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.