November Update


Dear Fifth Grade Families,

Math: At the end of October we finished our second unit, volume, and we are starting our third unit, fractions, this week.  Fractions is a large part of the 5th grade math curriculum and the content and standards build on students’ prior knowledge from second, third and fourth grades.  Students will be expanding, simplifying, comparing, ordering, adding and subtracting fractions and next month, multiplying and dividing fractions. Students will be using these skills in games, activities and problem solving situations.  In addition, modeling their thinking through arrays, number lines and tape diagrams will be covered.  

Science: As student astronomers we have continued to be focused on a our unit question: Why do we see different stars at different times? In addition, we have covered two additional questions, Why don’t we see a lot of stars in the daytime? and Why is the sun up sometimes, but not other times?  Our books, a computerized simulator and models continue to be the materials we use to model and discuss the patterns in earth and sky. Looking forward to our December 4th trip to visit the planetarium at the Museum of Natural History! (Chaperone emails have gone out, if you have questions please email Claudia.) 

Reading: Now that our book clubs have drawn to a close, fifth grade readers have begun challenging themselves to analyze informational texts with greater levels of complexity. As we read these next-level nonfiction texts, we attend to the ways that main idea(s) become more implicit and text structures play a greater role in our understanding. We’ll be leveraging the note-taking skills the students worked so hard to develop in fourth grade as we think critically about how best to annotate our learning and make our notes mirror the structures in what we read. Expect your readers to come home buzzing about Inuits, Vikings, and European exploration as we synthesize our reading work with our upcoming social studies unit!

Writing: Extra! Extra! After a moving unit on personal narrative, Lower Lab’s fifth grade writers have been thrilled to take on the role of news reporters and embark on our new journalism unit. We started this work by studying mentor news articles and inquiring into the language that really evokes the voice of the reporter. We also studied the inverted pyramid to ensure that our articles lead with the Five Ws (who, what, where, when, why) and then progress into the essential statistics and quotations before wrapping up with the ‘fluff’ or other information that’s nice to know. As our articles make it past the editor and go to print in a digital newspaper, we’re pivoting to studying feature articles next. These longform pieces will allow us to synthesize what we’ve learned about news writing with our existing opinion writing skills. Expect to see some deeper dives into important issues when we publish our feature articles by the end of November. 

Reminders: Please remember that if you are applying to private school, you must submit the required items to Claudia Coia, Room 218 via backpack or in person by November 15th (this is a hard deadline).  You will receive a confirmation email within two days of receipt. 

We look forward to seeing you next week at Parent Teacher Conferences (Thursday is a half day, pick up at 11:30)!

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or need more information.