The fifth graders have officially enrolled in their first college course - at Stanford University, no less! Our class is completing an online course titled “How to Learn Math”, taught by renowned Stanford professor Jo Boaler. This course draws upon Carol Dweck’s teaching about growth mindset in order to reinforce important concepts about math, such as:
- There is no such thing as a “math person” or “smart/not smart”; the important thing is to keep working and making progress
- The advantage of a growth vs. fixed mindset
- Research on neuroscience and the brain that support the value of making mistakes and challenging oneself in order to grow the brain
- Number flexibility
- Number patterns
- Math in “real life”
This week we wrapped up our decimals unit with division. I was proud to see how the fifth graders transferred their knowledge of whole number division to decimals. The dividing decimals assessment students took on Friday will come home in the homework folder tomorrow for corrections (if needed) and parent signature before being returned to school on Tuesday for placement in the student portfolio. Reflection is an important part of the learning process, and the idea is to keep parents informed of student progress as we move through 5th grade concepts.
We’ll continue to review decimal skills throughout the year, but our main focus will shift to fractions next week. First, we’ll add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. This will build off the students’ knowledge of equivalent fractions and adding fractions with like denominators from fourth grade.
We’re continuing to work on informational text skills in both reading and writing. Recognizing main idea and detail are important foundational skills for informational text; we work on this often as well as analyzing reasons and evidence that authors use to support opinions in persuasive writing. Students are applying these skills to their writing as well, by coming up with evidence to support their arguments.
In language, students did a fabulous job learning how to analyze homophones, homographs, synonyms, and antonyms in order to better understand vocabulary in context. They also learned how to use resources such as thesauruses and dictionaries to search for expand their word choice and write stronger sentences. Next week, we’ll review interjections, prepositions, and conjunctions and their function in sentences.
I’m excited to kick off our new unit on Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets this week! This is such an inquisitive bunch, and it’s so fun to watch them apply their curiosity in order to better understand the world (and universe!) around them.
We wrapped up our study of Mesoamerican civilizations last week by discussing various perspectives in history and different sides to the story of conquest and exploration. I was so impressed with the students ability to think critically and apply their knowledge of history to rich classroom discussions.
Next up, we’ll be studying economics. The highlight of this unit is the Economics Fair, which will be on Tuesday, December 6th. This is a collaborative project with the third and fourth grades. Look for details and important information about this to come home soon! In preparation, we will be covering important economic concepts including:
- Spending and Saving
- Opportunity Cost
- Comparison Shopping
- Consumers and Businesses (employers, employees, entrepreneurs)
- Productive Capacity
- Capital Goods
- Division of Labor
- Assembly Lines (includes "I Love Lucy" chocolate factory clip)
- Supply, Demand, and Scarcity
- Producers and Consumers
- The Purpose of Banks (savings, checking accounts, interest, loans)