Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - Easter Edition

I asked the fifth graders to tell me what Easter meant to them, and here are their answers:


Easter is . . . 

celebrating that Jesus has risen,

a time with family and celebrating Jesus,

all about Jesus dying on the cross,

a celebration of Jesus rising,

a time of good candy,

a time to celebrate when Jesus was risen,

a celebration for God's resurrecting from the dead,

a time to give thanks that Jesus has risen,

a time where we celebrate Jesus dying for us and rising again,

a time that God sent Jesus to come save us, and we should give thanks to that because He saved us from sin, death, and worries,

Jesus dying on the cross and saving us from our sins,

a time when Jesus saved our sins,

a time when we celebrate when Jesus died on the cross, saved our sins, and rose,

a time to celebrate Jesus washing away our sins and dying on the cross,

a time to remember what Jesus did for us,

a rememberance of what Jesus did for us, and that we don't have to use lambs any more for a sacrifice,

and a time to celebrate when God rose for us and died on the cross.


I love that our kids, while enjoying Easter candy and Easter break and time with their families, truly understand what Easter is about - remembering everything that Jesus did on our behalf.  And we are blessed to be in a school where we can freely talk about Jesus and give thanks to him everyday in prayer.  

Blessings to you and your family as we celebrate Easter and enjoy a week away from school!



Fifth Grade News - April 13, 2019

Thanks to those of you who joined us for Chapel on Wednesday.  Of all days to be home sick, but everyone told me that the kids did a fabulous job leading the service and sharing the message of David and Goliath.  In fact several teachers teased me that they didn't even need me - which I took as a good thing.  Thanks to Mr. Green who filled in for me during Chapel and to Miss Wheeler who hung out with the fifth grader the rest of the day.  We obviously still have some germs floating around our room, so keep a look out for headaches, sore throats, coughs, and fatigue.

Speaking of fatigue, is your child getting enough sleep?  I can't tell you how many times I hear "I'm so tired" and that's the ten and eleven year olds, not the sixty-four year old in the room!  I don't know what time the kids are going to bed, but apparently, a bunch of them aren't getting enough sleep, and it affects their performance at school. 

This week we started the Religion lessons for Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday.  We figured that the 2019 version would be people waving "He's #1" foam-rubber fingers rather than palm branches, but the same feeling of excitement would be there.  In Math we finished the first unit of fractions and took a test on Friday.  In Language Arts we started a poetry unit, writing original poems.  In Reading we continued with our novel, and in Social Studies we were still travelling down the Oregon Trail - complete with homemade wagons.  In Science we started a unit on energy thanks to free materials from Com Ed/Peoples Gas.  Look for a box of freebies to be coming home.  In PE we finished up our ping pong unit, and in Art we made huge flowers in the Pop Art style of Andy Warhol.

Next week we will be doing several Easter-related activities, including special Spelling - so no test next week.  There will, however, be Memory which I'll send on Saturday.  We have a special guest coming on Tuesday, and only a half day of school on Thursday.  And then we have Easter break.  Even though we have gotten a brief taste of Spring-like weather, it's hard to believe that it's already Easter and that when we return to school, it's going to be May already!

Thanks to several familes for their generosity this week - to the Streiff Family for the donation of treats for our classroom store, and to the Boyke Family for the delicious donuts they bring every Thursday!  We are incredibly blessed and spoiled!

Thanks also to everyone involved in the auction last weekend.  I was pleased to see both our table and classroom basket sold for a generous amount.  I know that it takes many people to make this type of event a success, and I am grateful for everyone's efforts on our behalf.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend.


Fifth Grade News - April 5th

So what is Project- Based Learning, and why did we spend so much time on it this week?  Do you remember when you were a kid and your family would give you a box of stuff and you would make something out of it?  Well, it's kind of like that.  We presented the fifth through eighth graders with a situation, and watched them work as a team all week to "make" something.  In our case the challenge was to come up with a food truck.  The idea was to do research, come up with a menu and slogan, record a commercial, make a food truck for their display, and then actually make the food to share with everyone at the presentation Friday night.  This is certainly a different way of learning, but a much more realistic way of doing things.  The fifth graders struggled a bit working with the older kids because they were used to work together with only fifth graders.  Well the reality is that you have to learn to work with all kinds of people, and that cooperation and compromise is what makes for a successful team.  We are looking forward to sharing these projects with you Friday night, and want to express our appreciation to Thrivent Financial for their support through the two action grants Mrs. Franklin and I were able to get from them. 

Big thanks also this week to Chayse's Grandpa, Grandma, and Aunt who visited us last Friday to share their life as farmers.  Grandpa spoke about spending his whole life farming the land, and the hard work that it involved for him and his family.  But Mrs. Radcliff also shared the fun she had growing up on a farm, and Chayse told a few stories about the fun things they are able to do when they visit.  I loved Grandpa's story, and it was a great reminder to us about being good stewards of what God has given us - especially when it comes to food which so many of us take for granted.  

Thanks also this week to Captain Amy - our Adopt-a-Pilot from Southwest Airlines.  She has gone well beyond what the typical program covers, including sharing so many fabulous pictures of her travels and many stories.  We had our last visit with her on Thursday when the kids made and flew paper airplanes,  I love that this program covers so many subjects, and so many things that I wouldn't have been able to share with the kids.

We did do some work this week, including Religion lessons and the first part of fractions.  I shake my head every year as to why fractions are so hard for kids.  And every year I try to come up with yet another trick to make them easier.  So far they are doing okay, but I'm finding that part of the problem is that they don't understand why things work like they do.  But we are making progress, and we will have a test soon.  The kids also worked a bit on the mystery novel they are reading, and I shared the requirements for their book project.  It is due Thursday, April 18th, and the kids will be doing it in school, unless they get really far behind.  We also started our next unit in Social Studies - Traveling West.  The kids are broken into families, and they will be making up biographies, wagons, suitcases, and maps for their journey. 

Next week we are going to Harmony House on Wednesday after Chapel.  I have two parents who have already volunteered to drive, but we do need a few more, if you are able to help.  Also the fifth graders will be leading Chapel on Wednesday.  We would love to have you join us.

I hope that many of you will get a chance to enjoy the PTL Auction Saturday night.  The teachers are so grateful for all the PTL does to enrich the learning here at St. John's.  And thanks to all of you for your support of these events!

You will be able to check your child's third quarter report card today on Fast Direct.   Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  The fifth graders are doing well, and it really is a pleasure to spend my days with them.  It's going to be hard to give them up!

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - March 29th

I can't believe another week and another month have flown by . . .  today is the end of the third quarter, and report cards will be released next Friday.  I'm hoping that we also have the results of the latest MAP Tests.  There are no formal parent-teacher conferences scheduled, but I would be happy to meet with you if you have any questions or concerns.  

This week we had two unusual days - we actually got everything done that I had in my lesson plans!  The kids were working hard on our Religion lessons about Jesus, Geometry concepts and test, adjectives, a new mystery novel, the events leading up to the Westward Movement, and facts about how Earth is structured.  The kids are also working on a special Problem-Based Learning project.  They are grouped together based on the problem that they wanted to solve for the Writing for the Future contest.  Now they are trying to figure out what they can do about that problem.  This has lead to some great questions and discussions, and also some great learning.  We also did a special Art project that's going to be our gift to our Adopt-a-Pilot.  In Gym we held our fifth grade ping-pong tournament (winner still to be determined), and the kdis also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend. 

On Wednesday my daughter came in to work on our craft project for the auction which is coming up on Saturday, April 6th.  This is always a successful event, and a blessing to all our kids because it allows the PTL to provide things for them that we couldn't otherwise afford - like the Chromebooks that we use every single day!  Thanks in advance to everyone who planned this event and to those who are supporting it by attending. 

Next week is going to be a fun one because the fifth through eighth graders will be participating in a special Project-Based Learning project.  I don't want to say too much, but it's going to be a great experience for the kids - working together with different kids for a common goal.  Please plan on joining us on Friday night to see the culmination of this project.

Yeah - the flu restrictions have been lifted at Harmony House so we will be visiting on Wednesday, April 10th which is also the day that fifth grade will be leading Chapel.  We would love to have everyone join us for Chapel, and we will need drivers to get us to Harmony.  Please let me know if you are willing to help.

Thanks to Chayse's Family who came in on Friday to share their experiences being farmers.  I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate being part of a school where people are so willing to enrich the learning of our kids.  

And I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate the support that the St. John's Family has for one another.  Due to the incredible turnout at Chipolte on Tuesday, we will be giving a check to the Andreson Family in the amount of $648.86.  Well done good and faithful servants!

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - March 22nd

Is it really possible that next week is the last week of March and also the end of the third quarter???  I can honestly tell you that this year has flown by - mostly because it has been such a pleasure to have this group of fifth graders to teach and spend my days with.  They really have done a great job in all aspects of fifth grade, and I'm already thinking about how hard it's going to be to give them up.  

This week was a short one with Monday off, but we still got things done including a bunch of Works-In-Progress projects.  I say all the time these kids do great work, but they work awfully slow, so we often end up with a bunch of unfinished work.  So I put a big list of projects on the board, and everyone happily worked to get them all done.  This week those projects included thank-you notes, descriptive paragraphs, branches of government mobiles, extreme weather powerpoints, and more.  In addition we had our regular Religion lessons, started a new unit on geometry, watched the Bridge to Terabithia movie and compared it to the book, had another visit from Pilot Amy, and started a PE unit on ping pong.  

Next week we will continue with our Religion lessons and geometry, start a new novel, writing project, and unit in Social Studies.  I'll also be giving the kids information about their next book report project which will be due before Easter.  

Please be sure to look for information in the Parent Bulletin about the Chipolte fundraiser next Tuesday to help the Andreson Family.  This is at the Chipolte at Six Corners, and you need to show the flyer in some form for us to receive credit for your purchase.  

Also check out information about the up-coming PTL auction.  The kids and I will be working on a special fifth grade project next week to be auctioned off that night.  This is a fabulous way to raise money for our kids and school while having the opportunity for some St. John's family fellowship.

Thanks again to Mrs. Wagner and Aiden's Grandpa who came in on Tuesday to share their experience being missionaries in Africa.  This was eye opening for several reasons - how they felt the call of God to go to Africa, the sacrfices they had to make during their ten years there, but also the joy it brought them bringing the word of God to people who had never heard the good news.  

The fifth graders and I love having visitors who are willing to share their experiences with us.  I have several more visits planned, but if you or someone you know would like to come in and share their story with us, we would love to have them.  Just them me know when they would like to come.

Next Friday is the end of the third quarter, so I've been working to get everyone to turn in missing assignments.  Please be sure to check your child's grades on Fast Direct to make sure that they have turned everything in.  Just to clarify, if you see a "0" listed for a grade, that means the work was not turned in.  If something is turned in and done poorly, I still give a grade of "50".  These are assignments that should be corrected and returned to school so I can adjust their grade.  Thanks for all your help with this.

Blessings to you and your family this first weekend of Spring!