Sep 8, 2012

We are Well on our Way!

The first several weeks of a new school year focus on establishing rapport, expectations, and procedures to ensure a successful school year.  Below is an outline by subject of what we have discussed in class:

We are using the Everyday Math program in our classroom.  Everyday Math is a leader in digital and on-line support for teachers, students, and parents.  The program supports teachers' instruction with ready made and easily modified Active Inspire flip charts.  Students have been given usernames and passwords to access Everyday Math's on-line resources.  These resources include Family Letters that explain the concepts and vocabulary of each unit and offer the answers to homework Study Links, videos demonstrating the use of various computation alogorithms, and games for practice. There's more, but that is all we were able to investigate in class!  Student log-in address is or just google Everyday Math and the student log-in will pop right up!  I am in the process of laminating the students' log-in cards.  They should have them in their possession by the end of next week.

For math practice, we are also using  Students will be given three IXL skills to practice for one week.  The IXL skills will be announced on Monday and will be due the following Monday.  For some students having a weekend to work on these is helpful.  The IXL assignment is valued as 1/2 of a regular classroom assignment.. The IXL Smart Score is the score the student earns on the assignment. 

Spelling/Word Study
Zaner-Bloser is the spelling and vocabulary program we are using in all of 5th grade.  Students will have their own practice book which includes a dictionary and thesaurus. The books have not arrived yet, so students have been given photocopies of the practice pages. The spelling unit is introduced on Monday and students are given time in class to work on the pages that day.  The practice pages are to be completed by Thursday.  These pages may be worked on in class when other assignments are completed or as homework.    Each spelling unit includes a Connection to Writing page.  The writing page practice is not due until Friday. Students are expected to rewrite the model paragraph correctly and write their own paragraph on the prompt given. Students have been given a bright green scoring rubic for the self-written paragraph. I encourage students to word process their writing. Parents feel free to discuss the meanings of the words with your child and look over his/her work.

Students have been given their first Independent Reading Assignment. This assignment is linked to AR (Accelerated Reading). Students took a STAR test to help identify  their independent reading level.  I conferenced with each student to review the STAR test data. That information was used to determine an AR point goal suitable to their reading level.  Students are expected to read 30 minutes per day and attain their AR points goal by October 12. Students may read as many books as they want to attain their point goal.  Book levels shoudd be within the range indicated on their Independent Reading Assignment. For one book that they read before October 12, students are to complete a Story Map and write a Book Review.  Students will also collect 10 interesting words and the word's definition on a WOW! Words bookmark. Students will be given details on the Book Review and WOW! Words bookmark next week. 

Starting Monday, September 13, students will be given their first weekly fluency assignment.  This assignment promotes students' reading fluency and comprehension skills.  The idea is to have students read the given passage out loud to a parent several times during the week--they should become more fluent with each reading.  Corresponding comprehension questions are on the back of the paper along with a Parent Tip.  Parents sign of at the bottom of the page to indicate they listened to their child read. The fluency assignment is due Friday.

We will be focusing on reading informational text in the classroom in conjunction with our social studies and science units.

As many of you already know, students have been writing a Me Report. The purpose of this report was to highlight the writing process, review paragraph structure, and the structure of an essay (introduction, body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph). Their writing is definitely a work in progress and we will be continueing with this report on Monday. In order to prepare students for the state mandated Writing Test in February, students are encouraged to type their writing.  The Writing Test is taken in the computer lab and students are expected to type their responses to the prompt. Parents please review your child's writing especially to assist in spelling and punctuation.  Thanks!

Well, that's about all for now--probably more than you care to process in a single blog!  If you have any questions, please contact me! 

Looking forward to seeing you at Parent Night on Tuesday evening, September 14.

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