Students start off classification by learning about how items are sorted into groups by color, size feature and shape. So far we have come up with the features of being alive:
Grow by using food
Respond to the environment
Made up of one or more cells
Use food for energy
We have also visited the computer lab to review what we know about animals and sort them by their traits, characteristics, or attributes into groups based on those features. The children worked had and enjoyed their explorations.
The year begins with creating classroom rules for order. This rule creation is then paralleled to the laws contained within the Constitution, the rights within the Bill of Rights and the process the founding fathers went through to create this powerful document. This year, this first social studies concept became our first in depth project with five small groups researching one area of question:
• Why did and do people need government?
• Why and how did the US need to devise a new government that included its citizens in the process?
• What were some of the major debates that confronted the founding fathers?
• What is the general structure of the United States government?
• What is the content and purpose of the Bill of Rights?
These projects required students to research their topic area, break down their question into smaller pieces and divvy up those smaller ideas to individuals and put into word, slide, picture and/or video answers. The children have been given graphic organizers to plan their iMovie representations of their answers. Along the way, we have had smaller lessons on Drawing Pad, research and project planning. Although our lessons on the Constitution are complete, the project will continue during our Friday afternoon activity block until October 25th. Please be sure to look at our movie trailers when they are complete.
As every new year starts, I relish welcoming a new math class. The students come in with their own ideas and understandings and I get to figure out how they know what they know. We grow as a class by sharing our ideas and how we problem solve. The new Envision math program also places great emphasis on this problem solving piece.
We have covered the introduction to place value by diving right into decimals into the thousandths place. The children can read these numbers with accuracy and are beginning to utilize this knowledge to add and subtract mentally by utilizing mathematical properties. We will continue to explore place value by incorporating the operations.
Math in the fifth grade requires a good understanding of content area vocabulary. I love to include the vocabulary in a novel way that gets the class excited about learning and creating. Our classroom math glossary is well underway. To further incorporate the newly acquired iPads into the curriculum, the students will start creating slides to demonstrate some of these terms. The very best way to demonstrate knowledge is to explain how to do it.
Daily, the children are now using Notability for note-taking and work completion. There has been emphasis on organization and personal responsibility for work completion. Work is shared regularly using Google Drive as our sharing tool. Just Friday we had a great discussion on how to get notes to one another. The students were typing notes of directions for how to complete the Math Glossary page. When it came time to share, students sent the work through Notability, the Notes app on the iPad, direct email or sharing a Google Doc. Wow, who knew? In the end, we had an entire lesson on how to go through all of these methods for sharing and found a norm. For sharing notes that will be utilized, Google Docs was the winner. For getting Mrs. Lynch quickly when they need help, email was the chosen method. I can't wait to see what happens next week.
The year is in full swing with all parts of ELA being fulfilled weekly. We have started our first writing project. Each student has been assigned a rainforest animal to research and write about. This nonfiction piece incorporates writing strategies from last year fine tuned for this year's needs. Each page has its unique set of criteria to practice all of our writing skills. The students cannot wait to finish and share with families. We have used technology to research and write, used our reading skills to look over exemplars along with our show it: don't tell it writing strategies. Some of these include, similes, metaphors, personification, onomatopoeia, dialogue and specific details. As this next week begins, emphasis will be placed on including several pieces of information within each sentence. Our goal continues to be interesting writing.
In grammar, we have covered abbreviations and titles. As the year continues, these grammar lessons are included in the requirements of good writing. Our next two weeks will include a study of commas.
This week will be the first review vocabulary lesson. This test covers the first four lessons of vocabulary. I urge the students to visit my Mrs. Lynch 103 Quizlet page to study the vocabulary to be prepared for the review test.
The children read their independent books in class daily and keep track of their progress in a reading log and a graphic organizer. We also read short stories on a regular basis to discuss topics such as main idea, author's craft or reading strategies like prediction or picturing. We will be starting a read aloud this week called The Unwanteds and a core book to be read by the class as a whole prior to the end of the month.
Over the past two weeks, my classes have started utilizing technology for creation, research, note taking and work completion. In math, we have been using Notability to do work and start note taking and using my wiki for building a classroom math glossary. In ELA, we have been using Google drive to share websites for animal research and searching out proper pictures for animal settings for our soon to be created animal nonfiction books. Soon, these books will be created in Book Creator, another app on the iPads. In Social Studies, the students have been researching different guiding questions for the Constitution. This research has been done through Webpath Express, a Francis Wyman Library link that supplies websites that have been predetermined to be safe and appropriate for students. This research is being gathered to create iMovie trailers so that students can create their own projects to demonstrate learning. Most parents have many questions about how technology is being supported and used in the classrooms. I don't have all the answers but I strive to be a learner in everything put in front of me. This week alone, the technology team along with Francis Wyman's Technology Specialist, Ben Schersten came in to help us set up Notability and answer my many questions about how to use the iPads more for math work and completion. I am looking forward to how this will unfold in the classroom. The students and I are eager to get started. For questions and more information, I hope you will all check out both the Francis Wyman Ed Tech Blog as well as the Burlington Public Schools Ed Tech Blog.