As I told the fifth graders this week, they are "spitting" distance from sixth grade! I can't believe that we are in the fourth quarter of school already. Especially because there is still so much to do. I hope you had a chance to check your child's third quarter report card this weekend. They were released after school on Friday.
Overall fifth grade is doing very well. Two areas of possible concern - Math has become harder for a lot of them due to fractions. I have already taught the basics of fractions two times, and after giving a test last Friday, realized that some of the fifth grader math students are still not getting it. My plan for next week is to move along those who get it, and review again for those who are still struggling. It's funny - do fractions seem that hard to you? My twenty-plus years of experience have proven to me that it really is a very hard concept for kids to grasp. So we will keep chugging along until I feel confident that everyone understands.
The other area of concern is Memory. I only give the fifth graders the Memory verse for the week. On Monday I use that verse for my devotion, so we talk about it and what it means. I have the kids write their Memory Friday morning. In the past few weeks probably a third of the kids don't really know the verses. This is a problem for two reasons - their Memory grade has suffered, but more importantly, they don't have these verses in their heart and mind. How many times have you thought of a particular verse when you were struggling with something? I know I do! I feel that this is the most important reason to memorize Bible verses - to have them available to you when you need help or you have an opportunity to witness to someone. So if your child's Memory grade is not satisfactory, please help them to realize the importance of working on it.
This week we worked on Religion lessons about Jesus and what He's done for us, even though we have done nothing to deserve it. In Math we took a little side trip because the third and fourth graders weren't in Math due to play practice. So I combined Math and Language Arts, and we did a study of fairy tales. In Math each day we did a STEM activity, and then used various math skills to solve word problems. One day the kids made a slide for Rapuzel to escape with. Another day they made a house of straw, sticks, or bricks in the style of The Three Little Pigs. On Wednesday it was replicating Cinderella's castle with pattern blocks, and on Thursday they made a better bed for Baby Bear. On Friday we did work with maps - which would have helped Hansel and Gretel. In Language Arts we talked about the elements of a fairy tale, compared the same fairy tale, but from different countries, and then the kids wrote their own fractured fairy tale. All great fun! In Reading the kids chose either a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book which they are reading in class and using for their next book project. The plan is for all this work to be done in school. It will be due before Easter break. I have such fond memories of Nancy Drew from my childhood, and I think they kids are enjoying them as well. In Social Studies we are expanding west - talking about the Louisianna Purchase, Lewis and Clark, and the War of 1812. In Science we worked on weather - extreme weather, forecasting, and what's the difference between climate and weather. In Computer the kids worked with Google Docs - following specific instructions to be able to e-mail me their work. Pretty easy for some - harder for others. It's funny - everyone can play crazy games on the computer, but typing a letter and e-mailing it was much harder. A skill to be worked on. In PE we are doing ping pong which some of the kids have gotten quite good at. Next week we will have the "Sweet 15" ping pong competition. The kids also had Art with Ms. Laska, Music with Mrs. Jurica, and Spanish with Mr. Bryant.
We had a chance to check out the sheep at the dress rehearsal for the musical on Friday afternoon. Kudos to the kids, teachers, and Mrs. Jurica for a job well done. I especially liked how excited the kids seem to be to be a part of this producition.
Next week we will be doing a new unit in Language Arts in connection with our visit to the zoo on April 4th. We will be travelling West in Social Studies and continuing to try to conquer those fractions.
I hope that many of you have the opportunity to attend the PTL Auction on the 1st. The PTL and many others have been working hard to make this event a success, and as a teacher, I'm so grateful for all they do for the kids and me. Enjoy this night!
Blessings to you and yours this weekend!