Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - December 14th

How do you know it's Christmas in a fifth grade classroom?  Well there's Christmas music playing, kids happily working, and plenty of glitter everywhere - and I love it!  Well maybe not the glitter, but this is truly such a fun time to be a teacher, especially a teacher in a Lutheran school where we get to talk about the true meaning of Christmas.  All of our devotions lately have centered around the story of Jesus' birth and what it means for us.  We've talked about making room in our hearts for Jesus, about the best gifts not being the ones under the tree, and how Jesus came in such a gentle way - a tiny baby - but One who was going to do amazing things. 

There is so much going on here at school that even the kids can't believe how fast the days have been going by.  Thanks to the ladies of Dorcas who held a wonderful Christmas bazaar for our kids on Friday.  Not only did the fifth graders get to shop, but we had a chance to help our Pre-K buddies shop as well.  I can only imagine how much work goes into such an event, but I do know that it's greatly enjoyed by the kids.

Next week is packed with special events, including the ever-popular dress-up theme days.  Please check the parent bulletin for specifics.  Fifth grade is going to Harmony on Wednesday, and I'm still planning on taking them carolling, probably on Thursday, if we can get someone to join us.  We have Chapel next week on Friday, and after the service, we will have an all-school singalong.  Please plan on joining us if you can; it's always a lot of fun.  There is only a half day of school on Friday, so after Chapel and the singalong, we'll do some Christmas activities and have some treats.  While we don't have an organized party, if you would like to send a treat for your child to share with the class, that would be great.  The only allergies we have are to red food dye. 

The kids came up with the idea of a fifth grade Secret Angel.  They talked about buying each other presents, but I thought it would be more meaningful if they had to come up with things that they didn't buy.  So we talked about doing kind things, writing kind notes, maybe even making something for your person.  The fifth graders may need some suggestions from you, so thanks for the help.

    Amidst all this we are still working inlcuding starting the lessons about the ten commandments in Religion, finishing up and taking a test on long division, working with those pesky verbs that we can't quite understand in Language Arts (which included a special lesson from our literacy coach, Mr. Bowman), finishing our current novel A Season of Gifts in Reading, and doing a research project on both the thirteen colonies and an ecosystem for Social Studies and Science.  In Gym we played some colonial-times games which were great fun.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, Computer, and Library.  No wonder the days go by so quickly!

We also had our last Junior Achievement class with Ms. Baker.  In case the kids haven't shared this with you, Ms. Baker is a retired ATT employee, and she volunteers to teach the Junior Achiement program.  She's shared with the kids the different jobs that they might have in the future,  talked about using your God-given gifts in those jobs, talked about being smart about money, and just shared a bunch of practical life lessons with the kids.  I was glad that the kids were able to participate in this program and was grateful to Ms. Baker for sharing her time and talents.  

Next Thursday the December Christmas book report project is due.  The fifth graders were required to read a Christmas-themed book and make a Christmas tree with ornaments that listed things like setting, plot, and characters.  Thanks for you help in getting this project done.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - December 7th

Another week for a bunch of thanks . . . 

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Christmas service on Wednesday night.  The kids (and especially the fifth graders) did a fabulous job of sharing the real message of Christmas - the birth of our Savior Jesus.  I love the enthusiasm that the fifth graders have for everything (well, maybe not long division), and I was very proud of them that night.  Huge thanks to Mrs. Jurica for all her hard work putting the service together and sharing her musical talents and knowledge with the kids.  It was a great way to start off the Christmas season. 

Thanks to Mr. Streif for organizing our trip to see Savvy in The Nutcracker.  This is an experience that I could not have provided for the fifth graders without his help.  Not only did we get to see the performance, but getting to see Savvy use her God-given gift as a dancer was extra special.  Yet another great way to celebrate the Christmas season. 

Thanks to everyone for their kind birthday wishes and gifts.  And thanks especially to Mrs. Merced, Mrs. Radcliff, and Mrs. Wagner for the special treats.  When people ask me how old I am (64), I gladly tell them because being this age means I have a long happy marriage, three amazing grandchildren, and a job that I still love.  I am blessed indeed!

Today the mid-quarter reports for the second quarter will be released on Fast Direct.  Everyone is doing fine, but homework can still be a problem for some.  I worked a bit this week with the kids who had missing assignments, but they really have to work on this, especially in preparation for the third floor when they will have multiple teachers and assignments.  How can you help?  Please check the kids' planners as well as the homework e-mail I send everyday.  Again, only on rare occassions do I let the kids turn things in early, so if they tell you they already turned it in, maybe question them about that.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your child's grades.

Next week is the Christmas Bazzar on Friday.  This is always a fun event for the kids.  If you would like your child to participate, please just send money with them to school on Friday.  Please know that we all go check things out, so even if your child isn't going to be shopping, we will all be downstairs browsing at the fun things the ladies have made.  

We are going to Harmony House for our Christmas visit on Wednesday, December 19th.  I already have a few drivers, but with twenty kids, we need a few more.  Please let me know if you would like to join us. 

Also that week, we will be having Chapel on Friday instead of Wednesday to kick off our Christmas break.  And there is only a half day of school on Friday.  The whole school will be having Christmas dress-up days, so please check the Parent Bulletin this week for details. 

We are getting close to having a Math test on division, so please look for a study guide to come home either the end of next week or beginning of the following week.  Also some kids still need some help with memorizing their multiplication facts.  As adults it seems like such a silly thing, but it's very difficult to divide if you don't have those multiplication facts fully memorized.  Anything you could do at home to help would be appreciated. 

Our fifth and sixth grade girls' basketball team did an awesome job last weekend winning the conference tournament, and this weekend is the boys' turn.  They play on Thursday afternoon, and the rest of the schedule will be determined by the outcome of their first game.  Can't say thank you enough to Mr. Carey, Mr. Duran, and Mrs. Franklin for all they've done for the kids!   

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - November 30th

Here's one of the many things I love about kids . . . while I woke up Monday morning grumbling that I had to clean six or so inches of snow off my car . . . and I had to drive through more snow to get to school . . . and it was really cold . . . the kids were thrilled to put on coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and snow boats and go out and play on the snow hill!  So that snow that was causing me so much trouble was sheer joy for them as they played.  It's a good reminder to me to be grateful in all situations, even cold and inconvenient ones!  I do take the fifth graders outside all winter, unless it's raining or below zero, so please make sure your child is prepared.

Can you believe that today is the mid-point of the second quarter?  Some kids are still having trouble turning in their homework, and honestly, I don't get it.  We fill out planners every afternoon, and I send an e-mail home everyday, so there shouldn't be any confusion.  Usually I scramble to help everyone make up their missing assignments, but I do need your help as well.  Please check Fast Direct, and if your child has a "0" for a grade that means the assignment wasn't turned in.  I'll be happy to help them find what they are missing, but they also need to be responsible for their work, so your help is greatly appreciated

Next week is a great start to the Advent and Christmas season.  The third through eighth graders will be sharing their Christmas Service with everyone on Wednesday at 7:00.  Big thanks to Mrs. Jurica for all her hard work preparing the kids to share the Christmas message.  The kids will be doing this same service Wednesday morning for Chapel, so you are most welcome to join us then. 

Also next week we will be going to see our very own Savvy in the Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre.  The second, fourth, and fifth graders will be taking a bus downtown, and I am thrilled that we are able to provide this experience for our kids.  Not only do we get to see an amazing performance, but we get to watch Savvy use her God-given abilities to dance.  We will be leaving at 9:00 and will be back around 1:00.  There still are a few tickets for chaperones to join us, so please let me know if you are able to come.  I do need at least one other adult to help me shepherd the kids safely. 

This week in class we started our lessons in the Religion book.  While the kids don't use the workbook, I do follow those lessons using a devotion and the Bible.  In Math we started long division (YIKES!).  We are struggling a bit, but I've already seen progress, so we will just keep chugging along.  In Language Arts we started working with verbs, and the kids wrote their next essay in our "Let Me Tell You Sometihing" format.  In Reading we started a sweet book called A Season of Gifts.  It has a great message at the end, but also a crazy old women who provides a lot of laughs during the story.  Ask the kids to tell you about the boy in the privvy!  In Social Studies we started the next chapter about colonies and in Science we finished up plants and started working on ecosystems.  In Arts we did a three-panel picture in the style of Van Eych.  In PE we finished up basketball, and will start a new unit next week.  The kids also had Spanish, Music, Computer with Mr. Friend, Junior Achievement, as well as several Christmas Service practices.  All in all, a busy week!

The basketball teams are down to their last few games and the conference tournament.  It's been so much fun to watch them play, and you can certainly see improvement from the beginning of the season.  But what I enjoy most is watching how well they play together, and how encouraging they are to one another.  When all is said and done, they aren't going to remember how many wins and losses they had, but the fun they had being part of a team and playing with their friends.  Big thanks to Mr. Carey, Mr. Duran, and Mrs. Franklin for sharing their time and knowledge of basketball with our kids!  

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - November 16

On this week before Thanksgiving, fifth grade and I have many people to say thank you to. 

Thank you to Mrs. Hoyos who came in on Monday to talk to us about her twenty-year experience in the Army.  This really made Veterans Day real for the kids - hearing about all the sacrifices she and her family had to make.  She also shared with us a video about why it's disrespectful to make Veterans Day about sales rather than a day to honor those men and women who risked, and in many cases, gave their lives for our country.  Thanks to her also for the necklaces, pins, and treats.

Thank you to Mrs. Aponte, Mrs. Carey, Mrs. Castro, Mrs. Clemente, Mr. Friend, and Mrs. Kelly who drove and joined us for our visit on Wednesday to Harmony House.  There were twenty-three residents who came to hear the kids sing, dance, play instruments, share Abraham Lincoln facts, do a Three Stooges comedy act, perform a Thanksgiving Day skit and, of course, play bingo.  We also talked about all the reasons we should be grateful to God, and the kids and residents colored a picture and listed the things they were thankful for.  It really warmed my heart to see older folks and ten-year olds sitting down and coloring together!  I am so grateful that I am able to share this experience with the fifth graders and for all the parent support to make these visits happen.  We will be going back to Harmony House on December 19th for our Christmas visit.

Thank you to Mrs. Radcliff and Mrs. Wagner for joining us on our trip to Concordia on Thursday.  Thanks also to Mrs. Jurica for organizing this trip.  Being a graduate of Concordia, it's always fun to go back there.  It was also a great way to expose the kids to an award-winning symphony that was both fun and educational.  Again I'm so grateful that St. John's allows our kids to do these kinds of things.

Thanks to Mr. Carey, Mr. Duran, and Mrs. Franklin for their work with the basketball teams, and to Mrs. Mackie and all the many volunteers who make our tournaments possible.  I know the kids are having fun, and it's great to see so many fifth graders participating.  Go Eagles!

Besides all that, we had two other special events this week - Junior Achievement with Ms. Baker on Thursday and the Agriculture in the Classroom program on Friday.  Both of these are important topics that aren't covered in our regular day, so I'm glad that we are able to participate.  Ms. Baker focuses on money, careers, and planning for your future, and the agriculture program talks about the importance of farming in our state and country.  The kids and I also talk about the Christian aspect of both of these topics - What is God's plan for your life?  What talents has He given you, and how can you use them?  How can we be good stewards of the things, like food, that God has provided for us?  

In between all that we started our Religion lessons from the Religion book.  We don't fill in the blanks in the workbook, but I do follow the lessons - sharing devotions with the kids and talking about the bible stories connected to the lesson.  In Math we started working on division - with mixed results.  Because many kids still aren't totally solid on the multiplication facts, they are having a hard time seeing the connection to division - but we're working on it.  In Language Arts we started an expository essay about being thankful.  In Reading we still working on the independent novels the kids picked out.  In Social Studies we finished up Native Americans and started a short research project on explorers.  In Science we are talking about plants - including a big discussion about photosynthesis.  In PE we finished up our nutrition unit, with a little basketball thrown in.  The kids also had Music and Spanish, and since they missed Computer with Mr. Friend this week, they will have an extra class with him next week.

Next week should be fun with only two days of school.  We are going to be doing a bunch of Thanksgiving-related activities, and there is a basketball game on Tuesday after school.  Look for a special Thanksgiving edition of the Fifth Grade News to come home next week.

Blessings to you and your family this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - November 9th

What a week we had in fifth grade!  On Tuesday we had a visit from Caleb, Katherine's brother, who not only gave Phoenix a reptile pedicure, but answered a bunch of animal questions.  He did a great job of answering all those questions, and Katherine was so excited to have him here at school.  Blessings to Caleb as he continues his studies about God's creatures!  Also on Tuesday we made blankets for the families that Elaynee and her family support in Guatemala.  Thanks to help from Mrs. Castro and Mrs. Radcliff we were able to make ten fleece blankets.  This was a fun project, but also a great message about being thankful for what we have and having compassion for those who don't have even their basic needs met.  I was able to use a Thrivent Action Grant to fund this project, and since I didn't use up all $250.00, we will be making some more blankets in the future.  On Wednesday the fifth graders led Chapel to kick off our food pantry food drive.  I was so proud of them, not only for the way they read, sang, played instruments, and prayed, but for their willingness to do all these things.  Thanks to everyone who joined us Wednesday morning.  On Thursday we had our first Junior Achievement class.  This is one of those opportunities that I'm so glad I can provide for the kids because money and thinking about their future careers and plans is not something we normally cover in our regular subjects.  We will be having these classes for the next several Thursday.  Be sure to ask your child what they talked about!  On Friday we had one of our monthly Chapel Family Activities - this time making Christmas cards for the Voice of Care - an organization that supports people with disabilities and who led Chapel in October.  

In between all this we managed to take a test on both multiplication and nouns - continued reading our independent novels - started a new Native Americans research project - wrote an essay about our religion - started a unit on plants - learned about nutrition in Gym, and had Music, Library, Spanish, and Computer classes.  The boys and girls' basketball teams also had their first games on Tuesday which were a whole lot of fun to watch.  No wonder the days go by so fast . . . and I'm so tired by the end of the week.

Next week is going to be equally busy, and fun.  On Monday we are going to have a special visitor in honor of Veteran's Day, and there are basketball games after school.  On Tuesday there are also games after school.  Wednesday we are going to Harmony House for our Thanksgiving visit, and at this time we only have one driver.  Please let me know if you would be able to drive and join us for this visit.  On Thursday we are going to hear the Wind Symphony at Concordia University, have another Junior Achievement class, and the St. John's 5/6th Basketball Tournament begins.  On Friday we are going to be having a special visitor who is going to share information about a topic that goes along with our nutrition unit in Gym.  The basketball tournament also continues Friday and Saturday.  The next week, believe it or not, is Thanksgiving, so please remember that not only do we have Thursday and Friday off of school, but Wednesday as well.  Before you know it, it will be Christmas!

Thanks to everyone for attending the parent-teacher conferences last week.  It was nice to have time to sit down to take about the progress your child has already made and to work on ways to make the next three quarters of fifth grade a success.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!