Monday, April 14, 2014


Our little writers have been extremely busy working on their informational books on the American Revolution!  When they are done, most will have completed five different "chapters" in their books on their particular topic.  Each student became the resident expert on a subject and their goal is to teach the rest of us all about it.  I've been very impressed with their ability to sustain their energy throughout the tasks of reading and researching, note-taking, and then writing a chapter at a time.  This is the first major research that they've done on a historical topic.  We will be preparing to share them in some fashion, around the time of our trip to Boston on May 29th!  Stay tuned for more information about that field trip.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

5MC Update

Our maple syrup project is going great, thanks to all of you and to Mr. Whisler, of course!  This week we've been checking on our maple trees in the New Franklin yard.  The kids have been making observations about the weather and how much sap has been collected each day.  Mr. Whisler already has many bottles of syrup; we're just waiting for the labels to be ready from the printer and then we'll start selling.  It's very exciting to have the kids involved in this maple business.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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


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