Greetings from Teacher Devon!
I hope everyone enjoyed their winter break! In fifth grade we are diving back into things with two feet. There are a lot of things to do and learn in the month of January. Maybe we will even get some snow to play in! Of all the things going on in January the biggest thing to happen is the final presentation on the Independent Study Project! On Friday, January 9th the fourth and fifth graders will be presenting their findings from the semester-long project to their parents and various faculty members. It will be a presentation you do not want to miss!
In language arts we will be reading the book Out of the Dust, which is a novel that provokes interesting conversation and emotions. Out of the Dust is written in free verse and begins in January of 1934, on a struggling farm in the heart of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Even though the novel's writing format makes it a fairly quick read, it has great depth and a strong sense of time and place. This novel takes place during the thirties and the main character is the 14-year-old Billie Jo Kelby who is a long-legged red-head with a talent for the piano. Although drought and economic depression make for a dismal future, Billie Jo's family adamantly hopes for better luck and a good, long rain. The Kelby's also are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new addition to their family - the baby boy her father has always wanted. Before the baby arrives, however, the dust gets stronger. The fierce dust storms and their aftermath drive many of their neighbors off. They're heading to California where things are bound to be better. Billie Jo watches neighbors and life-long friends give up and move west to the green promise of prosperous California. Surveying the lonely landscape of the left behind, Billie Jo can't help but envy those who have escaped the Dust Bowl.
The climax of the story is the tragedy. Her father leaves a pail of kerosene by the stove (we never learn why) and her mother, thinking it to be water, spills it on the stove when making tea. The flames send her mother out the door screaming for her father and Billie Jo grabs the pail and throws the remaining kerosene out the front door just as her mother is rushing back inside. Immediately the flames engulf her mother fatally wounding her and the baby. They also burn and scar Billie Jo's hands so that playing the piano (her passion in life) becomes impossible.
Billie Jo's already remote father becomes unreachable after the death of his wife and baby. Billie Jo fears that they're both turning into the dust that has covered everything. After trying to carry on without support, a year passes without any improvement, and Billie Joe decides to escape the dust in pursuit of a better life. Billie Jo soon realizes that running away will not help anything: in times of crisis, togetherness is the only wellspring of strength and hope. Be sure to talk to your fifth grade about the journey Billie Jo goes through in Out of the Dust.
In social studies we are wrapping up our Explorer's Unit by focusing on the rivalry between Spain and England in North America during the 1500s. Students will be able to explain how the defeat of the Armada affected both Spain and England, define the Northwest Passage, and identify the sites that Hudson reached during his search for the Northwest Passage. Student will also learn about the beginning of Jamestown, and analyze the roles played by important people, such as Powhatan and John Smith, in the founding of Jamestown. We will then be incorporating Out of the Dust into the curriculum by studying the events leading up to the Great Depression and then studying the Great Depression itself.
In science students will be exploring the layers that make up the earth and discovering how weathering, erosion, and deposition change the earth. Students will identify water, land, and air as important resources of the earth. Students will also learn about the water cycle and how land and water together affect and change climate. During this chapter students will see how people can use inexhaustible resources, such as wind and the sun, to create energy to power our homes and businesses.
Below is a fun recycling activity that students can work on at home. Click on the "Team Project" link to navigate to the activity flyer. Take time out to complete this activity at home as a family and then share it with the class. Have fun and happy recycling!
In math students will be able to explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by the powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placemat of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10. Students will also use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10. Towards the end of the month we will enter the world of algebra! Students will use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols. Additionally, fifth graders will write simple expressions that record calculations with numbers, and interpret numerical expressions without evaluating them.
Dates to Remember: Monday, January 5th - schools resumes from winter break Friday, January 9th - 4th and 5th presents their Independent Study Project Thursday, January 15th - All School Gathering at 10:00 Monday, January 19th - Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
FIFTH GRADE GOALS FOR 2015: "My goal for 2015 is to read 1,750 pages and to improve in my homework." - Jack "My goal for 2015 is to get to green belt in karate." - Molly "My goal for 2015 is to learn more and please others with things I do." - Grace "My goal for 2015 is to make more friends and include others." - Pete "My goal for 2015 is to improve my writing skills." - Andy
ON GOING FIFTH GRADE PROJECTS:
This year, in conjunction with Learning Pathways, the fifth (and fourth) graders are continuing with the independent study project that was started last year. An independent study is a student-centered project that involves students working individually to investigate self-selected topics. These topics are connected to the curriculum and the students’ personal interests. Differentiating the curriculum remains at the center of our continued initiative – Learning Pathways. An independent study project is the most effective strategy to use in addressing the needs of all learners in the group. It provides an opportunity for students to study topics of interest in-depth while learning and practicing a variety of skills.
An independent study meets the needs, readiness, interests and learning preferences of students. It also allows students to experience learning beyond the classroom and encourages independence. Additionally, it teaches research skills and improves reading, writing and presentation skills. The semester-long project provides opportunity and time to explore in- depth topics. The fifth graders came to school in September with a chosen topic to study, and hit the ground running on their research and planning. Click here to view the timeline of due dates and the in-school work session schedule.
The goal of having the student’s conduct an independent study project was to:
The outcome of the independent study project is to create a formal writing piece at the completion of this assignment, as well as a presentation that reflects the child’s learning preference. Focus topics that were chosen by the fifth graders include leading a healthy lifestyle, mythology and its influence in our history and more present pop culture, the megalodon shark, Thurgood Marshall, and sea turtles.
Stemming from our all-school theme, Celebrating You and Me, during the 2009-2010 school year, International Week has traditionally been a time for the Goshen community to come together to honor and celebrate the diverse families we have here within our student body. Former alum, Jonathan K., said it best when asked why we have International Week, "We have International Week to learn about cultures other than ours, to have fun, and to understand other country's people, food, and traditions." This year's International Week will take place on Monday, April 27th - Thursday, April 30th, and is the culmination of the studients' yearlong study of three focus countries. This year students are focusing on Ireland, Puerto Rico (US Territory), and Thailand. International Week will be filled with guest speakers, activities and quite often culinary treats! International Week concludes with the One World Cafe, an on campus potluck featuring the cuisine of the countries studied, music and other activities.
Fifth Graders will specifically be focusing on PUERTO RICO throughout the school year!
FIFTH GRADE RESOURCES:
Click on the picture for a copy of the Fifth Grade Specials Schedule.
Click on the picture to familiarize yourself with the Playground Rules.
Click on the picture to read about the ABC’s of Tr. Devon.
From mindful beginnings come global perspectives. In teaching our students to see goodness in everyone, we prepare them for the world outside of Goshen – to be caring, compassionate, involved, invested, curious, problem solving citizens of this earth.