What's New in Room 200

February 25, 2019

In science, students are currently in the process of constructing unique ecosystems from around the world.  They have chosen organisms (producers, consumers, decomposers) to include as they explain the four cycles of nature: oxygen, nitrogen, water, and carbon.  The ecosystems are three dimensional and four students are assigned to each group. Most groups have been working with a combination of cardboard, paint, and clay. They will also have written explanations of each cycle being shown.  These projects are due on Friday, March 1.

In writing, students have been working on describing the thinking of characters in their personal reading books.  They have been making predictions, explaining perspectives, and creating descriptive webs.  In addition, we have been working on improving the use of transitions in all of their writing.

Welcome Families to the 2018 - 2019 school year!  

September 9, 2018

We are off and running in science with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Our first investigation has been based around the phenomenon known as the Super Blue Blood Moon which occurred in January of this year.  Students have been working in small groups building models to demonstrate what they believe caused this rare event. By the end of the quarter, they should be able to positively identify the roles of Earth, Moon, and the Sun in our solar system.

In writing, we have begun our year by writing ten unusual or special facts about ourselves and then creating a "Guess Who" for others to figure out our identities. These projects will be on display on the hallway bulletin board.  All fifth grade students participated.  We will begin work on designing our writers' notebooks and our online grammar program "No Red Ink."

September 19, 2018

The four states of matter have been the topic of discussion in science this week.  Aside from making models, we have also been discussing the role of nuclear fusion in the creation of heat and light from our sun and other stars.  We have had the opportunity to watch videos from NASA that demonstrate how atoms collide to create the most abundant form of matter in our universe! (Ask your child about this form!) Please remind your child to view and sketch the phases of the moon until October 11 when we will have completed a complete phase.

In writing, students have been generating lists of small moments with someone special, "first" and "last" moments that stand out in their minds.  Each student will pick something from the list to write as a personal narrative.  We will be using the workshop approach to writing this year, so students will have the opportunity to conference, draft, revise, edit, and publish a number of pieces with support from peers and Mrs. Smith.  Students have just set personal writing goals for themselves based on what has been difficult for them in the past, but what they feel they are ready to overcome this year. Ask your child to share his/her writing journal with you, or if they prefer to type, a Google Doc they have started.

October 3, 2018

In science, we have been investigating the reasons for the seasons.  Students have been conducting investigations with lights and thermometers, watching videos, and participating in demonstrations to show what they have learned.  Key ideas include revolution, rotation, axis, inclination (tilt), direct sun and indirect sun.  Next, we will be exploring why sunsets and sunrises appear red at times and the particles that make this happen.  Students will finish their moon observations on October 11, and turn in their moon journals on October 12.

Students in writing have been continuing to generate ideas for personal narratives and practicing strategies to help them do this.  We have looked at mentor texts and evaluated them according to the grade 5 checklist we use for writing.  This should help students to evaluate their own work as we move toward taking one piece and bringing it through the entire workshop process to publishing.  Ask your student what he/she is going to write their personal narrative about.  Encourage them to "take the reader along for the ride" rather than summarizing a day in their life.  

October 24, 2018

In science we have just wrapped up our investigation of the Super Blue Blood Moon and will spend the next several days working on a special project designing an experiment that could be carried out on the International Space Station. This is a project we are working on in conjunction with Ashford School. One project from the two schools will be chosen to go up to the ISS and carried out by one of the flight engineers. This is an exciting opportunity to learn about life in microgravity and the types of information we would need to sustain a colony one day on another planet or the moon. November 2 is the last day of the quarter and we will begin a quarter of social studies beginning November 5.

In writing, students are finishing their personal narratives they have been working on as part of the writers' workshop. Recently, we have been discussing and practicing showing, rather than telling our stories. We are trying to bring the reader along for the ride. We have also been discussing the meaning or message of our narratives we want to share with our readers. Students are writing their narratives in Google Classroom so they can be accessed from any computer. We will be editing our writing next week.

November 16, 2018

We are well into our second quarter now and social studies.  
Currently, we are studying the origins and different forms of government that exist around the world. We are examining the importance of having limits on government. Our next focus will be on the anatomy of the Constitution.  The second half of the quarter we will be studying U.S. geography by regions.

In writing, we are currently working on information writing.  Students have chosen a topic within the historical period known a westward expansion. Each student initially explored five topics of possible interest, and then narrowed the list down to one topic they would like to expand upon.  They are currently busy doing research through books, websites, and videos.

Ask your child about the "disguising a turkey" home extension activity!

December 10, 2018

In social studies, we have started our geography unit!  Students will study a different region of the United States each week.  Last week we covered the Northeast region, and today we will begin the Southern region.  Each Friday, the students have a short quiz on state location. We are using flash cards as well as sheppardsoftware.com for study aids.  The students also complete a map on each region as we begin each week.  

In writing, we are continuing our westward expansion research essays. The students are very excited about their chosen topics.  They have been prompted to try their best to become "mini experts" about their topics so they could sit down and have a conversation with someone about their topics and answer any questions that come up. We will be writing multiple drafts before the due date January 11.

February 25, 2019

In science, students are currently in the process of constructing unique ecosystems from around the world.  They have chosen organisms (producers, consumers, decomposers) to include as they explain the four cycles of nature


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