Fifth Grade

Friday, August 16, 2019
No homework this weekend! 
School Mass this Sunday @ 8:30. Students in uniform get free dress on Monday.  Please adhere to free dress clothing guidelines.  

We had a wonderful end to the first week at school! What a fantastic day! We began with School Mass, and I loved how reverent and attune our students were during prayer.  It was definitely noticeable. 

Then, back in the classroom, we completed the first week of the "deskwork assessment," which I was able to grade and return today.  I appreciate them taking the time to double check their work before turning it in.  I find that fifth grade is the year when kids feel like they need to be the first one to turn things in.  I have already reminded them that I don't want you to be first, I want you to be right!  :-) 

Then, after snack/restroom break, we finished the beginning of the year math test.  I will be grading them this weekend, but I really felt like they were getting a little stressed out about not knowing some of the concepts. I reminded them that if they knew everything on the test, they would be in 6th grade!!!  This is simply a tool to help ME be the best teacher I can be for them. 

After a short stretch and getting wiggles out, we read the first Lesson Journey's anchor story called "A Package for Mrs. Jewls."  We will typically read the anchor story every Monday, but I wanted to spend a bit more time on this first lesson in order to set up our expectations, procedures, etc... for completing work.  Then, using a partner to help with collaboration, students completed the Independent Reading page from our Readers Notebook, which asked them to create "think bubbles" for the janitor, Louis, in particular parts of our story.  I look forward to reading their creative responses. 

We finished the morning with DEAR (Drop Everything in Read) time, which we will do every Friday.  Our lives are busy and packed with so many things, but we need to always remember to just stop and read.... it helps our brains regain focus, relax, and just get lost in books. 

After lunch (we were still inside for recess because of the heat advisory), we jumped into Social Studies.  We had the most incredible lesson!!!  We began with an understanding that in our class, we focus on the beginnings of the Americas.... which means all the early natives that have lived in the Americas for thousands of years, through early explorers, beginning of the American colonies, the American Revolution, start of the United States, formation of our government, all the way up to and including the Civil War.  This is a great springboard for Middle School History, which then dives even deeper into other facets of history.  That being said, our class will NOT focus on spitting our facts.  We have so many technological tools that can provide facts, and to be honest, memorizing facts is the bare-bone basics of learning.  This will be the year of "WHY"--- why did things happen, purpose, outcomes, consequences, benefits, etc....  We will also use this subject to learn how to properly take notes from a textbook. So, it will take us a while (we are learning so many different tools/techniques at once) but it will have impact.  Today, we read and took notes on Hunter-Gatherers of the early Americas, and created a flow chart that explained how farmers that grew surpluses of crops actually helped lead to the formation of Empire civilizations.  This conversation was SO COOL---- the kids eyes were huge, light bulbs going off over their heads, and so many "ah-ha" moments.  

But, our day was not done yet.  We still had time to partner with 4th grade and have our first STREAM activity!  In groups of three, students needed to save poor Wendell the worm (gummy worm) because his kayak (cup) flipped over, his life vest (gummy lifesaver) was underneath, and his oar (pretzel stick) was in the water.  Using only three paperclips and no hands, they needed to remove Wendell from the top of the boat, flip the boat over, put the life vest on him, and put him back in the boat without dropping him.  We were laughing at all their attempts--- you'd think it would be easy, but it wasn't!  Students the had to outline their steps, and grade both their participation and the group success with this activity.  I will post pictures over the weekend!  

I hope your child has had a great first few days in 5th grade.  I know some of them were nervous and anxious because "I am so hard" but the reality is I simply push them out of their comfort zones and to their limits.  We work hard, but we play hard.  Our days go by so fast, and my goal is to have them leave smiling!!

If you need anything, I can always be reached at  Have a wonderful night!
Chris Sposi
5th grade Teacher