We made it to Spring Break!!

Happy Spring Break!  Below are some words from me this week as we look ahead to some much needed rest.

  • Today, the students are coming home with only their report cards.  As a grade level, we have chosen to wait and send graded papers and Gator Checks home on the Monday we return so that all the papers don’t get lost in the shuffle.  Inside report card folders are a couple of reminders from the PTA, so take a moment and check those out.  Anyone still looking to buy Field Day T-shirts, our class is ROYAL BLUE!
  • Yesterday, students brought home individual spring pictures.  Take a look and decide whether or not you want to keep them.  If so, please send in the correct amount of money for Strawbridge Studios.  If not, just send them back to me.  Class pictures haven’t made it back to school yet but are sure to be here soon.
  • The week we return will be a busy one with Earth Day Celebrations Tuesday and our Field Trip on Thursday.  Check out Mrs. Reams blog and the latest Gator Gab for service projects connected to Earth Day.  Then, be on the lookout for a field trip email to come out once we get back with some important reminders.
  • Academically, we have wrapped up our latest reading short story, Elena, with a quiz today. We will continue to hit key skills after the break and hopefully fit in one more novel study after SOLS.  Also after break, we will review key concepts in our Matter Unit (Test on the horizon for April 28th) and wrap up work with the Southwest Region (Quiz planned for April 25th).  We will complete one more unit of Word Study, beginning April 29th and running for 5 weeks.  Then, the review and testing will hit us hard before we know it.  These last two months of 5th grade will fly by.

I have reminded the kids that while I know their excitement for middle school grows with each passing day, I still need them to focus on finishing this year strongly.  Let’s make it a great ending to their elementary careers!  For those of you traveling, please be safe!  Enjoy your break and I’ll see you on the flipside!

Happy Friday!!

We’ve reached the end of another week!   The week has been full of group activities where we’ve mapped out the Southwestern Region of the United States, explored the properties of matter and how they mix together, and discussed the narrative elements of our short story, Elena.  Next week, students will continue to look at matter as we dive into the characteristics of atoms and the periodic table.  We will talk about figurative language and how it is used to create imagery in short stories.  A quiz on Elena will be given on Friday.  Students will take a tour of the Southwest Region, exploring more of the geography, history, and economy of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.  They can also expect to continue working on language skills in all areas of the curriculum.  We have discussed numerous times this week about knowing the rules of writing and how they apply to all aspect of our work.

Looking ahead to next week, here are the important dates to keep in mind:

  • Wednesday: Field Trip Permission Slips and Money are DUE!
  • Thursday: 5th Grade takes MAPS Reading Test
  • Friday: 3rd Quarter report cards go home

Enjoy your weekend!

Three Quarters Down

Can you believe that we’ve made it through three quarters of 5th grade?  Time is flying, and the end will be here before we know it.  The kids all worked very hard this week on their Writing SOL tests and were good sports about completing other assessments as we wrapped up a few units.  Next week, we will begin new units across the board.  In Science, we will start exploring matter and all its properties.  In Social Studies, we will move into the Southwest (a much smaller region when looking at the number of states).  Our next Reading story will correspond with this region as we look at Elena.  And finally, writing is not over.  We will continue to brush up on skills from here until the end of the year.  Next week will also be a review of our fourth unit of word study with a test on Thursday or Friday (I will let the kids know on Monday).

Other tidbits of news you can use:

  • Blue permission slips came home for our trip to the VA Beach trip today.  With the wonderful response of chaperones, the cost of the trip is now $36 a person, and all money is due April 9th.
  • The students and I talked about the importance of wearing proper footwear during recess.  They will need to follow the same rules they use for PE when it comes to what they can wear on the playground.  Of course, I have assured them that they can still wear the fancy shoes to school and change into the tennis shoes before heading outside.

Happy Spring!

It’s hard to believe that we started the week off with yet another snow day and late arrival.  I’m certainly ready for the spring weather to stick around.  As we look forward to Spring Break (less than a month away), the students have plenty to keep them busy.  Read below for some of the fun coming up next week:

  • Students should wear BLACK or RED on Monday for our 5th grade class picture.  More information is coming home in the red folder today.
  • The Writing SOLs are here and we will be testing Tuesday and Wednesday.  On the first day, students will complete the multiple choice portion.  On day two, they will respond to a writing prompt.  Before each test, please ensure your student gets a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast.
  • Due to the SOL, our word study quiz will be pushed back to Thursday.  This quiz will cover VIV/VIT words.  Also hard to believe that this is our 4th list in our 4th unit.  So, there will be a unit test the following week, and then we will take a break until after Spring Break.
  • Students will finish up their 3rd quarter book reports on Monday and share them in small groups on Tuesday afternoon.  We will round out the week with more reference practice in the library with Mrs. Hedrick.
  • Finally, there will be a Midwest Quiz next Friday.  Students will be responsible for knowing the states and capitals as well as vocabulary, landmarks, and concepts covered in Chapters 8 & 9 of their Social Studies textbooks.

Friday is here again!

The students and I have had a nice week working diligently to accomplish reading rotations, small group discussions, compilation of living systems, finishing our tour of the Midwest, and just learning from one another.  It can be an uphill climb sometimes, but I do believe that room 35 is gelling more than they were just a few months ago.  Let’s keep it up as we push towards Spring Break!

A look ahead to next week:

  • Reading: In class, students will work on their 3rd quarter Book Reports.  They don’t yet know exactly what they’ll be creating, but I have told them they can bring in old magazines.  If you have any around the house that you don’t mind cutting up, please send them in on Monday.  Students should also expect some additional skill work for homework.
  • Science:  Green sheets of paper with review questions should have come home on Thursday for next week’s test (Tuesday).  We will complete our ABC books as well next week…I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen so far.
  • Social Studies: We will look at Chapter 9 and continue studying the Midwest.  Students should regularly be reviewing states, capitals, and associated vocabulary.
  • Writing: In preparation for the upcoming SOLS, we will be doing multiple practice writing and multiple choice assessments.
  • Extra, Extra: The Book Fair is open all week!  Class Pictures are Thursday, March 20th.  Everyone will have their picture taken, and you will decide if you want them once they come home.  However, if you wish to get a class picture, you will need to pre-order that ($9).

Enjoy your weekend!

Success at the YMCA

The kids had a busy day with some math, reading, art, a field trip, and a spirit rally!  I think they enjoyed themselves immensely and I will have some new pictures added to Shutterfly soon.  With the snow days at the beginning of the week, most of our plans for this week will carry over into next week.  So here’s a recap.

  • In Reading, we will review our reference work with dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries completed during our rotations.  Students will work on making judgements as they read correspondence between Rosa Parks and young students from around the country.  At home, students should be reading their Adventure books in preparation for their next book report, starting on March 17th.
  • We will continue our Midwest Crop Duster Tour in Social Studies as we travel to six more sites and talk about what it was like to work on the Ford Assembly Line.
  • In Science, students will continue working with their partners to create ABC books.  These will be shared before taking our unit test on cells, plants, and animals (tentatively 3/17 or 3/18).
  • We will continue our exposure to the 45 possible prompts that students will have to write on in a few weeks as we keep talking about powerful introductions, vivid vocabulary, sticking to the topic, and ending with strong conclusions.  I was pleased with the imagination shown in the latest paragraphs coming home today.

Don’t forget that next Friday is Primary Color Spirit Day and our Writing SOL has been moved back a week and will now be on March 25th and 26th.  Enjoy your weekend!!

March is Youth Art Month

As we move into March, Mrs. Swartz will be leading the students through various activities that focus on famous artists and techniques.  Help celebrate by dressing up for these “Fancy Fridays!” Reminders will be said on the morning announcements each week.

  •  3/7-Primary Color Day-Wear a shirt that is a primary color-Red, Blue or Yellow.
  • 3/14-Secondary Color Day-Wear a shirt that is a secondary color-Green, Purple or Orange.
  • 3/21-Pattern Day-Wear a pattern in your outfit!
  • 3/28-Rainbow Day-Wear as many colors as you can!

Happy Belated Friday!

Hey guys!  Sorry for the belated update, but here are a few notes about what’s going on in Room 35.  We’ve got a field trip coming up, several new units starting and several that we’re working to wrap up in the next couple of weeks.

  • Let’s start with the important business of field trips.  Next Friday, we are headed to the Shady Grove YMCA for our Aquatics Safety Field Trip.  I am still waiting for a few students to return their permission slips and money ($4).  Our class is also in need of a male chaperone that would help out by watching the boys in the locker room before and after our time in the pool.  Please shoot me an email if you are available.  Thanks!  Also, coming home on Monday will be an interest form for anyone looking to go on our big trip to VA Beach Aquarium on April 24th.  Be on the lookout for the blue sheet of paper.
  • In Reading, we will do some reference work with dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries as we start our next text, Dear Mrs. Parks.  Students will work on making judgements as they read correspondence between Rosa Parks and young students from around the country.  At home, students should be reading their Adventure books in preparation for their next book report at the end of the month.
  • We will continue our Midwest Crop Duster Tour in Social Studies as we travel to six more sites and talk about what it was like to work on the Ford Assembly Line.
  • In Science, students will review concepts of Living Systems as they pair up and create ABC books.  These will be shared the following week before taking our unit test on cells, plants, and animals.
  • We will continue our exposure to the 45 possible prompts that students will have to write on in a few weeks as we keep talking about powerful introductions, vivid vocabulary, sticking to the topic, and ending with strong conclusions.

Finally, Mrs. Wright wanted me to pass along this year’s JUMP ROPE FOR HEART total: $12,684.70.  Way to go Gators!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Thank You So Much!!


Wow!  What a treat I walked into this morning!  The kids were so sweet to organize a surprise birthday party this morning, complete with decorations, music, a cake, and a gift, all centered around one of my all-time favorite books, The Wizard of Oz!  The cake was delicious and gifts were so thoughtful!  Thank you for the flowers, the framed picture, and the ticket to WICKED (another one of my all-time favorites)!!  And if that wasn’t enough, I also had Chick-fil-a delivered for lunch and the students were well-behaved, even though it was Friday and we had to stay indoors for recess.  I am definitely touched by all of your generosity and love as I celebrate my birthday this weekend.  It was certainly a great way to kick off the festivities.  Thanks to everyone!

Now, getting down to the business of this post…what else is going on in Room 35?  Today, students came home with a large stack of graded papers that have been accumulating throughout the weeks and amidst the snow days.   They should also be bringing home a blue packet/permission slip for our Aquatic Safety Field Trip on Friday, March 7th.  The cost for the trip is $4.00 and I will begin collecting money on Monday.  There is need for one dad to chaperone and be our locker room attendant for the boys.  Please indicate on your form if you are willing and able, or shoot me an email.

This week, we wrapped up our pre-reading presentations where students worked in groups to research a famous Jazz musician, brainstorm ways to earn money, and teach the class one vocabulary word from our next story.  On Monday, we will read Satchmo’s Blues about Louis Armstrong.  Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to improve their comprehension skills and meet with Miss Atkins in small groups as we concentrate on identifying facts and opinions, sequencing events, and justifying answers with evidence from the text.

In science, we have been looking at the ways in which scientists classify plants and animals.  Students have read several texts on the major classes of both kingdoms and should expect a quiz on these divisions on Wednesday.  Key words include vertebrate, invertebrate, vascular, and non-vascular.  Students will be expected to identify plants and animals in each of these four groups, as well as know the key characteristics that are cause for such divisions.

Our next Social Studies Unit takes us into the Midwest Region of the United States.  Students completed their Geography Challenges today.  We will go over this next week before we begin our tour through the states.  Several students have already begun sharing their current event posters from this region, so the kids should already have some familiarity with the area.

Finally, in writing, we will begin our Boot Camp Season, as we kick test prep into high gear.  Over the next several weeks, we will devote our time to organizing our thoughts for the 45 different prompts that may appear on the actual SOL. (Please see the packet sent home in the report cards for more information.)  We will also work on small skills such as adding flair with sophisticated verbs, adverbs, and adjectives.  Students will brainstorm ways to vary sentence structure as well as spend time editing work for proper punctuation and grammar.

Thanks again for your support at home of all that is happening in the classroom.  I’m looking forward to another full week in school!