February Update from Fifth Grade

Thank you for your attention to our missing books as well as your donations to our libraries!  As the school year continues, please continue to send Lower Lab books back to school and keep us in mind for age-appropriate book donations (used is fine)!  

In Reading Workshop, the students have been enthusiastically researching their hot-button topics and developing their own perspectives on them. Some of these echo our work in our debate program by being staunchly on the proposition (Schools should ban chocolate milk!) or opposition (Schools should NOT ban chocolate milk!) sides of the issue. Some students, though, are developing unique perspectives based on their research that take a new and independent stance (Schools should continue to serve chocolate milk, but make other, healthier beverages available to students as well). We are looking forward to re-debating these issues before the week is out and then moving on to new issues before we wrap up this Argument and Advocacy unit!

In Writing Workshop, the students have concluded some passionate argument essays in favor of banning or serving chocolate milk in school cafeterias. These required extensive research, incorporation of quotes from experts, and thoughtful elaboration that would “hinge” a fact or example back to the convincing reason it supported. Now we are moving on to argument writing 2.0, but this time the topics span the breadth of research being done in our current reading unit. Starting tomorrow, students will be flash drafting using everything the learned in the first bend in order to take a stance on subjects such as climbing Mount Everest, banning orca shows, and prioritizing space or ocean exploration. We look forward to publishing some convincing argument essays on these subjects that will provoke deep thinking about the impact of our everyday choices on the world around us.

In Social Studies, we are excited to have wrapped our multimedia “Explorer or Conqueror” presentations. The students will be celebrating their hard work in this area later this week, but our studies of the impact of European Exploration continue with investigation into the Columbian Exchange and other lasting effects of the Old World’s involvement with the New. Next up will be a case study on Canada along with its geography, government, history, and culture. This will include an exciting new STEAM project, so stay tuned, eh?

We have finished the place value portion of this unit and students are able to round and compare decimals as well as convert metric units of measurements.  We are moving into operations with decimals, covering a variety of methods and models to solve multi-step problems.

We have completed the first chapter of Modeling Matter, observing, describing and modeling how mixtures and substances, as well as atoms and molecules.  We have many budding chemists in our classroom, many students were excited to share their knowledge of the Periodic Table of the Elements and enjoyed learning how to draw the models for popular molecules.   In Chapter 2, students are introduced to a new problem—creating a new salad dressing with a flavor, texture, and appearance that appeals to consumers. They begin by figuring out how to make a salad dressing without sediments. As they do, they are challenged to use their understanding of the particulate nature of matter and of the properties of molecules to explain why some solids dissolve, and others do not.

On Thursday, February 14th we will have time at the end of the day for students to distribute valentines.  If your child would like to participate, they must bring a valentine for everyone in their homeroom OR for everyone in both homerooms (a grade-wide class list was distributed on Monday). This is an optional activity (but as we discussed in class, if you want to receive valentines it’s best to distribute them).  Please keep food allergies in mind if your child decides to include something sweet.