Exciting Things Coming!

The end of October brings with it an exciting feeling for me.  November and December are two of the best months in school, in my opinion.  We have multiple units that are my favorites to teach, I share some of the best read alouds of the year (again, my person opinion), and the excitement of the fall/winter holidays is everywhere.  Because of all of this, I get a needed 2nd-quarter energy boost.  So join me as we dive into fractions/decimals, fiction stories, The Secret of Zoom, Fig Pudding, Ancient West Africa and inferring in poetry!  Along the way we’ll ride on a magic carpet with Alladin (thanks to the Nipher musical next week); take a few days off for Thanksgiving; talk about the science fair and make plans for the projects to start in January; drink some cocoa together on cold days and then eventually celebrate the season at our Winter Party at the end of the quarter.  I don’t know about you, but I am ready!  Happy Fall!

Highlights: The 1st two weeks of 5th grade

I have had good intentions.  Intentions that included adding new blog posts every day of school.  And obviously those intentions did not end up resulting in new blog posts yet.  But here’s a new one.  And I’ll make it worth your while.  I promise. 🙂

So since it’s called “highlights”, I’m going to give you the big ideas of what we’ve been doing so far, and hopefully your 5th grader can fill in the details.  Hopefully.  There are at school every day, afterall.

Ok, so let’s get started:

Reading: Reader’s Workshop has officially begun in Rm. 201!  We have made reading posters to share our likes/dislikes as readers, taken a reading survey, read The Lotus Seed, Something to Remember Me By and Everybody Cooks Rice together, had our first check-out from the Robinson library, gone on a scavenger hunt in our classroom library, took our first SRI assessment on the computer, read Hansel and Gretel and discussed how to trail our thinking as we read and then–you guessed it–we read!  I love how excited this class is to dig into books!  Next week we’ll start to focus on strategies that good readers use to make sense of text.

Writing:  We have already begun so much work as 5th grade writers!  From day one, your writer was busy thinking about ideas for stories, putting thoughts on paper.  We have gotten our Writer’s Notebooks, and spent sometime making them our own.  We talked about how our WNBs should be a snapshot of who we are; we should be able to tell whose notebook it is without even checking the name, but just by looking at what’s on the cover.  This week we started Being a Writer, which is the program that will support our writing work this year.  So far we’ve read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (which we learned is pronounced CHESS-ka), as well as The Frog Prince Continued, then talked about how to retell familiar fairy tales in a new way.   As a community-building activity, we played a game called “2 Truths and a Lie”, then lifted a line from what we had written to expand our thinking.  We will dig in further to the Writing Life next week as we continue our journey as writers together.  I cannot say enough how excited I am about sharing my writing life with your kiddos!  I loved this quote from someone today as I was writing in my own notebook: “Wow.  You have a Writer’s Notebook?  I’ve never seen a teacher write in their  notebook during the school day before.”  I’m hoping that there’s already a connection forming there–we are growing as writers together this year!

Math: The mathematicians in Rm. 201 have already been very busy!  We started the year by playing a few math games (Dice Duel and Contig), as well as learning how to correctly roll dice in 5th grade. (Really.  Ask your kiddo to tell you all about how I hate the sound of dice on the tables! 🙂 )  We took a math survey, and then dug right into our first unit in 5th Grade Investigations: Finding Factors and Prime Numbers.  So far we’ve learned (or reviewed) vocabulary related to multiplication–factor, product, multiple, prime number, square number, composite number, array, dimensions–and started working on finding factors of a variety of numbers.  We worked number puzzles, and started an activity called Quick Images for ten-minute-math.  This subject has soo much to tell–be sure to have a conversation with your kiddo about all that’s been going on.  Feel free to use this to help them get started talking about what’s been going on.

Community:  An crucial part of the beginning of our year is beginning to grow our classroom community.  We do this by working together to create things, learn procedures and routines that will be used in our room and throughout Robinson, and learn more about each other so we can celebrate our differences and build on our similarities.  We’ll continue to revisit this idea all throughout the year, to keep our connections strong.

Read- Aloud: Read aloud (chapter book) is a integral part of our classroom.  While it is fun, it is also an important time when we think and talk about books.  The choices I make for books during Read Aloud are often Mark Twain award nominees, or have topics related to the curriculum in our class.  The first book this year is called The Boys Start the War, and is a big hit already!  Have your reader tell you about how we use the strategy of “say something” to share with our partners, and have them introduce you to BOT graphs.

I am sure that there’s probably something I’ve missed.  I’m amazed at how quickly time flies when we’re so busy and having so much fun!

Stay tuned for more updates on the fun and learning in Rm. 201.  Maybe next time there’ll be pictures. 🙂