January/February Homework

For the next month, students will not be writing a quick thought nightly. Instead, students will be working on an assignment from Google Classroom. They will chose the article that they read as well as a prompt they must answer. They will do all of their work on a Google Doc provided for them weekly in Google Classroom. They do know how to access Google Classroom. Make sure that when they log on to Google, they start with a username of lastnamefirstinitialmiddleinitial@s.dcsdk12.org.
Their password is Dcsd and then their lunch number. Please let me know if there is any issue logging on. The most important part is the s. after the @ symbol. 
Students will only chose one prompt per week to answer and that prompt is their choice. An example of a good response can be found below. Please note this is a comparison response that includes reading 3 articles.  Students will still be responsible for reading 90 minutes per week, however reading the articles/story can be included in this time. 

Write an essay explaining the similarities and differences in each article’s point of view about penguin rescue efforts after an oil spill. Support your essay with information from all three sources.

After reading, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Lauren Tarshis, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Dyan deNapoli, and “Update on Penguin Rescue Efforts from Oil Spill in South Atlantic”, I found similarities and differences in each one, of how the penguins were rescued.

First of all, there were similarities between the three articles. In all three, the penguins were oil infected. In article #1, it states, “You are not the only penguin who has become soaked in the poisonous oil. Thousands of others have been trapped in the massive oil slick.” The way the author wrote this article, is where the reader is imagining himself or herself as the penguin. This paragraph, paragraph seven, shows how the penguins were oil infected. In article #2, in paragraph one, it says, “In a matter of days, thick, toxic liquid had covered about 20,000 penguins.” Like article #1, the author explains how the penguins were oil infected. In the third article, it also showed how penguins were oil infected. It states, “Wildlife biologists estimate that half of the 20,000-penguin colony have some exposure to the oil and over 300 oiled penguins have already died.” In paragraph two, the penguins were oil infected in this article. Another similarity the articles have is, people help the penguins by taking them to a rescue center, or a rescue operation helped. Article #1 says, “A team of workers and volunteers has transformed a warehouse into a penguin rescue center.” This explains that the people who helped the penguins helped them in a rescue center. In article #2, it states, “Just outside of Cape town, a large warehouse was turned into a rescue center for oiled penguins.” Here, it shows how the help was done in a rescue center. Paragraph three in article #3 says, “...the difficult wildlife rescue operation…” This part tells about the rescue operation that helped the penguins out.

While reading, I also found differences in the articles too. In the first passage, it states, “A man catches you. You lash out viciously with your powerful jaws and razor sharp beak.” The penguins don’t like the humans, because they don’t know the humans are helping them. The other two articles don’t say the penguins didn’t like it. It doesn’t even mention how the humans took them to help. Another difference in the articles is, in paragraph 2 it says, “But for me, the most inspiring part was working with the volunteers.” The other articles don’t talk about what the volunteers felt, besides sickness from the smell. The other two articles probably would have said, “The most inspiring part was getting to see penguins.” The opinions on how the rescue process worked could have been different. Another difference was found in the third article. It says, “...3000 penguins have been rescued, along with seabirds and seals.” the other articles don’t say anything about other animals besides the fish that the penguins were eating. In articles one and two, the place the penguins were helped at was only a penguin rescue center. In article three, it was a marine wildlife operation. So, articles one and two, have nothing to do with seabirds and seals unlike article three.

“The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Lauren Tarshis, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Dyan deNapoli, and “Update on Penguin Rescue Efforts from Oil Spill in South Atlantic” have similarities and differences of how the penguins were rescued.

Students will be graded weekly using a rubric. They can use this rubric at home to make sure they have included all of the required parts. They are encouraged to talk with me throughout the week to help them improve their writing as well. They can also check back in their email after the first week to see feedback that was provided to them. This will also help them improve each week. 


mportant dates
January 14 - Spelling Bee 2:00
January 18 - NO SCHOOL (teacher inservice day)
January 21 - NO SCHOOL (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
February 18 - NO SCHOOL (President's Day)

Our focus for this semester will be on nonfiction texts; however, students will still be working in fiction book clubs and focusing on the work we have done around themes. Right now, we are learning about complex nonfiction texts and all of the features that we need to muddle through in order to understand the text itself. In order to do this, we are focusing on text structures, text features, vocabulary, main idea & supporting details. In order to help your child with nonfiction, and continue to foster their love of reading, you can help them gather materials that are nonfiction. Going to the library or encouraging them to read magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Time for Kids, Scholastic News (they have access to this online), and more can help spark their interest in learning. 

Our goals are: 
I can summarize a text by explaining how multiple details work together to communicate the main idea.
I can identify the claims presented in a text.
I can explain how a claim in a text is supported by reasons and evidence.
I can explain the relationship between specific parts of a nonfiction text and the overall organizational structure of the text.
I can compare how two texts from the same genre approach similar themes and topics.
I can determine the meaning of unknown words and phrases.
I can describe the meaning of common idioms, adages, or proverbs.
I can identify symbolism, metaphors, and imagery in a text.
I can use headings and images to signal logical groupings of information.
I can link reasons and evidence or details to main ideas using words, phrases, and clauses.

Students will begin working on formulating a research based argumentative essay. In the beginning of our unit, we will be working on writing on a common argument: Should Chocolate Milk be served in schools? Once we are done with that, students will be invited to research an argument of their own. 

Our goals are:
I can identify the claims presented in a text.
I can explain how a claim in a text is supported by reasons and evidence.
I can introduce a topic in an introductory paragraph.
I can use headings and images to signal logical groupings of information.
I can link reasons and evidence or details to main ideas using words, phrases, and clauses.
I can provide a concluding section or paragraph at the end of a text.
I can state clear claims about a topic or text.
I can provide reasons for claims that are supported by evidence.
I can integrate information from multiple sources into a text.
I can write for the purpose and task described by a prompt.
I can edit for subject/verb agreement and inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
I can edit for correct capitalization.
I can use italics, quotation marks, and underlining to indicate the titles of works.
I can use commas to set off elements of a sentence and to form lists.
I can edit for spelling.

We will be finishing up our work on addition and subtraction of fractions and we will be working on decimals next. Students will be learning how to order, compare, round and add/subtract decimals all the way to the thousandths place. When this short unit is over, students will be moving on to multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals. In order to help your child, you could have them put the cost of a couple of items on the grocery list in order from least to greatest. Here is an example of what the students will be learning:

December Upcomings

There is so much going on these next two weeks that I wanted to give you all a heads up and a checklist to keep up!

Thursday 12/13:
I will have a substitute in my room while I conduct one-on-one reading assessments.

Tuesday 12/18:
As my gift to these kiddos we will be a having a Read-a-Thon in class.  Students will be reading throughout the day in various ways and in various subjects.  Students are allowed to bring a beach towel (or similar size blanket) and a SMALL throw pillow to get cozy.  I will provide hot chocolate and candy canes as well.

Wednesday 12/19:
Our field trip to the Museum of Nature and Science.  The following people have volunteered to attend (I will email you separately):  Mrs. Cook, Mr. Edwards. Ms. Lear, and Mrs. Lueth.  I have one spot still available!  If you haven't already, please sign up at My School Bucks.

Thursday 12/20:
Last day before break.  We will have a class book exchange.  Please bring in a wrapped new or gently used book that other kids in the class would want.  For our class party we will be having a lunch pizza party (more information to come later)

Friday 12/21:
No School.  Enjoy your winter break with your families!

Field Trip

We are excited to add to the classroom learning of our Life Science Unit on Body Systems by going to the Museum of Nature and Science and experiencing a dissection of a lamb's lung.  Students will first rotate a few experiments and fill out a lab book to record their findings.  After, they will work in pairs to dissect a lung, getting hands on experience of the great things we have been learning in class.

In addition to the respiratory system, in class we will also learn about the circulatory system, digestive system, and excretory.  We will relate all these to Life Processes and show how they all are a part of a larger system that keeps us alive.  Students will look at this system and analyze its interdependance and functions of each part.  Students will also discover how parts and systems are affected when disease, illness, or breakdown occurs.  As we wrap up this unit, students will create a product using technology to demonstrate their learning.

As an extension, students will also get the opportunity to research other systems and discern how they work with the other systems and their functions (bones, muscles, central nervous, etc.).

Student Blogger - Avery

Hello Gold Rush Families
We have been working on many important things is class and
want you to know all about them!

MATH:  In math we have been starting a new unit, fractions.  We are
doing a review on them and then we are going on to the harder
things.  Our last unit was finding the volume on a rectangular prism
and splitting a rectangle in half to find the volume too.

Reading:  In reading we are doing our book club books.  We are also
doing an entry to what we are thinking, themes, why the author put
that, and what problems does the character have.  Almost everyday
we meet with our book club group and have a deep discussion about
what is going on in the book.

Science/ Social Studies:  Right now we are doing science.  In science
we did an energy project about an energy source.(Biomass, Wind
Power, Hydropower, Geothermal.) Also, we will be working on the
digestive system and how it works.

Writing:  In writing we have been doing essays.  In those essays we
have been writing about our new energy source that we chose.  We
have to write about where we want to put it(State), what would the
company need, and How it will effect.  We just finished writing
paragraph of all certain things.

This week parents can come in and see what their kid has been doing
in class.  (“The Celebration Of Learning”) Also we have the
Thanksgiving feast. Parents can come in and but tickets to have
the food that the lunch ladies make.  We are doing the canned food
drive this week and we are helping the Parker Task Force.
Remember this week we also have the BOOK FAIR in the library!


Important Dates
11/6 - No School; Election Day!!
11/12 - 11/16 - Fall Book Fair
11/14 - Celebration of Learning & Family Feast
11/19 - 11/23 - Thanksgiving Break (Fall Break #2)

12/21 - No School; Winter Break starts
12/21 - 1/4 - Winter Break

Celebration of Learning (12:25-12:55) & Family Feast (12:55-1:15) See Mrs. Brown's Blog for more information.


We are continuing our look at theme, however we are constantly trying to dig deeper and analyze our texts that we are reading. Last week, we compared theme between two texts. We also started new book club books. The hope is that we can continue our comparison between two or more texts. The standards in fiction texts we have been working towards are:

  • I can compare how two texts from the same genre approach similar themes and topics
  • I can identify details in a text that develop a theme
  • I can compare characters, settings, or events in a narrative text
  • I can describe relationships between events in a narrative text
To help your child, after they finish reading, ask them what is the author trying to teach you in the story. You can start with, "The big lesson is..." or "Sometimes in life..." You can ask them what the big idea of the story is and how the characters or setting influence that idea. Asking them questions like, "What does this book say about (the big idea, ie Friendship, hope, family, etc)?"

After Thanksgiving Break, we will begin a four week study of nonfiction.


We wrapped up our narrative unit by looking at mentor texts. We dug into the author's craft to study how the author's wrote their stories and then we picked small craft's to work on in our own writing. You will see this writing at the Celebration of Learning. Our next unit has been our paragraph boot-camp getting students ready to write strong multi-paragraphs for the rest of their 5th grade life and beyond. :) In a week, we will begin our study of responding to literature. Students will use short stories and have to formulate a response based on a question this is provided to them.

The standards that we have been working towards and will be working on are as follows:
  • I can create event sequences that illustrate a clear causal relationship
  • I can use descriptive details to develop settings, experiences, characters, and events
  • I can use dialogue to develop character personality and reactions
  • I can separate run-on sentences in a draft
  • I can edit for subject/verb agreement and inappropriate shifts in verb tense
  • I can edit for correct capitalization
  • I can use italics, quotation marks, and underlining to indicate the titles of works
  • I can use commas to set off elements of a sentence and to form lists
  • I can edit for spelling
  • I can write for the purpose and task described by a prompt
  • I can write for the audience identified by a prompt
  • I can integrate information from multiple sources into a text
  • I can state clear claims about a topic or text
  • I can provide reasons for claims that are supported by evidence


We have finished up our unit on volume and will be taking the test on Wednesday. After that, students will be working with equivalent fractions, ordering fractions, and adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers. During the unit, students will work on the following:

Here are some things that you can work on with your child at home:

The standards that we have been working toward and will be working toward are as follows:

  • I can multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
  • I can divide multi-digit whole numbers using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • I can use the properties of place value and multiples of 10 to simplify and solve problems.
  • I can shift a decimal value in relation to its decimal point by multiplying or dividing it by a power of 10.
  • I can compare decimal values.
  • I can determine the volume of right rectangular prisms by packing them with unit cubes.
  • I can calculate the volume of right rectangular prisms arithmetically.
  • I can calculate the volume of three-dimensional figures composed of right rectangular prisms.
  • I can analyze the relationships between numerical patterns.

We have continued our study of living systems. Students have learned about the makeup of cells and soon will be embarking in the study of tissues and organs.  After Thanksgiving we will be sending home information regarding the field trip we will be going on. This field trip to the Museum of Nature and Science will further our understanding of body systems including a dissection of a lung. Students will also learn about the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive system. We will briefly touch on the endocrine, muscle, nervous, excretory, and skeletal systems as well.

Further information:

Please continue to collect box tops. We will have another collection in February or March. Also, if you can spare some more canned foods or non-perishable foods for donations that would be awesome! I am trying to dig through my own pantry for donation. The pantries become bare around holidays and if we fill those pantries at the Parker Task Force, we will be helping our fellow community members! Thank you so much!!

What's going on in class?

We just concluded our Geography Unit in which students analyzed the different regions of the United States looking for similarities and differences is key concepts.  These included: climate, natural resources, agriculture, products and industry, culture, and major landforms and attractions.  They then extended their knowledge of the region by creating a new NFL franchise for the region.  This showed that they knew their region well and were able to analyze concepts to develop not only a team, but also location and mascot that would be fitting.
What you can do at home?
Ask them why they chose the city they did and mascot they did.  Start having discussions about where products and natural resources come from around the US. 

We have begun our first book club reading for the year.  Each student is reading a novel that is fitting of their reading level.  We are delving into ideas such as characterization, character motivations, problems and solutions, and deciphering theme.  Students are being asked to not only read deeper, but also to increase their reading volume. 
What you can do at home?
Encourage more and more reading!!  There is a direct correlation to the volume of reading done to all aspects of reading development: fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension.  Also, when students tell you about their book ask more specific questions for follow up: why would that character act in that way?  What does the author want you to think about when they wrote that?  How would you handle the problems arising in this book?

We are currently finishing up our Personal Narrative Unit where students wrote about not only an important moment of their lives, but also incorporated story elements such as a story arc and theme.  Students are learning that authors not only write often, but write to express an idea or message.
Next we will be moving on to the structures of a well written paragraph and essay.  This will be the foundation for most of the other writing we do this year: research based argumentative essays and historical informational essays.

We are beginning Unit 2 of our math series.  Here we will focus on volume of rectangular prisms and irregular rectangular prisms.  Please view the Family Letter Here

We have taken a brief look at cells, cell organelles, and the differences between plant and animal cells.  This is the basis of all life and will help us understand that every living thing must perform all Life Processes.  Now that we have that concept understood, we will look at the different organs and organ systems of the human body to see how they are imperative to animals performing those life processes.  Our first system will be the digestive system.
What you an do at home?
Talk more about nutrition and how what we eat (or don't eat) affects our organs.