Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - March 16, 2018

Some words of thanks before we get to what's been going on in fifth grade.  Thanks to everyone who sent treats to help us celebrate Pi Day on Wednesday.  We could have just measured plain old circles, but measuring pies and donuts and other circular food was much more fun.  Thanks to Victoria's mom who came in to help us with some editing on Thursday.  It's so helpful to have two people working with the kids and their writing.  

This week we talked about angels, the devil, and heaven and hell in Religion.  Makes for some interesting discussions.  I used the child version of Heaven is For Real as my devotion on Thursday which is a sweet book and one that really makes you think about what heaven is going to be for us.  In Math we are working hard on fractions.  There are so many different topics involved - equivalent, GCF, LCM, simplifying,  oh my!  So far the kids seem to be catching on.  We will have a test sometime next week.  In Language Arts Mr. Bouman, our literacy coach, taught a lesson about adjectives with special forms, specifically good, better, best.  We used a quote from Tim Duncan, famous NBA basketball player, to start the discussion.  The kids wrote a paragraph about what they are good, better, and best at.  I've attached a few to this newsletter because I think they did a great job.  In Reading we finished up Bridge to Terabithia, and the plan is to watch the movie and compare.  In Social Studies the kids started the Westward Movement project where they are broken into families and have to plan their journey west.  In Science we are talking about weather which ties in quite nicely to what Captain Amy, our Adopt-a-Pilot from Southwest Airlines, has been talking about.  Plus she has some fabulous pictures of clouds!  In PE we played ping pong on Tuesday and some silly St. Patrick's Day games on Wednesday.  We also did various St. Patrick's Day acitivites in other subjects, including writing a persuasive paragraph about why the leprechaun should give us his gold.  In Art we made a picture with Celtic knots.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.

I need to ask you a favor.  Originally the fifth graders were going to participate in the 5th through 8th grade Springim the week before Easter.  However, I've decided that instead of being part of the third floor activities, I'm going to do my special activity, Nurturing a Servant's Heart, just with fifth grade that week.  My plan is to have the kids do various service projects helping not only our school, but people in the community.  To make this happen, I need some drivers.  The bus is still being worked on, but Dr. Hendricks has given me permission to have parents drive.  For sure we are going to Harmony House, the nursing home we usually visit once a month, on Wednesday, and I have another idea for either Tuesday or Thursday morning.  If you would be able to help us, would you please let me know.  And thanks for being willing to provide our kids with these kinds of opportunities.

Speaking of opportunities, please check the Parent Bulletin this week for up-coming events, specifically the many church services that lead up to Easter.  Also there is an Open House on Sunday if you yourself would like to check it out or know of someone who is looking for a good Lutheran school for their children.  Also the PTL Auction is coming up in a few weeks.  This is always such a well-done event, and the support that PTL gives the teachers and kids is amazing.  Just stop by our classroom one day when everyone is busy either doing research or writing papers on their Chromebooks.  We are indeed blessed by this hard-working group of parents.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend.



Fifth Grade News - March 9, 2018

Did your fifth graders tell you about Captian Amy or Brutus?  We had these two visitors to our classroom this week - Brutus, the dog, as part of our Chapel on Wednesday with the Comfort Dogs and Captian Amy as part of Southwest Airlines Adopt-a-Pilot program.  While hearing about a tragedy on the news is always disheartening, hearing that the Comfort Dogs are travelling there to help always warms my heart.  This is a group of volunteers who train and care for these dogs so that they can provide comfort to people dealing with some type of a tragedy.  And the best part is they do it from a Christian perspecitive.  What a fun way to witness!  Captain Amy Williams flies for Southwest Airlines and has been coming to my class for the last few years to talk about all things planes and travel.  She goes way beyond what the program dictates and incorporates her own story of being a vet and deciding to fly airplanes instead.  She also has some amazing pictures of the many places she has travelled.  She also throws in a bunch of science and weather.  The best thing is she is Christian, so she even includes God in the mix.  I set this program up orginally not knowing who would come, but turns out Amy's parents worship at the same church I do, so it's been a fun connection.  

Did the kids mention that I wasn't here on Wednesday?  Well I hope they at least noticed!  Mr. Tom Clark was our sub, and he always does a fabulous job.  His taking over allowed me to attend VIP Day at my grandchildren's school which was an absolute treat.  

This week we started back up with our regular Religion lessons after finishing Sex Ed, started a fraction unit (always a challenge), began working with adjectives, continued reading Bridge to Terabithia, talked about Lewis and Clark and the Louisianna Purchase, and finshed up a chapter on water in Science.  In Gym we started a unit on ping pong, and in Art we did a project that made everyone look like they were flying.  The kids are working on the musical with Mrs. Jurica, Spanish words with Mr. Bryant, and coding with Mr. Friend.

Next week we will continue with the same topics, except in Social Studies we are going to be headed West!  We will also be doing a bunch of St. Patrick's Day activities. 

I hope you had a chance to check your child's mid-quarter report because there are some fifth graders that need a bit more direction at home.  Please check that your child is doing the work assigned because receiving a "0" on an assignment really affects their grade.  Ask them about the assignment I send in my e-mail - they should be able to show you each one.  

This is the weekend when our clocks spring ahead - bad news because we lose some sleep - good news because it means Spring is coming.  Blessings to you and yours this weekend!



Fifth Grade News - March 2, 2018

March 2?  Mid-point of the third quarter?  How did this happen?!  I can't tell you how fast this year has gone by - and I bet even the kids will tell you they feel that way.  The good news is that March means spring should be just around the corner, but the bad news is there is still so much to do.  

This week we finished up our sex ed unit which I think turned out somewhat different than the kids thought.  We spent a lot of time talking about the Christian and emotional perspective of this topic in addition to discussing the physical aspects.  This is such a fun unit for me to teach because the kids think they know "everything", but there is still so much that is new to them.  I hope that the kids have been talking to you about our lessons because it's important that they know your ideas and values about this topic.

In Math we finished up a short unit on geometry which was a relief after tackling all the multiplying and dividing of decimals.  Next we will be moving on to a unit that is typically one of the hardest for kids to grasp - fractions.  In Language Arts we finished up verbs and did a short lesson on prepositions before moving on to adjectives.  In Reading we continued with Bridge to Terabithia.  In Social Studies we talked about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and how our country expanded with the Louisianna Purchase.  In Science we talked about water, the water cycle, and clouds.  In Art we did an abstract painting and in PE we finished up our Winter Olympics unit.  For Computer class with me the kids worked on a power point presentation about the day they were born.  The kids also had Spanish, Music, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  Did you know that Mr. Friend is doing coding with the fifth graders?  It's in the form of games, but the ultimate goal is for them to become comfortable with coding.  

Next week we will be returning to our regular Religion lessons, starting fractions and adjectives, finishing up reading Bridge to Terabithia, moving West in Social Studies, and talking about weather in Science.  We are also going to have a special visitor starting next week and continuing through the month of March.  

The PTL auction is coming up soon, and we (you, me, and the kids) are responsible for two things - a basket containing yellow items and a project made by the kids.  The yellow items can be brought to school anytime, and the kids and I, with the help of a couple nice volunteers, will be working on the project.  The PTL does so much for our school and kids, and I'm glad that we have an opportunity to help them.

Please be sure to check Fast Direct to see your child's mid-quarter report.  I've also sent home some special notes for kids that need some help at home with their grades.  Third quarter is always a tricky one - the work gets harder, we all start getting a bit tired, and grades seem to suffer as a result.  I appreciate all your help in organizing and keeping your child on track.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your child's grades.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - February 23

The fifth graders finished their MAP tests recently, and I sent the results home on Thursday.  Please sign the envelope that I sent them in and return it to school, so I know that you saw them.  I also included an explanation about results from the MAP testing website that I hope will be helpful to you.  What should you look for?  Has your child made progress?  Is there a specific area where your child seems to have struggled?  What do I use these results for?  To see where the class as a whole stands on specific skills, and to look at each student to what they need additional work on and where they should be going next.  Having said all that, please remember that these tests are one tool to measure your child's progress.  While the testing is taken seriously by the kids and me, they are also not used to sitting still for an hour or reading for an hour at one time, so they often become bored or unfocused which can affect their scores.  To get a true sense of how your child is doing you need to look at these results along with their daily homework and report cards and even their attitude about school.  Please let me know if you have any questions about these tests or your child's progress in fifth grade.

Did you know the kids are participating in the St. John's Winter Olympics?  We started last week and so far have done the Torch Relay, Hockey, Figure Skating (quite a hoot), and Speedskating.  Each child made a personal flag and have been receiving gold, silver, or bronze medals based on their results.  It's always fun when the Olympics occur during the school year so we can do these types of activities.  

Beside the Olympics we continued with sex ed, finished up our decimals unit in Math, got done with verbs in Language Arts, continued with Bridge to Terabithia, learned about how our goverment was formed with the Constitutuion, researched oceans, and did a historical figure collage in Art.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  I wish you could see how hard the kids work during the day.  I love when everyone is spread out all over the room, working on their Chromebooks, and discussing various topics with their classmates.  The sharing of ideas and working in groups is such an important life skill, and I'm proud to say most of the fifth graders are pretty good at it.

I messed up last week when I said it was the mid-point of the third quarter.  It's actually today, and grades will be posted next Friday on Fast Direct.  The mid-quarter report is a chance to see how your child is doing, and if you are not satisfied with their grades, give them a chance to fix improve.  Please remember that any assignment that you feel they should have done better on can be corrected and returned for a higher grade - tests included.  This gives the kids a chance to not only improve their grades, but to review material that may be a struggle for them.  Thanks for your help with this.

God's blessings to you and yours this weekend!  


Fifth Grade News - February 15

Short week . . . short note.  Thanks to everyone who sent treats and Valentine's Day wishes for the kids.  They really had fun passing things out and eating a bunch of sweet treats.  We didn't have a party really, but we did do several Valentine's Day activities including making a catapult as a STEM activity in Math class to fling valentine's hearts into a valentine's cup.  We also wrote stories using those sugary sweet candy hearts.  It was fun to see how creative the kids could be.  

In Religion this week we continued our sex ed unit with a discussion about how we look and how much of our looks and personality comes from our family.  In Math we reviewed multiplying decimals and worked on dividing decimals.  We will be having a test next week - study guide to come home beforehand.  In Language Arts we are still working on verbs.  The kids don't seem to have a clear understanding of the different kinds of verbs, and I'm trying to decide (with Mr. Bouman, our literacy coach's help) if I should just move on.  Grammar is so important when writing, however, teaching these skills over and over doesn't really help.  In Reading we continued with Bridge to Terabithia - such a lovely story about friendship.  In Social Studies we talked and did research about the Northwest Territory.  It's funny to think that we live in what was originally considered the northwest.  In Science we talked about ecology and being responsible for the earth God has given us.  In Gym we are doing a Winter Olympics unit.  The hockey games on Wednesday looked the battles between Russia and the United States!  The kids had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  

We also finished up the last of the MAP tests on Monday, and the kids have really done quite well.  I was proud of their progress, especially in Math which so many of them proclaim not to like.  Please look for results to be coming home in a few weeks.

Next week we don't have school on Monday to honor President's Day.  The kids will be working on several projects to learn more about past presidents.  Believe it or not, next Friday is the mid-point of the third quarter.  You will be able to view your child's mid-quarter report the following Friday on Fast Direct.  Please be sure to check Fast Direct so that you can keep a handle on how your child is doing.  Many times the kids will ask me "How is my Math grade?" or "Do I have any misssing assignments?"  All this information is available everyday on Fast Direct.  

Tomorrow the teachers will be attending what's called an Urban Teachers' Conference at Concordia University.  This is an all-day meeting where we will continue to address issues in writing that we've been working on this year.  While these meetings are always valuable and a good chance for fellowship and sharing between Lutheran teachers, I'd much rather be back at school with my fifth graders!  

Blessings on your weekend!