And then it occurred to me: I haven't updated this website in.... a year??!! A YEAR?! Is that even possible??!
To be fair, it's just a little SHY of a year, but it's still a very, very long time to go without an update.
Frankly, it's been a busy year! Moving to 5th grade meant a brand new curriculum, and I've spent every spare moment crafting new and exciting lessons for your students. It's been fun, to say the very least. But maybe it's time to give you a run down of all the exciting things that we've done this year - and all the exciting things we still have left! So here's a quick recap of the year. Pretend that it's underscored by some excellent montage music like in every movie when the hero is reflecting back on the high moments of his past:
We read Wonder by R.J. Palacio and really latched onto the theme that beauty is only skin deep. Through that theme, we developed a really awesome philanthropic project that involved researching endangered animals that usually don't get much press because they aren't as cute as pandas and baby seals. We researched the axolotl, the aye aye, and the Cuban Greater Funnel Eared Bat, just to name a few. Then we created campaign posters that advertised these animals and their cool features. We hosted a short loose change collection at the school and donated nearly $20 to the animal conservation program EDGE of Existence. This foundation is dedicated to helping the "cosmetically challenged" endangered animals of the world.
We worked our way through a fairy tale unit that firmed up our skills on parts of a story and plot maps. We worked on summaries and practiced the differences between dialogue and narration. We culminated our study by writing our own versions of fairy tales that changed the narrative point of view or the setting of a traditional fairy tale.
We used our knowledge of fairy tales to scrutinize the shelving systems of the school library! After hunting through call numbers, we wrote letters explaining to the librarians why they should reshelve certain texts - some fairy tales were shelved with the nonfiction books, and others weren't labeled as fairy tales at all! It was neat to see our hard work with the fairy tale genre making a difference in our very own library. We worked on how books, plays, and movies compare and contrast, and we tried our hand at performing reader's theatre scripts. We read the realistic fiction novel, Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and conducted our own research projects with adults who remember the events of 9-11. Community members joined us and the students interviewed them in small groups; the kids had a blast, and the adults were all very impressed with the students! Then we spent the rest of 3rd quarter working on nonfiction research skills. We researched several events and people in American history, and practiced our main idea and supporting detail skills. Now we are working on writing and revising nonfiction essays so they can be printed in the back of the children's books that we will write about the same topic.
Work will begin soon on the children's nonfiction book project! Kids will get to choose a type of book they want to write and will get to work on writing and illustrating their own book. Using an awesome website (Scriblitt.com) we will be able to publish these books and put copies of them in the school library (or on our home shelves, too!). While we work on writing, we'll also read the last novel of the year, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan Stokes. It's such a fun read that I KNOW the kids are going to love it. And we'll get to do some community changing service with that, too - stay tuned!
Montage over....music fading...back to present day....
Phew! No wonder your kids have been so exhausted, right? We've been BUSY!!! I can't believe that this year has flown by so quickly. With only 8 weeks left until summer, it's hard to remember where we started in August!
I'm especially excited to get a second tour with these kids when they get to 7th grade - starting this fall, I'll be moving to 7th grade to teach ELA!
Hopefully, I can be better at updating this blog on a regular basis - I know that it's a useful tool to have when it comes to keeping track of assignments, tests, and your student's busy school life. My apologies for slacking off - but it was for a good cause: creating a great 5th grade experience for your students!