It's that time again -- Science Fair! PTA puts on a great science fair, and historically, 5th grade has participated as a grade level. This year is no different -- each student in 5th grade took home a blue packet today with information. If you didn't see the packet, please check out the PTA website -- all the papers also available through their site.

Opstad PTA

The requirements for the classroom are not any different from what PTA requirements are in general. Projects must fit in to one of three categories: experiement, investigation or collection. This variety of project should allow for everyone to find something that they are interseted in.

The deadline for registration is March 11th. Students need to either fill out the online form (see link above) or turn in the last page of their packet to me.

The science fair is on March 28th, and I'm asking that students shoot for March 27th as a due date.  Their projects will be reviewed during school and be on display during the fair that night (evening attendance is not required).

Some kids thrive with wide-open projects like this, but quite a few need help with selecting a topic and planning. We talked a little about planning the steps of the project so it's not being completed on the last day. Please help them plan and chunk their time!

Since this is a large homework project, I will be modifying the normal homework schedule, so please expect changes this Friday.
After we come back from break I will be sending a permission slip home for a field trip to Seattle on March 7th.  Seattle Symphony provides a free concert for 5th graders, and traditionally, we have paired that with a trip to Pike Place Market. The Symphony is an amazing opportunity for the kids, but what they really love is the trip to the Market. Many of them have never been, and they love exploring -- the gum wall, the pig, the shops, flying fish...All of it!  We are going to need 6 chaperones to join us. We will leave Opstad at 9:30, and have about an hour to explore the Market (the kids are allowed to bring a few dollars for shopping). Then we will eat a sack lunch on the Harbor Steps, and be ready for the 12:15 show at Benaroya. We should arrive back at Opstad by 2pm.  The only hitch is that there usually isn't room for all the chaperones inside Benaroya. The Symphony is passionate about seating as many 5th graders as possible and doesn't provide us with enough seats for all parents.  Chaperones can either stand in the back, or take a break from us and grab a cup of coffee.  :)  So...anyone interested? Please email me directly (instead of leaving a comment) if you can join us (remember you need to be an approved volunteer). Thanks for considering!
Recently letters were mailed from the District Office about a math opportunity for next year. If you haven't received it yet, you can view the letter here:

Orleans-Hannah Algebra Prognosis Letter

Next year there are three opportunities for math courses. If you have older children, keep reading as the choices were changed last year. The three courses are Course 1, Course 2 and Pre-Algebra. Here is the breakdown for the classes:

Course 1: A slower paced class which begins in 6th grade and finishes with Course 2 in 7th grade.

Course 2:  This course takes the curriculum of Course 1 and 2 and delivers it in one year.

Pre-Algebra:   Students in Pre-Algebra in 6th grade will be expected to pick up the concepts of Course 2 within the context of Algebra.  This is an accelerated class intended for students who are already performing at levels 3 and 4 in 5th grade.

While high school may seem far off, it's always great to be planning! The below table gives you an idea of what classes your child may take in high school based on what they take in middle school. 
The Orleans-Hanna Test is an assessment that tests a student's readiness for algebra. If you would like your student to take the test in March, please have the permission slip signed and returned to class by Friday, February 15th. 

Please let me know if you have questions!
Oops! It kind of snuck up on me this year!  We will have a party on the 14th, though it will be sort of low key since we just had a Snowflake bash. :) I figure snacks and games will be good. If you can send in a snack to share that would be great. Also I have a lot of games here, but kids can also bring a game that they might like to play. Tomorrow (Wednesday) a list will go home with everyone's names in case your child would like to bring Valentine's cards for the class. Here are our rules for Valentines:

There must be cards for everyone in the class (there are 33)
You must sign your name to your card
If you attach a treat or pencil (or whatever!) it must be the same for everyone