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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April Showers and May Flowers!

Sorry for the long delay in updating! There has just been so much going on, and time is FLYING!

After conferences, the students have been doing really well with using their own devices so far. I haven't had to remind them to stay on task too much- in fact, I've noticed a huge growth in productivity in many students.  I am looking forward to seeing what more I can do to include devices into the curriculum.
Some Apps that have been proven useful to download for Classroom purposes:

QR Code Reader
Google Drive/Google Docs
Educreations

We also had a great conversation with our book club groups, and discussed what did and did not go well.  We are hoping to help the clubs be more accessible and more relevant for our fantasy clubs, so keep your eyes posted for a contract that will be signed. Also, take a look at the google calendar, as I updated the month of May, and there are a million things on it for amazing events coming to Kromrey!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Love this Class

I can't believe it's February already. I was just thinking about this last night, and my heart dropped a bit when I realized I only have about 15 weeks or so left with this group. We have still a lot of information to cover and learning to gain, but wow, this year is flying by.

The month of February and March are pretty intense, as we had grades due last week, and a lot of activities planned. This is great, as these months are usually the hardest with the dreariness of the weather, so there are a lot of things to look forward to.

Announcements:

Please read the 7 Announcements

0. Valentines Day-

Please no treats or candies for the class, as dietary and heath concerns are a priority, as well as equity. If your child wants to make valentine's however, it's an all or none policy! Let me know if you need a class list! 

1. Fountas and Pinelle Testing:

 I had the pleasure of retesting the kiddos in reading, and I am proud to say that everyone went up at least one level, or stayed at a very good level. This is awesome! The kids are reading so much, and have a passion for reading like I've never seen before.

2. Congratulations to Abby, Aadil and Cam for making it into the math meet!
 Also, an honorable mention to Ian for being an alternate! I am so proud of all of those who attempted to take the test (I don't think I would have had the guts when I was in 5th grade!)

3. Jewel Parker Rhodes.

Author of our current read aloud, Towers Falling, and The Ninth Ward is Skyping with the 5th grade students next Wednesday, the 15th. Towers Falling is a historical fiction novel about the events of 9/11, just for you to be aware of the topics we are discussing in class. 

4. Also, we have moved on from BYOD. 

Most of the students were in favor of being a BYOD classroom in their current letters to me for arguing practice. Because of this, and I have never had experience with this personally, we are going to have a trial period to test it out.  Keep on the look out for a BYOD contract that the kids will be bringing home to read over with you.  I am really excited to try this, as I am a huge fan of the benefits (and I know the kids will like listening to their own music, instead of my mash ups between Vivaldi and Bonnie Taylor!)

This also means that we are starting the real argumentative beast, where the students are picking their own topics that they are passionate about, and writing a clear argument in favor or not in favor for. Some of the topics we discussed today were relating to school environments and standardize testing, to animal rights, athletics, global warming, and current political issues. I asked the students that during the discussions that they remember to be empathetic and sensitive, as not everyone is in agreement with each other on various things.

I told them for homework tonight is to come home and talk to you about the topics they were most passionate about, and see if they could add any more issues to their growing lists. (I think one student had over 35 topics that he wanted to debate!)

3. 5th Grade Dance/ Hat Day is February 17th. 

Student Council is trying to fundraise, so if students want to wear a hat that day, they will need to contribute a dollar to the hat fund.

4. Share the Reading event is taking place February 25th! 

5.  Spirit Week is coming up March 13-17. 

This is an exclusive event that all 5th graders will partake in, in honor of the Spirt Night event held on the 17th for the 6-8th graders. Due to scheduling conflicts, 5th graders are not able to come to the night time event, but will be able to partake in some of those activities on Friday afternoon.  Even more so, the rest of the week will be filled with other spirited activities that celebrate their life as KMS Cougars. For the event, the 5th grade team will be asking for some volunteers possibly, as well as donations, as there is a craft area on Friday for the kids to work on.  If you are interested in donating materials or supplies, or helping out that Friday Afternoon for the 5th graders, more information will soon be arriving.

I have not informed the kids yet of this, as I am still in the planning process, but this year's plans ROCK!

6.  MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR P/T CONFERENCES

Parent Teacher Conferences will be March 2nd and March 9th. Same process as last time- I will be sending out a SignUp Genius link via email to make sure you have time to pick a slot!  As always, please let me know ahead of time if you have any questions or concerns so I can help with answers!



Friday, January 13, 2017

Informational

Finally, today is the day the kids have been waiting for! The Informational Unit is over, and we can move on to...MORE INFORMATION! 

But now it's going to be in the form of an argument. :)

I am so proud of how hard the kids have been working- and you can really see their growth in their final products. They've worked extremely hard this last unit- even with the nice interruptions of the holiday breaks, I am still very proud of their final products! So kudos to them, as I hope they carry on what they have learned towards the future, when they have to do it again in 6th grade. 

Coming up this month, we will be working on a argumentative unit. Currently, they are working in groups on learning to read and focus on the elements of a good argument during reader's workshop. During writer's workshop, we are going to dive into the BYOD policy (Bring Your Own Device) and start a warm up with that argument.Then, I am going to unleash the fury of their own opinions on various topics that interest them, and let them take the reigns once again.  The key to a good argument is good organization and strong sources. So, if you are looking for ways to help your child with writing at home, those are two topics that they can definitely use help with, always. Also, if anyone has professional experience in the art of arguing and would like to come and talk with the kiddos, please let me know, as it's always better to have real life experience than just take my word for it.  

Also, just over the horizon is our first major "field trip." We are headed to the high school to watch the MHS performance of "Seed Folks" on February 1st. Keep your eyes open for a permission slip coming home next week. 

Another permission slip that will be making it's way towards you is the annual, "Share The Reading" event, where KMS students go to the elementary schools and read with the elementary students for an hour and share the love of reading. This will be taking place towards the end of February, and is a really fun event. Mr. Engle, our Dean of Students, usually helps coordinate the event, and tries to get students to go back to their old elementary schools. The kids usually love it. 

Remember, no school on Monday as it is the ever ironic holiday, "Martin Luther King Jr. Day". Enjoy the time off :) See everyone on Tuesday!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cheers to 2016

What an incredible end to our year together!
STEAM a Palooza went off with a SMASH! It was an absolute blast, and I know that they all really enjoyed meeting and listening to the presenters, as well as participate actively. My brother, Jeff, who came in to talk and share engineering experiences- mentioned how impressed he was not only with the kids but with how many questions and how creative all of them were. I hope your kids come home today excited to share their experiences! I uploaded a few photos on the slideshow from what was taking place in my room if you want to take a look!

The students will have no major homework over break, other than to read and to log. I asked them earlier this week to keep track of how much they read- they should be reading 30 minutes at least for 10/16 days, so 300 minutes at a minimum. When they get back, we will be doing our second round of Fountas and Pinelle testing to see how much growth there has been, so even though we are on break, we never break from reading! I also encourage the kids to spend a little time researching their nonfiction topics and gathering more information. Doesn't have to be finished when we get back, however, we are in the drafting stage, and a lot of them are a little lost and disorganized.  A little bit of time spent researching here and there over break goes a long way.

Lastly, I wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and thoughtfulness. I was bombarded this morning with lots of gifts and cards, and a plethora of hugs! Your children are so kind, and it is really a gift that I wake up and thank my lucky cards for every day. I can't say that enough.


Other than that, I don't have a lot of announcements.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I hope everyone has a safe, healthy, fun, and relaxing break. Please be safe if you are traveling somewhere (especially in this crazy weather we are having!!), and I look forward to seeing all of you in the new year!

Cheers!
Happy Holidays,
Jennifer





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Informational

Good Evening Everyone! 

Sorry for the delay in information! I thought it would be a good time for a quick update on what the class is up to these days.

 INFORMATION, INFORMATION,INFORMATION. 

The last few weeks or so, in both Reader's and Writer's Workshop, the theme has been nonfiction. I am spending a lot of time working with the kids on reading non fiction, and strategies to help dissect information, as well as ways to read between the lines. After spending time in NYC this summer at the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project Institute, I learned a lot more about ways to amp up non fiction, and how to teach it better. It was a mind blowing institute, and I am eagerly trying to find ways to incorporate what I learned with the kids. This means that I am going off the curriculum book a little bit, but it's already helping the kids read and see more while they are reading.

In writing, we are starting the  "Lens of History" writing project.Usually, I choose a time period and they pick the information, however, this year I asked them to chose what event or time THEY wanted. Now, considering they are interested in almost everything from Star Wars to Cold Wars and dinosaurs and black holes, this has taken a little bit of time and effort. I worked on creating a tool to help them make sure they have a good topic, which I passed out to them today. It's a 12-16 page packet (most of the pages are places for them to find and collect information for their writing), with lots of tools for them to use. I asked that they keep it at school so they don't lose it, but if you would like a copy, I can certainly attach it to an email/ put it on the resource page. 

This writing project will require some time spent outside of class looking up information, and gathering resources. If you could help your child with this process, that would be awesome! They will have them the rest of this week to get more information, as well as next week. 

STEAM-A-PALOOZA

On the Friday before Winter Break, December 16th, the 5th grade team has invited a few community members to join the kids on a new event called, "Steam-A-Palooza". In hopes to help enrich and motivate students in the S.T.E.A.M categories of education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) we will have many speakers share what they know and how they use S.T.E.A.M in their profession. Some speakers will be familiar faces ( Brian Miles and Eric Engle to name a few), including my own brother Jeff will be attending. We will be taking part in this activity from 8:30-11:00. 

After the "Palooza", students will be having "math" with me, and then spending the last hour of the day with their W.E.B leaders in some fun activities. So all in all, Dec. 16 will be a very fun and exciting day for everyone. 


READ IN 

I usually do a holiday themed Read In, complete with Pajamas, a projected fire place on the white board, and a warm  cup of hot chocolate. We are having the last read in of the year (for 2016 that is) THIS FRIDAY from 8:20-10:20. 

 The students were also wondering if YOU would like to join us! If you are interested,please let me know if you can make it. Feel free to come and read with your kiddo! They would LOVE it!


I can't believe 2016 is almost over, and that this school year is flying by so quickly, Thank you so much for all of your support and continued communication with me.Looking forward to many more amazing weeks to come.

Best, 
Jennifer