Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Unit 3 Math Test

Our Unit 3 math test will be on Thursday. The following skills will be assessed:

  • Use visual models to solve division number stories with fractional answers
  • Report the remainder to a division problem as a fraction
  • Place a fraction on a number line
  • Estimate answers to fraction addition and subtraction problems
  • Rename fractions and mixed numbers using the same denominator
  • Use visual models to add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers
  • Use visual models to solve fraction addition and subtraction number stories
  • Solve fraction-of problems

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chemistry - Mysterious Powders

Dear Families,
The focus of our second trimester science unit is chemistry. Today we defined chemistry as  “the study of matter and the changes that take place with that matter”. We discussed the question, “What is matter?”. We looked at the website, CHEM4KIDS. We then explored the physical properties of five household substances.

In this unit, we will study chemistry through the lense of a unit titled Mysterious Powders. During the next 5-6 weeks, our class will be experiencing how scientist investigate and learn about various substances. A simulated environmental problem is the focus for exploring the properties of certain substances and for practicing the steps of the scientific process. The problem is the mysterious appearance of a white substance in a neighboring playground...what is it?...where did it come from? it safe for students to go out on the playground???

Students will begin by defining the problem and speculating on possible causes. They then initiate an exploration of six household white powders. They will be using everyday products such as vinegar and rubbing alcohol, and other substances such as iodine, phenol red solution, citric acid, and phenolphthalein solution.Throughout this investigation, the data are collected, compared, organized on a class chart, and analyzed. Using their knowledge of the properties of the powders they have been studying along with their analytical skills, the class will solve the mystery of the substance in the playground.

This unit emphasizes problem solving and the use of the scientific process. Students collect data using their senses, conduct simple tests, and make comparisons.  They will use systematic data-gathering skills, organizing skills, and analyzing skills, and then apply what they learned to form a working explanation or hypothesis of the event.

We are very careful about teaching safe working habits.  Children should never investigate an unknown substance. This will be addressed and continually reinforced in school. Today we went over the list of basic safety rules that we will emphasize in class during the unit. The students each have a copy.

If you have any question or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Parent Teacher Conferences are Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 21 & 22) of next week. There are still plenty of slots available. Just go to the MBS home page and click on the 'PickAtime' link.

Book Fair
The book fair will be running through next Tuesday. Don't forget to check it out this week, or next week at conferences. There are many great books, and other items too!

Thanksgiving Break
No school for students Monday - Friday (Nov. 21 - 25).  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Spider Bots

Here are some pictures of the students creating Spider Bots last week on Halloween. We worked on this project with our other 5th grade Lighthouse teammates. It was great to see everyone fully engaged in engineering practices such as asking questions, designing, identifying problems, coming up with solutions, constructing explanations, and redesigning.  I was very impressed with all the creativity, problem solving and cooperating going on during this fun hour!  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Unit 2 Math Test

Wow! We  finished Unit 2 in math last week. We spent Friday reflecting on our mastery (or not) of the unit 2 skills, reviewing, and playing some EDM math games. On Monday we will take a break from math to do a fun 'Maker' activity with our 5th grade team.  Then, on Tuesday we will do some more whole class, and small group review. Our assessment will be on Wednesday, November 2.  The following skills will be assessed.

  • Identify values of digits in a multi digit number. 
  • Write numbers in expanded form. MJ
  • Represent powers of 10 in exponential notation. MJ1
  • Explain patterns when multiplying by a power of 10.
  • Multiply with U.S. traditional multiplication. MJ1
  • Divide multi digit numbers. MJ1
  • Interpret a remainder in a division problem.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mount Philo!

What a great day we had at Mount Philo!  The weather couldn't have been more perfect, and the students (and teachers) had a blast!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

All About Osmosis!

Last week in our science unit on cells we learned about osmosis. We did this using eggs. We soaked our eggs in vinegar overnight in order to dissolve the shells. The  eggs then had only a thin membrane holding them together. They were rubbery and translucent and lots of fun to hold!  In order to see osmosis in action, we observed what happened to the shell-free eggs when they were placed in substances like molasses, light corn syrup, and dark corn syrup.  We discovered that the eggs lost water and shriveled up.  We learned that this is because water passes through the membrane from an area of higher water concentration (egg) to an area of lower water concentration (molasses and corn syrup)  in a process called osmosis.  We then placed the shriveled eggs in water with food coloring. Ask your child what happened. Check out the pictures below.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


We began our science unit on cells a few weeks ago. In one activity, students carefully removed thin sheets from an onion, created their own slides, and viewed them under microscopes. The cells of the onion were visible; students recorded their observations in their science notebooks. 
We have also been reading about cells, using a website called Cells Alive! to do lots of fun activities, and looking at some great cell pictures and videos online. 
We did a school and cell analogy activity where we compared the school to a cell. For example, the nucleus could be compared to the main office, and the cell wall to the outer brick wall. Ask your child what the endoplasmic reticulum or the vacuole would be analogous to! Next week we will began a very cool hands on activity with eggs to learn about osmosis. Stay tuned, and enjoy the pictures below!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unit 1 Math Test

This Friday students will take the Unit 1 summative math assessment. The test will cover the topics listed below. The students have been working hard since the beginning of the year and are ready to show all they've learned!

1. Evaluate expressions with grouping symbols.

2. Write expressions to model situations.

3. Find the area of a rectangle with one fractional side length.J1

4. Identify objects with volume.J1

5. Use cubes to find volume.1

6. Use formulas to find volume.1

7. Find the volume of a figure made of rectangular prisms.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cell Video

We watched this very cool three minute video of cells today in Science class. Check it out!

The Wonder of Cells

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Open House

It's time for Open House! 
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 22nd
Malletts Bay School

Open House is an informal opportunity to meet your child's teacher, see your child's learning environment and get an idea about some of the topics and projects the class will be working on this year. Your child's teacher will be happy to meet with you at another time in a private setting for updates on your child's progress or to discuss any concerns you may have.

Unified Arts teachers will be in their classrooms. Stop in to see what they've got planned this year.

Some of our community partners will be in the cafeteria with displays and sign-ups (Odyssey of the Mind, Four Winds, Scouts, Colchester Parks & Recreation, and a representative from Town of Colchester to name a few). Light refreshments will be served. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Slide Show

The students are working on creating their own Google Slide Show.  I have asked them to choose a few pictures that represent who they are and email them to their google email address
(first  Some of you have already done this.  Those pictures can certainly be used.  I'm asking them to send no more than five pictures. They will be presenting their slide show to the class next week.

A Look Back at our Week

Here is a snapshot into last week in our classroom. Included in these pictures is some quiet writing time and a small group activity in which each table group determined the theme of a short story and discussed it with the class.

In addition to reading and writing, in math we have been exploring the volume of different three dimensional objects. We have been having fun learning and playing some of the EDM math games. We also continue to work on computation and math facts.

Our Friday afternoon challenge from the previous week involved trying to balance a 20 pound ream of paper on a single sheet of paper.  It had to be at least one inch off the table top.
It took a little while, but eventually each group was successful!

Our classroom reached our goal by exhibiting  great positive behavior and cooperation during the first few weeks of school. The students collected chips and filled the fish bowl in our classroom.  We then added our chips to the school's collection of chips in 'Oscar'. The school celebrated together with an assembly and a school wide extra recess on Friday afternoon.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Homework Expectations

  • Homework will be assigned Monday through Thursday.   However, weekend homework may include finishing up unfinished class work.
  • Generally homework will include math, reading (and writing about your reading), spelling, and vocabulary.
  • Spelling will be given as a list on Monday after the lesson is taught.  Instructions for each night’s sort will be sent home.  A test will be given on Friday.
  • Vocabulary will be given as a packet on Monday, due on Friday.
  • Math will be given individually each day.  It is meant to practice and reinforce the day’s lesson.
  • HW should take about 50 minutes per night.
  • If you are struggling with an assignment, please stop before you get too frustrated, and jot me a quick note. I will help you the next day.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Our Week at a Glance

          Well it wasn't our first full week of school yet, but we sure accomplished a lot in four days. It has been a pleasure getting to know your children. We have continued to build our classroom community and get to know each other through different games, team building activities, and problem solving challenges. We have also spent more time discussing the school's positive behavior plan, and talked about what it means to be safe, responsible, and respectful in each of the different areas of the school.

          In writing we are beginning a unit on personal narratives. We began with a discussion of different strategies we can use to help us come up with ideas for writing a personal narrative.  I heard a lot of "I don't know what to write" or "I don't have anything to write about" when I asked the students to write a short narrative (story) for a pre assessment.  One strategy, for example, involves thinking of the first time you did something and tell that story.

          In reading we began to take a close look at the theme of stories. We learned that sometimes the theme of a story is quite clear, but other times it can be a little trickier to figure out. We all agreed that our classroom read aloud, Wonder, seems to have clear themes of courage and acceptance emerging.

          In math we are studying area and will move on to volume next week.  We spent a couple of class periods working on an Open Response problem in which we needed to determine how many square feet of material was needed to create a quilt. In addition to the EDM program, students will be working on basic computation skills each day.  They took a pretest to determine how well they could add, subtract, multiply and divide.  These skills are a first trimester goal. I strongly encourage computation practice at home.  I will provide practice sheets to bring home.

          We are beginning the year with Science. In about six weeks our class will move to Mr. Renner's room to work on Social Studies. In our first science unit we will take a look at cells. We began with the question, What is a Living Thing? We then asked, What characteristics do living thing have? For example, do all living things move? Are all things that move living? Is a colorful autumn leaf on the ground living? How about a log? Ask your young scientist what they think.

          Next week we will begin our spelling and vocabulary programs. You will also begin to see a more regular homework pattern.  I will post more about homework expectations early next week.

          Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.