Sunday, March 30, 2014

But every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice." ~ Noah Webster On the Education of Youth in America

Hello families--
We are exiting March--at long last!  We can look forward to warmer days this week! The true harbinger of spring for me is the coming of peepers (if you live near water you're sure to have heard them); they usually arrive around the 10th regardless of how miserable the weather has been beforehand. I so anxiously await  them. . .


Monday:  Pages 117 & 118
Tuesday:  Pages 119 & 120
Wednesday: Pages 121 & 122
Thursday:  Pages 123 & 124
Friday:  Review & Corrections


All this week we're practicing for SBACs, the new rigorous replacement for NECAPS which we'll pilot later this month. Monday, we watched a short video to familiarize ourselves with all the "tools" they'll be able to use.  It is helpful, so I'm posting it here in case anyone wants to go over it again. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will be individual practice days.  Playing around with it a bit and getting familiar with the format will hopefully demystify the process and prepare our students for the actual test. 



Use the following two sites to gather information for a graphic organizer I will provide in class:

Regions: Find out about which colonies are in each region. Also, get information about climate/geography, religion, and economy.
Regions: What were the geographic regions of the 13 colonies? Find out about the environment, natural resources, and religions of these regions.
Scavenger HuntIndependent Assignment-due Friday. 


LINKS FOR THURSDAY/FRIDAY ASSIGNMENT (I'll provide the graphic organizer for this assignment.)

Colony Profiles: Learn about how each colony was established.

Another Map Interactive that might be helpful.

Chart of the 13 Colonies--good, quick information

The following powerpoint will provide more information to help those who may still need to complete their graphic organizer. 

13 Colonies Village and Trades--Find out what a colonial town was like.

Monday, March 24, 2014

“There is no creature so perfect in wisdom and knowledge but may learn something for time present, and to come, by times past.” ― John Robinson

Dear Families--

 New marking period--fresh start--and each student's chance to use everything they've learned to "show what they know." A new policy will be put in place this time around due to the large number of late assignments turned in last marking period.  Although "extended time" was never part of the bargain, it became problematic none-the-less and an excuse for poor work habits.  Therefore, if an assignment is late, you will be receive an email from me.  Your student will then have one day to complete it before the grade becomes final.  Naturally, allowances will be made for extenuating circumstances.

Please note that in this "final push to the end," there will be an increasing number of independent (not during class time) activities that will rely on students' ability to self-monitor. 

MARCH 24--28


Monday:  Pages 109-110
Tuesday:  Pages 111-112
Wednesday:  Guidance
Thursday:  Pages 113-114
Friday:  Pages 115-116

Tuesday: Introduce Response to Literature Portfolio piece.
Wednesday:  Rough draft of RTL -- writing piece should be mapped out
Thursday:  I'm not here today--work on Independent Assignment for Social Studies.  It's due tomorrow.
Friday: I'm not here today--complete map activity for 13 colonies. Due Monday, March 31st.


In Social Studies, we're moving on to a brief interactive tour of Plymouth Colony and the Pilgrims who inhabited it. Below are sites we'll explore. I encourage you to check them out; they're pretty interesting! (Some of this work will be independent, and everything will be due on Friday, March 28)

MONDAY, GRADE 5 & TUESDAY, GRADE 6:  Begin interactive website:

Excellent Interactive Site! NOTE:  There is an activity to complete at the end, which each student will print off and share.  
This activity is due on Friday, March 28!
Two-Part Independent Assignment
Also due Friday, March 28
(I will provide a worksheet to accompany the following two activities)

Go to THIS SITE and click on the links to answer the following questions...USE COMPLETE SENTENCES.
  • Who were the Pilgrims?
  • In what year did they begin to come to America?
  • According to early Plymouth records, what were the names of the first four ships to sail to America?
  • Pilgrims weren't called "Pilgrims" until the 1800s. What were the passengers from the first four ships called back in the 1620s?

Continuing the worksheet above, answer questions by reading this interesting, fun article in Muse Magazine, Vol. 5, Issue 9, November 2001, from the publishers of Cricket and Smithsonian Magazine. You can find it by clicking on:
FYI: Check out what it was like living on "Plimouth Plantation".

For Fun (and extra credit!):

Write a short conversation between two Pilgrims by visiting this site. Talk Like a Pilgrim

Make It At Home --two colonial games to make and try! 

Wyeth Pilgrim Image:

"Most great things in your life won’t happen by chance, they will happen by choice." ~Everyday Life Lessons


Well, another "Week in Retrospect" --
What a mess last week turned out to be.  On Tuesday the 11th we had no internet (and everything we needed to do to complete the marking period depended on it).  Then, of course, we had that 2-day crazy Snowstorm on the 13th and 14th!  Good grief!

Anyway, because the 3 final/critical days of the last marking period were lost, I extended them into this week so that those still wishing to correct/edit/conference/finish any outstanding work could do so.  For many students, this provided the opportunity to improve on an existing grade.  For others, the extended time was, unfortunately, not utilized.  Ahh, lessons take many forms.

Needless to say, this week was crazy-busy!  Just for the record, I'll briefly summarize assignments from the week:



Monday: Finish up any overdue work.
Tuesday: Test, pages 107-108
Wednesday: Guidance
Thursday:  Typing Pal
Friday: Typing Pal


Monday, Grades 5 & 6: Work/project completion
Tuesday, Grade 5: Work/project completion
Tuesday, Grade 6:  Write Source Assessment
Wednesday, Grade 5:  Write Source Assessment
Wednesday, Grade 6:  Across the Atlantic activity
Thursday, Grade 5:  Complete Write Source Assessment
Thursdsay, Grade 6: All work turned in.
Friday, Grades 5 & 6:  How to Write a Gist activity


Monday, Grade 5:  Work/project completion
Tuesday, Grade 6:  Work/project completion
Wednesday, Grade 5:  Across the Atlantic activity
Thursday, Grade 6: All work turned in.


CAlvin & Hobbes image:
Quote image:

Monday, March 10, 2014

"He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea." ~ Thomas Fuller

Dear Families--

I hope your student brought home a bright yellow letter from Heather and me.  It was to inform you about the end of this trimester and to provide a place for you to sign up if you would like to meet with us.  Grades close this Thursday the 13th, and report cards go home on Monday the 24th. Conference times will be offered during the week of March 31st to April 4th.  Please sign and return the paper even if you don't wish to meet at this time so that we know you received the information.  Thanks!

For this week, March 10th-13th . . .

Word Study, Grade 5:  

Monday--Pages 103-104
Tuesday--Pages 105-106
Wednesday--Guidance; no class
Thursday--Pages 107, 109, 110

Reading, Grades 5 and 6:

Students seemed to like reading individual books last time around, so we're doing it again.  Please note:  for grade 5, this book will count as their "book of the month."  

I will say I have mixed feelings about this because the independent books & associated projects were intended to be supplemental home pieces and shouldn't have been confused with classwork.  Somehow the lines blurred and students only did their "home" reading here and most projects were only worked on at school. I will still encourage you to have your child read each night to build stamina, fluency, comprehension, and independence.  Speaking as a mom, it's also a great segue from evening activities to bedtime. 

Language Arts, Grades 5 & 6:

This is "fix it or finish it" time.  All work has not been turned in by some students, so their week will be a busy one.  Others need only to make corrections in the final editing phase of their writing and return those pieces for a final grade.  Activities/enrichments will be provided for those who finish early.

Social Studies, Grades 5 & 6:  ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

This week we will:
  • become familiar with old seafaring maps and learn how to read them. 
  • learn about how ships navigated when they were out of sight of land--specifically by looking at the Compass, the Astrolabe, and the Traverse Board. 
  • chart our course on an interactive journey across the Atlantic Ocean and keep a Ship's Log to record our voyage.
Everyone will have the opportunity to establish an interactive colony and compare the choices they make with those of the original settlers.  It's educational and fun! Check out:  JAMESTOWN ONLINE ADVENTURE.


The story of the “Lost Colony of Roanoke” remains one of America's first true mysteries. The ill-fated settlement on Roanoke Island was actually England's second attempt at colonizing that area. In 1584, 100 men established a fort and settlement on the north end of the island.  It was abandoned the next year due to weather, lack of food, and poor relations with the natives.  On July 22, 1587, 110 men, women, and children and their governor, John White, arrived on the island to establish a new settlement.  White’s pregnant daughter, Eleanor Dare, was among the colonists.  Soon after their arrival, on August 18, 1587, she gave birth to a little girl -- the first English settler to be born in the “New World.”  She was named Virginia.  A week later, White was forced to return to England for much needed supplies, taking the ships and a crew of able-bodied sailors with him.  Unfortunately, his return was delayed for three years due to England’s conflict with Spain, and when, at last, the ships did return in 1590, Roanoke was abandoned.  All the colonists had vanished without a trace; the village of two-story thatch-roofed cottages were taken down and only remains of the fort walls were left to mark the site.  On a post, the word “CROATOAN” was carved; on a nearby tree, the letters “CRO.” 

What really happened? Nobody knows, but consider this . . .

"Beginnings are always messy." ~ John Galsworthy



Monday (March 3) and Tuesday (March 4) 
Language Arts and Social Studies: Complete Explorers Notebooks.

(to be turned in by Friday, March 7)

Jamestown: The First Permanent English Settlement in the "New World"

Grades 5 and 6 are beginning a new Social Studies unit on Colonialism which will occasionally include visiting this blog to access websites. This week students will be introduced to Jamestown--America's first English colony, through story and by watching the National Geographic Special titled, "Nightmare in Jamestown." Students will then have the opportunity to take notes, engage in discussion on some pretty controversial information, and complete worksheets based on these activities.


We'll also kick-start a cyber-journey through Jamestown by visiting an awesome site called "Jamestown Rediscovered." We'll visit tour stops and answer questions at each site. (Most of the text from this tour is taken directly from signs on the island of Jamestown.) Students will be given worksheets to fill out with the following questions on them The websites are as follows:
What did the land look like when the settlers first arrived?
Where was it located and what did it look like?
Check THIS out! It’s a guided tour of James Fort. EXPLORE, then name three parts of the fort you found interesting and write a sentence describing/explaining each one.
Just who WAS John Smith?
Who was she and what role did she play in the history of Jamestown?
Wondering what THIS is? Check it out! (Then describe its function.)
How many were there? Write brief descriptions of each.
Fascinating! Information about burials and headstones. . . What did you find out?
Who does this shrine honor, and why was he important?
Find the interesting fact about THIS large wooden cross.
Visit these next sites and answer the questions for extra credit:


 Your Adventure Begins


Extended time will be given to you to finish up all online activities and turn in your Explorers Notebooks. 


“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ― André Gide

Hello, families--

Just a heads up:

(MARCH 3) AND TUESDAY (MARCH 4)  STUDENTS WILL PUT TOGETHER THEIR EXPLORERS NOTEBOOKS. We'll use both Language Arts and Social Studies times on these days, which should give them enough time to [creatively] arrange their individual assignments onto construction paper.  Finished books will be due on Friday, March 7.

A finished product like the “Explorers Notebook” shows the students’ ability to showcase their knowledge both critically and creatively.  Just as students learn the importance of completing their work, they need also to develop interesting ways to express their ideas with effort and originality..  Simply said, a completed product clearly illustrates the quality of student thinking.



Be reading!  Book projects due on Friday, February 28th!


Monday:  Pages 93-94
Tuesday:  Pages 95-96
Wednesday:  Guidance
Thursday:  Pages 97-98
Friday: Edit Persuasion piece

SOCIAL STUDIES (Fifth Grade/Sixth Grade)

Monday/Tuesday:  Postcards from Balboa and Magellan
Wednesday/Thursday:  Search for the Northwest Passage


     Reason 2 with details (Fifth Grade) 
     Reason 2 with evidence (Sixth Grade)
     Reason 3 with details (Fifth Grade) 
     Reason 3 with evidence (Sixth Grade)
Wednesday:  "Polish" this much of your paper
Thursday:  Create a "clincher" -- be sure it includes the "So what?"
Friday:  Edit for GUM and type final draft.