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One of my favorite quotes with a play on words...if you can figure it out AND what the real word is=300 auction points!
I am thrilled to meet all of you in a few days! I love teaching 5th grade and Mrs. Petzold and I are always eager to get to know the NEW B.M.O.C (Big Mustangs on Campus)! Here is an overview of some of the things we will get busy learning about…savor those last moments of summer and see you soon.
READING & WRITING:
Students will understand that they need to read at least 25 minutes nightly, with weekend reading encouraged, but not required. This log and other independent reading activities will be a part of their evaluation in reading. We also have SURF (silent) reading time on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays as well. (I think some students may be motivated to have a weekly goal of 300 minutes as it entitles them to a ‘free’ auction item which they will learn about soon).
Students will be introduced to the icons of Depth & Complexity as we read The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg and I think they will enjoy his commentary about watching television! The icons are pictures that represent different aspects of critical thinking and make it much easier to think at a deeper level about various aspects of the text. We will be reading at first from our Open Court anthology, which directly complements my strategy-based approach to teaching reading. I am really excited to begin these stories as they offer a lot in the way of enrichment and advancement. Each story touches upon universal themes and is a mini-genre study in itself.
With reading, we begin the year with a lot of discussion and opening activities that call upon the students to think about why they read, what they enjoy reading, and finding a "just right" book. To get across the message of what it is like to find a "just right" book, I bring in a collection of shoes and made a comparison to Goldilocks and how she sampled a little bit of everything until she found the "perfect" fit. I am sure the class will giggle as I try to squeeze my feet into toddler sandals, smile as I hold up a surf bootie, and laugh even more when I walked around the room in a size 12 men's loafer...when all was said and done, they will understand the challenges, but will learn some strategies for finding the right book that will continue to challenge and engage them. (I love hearing about their “Just Right” books-after our sharing activity, my list of “Must Reads” grows significantly!)
This first month of reading these stories is really about teaching students HOW to read critically and participate effectively in a discussion. While many of them can comprehend the literal details of a story, it is those higher-level thinking skills that we want to stress...such as seeing how the author "showed" you that a character was cruel, or why they decided to make the weather cold and blustery, and why they named a character "Cricket"instead of "Sally" (the students will really get into our discussion of this as we bring up "Cruella DeVille"!).
Assessments for each will focus on developing higher levels of critical thinking, supporting judgments with text support, and of course...writing.
Speaking of writing, we will begin working on “I Remember…” poems, in addition to reviewing the writing process and taking time to get to know each other as writers. This poetry exercise is a great way for us to get to know one another as each line highlights a specific memory or moment in our lives. Students needed to choose some sort of theme or category for their poetry ("Injuries", "Pets", "Embarrassing Moments", etc.) and build their lines around that central idea. These are very special writing efforts-look for them at Back to School Night!
Each trimester our class will focus on exploring the unique characteristics of two genres, one of which will always be Response to Literature. See the Curriculum Notes page for a detailed description of responses to literature.
Fall brings with it the specific grammar skills of abbreviations, using dialogue in context, and sentence endings.There will be an ongoing emphasis on sentence revision and proofreading. Students will be working on pages from our Writer’s Express Sourcebook, in addition to completing pages from an advanced workbook series, Straight Forward Grammar. Furthermore, we will be learning about and using "Brushstrokes" and a text called Sentence Composing which will aid students in adding sentence variety to their writing (I tried it and it really helped me to vary my sentence structure!)
Ancient Americas: Mammoths, the Ice Age, and the Great Migration, Oh My!...students have a blast reenacting the ancient nomads' (aka Native Americans) migration into Alaska and Canada. We also review how to read for information and use a Thinking Map to keep tract of important details. Later, we will be using this knowledge base to write a two-paragraph essay summarizing the migration and comparing/contrasting the two main theories that explain how our ancestors arrived.
LISTENING & SPEAKING-
As always, there is an emphasis placed on thoughtful contributions made to classroom discussions, as well as respectfully listening to those comments. This trimester students will be evaluated on a variety of things for their speaking grade, namely the Storytelling activity and DIG project. As always literature discussions, both informal and formal evaluations, will be noted during our Junior Great Book Clubs, Lit Group and Social Studies Discussions (the frequency of participation, as well as the quality of what was shared will be taken into consideration).