Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - June 1, 2018

Words of thanks this week to Victoria's mom and Jack's mom for helping with our field trip to the Filament Theatre on Wednesday.  Jack's mom has a connection there that allowed us to have a private showing of the current production - The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles.  This was an adaptation of a popular picture book and was very interactive, which the kids loved.  Victoria's mom, as she has many times this year, joined us on the walk so that the kids would be safe.  Please ask your fifth grader about this play because I thought it had a wonderful message.

Do you have things at home that you think belong to school - textbooks especially?  Would you please return them so I can make sure I have enough for next year.  Also we will be having a used school supply collection, so if you have extras at home that you are looking to get rid of, please send them to school.

This Sunday is the church and school picnic that includes not only worship and food, but plenty of fun events as well.  Please check the Parent Bulletin for details.  Also the fifth graders and I, weather permitting, will be going to Wilson Park on Tuesday afternoon for an end of the year picnic.  Please make sure that your child has a sack lunch and drink, and they may bring any equipment they would like to use at the park.  Also I need several chaperones so that we can keep everyone safe at the park.  Please let me know if you would be able to join us.  

Thanks to Addie, Emily, Jack, Jessa, Marianna, and Stefan who helped with Chapel this week.  I love that I can ask fifth graders to do things at church, and they do not hesitate to say "sure".  Speaking of Chapel, please plan on joining us next Wednesday for our final Chapel of the year.  After the service the students will be receiving the various awards they earned this year.  Chapel starts at 9:00, and you are welcome to stay with us until the morning is over.

Anyone looking for a house guest for the summer?  Phoenix, our bearded dragon, needs a home for the summer.  He really is pretty low maintenance - feed him worms every couple of days and give him a bath once a week.  His cage is pretty cumbersome though, and he does need to have a heating lamp on during the day.  If you are willing to host Phoenix for any part of the summer, please let me know.

Report cards will be released next Friday.  Overall the fifth graders have done well this year, and I know that they will do great when they go up to the third floor.  I will be sending home a final Fifth Grade News next week with a wrap-up of our year.  Also you should be receiving the results soon from the Spring MAP tests.

Blessings to you and yours this last weekend before the start of our summer vacation!


Fifth Grade News - May 25th

Is it really Memorial Day weekend already?!  The kids have been asking how many days of school left, and I always say I don't know, because, honestly, the end of school always makes me sad.  We spend a lot of time together, and even though I'm still going to see them during the day, it won't be the same.  So I'm not counting even though they are.  I had the class write persuasive speeches about why they shouldn't have any more homework, and they did a good job.  Their biggest reason was how it was going to make my life easier because I won't have to grade so many papers, and I won't have to nag people to turn their homework in.  All true, but I also cautioned them that if your grade is lower than you'd like having homework gives you a chance to improve it.  I told them they'd have to wait until next week to see if they convinced me.

Speaking of homework, many fifth graders have stopped doing it!  Please check my e-mail each day and ask your child about homework because there are many unsatisfactory grades, not because of ability, but because they have "0's" as work wasn't turned in.  I know I sound like a nag, but the fifth graders have done so well this school year, and I want them to finish strong.

Wasn't the Spring Concert fun on Thursday night?  Mrs. Jurica did a great job organizing the whole school, and I thought the reading theme was a great one.  I was proud of the fifth grade readers, and Emily who was our narrator, and Stefan who was our monster.  Well done!

This week besides concert practices we had a visit from a Chicago police officer.  While it was important for him to come and talk to our kids about internet safety, how sad that this type of things has become necessary for ten and eleven year old kids.  My age is probably showing, but my mom sure didn't have to worry about who I was talking to on the internet because I was outside playing with the neighborhood kids.  Thanks to Dr. Hendricks who organized this visit with his police officer friend.

Next week is a short one, and we have a field trip on Wednesday.  I've attached a permission slip giving you the particulars.  Thanks to Mrs. Baldwin who helped us get this trip organized.  It's going to be a nice way to celebrate the second to last week of school.  Also next week, on Sunday, June 3rd, is the Church and School Picnic.  Please check the Parent Bulletin for the details.  Weather permitting, it's always a fun event.

Blessings to you and your family this Memorial Day weekend.  Enjoy time together, the beautiful summer-like weather, and the knowledge that we are able to celebrate because of the many man and women who are willing to sacrifice themselves for our freedom, especially the freedom to worship our God!


Fifth Grade News - May 18, 2018

In my twenty-five years of teaching, I have seen many fads - yoyo's, Beanie Babies, Pokemon cards, even wearing your britches way too low.  So I'm not surprised by the impact of the current fad - Fortnite.  The majority of the boys in my class are very involved in this game.  The good news is that they really seem to be having fun with it, and it definitely has become a bonding experience for them.  The bad news is it has become a major distractions because that's all they want to talk or think about.  Any chance they get they are gathered at someone's desk apparently discussing the finer points of the game or who did what last night.  I asked the kids to write an original fairy tale, and several boys wrote their "fairy tale" about playing Fortnite.  I did a little bit of research about this game, and honestly there seems to be both pros and cons about who should be playing this game and how much they should be playing.  I've attached a USA Today article that you might find interesting.  Is it driving me crazy?  No more than the usual struggle to keep everyone working hard the last few weeks of school.  Certainly the kids are not playing during the school day as mentioned in the article.  Of course, you are the one to make the decisions for your child as to what you think is appropriate for them.  Hope you find this article interesting.

Did the kids tell you that they used an on-line program to write their original fairy tales?  We would have to pay to print out everyone's stories, but the kids can easily show you their work by going to  I have to say many of them did a really great job of choosing illustrations to go along with their stories, and also to come up with the own idea for a fairy tale.  Be sure to check them out.

Thanks to those of you who checked your child's mid-quarter report last week.  Please be sure to discuss these grades with your child, especially ones that may need some improvement.  Checking for missing assignments is especially important because receiving a "0" really affects their grades.  Despite what the kids might think, there is still homework even though we are in the last few weeks of school.  So please be sure to check my daily e-mail and your child's planners.

Next week we have two special events - a celebratory lunch to thank Dr. Hendricks and the Spring Concert.  Please see the e-mail from Mrs. Franklin that I've put at the end of this note.  We are organizing a gift for him that you might want to be involved in.  The Spring Concert is Thursday evening at 7:00, and Mrs. Jurica is asking that the kids be here at 6:40.  It should be a fun evening.

The kids took three out of four MAP tests this week - we will be doing Science next Monday.  Overall everyone did well and has shown improvement.  You should be receiving the results of these test in the next few weeks.  

This week we talked about the Holy Spirit, ratios and percents, ocean animals, the Civil War, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the periodic table.  We played mat ball in PE and the kids had Spanish and Music.  We didn't have Computer with Mr. Friend due to MAP testing, and we didn't have Art since we had a half day on Friday.  Next week we are going to be talking about Confirmation, probability, persuasive essays, World War II, and mixtures and solutions.  Still so much to learn, and so little time!

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!



Fifth Grade News - May 4th

I am writing this Thursday after school, and it looks like, at least at this time, that we won't be able to go to the nature center on Monday.  I know it's a lot to ask to have people drive us for these trips, so I am hoping for enough drivers to go to Harmony House on Wednesday.  If something were to change, I'll send an e-mail with the details for Monday.  Maybe we can still go to the nature center later this month, but I'll let you know.

Words of thanks to Victoria's mom for joining us at the Shedd and to Mrs. Scifo for organizing the trip for all of us.  I was really surprised by how excited the kids were about the things they saw there, and also by how much they already knew.  I was also very proud of how well they behaved.  

Starting in the fourth quarter, the fifth graders can start wearing khakis.  We do this so you don't have to buy any new navy clothes for kids who have obviously, based on short pants and even shorter skirts, really grown this year.  It's fun to see how grown up the kids look in khakis.

A bunch of fun things are on the calendar for May - the book fair and ice cream social - the church picnic - the all-school music concert.  Please check the Parent Bulletin for specifics on all these events.

A note from the PTL is on the back of this note.  The PTL folks have really worked hard this year for our kids, and we are all very grateful.  Thanks for your support of the auction and all the other PTL events.

The kids are going to be working on a research paper starting next week about an ocean animal.  All the work will be done in school, unless they get really far behind.  We are going to have a Math test on Friday and then put those fractions behind us.  I'm hoping all our hard work on them will pay off when the kids take the MAP tests the week of May 14th.  We also started talking about the Civil War which is always interesting to teach because some of the issues of that time are still issues today.  We spent some time talking about the prejudice that is still evident today, including recent events of people being arrested by waiting in a Starbucks.  This is one of the reasons I love teaching fifth grade - they are old enough and interested enough to pay attention to what is happening in the world.  

Next Friday is the mid-point of the fourth quarter, and reports will be released the following Friday.  Everyone is doing well, though there has been a bit of an increase in not having homework done.  At this point of the year, I pretty much stop nagging kids about their work.  I do give consequences, walking laps at recess, but the real consequence is poor grades.  If you and your fifth grader are concerned about this, please check Fast Direct.  Any time you see a "0" that means the work was not turned in.  Also if you see a "50" the work was done, but not very well, and it should be fixed.  I never give less than a "50" for any work turned in, but even that negatively affects a child's grades.

As I mentioned MAP testing will take place the week of the 14th.  This is really the test that shows the progress your child has made this year.  The bad news is that sometimes the kids are pretty much tired of school, so you and I have to work hard to make sure the kids understand how important it is to do their best.  Also being rested and well fed helps.    

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - April 27, 2018

Huge kudos this week to Mrs. Jurica!  You probably haven't seen the musical yet, but Mrs. Jurica has done a fabulous job working with the kids, and I know you are going to enjoy the presentations both Friday and Saturday night.  The musical is fun, and the fifth graders will be reciting lines, singing, and even dancing.  Be sure to check out the airplane which our very own Jack drew.  Thanks also to you for taking time from your weekend to bring your child to school.  We are asking that the kids be here by 6:30.  

Thanks to all of you who supported the PTL auction.  I heard it was a huge success - a lot of fun, and it raised a lot of money which is going to benefit the Reading program here at St. John's.  Thanks again to Victoria's mom who made the fifth grade auction project which I understand brought in quite a bit of money.

Next week there are two special events - our trip to the Shedd on Tuesday and the conference track meet on Friday.  For Tuesday the kids need to bring a sack lunch, including a drink, and they don't need any money as there will be no time for shopping.  I am using this trip as the kick off to our next big writing project - an animal research project.  On Friday six of our fifth graders will be participating in the track meet.  Thanks to Mrs. Runge, Mrs. Franklin, and Mrs. U for all their work with the team.

Did the kids tell you that they saw Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln this week?  Mrs. U organized a visit from Abe and his wife who spoke about the Constitution and their own experience as president and first lady.  This was a great way to kick off our study of the Civil War which we are starting next week.

Please be sure that your child has completed their poetry project which is due Monday.  They should have chosen a poetry book, selected two poems to copy and illustrate, memorized one of those poems, and also found poems that contained the various elements of poetry that we talked about in class.  They have been writing various types of poems at school, and we are keeping those in a folder to come home next week.  Thanks for your help with this project.

We had mixed results this week with the Math test.  Who knew fractions could be such stinkers?!  Well, I knew because I've  been trying to teach kids fractions for twenty five years, and most years, it is quite a struggle.  Here's my plan:  I'm going to keep going with multiplying and dividing fractions, but I'm also going to go back and review with the kids who did not get the adding and subtracting of fractions.  So look for your child to have some extra Math homework.  

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!