Fifth-Grade Class News

 Robin Rocans, Fifth-Grade Teacher


Fifth Grade News - April 13, 2018

I hope that your family had a blessed Easter break.  It was fun to hear about the places the kids went and the things they were able to do.  

As we come back from break, we are starting the fourth quarter of fifth grade.  The third quarter report cards will be released this afternoon at 3:30.  There are no scheduled parent-teacher conferences at this time, but as always, please let me know if you would like to meet to talk about your child's report card and progress this year.  The kids are doing a fine job though I still have to do a bit more nagging than I'd like about turning in homework.  I realize that kids get tired of working, especially when the weather starts getting nicer, but that doesn't mean you stop doing your best which is the message I deliver quite often in the fourth quarter.

This week we started a bunch of new units - adding and subtracting fractions in Math - poetry in Language Arts - fairy tales in Reading - the study of Earth in Science - and bowling in Gym.  We are talking about the life of Jesus in Religion, including the calling of the first disciples.  We discussed if we would be able to leave everything and everybody we loved to follow Jesus like the disciples did.  We agreed that it would be tough.  In Social Studies we finished up the various parts of our Westward Movement project - biographies, pictures, trunks, wagon, map, and journal.  The kids also had Spanish, Music, and Computer with Mr. Friend.

We also started the group rehearsals for the up-coming musical.  The fifth through eighth graders will be presenting the musical on both Friday and Saturday nights - April 27th and 28th.  All the kids are involved, and it really is a fun story with plenty of joyful music.  Please plan on joining us.

Also coming up is the PTL Auction.  The fifth graders are working on a special class project that will be available for purchase that night.  So many people have put in so much time to make this a successful event, and it should be a great evening of fun and fellowship.  

Next Wedesday the fifth graders will be leading the school in Chapel.  They are going to be singing, playing instruments, reading, and sharing the message, and we would love to have you join us.  Chapel starts at 9:00 and usually lasts about 35 minutes.  

This Saturday is the St. John's Rummage Sale, and I know there is still a need for volunteers, especially for clean up.  No need to send a form - just stop by if you are able to help.  You would be surprised how many hours many volunteers work to make this not only a profitable event for St. John's, but also a benefit to our community.  Stop by and check out the many treausres.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend which might just feel like Spring!


Fifth Grade News - Springim/Easter Edition



Monday afternoon we went to the Dollar Tree to purchase items for our Easter baskets for Harmony House.  

Also on Monday we made blankets for the dog rescue.

On Tuesday we delivered the blankets to the dog rescue and meet several dogs.

On Wednesday we visited with the residents at Harmony House and shared the Easter baskets we made.

Wednesday afternoon we baked for the workers at the fire station and delivered all the treats on Thursday morning.

Big thanks to the people that made all these activities possible - Victoria’s mom, Jaeliany’s mom, Jude’s mom, Kyla’s grandma, Kevin’s mom, Justin’s mom, Addie’s dad, my daughter Lisa, and the Philip family for their generous donation of two Thrivent grants.

I can’t tell you how it felt to be able to share these experiences with the fifth graders.  In all cases they represented themselves and St. John’s very well, all while making a lot of people - and dogs - very happy.  And isn’t this what our school is all about - putting God’s love in action. And what a better time to do that than at Easter when we remember and celebrate what Jesus did for us - not because we did anything to deserve it - but because He loves us!  

Blessings to you and your family as we celebrate our Risen Savior!


Fifth Grade News - March 23, 2018

The fifth graders and I had another fun, but busy, week.  In Religion we are talking about God the Father - how He cares for us, protects us, and loves us even though we are sinners.  We also talked about Palm Sunday and how it leads up to Holy Week.  In Math we are working on those pesky fractions.  I'm surprised every year how hard this whole concept is for fifth graders.  But the good news is that every year there are more and more resources to help teach about simplest form, decimals and fractions, etc., so this year it seems a bit easier.  We reviewed today, and we will be having a test on the basics of fractions on Monday.  In Language Arts we finished up adjectives - popping and eating some microwave popcorn to practice sensory adjectives.  We also read Flat Stanley - a cute book about a boy who is flattened and then uses his flatness to have adventures and help others.  I used this book for two reasons - to practice answering questions while providing evidence of your answer from the story - and it send one of our Flat Stanleys with Captain Amy for an adventure.  She had shown us a picture of her daughter's Flat Stanley travelling with her, so I thought it would be fun to see where she could take ours.  In Reading we watched the movie of Bridge to Terabithia and did some comparing between the book and the movie.  We then read some short stories and used them to talk about the elements of fiction.  In Social Studies the kids are moving west.  Not to the suburbs, but the West of the 1800's.  They are grouped in "families" and so far have come up with biographies and pictures of themselves, packed their wagon and trunks, and built a wagon to travel in.  This is always a fun activity for the kids, so check out their projects which are displayed in our hallway.  In Science we finished up our chapter on weather - talking about forecasting and what the difference is between weather and climate.  This has fit in quite nicely with some of the amazing sky pictures Captain Amy has shown us.  For Computer this week the kids did some research on Aviation Firsts, in Gym we finished up our ping pong unit with a fifth grade tournament (winner still to be announced), and the kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.  

Next week will be a fun one as we will be doing our own version of Springim.  I have service project activities planned for each day.  Thanks to those of you who volunteered to drive.  We need drivers for both Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, so if you are able, please let me know.  In addition we have walking service projects on Monday and Friday, so if you'd like to join us for those, please let me know.  I chose service projects for my Springim class because I think it so easy for us to forget how blessed we are, myself included.  I feel these projects are a good way to put "God's Love in Action" as our gym proclaims.

Please don't forget about the up-coming PTL auction.  I've had several moms offer to help with our class project, and families have also contributed to our yellow basket.  Thanks for your support of this event.  I'm grateful to the PTL every time the kids use the chromebooks in our room, and it was the proceeds from the auction last year that made them possible. 

The fifth graders and I received a fun surprise in the mail this week which I have copied on the back of this note.  We read the book Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman a while back, and for a culminating activity I had the kids write their own chapter for the book.  The books was written from the point of view of each person involved having their own chapter, so that's what the kids did too.  I sent several of the kids' stories to Mr. Fleischman, and we received a note from him.  What was especially fun was that it was a hand-written note, including details about the stories we wrote.  He refers to "catnip" which is a detail Addie had included in her story.  I always tell the kids that you never know what God has planned for your future - maybe one of the fifth graders will be a famous writer someday, so I loved that we had this opportunity.   

Blessings to you and your family this weekend!


Fifth Grade News - March 16, 2018

Some words of thanks before we get to what's been going on in fifth grade.  Thanks to everyone who sent treats to help us celebrate Pi Day on Wednesday.  We could have just measured plain old circles, but measuring pies and donuts and other circular food was much more fun.  Thanks to Victoria's mom who came in to help us with some editing on Thursday.  It's so helpful to have two people working with the kids and their writing.  

This week we talked about angels, the devil, and heaven and hell in Religion.  Makes for some interesting discussions.  I used the child version of Heaven is For Real as my devotion on Thursday which is a sweet book and one that really makes you think about what heaven is going to be for us.  In Math we are working hard on fractions.  There are so many different topics involved - equivalent, GCF, LCM, simplifying,  oh my!  So far the kids seem to be catching on.  We will have a test sometime next week.  In Language Arts Mr. Bouman, our literacy coach, taught a lesson about adjectives with special forms, specifically good, better, best.  We used a quote from Tim Duncan, famous NBA basketball player, to start the discussion.  The kids wrote a paragraph about what they are good, better, and best at.  I've attached a few to this newsletter because I think they did a great job.  In Reading we finished up Bridge to Terabithia, and the plan is to watch the movie and compare.  In Social Studies the kids started the Westward Movement project where they are broken into families and have to plan their journey west.  In Science we are talking about weather which ties in quite nicely to what Captain Amy, our Adopt-a-Pilot from Southwest Airlines, has been talking about.  Plus she has some fabulous pictures of clouds!  In PE we played ping pong on Tuesday and some silly St. Patrick's Day games on Wednesday.  We also did various St. Patrick's Day acitivites in other subjects, including writing a persuasive paragraph about why the leprechaun should give us his gold.  In Art we made a picture with Celtic knots.  The kids also had Music, Spanish, and Computer with Mr. Friend.

I need to ask you a favor.  Originally the fifth graders were going to participate in the 5th through 8th grade Springim the week before Easter.  However, I've decided that instead of being part of the third floor activities, I'm going to do my special activity, Nurturing a Servant's Heart, just with fifth grade that week.  My plan is to have the kids do various service projects helping not only our school, but people in the community.  To make this happen, I need some drivers.  The bus is still being worked on, but Dr. Hendricks has given me permission to have parents drive.  For sure we are going to Harmony House, the nursing home we usually visit once a month, on Wednesday, and I have another idea for either Tuesday or Thursday morning.  If you would be able to help us, would you please let me know.  And thanks for being willing to provide our kids with these kinds of opportunities.

Speaking of opportunities, please check the Parent Bulletin this week for up-coming events, specifically the many church services that lead up to Easter.  Also there is an Open House on Sunday if you yourself would like to check it out or know of someone who is looking for a good Lutheran school for their children.  Also the PTL Auction is coming up in a few weeks.  This is always such a well-done event, and the support that PTL gives the teachers and kids is amazing.  Just stop by our classroom one day when everyone is busy either doing research or writing papers on their Chromebooks.  We are indeed blessed by this hard-working group of parents.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend.



Fifth Grade News - March 9, 2018

Did your fifth graders tell you about Captian Amy or Brutus?  We had these two visitors to our classroom this week - Brutus, the dog, as part of our Chapel on Wednesday with the Comfort Dogs and Captian Amy as part of Southwest Airlines Adopt-a-Pilot program.  While hearing about a tragedy on the news is always disheartening, hearing that the Comfort Dogs are travelling there to help always warms my heart.  This is a group of volunteers who train and care for these dogs so that they can provide comfort to people dealing with some type of a tragedy.  And the best part is they do it from a Christian perspecitive.  What a fun way to witness!  Captain Amy Williams flies for Southwest Airlines and has been coming to my class for the last few years to talk about all things planes and travel.  She goes way beyond what the program dictates and incorporates her own story of being a vet and deciding to fly airplanes instead.  She also has some amazing pictures of the many places she has travelled.  She also throws in a bunch of science and weather.  The best thing is she is Christian, so she even includes God in the mix.  I set this program up orginally not knowing who would come, but turns out Amy's parents worship at the same church I do, so it's been a fun connection.  

Did the kids mention that I wasn't here on Wednesday?  Well I hope they at least noticed!  Mr. Tom Clark was our sub, and he always does a fabulous job.  His taking over allowed me to attend VIP Day at my grandchildren's school which was an absolute treat.  

This week we started back up with our regular Religion lessons after finishing Sex Ed, started a fraction unit (always a challenge), began working with adjectives, continued reading Bridge to Terabithia, talked about Lewis and Clark and the Louisianna Purchase, and finshed up a chapter on water in Science.  In Gym we started a unit on ping pong, and in Art we did a project that made everyone look like they were flying.  The kids are working on the musical with Mrs. Jurica, Spanish words with Mr. Bryant, and coding with Mr. Friend.

Next week we will continue with the same topics, except in Social Studies we are going to be headed West!  We will also be doing a bunch of St. Patrick's Day activities. 

I hope you had a chance to check your child's mid-quarter report because there are some fifth graders that need a bit more direction at home.  Please check that your child is doing the work assigned because receiving a "0" on an assignment really affects their grade.  Ask them about the assignment I send in my e-mail - they should be able to show you each one.  

This is the weekend when our clocks spring ahead - bad news because we lose some sleep - good news because it means Spring is coming.  Blessings to you and yours this weekend!