May 17, 2013
Thank you for the beautiful flowers and cards for Teacher Appreciation Day. I appreciate all of the support you give me and your children every day.
Well, next week we are back to normal, no STAR, but we will continue with our Research Projects. Most of the students are done with note-taking and information gathering and are ready to start writing. Most of the typing will be done at home and shared with me through their new school Gmail accounts. The students will be using these accounts throughout Middle School and High School, until the next new thing comes along. The great part is that I can make comments on their work, directly on the Google Doc, and that none of the work gets lost, misplaced or left at home.
Next week on Wednesday morning is Fifth Grade Olympics. We meet down on the football field at 8:00. We will walk back up to Havens by lunch time.
In class, we will continue with our Reader's Theater groups, travel the country with our Interactive Unit called See the USA and work on Geometric figures in Math.
May 10, 2013
We had a great first week of STAR testing. Next week we will do both parts of Math and the 2nd part of Science. The students are moving along with their research for the I-Search project. Most students seem very excited by their topics: everything from Brain Science to Candy.
In Math, we will be starting Chapter 11 next week. There will not be math or spelling homework next week due to the STAR test. We will be covering the Revolutionary War in Social Studies and the class is learning all about Weather with Mrs. Smith in Science.
We had a great concert by the PHS Jazz Band and Ensembles today. Remind your child to practice their instruments for our upcoming concert on May 30th.
Have a nice weekend and Mother's Day,
May 5, 2013
Sorry that the Friday letter is a Sunday letter this week. We had a great week last week and the students did very well on their Math Chapter 10 test.
This week and next we will be taking the STAR test on Tuesday-Thursday in the morning until about 10:30. They seem to be nervous about the test. Please remind them that this is only one measure of how much they learned this year, and that they should try but not stress out.
We will also be working on our non-fiction research this week. Because of STAR testing, the only homework for the week will be finding some online research that they should print and bring in. One of the hardest things to do is to find information at their level so that they can understand the material and find the main ideas and supporting details on their own. The whole process should take about three weeks, and again, most of it will be done at school. I will update you if there is anything due from home at least a week ahead of time.
Thanks for all you do,
April 26, 2013
Spring Fever has definitely hit 5th grade. We have had some crazy behavior this week. We had a great visit to the Middle School and the students seemed very at ease when they were there.
We had our first States test today. Many students passed, 90 or above is the requirement. I am asking that the students learn how to spell the names of the states for this test as well as use capital letters at the beginning of the names. In Math, the students are doing very well graphing equations. We will have the Chapter 10 test next Friday.
In Language Arts, we have started a mini I-Search so that the students can get a feel for a research project. These are on a small scale and we will finish up by Wednesday of next week in preparation for the official I-Search research project. The writing and note taking for the I-Search will be done in class, but much of the typing and research will have to be done at home due to our lack of computer access here at school. (Get those paddles up for Chrome Books at the Spring Fling tomorrow night!)
On Tuesday, author Annemarie O'Brien will visit the school to tell us about her newest book.
Have fun at the Pop Up Party.
April 12, 2013
Well, it is Friday afternoon and many students have already left to begin their Spring Break travels. Everyone survived Puberty Education and I hope your children tell you what they have learned this week. Thanks to the parents who accompanied us to Alameda County Community Food Bank. We all worked hard packing carrots and apples.
In Social Studies, we covered the growing tensions in the Colonies and will start on the Continental Congress when we come back. In Science, Mrs. Smith set up stations to review for the Science part of the STAR test. And, in Math we took the Chapter 9 test today. Next up, Algebraic Equations.
When we get back, we have a lot to cover in the last 8 weeks of the year.
I hope everyone has a great and restful Spring Break!
March 29, 2013
We had a great week in Fifth Grade. We are well into our Fantasy unit and have been discussing themes and symbolism and metaphorical dragons in our book clubs. In Math, we are moving along with coordinate planes and geometry. Today in Science, the students had their last Chemistry lab and we will be reviewing all next week in class for our Chemistry test on Friday, April 5th.
We have a bunch of great learning opportunities happening in the next few days of school:
Monday: 5th PEP lesson, about alcohol, taught by our Parent Educators.
Tuesday: Williamsburg Simulation. If your child wants to dress up in Colonial clothes for the afternoon, that would be fine, but in early June we will be having a mandatory Colonial Dress Up and Simulation day.
Wednesday: Walking field trip to the middle school for a concert by the Jazz and Symphonic bands.
Friday: Class pictures on Friday and our Science Test
Monday 4/8: Field trip to Alameda County Community Food Bank
I still need drivers for 11 more students to go to the Food Bank. Right now I have Tsukahara, Campbell, and Crown. We will return before noon that day.
Have a lovely weekend,
March 15, 2013
Today the students will bring home a portfolio of work from this trimester. They have written self-evaluations of several pieces of work and will be giving you a brief presentation about it at home. After their presentation and looking through their work, please fill out the Parent Survey form included in the portfolio. On Monday morning, please return the binder without the work and with the signed Parent Survey. We will use this and the report card as a basis of discussion during next week's Parent/Teacher conferences.
Next week on Wednesday we will also be having our class "good behavior" party. The students have chosen a potluck/costume/movie party. We will only miss one hour of instructional time because we will begin our party during lunch. Please send in a potluck-sized dish of your choosing before 12 that day.
Thanks for supporting your children at school,
March 8, 2013
Unfortunately, during Ski Week, Janice Sheldon, our regular classroom aide, fractured her hip skiing and will be out for 6 to 8 weeks. On Tuesday of this week, Pam DeLuca, a third grade aide who was substituting in our class for Mrs. Sheldon, was hit by a car in the crosswalk in front of the school. She is recovering and should be back in the next week or so. The kids have made cards for Mrs. Sheldon and our room parents, Daphne Lee and Noelle Tsukahara, sent Mrs. DeLuca a giant card and an edible arrangement. Thank you for your support of them during their recoveries.
Attached to this email is a letter from Laura Richey the PE teacher about the upcoming events in her class.
This week we started again with fractions in math. This week we were learning about fractions of fractions and the students seem to be getting the concept. I handed back the math tests today from last week and the children will be bringing them home for your signature. In reading we are learning about multiple plot lines, and theme with our fantasy books and the students seemed to enjoy their first few lessons on nouns this week.
Next week, I will be sending home all of the work from this quarter and your child will be presenting you with his or her work and goals for next quarter. I will be sending home a comment sheet for you to fill out and send back. We will be talking about their work at our conferences.
See you all soon,
March 1, 2013
We had a great week in Fifth Grade. As an experiment, Dr. Wozniak has allowed the Fifth Graders more freedom after they eat at lunch and they have really stepped up. They have been keeping the lunch area clean and playing nicely with the younger children.
We finished the Chapter 7 math test after I quickly retaught a concept that I corrected incorrectly yesterday and the students seemed to understand and do well on the test.
We had a special treat today, Adrienne played three songs for us on her violin. We were all entertained and impressed.
In Science, the students had a busy day in the lab working on solutions. In Social Studies, the students created advertising campaigns to convince their classmates to move to one of the thirteen original colonies and in Reading we started our Fantasy book clubs.
Next week, we will not have a Words Their Way Sort and instead we will be concentrating on a Grammar Skill. Look for the new grammar homework starting Monday night.
Thanks for your continued support,
February 15, 2013
Thanks to all of the parents who brought things in for our "Short but Sweet Valentines" party. Thanks also to Stannye Nelson and Michelle Eldridge for helping out with the cupcake decorating.
This week we worked on our essays on James Town and finished our Historical Fiction reading unit. We will begin learning about Fantasy after the break.
We learned about positive and negative numbers in Math and the students continued their study of mass and solutions in Science. Today, the students were continuing their composite portrait of the Dalai Lama and Dr. Wozniak came in and talked with the students about School Climate and rules.
Have a safe week, and safe travels to those of you who are heading out of town.
February 8, 2013
Thanks to all of you who were able to make it to Open House last night. Your children really enjoyed showing off what they do every day and they loved it when some of the tasks were challenging for you. I still have 5 families that did not sign up for Parent Teacher Conferences on March 21 and 22. Please email me with your first 2 choices of times and I will try to accommodate you. By the end of next week, I will publish the schedule:
On Thursday, I have the following times open for 20 minute conferences:
9:10, 10:30, 10:50, 11:20, 12:40, 1:00, 2:20. On Friday, I have 8:50, 9:10, 10:50, 11:20, 11:40, 1:00, 1:50, 2:20.
The Book Reports were fabulous this week. The students were well-prepared and enjoyed each others' presentations.
Next week we will begin work on Order of Operations in Math, Line Graphs and Positive and Negative numbers. They are all big concepts and we will keep revisiting them throughout the year.
In Social Studies, we will be learning about the reasons Europeans came to the East Coast of the continent and how the nationality of the immigrants influenced the laws, industries and cultures of the colonies.We will continue writing our comparison essays focusing on modern life in Piedmont compared to life in the early colonies.
In Science, Mrs. Smith will continue her teaching on Mixtures and Solutions.
On Thursday, we will have a 1/2 hour Valentines Party at the end of the day. No one is required to give out anything, but please be sure to have something for everyone if your child is planning to give Valentines.
February 1, 2013
We had a great busy week! We finished up the first Student Journal in Math and will start on Exponents and Scientific Notation in Journal 2 next week. I noticed that many students missed the problems on the Stem and Leaf Plots and adding and subtracting fractions on the last test. I will spend time reteaching both concepts as we will be continuing our study of fractions at the end of this unit.
We learned how to write Concrete Poems this week at the DeYoung museum with our Poet-in-Residence, Devorah Major. I think it is refreshing for the students to learn from someone who has a different point of view and many opinions. Their poetry was great and they will take it home next week.
In Social Studies, we will be moving on to more US Colonies and learning about the political unrest of the time.
In Science, the students have moved on to a study of mixtures and solutions. They are in the midst of planning to separate a mixture in next week's lab.
I look forward to seeing you at Open House next week. Make sure that your fifth grader comes with you and shows you around the room. Students always love to make their parents do schoolwork, and this is your chance.
Enjoy the weekend and the Super Bowl!
January 17, 2012
We really got to work this week. We finished our Non-fiction book brochures in Writing and Reading and began our Historical Fiction Book Clubs. In Math we are studying probability and measurement and the chapter ends with equivalent fractions which we worked on today in class.
In Science, we ended the week with a Science Test on Matter. The students have been working hard in class mastering the information.
In Social Studies, we finished our Salt Dough maps of the US and talked about it's topographical features. This goes along with the beginning of the first English colonies on the East Coast.
Next week, we will be going to the De Young Museum to inspire our Poetry writing and we will be having our Chapter 6 Math Test.
Please remember to send your child with a bag lunch to the Museum on Tuesday because we are eating once we arrive on the Museum grounds.
Have a nice long weekend,
We have arrived back from Camp Arroyo! The students had a great time, though it was very cold. Most of both days the temperature was in the 30s and 40s. The cabins were warm, but most of the day was spent outside.
I would like to thank the 6 parents from our class who chaperoned the trip: Steve Podell, John Lee, Robert James, Wynne Kokka, Wilma Wallace and Lorri Zimmer. They helped the homesick and the cold and kept a great attitude!
Have a great weekend!
December 7, 2012
What a week we had. On Monday, we had 8 teachers watching as consultant Anne Diskin came in to teach a Reader's Workshop lesson. All of the observers had wonderful things to say about the class. On Tuesday, we went to the Food Bank, packed broccoli and oranges and got bags ready for the 2,075 school children who take food home over the weekend so they won't come to school hungry on Monday morning. The students really seemed to enjoy doing the same work as adults and were moved by the fact that most people the Food Bank feeds are children.
Thanks to all of the parents who drove.
On Wednesday, the whole school worked on a Visioning plan for a new School Yard or Learnscape. Students dreamed about the ideal schoolyard and came up with creative ideas such as ponds, zip lines and farm animals.
On Thursday, we were lucky enough to be treated to the CAPA Nutcracker Ballet. Thanks to all of the drivers and the Zimmers for hosting us and Kami for her wonderful performance.
Academically, we made progress in Math and non-fiction reading. We got back our biology tests, but we are going to go over them as a class, because the scores were very low across the board. There were a few questions that confused many people and I think we need to practice how to study in class more. I will give the students the opportunity to improve their scores next week.
Because 7 people are out today, most due to a stomach bug, I will give the WTW test on Monday.
I hope everyone who is sick recovers quickly and that the rest make it through without catching what is going around.
We had such a productive week. On Tuesday, we were lucky enough to spend the morning with Dave Nettell. He really was clear and direct with the students and got them closer to the goal of being Successful, Independent Fifth Graders.
The students took a Social Studies test on Tuesday and a Science test on Biology today. They brought home all of their work from the first trimester this week as well. It does not need to be returned.
We started reading the book Blood on The River, Jamestown 1607 this week. It really helps bring the hardships of the early Colonists to life.
In Reader's Workshop, we began reading non-fiction in the form of magazine articles. We will be studying all kinds of non-fiction text: from textbooks to websites to help them develop their abilities to read to learn.
Next week we have so much going on, below is a partial list:
Monday - special demo lesson in our class of Reader's Workshop taught by Consultant Anne Diskin.
Tuesday - Field trip to the Food Bank. Please cancel your Choicelunch as we will be eating before our regular lunch time. Each student will need to bring a lunch from home.
Wednesday - Special whole school Garden Planning. Also, Report Cards will come home in the backpacks.
Thursday - Field trip to Moraga to see the Nutcracker. All students will also need a lunch from home.
Have a nice weekend.
We had a very productive week learning about the reasons for exploring and as you know, we learned about the Vikings and their contributions to America.
We began our study of fractions and the students were again reminded of the reason we need our math facts. We finished up our study of Character and our class reading of Walk Two Moons. The class is also working on finishing our persuasive essays by constructing interesting concluding paragraphs.
When we come back to school, we will have a great opportunity for team building and improved behavior as we work with Dave Nettell on Tuesday. He is an expert in behavior management and personal responsibility and will work with all of the fifth graders in the district as well as all of the sixth grade students.
I still need drivers for the Food Bank on Tuesday 12/4 and the Nutcracker on 12/6.
I have attached a You Tube video going around featuring Matt Cain. The students were so impressed they asked me to send the link out.
Have a peaceful Thanksgiving,
This letter only contains information about upcoming field trips and dates. I will need drivers and chaperones for all of the field trips. We do take a bus to Camp Arroyo. Unfortunately, most of our field trips are clustered in December and January this year, so I will need help in these two busy months.
11/12 - No school, Veteran's Day
11/16 - All paperwork and payment due for the Camp Arroyo overnight field trip
11/19 - 11/23 Thanksgiving Holiday
12/4 - Alameda County Community Food Bank Field Trip - 11:45 - 2:45 -
12/6 - CAPA - Nutcracker Performance - Field Trip - Moraga
12/22-1/6 - Winter Break
1/10-1/11 - Camp Arroyo Overnight Field Trip
1/22 and 1/29 Poets in the Galleries -Field Trip- de Young Museum
I will send out the permission slips for the Nutcracker and Food Bank after Thanksgiving. Please mark on your calendar now and tell me if you are available to drive either of the days.
Thanks, Anne Valva
Thanks to all of the parents who brought in treats for our party. The students enjoyed all of it. I hope you all stay dry tonight during Trick-or-Treating and enjoy your four days together.
October 26, 2012
Next week on Wednesday, the students are going to bring home their binders full of finished work from this first quarter. After the sugar rush is over, please look through it with your child and keep the work at home. Please send back the binder so we can fill it up again.
We began our unit on long division this week and we will be more over the next week. We will have our next math test after we come back from our four day weekend.
On Wednesday, the Room Parents will be putting together a small party for the class on Halloween. The party will take place right after lunch at 12:45 and the school-wide parade will begin at 1:15. Please remember that we have the fun run that day so they should wear something they can run in. They are allowed to come to school in costume, or they can get dressed in the restroom at lunch.
Next week we will be focusing on elections during social studies. We are trying to keep political opinions out of the classroom, while learning about the electoral college and the history of voting.
Instead of writing fiction this week, we began writing personal and persuasive essays. The students are already excited to back up their opinions with facts.
Lastly, even though I am a die-hard A's fan, it is so fun to see the students so excited about the Giants. Even the kids who aren't baseball fans seem to have Giants Fever.
Have a nice weekend,
October 19, 2012
On Tuesday we had our first, and arguably our hardest, science test. On Monday, I will send it home with your children for you to look at and sign. They also have a self-assessment to complete and some extra-credit questions if they want to raise their grade.
Today, we took our Geometry test. I will send it home on Monday as well.
This week was full with a fire drill, a fulll disaster drill and our Author's Assembly. If you haven't heard from your child, ask them about the great author, N.D. Wilson who came to speak to us. Thanks to all of the students who donated a book to our classroom library. We will enjoy them and I am sure students in classes yet to come will, too.
Next week, we will begin fiction writing and continue reading great fiction. We will also begin our math unit on Division. We will be learning both the partial quotients and the traditional US algorithm methods of long division. I will try to limit the number of problems on homework to reduce the stress at home.
Following my letter is a letter to all parents from Terry Smith and the Garden Committee on the transformation of our outdoor space at Havens. If you are interested, please attend the meeting.
Have a nice weekend, Anne Valva
From Landscape to Learnscape at Havens
Join in the design process on October 24th, 2012 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm in Ellen Driscoll Theater
The Havens Parents Club (HPC) is funding an exciting project to create a Master Plan for a new Garden and Green Schoolyard. The HPC is working with Sharon Danks, of Bay Tree Designs, to help create the Master Plan. Danks has designed dozens of green schoolyards and is the author of Asphalt to Ecosystems, a book dedicated to creating spaces that provide more opportunities for student to engage with nature via such schoolyard elements as gardens, ponds, water collection systems, rock formations, twig structure, and other wonderful and interactive natural spaces. These are schoolyards where children explore, learn and imagine as part of their play and which expand the classroom curriculum into the natural world.
“The process is designed so that all of the Havens school community can participate,” said Jill Lindenbaum, co-chair of the HPC Green/Garden Committee. “We’re interested in creating a schoolyard with more natural elements for increased hands-on learning opportunities that span the sciences, math, environmental stewardship, nutrition, as well as foster more creative play space for recess and lunch time. It should be a fun project and the more parents that participate, the better it will be.”
Danks is an experienced facilitator who uses a participatory design processes with adults and children to reach a community consensus for the design of their schoolyard. This helps foster a sense of pride, excitement and stewardship. Havens’ students will have the chance to provide their design input at an all school assembly and design session later this year. At this Parent Kick Off Meeting Sharon will share a short slide show of green schoolyards from around the world and then will begin the exciting process of brainstorming features for the Master Plan at Havens. We'd like as many parents as possible to join in this process.
October 12, 2012
We did not get to our Science Test on Water this week, but we will have it on Tuesday, October 16. We will have our Geometry test on Friday. Mrs. Smith did start the Science Unit on biology today with the study of human and plant cells under the microscope. How lucky our students are to have such a fabulous science teacher and equipment.
We will be finishing up our focus on Native Americans next week so that we can begin the European "discovery" of North America.
We are slowly understanding the differences between explaining a character's personality and explaining their appearance. The class is improving their ability to provide evidence for their opinions.
Remember, Comings and Goings money should be in by next Friday, October 19.
October 5, 2012
Dear Parents, This was a long, hot week in Fifth Grade. The heat was incredible, up to 87 degrees in our classroom on Tuesday afternoon.
In Science, we completed our last lab on Water and we will have the test on water on Friday, October 12. I will send home the study packet by next Tuesday so that the students have plenty of time to review.
In math, we began our study of angles and our use of protractors. This is a very hands-on and creative unit, we will be doing tessellations and other projects that show the beauty of Geometry.
We are continuing to study character in Reader's Workshop and the students will continue to take notes on their reading at home. If your child uses a Kindle or other device for reading, they are still responsible to take notes, either in their notebooks or with post - its. We are all reading fiction right now and all should have a book that they are taking back and forth from school to home.
We will be studying the third unit of social studies on Native Americans and their adaptations to different regions within the North American continent.
Please have your child bring back the History Alive! books if they are at home, we need to use them in class.
On Wednesday, our class will help bring in the Fall Harvest from the Havens garden. This will be fun, but the students might get a little dusty.
Also, at Back To School Night I asked for helpers for the classroom library. If there are any parents who would like to help me get it organized and keep it organized, I welcome your help any Friday at lunch or from 2:30 to 3 when the students are in their PE class.
Have a nice weekend,
September 30, 2012
This was a great week! We took our Unit 2 math test, had our first "Pop Quiz" in reading and finished the first draft of our Small Moment stories. Next week, we will be working on revision and developing strong leads in writing, starting Geometry in math and focusing on character development in reading. On Monday night, the students will take their first Online History Alive! quiz. The link will be on this website, and it is on the form that went home on Back To School Night.
In Study Skills, we are working on turning assignments in on time and finishing tasks when there is some extra time. Time management does not come naturally to most students, so it is something we need to teach explicitly!
I have attached to the forms and docs a letter from Mrs. Richey, our incredible PE teacher, about PE for Fifth Grade.
September 21, 2012
I hope your children told you how wonderful the Balclutha field trip was. Come by next week to see the pictures Daphne Lee took of the crews in action. Thanks Daphne! Also, thank you Greg Toto, Noelle Tsukahara, Sandra Gross, and Sarah James for driving to the field trip and enduring the rigors of being Tall Sailors.
Next week, we are really getting down to business and will have a Math Test on Chapter 2 on Friday. We will also finish up our Second Chapter in Social Studies covering the adaptations of the Native Americans around the North American Continent. In Science, we will be talking more about the special properties of water. Did you hear about the penny experiment and the surface tension of water?
We will also begin again with our Word Study program and everyone will get the proper list on Monday. Sorry for the series of errors on Words Their Way last week.
Remember Monday morning we have library, so bring back those books and Thursday is instrumental music, all students need their instruments.
Again, thanks for your continued support.
September 7, 2012
Thank you all for taking time out last night to come to learn more about Fifth Grade. It was great meeting you and I look forward to talking with you next week at Parent Conferences.
Today we finished up the week with a schoolwide lice check - none found in the whole school!
On Monday, I will send out the list of drivers for the Balclutha Field Trip. I am grateful that we had so many volunteers for the trip, but some people will have to wait till the next trip to drive. I will also be contacting all of you who volunteered to help in the classroom.
Next week, we will continue our preparation for the Balclutha with knot tying and sea chanteys. In Math, we will have our Unit 1 test on Tuesday. We have reviewed in class and I will send home a review packet on Monday night for the students to look over. We will continue with our study of the brain and its functions. We will not have a spelling unit next week as it is only a three day week for the students.
Have a nice weekend.
August 31, 2012
This class is full of fast learners! We have adjusted to the new routines and are really getting down to work. In Reader's Workshop, we have created our Reading Journals and are learning to choose books that are just right for our purposes. In Writer's workshop, we have continued learning strategies for developing ideas for Personal Narratives. In Math, we are remembering factors and prime numbers and dusting off our math facts.
As you know from homework, we have started our Geography unit.
Next week is a big one. We will be studying the anatomy of the brain and its function and dissecting a pig's brain in class. We will also have Back To School Night from 8:00 - 8:30, Thursday night here in Room 340. I will be sharing the big events of the school year and explaining what I will be teaching in Fifth Grade. This is an adult-only event.
Also, please sign up for Parent Conferences with this link: signupgenius.com/go/4090A4Da9A823AB9-fall.
Conferences are early this year, September 13 and 14.
I look forward to meeting all of you next week.
August 24, 2012
What a great week we had! We got right down to business and started our first Math Unit, started writing personal narratives in our Writer's Workshop and began reading in our Reader's Workshop. We also had our first Instrumental Music class and PE.
Next week, we will begin our Social Studies unit on Geography, begin studying Water with Mrs. Smith in Science and continue reviewing prime numbers and the commutative property in Math. We will also visit the Library and have our first computer class with Ms. Jew.
I noticed this week that many students need to brush up on their multiplication facts. At this point, the facts should be automatic so that the harder math concepts can be the focus of our lessons. Please encourage your child to work on these facts.
If you haven't already, please bring in your child's emergency card, supplies and walking field trip permission slip by Monday.
Parent conferences are very early this year, on September 13 and 14. I will send out a link for sign ups next week.
Have a nice weekend, and congratulate your child on navigating their first week of Fifth Grade.