• What we're learning: Oct. 28 - Nov. 15

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/28/2019 12:00:00 PM

    Here's what we're doing October 28-November 15.

    Science

    • Movement of Energy in Ecosystems 
      • Roles in an ecosystem
      • Decomposers investigations
      • The Plant Kingdom

    Homework: None planned

    Assessments: None planned. 

    Looking forward: Yellowstone Food Chain project and Wolf Perspectives project due early December.

     

    Math

    • Visual models and the standard algorithm for multiplying whole numbers and decimals
    • Using multiplication in measurement word problems

    Homework: Module 2 Lessons 6-18 (one per night)

    Assessments: Daily entrance tickets; Mid-Module Assessment 11/14 (tentative)

     

    English Language Arts

    • Engaging in conversation about Esperanza Rising
    • Identifying theme, setting and character traits in Esperanza Rising
    • Identifying challenges to human rights in Esperanza Rising

    Homework: Read 1 chapters each night

    Assessments: Daily reflection questions; End-of-unit assessment and Two-voice poem due 11/14

     

    Social Studies

    • Colonization of the land now known as the United States:
      • Who were the colonists? 
      • Why was the land colonized?

    Homework: Reading assignments due 11/1 and 11/8

    Assessments: Reflection questions


    Conferences

    Conferences are the week of November 11. In order to best accomodate all 30 families, conferences will be student led and 10 minutes. Please select a time on Sign-Up Genius. 


    Upcoming Events

    Halloween Celebration: 10/31, 1:15-2:15. Please see my recent blog post about expectations.

    Picture Retakes: 11/6

    Book Fair: 11/12-11/14 in the Rattlesnake Library. The book fair will be open during conferences.

    Early out: 11/14 at 11:35 

    No School: 11/15! Enjoy the long weekend! 

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  • How should we prioritize homework?

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/28/2019 9:00:00 AM

    With the winter holidays approaching and schedules filling up, students and parents alike want to know, How do I prioritize homework? This is a great question because some assignments have later due dates, some assignments are absolutely necessary for our class discusion, and some assignments are just for practice.

     

    No need for excuses

    Here are some tips for priortizing homework:

    1. Check your Assignment Planner for due dates. For bigger assignments, like posters and projects, you usually have 3-5 days to work before it is due. Don't rush to finish it all the first night it's assigned. 

    2. Required reading is a must! We discuss and use the previous night's reading in class, so doing the required reading every night is a must. If you like to read right before bed, be sure to give yourself enough time to finish. Also consider using time during the school day, like transition time and Daily 3, to work on your reading homework. 

    3. Social Studies is a must too. We don't have social studies homework very often, so when it's assigned, that means its important. We'll use the social studies reading in class, so you need to have read it and done the required assignment. I'll always try to give you two days to finish social studies homework. 

    4. In a pinch, shorten (or skip) the math homework. If you're really tight for time, set a timer for 10-15 minutes and do only a portion of the math homework. Our math homework is for extra practice and, since we have math homework pretty much everyday, you'll be fine missing a day of math homework. Just make sure you communicate with me so I know what is going on, otherwise I'll record it in the gradebook as incomplete. 

    5. Use your classtime wisely. We have a fair amount of down time during the day, like transitions after specials and lunch, and independent time after you finish classwork. If you use this time to work on homework, you'll definitely have less to take home. 

     

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  • Halloween Celebration & Expectations

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/22/2019 8:00:00 AM

    We look forward to having a fun day on Halloween! We will celebrate from 1:30-2:15 with board games, crafts and socializing. Students may bring their costumes to school and change into costumes after lunch.

    A recent school-wide newsletter from Principal Wright outlined our costume expectations, which I've included here as a reminder for you.

    • Costumes must conform to the Rattlesnake School Dress Code.
    • Costumes may not be demeaning to any ethnic group, race, religion, nationality, disabilities, gender, or individual (staff or student) at the school.
    • Costumes may not cause a disruption or distraction to the school program.
    • No weapons, toy weapons, or props replicating weapons (sorry no light sabers either!) are to be brought to school.
    • No costumes are allowed that would completely hide the identity of the student, i.e. Hazmat suit, gorilla suit, "Scream" character. Face paint shouldn’t cover more than 50% of the face (again we want to know who you are).
    • No full face masks are permitted (they may not be worn OR carried)

     

    This school year, our District is focusing on consistent approaches to student health through the foods that are served during classroom parties and school celebrations. Please let me know if you'd like to provide any of the snacks listed below.  

    ~fresh fruit or fruit kebabs

    ~veggies & dip 

    ~cheese cubes & baked crackers 

    ~popcorn 

    Trick or Treat

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  • Accessing Google Suite at home

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/16/2019 4:00:00 PM

    Students are able to access Google Classroom and Google Documents at home. To do so:

    1. Go to www.google.com.

    2. In the upper right hand corner, click on the blue Sign In button. 

    3. Sign in using your school username and password (27_ _ _ _ _ _ @student.mcpsmt.org)

    4. Navigate to Classroom and Docs using the 9-square grid in the upper right hand corner. 

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  • What we're learning: Oct. 14-25

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/14/2019 1:00:00 PM

    Here's what we're doing October 14-25.

    Science

    • Is Rattlesnake Creek Healthy? 
      • Leaf pack investigation
      • Macroinvertebrate research project

    Homework: Macroinvertebrate poster due 10/21

    Assessments: Lab report due 10/28

    Placing packs in Rattlesnake Creek  

    Observing the creek prior to placing leaf packs.

    Math

    • Hotel Project: Adding, subtracting and multiplying decimals
    • Mental strategies for whole digit multiplication
    • Visual models for whole digit multiplication

    Homework: Module 2 Lessons 1-5 (starting 10/21)

    Assessments: Daily entrance tickets 

    English Language Arts

    • Engaging in conversation about Esperanza Rising
    • Identifying theme, setting and character traits in Esperanza Rising

    Homework: Read 1-2 chapters each night (starting 10/21)

    Assessments: Daily reflection questions

    Our artwork from the FGAE

    Our artwork from the art experience at the MAM.

    Social Studies

    • Colonization of the land now known as the United States:
      • Solving the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke
      • Comparing perspectives on the Jamestown Colony

    Homework: Jamestown reading due 10/24

    Assessments: Reflection questions


    Upcoming Events:

    October 16: Traveling Classroom trip to Rattlesnake Creek (9:30)

    October 17 & 18: No school (MEA Conference for teachers)

    October 24: Family Fun Night with Animal Wonders (6-7:30)

    October 31: Halloween classroom celebration (1:30-3:00)  - Look for a Halloween expectations blog post next week

    November 13 & 14: Conferences - Look for an email on 10/29

    November 27-29: No School (Thanksgiving Break)

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  • Math Understanding

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/14/2019 9:00:00 AM

    Our 5th grade math program builds on the concept of Relational Understanding.

    Relational Understanding is not a new concept. In fact, the first research study on Relational Understanding happened over 40 years ago, but for many of us, it is different than the way we learned math as children.

    In a nutshell, there are two ways of understanding math - Instrumental Understanding and Relational Understanding. Instrumental Understanding is knowing and using procedures and rules. Instrumental mathematicians can perform operational procedures, like the U.S. Standard Algorithm, but do not necessarily understand the mathematics behind the procedure. This is the way many of us born and raised in the last century learned and understand math. It's not "bad", it just limits our flexibility as mathematicians. I can safely say that I still clam up when I encounter a math problem without a clear procedure or rule to follow.

    Relational Understanding, on the other hand, is understanding how and why the rules and procedures work. Students with relational understanding can describe the mathmatics behind a procedure, retain understanding longer, connect new learning to previous learning and are more apt to see multiple ways to solve a problem. Relational Understanding allows for flexible thinking and creates mathematicians that are willing to deviate from the rules to solve a problem.

    My hope in approaching math from a perspective of Relational Understanding is to help students build important connections in their brain that will grow their number sense, enhance their understanding of the math procedures, and empower them to think flexibly when they encounter a tough problem. I appreciate your patience and grit in embracing a new way of understanding math!


    Did you know: 5th graders do not need to use the U.S. Standard Algorithm for division (also known as long division) of whole numbers or decimal fractions to solve division problems. Students may use drawings and other concrete models all the way through 5th grade. Same goes for adding, subtracting and multiplying decimal fractions.

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  • Updated band schedule

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 10/8/2019 3:00:00 PM

    Starting Monday, Oct. 14, all band students will rehearse on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Only clarinets will practice on Friday. 

     

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  • What we're learning: Sept. 30-Oct. 11

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 9/29/2019 12:00:00 PM

    We have some awesome Traveling Classroom events coming up! I would love to have parent chaperones join us. See the Upcoming Events section at the bottom of this post for dates and times, and please let me know if you are available!


    Here's what we're doing September 30 - October 11.

    Science

    • The Rattlesnake Creek ecosystem - is our creek healthy? 
    • Investigating the macroinvertebrates found in our ecosystem

    Homework: Macroinvertebrate poster due Oct. 16; Lab report due Oct. 25

    Assessments: None planned

    Math

    • Adding and subtracting decimal fractions
    • Multiplying decimal fractions

    Homework: Lessons 13-18 (one per day, due every morning); Hotel Project due week of 9/30

    Assessments: Daily entrance tickets; Game of Life; Hotel Project due week of 10/16

    The Game of Life

    Playing the Game of Life to practice adding and subtracting decimals.

    English Language Arts

    • Engaging in conversation about Esperanza Rising
    • Idenfiying theme, setting and character traits in Esperanza Rising
    • Writing a creative narrative

    Homework: Read 1-2 chapters each night

    Assessments: Daily reflection questions

    Social Studies

    • Age of Discovery perspectives project

    Homework: Age of Discovery project due mid-October (TBD)


    Upcoming Events:

    Spirit Week is September 30-October 4

    (Monday: Dress Like a Teacher Day. Tuesday: Superhero Day. Wednesday: Wacky Wednesday. Thursday: Fancy Day. Friday: School Spirt Day.)

    Oct. 3: Picture Day

    Oct. 9: Traveling Classroom trip to Rattlesnake Creek (9:30-10:15) (1 parent chaperone needed)

    Oct. 10: Traveling Classroom trip to the Missoula Art Museum and the public library - Students should "dress for a mess" (8:30-2:00) (3 parent chaperones needed)

    Oct. 16: Traveling Classroom trip to Rattlesnake Creek (9:30-11:00) (3 parent chaperones needed)

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  • Homework Tips

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 9/18/2019 11:25:00 AM

    Here are some helpful homework hints: 

    • Links to audio versions of all of our books, including Night of the Spadefoot Toads, are available under the tab called Novel Read Alouds to the left of this message. Students are encouraged to use these videos to complete their reading assignments.
    • Links to math tutorials are available under the Helpful Math Links tab to the left of this message. These are especially helpful for parents since the strategies taught through Common Core math are so different than the way we learned math as kids. 
    • Set a timer for math homework. I highly recommend talking about what you think, as a family, is a reasonable amount of math time. Set a timer for that amount of time and only work for that long. Encourage your student to communicate with me about your timer discussion. 
    • Prioritize math problems. If your child is really struggling, have them complete the numerical problems first, then challenge themselves with one of the word problems. It is okay to skip the last problem. 
    • Encourage your child to use class time responsibly. Students have at least 30 minutes everyday to work on math and reading homework. I've noticed that students who use this time responsibly often complete a significant portion, if not all, of their homework. 

    I know the rigor of 5th grade homework can be a bit of shock for kids and parents alike, but the last few years of shown me that, after a few weeks, everyone adjusts to the routine. Thank you for your patience and encouragement! 

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  • What we're learning Sept. 16-27

    Posted by Sara Ibis on 9/16/2019 7:30:00 PM

    Thank you for supporting our class with supply donations! I deeply appreciate your generosity!

    We're going on our first Traveling Classroom trips of the school year on October 9 and 16 to Rattlesnake Creek. I am looking for 2-3 volunteer chaperones for each morning (9:15-11:00ish) to help with our science investigation. If you are interested, please email me at sibis@mcpsmt.org. 


    Here's what we're doing September 16-27

    Science

    • Examining the molecules of matter
    • Investigating the physical and chemical changes of matter

    Homework: None planned

    Assessments: None planned

    What state of matter is slime?

    Math

    • Comparing and ordering decimal fractions to the thousandth place
    • Adding and subtracting decimal fractions
    • Multiplying decimal fractions

    Homework: Lessons 5-12 (one per day, due every morning)

    Assessments: Daily entrance tickets; Game of Life; Hotel Project due week of 9/30

    English Language Arts

    • Night of the Spadefoot Toads: Analyzing character, setting, plot and theme 
    • Creative narratives based on Night of the Spadefoot Toads

    Homework: Read 1-2 chapters each night

    Assessments: Daily reflection questions

    Social Studies

    • Synthesizing information and thinking critically about varying perspectives on Christopher Columbus 
    • Age of Discovery perspectives project
    • Constitution Day guest teachers on Tuesday, September 17

    Homework: Age of Discovery project due mid-October 


    Upcoming Events

    Oct. 3 - Picture Day

    Oct. 9 - Traveling Classroom to Rattlesnake Creek (9:15-10:15)

    Oct. 16 - Traveling Classroom to Rattlesnake Creek (9:15-11:00)

    Oct. 17-18 - No School

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