# Happy Fall Break!

We have been so busy in our room the last two weeks. Fractions, fractions, everywhere! Fifth grade has learned to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. They have also learned how to round fractions, use their knowledge of equivalence to compare fractions and change fractions into decimals. The students have been hard at work helping each other solve problems in class, and learn how to explain their problem solving process in writing.

Today has been a fun, pancake and bacon filled day, but I managed to STILL sneak fractions in to the party. Before we began cooking up our breakfast, students had to mathematically figure out how many slices of bacon each student could have. We then doubled (and then some) our pancake recipe to make sure everyone could get three pancakes. Your children will be coming home today VERY stuffed.

We also presented our poem “Jabberwocky” to the school during an assembly on the soccer field. We have been working on it for over a month now, so it is nice to see it finally culminate in a presentation to the other students. I know the class loves it, but is very ready to move on to something new!

In reading we are finishing our group books and will be having a concluding meeting when we return from break to discuss them. Once we return we will be moving on to having mini-lessons in language arts during that time, and meeting a few times a week independently in book club groups.

When we return from break, we will be moving on to our next block; Geography!

# Multiplying Fractions

This week in math we are learning all about multiplying fractions. Students also learned how to use a “shortcut” and reduce the fractions before multiplying them, making it quicker and easier to solve. We are going more slowly on fractions then initially anticipated, but I would rather do this to ensure the students have a solid foundation before moving on to decimals.

In our math story, a gnome sacrificed his powers from Multi and Divisor, in order to teach them a way to divide and multiply fractions at the same time (which is how we learned about the “shortcut”. It seems our heroes all have what they need to taking on the powerful Sir Fractal and his inhuman army. Despite some students claiming they felt “too old” for our stories, the delight on their faces when I told the stories this week made it evident that was not the case!

Reading groups continue to meet and we are having wonderful, engaging discussions during this time. The instrument schedule has been finalized, so starting next week the students will have a much clearer picture of when their individual lessons are.

# Beginning Math

This week we began our first math block of the year, looking at fractions. It is exciting but bittersweet, as this will be the last year of the Addie and Minar stories for our class. In the story, Addie is tapped into a strange and mysterious power that calls to her. She is told by a mysterious witch that it will be one of the keys to defeat that Fractonians. A luminescent butterfly draws her to a secret room in the Fractonian castle, where she discovers an ancient weapon; the butterfly sword. This ties into exactly what we are learning in class, which is the butterfly method! It is a trick using multiplication to easily convert unlike denominators to like denominators in order to make adding and subtracting quick and fun. Today we touched on multiplying fractions and will continue this, as well as dividing fractions, next week.

In math class the students are continuing to practice the skills they are learning in Main Lesson. We have been focusing on reducing fractions, and have been tying this into bean bag work in circle as well.

In reading two small groups are meeting a day, with the exception of Wednesdays, to review their assigned chapters, answer questions in their packets, and discuss their reading. The green group had a great discussion yesterday about what words belong in the dictionary and which don’t, and who gets to make this decision. It was interesting to see how divided the group was on their answer.

We are on the last chapter of Bridge to Terrabithia. It is very emotional book (I have been so proud that I have not cried in class reading it…yet) and has brought up wonderful discussions about life, death and friendship. By next week we should be beginning our next read aloud!

# Final Week of Botany

This week was our final week of botany. We continued looking at the lower order and higher order flowering plants, only to discover the names given to them; Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons. The class learned the differences between the two, and how to identify them based on their flower petals, leaves, and root systems. Today for their final assessment, each table was given a flower picked from our garden at COS. Students had to identify whether the flower was a monocot or dicot, and then explain their reasoning through an essay.

In math we are working on word problems. The students were able to meet in partners to get their work done and help each other. Today we were also able to play around the world with math facts, which the students really enjoyed (especially when a candy prize got involved!). In reading we have been meeting in our small groups which is going very well. The class is having great discussions about their books with one another.

We are coming to the end of Bridge to Terabithia. Yesterday revealed a very shocking revelation, and the class was so stunned they begged me to keep reading! We should be finishing our story by next week.

# The parts of the flower

This past week, the students began to learn all about the parts of the flower. We went through the process of polination, and the class learned how pollen from one flower’s anther gets accidentally distributed to another flower’s stigma by bees, other insects, and sometimes humans. The pollen then forms a seed, and when that flower is fully mature it will drop its seeds to allow new flowers to grow. During recess we investigated some flowers on the playground and were able to identify all of the flower parts we have learned. This week we will finish our botany unit by looking at flowering plants and monocots/dicots. We were unable to cover all of the plants that were initially planned, but will take a look at them during our next botany block.

In math we have been delving into long division once again. Students who were finished their work were able to play the math game “24” while I was able to pull a small group who needed extra help. In reading, the students have begun small groups! Mrs. Huff, the middle school ELA teacher, will be providing push-in support during the week at this time, so I am able to meet with many groups during the week. Students have been given their chapter assignments to be completed independently, and then we reconvene as a group to discuss what is occurring in the plot. This is also a great time to work on specific skills, such as comprehension strategies, fluency and inference. I am so excited about our reading groups, and I know the students are too!

# Thank You!

A HUGE thank you to all parents who have donated class supplies this year, and also to those who gave money to be pooled together for a large supply purchase to occur. Another big thank you to our class parent, Nikki Pedron, who was able to coordinate this and purchase all of these glorious cleaning products! As everyone knows school can be a germy place, but hopefully with all of these supplies we will be able to keep the classroom cleaner and the kids healthier this year.

# First Full Week Back

This week was our first full week getting back into the swing of things at COS! The class started the week off by beginning our botany unit. On Monday the children went outside around the back courtyard to find some plants and flowers and sketch what they could see. This was a quiet, reflective process and the students did a wonderful job. Then, we moved on to begin our study of the dandelion. Students found dandelions growing in the garden, and after identifying them, we picked them and brought them back to class for further observation. Students worked with their groups to hypothesize about what each part of the plant was for, and what the lifecycle of the plant would be. Students then practiced the editing process by creating a rough draft of their work to be peer edited, and then good copies went in their main lesson books.

We continued this process with the mushroom, and will be going out into the woods today to see if we can find some! Next week we will begin specifically talking about the parts of the plant and flower, learning about root systems, and also observing more types of plants.

In math, students have been busy with some refresher multiplication work after the long summer. I encourage students to continue practicing their multiplication facts at home if they have not yet committed their facts to memory.

In reading, the class is completing independent writing, spelling and reading work that will be handed in and checked today. Hopefully once all students are benchmarked to assess what their reading level is, we can begin reading groups next week! We have also begun our first read-aloud of the year, Bridge to Terabithia, which I am so excited to share with the students. It is one of my favorite children’s books, so I hope they grow to love it too!