This week, we completed the first phase of our unit on adding and subtracting fractions by using pictorial representations in order to combine and find the difference. We had a mid-unit quiz on Wednesday, and students showed they have mastered this first step and are ready to move on to the next phase: adding and subtracting using the standard algorithm. It is important that students understand both methods in order to conceptualize the concept and accurately solve problems.
We continue to expand our nonfiction reading skills by reading informational text closely to identify the gist (main idea). Then, students worked collaboratively to identify the author’s opinion and find evidence to support that opinion. An important part of reading informational text is using context clues to understand key words. We have been practicing that skill by writing new terms on index cards and using synonyms, antonyms, and examples from the text to determine the meaning. I’m really proud of how the fifth graders embrace the challenge of new words and make an effort to use their new vocabulary in their speaking and writing. Way to go 5th graders!
The Economics Fair is upon us! This Friday, students will bring their completed product to sell at the Holiday Bazaar from 3-5 pm. I will give them time to work on their packet in class so that I can provide guidance and help them connect this project to the economic concepts we are studying in class. They will likely need to work on their product at home, however, in order to have access to the materials they need. I look forward to seeing the completion of all their hard work Friday!
This quarter we are are studying the planets, sun, moon, and stars. Last week students created their own sky viewers in order to examine why the sun rises and sets. This week we will be exploring the earth’s rotation and how it impacts time. On Tuesday we will be building shadow clocks- in order to use them students will need a flashlight. If you have a simple flashlight at home, please send it with your 5th grader for the day on Tuesday.
Social Emotional Learning
We have been talking a lot about “growth mindset”, and have completed the online “How to Learn Math” course at Stanford University! The idea behind this is to move away from fixed “smart or not smart” mindsets and towards the idea that with hard work and practice, everyone can make progress. I really see the 5th graders embracing this idea in their willingness to take on challenges. When I give them complex problems in math or higher level questions in reading, they tackle them readily, using creative strategies to approach them, and recognizing that “struggling” a bit is what helps us grow our brains. “Grit” and “resiliency” are some of the most important qualities that successful students have - I’m so happy to see the 5th graders building these strong habits!