Monday, November 10, 2008

Time is Flying!

I can hardly believe it is already November! The 15/20 Reading Challenge is going smoothly. Please continue to encourage your child to read each night and fill in their log sheets. We've read 110 books so far this year! Wow! Very Impressive!

Please look for information coming home about our 2nd Annual Christmas gift drive. Last year, the Lizards collected nearly 100 new gifts to give to families at Every Woman's Place.

Wednesday we will be taking the SRI, a reading inventory that gives each child a reading lexile. Please look for those reading levels to come home with your student this week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

15/20 Reading Challenge

As most parents are already aware, students will be involved in the 15/20 Reading Challenge for the rest of the year. Students who read a pre-approved book for 15 minutes a night for twenty nights a month will have met the challenge. This program is designed to encourage students to read books that interest them on a regular basis. Students seem very excited to be a part of this challenge as they check out books from me and the library. I strongly encourage parents to talk with their students each night about what is going on with their books. This will be a good opportunity for a comprehension check. I will be collecting the first 15/20 Reading Challenge sheets on Wednesday of this week. Students who meet the challenge each month not only receive an A for the challenge but also a coupon for a Pizza Hut pan pizza. Good luck and keep on reading!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It seems that most are catching on to the routine quite nicely this second week of school. Choir starts next Monday and Band starts on the 22nd of September. There is an informational meeting for parents about band on the 16th. Please check your child's planner for details.

In Social Studies, we've been working on learning our continents. We've just started introducing the Constitution as a build up to next week's Constitution Day. The first grades for Social Studies will be posted on Parent Viewer this weekend.

In Language Arts, we've started Writers' Workshop (quite successfully, I might add). Students have a lot to say and we're working on getting in down on paper in a coherent and interesting way. We're adding Sparkle Words wherever we can to make our writing more precise.

The Lizards are off to a great start!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Great First Week

Wow! What a great group of kids we have this year! From our initial impressions (oooh alliteration!), our students are geniunely interested in learning about the world around them. Many come in with valuable experiences that add to our discussions! What a fun year this is going to be!

We've dished out a lot of procedural information this week in an effort to set students up for success. Don't worry if your child is still uncertain about the way things work. The next couple of weeks will provide the experience they need to make their transition to fifth grade smooth.

In Language Arts, we've been writing Limericks to enter into a contest that the Chronicle is running for the Irish Music Festival. Students' final drafts are due at the end of the hour on Friday. I will then be mailing them out after school in an effort to meet the entry deadline. I was very impressed as I read through the rough drafts! We have a real shot at winning those cash prizes!

In Social Studies, we have started learning where the seven continents are. This information is critical background knowledge as we start to talk about explorers, colonization and government. Also, please make sure that your child has the designated supplies (1 inch binder, colored pencils and pencil pouch). We have already started to use these in class.

Next week, we have fall pictures on Wednesday. Keep your eyes open for picture package information to come home. I haven't seen any yet; but I would imagine something would be forthcoming.

Feel free to call, email or just stop by with any questions or concerns that you might have. I look forward to a fun-filled year of learning with your child. Thank you for all of your support!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Start to Another Fabulous Year!

Welcome to the Leapin' Lizards! I can't believe that the 08-09 school year is just around the corner! I am so excited to meet all of you at our Fifth Grade Orientation at the end of August. Reeths-Puffer Intermediate is a exciting building in which to teach and learn. We have planned a year packed with fun experiences and lasting memories!

This blog is where I will attempt to chronicle what we are doing in class and post reminders about upcoming events. Please visit often as I plan to update a couple of times a week. I also have a brief webpage on the Reeths-Puffer district website:

I look forward to meeting each of you as the school year starts! This will be the best year ever!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Time Is My Nemesis (Ooooh Sparkle!)

Okay, so time is not always my friend. I have been ultra busy and apologize for neglecting my blog. School has been crazy with recent visits to the county jail, courthouse and 911 dispatch. We saw our judicial system in action! It was very interesting to actually see the criminal process and see how what we are studying is actually implemented.

Today, we migrated to the high school to watch the dress rehearsal of Cinderella. Wow, was that jam-packed with figurative language! My kids who are obsessed with vocabulary were have a hay day! We'll just have schedule some more appointments with their vocabulary therapists!

As a matter of fact, we will be diving into the Unit 5 words starting on Friday. Look out! You never know where they might be hiding in the real world.

In Social Studies, as we continue to learn about the 13 British colonies, we will begin to thread in information about federal, state and local governments. Please take time to talk to your kids about these different levels and how they affect our everyday lives.

Remember Friday of next week is no school (for kids, not adults!). It is also the end of the third marking period. Oh my! Only one more marking period to go and so much to cover! Yikes!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jobs in the Real World

Students brought home a career survey today. They are to interview an adult that is employed full time. Most were talking about interviewing their parents. Please take this opportunity to talk to your kids about the realities of the working world. Later this week, I will be showing students the ugly world of the adult finances. Why is it important to have a job with health insurance? How much money do you really take home after taxes? And what bills are reality when it comes to juggling your money? I think this will be an eye-opening experience for them. It shall be interesting!

Remember that conferences are Wednesday and Thursday. Further, Thursday and Friday are half days (for students, not us!) I look forward to seeing all of you this week.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pocohontas: Real or Fiction?

For the past few classes we have been studying the details of Jamestown, the first English permanent colony. We've learned about several key players that took part in the Jamestown story: John Smith, King James, John Rolfe, Powhatan and Pocohontas. Yes, Pocohontas is a real person from history. Many students were able to relate to the Disney movie dedicated to her. Unfortunately, they often perceive movies as historicial truth. Hopefully, students have been able to create a new (more accurate) understanding of this period in time. Students will receive a practice test this week. Please ask your child about the practice test and take time to review the information. There will be a test the following week.

Wednesday and Thursday are Parent/Teacher Conferences. Specific times have been sent home with each student. Please return the slip confirming your attendance at your child's scheduled time. We look forward to meeting with you! See you this week.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Will We Ever Have a Normal Week?

Normal? What's that? It seems that we have been off schedule for the last couple of weeks with all the snow days and camp. And as we look ahead, we have mid-winter break and conferences to prevent us from having a full week until March. Whether that's good or bad, it's the way the scheduling cookie is going to crumble.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the parents that volunteered their time to brave the cold at Camp Pendalouan. It was frigid and snowy, but the kids had a great time! We had one of the best camp staffs yet. They were very energetic and knowlegeable.

Congratulations to all the students that made the first and second marking period honor rolls. It was exciting to see how many families were able to attend last Tuesday's assembly. Keep up the hard work and you'll continue to earn honor roll privileges!

Conference forms went home last week with students. Please fill out times that work for your family and return to your child's language arts teacher. Look for a confirmation letter with your scheduled conference time to come home in the next week.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Camp Pendalouan Here We Come!

Well, it's finally here ... the highly anticipated overnight fifth grade camp experience. We have a jam-packed schedule that involves mostly outdoor activities. For example, students will be a part of orienteering, bird watching, ice rescue, survival skills and cross country skiing. We can promise you that when your kids come home, they will be tired and worn out. You're welcome, in advance! We are going to have a blast!

An important note went home today with last minute reminders. Please be sure that students have extra clothes, outdoor gear and overnight supplies. They will also need a sack lunch for Thursday. I cannot stress enough how important it is that the kids come prepared. Ready or not, here we come!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Second Semester Spectacular

Congratulations! We've made it half way through our fifth grade journey. Before we know it, June will be here and I will be begrudgingly crying my ugly cry.

But for know, we are very busy in Social Studies understanding the social impact of two historical leaders: Wilberforce and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is amazing how many similarities these two seemingly different men actually have. Today, students organized their ideas about how these two compare. Tomorrow we will be writing compositions with their ideas and supporting every idea with at least two details. Soon, we will be moving into the colonial period of our nation's history. It is my hope to integrate economic concepts with our knowlege of historical content.

As usual, in Language Arts, we never seem to have enough time. We recently finished our New Year's Resolution essays and our TEAM letters. We will be going to the library tomorrow. We are always working on integrating writing, reading, conventions and strategies that make a difference.

Remember camp is at the end of next week. Be sure to pack warm clothing and extra layers. My philosophy is that you can never have enough.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The End of the 1st is the Beginning of the Second Semester

Friday is already the end of the first semester. We have a lot going on in the next couple of weeks. Report cards will go home on January 25th. Our overnight stay at Camp Pendalouan is January 31st and February 1st. And we are finalizing our candy order in an effort to sell World's Finest chocolate to raise money for our upcoming Chicago trip in May. Continue to watch for information coming home about these events.

In Social Studies, we continue to study the institution of slavery. We are currently watching specific scenes from the movie Amazing Grace that highlight issues concerning slavery. We discussed how after decades and hundreds of years of trading people, slavery became "normal" to Europeans and hence widely accepted. Most just accepted the practice of people as property especially if it meant gaining a profit. Amazing Grace illustrates William Wilberforce's efforts to end the British slave trade. This is a great historical fiction movie to watch with your children. It is rich with history and based on true events. Although it is rated PG, I would caution you to watch it first in an effort to better explain specific scenes and language.

As always, time is my nemesis in the Language Arts department. We are desperately trying to cram in as much vocabuary, writing, reading and comprehension as we can in our short one hour period each day. Students just finished their New Year's Resolution essays and are currently working on their TEAM letters. In these, students are writing to themselves in eighth grade reminding themselves of one of Officer Luce's lessons. Students are struggling to incorporate their own voice into this format. Additionally, they have been given a slew of writing strategies to sprinkle throughout their letter. Some of which are: repeat a word for emphasis, alliteration, transitions for smoothness, smilies and adjectives to add detail, vocabulary to add depth and exaggeration to stress a point. I must admit this is difficult for most adults to do; however, I have complete faith in their writing abilities.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

History Isn't Always Pretty

We've started to move into an ugly part of our history: slavery. Students are often shocked at many of the details that we discuss. I can see in their faces during some of our discussions that they cannot fathom being a part of a society that would endorse slavery as an institution. Already students have asked intriguing questions that prove to me that they are very much interested in finding out more. Remember, there will be a test over the 50 states on Tuesday, the 15th.

In Language Arts, we are writing our New Year's Resolutions essays. The introductions that I saw thus far were dynamite. I couldn't ask for better! I was very impressed by students' creativity as they searched for ways to draw in the reader. I can't wait to read the essays in their entirety.

Friday, we will be sending home information about our Chicago trip. It is important that we receive these back by the middle of next week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy New Year!

I can hardly believe that is it 2008 and we are nearly halfway through the school year. The first semester ends on Friday, January 18th. Please check your students grades online at the district website.

We will have one last test in Social Studies before the end of the marking period. Next Tuesday, the 15th, students should be prepared to identify where all 50 states are located. We have been working up to this all year! I'm sure it will be more of a celebration than a test. Most know our country's layout quite well. In an effort to get in a few last practices, students have homework tonight and tomorrow over the states.

In Language Arts, we started Unit 2 of our Vocabulary workbook. There are 12 words that students should spend time becoming familiar. We will probably have a test next week sometime. Today we started a mini lesson on writing introductions that start with some action. Tomorrow we will color code the parts of these paragraphs and then dive into our own attempt.

We are still in need of a couple more parent volunteers to attend camp with us on January 31st and February 1st. Also, in the next week, there will be important information about our upcoming Chicago trip coming home.

I hope everyone had a fab-u-lash holiday break. We are gearing up to have an impressive 2008!