Greetings from Fifth Grade!
It is hard to believe that December is upon us! Where has fall gone? With December comes many fun events...our holiday concert for SING, Community Cares, delivering Goshen Giving to the Kanner Center, and finalizing our independent study project! There's a lot to do before we go on winter break!
In Language Arts, we are continuing to read The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh. The book begins thus: "Father said, "We can take very little with us." Only one book each. Father, Joe, Sarah, and Pattie, and lots of other families, are leaving a dying earth on one of the last escape ships. They are headed for a far planet that they know almost nothing about, hoping it can sustain human life. The main character, Pattie, is so young that she will not be able to remember the Earth. But being the youngest, she gets to name the new planet--"Shine," she calls it, a planet where all the plant life sparkles like glass.
How will they build with mineral laden wood they cannot saw? How will they survive, when their rabbits die from eating the glassy grass, and their wheat shines like diamonds? How will they build a community--what will be valued, and why? And then, when they meet other living beings, how will they co-exist?One step they take in building a life together is to share their books. Joe's copy of Robinson Crusoe is not in great demand (there are multiple copies), nor is Sarah's copy of The Pony Club Rides Again. Many people would have swapped things for a chance to read Father's technology book, but he won't let it out of his sight--he clings to it as his passport toward becoming the new elite of their community. But it is Pattie's book, the "green book" of the title that becomes the most important. Its pages are blank, and her older siblings had mocked her choice. But in the end, this is the book that will tell the new story the colonists are creating. It is no longer empty, but "full of writing, very large and round and shaky."
Every time I read this book with the fifth graders we have wonderful discussions over what book they would take with them to planet Shine. If you were only allowed one book – what would it be?
In science we are in the midst of our owl unit! During this unit several science concepts are reinforced....how animals are classified, discovering what makes up an ecosystem, describing how energy moves through an ecosystem, and discovering how organisms grow and reproduce. Students dissect and study owl pellets to construct food-webs, study owl diets, predict relative population densities of prey items and reconstruct rodent skeletons. Students will also do research on a particular type of owl and present their information in the form of a flip book. Be sure to stop in the classroom to see how are dissections are going!
In math students are finding whole-number quotients of whole numbers with up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Students will illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models. Towards the end of the month students will explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of ten, and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of ten. Students will also use whole-number exponents to denote powers of ten.
This year fourth and fifth graders are conducting independent research projects. 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 new initiative – Learning Pathways. Independent study 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.
Independent study aims to:• Develop in-depth understanding of a topic.• Provide an opportunity to develop independent learning and research skills• Develop self-directed learners who can investigate real-life problems in areas ofinterest and value to them• Introduce students to the techniques of organizing, researching and presenting theresults of their studies• Stimulate critical thinking and logical analysis• Develop individual abilities and initiative
A formal writing piece is required of each student at the completion of the research portion of the independent study. Students have completed their research paper and are currently in the process of developing a presentation to show what they have learned. The final presentation will take place on January 10th...it will be a presentation you do not want to miss! Below are pictures of the students peer editing their reports.
In friendship,Tr. Devon
We recognize that there is "that of God" in everyone.