Friday, May 30, 2014

Science: Fossils

This week we started "digging" into fossils.  We started by listing what we already know about fossils and what we wanted to learn:

We watched a Bill Nye video all about fossils that got us ready to learn!  We talked about what a fossil is and how fossils are made...

Then we became paleontologists!

We got to dig into some soil and search for dinosaur bones!  

Just like a paleontologist, we didn't know if we found all the pieces or how they went together.  We learned some great lessons and made some great discoveries!

Math: Addition and Subtraction Strategies

We've been working on our math strategies all week.  

First, we focused on addition.  We talked about the different tools we have to help us and what strategies work best for us.

Then we moved into subtraction strategies.  Many of us find an open number line or partial sums the most helpful.

So...why aren't we doing the oldie but goodie way of borrowing and carrying the numbers we work with?  The short answer is because we have to get a solid understanding of the numbers we're working with first - before we proceduralize it.  We need students to get comfortable with the numbers and how they work together.  Read more about it here (click the image):

Writing: Poetry

We have finished our research books!

For the remainder of the school year we will be exploring poetry.

This week we learned and wrote about acrostic, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and concrete poems.  What are they?


  • The poem topic goes straight down the left side of your paper.
  • Phrases that follow each letter describe the topic

  • Repeat the same beginning sound throughout the poem
  • Use one sound for each line OR use one sound for the whole poem
  • Like a tongue twister!
  • Use words that sound like what they mean to make the poem sound musical (pop, crash, bang, splat, tick tock)
  • The poem should be fun to read aloud

  • The words must make a shape
  • It must be easy to follow the order of the poem

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Franklin Falcon

The fifth graders have been working very hard on commercials and posters for us advertising the "Franklin Falcon."

Order forms were sent home yesterday - they are $7 each and you can select your logo.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Math: Rounding Numbers

We've been working on rounding numbers to multiples of 10 in math.  We have used a 100 number chart to help us as we ask ourselves, "Is this number closer to XX or XX?

For example - if we look at the number 27 we can see that it is 7 away from 20, but only 3 away from 30.  We would round it to 30.

After rounding many, many, many numbers we've figured out that the easiest way to for rounding is to look at the ones in the number.  If it's 4 or less we know that it is always closer to the smaller "ten" number.  If it's 5 or greater we know that it's always closer to the larger "ten" number.

We used this concept to round money that we've been working with and now we are using to help us add.  

For example - if I buy 2 items that are $0.95 and $1.21 I can round ($1 and $1.20) think to myself that it's close to $2.20.

Research Report Update: Our Final Week

We're in our last few days of working on our research report!  Today we went though our report checklist again and organized our papers.  We also brainstormed writing a conclusion for our report.

We will continue putting the finishing touches on our research report this week.  We found many great facts about animals and learned all about writing facts in our own words as well as writing an introduction, conclusion, and bibliography.

Follett Shelf

Mrs. Cram came in last week to show us Follett Shelf.  It's a really cool tool that we can use over the summer to check out e-books or listen to interactive stories.  She's working on sending a letter home with directions, but until that's ready I thought I'd post a little how-to.

First, have your student sign into the Oshkosh Area School District Portal.

Once on the portal, they can select the yellow Destiny icon.  Select our school. 

You'll be brought to our page that looks like this (great links if you need some educational things to do).  For Follett Shelf, click the catalog tab:

Then next screen is where you can search for books in our school or district's library.  Click the link on the left that says "Follett Shelf"   

You'll have to log in:

And from there you can search and check out e-books.  They can be downloaded into your bookbag and accessed online.  You can even download the Follett Shelf app and access books in your bookbag from anywhere.

What we really loved was the interactive books.  To get to those stories, you need to click the "Digital Resources Link" in the upper right corner.

You'll be brought to a page that looks like this.  You want to select "Capstone."  (The other link doesn't work and will be removed.)

In Capstone you'll be able to browse and listen to or read 43 books!

 Happy reading!