Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - Final Edition

June 9, 2017


Dear Fifth Grade Parents,            

            Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was welcoming you and your child to fifth grade.  Well we have done a lot since that first day of school in August . . .

+  Close to 100 Religion lessons, just as many devotions, 9 important places in the Bible research projects, and a whole sex ed unit;

+  12 units in Math, including everything from addition to measurement  to geometry, and finally somewhat conquering fractions;

+ 8 different Language Arts parts of speech, various kinds of writing, including several research projects, a whole bunch of poetry, and more thank-you notes than I can count;

+ 10 novels read in class, and multiple book reports;

+ Numerous projects in Social Studies, including explorers, the Revolutionary War, the Westward Movement, and the Civil War;

+ 11 chapters in Science, including everything from plants to gravity, including quite a few cool labs;

+ 10 Gym units, including nutrition, ping pong, baseball, Minute-to-Win-It, scooters, and tennis;

+ Music classes with Mrs. Jurica, Computer classes with me, Art with Ms. Laska, and Spanish with Mr. Bryant;

+ 9 Field Trips, including 5 visits to Harmony House;

+ 3 sessions of MAP testing (with great progress, I might add);

+ Monthly visits to the Plus-60 group;

+ 1 Academic Fair;

+ 3 Junior Achievement Classes;

+ 1 Week of Springerim classes;

+ 2 Chapel services that we led; and

+ 1 Christmas service.

            When you think about the year in terms of things that we’ve accomplished, it’s pretty amazing what one teacher and fifteen students can get done in such a relatively short period of time.  But I have to tell you, while all of the above is pretty impressive, the thing I am most proud of is how the fifth graders have matured in their Bible knowledge, faith life, and in their relationships with others.

            They have learned how to solve problems by talking and showing compassion rather than tattling and complaining.  They each have also developed a true servant’s heart.  This was most apparent when we visited Harmony House or went downstairs to entertain the Plus-60 Group.  The fifth graders were so kind and loving towards the folks at Harmony House, not only singing and sharing other talents, but shaking hands, giving hugs, and having conversations.  For some of the folks at Harmony House, our fifth graders may have been the only loving attention they received all day.  In addition to all this, they also helped around school – setting up chairs, moving things for Mr. Markworth, and any other thing that we were asked to do.  How blessed we were to have these opportunities to joyfully serve others!

            I hope that I’ve taught the kids a few things about numbers and sentences and wars and plants, but more importantly, about the power of prayer.  We prayed together when we were nervous before tests, when we went on field trips, when we heard about some tragedy on the news, and when we were worried about the health or happiness of someone we loved.  We gave thanks everyday for the many blessings we have been given, especially our St. John’s School family.  We truly lived the verse from 1 Thessalonians – Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

            My prayer for you and your newly-promoted sixth grader is that you both continue to trust in God’s plan for the future.  Pray often and give thanks for everything because you are all truly blessed and loved children of our Heavenly Father!


  Mrs. Rocans




Fifth Grade News - Second-to-Last Edition

My non-teaching husband keeps reminding me that these last few days of school are easy because "how much more do you have to do anyway?"  My teaching friends, on the other hand, know first hand that these are truly the hardest days of school.  Don't get me wrong - I still love being with and teaching the fifth graders everyday - but it becomes harder and harder to keep everyone going in the right direction - both literally and figuratively.  My strategy, after all these years, is to keep chugging along working like we've done all year.  Hence the homework you've seen coming home on the second-to-last week of school.

Some last week housekeeping - please have your child return any books that they may have at home.  Most of our hardcover books are here at school, but they all need to be returned by next week.  This includes any library books. 

Nex Thursday the fifth graders and I are going to Wilson Park (weather permitting) for a picnic and to play.  My plan is to leave around 11:30 and spend a few hours there.  In order to do this, I need a few extra adults to chaperone both the walk over and the time at the park.  Would you let me know if you are able/willing to join us.

Some words of thanks - thanks to those of you who joined us for Chapel on Wednesday.  It was fun to squeeze in leading another Chapel because the kids and I really enjoy doing it.  Also many thanks to Mrs. Franklin and Mr. Markworth for their technical support and Mrs. Heinze and Mrs. Jurica for their music help. 

Words of thanks to Mr. Friend and Mrs. Mayrens who joined us for our walk over to Wilson Park on Wednesday to play tennis for the end of our unit.  There are actually quite a few good tennis players in the group, so I hope they have a chance to play over the summer. 

My weekend will be, sadly, filled with all the preparations for the end of the school year.  I've really had a great year with your children, but I'll save the details for next week! 

Blessings on your weekend, and I hope to see you at the church picnic.   


Fifth Grade News - Memorial Day Edition

Well last week we had a rap artist visit us, so how could we possibly top that?  How about chickens?!  Ms. Laska, our Art teacher, has chickens and kindly offered to bring them in to visit fifth grade.  We have been doing research about chickens and eggs, and we wrote a chicken story that we gave Ms. Laska as a thank you.  She brought her four hens who were quite large and a lot of fun.  You should have seen them strutting around our room.  The kids got to hold and feed them, and Ms. Laska shared even more chicken information.  I never knew that raising chickens was so much work!  I love that I teach in a school that allows me to share these kind of fun things with my students.  Again, a big word of thanks to Ms. Laska for her willingness to share her chickens with us.  

Today, sadly, is Jerry's last day here at St. John's.  His family will be moving out to the suburbs, and we wish them God's blessings in the future.  I know that God has great things planned for Jerry, as he is a bright and talented young man.  Thanks to Alicia and Kaylani who organized a party for Jerry and to everyone who contributed treats.  

Since it seems like the days are slipping away from us, I extended the time for the biography book project until next Friday.  We can no longer check out books from our library, so the kids are on their own to find a book about a historical figure.  They need to complete the poster part of the project as well as be prepared with an oral report.  Thanks for your help with this.

Next week we will have a test on the Civil War.  We have been working on this for quite some time, and the kids have pages where we have gathered information from our Social Studies book, videos, and discussions.  They will come home with a study guide so you'll know how to help them prepare.

There are so many things going on this time of the year, so be sure to check the Parent Bulletin.  Highlights inlcude the St. John's picnic which is Sunday, June 4th.  Please pray for good weather this year.  The fifth graders will be having a sixth grade move-up day the last week of school where they will get to spend time with each of the third floor teachers.  It's always sad for me to see them go up there, but I love how excited they are when they get back - looking forward to all the things they will be doing next year.

I hope that you have had opportunity to register for next year.  I know that there is some new technology involved, so we appreciate your taking the time to take care of this.  Also Mrs. Franklin, as well as the other third floor teachers, are more than willing to answer any questions you may have about next year's plans.  We have been working all year to prepare for the big move to to the third floor, and I know that the kids are ready - even thought I most certainly don't want to give them up!

We have a long weekend so that we have time to celebrate Memorial Day.  Did you know that this day originally started as a way to honor those lost in the Civil War?  The kids and I have been doing some Memorial Day related activities as well as sending notes to the local veteran's hospital.  We can never forget the sacrifice made by so many so that we can live free - especially free to honor our God.  I remind the kids frequently how blessed we are that we are in a school where we can talk and pray to God everyday.  These rights and freedoms can never be taken for granted!  

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - May 19, 2017

Here is why I love fifth grade and fifth graders - we discussed the following topics this week in class:

- Office of the Keys and clapping in church,

- Batting averages and Decimals in Space,

- Breeds of chickens and eggs,

- Cow gas and the greenhouse effect,

- Sue the dinosaur and how she got her name,

- Slavery and spirituals,

- Gettysburg Address and infantry,

- Floating and atoms, and

- Tennis.

It's funny how we start discussing one thing and that leads us to look something up and talk about another thing.  As you can well imagine, there's a whole lot of "discussing" going on in fifth grade - and I love it!  Be sure to ask your child what they know about these topics.

In addition to all that we had a visitor this week that I was so excited about.  One of my former students from about twenty years ago stopped by to talk to us about how he went from being a ten year old future NBA star to a musician and actor.  He was one of my favorite students, and I love how he shared with the kids about fulfilling their dreams - but maybe not the one they thought.  This really made me think about where my current fifth graders will be twenty years from now.  I could probably make some predictions, but only God knows for sure!  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you", and He sure has shown me that many times in my own life.

Next week we have a regular-old week, but we are having some special visitors which should be fun.  In addition we will be having a Math test on Friday on decimals and percents.  We should also be finishing up our Sojourner Truth book and our study of the Civil War.

Please be sure that your child has done their research on a historical figure for the book project that is due next Friday.  They don't have to read a whole big book - just gather information about the person and display it on a poster board.  They do need to be prepared to give a short speech as that person.  Thanks for your help.

We are currently suffering from a combination of sinus infections, allergies, and a whole bunch of headaches in our class.  Part of the problem, at least as I can figure, is that it has gotten too hot, too quickly.  Weren't we just wearing coats last week?  And while we do have the air conditioning on, the kids are really thirsty.  I've been giving them paper cups to fill up, but it would really be helpful if they had a water bottle.  A lot of the time I think that the many headaches are from not drinking enough.  Thanks for your help with this.

Blessings to you and your this weekend! 



Fifth Grade News - May 12th

Happy Mother's Day to all the women who love my fifth graders!  The kids and I did some research about the history of Mother's Day, and did you know that the woman who invented Mother's Day didn't like what Mother's Day became?  She originally promoted the idea because she had lost her own mother and wanted people to have an opportunity to spend time with their mothers.  Instead it had turned into a commerical holiday - filled with commercials of all the things you were supposed to buy your mother to show you loved her!  I hope that you and  your family get to spend time just enjoying being together this Mother's Day.

Speaking of mothers, we owe a word of thanks to a bunch of fifth grade moms.  Thanks to Mrs. Monroy-Pop and Mrs. Romero who joined the non-track kids last Friday.  Thanks to their help we were able to walk over to Luther North to watch the track kids and then enjoy some ice cream at Dairy Queen.  Thanks to Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Nieves, and Mrs. Radcliff for joining us Wednesday at Harmony House.  We had a great visit with the kids singing, playing the harmonica, piano, and guitar, and teling jokes.  We, of course, also played bingo which is always the highlight.  I am so pleased that we have been able to make so many visits to Harmony House this year.  It really is a blessings for not only the residents there, but for our kids as well.  Thanks to Mr. Markworth for driving us.

This week we took the spring MAP tests.  I wish you could see the kids taking these tests.  You can really tell which ones they like and which they don't.  The Language and Reading are always stinkers because they require reading long passages and answering questions.  Plus you have to sit still for a really long time!  Not fifth grade's best skill.  We took several of the tests last period which made it extra hard to focus.  Overall the kids did well, and you should expect the full results of your child's tests in the next few weeks.  It's funny the kids still think that their going to sixth grade depends on how they do on these tests.  I assured them that they are all going to sixth grade - no matter what!  Of course I say that even though I would love to keep all of them with me for another year.

Today was the Ice Cream Social/Book Fair/Registration Night, so I hope that you had opportunity to browse some books, eat some ice cream, and do some investigating about next year.  Mrs. Franklin has some really cool plans for how she is going to organize sixth grade next year, and I told her that this was a great bunch of kids to do this with because they are so easy to work with.  Thanks to those of you who were able to take care of registering for next year - it really helps us plan for the next school year.

This week, besides testing and a field trip, we still did some work, including working more on poetry and starting a new reading book.  We are reading a biography of Sojourner Truth to go along with our study of the Civil War.  This is the only non-fiction book we've read as a class, and I think it is going to be beneficial to the kids to see that it is a different kind of reading.  In addition I gave the kids their next book project - a poster to go along with a biography of a historical person.  The specific directions went home on Wednesdday, and the project is due Friday, May 26th.  We also finished up our measurement unit in Math and the baseball unit in Gym.  

Next week is a pretty regular week, if there is such a thing, with the exception of a half day on Friday.  That night is a big one for our eighth graders as we all will be attending the eighth grade recognition dinner.  This is always such a joyful celebration of the kids, some of them having been at St. John's their whole school career.  Extended care is available Friday afternooon - paperwork about that went home this week.

Again, Happy Mother's Day to all of you.  Is there any greater blessing in our lives than those children and grandchildren that God has given us to love?  Enjoy!