So while only 11 people responded to my poll about my next post, many of you wanted to read about what’s coming up in the curriculum for 4th quarter.  Well, then a couple of you also voted for Spring Break related topics.  Maybe I’ll just post about it all, then.   So here you go, friends–here’s what’s coming up in 5th grade this quarter!

WRITING:  This quarter starts with us finishing up our expository nonfiction pieces that we started last month.  We’re at the point of proofreading/editing, which we began today.  After we finish conferring with our partners and tweaking the mechanics to make sure our readers understand our message, we’ll publish!  I’m so excited to see what we end up with, as writers in our room will have a choice of presenting the final draft as a poster, feature article or essay, including the text features we studied and the bibliographies we learned about recently.  I am sure to post pictures of that amazingness when we’re finished!  Following this unit, we will also tackle persuasive nonfiction (probably based on either a colonization unit in Social Studies that’s coming up, or a science topic related to our Weather unit) as well as poetry.  As usual in our classroom, this quarter will also bring lots and lots of blogging and Writer’s Notebook writing, as well, since that’s just how we roll in Rm. 201!  I’m excited about what’s coming up with writing.  But then, I generally am excited about anything in writing. 🙂

MATH:  Since we figured out that math rotations work so well for us, we’ll continue with this structure as we finish out the year.  I have loved how I’ve gotten to know each and every mathematician so much better by meeting them in small groups, and also how much more confident so many kiddos are in math now; more specifically meeting needs and checking in more frequently has helped many to better understand concepts and feel more comfortable asking questions when they need to!  We have two units left to work on this quarter: one called Growth Patterns (about patterns, functions and change) and another called How Long Can You Stand on One Foot? ( about data analysis and probability).  We took the pretest on both of these today, as the plan is to combine them.   Another big idea we’ll tackle during the beginning of this quarter is math test prep, since we take our Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test in mid-April.  Right now I’m thinking the plan will be to combine some whole group lessons with our regular rotations.  There will be some paper/pencil test practice added into the skill practice station, and I will address needs in this area in our small groups, as well.  I’m excited about how this quarter will go, and the continued success we’ll see as we delve into some really active units with fun concepts.  I loved how interested most students were today when I mentioned the topics we would be covering.  Maybe my kiddos just love math now….:)

READ ALOUD:  We are in the middle of an amazing nonfiction book called Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson.  While it’s the first nonfiction chapter book I’ve chosen for read aloud, I am sure it will not be the last.  Well at least not the last time I read this book.  The story is so amazingly written, and the way that Swanson incorporates firsthand accounts of the action into his writing has kept us on the edge of our seat.  I am sure that this will be a favorite with many kids this year!  After this one, I have plans to read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (one of my all-time favorite authors!), as well as I Am David by Anne Holm.  If there’s any time after that, I may throw in a couple of other shorter reads (again probably by Sharon Creech, like Pleasing the Ghost or Granny Torelli Makes Soup).  Do you have a favorite read aloud that you would suggest to us?

READING: Like in Writing, our first plan is to finish up the expository nonfiction unit we started in 3rd quarter. We’re already spent some time reading articles and using a variety of strategies to understand and discuss them, and we’ll move on now to reading and analyzing functional texts and textbooks.  What great timing, since this is just the kind of text we’ll encounter on our big test next month!  We will also have a unit on determining important ideas/summarizing, as well as synthesizing information as a strategy to comprehend.  This quarter everyone will also be involved in another round of literature circles, as well, with each group choosing their own text this time.  I’m excited about the groups that have formed: The Lost Hero, A Friendship for Today, and  There are still a few kiddos who have not joined a group yet, and I’m excited to see what books they end up choosing.  If you have a suggestion for a good read for some amazing 5th graders, please suggest it in a comment after this post!

SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES:  This is one of our favorite times of the day, although I know that most kids in our class would tell you that they HATE that it’s at the very end of our schedule.  I’m excited about the units that we’ll be doing next, though: Earth Systems–Weather and Three Worlds Meet–Colonization.  The weather unit we’re going to do has just been revamped, and is taken from the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson in her book Differentiated Instruction in Practice: Grades 5-9.  It’s an amazing collection of activities, experiments, discussions and writing opportunities (which you know we’ll be blogging about!) that will give EVERY learner in our room a chance to engage at their level of understanding.  I like to think that everything we do is organized this way, but with science and social studies, it can be harder to achieve.  This unit brings exciting promise of making it happen.  Then in our colonies unit, we’ll see how what we’ve learned about Native Americans, Ancient West Africans and Europeans comes together when they all end up here and try to create a world together.  I’m excited to see the light bulb moments in that unit as connections are made to past learning.  Definitely exciting stuff on the horizon here!

There is sure to be much, much more happening in our room during this quarter, but here are the foundations on which all the rest will be built.  We have a service-learning project that we’ll be completing with Stray Rescue of St. Louis (more on that later!), fun with our learning buddies, dance routines that we’ll be performing for A.C.E.S. Day in May, a trip to Nipher Middle School to visit, our 5th Grade Celebration and many other still unknown projects or conversations that will develop based on somebody’s great idea or suggestion.  I know that whatever else we do, we’ll enjoy ourselves and learn a lot together!  Can’t wait to share the rest of this ride with you as we go along!