Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays Everyone!  I hope you enjoy time with friends and family.  I look forward to our work together in 2014.

Warm Wishes,
Mr. Norman

Monday, December 9, 2013

Recent Happenings

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  I wanted to update you on what is going on in our classroom.  Recently we've completed a Design Process project in class.  The kids created animal cages for an animal of their choice.  They had to research the animal in order to best decide how the cage should be designed.  They then had to build the cage and share it with classmates.  Classmates gave them feedback on how they could improve the design if they were to create a second model of their cage.  In math we completed a unit on multiplication and are currently learning to estimate quotients.  We are also learning to determine if an answer to a given problem is reasonable.  In ELA we have been using our knowledge of text structures to summarize non-fiction writing on a variety of topics.  In science we wrote animal poems after constructing Alpha Boxes (graphic organizers) that contained research about the animals we chose.  This week we will write descriptive paragraphs about our recent Invertebrate Projects.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Parent Conference Update

Hi Everyone,

Your scheduled conference time will be in the comments section of your child's progress report.  Everyone who responded to my recent letter about conferences received their first or second choice time.  And those of you who signed up at Back to School Night are all set with the times you chose then.  If you need to know your conference time before progress reports come home let me know and I'll be in touch.  Take Care.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Parent Teacher Conference Sign Up

Hi Everyone,

I sent home a conference sign up form today to everyone who couldn't make it to Back-To-School Night in September. Please return it to me as soon as possible so I can schedule and confirm your time.  Thank you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Upcoming Parent Conferences

It's hard to believe it will soon be time for parent conferences.  I am making appointments for conferences for the first week in December.  As of the writing of this post I still have several spots open on Thursday morning, December 5 and Thursday afternoon of that same day.  Many people signed up for conferences at Back to School Night.  If you have not signed up yet I will be in touch to set up an appointment with you. I will also send out reminders to everyone in case you have forgotten your time slot.  Parent Conferences are with your child's ELA teacher.  However, you are free to sign up for an additional conference with one of your child's other teachers if you feel a need.

At Back to School Night the fifth grade teachers gave out a three page handout that had contact information for each teacher. This handout also contained a letter explaining how to create a Quizlet account that you can use to help your child study for science and social studies tests.  If you need a handout please let me know and I'll send you a copy.

This past week we have begun Topic 3 in our math program.  We are learning how to multiply using mental math.  In reading we are identifying text structures in non-fiction texts.  The text structures are sequence, description, cause-effect, problem-solution, and compare and contrast.  We are also learning how to locate the main idea and supporting details of a text. We have used our ipads to refine narrative stories we have written about Camp Bournedale and Camp Foxy.  We have revised our stories for word choice, and organization.  In science we will briefly study invertebrates after our test on vertebrates today and tomorrow.  We have written news stories in science based on the premise that a vertebrate has escaped from the local Metro City Zoo. These stories blend fiction with true facts about vertebrates the children have chosen to write about.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Job Well Done

I want to give a compliment to my math class.  Today we worked on a Topic 2 pretest in preparation for our test on Topic 2.  I was impressed with how well the kids focused on the problems, checked their work and learned from their mistakes. In ELA we are currently writing personal narratives about Camp Bournedale and Camp Foxy. We have also taken an assessment on the Chapter Book Number the Stars.  In science we are learning about the traits of vertebrates.  I hope technology is treating everyone well these days.  Let me know if you are experiencing any glitches with the online learning that is part of our curriculum.  Also, if you are having trouble with Reflex Math please let me know since I often assign it as math homework.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Columbus Day Weekend

I hope everyone has a good long weekend.  We've had a very productive week in Room 12.  In math we are learning the steps for solving word problems as well as how to estimate decimal amounts and estimate the answers to addition and subtraction problems.  In ELA we've learned how to use Literature Circles to study a piece of fiction.  Ask your child about the following Literature Circle jobs: Discussion Director, Artful Artist, Literary Luminary, Creative Connector and Word Wizard.  We are also writing narrative stories about our Camp Bournedale and Camp Foxy experiences.  We will continue on that writing project next week. In Science we have begun our study of the different types of vertebrates.  The children watched an introductory video on the subject today while taking notes on their ipads.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Parent Volunteer Sessions

Hi Everyone,

Mrs. Johnson has made a switch to one of the times for the Parent Volunteer Orientations.  The times are Wednesday, October 9th at 9:30 and Tuesday, October 8th at 6pm.

Friday, October 4, 2013

This Week in Room 12

Hi Everyone,

This week we continued our study of the elements of fiction in language arts.  We are reading the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  Our focus this week has been on character and plot development in a story. We continue to refine books we've written on our ipads using the Book Creator App.  In math we are working on Topic 2 of our enVision Math Program.  We are learning to round numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, thousand etc. Next week we will estimate answers to addition and subtraction problems and add and subtract decimals.  In science we have completed our study of Classification and will take a test on Classification next week. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Science Test and Parent Volunteer Orientation

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to make you aware that my science classes (Norman and Lisano homerooms) will have a science test on Classification next week.  My homeroom, Room 12, will have their test on Wednesday, October 9th. Mr. Lisano's homeroom, Room 11, will have their test on Thursday, October 10th.

Mrs. Johnson is having a parent volunteer orientation scheduled for Tuesday, October 8th.  There are two sessions.  Anyone planning on being a volunteer must attend one of these scheduled orientations.  The first one is at 9:30 am.  The other time is 6:00 pm.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reflex Math

Hi Everyone,

Today in my math class I gave out a parent letter for Reflex Math as well as a student card with website and password addresses for each student.  Yesterday I couldn't do this because I was unable to get the parent letters to print.  Today they printed!  Today I also sent home a parent introduction letter to Topic 2 in math. Tonight's math homework is Reflex Math.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Back to School Night

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for a terrific Back to School Night.  It was great to see so many of you.  As promised last night here are the online sign ups that you will want to access for your child.

Vocabulary Workshop-  You need to go to the page to the left of the Contents page and enter the student access code found on  You will need to first choose the edition and grade level of the book before entering the code. The grade level is the newest one listed (2011-2013) and the level is blue.  Choose student. Please let me know if you have any difficulty.

Grammar Workshop- Follow the procedure for the Vocabulary Workshop. However, you will go to the website Choose the 2013 edition, blue, and then student.

envision Math- A parent letter went home recently about envision.  The letter has directions that will walk you through the process for setting up an account.

Reflex Math- Students need to be given passwords to start using Reflex.  I have not done this with my math class yet.  If your son or daughter's math teacher has given them a password they can get started by following their math teacher's instructions.

Quizlet-  Directions for setting up an account on Quizlet are in the letter Mrs. Jaffe talked about last night.  The letter was attached to the 5th grade teacher contact information.  If you need another letter or never received one you can let any of the fifth grade teachers know and we'll get you one

This week in my ELA class we have continued our study of the elements of fiction (setting, character, plot, and theme).  We have searched for them in the Junior Great Books story "Barbie," and mapped the elements of fiction on graphic organizers.  We have written stories that demonstrate the elements of fiction on our ipads using the Book Creator app.  In math we have completed our first topic of the year, Place Value.  We will have our Place Value test on Monday.  We prepared for the test by studying math vocabulary today and playing place value games.  In Science we are studying Classification.  Have a nice weekend.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Camp Foxy

Hi Parents,

I hope everyone had a good week.  Yesterday at Camp Foxy we created "Harmless Holders", can holders that are animal friendly.   Today Mr. Musselman took us on a nature walk around the school grounds and we spent a good part of the day classifying leaves.  This was a very interesting experience and helped the children to develop their powers of observation.  I've posted some pictures below.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Recent Happenings

Hi Everyone,

This week was a great one in Room 12.  During our ELA block we launched our new vocabulary and grammar programs and played an interactive grammar game on our Touch It Board. We also used our Daybooks to study setting and character in fiction.  We learned what "active readers" do and practiced being active readers by marking up text, making predictions and asking questions about what we are reading. In math we are studying place value and have worked with both whole numbers and decimals. In science Ms. Pavlicek guided the children through a science experience called "What's In Your Backyard."  The children studied various objects that had been found in Ms. Pavlicek's backyard and had to identify what they were and how they got there.  Today we wrote reflections on this science activity in our Interactive Science Notebooks.  The children brought home book order slips.  If you are interested in purchasing books from the book club please send the form in by Monday, September 23.  Thank you and have a great weekend.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hi Parents,

We had a great first week of school!  The children adjusted well to our classroom routines and expectations.  As a fifth grade they drafted a classroom constitution that will be hung in each classroom.  We had our first assembly of the school year today.  The theme of the assembly was Belonging.  Many fifth graders presented the class work we did on our constitution and Mrs. Johnson was impressed. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hi Parents,

I've updated homework for today.  Since the homework page is a separate page from the front page of this blog I don't know if you'll receive updates when I update the homework.  However, you can plan on something new being written on the homework page daily.  Each time I update the front page of the blog you will get update notices sent to your email address.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hi Parents and Students,

Welcome back to school and welcome to my new classroom blog!  You can use this blog to check on homework assignments and learn about what is going on in Room 12 and the fifth grade as a whole.  This year we will be taking part in many exciting new initiatives involving technology.  One of the most important will be the 1:1 ipad environment that the students will be working in.  During the first few weeks of school each child in the fifth grade will receive their own ipad to use in school.  Through the use of district approved learning apps the children will be engaged in new ways of learning and sharing what they know.  I will keep you updated on the progress of these technology initiatives through my posts on this blog. As we continue on this journey together I am sure we will increase our productivity and our potential to be the best learners we can be.  Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about technology or any other classroom initiatives.