It has been forever since I have updated you with a formal message…so here goes!
First of all, some personal news: All four members of my family have passed their school exams this year. Jitendra is going to start Class Six this week, Sudarshan is beginning Class Nine, Santosh moves into Class Ten, and even Sandip has passed his college courses and is in his third and final year at the GATE (Global Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Education). I have completed eight courses since last summer with my Masters in Educational Administration through the University of Northern Iowa. I am more than halfway finished and my GPA (Grade Point Average) is 4.0…. so all “A”s in my classes. Let’s hope I can keep that going and I will have my degree in December.
In class we have been working on many exciting studies. For Read-Aloud time we have just finished the novel Rules by Cynthia Lord. Have your children tell you what they learned about Autism, for the lead character’s brother has this. We also watched a great documentary about Autistic children and a theatre program called Autism- The Musical. April is Autism Awareness month (I just learned yesterday). We are now reading The Misfits by James Howe. This is a story about a group of seventh graders who decide to do something about the bullying issues at their middle school. I chose this book because we are talking more and more in class about the transition into middle school in just a short time.
In Literacy, our children are involved in reading many new books. They have organized themselves into 4 “teams” and 3 of these will participate in a Reading Olympics competition in a few weeks. One group has decided to read as a Literature Circle and they have selected three of the 16 books offered. This group completes nightly worksheets related to their reading comprehension and strategies. The other teams have divided the books among their members and are completing about 4 books each. A list of all the books is attached to this e-mail. They are also writing comprehension questions which they are scribing on a Shared Google Document. Have them show this to you. In writing this week we are focused on poetry as it is poetry appreciation month. Students should have a “Poem in their Pocket” by Wednesday, and we will all be sharing our poems on the “Poet – tree”.
In Mathematics we are revisiting Fractions. This time we are looking more closely at using Fractions to solve problems, as well as, adding and subtracting fractions. This work can be difficult if students are still struggling with their basic multiplication facts – so check in with them and see if they understand how to find common denominators and use these to add and subtract. We will move into the next unit which investigates coordinates, area, volume and capacity in just about a week.
In Social Studies, we have been completing a Project Based Learning experience. In preparation for our Explore Nepal trip to Kavre in early May (7th, 8th, and 9th) students have been investigating aspects of Nepali culture. They have also looked at the elements of plant life and growth to further understand organic farming. They have each identified an “issue” that relates to our studies. Students will investigate the issue and its history and look for possible solutions. They will each design a formal presentation to share with the elementary school in late May.
In Science we are wrapping up our studies of human body systems. We will have an assessment on Monday (April 28th). The children have studied Respiratory, Skeletal, Muscular, Circulatory, and Nervous systems. This week we will begin the study of puberty and human growth and development. This will not be a study of sexuality and reproduction, which I believe is covered in sixth grade; but rather a preteen look at the physical, emotional, and social changes that children go through as they enter adolescence. If you have any questions about this, feel free to e-mail me. I am giving you the heads-up regarding this, because it is often referred to as the “time of the world’s most embarrassing questions”. Be ready to converse about these questions with your kiddos. We will move into our studies of Solar Energy next week. Students are also designing a lesson plan to teach their ninth grade science buddies about a disorder of a body system that we have covered in class. I have given them a lesson plan template and they were asked to incorporate technology into their lesson. They should also have some sort of assessment planned.
Finally, we would like to have a short pre –Explore Nepal “orientation” this week on Friday morning (if possible). We will go over the routine/itinerary for the trip and hear from some 6th graders that participated last year. Nurse Marsha will hopefully be available as well. If you are able to attend; please let me know with a short e-mail, so I can decide whether another date is necessary.
I am scheduling the Fifth Grade Event (moving up ceremony) for Friday May 30th in the Globe Theatre from 6:30-7:30pm. Please mark your calendars. After the formal event here at school, everyone is invited back to my home in Chhauni for a potluck party with food, dancing, and fun. I need each family to send me 3 photographs of your child. I have talked to the children about this – so ask them for any clarification. I need a baby photo (newborn to 2 years), a “starting school” photo (3-5 years old), and a favorite fifth grade photo. Photos can be in hard copy or sent to me digitally. I am putting together a slide show as part of the evening’s festivities. More details regarding the event will come as the date approaches.
Okay, so I hope that brings everyone up to date as to our classroom goings-on. Your children continue to inspire and delight me every day. I was EXTREMELY proud of their success with the musical, Once on This Island. I believe we set some records for ticket sales and attendance. They have clearly grown up so much over the past months. Check the photos outside our class and look at how different your child looks today. I took those photos on the first week of school.
your fifth grade teacher.