## Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hello!
It's been a while since I've added to the blog.  The time in fifth grade is flying by like crazy!

In math, we just finished up Topic 5 on dividing large numbers.  The kids have done very well with the standard algorithm.  Be on the lookout for the Topic 5 tests to come home.  Please review with your child, sign them and send them back in.  I keep them for their portfolios, which you will get at the end of the year.  We have now begun combining Topics 6 and 7 on multiplying and dividing with decimals.  They are learning the skill of estimating the answer first, then ignoring the decimal and multiplying, and then putting the decimal back in.  This teaches better number sense than simply counting the number of places the decimal point is moved and then plopping the decimal point in the final answer.  They will learn that trick too, but only after they've practiced good number sense.

In writing, we are adding all our final touches onto our Personal Narratives before publishing.  The kids have added some fun elements to their stories like a Dedication page or an About the Author page.  We will soon be having some sort of a Writer's Celebration to show off our stories to our parents.  We'll keep you posted on the date of that celebration.

In other news, our maple project will be picking up steam soon here.  The students have met with Randy Whisler, a parent in Mr. Fleischer's class, a couple times now.  They have learned how to identify a maple tree and how to tell if a maple tree is large enough in diameter to tap.  The tapping of the trees is somewhat based on the weather.  Since this has been such a cold winter, we may be looking at the end of February or beginning of March to actually tap the trees with Mr. Whisler's help.  Students will be coming up with a company name and logo for our maple syrup project soon.  Please continue saving and sending in your (rinsed out) gallon jugs for us.  We will need 300 milk gallon jugs (approximately 3 per tree at 100 trees).  Thanks for your continued help in this fun and exciting project!

## Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Excerpts:

THIS IS FICTION
Before: My teacher is mean.
After: "Lina, get over here to the board and answer 10,374 X 687,543!  Everyone else, open up to page googol and start working.  Come on, chop, chop, let's go!  We don't have all day."  Mrs. McGuigan's face was purple, contorted with rage.
As I went to the board, Eli muttered, "This book only has one zillion pages."
"Then get the next volume!" Mrs. M yelled.  She threw a big, far purple book on Eli's desk.
More excerpts:

Before: I hurt myself on a rock at the beach.
After: I went to go get the frisbee, but I tripped and fell on a pointy rock that looked like a tiny cliff.  My right knee sunk into the point and at first, I didn't really feel anything but a few seconds later, it felt like a giant nail and a chisel had been hammered really hard right under my right knee.  It hurt like crazy!  I could see the blood soaking into the sand. - Bradley P.

Before: I fell off my bike.  It hurt.
After: My sister and friends, Ian and Annalise, were biking around Chataqua and there was a big hill near the auditorium.  Lindsay and Annalise were in the auditorium and Ian was gliding down the hill.  'I bet I can do that,' I thought to myself, but boy, was I wrong! - Abby
Here are more samples of the kids' writing:

Before:  My little brother is a pain.
After: "You might think that my little brother is adorable, but think twice before you say that.  He is a little monster.  However, a couple nights ago, my little brother set me up.  I was walking out of the living room and -BOOM-!  Soda went everywhere.  "OMG," I said.  "That was not me!  That was Jacoby!"  - Jayla

Before: I hurt my foot!
After: "One summer day, I was in my backyard with my friend.  We were playing on a tree that wasn't even on our side of our property.... Standing there with my arms up and my legs bent, I leaned forward and jumped!  I was swinging back and forth, back and forth, but what I didn't realize was that there was a big pyramid rock that was shaped like a 3D triangle.  Finally, I jumped down.  Suddenly, I went black!  My hand was under my foot, all I really felt was pain!  I was confused and worried.  I looked down at my hnd and my hand was covered in BRIGHT RED BLOOD!"  - Lina

Before:  It was a nice sunny day so I went out to play, but then my mom called me in.  She said we have to bring Colby in to the vet's.
After: "It was a nice, warm, sunny, gentle day surrounding me.  "Ha ha ha," I giggled.  Up and down, up and down, as I swing then my mom calls me in.
"Em, come in!"
"What?!" I yell.
"Come in," she says.
"OK," I sigh.
As I walk up the hill, I shuffle over to the bird's nest, shoving the blue jay away.  I was pushing baby cardinals out from their nest.  - Emerson

## Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Instead of, "Learning to ride a bike without training wheels was hard", Emerson said, "Crash!  Bang!  Smash!  I tumbled into the basketball hoop.  "Ugh!" I groaned.  This was the tenth time I crashed today."

Instead of, "The roller coaster was scary", Abby says, "But if I knew how horrible it would be, I would have started kicking and screaming to get out and live.  As we started up the slope, I heard the ticking.  Tick, tick, tick, tick.  It was counting down to the time I died."

Instead of, "I was scared on the ride", Rory writes, "'Ahhh!'  Everyone screamed on the ride.  Everyone except for me.  I had my eyes sealed shut and was as quiet as a mouse that can squeak.  I felt my mother's warm hand and knew I was safe."

"We slowly crept up the stairs.  No one was supposed to be home but us.  We looked around.  Nothing.  I looked over at the tv.  Off.  Everything was in its place.  Everything.  I looked at Nathan and Nathan looked at me.  Everything was in its place but one thing."  - Aidan

"The cart was amazing.  It was blue, a beautiful light blue, with flames.  It was the inside that scared me.  No harness. No safety.  Nothing.  And I was in the front."  - Emma
More of our "Showing, Not Telling":

Instead of "The attic felt spooky", Emma wrote, "I opened the attic door.  Cobwebs hung everywhere.  Big chests sat in a corner, looking like they held a secret.  Drafts of wind came in and made whooing sounds like ghosts.  Boxes piled with toys cluttered the room.  It felt like the whole room was holding its breath.  Waiting.  Secrets."

Instead of "The pond feels slimy", Eli wrote, "The pond feels like rotten egg shells, moldy jello, and dried up milk all mixed together into a pond.  It was disgusting."

Instead of " The attic feels spooky", Lina wrote, "As I was walking up the stairs I could hear creaking sounds everywhere!  I saw spiderwebs everywhere.  There wasn't one thing that didn't have a spiderweb on it.  The attic was dank and cold.  I saw bat poop on an old suitcase.  There must be bats!"

Instead of "I was bored", Jaryn created, "I was super bored.  You know how kids can never be quiet or sit still?  Well, I couldn't either!  So I just walked around.  And for kids, 5 minutes seems like a whole million days!  But I can guarantee you it was more than 5 minutes!"

Instead of, "I was upset", McCenzy says, "'Nooo!' I start whining.  My.  Toy.  Car.  It's gone!  Tears run down my face.  I was playing mini-golf at the time.  I was 2 and my brother was 5.  I banged my golf club around like a maniac!"

Instead of, "The ride was fun", Maddy writes, "We started going up slow.  When we were at the top I looked over once and I was scared.  We went down the hill really fast.  I clutched onto the buckle then onto my dad and screamed.  We tipped so much I thought we were going to fall out!"

## Monday, October 21, 2013

Last week in writing class, we worked on showing, not telling.  That means using rich details to make a point.  For example, instead of saying, "My room was messy," Kyle said, "When you open the door to my smelly, dirty room, the first thing you might hear are crusty, dirty socks crunching under your foot."

Here are more examples of Showing, Not Telling:

Instead of saying, "The pond feels slimy.", Marcello said, "I slipped my foot into the oozing brown goo that smushed in my toes and crawled up my legs.  I took another step and sunk a few feet in."

Instead of, "The store owner was mean," Bradley P. said, "The store owner was screaming at his employees, "Get back to work!!!" and he was saying to everyone, "Either buy something or get out of my store!"

Instead of, "My teacher was so mean," Brianna wrote, "My teacher was the worst! If I could pick between her and Medusa, I would pick Medusa because at least she could put me out of my misery instead of my teacher that talks and talks and talks, which is annoying."

Instead of, "The attic felt spooky," Sophia created, "As I pulled down the hatch to get up in the attic, spiders fell down.  I walked up the ladder and the ladder creaked.  I got up and bats flew around the attic.  Cobwebs were everywhere.  I walked through a huge spider web.  It was pitch black.  I tried to turn the lights on and all they did was flicker!"

Instead of, "The attic felt spooky," Jayla says, "When I pressed the button to make the stairs go down, it didn't work.  But when I pressed it again, it did.  I heard a strange noise coming up the stairs.  It sounded like something getting fried.  Shhh... it was getting closer and closer, so I climbed really fast into the attic.  A big spiderweb went on my face.  I didn't want to scream because I didn't know what the creature was behind me."