This week the "menu" work will continue. The fifth graders are finishing up their "Explorer" menu, and the fourths are finishing up their "California Native American" menus. New Tic Tac Toe menus will be introduced, based on the Reading Series.
Both grade levels start new math chapters this week. The fourth graders are beginning chapter 6 (Multiplication and Division Expressions) and the fifth graders are beginning chapter 5, (rounding, adding and subtracting fractions with like and unlike denominators).
While the fifth grade has their rehearsals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the fourth graders will complete a Summary practice, and then begin instruction on Response to Literature.
The new words are up on SpellingCity for fourth graders, based on the story Tanya's Reunion. The fifth graders are finishing Lesson 6 of their Wordly Wise and will have a test on Friday.
The fifth graders and I jumped ahead in Social Studies and are working on Unit 7, American Government. We have discussed the making of the Constitution and the different beliefs systems of the Federalists and Anitfederalists. They should be pretty familiar with the three compromises: the Great Compromise, the Three-Fifths compromise, and the Bill of Rights. This week the fifth graders will work in groups and create posters that describe or summarize the lessons, and have a small test, on Friday.
Many fifth graders are finding that memorizing the states and capitals is not their favorite activity. Some test scores are suffering because of it. I am assigning 10 minutes a night of computer games to the fifth graders to help them with their states. There are several good states and capitals games on the web site, in the US History link. If your child is not satisfied with his or her grade, this assignment will give them 10 percentage points. If they do 20 minutes a night they can earn 20 percentage points, and so on. Parents, sign their planner each night and write how many minutes. I will trust you. If the internet is not working for you, I will give the students an assignment to complete.
Fifth Grade Parents - The last math chapter, 4, was very difficult. Many new skills were taught at a rapid pace. While the students seem to be learning all the skills (75% to 85% accuracy) for most, it is not yet automatic. For mastery of future math concepts, these skills (converting fractions, reducing fractions, finding equivalent fractions, finding the least common multiple and the least common denominator) need to be automatic. For this reason I have assembled a packet of practice worksheets. They review the same skill over and over again. A bit tedious, but necessary. It is not due for four weeks (December 3), but will be graded for the second report card. I recommend that your child do a little bit every night. Possibly, not even finishing a page each night. The goal is to keep it positive. If your child struggles with this stuff, then do just a few problems a night and give lots of positive reinforcement. If they want to go faster, let them. Also in the packet, are some challenging problem solving activities that involve logical thinking. Feel free to help them with those, you may need to. Parental help on those is applauded and encouraged. Once they are all turned in I will offer a reward. I don't know what yet, I'll ask them what they want. Good luck to you all.
I'll throw in updates as necessary. Remember, the homework is up, but is always subject to change. I hope you have been enjoying Washington's Rules of Etiquette.