Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher

Thursday
Feb152018

Fifth Grade News - February 15

Short week . . . short note.  Thanks to everyone who sent treats and Valentine's Day wishes for the kids.  They really had fun passing things out and eating a bunch of sweet treats.  We didn't have a party really, but we did do several Valentine's Day activities including making a catapult as a STEM activity in Math class to fling valentine's hearts into a valentine's cup.  We also wrote stories using those sugary sweet candy hearts.  It was fun to see how creative the kids could be.  

In Religion this week we continued our sex ed unit with a discussion about how we look and how much of our looks and personality comes from our family.  In Math we reviewed multiplying decimals and worked on dividing decimals.  We will be having a test next week - study guide to come home beforehand.  In Language Arts we are still working on verbs.  The kids don't seem to have a clear understanding of the different kinds of verbs, and I'm trying to decide (with Mr. Bouman, our literacy coach's help) if I should just move on.  Grammar is so important when writing, however, teaching these skills over and over doesn't really help.  In Reading we continued with Bridge to Terabithia - such a lovely story about friendship.  In Social Studies we talked and did research about the Northwest Territory.  It's funny to think that we live in what was originally considered the northwest.  In Science we talked about ecology and being responsible for the earth God has given us.  In Gym we are doing a Winter Olympics unit.  The hockey games on Wednesday looked the battles between Russia and the United States!  The kids had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  

We also finished up the last of the MAP tests on Monday, and the kids have really done quite well.  I was proud of their progress, especially in Math which so many of them proclaim not to like.  Please look for results to be coming home in a few weeks.

Next week we don't have school on Monday to honor President's Day.  The kids will be working on several projects to learn more about past presidents.  Believe it or not, next Friday is the mid-point of the third quarter.  You will be able to view your child's mid-quarter report the following Friday on Fast Direct.  Please be sure to check Fast Direct so that you can keep a handle on how your child is doing.  Many times the kids will ask me "How is my Math grade?" or "Do I have any misssing assignments?"  All this information is available everyday on Fast Direct.  

Tomorrow the teachers will be attending what's called an Urban Teachers' Conference at Concordia University.  This is an all-day meeting where we will continue to address issues in writing that we've been working on this year.  While these meetings are always valuable and a good chance for fellowship and sharing between Lutheran teachers, I'd much rather be back at school with my fifth graders!  

Blessings on your weekend!

Wednesday
Feb072018

Fifth Grade News - February 9

Well this has been quite the week what with all the snow, cold weather, and MAP tests.  We didn't go out Monday or Tuesday due to the weather, but I did take the kids out Wednesday to get some fresh air and enjoy the cool snow hill.  The problem is the kids don't all have boots, hats, gloves, scarves, or snowpants.  I understand that not every fifth graders wants to play on the snow hill so everyone doesn't need to have snowpants.  But the parking lot is often wet so boots would be helpful, and it's cold out there with no protection from the wind, so they really needs hats and gloves.  Thanks for helping me keep the fifth graders safe and warm.

As I'm writing this the kids have taken both the Language and Math MAP tests and have done quite well.  They will finish up the Reading and Science tests in the next few days.  These tests are not only hard in the material they cover, but have you ever tried to keep seventeen kids quiet and sitting still and working for an hour?!  Not easy, but the kids are taking the testing seriously which is important.  I assured them that the tests don't count for a grade, and they won't prevent them from going to sixth grade.  But they are an opportunity for the kids to show how hard they have worked and how they are using their God-given gifts.  And let me tell you how rewarding it is to have tangible proof that they are learning something!  Please look for your child's results to be coming home in next few weeks.

We have started our lessons on sex ed.  So far we have talked about the differences between boys and girls, especially in how people view them, the parts of the body, and how God has blessed us each with a special family to be part of.  So far the kids seem to be enjoying these lessons and seem quite comfortable talking about the various topics.  We will continue these lessons during the next two weeks.  In Math we are working on multiplying and dividing decimals - sounds hard, doesn't it?  But if you know a bunch of "cheap tricks" as I call them, they are pretty simple.  We will be having a test on this unit sometime next week, with a study guide to come home in order to prepare.  In Language Arts we are tackling the various kinds of verbs.  Why can't we just have plain old verbs instead of main verbs, helping verbs, linking verbs?  I think we're getting closer to figuring it out, and as I told the kids, it's important to know about these because it helps when you are writing a paper or story.  In Language Arts we also did some work in honor of Black History Month.  In Reading we started a new novel, Bridge to Terabithia, to go along with friendship.  It's a great story that allows for plenty of discussion.  It was written in the 1970's, so it gives me a chance to talk about how things were "way back then".  In Social Studies we finished up our study and took a test on the Revolutionary War.  This was a lot of work and the kids are really getting pretty good at taking note and doing research.  In Science we worked with animal adaptations and our responsibility to take care of the world that God has given us.  The kids also had Music and Spanish classes, but no gym or Art due to MAP testing in the afternoon.

Next week is a short one with the kids having off on Friday so the teachers can go to a conference at Concordia University, but we still have plenty of work to get done.  As I mentioned we will continue with sex ed and take a Math test.  We are going to start a unit on government in Social Studies and water in Science.  We are also going to start a special PE unit.  

If we are able to get a bus, we will be going to Harmony House on Wednesday.  If you would like to join us, we would love to have you.  

Wednesday is also Valentine's Day and while we don't have an official party, the kids are more than welcome to bring cards or treats.  I love that fifth graders still enjoy doing that.  Please be aware of peanuts when sending treats.  

I hope that when you are reading this there isn't nine inches of snow outside your window.  Unless of course it means that we had a snow day which I highly doubt.  Blessings to you this winter weekend, and I hope you have a chance to enjoy time with your family and worshipping your Lord!

Thursday
Feb012018

Fifth Grade News - February 2, 2018

We were blessed this week to have Jessa's grandpa, Grandpa Will, lead us in Chapel on Wednesday.  He shared a wonderful message about God's Word - how it is true and reliable and how we can use it in our everyday lives.  I was blessed to have plenty of fifth grade volunteers help with the service.  A bunch of the kids played instruments - bells, piano, and violin - another bunch sang - and couple of the boys read the scripture readings.  The best part is that they willingly offered to help.  This is one of the many things I love about fifth graders - they have so many things that they are good at, but they don't feel funny doing things in front of people.  They all did a great job, and I was proud of them.  Thanks to those of you who were able to join us.  The fifth graders will be leading their own Chapel later in the spring when all the kids will be involved.  

This week we finished up with the Ten Commandments, worked on multiplying decimals, still tried to figure out the different kinds of verbs, finished our novel, continued with the Revolutionary War, talked about changes in ecosystems and our responsibility to care for what God has given us, did the last few Minute to Win It challenges, and made an art picture with little pieces of paper using pointillism.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend where they are working on coding. 

Next week the whole school will be taking MAP tests.  We will take four tests - Language, Reading, Math, and Science - one each day from Tuesday to Friday.  It will be interesting to see the progress the kids have made up to this point of fifth grade. 

I hope you had a chance to check your child's report card last Friday.  As I said everyone is doing well, though there are still some struggles with homework.  I have cracked down a bit this week with missing homework and a little bit of mischief.  Either will get your name on the board which results in not only losing your sticker for the day, but also your snack time.  You can still go to the bathroom and eat your snack, but you need to stay in your seat.  I told the kids today that after this step would come having to walk laps at recess rather than playing.  I'm hoping that we don't have to get to that, but I feel it is important for them to follow the rules and act how you and I would want them to act while in school.  

Tonight is the fun fair sponsored by eighth grade, so I hope you have a chance to have some fun and support a great bunch of kids.  Also looking ahead the PTL Auction is coming up in the spring, so please continue to check the Parent Bulletin for further information.

So far, praise God, fifth grade hasn't been affected by the flu epidemic, though we have had a few kids out with minor stomach issues.  While I'm hoping that the kids really enjoy coming to school, please do keep them home if they aren't feeling well.  We spend a lot of time together so germs could easily get the best of us.  

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!

 

Friday
Jan262018

Fifth Grade News - January 26, 2018

What a week it has been!  There has been a whole lot of "shenanigans" - dressing up in crazy ways, eating donuts from a string, hitting a whiffle ball or catching a football - but there has also been some thoughtful celebrations - joining together as a school each morning for devotions, coloring cards for Phil's Friends (a cancer support group), and having chapel with our VIP's.  To me that is the best part of the week, and the real reason to celeberate - that we can worship our God at school and share that experience with others.  Thank you all for your support of St. John's Lutheran School and me in particular.  I feel so blessed to be able to hang out with your children each day and to share with them the good news of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

We didn't do a whole lot of regular school work, but we did manage to squeeze a lesson or two about the ten commandments, a math test, a great verb lesson by Mr. Bouman (our literacy coach), a few chapter of our novel, a bit more about the Revolutionary War, and a look at the nitrogen cycle.  We didn't have gym or Computer or Art this week because most of our activities were in the afternoon, but the kids did have Music with Mrs. Jurica, including a national sing along for Lutheran Schools Week, and Spanish class with Mr. Bryant.

Hard to believe, but we are already in the third quarter of fifth grade.  Please be sure to check your child's report card today on Fast Direct.  There are no formal parent-teacher conferences scheduled, but I would, of course, love to meet with you to discuss your child and their progress so far this year.  Please let me know if you would like to meet so we can schedule a time.  While everyone is doing well, there are still some problems with getting homework done and turned in.  The fifth graders fill in their planner every afternoon, I check it, and I send a homework e-mail to each of you, so if they are telling you there was no homework, please check all those places.  It breaks my heart to see a child have a low grade simply because they are not turning in work. 

In February, as part of our Religion lessons, I teach a unit on sex ed.  I feel that this is an important topic for fifth grade, especially in the world that they live in.  I will be sending home an outline and permission slip next week so that you know exactly what we will be talking about.  If you would like to meet to talk about this, please let me know. 

Blessings to you and your family this weekend!  

Thursday
Jan182018

Fifth Grade News - January 19

I am sure that somewhere in your time at St. John's someone has asked you "Why St. John's?" "Why a Lutheran school?"  "Why are you willing to sacrifice so that your child can come to this school?"  I know that I was asked this question when my daughter was a student at a Lutheran grammar school.  And I'm sure my daughter has been asked that question at the Lutheran school her three children attend.  Why a Lutheran school?  Well to quote one of the themes of Lutheran Schools Week "It's All About Jesus".  I think we often take for granted  being in a school where not only our teaching, but our discipline and interactions with each other are Bible-based.  And how about the fact that we can and do pray about everything!  And because we are focused on what God says, we truly are a family here at St. John's.  Now sometimes treating each other like brothers and sisters can be a problem, and I do feel that the kids think this is their home away from home (just check out all the clothes thrown on the locker room floor during gym).  But how about the fact that everyone knows everyone and everyone cares about everyone, students and teachers alike.  I pray often for my grandchildren's teachers because I know the amazing responsibility and privilege it is to be entrusted with someone else's children.  So why St. John's Lutheran School?  I hope that it's because you know that your child is not only loved and cared for by all of us, but is reminded daily that they are loved and cared for by our God.    

Now on to the shenanigans . . . Please check the Parent Bulletin for the specifics, but each day there is a dress up theme and some sort of activity to go along with it.  We will also start each day with an all-school devotion led by the teachers which I love.  A flyer is coming home today regarding VIP Day which is Friday.  This is my favorite day of the week because I love having the chance to meet the people who are so important to my students.  Don't forget Friday is a half day with dismissal at 11:40.  

My plan this week was to have a Math test, but we are still working on these concepts which are quite the stinkers.  For some kids I think using variables and expressions is just too abstract, so I think I'm going to teach a bit more and then give a test next week sometime, probably Tuesday or Wednesday.  A study guide will come home so you know what your child needs to review.  After the test I'll look at the results and decide what to do with them.  I think I have about 75% of the fifth grade math students "getting it", so hopefully the test results will be good.  If I feel a child simply doesn't understand, I won't count those results against them.  

This week we looked at the fourth and fifth commandments, worked on those hard Math concepts, did some work with verbs, wrote a couple creative stories, learned about what the British did to "torture" the colonists and what happened as a result, worked on a food chain picture, did some Minute to Win It challenges, and learned a bit more about Martin Luther King, Jr.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  

Next week, along of the craziness of Lutheran Schools Week, I'm hoping to take the Math test, finish up a writing project for VIP Day, and move along with the Revolutionary War.  Don't forget that the kids' time line book project is due on Thursday.  The time line should not be about the book itself, but rather about the historical time period the book in set in.  

Today is the end of the second quarter - oh my.  I told the kids that they are half way to being sixth graders.  But there's still so much to be done!  I will be working on grades next week, and they will be posted on Fast Direct at 3:30 next Friday.  Everyone is doing fine, but there are still a bunch of kids who are having trouble getting homework turned in.  This really shouldn't be such a problem because they fill out a planner each day, I check it, and I send home a homework e-mail each afternoon.  Please be sure to hold your child accountable for homework.  If they are telling you that they don't have any, please check Fast Direct and their planner because we have homework every day, except Fridays.  And I don't normally let them turn things in early, so they should be able to show everything to you.  Thanks for helping us with this.  It breaks my heart to give kids lower grades simply because they haven't turned in work that they are certainly capable of doing.

Blessings to you and yours at what has been predicted to be a spring-like weekend!