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. 

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