Thursday, December 22, 2016

Writing Celebration

 Highlights of our holiday week together:

* We enjoyed a Hannukah story in the library
8th gr. Buddies and card making
   with Ms. Stuhr.

* After very hard work, we celebrated our
   Narrative Writing pieces with a celebration
   with classmates, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Rollins,
   and Mrs. Adler.

* Mr. Schlax came to teach us about magnets 
   and motors.

* We ended our week with our 8th-grade Buddies. Together we          planned our "Gift of Self" projects and made holiday
  cards for Yarmouth seniors.
Mr. Schlax and magnets

May your Holiday be filled with laughter, family, and wonderful memories.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Great Readers!
Happy Friday!

As we prepare for the holiday break, our narrative writing is complete. Next week, the students will celebrate their hard work by sharing their writing among our two classes.  The student's attention to descriptive writing lessons shines through on every piece. They will be bringing a copy home to share with family, next week. 

When Friday approached, we switched writing gears and began a fun poster project. The students will be practicing using all of their knowledge of Figurative Language from their writing lessons and apply their creative writing to a picture featuring themselves. We will continue this work through next week.
Lost in a book!

We also continue our work with our read-a-loud, The Liberation of Gabriel King. Our reading takes us into discussions about the point of view of our characters and a continuation of analyzing the Antagonist and the protagonist in our story.

Next week, we will meet with our 8th Grade Buddies to start a project together titled, Gift of Self. A part of this project will need to be completed at home over the next couple of weeks. The holiday break also makes for a great time to accomplish this task. Students are asked to give the gift of themselves and their time to someone. The students will then complete a writing assignment about this task. More detailed information will be sent home soon.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Writers at work!
Happy Friday!

The students worked hard with their revision buddies this week. Most of their work revolved around writing a strong ending to their piece of writing. They focused on leaving the writer with a lesson, moral, or a "so what" thought. When we finish our work next week, we will share our pieces with the other 5th grade classes.

In Reader's Workshop, we continued our work with our read-a-loud
The Liberation of Gabriel King. We began looking at the "Point of View" in a story. Our focus was to first look at how the point of view of a character can also be the point fo view of the author. We then focused in on the "first person" and "third person" point of view in the story. Along with point of view, we began to look at the Protagonist and Antagonist positions in a story.
Thank you for sharing your children with me, they make me smile and laugh every day.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 2, 2016

learning about lobsters
Happy Friday!
Please enjoy the photos below of our field trip to the Gulf of Maine Institute where we used the scientific method to learn about our beautiful gulf and its species.

Our week just flew by! We focused our writing on our Narrative pieces, working on descriptive verbs, paragraphing, and using meaningful dialogue to bring our writing alive. Students also met with their revision buddies to help each other find ways to improve or clarify their writing pieces. Next week, we will focus on editing and teacher-student conferencing.

Our Reader's Workshop was a reading frenzy! Students wrote letters in their notebooks, focusing on character traits with evidence. We also continued to look at how good authors use figurative language to write more descriptively. We added "Idioms" to our list of wonderful writing. We also started our new read-a-loud, The Liberation of Gabriel King. During this reading time, we will focus on the literary element of 'Point of View." This historical fiction book takes place during 1975 in the deep south with segregation playing one of the themes as well as overcoming your fears with the love of friends and family:
     Gabriel King was a born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. Gabe’s best friend, Frita Wilson, thinks Gabe needs some liberating from his fears. Frita knows something about being brave— she’s the only black kid in school in a town with an active Ku Klux Klan. Together Gabe and Frita are going to spend the summer of 1976 facing down the fears on Gabe’s list. But it turns out that Frita has her own list, and while she’s helping Gabe confront his fears, she’s avoiding the thing that scares her the most.
Have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy Friday!
Highlights of our week...

Narrative writing mini lessons
covered this week...

Asking classmates for writing help...

Using Compare/Contrast 
vocabulary to analyze character 

Publishing character designs
and analysis...

As many of you head off for a wonderful week with friends and family, I would like to wish you a beautiful Holiday. I am truly thankful for the laughter and readiness to learn that your children bring to school every day. 

No School Wed. Nov. 23- 27

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sharing writing ideas
Happy Friday!
In Writer's Workshop, we continue to keep our focus on planning our narrative writing pieces. Students worked this week on a graphic organizer that has helped them to get the details of their memories jotted down. They focused on organizing their details and including sensory descriptive words. Once they were done with this first step, they met with a buddy to tell their memories out loud to each other. This idea helps them to see if they forgot to write down any ideas that they shared out loud. Next week, we will begin drafting the first draft.  To help us focus on what a good writing topic might be, we read the book, An "A" From Miss Keller. This was a wonderful story about writing with emotion and passion.

Our Reader's Workshop had us finishing our read aloud, Animal House and Iz. This crazy story about a blended family and finding their place in each other's hearts, had the students laughing at the crazy antics of the main characters. As we read the story, the students were inferring and keeping notes about the different character traits of each character. The students are now beginning a character analysis and contrasting writing about two of the characters. During this writing, students will be learning how to use compare/contrasting vocabulary to analyze behaviors of the characters. Along with this writing, the students learned how to use a fun and creative website called SpStudios. They had fun designing a character that they are writing about. In their designs, they choose the best ideas to show the characters true self.  

* If you are participating in the cookie/magazine sales, the big push to turn in your final sales are next week.

* Have a wonderful three day weekend! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Great Readers!
Happy Friday!

Our week in writing focused on reviewing what we know about personification. We then began to look at how good writers use metaphors and similes to help with writing more descriptive details. We looked at poetry as well as metaphors and similes in the books we are reading. The students are excited when they find these figurative language examples in their own reading. They are seeing how common this language is in good writing. We also focused in Writer's Workshop on techniques good writers use when creating a story. We read the book, Nothing Ever Happens on 90th St. In this story, Eva is given a writing assignment but complains that she has nothing to write about until each of her neighbors gives her advice on what a good writer does. Soon Eva is off and writing. This read aloud also helped students to start their own topic lists for their personal narratives. Next week, we will look at examples of higher level 5th Grade writing.
Figurative Lang. in our books

Our Reader's Workshop found our focus on reviewing character traits. We Read Patricia Polacco's book, My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother. Patricia Polacco takes us on a journey learning about her brother Richie. We stayed focused on Richie's action and words to infer the type of character traits that best fit Richie. After practicing together, the students wrote a letter to me in their Journals telling me about the main characters in their personal reading books. In their letter, they told me about character traits with supporting evidence from their books to back up their thinking. Next week, as we end our current read aloud, the students will be writing a character analysis about a character from, Animal House and Iz.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2016

8th grade Buddies

Thank you to all of our parents for their support and positive discussions during our 5th-grade conferences. Your children are a real joy to spend our days with. They make us think, and laugh every day.
Buddy drawing

During our Reader's Workshop this week, we stayed focused on our read aloud and working with inferencing in our individual choice books. We also enjoyed an extra day in the library with Ms. Stuhr. She shared a few Halloween spook stories that made us laugh.

Our Writer's Workshop continued to focus on paragraph writing. We used our knowledge of paragraph structure to write descriptive paragraphs for our 8th-grade buddies. We drew our own designed monsters and then gave our writing to our buddies to follow the steps to drawing the monster. The 8th-graders then shared their directions for the 5th-graders on how to draw a monster using their computer technology. The buddies had a great afternoon together!

We ended our week with writing letters to our Uganda Penpals. Mr. Roscoe picked up our letters on his way to the airport for his 30 hour trip to St Bahkita refugee School in Uganda.

Mr. Roscoe and teachers
Last week, Mr. Roscoe came to talk with us about Harrison Middle School's sister school in Uganda. He shared pictures and movies of Uganda and the children that attend St. Bahkita Primary School in Beweyale, Uganda. We learned how this is a refugee settlement with people who left Sudan for safety reasons. The students were very excited to learn about how we are going to write letters and become pen pals with these children. Your child is coming home this weekend with their letter assignment to be completed at home and returned to school by next Wednesday, Oct. 21. If you would like more information on this school, I have included the link:
Students at St. Bahkita

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday dancing..."Sunshine in our pocket"
Happy Friday!

This week flew by! We started our week in the library with Ms. Stuhr. We worked on the "investigating" step of the "Inquiry Process." During this step, we worked in our teams to research possible answers to our designed questions on our group topics and we practiced note taking with "dot jots" to help us not plagiarize.
Inferencing work

In Reader's Workshop, we continued our work with inferencing while reading our read aloud, Animal House and Iz. We talked about inferencing in a group and coming up with the best answers to describe our thinking. Working together, really helped each of us with clarifying our thinking, discussing our thinking, and asking questions. The best work   happens when we put our heads together!

Letter writing
We were just as busy in Writer's Workshop as well. Our focus was on our second practice paragraph. We continued to focus on paragraph structure and the use of transition words to help the flow of our writing. Next week, we will begin our planning of our narrative writing piece. We also had a chance to work on our letter writing to our Uganda pen pals...this was great fun! 

* Rollins/Smith Fall Parent, Student, Teacher Conferences are 
   Oct 24, 26, & 27.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Poetry and Nature
Happy Friday!
Although our week was short, we accomplished a lot of great work. Our focus took place with the use of personification in writing. We discussed why an author would use this piece of figurative language in a story. The students were excited to find many examples of personification in their own independent reading books. Earlier in the week, the students took their nature personification and joined their writing with other classmates to write collaborative poetry. Along with poetry, we continued our work on proper paragraph structure. Our focus was on writing great topic sentences and using transition words to help a paragraph to flow.
Collaborative Poetry

In Reader's Workshop, we continued our read aloud Animal House and Iz. Our concentration was on inferencing. We took notes about our thinking and inferring as we read while students later had practice reading their independent reading books and using stickie notes to locate important information in their books where they had to use their inferencing skills. We continue to talk about how inferencing is not predicting but rather "reading between the lines." This reading concept takes a lot of practice and deep reading. We will be practicing inferencing skills all year through independent reading and as whole group work.

* Conferences will be held Oct. 24, 26, & 27. Email sign-ups have      been sent home.
* Oct. 18 5th-grade Intramurals will be CANCELLED
* Oct. 22 Picture Retakes. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Personification and Nature
Happy Friday!

This week's Writer' Workshop lessons continued to focus on writing effective paragraphs. Students are writing practice paragraphs in class with a focus on keeping the paragraph on one topic and having creative topic sentences to introduce their writing. We also looked at the use of adjectives and making our writing better. By the middle of the week, we learned about personification and how figurative language can enrich our writing. The Geese had an opportunity to write personification while observing nature. The Dolphins will try their writing next week.

Our Reader's Workshop turned to Inferencing. We took a look back at the meaning of metacognition as well as schema or background knowledge. Students learned how inferencing is when we mix our schema with what the text says to infer. In other words, how to read between the lines for understanding. We practiced inferencing with a short story before we started applying this skill to our new read aloud, Animal House And Iz. Be sure and ask your child how our new crazy story began.

* No School Fri. Oct. 7 and Mon. Oct. 10

Friday, September 30, 2016

Inquiry learning in Library
Happy Friday!

Our week started with a visit to the library where students worked in groups on questioning and wondering about specific topics. With the use of the table top whiteboards, the students brainstormed their questions and discussed with their partners which questions and topics they would pursue in research.

Reader's workshop brought more deep thinking with lessons on metacognition, the process of thinking about our thinking. We discussed how we take what a text says and mix that with our schema (background knowledge) to get to "Real Reading." These lessons help the students get beyond the literal meaning of a story and dig deeper. They had many opportunities to read their own books, reflect on their reading and share out with the class about their thinking. The students also had a lesson on using "stickies" to help with their thinking while reading their independent books.

We started looking at the structural parts of a paragraph this week in Writer's Workshop. Students brainstormed and recorded in groups, all that they remember learning about paragraphing. We then took that information as a whole class and charted the elements of and effective paragraph. We also started brainstorming small seed ideas for paragraphs that they would write in the coming weeks. I will be assigning a "paragraph of the week" starting the week of October 11. Until then, I am walking the students through step by step, how to write a longer more effective paragraph. These practices at home will help prepare the students for their first big writing, narratives.

We ended our week with keyboarding practice and an Autumn story read by Ms. Stuhr in the library.

* 5th-Grade Math team and Intramurals is on 
   Tues. Oct. 4 2:45-4:20.
* Mindfulness club is on Wed. Oct 5, 2:45-3:20
* No School on Oct. 7 and Oct. 10