing.  We also continued with our Let Me Tell You Something About . . . essays this week sharing weather stories.  And boy do fifth graders have stories!  In Reading we finished our novel, and we will be starting a new one next week.  In Social Studies we finished up our sports team project and started one on the world - using information about where our clothes came from.  In Science we worked up from cells to body systems, and the kids are making life-size bodies where they are drawing in the various systems.  In Gym we are still doing our volleyball unit, and the kids had Music, Spanish, and Computer.  In Art we finished up the last two art projects we were working on.  The fifth graders do fine work, but sometimes they are quite slow - mostly because they like to do a good job - but it does tend to make projects back up on us.

Next week is a four day week for the kids.  All the teachers will be attending what my husband refers to as my "teacher convention" on Friday.  All the teachers from the Northern Illinois District will be getting together for an all-day meeting at Concordia University.  This is always a great opportunity for Christian teacher fellowship and to learn new things, but I'd much rather be at school with my fifth graders.  

Sportswise the boys' volleyball team has practice after school on Tuesday.  No Donuts and Volleyball next week as we won't be here Friday.

On Wednesday October 24th the fifth graders and I will be going to Harmony House for our first visit.  I currently have two parent volunteers to drive, but I need at least one more car to fit all 19 kids.  Please let me know if you would be willing to join us for this trip.  We leave after Chapel and return by 11:30.

Blessing to you and your family this weekend!  

Thursday
Oct042018

Fifth Grade News - October 5, 2018

I hope that you had the opportunity to check your child's first quarter mid-term report on Fast Direct.  I am pleased with how the class is doing as a whole, but just like every year, some of the kids are struggling with turning in homework.  Please be sure to check their planners as well as my e-mail each day so that you know what they should be doing.  I always tell the kids to bring all homework, even if it's done, home so you can "see how smart they are".  One problem is that they are doing the work, but not turning it in or turning it in without a name.  Again these are all things I have to work on every year, but with your help we should be able to get everyone squared away.  With regards to the mid-term reports, please send me an e-mail so I know that you saw it, and let me know if you have any questions.  

I truly can't believe how fast the weeks fly by.  And I think even the kids would agree.  This week we had two tests - a Language Arts test on sentences and a Religion test on the Books of the Old Testament.  We started a new unit in Math - working with adding and subtracting whole numbers and decimals.  We started a new writing project - Let Me Tell You Something About My Education.  I started that lesson by asking the kids why their parents are willing to sacrifice to send them to St. John's, and their answers were very sweet.  They obviously appreciate being able to go to a school like ours where they feel safe, loved, and free to learn and talk about God.  We are almost done with our novel.  I've really enjoyed reading this book because it has lent itself to many good discussions.  How to handle bullies - what if you and your parent don't agree about something - what does it mean to always be yourself.  In Social Studies we started a project about the United States involving sports teams and in Science we started a unit about the human body systems.  In Art we did a picture with leaves in the cubist style and in PE we are doing a unit on volleyball.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer.  Thanks to the families who donated food for Spanish class on Wednesday.  The kids really enjoyed it.

Next week we will be starting our work with the books of the New Testament, continuing with addition and subtraction in Math, starting a unit on nouns in Language Arts, finishing up our novel in Reading, working with world geography in Social Studies, and doing a fun project about body systems in Science.  The only test next week will be the usual Friday spelling test.

Next week sports-wise the boys' volleyball team has a game at home on Monday and practice on Wednesday from after school until 4:15, due to the 4:30 church service.  There is a cross-country meet on Tuesday at Montrose Harbor which sounds like a lot of fun. 

The big event next week is the PTL-sponsored Walkathon on Friday.  We will be taking a school picture, eating all together at lunch, and then each class has a walking destination.  Fifth grade will be walking with the older kids to use Luther North's track.  This is an important fund raiser for our school, and many volunteers are needed.  I'm especially in need of someone to walk with us because I wouldn't feel safe taking nineteen kids so far on my own.  Please let me know if you would be willing to join us. 

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!

Thursday
Sep272018

Fifth Grade News - September 28, 2018

Can you believe that your child is 1/8th done with fifth grade?  Funny to say it that way, but today marks the mid-point of the first quarter, and mid-term reports will be released next Friday.  Overall they are doing well.  We are still having a bit of a problem turning in homework, but if you and I keep working together, that can be fixed.  Please let me know if you have any questions about your child's report.

This week we finished up a couple of things - our unit on place value in Math - our Chicago attraction reports - and our first chapter in Science about animal  classification.  We started a few new things - a Math unit on addition and subtraction - a unit on the United States in Social Studies - and a PE unit on volleyball.  We continued to work on the books of the Old Testament, and we will be having a test either Tuesday or Thursday next week.  I'll let you know when I send the e-mail about Spelling and Memory.  We continued working with sentences and subjects and predicates - tough stuff - and reading our novel.  

The kids took their first test of fifth grade, and generally did well.  I am going to reteach some parts of it to make sure that everyone understands place value, particularly with decimals.  When I return a test to the class, they need to get it signed by you and return it to me, and they also have an opportunity to correct the test.  If they do, I will raise their grade one grade.  This is also true if they fix homework assignments.

Next week is a busy one sports wise - for the volleyball boys an away game on Monday, a home game on Tuesday, and practice on Friday.  They are also involved in a tournament at Holy Family on Saturday, October 6th.  There is a cross-country meet on Wednesday at Walther. 

Coming up on Friday, October 12th is the school-wide walkathon.  We are still working on the specific details, but generally we start walking after lunch.  The PTL is asking for volunteers to help with this event.  They need people to pass out snacks and to walk with the kids.  I think that fifth grade might be walking over the Portage Park, so it would be great to have some adults join us.  Please let me know, and I will forward your name to the PTL.

Words of thanks to Miss Allen and Mrs. Hoyos who provided the class with some delicious treats - which, by the way, are already gone.  Fifth graders can sure eat!  Thanks also to Val and Savvy who helped Mr. Green with his Chapel service on Wednesday, and to Chayse who helped with the slide presentation.  I love how willing fifth graders are to help.  Truly demonstrating what it means to have a servant heart.

 Blessings to you and yours this weekend!

 

Thursday
Sep202018

Fifth Grade News - September 21, 2018

Let's see . . . what all did we do this week . . . Book Fair Preview . . . Chapel and a Chapel Family Activity . . . MAP Testing . . . a sub while I was meeting with our Literacy Coach . . . a visit from one of the pastor candidates . . . and as many lessons as we could fit it.  And don't forget cross-country and boys' volleyball practices after school!  But this is one of the many things I love about St. John's.  We are able to provide so many different opportunities for our kids - academic and athletic challenges,  but more importantly opportunties for Christian fellowship and worship.  We are blessed!

We haven't quite finished the MAP testing yet, so some fifth graders will be working on them next week.  This won't be done as a whole class, but rather I will arrange times for the kids not done to finish.  The kids took them seriously and worked hard, but it's very hard for a fifth grader to sit quiet and focus for one and a half hours at a time.  As I've said before, this is just one tool to assess your child's progress.  Look for the reports to be sent home in a few weeks.

Also next Friday is the mid-point of the first quarter (already?!), and mid-quarter reports will be sent home the following Friday.  Overall the kids are doing well.  They really enjoy working on projects, but are kind of slow mostly because they want to do a great job.  I wish everyone had a chance to see them working - everyone has their favorite spot to work - windowsill - floor - in the hall - everyone is using a chromebook to do research - and there are some great discussions.  We still have a bit of work to do when it comes to turning in homework, and I appreciate your help on this.  Please check their planners and the e-mail I send home via Fast Direct.  If you and your child are confused about something, please don't hesitate to call me at home (847) 635-9156 - I'll be happy to help.  Also if you see a "0" for your child's grade on an assignment, that means that they either haven't turned it in, they turned it in but it needs to be redone, or they turned it in without a name.  We have a place for no-name papers, so have your child check there.

Next week we will be having a Math test on Topic 1 - Place Value.  We will review first, and the kids will make a study guide.  We are also getting close to having a test on the books of the Old Testament.  I'll notify you when it will be.  It's been fun to go through the books with them because they like hearing the stories and talking about them.  But that also means we don't always get as far as I've planned.  But you can't go wrong spending time talking about God's word!

Next week is a big sports one - a cross-country meet on Monday and a boys' volleyball game on Thursday.  Please check the Parent Bulletin for specific times. 

The kids had a chance to preview the Book Fair on Thursday.  Thanks to everyone who worked to make this possible for our kids, and to all of you who supported the fair.  Mr. Green has promised to dress up as a gnome if we reach our goal which the kids were quite excited about.    

Hope that you have opportunity this weekend to worship and enjoy time with your family!