Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - April 28, 2017

Is it even possible that in a day or two it will be May?  The amazing weather God has blessed us with almost makes it feel like summer.  The kids and I were even able to have gym outside a few days.  Besides the beautiful weather, the best thing about this time of the year is all the great things going on here in fifth grade and at St. John's.  

If you are looking for some fabulous treasures, please be sure to stop by the rummage sale here on Saturday.  Also please plan on joining us on Friday, May 12th for the Ice Cream Social/Book Fair/Re-Registration Night.  This event will give you an opportunity to eat some ice cream, buy some books, and learn a little bit about sixth grade.  There are no formal presentations that night, but all the teachers will be available, as well as other folks to help you get ready for the 2017-18 school year.  Not that I want to give MY fifth graders away, mind you, but it really helps planning and scheduling for next year when people register early.  Mrs. Franklin has included an introductory letter in our Fridays folders, so please be sure to take a look at what she has planned for next year.  

Next week fifth grade and I have an amazing week planned.  On Wednesday we will be going to Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie to learn more about energy which we have been studying in Science.  As part of the activity, we will be having lunch there provided by school, so no need to send a sack lunch.  If you would like to join us, please just let me know.  We will leave right after Chapel and return around 1:00.  We will be going, rain or shine, and the activity is all outside, so please make sure your child is dressed appropriately.  The kids may wear jeans, but they need to have a St. John's shirt.  

On Thursday we are going to the Filament Theatre along with fourth grade to see  Robin Hood.  This is a great opportunity for our kids to see a live, professional theater production.  Word of thanks to Mrs. Baldwin for helping to organize this trip for our kids.  We will be walking over, so please make sure that your child is prepared.  Regular school dress code applies for this trip.  Would you like to join us?  We are leaving at 9:00 and will be back around 11:00.

On Friday about two thirds of the fifth graders will be participating in the all-day track meet at Luther North.  The rest of us will be having a regular school morning.  Then after lunch my plan is to walk over to Luther North to check out our kids, and then stop somewhere for a snack.  Would you please send a small amount of money for your child to purchase an ice cream cone or other snack.  Regular Friday dress code will apply, and, I'd love to have you join us, if you are able.

Meanwhile back at school . . . we will be continuing with our study of the Holy Spirit and faith in Religion, measurement in Math, and poetry in Language Arts.  We will be starting a new non-fiction book in Reading to go along with our study of the Civil War in Social Studies.  In Science we will be finishing up our study of energy, and in PE we will be continuing with our baseball unit.  

Again, if you would like to join us for any of our trips next week, I would love to have you.  I really do need at least one other adult to join me, especially for the walking trips.  The fifth graders are very well behaved "on the road", but it's always good to have another set of eyes and ears.  

Blessings to you and yours this weekend! 


Fifth Grade News - Easter Edition

This week I used the words from a song as the basis of my devotions.  Have you heard Oh Glorious Day?  What a perfect song to remind us of all that our Saviour has done for us.  Each day the kids made a symbol to go along with the words:

Living, He loved me

Dying, He saved me

Buried, He carried my sins far away

Rising, He justified freely forever

One day He's coming

Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

I pray that you and your family have opportunity to worship and praise our Saviour for Living, Dying, Being Buried, and Rising all so that we can celebrate with Him that day He comes back for us!  Oh Glorious Day, indeed!


Fifth Grade News - April 7, 2017


Check out these happy kids!  What a great day we had at Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday.  We were able to spend time in two different classes - one talking about the need to save and protect animals - the other all about primates.  Since we are currently working on an endangered animal report, the kids really had a lot of knowledge to share and good questions to ask.  In addition we got to go to the dolphin show, have a up-close meeting with a red-tailed hawk, and enjoy a delicious pizza lunch.  We also spent time exploring on our own which allowed us to visit Tropic World, the Swamp, the Bird and Reptile Houses and, of course, the gift shop.    A big word of thanks to the Christopher Family Foundation who sponsored this trip, Mrs. Franklin who organized it, and Mr. Duran who helped keep everyone safe during the trip.  How blessed we were to get to spend our day learning more about the amazing world that God has created!    

Next week will be another exciting one with the Springim classes.  The fifth graders will be participating in one of four different classes every morning from 9:30 to 11:30.  This is a great opportunity for them to enjoy learning more about something that is already of interest to them.

This week we continued to work on fractions, taking a re-test on Friday.  We worked on our endangered animal project and read our Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels.  We also started working on the mystery book project which I'm hoping to finish next week.   In Social Studies we travelled west making a wagon and map for the journey and in Science we talked about weathering and erosion.  In Gym we played a bunch of fun hula hoop games, and the kids also had Music, Art, and Spanish.

Thanks to all of you who helped make the auction such a great success - either by organizing the event or attending and participating in the fun.  It warmed my heart to hear about the things that the kids said in the video - especially about enjoying school, in particular math.  I love that the kids love school, and that we have a school with such great parent support and involvement.  

Besides looking forward to the promise of spring-like weather this weekend, I'm also looking forward to the start of Holy Week - Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.  I hope that you and your family have an opportunity to worship in the up-coming days as we look forward to the celebration and joy of Easter.  


Fifth Grade News - March 31, 2017

What a fun two weeks the fifth graders and I have coming up!  Next week Tuesday we will be spending the whole day at Brookfield Zoo thanks to Mrs. Franklin and the Christopher Foundation.  This is a family that supports many Lutheran ministries, including Concordia University.  Please remember that the kids don't need a lunch, and we won't be back to school until around 5:00.  The following week, Holy Week, will be our annual Springim.  Each morning the 5th through 8th graders will be participating in a special class led by a different teacher.  The kids were able to select which class they wanted.  If the form was not returned, they were given the class that was still available.  Also that week we have a half day on Maundy Thursday and no school on Good Friday.  The following week is our Spring Break.  It's hard to believe that when we get back it will almost be May already!

Thanks to those of you who sent a note about your child's report card.  I appreciate your taking the time to check on Fast Direct how your child did this quarter.  As I previously mentioned there are still a few areas of concern, most especially Memory.  This is an important part of what we do here at St. John's, and I appreciate the kids who work hard on it.  If you and your child are not satisfied with their Memory grade, please help them to review during the week so that they are prepared on Fridays.

This week we talked about different disciples - Zaccheus and Lydia - and about prayer.  It's funny how some kids still think prayer has to be formal.  I try to emphasize that prayer is an opportunity to talk to God, much like you would talk to a parent, only better!  In Math we are still tackiling those fractions, but making progress.  I will be giving the fifth grade Math students a test on Monday to see if they get the basic concepts so that we can move on.  In Language Arts the kids are working on an endangered animal research project in connection with our zoo visit.  Animals are always interesting to kids, so it's an easy way to teach research skills.  In Reading we continued with our Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books.  I'm reading a Nancy Drew book right along with the kids, and I've got to say, I don't remember them being so violent when I was a kid.  I had the kids pick "old school" books, so a lot of them are the same books I read fifty years ago.  They have given us opportunity for some good vocabulary discussion as they use different words than we might today.  In Social Studies the fifth graders are going west.  Everyone is in a "family" and they are packing their wagons, checking their maps, and heading out.  We did some preliminary research in the computer lab, including playing the original Oregon Trail game.  Surprisingly the kids liked it even though it was very dated.  In Science we finished up weather and started a new chapter on Earth.  In PE we finished up our ping pong unit with Imariz winning consoloation champ and Kaden being the winner of the 5th Grade Ping-Pong Pandemonium - March Madness style.  The kids also had Art, Music, and Spanish.  

I hope everyone is looking forward to the PTL Auction this Saturday.  It's amazing the amount of work that's been put into this event, and I know that it will be not only fun, but a huge success for the miniistry here at St. John's.  Thanks to all the people involved and to those of you who donated to our class basket.

Blessing to you and yours this weekend! 


Fifth Grade News - March 24, 2017

As I told the fifth graders this week, they are "spitting" distance from sixth grade!  I can't believe that we are in the fourth quarter of school already.  Especially because there is still so much to do.  I hope you had a chance to check your child's third quarter report card this weekend.  They were released after school on Friday.  

Overall fifth grade is doing very well.  Two areas of possible concern - Math has become harder for a lot of them due to fractions.  I have already taught the basics of fractions two times, and after giving a test last Friday, realized that some of the fifth grader math students are still not getting it.  My plan for next week is to move along those who get it, and review again for those who are still struggling.  It's funny - do fractions seem that hard to you?  My twenty-plus years of experience have proven to me that it really is a very hard concept for kids to grasp.  So we will keep chugging along until I feel confident that everyone understands.  

The other area of concern is Memory.  I only give the fifth graders the Memory verse for the week.  On Monday I use that verse for my devotion, so we talk about it and what it means.  I have the kids write their Memory Friday morning.  In the past few weeks probably a third of the kids don't really know the verses.  This is a problem for two reasons - their Memory grade has suffered, but more importantly, they don't have these verses in their heart and mind.  How many times have you thought of a particular verse when you were struggling with something?  I know I do!  I feel that this is the most important reason to memorize Bible verses - to have them available to you when you need help or you have an opportunity to witness to someone.  So if your child's Memory grade is not satisfactory, please help them to realize the importance of working on it.  

This week we worked on Religion lessons about Jesus and what He's done for us, even though we have done nothing to deserve it.  In Math we took a little side trip because the third and fourth graders weren't in Math due to play practice.  So I combined Math and Language Arts, and we did a study of fairy tales.  In Math each day we did a STEM activity, and then used various math skills to solve word problems.  One day the kids made a slide for Rapuzel to escape with.  Another day they made a house of straw, sticks, or bricks in the style of The Three Little Pigs.  On Wednesday it was replicating Cinderella's castle with pattern blocks, and on Thursday they made a better bed for Baby Bear.  On Friday we did work with maps - which would have helped Hansel and Gretel.  In Language Arts we talked about the elements of a fairy tale, compared the same fairy tale, but from different countries, and then the kids wrote their own fractured fairy tale.  All great fun!  In Reading the kids chose either a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book which they are reading in class and using for their next book project.  The plan is for all this work to be done in school.  It will be due before Easter break.  I have such fond memories of Nancy Drew from my childhood, and I think they kids are enjoying them as well.  In Social Studies we are expanding west - talking about the Louisianna Purchase, Lewis and Clark, and the War of 1812.  In Science we worked on weather - extreme weather, forecasting, and what's the difference between climate and weather.  In Computer the kids worked with Google Docs - following specific instructions to be able to e-mail me their work.  Pretty easy for some - harder for others.  It's funny - everyone can play crazy games on the computer, but typing a letter and e-mailing it was much harder.  A skill to be worked on.  In PE we are doing ping pong which some of the kids have gotten quite good at.  Next week we will have the "Sweet 15" ping pong competition.  The kids also had Art with Ms. Laska, Music with Mrs. Jurica, and Spanish with Mr. Bryant.  

We had a chance to check out the sheep at the dress rehearsal for the musical on Friday afternoon.  Kudos to the kids, teachers, and Mrs. Jurica for a job well done.  I especially liked how excited the kids seem to be to be a part of this producition.

Next week we will be doing a new unit in Language Arts in connection with our visit to the zoo on April 4th.  We will be travelling West in Social Studies and continuing to try to conquer those fractions.

I hope that many of you have the opportunity to attend the PTL Auction on the 1st.  The PTL and many others have been working hard to make this event a success, and as a teacher, I'm so grateful for all they do for the kids and me.  Enjoy this night!

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!