Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our New Class Pet

While we haven't named him yet, take a look at the following video of our new class rat in his temporary weekend home. Since rats like to have something to crawl inside and his real cage is at school, we stuck a paper sack in his temporary cage for him to hide away in.......

Learning Highlights 10/24-11/4

  • measuring and classifying angles (acute, obtuse, right, adjacent, reflex)
  • identifying, classifying, drawing and defining triangles (equilateral, scalene, and isosceles)
  • geometric properties of polygons
  • identify, describe, and create tessellations 
To watch an interactive video on any of the above math concepts, go here and type in the concept in the search box in the upper right hand corner.  

Communication Arts: 
  •  emergency drill essay; thank-you letter to Rotary Club of Springfield
  • letter-writing to pen pals
  • book clubs
    • independent blog reflections & book club members commenting
    • deciding upon and meeting reading goal 
    • presenting and discussing jobs
      • vocabulary enricher- develop vocabulary using context clues and/or dictionary
      • discussion director- questioning
      • illustrator - visualizing 
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH- class read aloud
  • verbs- action, linking, helping
  • light energy (possibly mechanical energy as well)
  • predicting and measuring mass of Oreos

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Slime (AKA an awesome polymer!)

While learning about the properties of the different states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas), we created slime-- a polymer, which is a special type of matter that has both solid and liquid properties. To find out more, click on the following website from,

Don't METH with us!

On October 12, members of the Springfield Rotary Club came to our school and gave the entire 5th grade a presentation about the dangers of meth. They explained what the Rotary Club was about, shared with us pertinent information about how meth is made, and explained the effects of meth on the human body. In addition, they gave every fifth grader a t-shirt, wristband, bookmark, and pencil--all with an anti-meth logo.  

For more information, visit their website:

Intro to the Kitchen 10/6- captions by Lydia & Kamren

Chef Rob is showing us some of the tools we will use this year.
Some of the tools are a potato peeler,strainer,and a salad spinner.

The following video is a clip from the lesson Chef Rob gave our class about how to measure dry and liquid ingredients:

Chef Rob is letting us try out the new cooking tools
such as the salad spinner.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Learning Highlights 10/10-10/21

While we will be reviewing many, many prior concepts, these are the main concepts we are focusing on:
  • more practice with adding & subtracting decimals
  • multiplying decimals
  • data & landmarks
  • probability 
  • rounding & estimating
To watch an interactive video on any of the above math concepts, go here and type in the concept in the search box in the upper right hand corner. 

    Communication Arts
    • making connections during Read-to-Self 
    • previewing novels for Book Clubs beginning the week of 10/17-10/21
      • letter writing
        • We will be writing letters to our pen pals in Mr.Malany's class in Kenton, Ohio, this week!
      • spelling 
        • We will spend time practicing our spelling words on Spelling City.
      • Oreo sculpture "how-to" second drafts
      • verbs 
        • action verbs
        • linking verbs
        • helping verbs 
        • Here's a verb video we'll be watching to learn more about verbs:

      • cooking in the kitchen with Chef Rob on Thursday, 10/13
      • working in the greenhouse with Farmer Curtis on Thursday, 10/20
      • measuring the mass of Oreos as an extension of our O.R.E.O. project
      • separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms from water in a lab
      • reviewing what we've learned so far about matter in a "Find Someone Who" activity; quiz will occur two days after review (specific date TBA)
      • mobile science van special activity on Thursday, 10/13

        • "Don't Meth with Me" presentation on Wednesday, 10/12 to learn the harmful effects of meth and its shocking prevalence in Missouri and immediate surrounding areas
        • counselor visit on Friday, 10/14
        • Sometime during the week of 10/17-10/21, we will be watching the Family Life and Safety videos.


        • On Tuesday, October 11, we learned what we had in common with the fellow classmates in our team; we will be using these commonalities to generate a team name to help us improve team spirit and cooperation for cooperative learning activities to come! 
        • On Friday, October 14, we worked in our teams to develop our team names. All but a couple teams finished finalizing their team name.
        • On Wednesday, October 19, we will be going on our field trip to the art museum!
        • On Thursday morning, October 20, we will be going to the Health Fair.

        Monday, October 10, 2011

        O.R.E.O. Project

        On Thursday, September 29, we participated in the O.R.E.O. Project  in which each of us stacked Oreos as high as we could and averaged our results. We were also able to Skype with Mrs. Hojnacki's 5th grade class  in Michigan, which was really exciting!

        Since so many parents in our class donated so many packages of Oreos, we've been able to use them in math (to review collecting data and finding landmarks) and in English (to write a how-to piece on creating an Oreo sculpture!). This week we will also be using the rest that we have in science! (Stay tuned!)

        To collect the data for our stacks, each student had two tries to stack as many Oreos as they could until the stack tumbled. Then we used the best out of the two tries to collect the following class data:

        Maximum: 25

        Minimum: 13

        Range: 12

        Modes: 15, 17, 20, 21, 22

        Median: 19

        Mean (average): 19

        Check out the videos below to see us in action as we stack Oreos. 

        In the Animoto video below, there are pictures of us stacking and sculpting Oreos! Also, stay tuned for the how-to writing that we are working on to go along with the sculptures we created.

        A HUGE thanks to all parents who donated Oreos to our class; we couldn't have done this project, in the extent that we've been able to, without your help!
        We appreciate you!!

        Wednesday, October 5, 2011

        Highlights of the Week 10/3-10/7

        Our focus this week is on the following concepts:

        • place value of whole numbers and decimals
        • writing numbers in standard and expanded notation

        • adding and subtracting multi-digit whole numbers and decimals

        • multiplying multi-digit whole numbers and decimals

        • capacity equivalencies (gallon, pints, cups, etc.) 

        • **Optional math homework was available on Monday, which focused on expanded notation. That was due Wednesday for those who chose to complete it.

          ***Optional math homework was available Wednesday, which focused on adding decimals. That will be due on Friday for those who choose to complete it. Students are welcome to bring home a box of crayons or markers if they need it.

          Communication Arts 
          Aside from our weekly Read-to-Self, spelling practice, and free-writing, we've been learning how to make comments on one another's blog posts and other class' blogs from around the world.
          • Something we are working on is applying what we know about capitalization (beginnings of sentences, proper nouns, etc.), punctuation (end punctuation and apostrophes), and common homophones (your/you're, to/too, etc.) to our comments we make on other students' blogs. 
            • Here are some pictures of us commenting on blogs on Wednesday:

            • On Tuesday we continued with the second installment of our O.R.E.O. project: sculpting! We wrote out ideas we had and mapped out our plans for how we planned to create our sculptures. After working on our plan for awhile, some of us revised our plan and wrote completely new ones altogether. After about 30 minutes, we took a break to reflect on our sculpting experience so far: what was or wasn't working, how much we had left to do, what we planned to do next, if it was more difficult or easier than we originally expected, etc. As we finished our final sculptures, we then wrote expository pieces about "how to" make our sculptures. Everyone finished a first draft, so we will begin working on revising and editing next week. 
              • A few sculptures (we'll be adding all of them as soon as we finish our how-to essays to accompany them): 

               **Spelling test for the lists this week will be Friday, October 14.

              ***Home Reading Logs (HRL's) are given out every Monday and due the following Monday. Students are expected to read at least 30 minutes 4 out of the 7 nights during the week.


              In addition to our time in the kitchen with Chef Rob on Thursday, our focus in science this week is an extension of last week: properties of matter. Our goal for this week is to learn some important vocabulary words related to the matter unit we are learning about: mass, volume, atom, mixture, and solution.

              We will be measuring the mass of Oreos (an extension of our O.R.E.O. project),  volume of rocks, creating a polymer (aka SLIME), and separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of water in a lab.

              • Under the direction of our choir teacher, Ms.Hogsett, we performed two songs on Wednesday morning at the district principals' meeting held at our school! On Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday morning, we were fortunate enough to be able to spend time rehearsing, so we had quite a polished performance!  Check us out in the picture on the right!

                • On Thursday afternoon, we will be making a scarecrow with the help of Madison's mom. Our scarecrow will be available at the Fall Fest on Friday. 
                • We will be getting new teams on Thursday, and this time we will be coming up with a team name and spending time really focusing on learning how to work cooperatively together.  
                • On Friday, we will be getting our classroom jobs. We wrote persuasive letters last week to prove why we are the best person for the job we are applying for, and we'll be learning a little more about our class economic system!

                Monday, October 3, 2011

                Our First Experience with "Teach-Ok"

                From the middle of September.....

                Lately I (Mrs.Allen) have been doing a lot of reading on Whole Brain Teaching, so I decided to take the plunge and begin testing it out with our class. Our attention signal, "Class-Yes," is working out well, so this week we tried something new: "Teach-Ok." Since we had been learning about prime and composite numbers, I decided to have us learn the technique by reviewing what prime and composite numbers are with a simple sort-of chant mixed with a few of gestures. After we got that down, I introduced square numbers with a sort-of chant mixed in with a few gestures as well.  (All three that are featured in the video I made up entirely based on what I felt would make the most sense to our class; they're definitely not "incredible," but I think they work for us!)

                Anyway, as you will see in this video, we are still in the very beginning stages of getting this totally down, but I think it's a pretty good start! Hope you enjoy! (Side note: normally, our room is configured into teams, but for this technique we had to rearrange our desks into pairs.)

                Greenhouse: Day 2 (9/22)

                 Here we are walking out to learn more in the greenhouse. We go out and work---rain or shine!

                Farmer Curtis (above) and Chef Rob (below) discuss humidity, the water cycle, sink holes, and more!

                Prime Factorization Trees

                Here are some "Fancy Factor Trees" some of us made as part of our math stations during the last part of September. Notice how the examples below have the prime factorization for the numbers and some even have the exponential notation as well.