Oops! I was just finishing up planning for next week and realized we aren't going to get as far as I thought in math next week. I assigned three IXL skills for next week, but we won't get to one of them. Please tell your kiddos that we are not doing B17. Skills due on April 5th are B15 and B16. Thanks!
~Erica
actone@svsd410.org
 
 
I think I have mentioned to some of you before that it's like a scene from Ferris Bueller  in here, although I really hope I'm not as boring as Ben Stein. :)  We have talked at length about participating (okay, I have talked), but there has only been slight improvement. It's a little bit my fault because as a child I hated being called on when I wasn't ready.  My hope has been that as kids get more comfortable with the class, they will come out of their shells a little.  That hasn't happened, so today we set some goals as a class. Each student created a goal that included a subject (math, ss, reading etc.), and activity (raising hand, reading aloud, table discussions etc.) and a measurable number. For instance,  a goal could be:

I will raise my hand two times next week during Social Studies. 

Monday morning I will show them how to keep track of their goal. I encouraged them to pick a small number so they are sure to meet their goal for next week. I'm hoping that by everyone trying one more thing, they might learn that it's not quite as frightening as they think it is. At the end of the week they will turn in their paper to me with their goal and notes.  

I'm hoping for great results!  This would be a great time to share with your kids about your own school experience.  I think most of the kids were surprised to hear some of the things I shared about my own experience in school. 

Have a great weekend!
~Erica
actone@svsd410.org
 
 
This is one of these rare moments where I get to be an observer in the classroom. As I'm typing, the scientist volunteers are walking around talking with your kids about their science projects. It's so fun to do a little eavesdropping! They have a comfort level with me and explain things casually, as you would to someone you have known for several months. Listening to them explain to the scientists is so much fun. They are being very professional and studious! Your kids did great work, and are so proud to talk about it. Thanks for all the help at home -- I know they couldn't have pulled it together without your support!
~Erica
actone@svsd410.org
 
 
Hopefully you have been seeing the information about report cards in the Opstad Weekly Update and know what to expect on Monday in regards to report cards.  Report cards will not be coming home with your students, but will be available online through Family Access.  If you don't yet have a username/password (or have forgotten!), please call Opstad and Cheryl or Tina can help get you going. 

Since I don't get to talk with you all face to face this time, there are a couple of things I'd like to highlight for everyone. 

Changing Expectations:  As the year moves forward, expectations go up.  Usually students grow and change with that, but there are some exceptions. One place that a bulk of the class is struggling in is conventions in writing.  In the beginning of the year it was okay to be missing a capital here or there, or have incomplete sentences occasionally. We've spent a lot of time on this, and the expectations is that 5th graders use capital letters and complete sentences in all subject areas.  They all know how to do this (we worked on it so much this trimester!), but often don't  --  kids hurry or they don't check their work.  A lot of students did not make changes in their writing, and those scores have gone down. Kids have to have those things taken care of for middle school. 

Math: You may see some scores go down in math, especially if you have a student who is performing higher in math. One place this happened frequently was in the area of division. At the time of the first report card, it was the expectation that students could divide 4 numbers by 1 number. Students that were dividing by double digits and decimals received 4s.  For a lot of those kids, the instruction has now caught up with their prior knowledge -- the whole class has been dividing with double digits and decimals. If your student has gone down from a 4 to a 3, they haven't necessarily lost ground, the rest of the class (and my instruction!) has caught up with them.

Cross-Content: Middle School requires students to apply their skills in all areas, and so we are starting to hold the kids accountable for that in 5th grade.  For instance, this trimester, "learns and applies vocabulary" in the section of reading accounts for vocabulary that was learned in reading, science and social studies.  Other examples of areas that were assessed in several areas: conventions/punctuation and reading comprehension.  

Math Problem Solving: In the first trimester, we worked with simple word problems and students had only to identify the correct operation to perform. This trimester we have been working with more complex problems, where one operation will not solve the problem. Often the problems are multi-step, or require the student to employ a strategy (guess and check, make a table etc.). This is, of course, harder, and we will keep at it!

Yikes -- that was a lot! Please let me know if you have questions about the report card. 
~Erica
actone@svsd410.org
 
 
The Pre-Algebra readiness test will be:

Tuesday, March 26th

The test will be given only to those students who turned in permission slips. My understanding is the test will take about an hour.  Students will take the test in the portable with someone from the district office and will return to class when they are finished.  

~Erica
actone@svsd410.org