5th Grade: January Update


Happy 2020!  As teachers, this is always our favorite time of the year.  The ‘new school year’ jitters have worn off, the students are in a really nice groove with each other and the systems and routines of the classroom are automatic for everyone.  Every day feels productive and yet we can find some time to laugh and enjoy senior year!  

Writing: The fifth graders have been working hard to lift the quality of their thesis statements and choosing the richest quotations to unpack in support of their ideas. We are challenging ourselves to make insightful inferences about the short stories we read and unpack the craft techniques authors employ as we analyze how craft can support a text’s theme. As we wind down this unit and publish the best of our work, we plan to jump right into another powerful essay unit – the research-based argument essay. This unit will leverage the skills we are building in choosing and unpacking text evidence to support strong claims about topics in the world. Students will learn to suspend judgment as they read critically and take notes before building reasoned arguments in support of their viewpoints. We’ll even appeal to our audiences and incorporate counterarguments to make our essays as convincing as possible. Prepare to be swayed!


Reading: As readers, we are taking our analysis of fiction texts to the next level. We’ve been analyzing motifs like loss, poverty, and friendship and will finish by connecting them across short stories and independent novels to explore how different authors reflect these motifs in their writing. Our next stop will be developing meaningful conversations around nonfiction texts. This informational and argument reading will even spur flash debates that can provide opportunities for rehearsal for our argument essays! This work will require analytical reading and analysis as well as exploration of the author’s craft moves to determine their unspoken perspective on the topic. Readers will also synthesize across multiple texts on a topic so that they can write essays in Writing Workshop that are heavily researched and fully informed. There’s no debating that this will be a powerful unit for the fifth graders! 


Math: We have just finished our fourth unit on place value, multiplying and dividing by powers of ten, and decimal addition/subtraction.  In this unit, students developed fluency with ordering, comparing, adding, and subtracting decimals and used models like hundredths grids and number lines to prove their thinking.  Students will bring home their final assessments at the end of this week. 

On Monday, we launched our fifth unit, which covers multiplication and division of fractions and decimals.  Students will practice these skills in games and lessons, as well as apply their knowledge through several real-world problem-solving situations.  Throughout the unit, students will model their thinking through arrays, number lines, and tape/bar diagrams.    


Science: Students continue their investigations as food scientists working in a fictional lab as part of our current topic of study, Modeling Matter.  The guiding question for the first part of the unit is: Why did the food coloring separate into different dyes? By performing a chromatography test and studying various models of how the chromatography process works at a molecular level, students have learned that different molecules have different properties (size, weight, shape, attraction to one another).  Students are beginning to construct an understanding of how the properties of molecules may affect why the food coloring separated the way it did.  


Other News:  

Meet & Greet with Ms. Kim Tolksdorf, hosted by Ms. Miller

All fifth grade families are invited to Room 218 on Monday, January 13th at 8:30 am for an informal meet and greet.  Please refer to the note that was sent home with your child this week in order to RSVP.  If you have not received it yet, please keep an eye out for it tomorrow. We hope you can join us!


Lastly, we’re putting out an APB on missing books. Our libraries are feeling emptier than usual and we notice we are missing some of the newest and most high-interest books. Most books from Jordyn’s room will say “5-220” across the top of the pages and Kim’s say “COIA” on the front cover. In your winter cleaning, please keep an eye out for these and send them back to us! In addition, if you have any age-appropriate non-fiction or fiction titles that you are looking to donate to make room on your shelves, we will welcome them.