Aug 29, 2015


I have greatly enjoyed getting to know all of the students in our classroom.  They can be a bit chatty, but are eager learners. Caughlin's Think Kindness campaign is creating a positive culture in our classroom and school.

Below is an outline of what students are learning:


We are currently reading the children's novel There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar. As we read this novel together, students are investigating the realistic fiction genre, analyzing character, plot structure, and theme. Students are also honing their summarizing skills. In conjunction with this novel, students have been asked to read at least one realistic fiction book, complete a story map for the realistic fiction book, and answer character analysis questions.  This is all part of their Independent Reading assignment, which also includes working towards and AR goal and completing a WOW! Words bookmark.  Students have several papers related to this assignment in their reading pockets.  The assignment is due Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

In writing we are working on summarizing and learning how to organize an essay.  Students are also becoming familiar with using our mobile computer lab. Following completion of our Me Essays, students will begin writing personal narratives and learning how to insert appropriate transition words/phrases and elaborate with dialogue and imagery.  

As part of language development, students are learning about word parts.  We will be studying how to add suffixes, such as, -ed and -ing to base words and spell them correctly. Following that, we look at common homophones.


We have completed a quick review of base ten, the foundation of our number system. Students learned to multiply and divide by powers of ten. Currently we are in Unit 1 of Everyday Math, Number Theory in which concepts of arrays, factorization, and divisibility are addressed. Next up, will be a review of measurement with a focus on the metric system, linear measurement, and area. This will lead to volume and integrate into a science unit on density.

Social Studies

We have had a slow start in the area of social studies, but we are progressing through a short unit of study on United States geography.  This will be followed by a unit about the first people of the Americas.


We have started a unit of study called Atoms to Minerals which will lightly investigate atomic theory, the periodic chart of elements, and matter.  The matter focus will be minerals. 

Please remember to donate to our Caughlin Ranch Colts on the Run fund raiser. Donations in the past purchased our wonderful mobile computer lab and many other supplemental programs for our school. Every dollar matters! Thanks!

Aug 5, 2015

Welcome Back Part 2

In the previous blog post I mentioned the Ice Cream Social.  That social has been cancelled. Parents and students are officially invited to meet their teachers and view classrooms starting at 8:30 on Monday, August 10, the first day of school.

Another change that has occurred is our class's outside line-up area.  In the past, students in D1 have lined up at the single-entry side door for D hall. Starting with the first day of school, D1 students will line up facing the double-entry doors at the end of D hall.

I'll keep you posted as to any other changes as staff continues to meet over the next few days.  Enjoy your remaining days of summer vacation!

Jul 13, 2015

Welcome Back!

I'm looking forward to greeting new students and old at  the Ice Cream Social on Thursday, August 6.  If you can't make the Social, I'll be seeing you the first day of class on August 10.  Below is the Caughlin Ranch 5th grade supply list. If you are unable to obtain the items requested, please let me know and it will be taken care of.
  • At least a 1 gigabyte flash drive (also known as a thumb drive or jump drive) for storing & transporting computer work from school to home and vice versa
  • Durable expandable file folder (letter size), also known as an accordion folder, with at least 10 pockets to be used as a filing system for notes and assignments. Briefcase style—one that can stand alone with a handle, if possible.
  •  $50 made out to Caughlin Ranch School which will cover the cost of the items below and other classroom supplies for science, math, and art throughout the year. 

We are happily providing these items to take the stress out of “Back to School” shopping!

·       Pencils 

·       3” x  3” Post-It Notes

·       Highlighters

·       Rulers

·       Correcting pens

·       Kleenex

·       Science, math, & art supplies.

·       Markers and colored pencils

·       Sharpie pens

·       Glue sticks

·       Scissors

·       Dry erase markers

·       Math, Science/Science and ELA notebooks

Apr 11, 2015


I must apologize for not posting in March.  I came down with a case of the shingles and had very little energy for most of the month.  Below is an outline of up-coming events in our classroom for the months of April and May.  Four SHARE lessons will also be taught between April 28-May 6. I did not include the dates and times, but if you need to know, please e-mail me.


We have completed our fractions unit, which is a large part of the Nevada Academic Content Standards for math.  I will have students to continue to practice fractions skills and problem solving as we delve into co-ordinate graphing and converting between customary units of measure.  For fun, we will graph simple linear functions.

ELA/Social Studies

The American Revolutionary War is coming to an end in our classroom studies. Students will be giving PowerPoint presentations on Revolutionary Battles and Events as a culminating activity.  Of course with the end of the fighting, comes the formation of a new government, so our next unit of study will be the Constitution of the United States. We will be using a supplemental textbook entitled We the People.  We the People was created by the Center for Civics Education and is endorsed by Congress.  It is designed to help students understand how the Constitution came to be written, the major principles it contains, and how the Constitution effects our lives today. It promotes reading, writing, and critical thinking.  I will be asking students to discuss Constitutional topics with you as part of their homework.


I am happy to announce that Sierra Nevada Journeys, “a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship,” will be coming to our classroom to guide us in investigating our watershed with their Hands in the River unit. We will also be taking a trip to McCarran Ranch on I-80 East to investigate the health of the Truckee River.

Sierra Nevada Journeys charges a fee of $20 per student, and we must pay for the field trip bus. However, I will be using our classroom PTA money of $15 per student to help off-set the fees.  At this point in time, I have enough money left from our beginning of the year fees to cover the other $5 per student.  I am asking each student to chip in $5 to help with the field trip bus fee to McCarran Ranch.

We will also be finishing up our Mixtures & Solutions unit by investigating chemical changes.

April-May Events

Friday, April 24—5th grade Nevada Legislature field trip.  $5 to cover bus fees.
Monday, April 27—Reading SBAC (Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium)
                              CAT (Computer Adaptive Test) 1-2:30

Wednesday, April 29—SBAC classroom lesson

Thursday, April 30—SBAC Reading 9:15-10:45

Tuesday, May 5—Sierra Nevada Journeys lesson Watershed Connections 1-2:30

Monday, May 11—Math SBAC  CAT 10:45-12:15
                           Sierra Nevada Journeys lesson Watershed Inhabitants 1-2:30

Tuesday, May 12—Sierra Nevada Journeys field trip Watershed Health

Wednesday, May 13—Math SBAC classroom lesson

Thursday, May 14—Math SBAC 9:15-10:45

Tuesday, May 19—Sierra Nevada Journeys lesson Case Study of Non-Native    
                             Species 1-2:30

Friday, May 29—Donner Park field trip--focusing on  plant identification & glaciation.

Jan 25, 2015

January & February

I hope all families had a restful winter break! We are back to academics in the classroom.  At the time of this posting, students have completed the winter reading MAPs assessment and will be taking the math section January 29. Scores will be coming home following the math assessment. We have no word yet as to when students will be taking the SBAC test.

Below is an outline of what students will be studying during January and February.

ELA & Social Studies

Historical fiction will be our genre study and the whole class will be reading Avi's The Fighting Ground which complements are social studies unit on the American Revolutionary War. Students will be asked to read at least one historical fiction book at their reading level for their next independent reading assignment.  I highly encourage students to read a book set in American colonial or revolutionary times. I have many books set during these times for students to choose from. 

Students will also be engaging in several close readings of poetry. They will analyze Ted Kooser's Abandoned Farmhouse and then use his poem as a model for writing their own "abandoned" poem.  They will compare and contrast poems with similar themes, as well.

As mentioned before, social studies will focus on the American Revolution and students will be analyzing primary source documents to draw their own conclusions about the "Boston Massacre." They will then write an opinion essay addressing the question: Were the British Soldiers that fired upon the colonists guilty of murder or did they fire in self-defense?

To give students added support in reading, Caughlin Ranch has bought a subscription from A to Z Learning called Ready Test.  I will be sending home an informational letter once I have inputted students' names and passwords.  


We are now investigating fractions. By the end of our unit students will be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions.  Students will be using manipulatives and models (fraction bars, circles, and number lines) to build a conceptual understanding of fractions. 

Caughlin Ranch has bought a subscription to Dreambox, an on-line math program.  Dreambox will be used in conjunction with IXL to support students' math skills.  Dreambox assesses students and then provides lessons to improve students' areas of weakness.  Dreambox will not necessarily align with what is being taught in class. 


We have finished investigation #1, Separating Mixtures, in the FOSS Kit Mixtures and Solutions. The next investigations center on saturation, concentration, and chemical reactions.

Nov 3, 2014

October, November, December

We have just completed our first quarter of school.  Time flies when you're having fun!  We investigated the realistic fiction genre in reading, as well as, diving into informational texts via Newsela, textbooks, and Time for Kids magazine.  Students wrote three five paragraph essays during the quarter, and also practiced writing  comparing and contrasting paragraphs (we need a little more practice with this skill). Math focused on number theory and our wonderful base ten system.  Students honed their skills in  estimation, addition, subtraction, and multiplication of whole numbers and decimals.  Computation skills were embedded in word problems. Social studies began with a study of United States geography and morphed into the settlement of the Americas by the first peoples.  Science began with a unit on atomic theory which dove tailed with identify physical properties of matter, specifically minerals. 

We are now heading into the second quarter, a very busy time of year.  Below is  an outline of up-coming units of study and activities.


We will be delving in the mystery genre over the next few weeks, and mystery will be the focus of students next Independent Reading Assignment. Students' Mystery Independent Reading assignment and AR points are due Dec. 1.  As a whole class, students are reading the mystery/fantasy children's novel The Dollhouse Murders. Our next genre study will be historical fiction focusing on colonization of North America.

We continue to do close reading activities, most recently with an excerpt from Roughing It by Mark Twain that described Virginia City during its early days. This reading was to support the Virginia City field trip. Students will be writing an essay comparing Virginia City in Twain's time to Virginia City today.  Through this essay, students will be practicing citing sources of information.

Students continue to have weekly Newsela and fluency reading assignment.


We are finishing  up our studies on minerals and physical properties.  Students are currently involved in labs in which they are finding volume of a mineral by displacement, finding mass using a balance scale, and are using these measurement to find density.  Students will further investigate volume and density by finding the volume of blocks of wood of various sizes and calculating density.

Our next science unit will be the FOSS Kit Mixtures and Solutions.  This is wonderful kit investigating  physical and chemical chemical changes of matter.


Students are strengthening their understanding of measurement concepts: perimeter, area of rectangles, and volume. Geometry concepts  and division are focused skills throughout November and December.

Social Studies

Students have completed a jig-saw activity on North American Native American cultures.  Next up is Age of Exploration which leads directly into colonization. 

UNR Field Trip

I am currently in the planning stages of a field trip to UNR scheduled for December 18.  Students will be visiting the Keck Mineral Museum, the Engineering Department's earthquake shaker tables lab, and the Knowledge Center.  When schedule is firmed up, a permission note will be sent home.


Aug 24, 2014


I have greatly enjoyed getting to know my 2014-2015 school year students during the first two weeks of school!  Students took the reading MAP test on August 20, and will be taking the math MAP on August 28. Students scores will be coming home in the next few weeks.

Below is an outline of our studies and up-coming school events.


We are currently reading the children's novel There is a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. This novel provides a vehicle for studying realistic fiction, character analysis, plot structure and theme.  Students were given an Independent Reading assignment on Monday, August 25.  As part of their Independent Reading, students were assigned an AR point goal based on their  STAR reading test and reading MAP scores. Students may read any books at their reading level to reach their point goal; however,  at least one book must be in the realistic fiction genre.  For the realistic fiction book students will complete a story map  and analyze the main character.  Students will also complete a WOW! Word bookmark collecting  ten new or interesting words from any of the books they read and writing down the definitions.  This Independent Reading assignment is due     .

We are also engaged in reading informational texts through our studies in science and social studies.

Language Arts

Students are completing their Me Essay. The purpose of this essay was to introduce students to the writing process and  five paragraph format we will be using throughout the year as we practice writing informative, persuasive, narrative, and opinion pieces.  Students will be asked to type these essays to gain fluency using word processing programs. If students do not have access to a computer at home. They may come in before school, during recess, or after school to use a  classroom computer.

Our next essay will be a persuasive piece: Why donate to the Caughlin Ranch Jog-athon?


We are finishing up Unit 1 in Everyday Math: Number Theory.  Following the Unit 1 Checking Progress assessment, students will be taking a closer look at Nevada Academic Standards tied to base 10.  This will be followed by Everyday Math Unit 2: Estimation and Computation.


Students have learning about atoms and their connection to static electricity.  Students will visit the periodic chart of elements and link it a study of minerals and physical properties.  We will then begin using the FOSS Kit, Water Planet.

Social Studies

We are currently learning the "lay of the land" in anticipation of our study of American history.  Over the next few months, students will be encounter the first people in the Americas, European explorers, European colonizers, and the American Revolution.
Site Design By Designer Blogs