Friday, April 20, 2018


  • Writing has been an adventure this week as we started designing roller coasters to write about. Students will be learning about ways advertisers utilize propaganda and will be using persuasive writing techniques to write a persuasive advertisement about their roller coaster.
  • We finished George Washington's Socks this week and students will begin culmination projects next week - they will have a choice from 9 different possibilities.
  • Students completed 2 rounds of experimentation with the experiment they chose related to physical or chemical changes in matter.   They are working through the Scientific Method in the process. This next week they will be preparing a presentation for the class as to what they learned, as well as a demonstration of the steps they took with the experiment.  
  • Lego Robotics has started and students are loving it!
  • We also practiced for the upcoming SBAC Science Asssessment, which will take place on Wednesday morning.  Students learned how to navigate the website, using the available on-line tools, and practiced answering several questions.  We have also been doing some science review activities, as well as Science Jams to prepare.
  • The field trip on Friday to the Fleishmann Planetarium was great fun!   It was a beautiful day for our visit to UNR and the students got to experience and gain greater understanding of our solar system.  Special thanks to those who helped to transport children - especially Shannon Dunkin, who took 9 of our students!


  • The Nevada CRT Science Assessment will take place on Wednesday morning.  The test is not timed and students will have as long as they need to complete it.  Please make sure your child arrives to school on time.
  • Thank you to those who have signed up to help with snacks for our test days.  We also need to schedule snacks for our Math test days, as well, so additional days have been included on Sign Up Genius.  They need to be at school by 8:00 am on the day you signed up for.
  • Other Test Days include:
    • May 2 - ACT English Language Arts
    • May 3 - ACT Math
    • May 9 & 10 - SBAC Math
    • May 15 & 16 - SBAC English Language Arts
  • Oasis Academy Family Outdoor Movie Night on Friday, May 4th
    • Location: Oasis Academy Playground
    • Bring chairs, coats, jackets and blankets to keep your kiddos warm
    • Admission: FREE
    • Gates open at 6:00pm
    • Carnival style Games for the kids 6:00-7:00 pm
    • NOW SHOWING: The Greatest Showman rated PG at 7 :30 pm
    • Snacks and drinks available for purchase (cash or checks) 6:00-8:45pm

Friday, April 13, 2018

  • We wrapped up our amazing "Owner's Manuals", which parents were able to enjoy at Parent Conferences!  The students' sense of humor is truly delightful!
  • We are getting close to finishing our novel George Washington's Socks.  The students always groan when we have to stop at a "cliff hanger" and are anxious to see how it all ends!  We will wrap up the reading this next week and students will have a choice of a culmination project the following week.
  • We started our science project unit on "Matter" this week, guided by the driving question:  How can we use matter to show physical and chemical changes?  Students have chosen a specific lesson/experiment to do with a partner(s).  These will be conducted next week, following the scientific method steps.  (See notes below regarding supplies.)
  • Parent Conferences - the students did an amazing job sharing their learning and successes with parents on Friday.  Thank you to all who were able to participate!


  • Students should have brought home a list of supplies that they and their partner(s) need to conduct their experiments next week.  They were to divide up the things needed and bring them in on Monday.  
  • Our rescheduled Field Trip to Fleishmann Planetarium at UNR is this coming Friday, April 20th.  We will meet in the main school parking lot at 8:15 am and return by 1:30 that afternoon.  We will participate in a planetarium show, followed by a visit to the exhibit hall and our bag lunch on the grounds.  We will utilize the previous permission slips.   Students need to bring:
    • $5 for the entrance fee
    • Bag lunch
  • Please be aware of 5th grade state testing dates and try to make sure that your child is in attendance on these dates:
    • SBAC Science - April 25
    • ACT English Language Arts - May 2
    • ACT Math - May 3
    • SBAC Math - May 9 & 10
    • SBAC English Language Arts - May 15 & 16
  • I will be sending out a Sign-Up Genius for parents to bring healthy snacks on our testing days.  Please watch for the correspondence in the next week.

Monday, April 2, 2018


  • The Egg Drop engineering project was definitely a highlight last week as students worked in partners to design and create a container that would protect their egg from cracking or breaking when dropped from various heights.  A number of teams were successful!  Everyone exhibited great ingenuity and an attitude of perseverance.  We learned the importance of testing a product, redesigning, and trying again!

  • We are continuing in our novel George Washington's Socks.  It follows a group of 5th graders who go back in time to the period of the Revolutionary War and includes historical facts, adventure, and mystery.  
  • Students started writing/creating an "Owner's Manual" for themselves. This fun end product will be shared with parents at Parent Conferences.  The opportunity to be creative with this writing project has made it fun and engaging!
  • Students completed their quarter with Mr. Lenon on social-emotional learning and will begin Lego Robotics with Mrs. Keitz when we return from spring break.

  • Parent Conferences on Friday, April 13th
    • If you haven't signed up for a time slot for Parent Conferences, please do so via the following link:     They will be student led conferences and will take place on Friday, April 13th.  Students are preparing to share lots of information with you about their year and report cards will be handed out at that time.
  • Planetarium Field Trip on Friday, April 20th
    • Meet at school parking lot at 8:15 a.m. and arriving back around 1:30 p.m.
    • Bring a sack lunch and $5 for entrance fee
    • Please let Mrs Duarte know the following information by Monday 4/9
      • Will your child be attending?
      • Will you be driving or will they need a ride?
      • If you are driving, are you available to take additional students?  If so, how many?
  • 5th Grade State Testing Dates  (please don't schedule trips or appointments on these days)
    • April 25 - Science Assessment
    • May 9 & 10 - SBAC Math
    • May 15 & 16 - SBAC English Language Arts
  • Carson River Work Day on May 24th
    • 5th graders will join the high school biology class at the Venturacci Ranch to learn about the water cycle, our watershed, and irrigation with the Carson River Wranglers and Lahontan Conservation District.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Week at A Glance

  • We are continuing our novel study of George Washington's Socks, learning some interesting American history around the Revolutionary War in the process! Students are enjoying this "traveling back in time adventure"!
  • Students have been preparing this week for their research presentations around various topics related to the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. On Thursday, we planted our terrariums as a model of these four spheres interacting with one another.  Presentations will occur on Monday afternoon.
  • We finished writing our opinion business letters this week.  After sharing them this coming Monday, we will be sending them off to Mrs. Mackedon and Ms. Tisdale, for their consideration.   Additionally, students have been working on a variety of spring writing prompts and sharing their creativity through this avenue.
For Your Information
  • Please establish a plan with your child to get their math practice homework signed off each night.  When students don't return their math homework, they are required to attend study hall, which now takes place at lunch time.  Often they report that they did it, but because they didn't get it signed off, it isn't accepted as completed.  This is their responsibility, but working with them to come up with a plan would be helpful.
  • Next week students will begin working on preparing for our upcoming Parent Conferences on April 13th.  They will be leading the conference as they share their report card, a portfolio of work, and some self-assessment of their progress and goals.  Sign-Up Genius notification will be sent out in the next few days.  There will be slots available through the day on 4/13 between 8:30-3:30 pm.
  • We have continued to have some behavior challenges in the classroom this week, with a number of class conversations about expectations in the classroom setting.  Students have been warned that if some of the behaviors continue, they will start being sent to the office for discipline.
  • In contrast, I deeply appreciate the way many of the students pitch in and help at the end of the day to clean up and organize our classroom. There are some very responsible workers among us!
Upcoming Planetarium Field Trip
  • Our Planetarium field trip to UNR will take place on Friday, April 20th.  As was previously scheduled, we will meet at the school around 8:15 am and carpool for the 10 am showing, followed by a tour through the exhibition hall and a sack lunch on the grounds.   We plan to return around 1:30 pm.   Please let me know ASAP if your child still plans to attend (we will keep the same permission slips previously signed, but I need to know if there are any who plan to go this time who weren't before or vice versa).  
  • We will need drivers for that day.  If you were one of the parents who offered to transport students previously, please let me know if you are still able to do so.  Thank you!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK - March 12-15, 2018
  • Our week ended with marshmallows flying through the classroom!  Students had an opportunity to design and test catapults as part of a STEM activity at the end of the day on Thursday.   We have amazing creativity among our students.

  • In reading, we started the novel George Washington's Socks - a historical fiction adventure of 5th graders who travel back in time to the Revolutionary War.   As part of our reading, we are building background knowledge about events such as the Crossing of the Delaware River by George Washington and his troops.  
  • Students also presented their end of the book culmination projects from book clubs at the beginning of the week with a variety of newspaper articles, diaries, and a timeline - well done!
  • We are continuing with our opinion writing, working on business letters to our principals about suggestions for changes in our school.  Students are revising with engaging hooks, powerful word choices, effective use of transitions, and writing a counter argument paragraph.
  • Science has been full of fun this week as we have explored the layers of the earth with a strawberry layered dessert and attempted to put the continents together to create the super-continent Pangea.  We also began a conversation about the 4 spheres - biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.  Students started working in research groups to gain further understanding about these spheres and how they interact together.


  • Thank you so much to those who brought in science project supplies for our terrariums.  If you haven't done so yet, there is still time as we are waiting on additional supplies to arrive in the mail.   Please send in the following items with your child in a bag marked with their name:   a jar (mason or sauce/pickle jar size) or 2 liter plastic bottle, a small plant for a terrarium, and a bag of small rocks and/or pebbles that can be gathered from the yard.
  • There has been a change to when 2nd Trimester report cards will be available.  They will be available during parent-teacher conferences, which will be scheduled for Friday, April 13th.   These conferences will be student led.  Sign-ups will begin at the end of the month.
  • Our Planetarium Field Trip to Reno has been rescheduled for Friday, April 20th.  Updated information will be sent out a few weeks prior.  If you previously volunteered to drive and are still able, please let me know.

Friday, March 9, 2018


There is never a dull moment in 5th grade!  Our class is full of energy, eagerness to socialize, and a passion for learning!

  • In writing, we continued our work on opinion/persuasive writing. Students have chosen a topic related to school, have completed some research, and are working on first drafts to our principals. They are required to back up their opinion with factual evidence from research.  The final products should be interesting to read - topics range from having class pets, to vending machines, to no school uniforms, and additional recess equipment.  
  • Students worked collaboratively on their end of novel Book Club projects.  They wrapped them up on Thursday and will present to the rest of the class on Monday. Final products are impressive - we'll be sure to take photos and have products available for view on the hallway bulletin board in the near future.   This week we will start a whole class novel study of George Washington's Socks and be exploring some background information on the Revolutionary War in the process.
  • We have continued with our science unit with exploration of shadows (measuring shadows throughout the day) and creating a bar graph, gaining understanding about stars and constellations, and finishing our week with researching "I wonder..." statements.  As we have been learning, students have posted "I wonder..." questions. This week, they were able to choose one and work independently or with a partner(s) to explore answers to their own questions.  On Thursday, they reported out their findings.  This week we will begin our study of the Earth's Systems by learning about the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and geosphere.

  • Science Project supplies needed by THIS THURSDAY!  Please send in the following items with your child by this Thursday in a bag marked with their name:   a jar (mason or sauce/pickle jar size) or 2 liter plastic bottle, a small plant for a terrarium, and a bag of small rocks and/or pebbles that can be gathered from the yard.
  • The second trimester ended on Thursday.  Report cards will be mailed home in the next few weeks and parent-teacher conferences will be held on Friday, April 13th.  These conferences will be student led.  Sign-ups will begin at the end of the month.
  • Our Planetarium Field Trip to Reno has been rescheduled for Friday, April 20th.  Updated information will be sent out a few weeks prior.  If you previously volunteered to drive and are still able, please let me know.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


  • In writing, students began working on opinion writing by analyzing an opinion business letter for supportive evidence.  Next, they focused on deciding on an opinion topic to write their own business letter about.  We brainstormed various topics about school for which they have an opinion and we will begin business letters to persuade this next week.
  • Students finished their Book Club novels and had their fourth and last group meeting.  Next week they will begin work on a culmination project about their book.  They are choosing between creating a newspaper, diary entries, and a timeline.  
  • We are continuing our unit in Earth Sciences with an introduction to the driving question:  How do our shadows change throughout the day?  We have learned about what causes seasons and the revolution of the Sun.   On Thursday we had the opportunity of exploring space and the International Space System through the use of Google Expeditions. Students also conducted experiments around gravity, seasons, an eclipse, day and night, phases of the moon, and gazing at stars.

  • Students have also endured various assessments, as we rapidly approach the end of the 2nd trimester and report cards, which will be mailed home on 3/15. 
  • We ended the week with some reflection on our class community and what we can do to improve our treatment of one another, respecting authority, and following school rules.   We also read and discussed an article entitled "Cool to Be Kind", which helped students to understand the importance of empathy in our lives.  
  • Our Planetarium Field Trip has been rescheduled for Friday, April 20th.  We will send out reminders as we get closer to the date.
  • Report Cards for 2nd Trimester will be mailed home on March 15th and Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held beginning Friday, April 13th.
  • Human Growth and Development will begin this Thursday with Mr. Lenon and Nurse Terry.  Students who aren't participating will have study hall time.

HIGHLIGHTS OF WEEK - April 16-19 Writing has been an adventure this week as we started designing roller coasters to write about. Student...