Tuesday, December 30, 2014

May your new year be filled with great books.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Dear Families,

Thank you for all your support and well wishes. Your support has been wonderful! Please help your child continue to read everyday. I look forward to hearing about all the great books they have enjoyed when I return.

Mrs. Rollins

Friday, November 7, 2014

A writer at work
Happy Friday!
     We finished our read-a-loud Animal House and Iz on Friday. The students were shocked to hear how the story ended with our main character getting something wonderful but not what she thought she wanted. Be sure and ask your child to fill you on the details. We will continue our work on inferring and character growth in our next read-a-loud which we will start on Monday. The students will take their character analysis skills to the next level in our next book when they write a compare and contrast essay on two characters.
Creative thinking hard at work.
     With much excitement, we started writing our personal narratives this week. We took some time talking about seed stories verses a watermelon story. We looked at our Narrative rubrics and  how the narratives would be graded. Students learned that there will be three grades on this writing. One for topic development, voice, sensory description, and rich vocabulary. The second grade would be on revision and the last grade will be on mechanics such as grammar, punctuation and spelling. We also took time to look at past examples of student's writing and what a quality narrative writing would look.  As the students began to get their ideas on paper, the creativity began to flow.
More writing!
     I would also like to thank all parents for your constant support and positive conferences in the last two weeks. You send your children to school everyday eager to learn. They are a joy to work with. 
* No school next Tuesday, Nov. 11. Veteran's Day

Friday, October 31, 2014

8th Grade Buddies and monster drawing
Happy Halloween! 
    We started our week focusing on our reading notebooks and documenting character traits with sticky notes and graphic organizers as students read independently. 
     In the spirit of October, Ms. Stuhr shared funny scary stories with us by candlelight in the library...we laughed at the stories and enjoyed the dark ambiance. 
We also prepared to see our 8th Grade Buddies on Friday. 
Monster Drawing & Writing
The students worked on a writing piece that went through planning, rough draft, revision, and editing stages. This writing was a "How To" paragraph piece. Students created a monster of choice in Math class while studying shapes and then in Language Arts, the students wrote out the steps to drawing that monster. These steps needed to be proceeded by a topic sentence and include very detailed writing sentences before a conclusion sentence was added. The students then got to see how well they explained their steps when their 8th grade buddies came for a visit. Their buddies prepared the same activity to swap with the 5th
Monster Mash dancing
graders. All buddies then read their written pieces and proceeded to draw the unknown monster according to the directions. This gave the 5th graders great knowledge and feedback on how well their directions where written and how important it is to be specific in their written work. Everyone laughed and enjoyed the Friday fun together. 

8th Grade Buddies
* LA Conferences continue next week.  


Friday, October 24, 2014

Rainy day recess fun.
Happy Weekend!

     Most of our week was spent working in our Readers Notebooks. We continued to work on our inferencing skills to help us with studying characterization. Our focus began to shift to studying our characters in our Read-a-loud Animal House and Iz. Our class conversations are focused on reading books for deeper understanding. One way we practiced this was by looking closely at a character's personality traits. We
Enjoying indoor recess play.
discussed how characters grow and change through a story just like we grow and change. We talked about what makes a character change. The students were eager to share that events in a person's life can change people for the better and sometimes for the worse. Students used sticky notes and graphic organizers in their notebooks to jot notes about their main character's traits while independently reading. When students look at what drives their main characters to do what they do and say in the stories, deeper understanding of the stories begins to happen.

      Our writing work on proper paragraph structure continued this week with a focus on adding more details that support the topic sentence while including transition words for flow. Next week we will begin our rough drafts of our narratives. 

* Language Arts conferences begin next week.
* There will be no 5th Grade Homework Club next week due to
* Magazine/Cookie dough fundraiser packets and money are due.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Writers at work
Happy Friday!
     Though we had a short week, The students accomplished a lot. We continued reading our class read-a-loud Animal House and Iz while practicing making inferences as we went along. Students were then excited to go off and read while documenting and practicing inferencing about their own chapter books. We also call inferencing, "Reading between the lines." Please remember that your child should still be reading over the weekends.
Enjoying a great book!
      We enjoyed a great picture book by Patricia Polacco titled, My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. This book was our lead into Narrative writing. We discussed how Ms. Polacco took one argument with her brother, one moment in time, and wrote a whole story around it. Our discussion led us into noticing what a good seed story is and what good writers do to keep a reader interested like, using dialogue, descriptive words, and figurative language to help the reader feel like they are in the moment of the story. We diagrammed a sample narrative to notice the use of a topic sentence to grab the reader, events and transition words that move the story along,  as well as a concluding sentence that sends a message or lesson to the reader.
     The students ended their week by choosing a narrative memory and beginning to take notes and map out their ideas for their writing.  
Enjoy your weekend!
* If you have not signed up for a conference, please do so, slots are filling fast.
* Magazine and cookie dough fundraiser envelopes are due Oct. 24.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Enjoying a good book!
     Our week continued to focus on inferencing skills during Reader's Workshop. We shared our read-a-loud Animal House and IZ while identifying opportunities to infer and write about our thinking. The students tried their hand at inferring and writing about their thinking while reading their own books. Next week we will continue inferring as we start looking at the character traits of characters in our books. Eventually, we will put the traits together with inferring to think more deeply about what drives a character's behavior.
Inferring and writing our thinking.
     Most of our work in Writer's Workshop was focused around writing effective paragraphs. Writing a topic sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph is about was a priority as well as detail sentences to support the topic. We also had a chance to write pen pal letters to our friends at the Saint Bahkita School in Uganda, Africa. The kids are excited to get letters back in a few months.
     Please check your email in the coming days. You will be receiving an email from me with information regarding conference dates and times. Language Arts conferences will be held the last week of October and the first week of November.
More great Readers!

     Your child is coming home with a fundraising packet today. This fundraiser helps earn money for field trips, guest speakers, and activities to enhance learning at HMS. The first collection date is Oct. 17 and the last collection date is Oct. 24. This is not a classroom requirement. If you and your family choose to participate, HMS greatly appreciates your effort. Any questions you may have can be directed to the main office



Friday, October 3, 2014

"Busy Readers"
Happy October!
     Our week started off with a focus on the 
5th grade spelling program. This first unit focused on the long "a" and long "e" sounds and the many different phonetic spellings of these sounds in words. We worked on the first spelling packet together going page by page so as to be comfortable with the format. Spelling packets are assigned on Monday and due on Friday with a spelling quiz. Your child's graded spelling quiz went home with them today along with a "Parent News" letter about what was accomplished in Language Arts this month. In addition to spelling, we continued work in our Reader's Notebooks with lessons focusing on Inferencing skills. We practiced how to "read between the lines" when reading our chapter books to better our comprehension. We also started a new Read-a-loud book titled, Animal House and Iz which will help us with our study on inferrencing. Be sure to ask your child how this book started.
Students of St Bakhita
     Our class had a special visitor this week. Mr. Roscoe came to introduce the students to a special little refugee school called St. Bakhita in Uganda, Africa. Mr. Roscoe travels to Uganda twice a year to help take care of the school as well as bring supplies. In the past four years, HMS has become an unofficial sister school to St. Bakhita. This is a very poor refugee camp where parents have made a school with a few classrooms half the size of ours with 70 kids in a classroom made of mud. HMS has helped in the past by donating used clothes, soccer balls, and fund raised to send money to buy school supplies for the children. One of the best parts of this relationship is the pen pal writing that we get to do with the students in Uganda. Your child will be writing their first letters soon as Mr. Roscoe will be leaving for Uganda in two weeks and will be taking our letters with him. The students from St. Bakhita wait anxiously for our letters to arrive. Your children were very excited about this idea and loved learning about Uganda from Mr. Roscoe.  
St. Bakhita students

* Please sign your child's "Parent News" letter and spelling test to be returned on Monday.
* No 5th grade Intramurals next Wed. 9/8.

Friday, September 26, 2014


  We started our week with a lesson about Figurative Language, more specifically, Idioms. The students had fun laughing at all the different idioms that we read about. They also learned how authors use this language to be more descriptive in their writing. We also started our lessons on effective paragraph writing and what a well structured paragraph looks and sounds like. We will continue this work next week focusing on great topic sentences.
     Our reading lessons focused on work in our Reader's Notebooks. This weeks lessons were about learning the word "Stamina" and how that relates to our reading. The students wrote about their stamina as readers now and what kind of stamina they would like to work towards in 5th grade. We also focused on learning "Evidence Based Terms" to use when we write about our reading. We discussed how important it is to back up our thinking with evidence from our books and we had a chance to practice this in our first letter writing in our notebooks.
writing about our reading
      The classroom library is almost complete. The students have been learning about genre traits and are now reorganizing the library books into genres.
    The week ended on a high note with the students receiving their Wordly Wise quiz back. I was extremely proud of their studying and test results. As a whole, they showed me how serious their school work is to them...They all did Fantastic!
book sorting

* Next Thursday, Oct.2 Is the first SCIENCE CLUB meeting. Science Club meets on the first Thursday of every month. This is a fun club with a real scientist who has the students engaged in exciting experiments and hands-on fun. Students do need to sign-up in the office before the meeting and get a permission slip that tells how the students will be going home. Students do not have come to every meeting.

* Please sign your child's Wordly Wise quiz and return. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

End of the day smiles
Happy Friday!                                                    

     This was a busy week. We started our Wordly Wise vocabulary program and the students are doing a great job of understanding and working independently in their books in class. We continued to creative write with our "Quick Writes" as we focused on the use of sensory imagery vocabulary, making the reader feel like they are in your thoughts. This week, each student chose to share their reading out loud. I was excited to see how comfortable the students are feeling in Language Arts and with each other to take such a risk. 
Enjoying a good book
     As many of you know, your children have been working on a "Reading Timeline" of their reading life. Thank you for your help at home creating a list of some of your child's favorites from their toddler years. It has been so much fun to watch them create these timelines. The chatter around the room about what books have been important to them or impacted them as readers while growing as been wonderful. They are giggling and laughing about books they recall reading with Mom or Dad and sharing these thoughts with each other.
     We finished our week with the MAP testing. I am extremely proud of how hard your children focused. This can be a long and tiring test. The students were focused and determined to give their best effort. "Great job everyone!"

* Intramurals for 5th grade is every Wednesday from 2:30-4:00.
* Homework club for 5th grade is each Tuesday and Thursday 
   from 2:30-3:00.


Friday, September 12, 2014


HAPPY FRIDAY!                                     
I am so proud of your children. It is only the end of our second week and they are already adjusted to their new schedules and smiling from ear to ear as they manage the middle school halls.

This week we started work in our new reader notebooks as well as began our first read-a-loud. We are laughing and enjoying a silly book titled, How To Be A Perfect Person In Just Three Days. The students are intrigued as we go through the steps with our main character, "Milo." We will let you know if the plan works.

Students were introduced to "Quick-Writes" this week and they were eager to get started. They learned that just as they need to warm-up before playing a sport, writers need a lot of warm-up too.
Writers at work
Throughout the school year we will write for fun. This is a practice where the kids are given ten minutes to write on a topic using as many descriptive words as possible but do not need to worry about writing rules. It's a time to be creative without worry. I will tell you, this is where some pretty amazing writing comes out. The kids love to share and read their work out loud. During this time, They see that I write with them, I share my work, and it is not perfect. The creativity is amazing!

We continued our talk about what elements make up different book genres. The students will be reorganizing our class library by genres next week before setting a book reading goal for the year.

To end our week, we had computer roll-out day. Students spent time with Mr. Arsenault setting up separate folders on Google for all their classes. They designed their backgrounds and learned about all the wonderful gadgets they can use on their computers to produce their work this school year.
* MAP testing is Thursday, 9/18 and Friday, 9/19. 
5th grade will be testing from 7:50 to 9:15 both days. Please be sure your child gets a good night sleep and eats a hearty breakfast.

* Intramurals are on Wednesdays from 2:30-4:00. This is an after   school activity where students can go enjoy active play like basketball, dodgeball, steel the bacon, frisbee, etc. in the HMS gym and playground. If your child takes the bus home, there is a 4:00 bus that comes to HMS. 
More" broccoli heads"
Computer fun


Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Weekend!

Our first week could not have gone any better. 
The new Fifth graders came so prepared and full of wonderful energy ready to learn and take on fifth grade responsibilities.

We spent most of our week getting to know each other, learning the new schedules, and creating and learning our classroom responsibilities. Students worked in teams to create the foundation building blocks of successful "Life Role Outcomes." Some of the  main ideas discussed were Responsible Community and Classroom member, Self Motivated Learner, and Collaborative Worker.

Fifth graders also got to meet their Eighth grade buddies this week. The students spent time getting to know each other while participating in a school wide scavenger hunt. We will have an opportunity to meet with our buddies each month to talk and have fun with activities together. Many great friendships have formed over the years through these buddies which can take them to high school where your fifth grader is a freshman and their buddy is then a senior. 
8th Grade Buddies

New Friends
In Language Arts we got to choose and start a good book as well as visit the library. The students also got to tell us about their favorite summer read.

Next Tuesday, September 9th at 5:30 is the Fifth grade Open House. This is for parents only. No students please. This is an evening to meet your child's UA teachers, learn about the parent portal for grades and receive information about how our class runs as well as units of study through the year.

See our 8th grade buddies below...