Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mid December Update

In math we have begun multiplication of decimals.  We started with a review of how decimals can be represented on grid models and moved into an activity involving the money/decimal connection. Last week we used the Explain Everything App to create projects that demonstrated the process for solving a word problem with multiple steps.

In reading we are learning to write non-fiction text summaries using the Alpha-Box Strategy.  This strategy involves creating a grid with boxes, each containing a letter of the alphabet.  As the reader comes across a word that would be useful for summarizing they put that word in the proper box.  So, if you were reading about volcanoes, as we did today, you might come across the word "erupt" in your reading.  That word goes in the E box of your Alpha Box.  Later, after reading, you take your gathered words and include them in your summary.

Writing time has focused on poetry and free writes.  Today we began informational writing, although we have had some experience with this form of writing from our work writing Metro-Zoo News reports.

Today in science we finished up a topic outline on invertebrates and played an animal sort game to reinforce newly learned concepts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a good holiday.  I look forward to seeing you at your scheduled conference time.  Everyone has a scheduled conference.  If you are unsure of your time please let me know.  I will be sending home a conference reminder note Wednesday to those who have not received one yet.

In math we are working on division with two digit divisors. We have used the Explain Everything app twice to create captivating iPad presentations that demonstrate the problem solving process as it relates to division word problems.

In ELA, our work in guided reading has focused on learning strategies to become better at summarizing non-fiction and researching.  We have learned how to take notes on index cards.  We have also learned the Sketch to Stretch strategy.  This strategy involves making a sketch for every given number of paragraphs read and then using your sketches to help you write your summary.  We are also busy writing free choice stories and poetry.

In science we are reflecting on our completed Design Process Projects.  We will share them with the 3rd grade on Wednesday morning.  We are also writing Metro City Zoo descriptive writing pieces that involve taking the role of a newspaper journalist reporting on an animal that escaped from the zoo.

Friday, November 7, 2014

November Update

Hi Parents,

It is hard to believe we have come so far this quickly.  It seems like Daylight Savings Time ends earlier each year!

In math we are dividing three digit dividends by one digit divisors.  We have been engaged in many cooperative activities in math, from the creating of math posters to taking part in math games that reinforce the skills that are being taught through our enVision Math Program.

In ELA we have just learned the Key Word Strategy in our guided reading groups.  The children are identifying 2-3 important words from each part of a non-fiction text and then writing a summary about their reading using those words. I am pleased with their results!  We are also busy writing narrative animal poems.  These poems require the use of similes and metaphors.  Each poem also uses information the children have researched about a chosen animal through the use of their iPads.

In Science we formed Design Teams and planned out our animal cage projects. The children are now building their cages.  The cages should be completed by next Friday.

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend.  The next school day for students is Wednesday, November 12th.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scholastic Book Fair Reminder

Tomorrow for Mr. Norman's ELA Class
Mr. Lisano's ELA Class- Wednesday
Mrs. Jaffe's ELA Class- Thursday

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Recent Happenings in Room 12

In math we are currently on Topic 3 of our enVision math program.  We have been learning about the different properties of multiplication and will begin advanced multiplication next week.  I encourage all students to practice gaining mastery of their multiplication and division math facts through the use of Reflex Math at home.  If anyone needs help with gaining access to Reflex Math on their home computer please let me know.

In ELA we have been writing "Personal Narratives with Suspense."  The children have been publishing their stories to their Google Drives.  They are now passing their stories in to me through the use of Google Classroom.  Google Classroom is an interactive web based learning environment that we are trying out for the first time this year.  I will say more about this exciting new web based application in future blog posts.  We have finished reading our core curriculum chapter book Number the Stars.  We have applied our understanding of plot, character, setting and theme to important points in the story.  In a recent activity the children reflected on the various themes developed in the story and quoted parts of the text that emphasized hope, bravery, sacrifice and friendship.

In science we are currently studying animals and looking at how they are classified according to their physical structures.  We have begun with the vertebrates (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians). On Monday Mr. Musselman will join us for an important lesson on the Design Process.  The children will then be planning and building animal cages specifically designed for animals living at the Burlington Science Center.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Raffle Basket

Hi Parents,

I am looking for a volunteer or volunteers to coordinate a raffle basket for the PTO.  If you are interested please let me know.  If you could spread the word to other parents of Room 12 homeroom children that would be helpful also.  If you are interested I will pass your name(s) to Courtney Fine and Jessica Pupa.  Thank you.

Monday, September 29, 2014

End of September Update

Hi Everyone,

It was great meeting everyone last week at Back To School Night.  I hope you will find the informational packets we sent home helpful.  If you have any difficulties accessing any 5th grade online curricula please let me know.

In ELA we have been writing personal narratives that fall under the heading, "A Focused Moment in Time."  The children have been evaluating their own writing based on a narrative writing rubric and making revisions based on their own personal evaluations of their work. Final copies of these stories are being published in their ELA folders on their google drives.  Our work in reading has focused on the elements of fiction: plot, character, setting and theme.  We have completed Daybook lessons on these elements and applied our understanding of these concepts by identifying these elements in our independent reading notebooks.

In math we are currently working on Topic 2 of our enVision Math Program- Adding and Subtracting Decimals.  An important skill in this topic is "rounding" and it is part of my instructional focus on a daily basis.  A letter about the new math topic was sent home today.

Our science work is focused on learning to classify objects and living organisms based on their physical traits.  We are writing "Is It Alive" stories.  Finished stories are being published in student science folders on their google drives.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Camp Eagle-Fox

Students not participating in Camp Bournedale will be part of Camp Eagle-Fox.  Camp Eagle-Fox will take place on Thursday and Friday of this week.  Students will meet with me in Room 12 both days.  Today I sent home a permission slip which I need for Thursday's special activity. Please send this permission slip in tomorrow if possible.  On Thursday Fox Hill Students participating in Camp Eagle-Fox will be taking a bus to Memorial School for a community building activity with Camp Eagle-Fox students there.  On Friday our own Mr. Musselman will be working with Fox Hill and Memorial students at Fox Hill School.  This promises to be an excellent learning experience for our students.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Our First Two Weeks

Productive is the word that comes to my mind when I think of our first two weeks of school.  In ELA we have learned the strategies that Active Readers use and we've applied those strategies in our own reading.  We have also learned how to write Book Recommendations.  We have shared those recommendations as a class and based on those recommendations individual students have recorded the names of books they will be reading in the future.  We have also written brief essays about our Hopes and Dreams for the school year.  In math we have been learning about place value from the billions down to the millionths.  We read a book called Can you Count to a Googol? by Robert E. Wells.  Then we wrote a Googol.  Ask your child how many zeros the number contains.  In science we have sharpened our observation skills through sketches of shells, rocks and feathers.  We also inferred what was inside a Mystery Tube based on what we could observe when we pulled the strings that were attached to it.

Recently I sent home a letter with my blog address asking for any information you would like to share about your child as a learner.  Please don't hesitate to let me know anything that you think will help me to better help your child to be successful in school.  Some types of things that would be helpful would be letting me know if your son/daughter is a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner.  I look forward to meeting everyone at Back-to-School Night.  Have a great weekend.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome Back!

Dear Parents and Students,

I hope you will find this blog a useful tool as you navigate your way through the 5th grade experience at Fox Hill School.  Following the blog will give you an alert when I post a new news entry on the home page.         Homework is assigned daily.  Simply click on the homework tab to see the day's homework.  One important note: there is no way to get a homework alert even when following the blog.

 So if your child is in my homeroom they will do the homework posted on my blog.   Mrs. Lee, Mrs Jaffe, Mr. Lisano also post homework on their blogs.  You will find links to each of their blogs on my blog.  If your child has Mrs. Lee for ELA simply click on the link to Mrs. Lee's blog to see what she has assigned for homework.  Each teacher posts homework for his/her own ELA class.  Your child will be able to tell you who his/her ELA teacher is after the first day of school! Math is taught in homerooms this year.

 The most efficient way to not miss homework assignments is to check the blog daily regardless of whether I have updated the home page.  I will always update the homework on a daily basis.  Parents often ask me how they can support teachers.  The number one way to support your child's education is to make sure they have completed homework and brought it to school.  Fifth grade homework reinforces concepts learned in class.  Doing homework builds self discipline in students.  Also, when homework is completed your son or daughter is ready to move on to new concepts and is not caught up in searching for the missing work or making it up. The first homework assignments will be covering text books and reading 30 minutes a night.  I will post these activities on the homework page.  Please help your son or daughter learn to use this blog on a regular basis and check the homework daily.  They will also be given a homework planner that they will be responsible for filling out each day.  Please check the homework planner to make sure your child is filling in accurate information that corresponds to what is on the homework page on the blog.  Note taking is an important skill for fifth grade and moving forward.  

Please note that "Follow by E-Mail" and "Contact Form" are in the bottom right corner of the blog.  You will need to scroll down to find them. I'm looking forward to working with your children and will post more important information to this site as I think of further ways to assist you.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Squid Dissection and End of Year

Hi Everyone,

This will be my final blog entry for the school year.  On Monday afternoon Sean Musselman will do squid dissection with all of our fifth graders in the cafeteria!  This is a great event to cap off the final full day of the school year.  Please make sure your child does not wear any new clothing on that day.

It was great seeing so many of you at the Fifth Grade Reception on Thursday.  The fifth graders did a wonderful job and enjoyed the day from start to finish!

In terms of the final academic tasks we completed this year they were as follows:


  • Planet Posters in science
  • African Proverb interpretation sketches in ELA as well as open response essays on the chapter book Bud Not Buddy involving the book's central themes
  • The writing of persuasive essays in social studies
  • Addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers as well as multiplication of fractions
  • Creation of line plots and graphing on coordinate planes
The children displayed excellent effort to accomplish the work that needed to be completed in June and I am proud of their efforts.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Beaver Dam Design Challenge!

Rooms 11 and 12 will be working on a Beaver Dam Design Challenge this week in science.  Room 11 will be introduced to the activity on Tuesday.  For this activity the students will work in teams of 3-4 to design a dam.  These dams will be tested to see how much water they are able to hold without leaking.

For homework students have been asked to speak with their teammates about what materials they will bring in for the hands on part of the activity.  Room 12 will do the hands on part of the activity on Wednesday and Room 11 will do the hands on part of the activity on Thursday.  Materials are limited to twigs, sticks, bark and grass.  I will provide clay and gravel.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Update

I hope everyone has a nice long weekend.

This week we have been in homeroom classes for ELA and math due to PARCC testing.  This will also be the case next week.  As a homeroom we have studied Topic 12, Volume, in our math curriculum.  We began Topic 13, Units of Measurement.  Since Room 12 has PARCC testing next Wednesday and there is Field Day on Friday, May 30th, there will only be two days of classroom instruction next week.  We will use that time to complete Units of Measurement in math.  This week in ELA we have written friendship poetry and narrative poetry.  Next week in ELA we will study a short story from our Junior Great Books program.  In science this week Rooms 11 and 12 have done experiments involving the building of circuits.  We began a brief study of the solar system on Friday.

Friday, May 9, 2014

May Update

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.  I want to start my update by telling you how impressed I was by the Fourth and Fifth Graders' production of "A Kid's Life."  They did a great job and should feel proud of their accomplishment.  My math class has completed a unit on algebra.  Our next unit of study is addition and subtraction of fractions. In science we have been working on light, sound and electricity concepts.  Science MCAS is this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday.  We have reviewed open response and short answer test questions in preparation for this test.  We have also studied science vocabulary commonly found on the MCAS test.  In ELA we have completed a Daybook Unit on reading that focuses on persuasive writing.  I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Concert Gifts

The fifth grade team is asking families to consider sending in $2-$3 for Spring Concert Gifts for Ms. Coroniti, Ms. Calihou, and Mr. Napiorkowski. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Survival Day and Other News

Fifth Grade will take part in Survival Day on Thursday, April 17th.  It is important that every student bring back a signed permission slip for this activity.  All students are also required to wear long pants and boots to take part in this event.

The Fifth Grade as a whole worked on publishing their research papers on human body systems this week.  The children worked on adding bibliographies, text boxes, illustrations and diagrams to their papers.  It was clear that the kids enjoyed this project and took pride in a job well done.

Our math class learned about dividing decimals this week. We worked on a challenging word problem this morning that had the children figuring out the better buy on two different grocery store items.

April is National Poetry Month!  In our homeroom class we wrote poems that imitated the style of the poet Mark Strand in his poem "Sleeping with One Eye Open".

In ELA we have been meeting in guided reading groups to practice answering open response questions on non-fiction text.  We are focusing on how to pick the most relevant details to support our topic sentences as well as strategies for how to effectively quote a text.

In science we completed our MCAS science review packets.  We will continue to review and reinforce test taking strategies up to the time of the actual test in May.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mr. Norman's ELA CLASS- Reader's Notebooks due Friday

Please check the homework section of the blog.  There are several homework assignments due this week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DARE Pizza Party Slips due Tomorrow!

This is just a friendly reminder about the D.A.R.E. Pizza Party Slips.  Also, I wanted to mention how impressed I was with the level of focus the kids displayed during a full morning of PARCC math testing. Great job today!

Monday, March 24, 2014

PARCC Testing and Recent Happenings!

Hi Everyone,

This week and next week we will be taking the PARCC Assessment.  Each 5th grade class is only testing on 3 days but the testing period is over the course of two weeks.  Room 12 will be testing on Tuesday, Wednesday and next Monday.  As a result of the testing we are not switching classes for academic subjects.  Each homeroom teacher will be teaching the enVision Math Program, Topic 15, Classifying Plane Figures.  In other words, we are teaching a geometry unit.  Today we began with Session 1 which was on polygons.  We will also be wrapping up our science research reports this week.  Tomorrow the students will have a mini-lesson on crafting satisfying conclusions.  Last week they had mini-lessons on crafting interesting leads and a mini-lesson on sentence fluency.  They are actively applying these new learned strategies to their own writing.  Being in our homerooms also gives us valuable time to review for science MCAS.  There will be some switching of classes for science and social studies instruction this week.

Last week in math we began our study of the division of decimals and will continue with that math topic after PARCC testing.  In science we will have mini-units on light and sound beginning next week.  During our ELA block we summarized non-fiction text using the Key Word Strategy last week.  We extended our use of the strategy from summarizing single paragraphs to summarizing full stories.  Have a terrific week and stay warm!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Social Studies Map Project due on Monday

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know that there is a map project on the 13 colonies due Monday.  I also wanted to share the current happenings in class.  In ELA we have completed our work on the book Hatchet.  Students have been completing work on the book on  ipads and saving work in their ELA folders in their Google Docs. Some of the activities we have completed are: writing a scene from the book in the first person point of view, quoting the text to show how Brian was full of "tough hope" and sharing a critics review of the book.  Each student took the role of a news anchor and gave their critics review of Hatchet.  These reports are in their ELA folders on the google drive if you are interested in viewing them.  We have also learned a new reading strategy this week called the "Key Word Strategy".  Students read a passage from a text and record 2-3 "key" words in their notebooks.  They then write a summary of what they have read using those words.  The story we studied was about NASA's plans for a mission to Mars in 2035.  We also worked towards finishing up mini-research projects on short non-fiction texts that we read in class.  This work is also saved in students' ELA folders.  In math we are multiplying decimals and applying our understanding of decimals to word problems.  We will have a test on Topic 6 of our enVision math program on Tuesday.  In science we are writing research reports on body systems.  We learned the VIP (very important point) strategy this week.  We are using this strategy to collect important facts about our body systems in research groups.  Next week we will organize our research in flow charts.  The kids can do independent research on their body system by going to Mr. Musselman's Symbaloo Website.  The link to this website can be found in the shared science folder in the students' google drive. Students just need to copy the link and paste it into their browser. Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone has a good vacation week.  Today we had our Be The One Assembly with Mrs. Johnson.  The fifth graders shared a video presentation that demonstrated kids "being the One."  Every fifth grader was involved in this project and the video was outstanding.  In Room 12 we have been working hard on many new initiatives.  In science we have completed our study of cells and have begun a research project on human body systems.  So far we have studied a "mentor" text to see what outstanding research writing looks like.  We have listed the qualities of outstanding writing and noted them in the text.  Next school week we will begin gathering facts for our research.  Writing/research groups have been formed based on student interest in the circulatory system, nervous system, digestive system or muscular system.  In math we are learning to multiply decimals.  In reading we are approaching the end of our study of the realistic fiction book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  We have used the book to make predictions and write from a different point of view. We have also learned to quote the text when answering questions based on the text. We will conclude our study of the book by analyzing the author's style.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Science Test This Week!

Room 12 will have a science test on Wednesday, February 5th.  Room 11 will have a science test on Thursday, February 6th.  The study guide was handed out on Friday.  Some children have chosen to make flashcards to review the science vocabulary that will be on the test.  Other children have chosen to create power point type presentations in Google Docs.  This test requires that children learn the vocabulary content studied in class.  They should also be able to label a plant and animal cell.  There is no written response part to this test.  The vocabulary will be presented in a fill in the blank format with a vocabulary word bank.  I hope this information helps make studying easier.

Friday, January 24, 2014

This Week in Room 12

In science we finished our plant projects and began our study of cells.  In math we are in Topic 5 of our enVision math program.  We are learning to estimate quotients to large division problems as well as to solve advanced division problems using the division algorithm. In ELA we have been studying how individual authors create their own writing styles.  We also began reading the literature book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  We have written personal narratives of a  "single focused moment in time" on our ipads.  Writing partners have worked together to revise and edit these pieces on Wednesday and Thursday.  Today we shared brief writing pieces on our accomplishments from last year and our hopes for the world this new year.  Have a great weekend everyone and stay warm!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This Week in Science

This Friday Mr. Lisano's and Mr. Norman's homerooms have a Plant Project due.  There are two main parts to this project.  One part of this project is a student created flower which will be designed on a 12x18 piece of white construction paper.  Each student should do a rough draft first.  Detailed project directions were given out on Friday.  The other part of this project is an essay on plant reproduction that students have written in class.  The final copy of the essay should be published on a google doc and shared with me at norman@bpsk12.org.  I will print the student documents and attach them to the project posters.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy New Year!

Our first week back was a productive one.  In math we have completed Unit 4 in our enVision math program.  Unit 4 focused on division and using models and equations to represent division problems.  In ELA we have begun a unit on reading authors in our Daybooks.  We will apply what we learn in this unit to our reading of the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  We have also written reflective pieces about last year's accomplishments and our wishes for the world this new year.  In science we learned about plants and began creating flowcharts about pollination.  We will use our flowcharts to write essays on how plants reproduce. I hope everyone has a great weekend!