Monday, February 19, 2018

Math update with Mrs. Neal

Hello 5th grade families,

This week in math we continued adding and subtracting fractions and mixed number with unlike denominators, however we focused on word problems. They students even had a chance to write their own word problems and share them with the class to be solved.

You should be seeing a half sheet come home soon with math fact goals on it. This sheet will tell you which facts your student has passed so far (multiplication and division only) and what goals they set for themselves. Please review these with your students and keep up the math fact logs, it is really making a difference!

Thanks and have a great week!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

  • Special thanks to Mr. Gould for coming to do a presentation this past week, further enhancing our understanding of renewable and non-renewable energy conservation.  Students completed their research and informational essays on the topic, as we incorporated science into writing this past month.

  • We also wrapped up our social studies unit/project on the 13 colonies.  Students presented a variety of projects about specific colonies, including skits, display boards, and 3 -D models.  Presentations were done between the two 5th grade classes so students could learn about most of the colonies.   They also took an end of the unit quiz, which will come home next week.

  • Valentine's Day fun was had by all, as students were also able to play board games during our party, as a Class Dojo class award.  Thank you to Mrs. Kelsey and Mrs. Guthrie for helping with treats.

  • We completed Book Club Meetings for session #2 and reading and work for session #3 are well underway.   We will have two more Book Club Meetings in our current books, followed by end of book projects.  We then plan to move on to a class novel to enhance an upcoming social studies unit on the Revolutionary War.
  • A new science unit was started on Thursday and will continue over the next couple of weeks.  Students are exploring "Earth's Place in the Universe" with hands on activities, read alouds, on-line videos, and Scholastic Science Jams.  Thank you to those who contributed glass jars, shoe boxes, and flashlights for our activities.
  • As our 2nd Trimester ends on March 8th, students are also participating in several language arts and reading assessments to help gauge growth of learning.

  • We are in need of some more flashlights to assist us with an exploration on Wednesday.  If you have a couple that you could loan us, it would be greatly appreciated.  Please label with your name and we will make sure they are returned to you by the end of the week.
  • Permission slips are coming home in Monday folders this week for the field trip to the Fleischmann Planetarium for Friday, March 2nd.  We will be viewing the program "From Earth to the Universe" in the planetarium and touring the exhibit hall, followed by a sack lunch on the grounds.  We will be leaving from school at 8:30 and returning around 1:30.   Cost is $5 per person.  Please return the permission slip by Monday, February 26th. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Highlights of the Week

  • Colony projects are well underway and presentations will be done on Monday and Tuesday next week. As always, students enjoy the creative process as our classroom converts to a workshop! It will be fun to see which group is the most successful at convincing others to move to their colony, based on the original 13 colonies.
  • After Colony presentations and assessment, we will begin a new science unit on Earth's Place in the Universe! Students will support an argument that the apparent brightness of the sun and stars is due to their relative distances from the Earth.  Please see under "Important Information" for help with supplies for this project, as well as a coordinating field trip.
  • We plan to wrap up our Informational Writing Essays on conservation of energy next week.  Students are learning not only about the process of writing informational essays, but important information about various forms of energy conservation, such as hydropower, wind turbines, solar energy, and biomass.  They have also gained a better understanding of renewable and non-renewable energy.
  • Book Clubs continue to be successful with our second Book Club meeting taking place tomorrow!  Students are learning how to talk about their book, take on responsibility, ask deeper level questions, and practice attentive listening of each other.

Important Information

  • Our Valentine's Party will take place on Wednesday afternoon.  If students are sharing valentines, please make sure they are inclusive of everyone in the class.  We will have bags available in class for distribution.   Our Class Dojo Award party will be combined with the Valentine Party.  Students are allowed to bring favorite board games on this day. 
  • The following items are needed for our upcoming science unit.  Items are needed by next Thursday, 2/15, if possible:
    • Wide mouth glass jars with lids
    • Shoeboxes
    • Flashlights (which can be returned - please label with name)
  • We have booked our non-school field trip to the Fleischmann Planetarium for Friday, March 2nd.  We will be viewing the program "From Earth to the Universe" in the planetarium and touring the exhibit hall, followed by a sack lunch on the grounds.  We will be leaving from school at 8:30 and returning around 1:30.   Cost is $5 per person.  More information will come home next week with specifics regarding transportation.  If you haven't responded yet regarding your child's attendance, please let me know ASAP - thanks!
  • We have had several conversations over the past 2 weeks about behavior in the classroom and on the yard.  As often happens in this time of year, there has been an increase in lack of responding positively to adult direction and in using time wisely in the classroom.   Please have a conversation with your child about the importance of obeying authority and taking their responsibilities at school seriously.   Your support is greatly appreciated!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Math update with Mrs. Neal

Hello 5th grade families!
First off, a big thank you to everyone who attended math night! It was super fun and hopefully got everyone excited about math! If you did not attend you missed some important information: math homework will be changing for 5th grade. Instead of assigning IXL or paper homework, the homework expectations from now until the end of the year will be to practice math facts each school night for 20 minutes. Each student has a log that they are responsible for bringing to and from school everyday. It will be checked daily and if they do not practice or forget their log, they will be going to study hall.
At math night we discuss some different strategies for practicing math facts. Here is a quick overview of what we discussed:
Math Night Information

Time requirements per 50 facts:
  • 3rd grade- 2 minutes and 30 seconds
  • 4th grade- 2 minutes
  • 5th grade- 1 minute and 45 seconds

Ways to practice math facts:
  • Using a plastic sleeve and a math fact page, time the facts written with dry erase/vis-a-vis markers. Math fact pages can be found at
  • Flash cards
    • Make two piles, the known pile that is answered within 3 seconds and the unknown pile that takes longer than 3 seconds and practice the unknown pile
    • Sandwich- take the unknown pile and the known pile and stack them with 3 knowns and 1 unknown, then three more knowns and 1 unknown.

  • Apps
    • Math fact master
    • Math magician
    • IXL math facts (found under third grade)
  • Manipulatives
    • Dice- roll two dice and multiply them. Or if working on a specific fact, take that number and multiply it by the number rolled on the dice. Writing a list of the facts solved on a whiteboard or paper as they go is a good way to keep track of work!
    • Cards- same as dice
    • Dominoes- grab a domino and multiply the two sides or two dominoes and multiply together.

If your child is unsure which math facts they have passed (hopefully they know as they are keeping a log and graphing their progress in class) feel free to e-mail me and I can tell you which facts they need to complete. 

Thanks and have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Highlights of the Week

  • Our first Book Clubs meeting was successful!  I was especially impressed with the students who served as the Discussion Director for their groups - they took the responsibility seriously and did an incredible job.   We reflected as a group on how things went and students shared that they thought they needed to work on how to write deeper level thinking questions and how to be better at being an attentive listener to each other.  We will be focusing on mini-lessons on those topics this week as we prepare for our 2nd Book Club Meeting this coming Thursday.
  • As we work on our research for our Informational Reports on Energy Conservation, we are doing some different things to build background knowledge.  This week, we watched a "virtual field trip" to the Mojave Desert and the Palmyra Atoll Islands to answer the question:  "How can we get the energy we need without harming nature?"  We learned how they are using renewable resources such as wind and sunlight.  We will have another guest speaker in the near future - our own Mr. Gould!  Students will begin working on their body paragraphs from their research this week.
  • Tribe groups have been researching details about their designated Colony and have started plans for their project to convince others to move to their Colony.    We will have a variety of presentations, including:  commercials, skit, display boards, and a 3-D Display. Students will present to our class and the other 5th grade class on 2/8 and/or 2/12. 
  • Students are learning about their brain with their 2x a week sessions with Mr. Lenon, which started this week.  This is a time that they really look forward to.   They also have opportunity to expend their energy at P.E. with Mrs. Wiessmer on alternate days.
  • We are also reinforcing Growth Mindset with weekly lessons in class, as well as discussions about how to treat others.    This week, students worked together to create "anti-bullying" message posters and put them up around the school.  I am very proud of our students and the changes I am seeing in how they treat others in class.  
  • We worked this week in small groups on how to determine the meaning of a word by how it is used within the context of the text.

Congratulations to Room 4's Alexis, who had her cartoon published in the Lahontan News this past week.   The students were so excited and it has inspired others to express themselves through creative means. Kaylin shared her awesome cartoon in class this week, as well!

Important Information
  • Room 4 students have earned a "game party" for everyone achieving at least 75 Class DoJo points per student over the course of the year.   We plan to have the party in conjunction with a Valentine's Day celebration on 2/14.    
    • Students may bring Valentines to share - I'll have bags for each student to hold their valentines.  Please be inclusive of everyone. Let me know if you need a list of names.
    • If you would like to donate a food item for our celebration (cookies or cupcakes, fruit, drinks), please let me know so I can plan accordingly.
  • Second Trimester ends on March 8th.   We will be assessing students in a variety of areas over the next couple of weeks in preparation for report cards.  Parent-Teacher Conferences will be in mid-April.
  • Sex Education for 5th graders will be held on Thursdays during "specials" time from March 8th - March 29th.  

Monday, January 29, 2018

Math update with Mrs. Neal

Hello all!
This week in math we wrapped up our work with fractions as division. We also moved on to adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers. The homework for this week will be as follows:
Week of 1/29
5th grade:
Monday- IXL L.8
Tuesday- No Homework- MATH NIGHT!
Wednesday- IXL L.10
Thursday-  IXL L.19

Thanks and see you all at math night!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


  • Students are making focused progress on their energy conservation research, in preparation for an informational essay on the topic for writing.  We were honored to have Mr. Andrew Carroll do a presentation on Renewable Energy to provide additional background knowledge.
  • We also started "Scholastic Science Jams", providing students with the opportunity to learn about a variety of science topics related to 5th grade standards.  This week the topic was electricity.
  • Our first Book Club meeting will take place this Tuesday.  Students have completed the reading of the first section of their books, as well as assignments, in preparation for the book discussion. Be sure to ask your child about the protagonist of the book they are reading, as well as any new words they learned.
  • In social studies, we spent some time building background knowledge about the 13 colonies by groups reading about a specific aspect (i.e. geography, House of Burgesses, population, life of an indentured servant, tobacco in Jamestown) and then teaching the information to the rest of the class.  Groups were then  assigned a specific colony to research and complete a project about. Our driving question is:  How can we use our knowledge about our assigned colony to market it to the Europeans back home in hopes to recruit new people to the colony?   Project choices include: a commercial, skit/play, display board, 3-D model, or travel brochure.

  • We have enjoyed reading about "Life in the Colonial Days".   Your child will be able to tell you what school was like in those days, as well as some interesting medical remedies.
  • This week we also spent some time having rich discussions on the topic of bullying.  Your children were very insightful and thoughtful in their responses.  This is something we will continue to work on, in addition to lessons on Growth Mindset, which will start this week.
  • Students finished their "Music" class this week.  Next week they will start Social-Emotional Learning with Mr. Lenon twice a week.

Students in grades K-5 were recognized at the Bighorns Award assembly today.   Those honored from Room 4 included:

  • Perfect Attendance:  Braden, Jacob, James, Keira, Halle
  • Attentiveness:  James
  • Work Ethic:  Alexis
  • Cooperation/Collaboration:  Payton
  • Most Improved: Gaven
  • Bighorn Award:  Halle

Math update with Mrs. Neal

Hello 5th grade families, This week in math we continued adding and subtracting fractions and mixed number with unlike denominators, howev...