Friday, April 20, 2018

Mid April Update

Can you believe we only have 29 days of fifth grade left! Please take note of these important upcoming dates: 

April-June 2018
4/17-5/3:  State Testing
5/10:   Middle School Field Trips, 10:10-11:50
5/17-5/23:  American History Presentations
5/18:   5th Grade Karaoke Party, evening 
5/24:   Nixon Field Day, 8:00-12:00
5/25:   5th Grade Pool Party, All Day
5/28:   Memorial Day- No School
5/31:   A1 Class Celebration! (Time TBD)
6/1:    PROMOTION!, 8:30-10:00

Middle School Field Trips 
Thank you to the parents who volunteered to drive for our middle school trips. We have cars going to all three Palo Alto middle schools. If you would like to join us to also tour the middle schools, please do! The more the merrier for this field trip. If your child is not attending a PAUSD middle school, I've arranged for them to stay at school to work on their class projects for the couple hours that we're away. However, if they prefer, they are also welcome to join us on our tours. 

American History Final Project
Please ask your fifth grader about this project. They will be working on it starting next week and through the better part of May in class. Work will only be required at home if they need extra time to finish. Also, families are welcome to attend the presentations. If you are interested in attending your child's presentation please sign-up using the link below. There are a lot of different day/time options for signing up your child.

That's all for now! As our last few weeks continue to progress, I'll be in touch with more updates. Enjoy the weekend ahead! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Early Spring Update

Hello Room A1 Families- Happy first day of spring! 

Open House and our fifth grade music concert is this coming Tuesday, March 27th. I'm looking forward to seeing you at school that evening! 

Puberty Education Week starts this Monday. Please see this parent letter for more information. If you have any questions about the content of the lessons, please do not hesitate to let me  know.  The lessons are delivered by a trained and highly skilled health educator, and are appropriate for our fifth graders' development and understanding at this point in their growth.

The US Constitution Project is a fun and engaging way for our fifth graders to really scratch the surface of learning about The Constitution. Every fifth grader will create a Google Slides presentation (the vast majority of which will be completed in class), and then will present it to the class. You are welcome to join us for the presentations, but certainly do not have to. If you are interested in joining us for your child's presentation, please take a look at this document to sign-up for a time slot. 

We just started fantasy book clubs in class. All of our fifth graders are really excited about this new journey into fantastical worlds! The amount of required reading for the clubs has increased. Please take a look at this book club schedule so you are aware of the amount of reading that is now being required. Also, your fifth grader should probably read their book club book each night at home between now and April 19th to keep on top of their page requirement. 

We are starting three weeks of CAASPP testing on Tuesday, April 17th. In fifth grade, we will have roughly nine hours of testing. It is really important that your child is in school for the tests. If a test needs to be made-up, it will take valuable end of year fifth grade time that no one wants to miss. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, February 26, 2018

End of February/Beginning of March Update

We are entering our final third of fifth grade- it's hard to believe how fast this school year is flying by!  As the school year counts down, activities and academics tend to ramp up. Here is some information to keep in  mind as we move forward...

Upcoming Academics
We have quite a bit to look forward to coming up! This week, we are delving into argument writing and argument analysis in reading, which is one of my favorite parts of fifth grade! If you would like to check out a few of the articles we'll be analyzing, feel free to take a look here: Argument & Advocacy Links. After we read, discuss, and write from those links for a couple weeks, every fifth grader will choose their own topic to craft a persuasive argument essay. 

In math, we're finishing up UNIT 4: multiplication and division this week, and will be moving into UNIT 5: multiplication and division of fractions next week. Take a look at the Unit Five Family Letter to see what's coming in the next few weeks. 

In science, our kiddos will start exploring Mixtures and Solutions with Ms. Schwarz. This is always such a fun unit for the kids to explore and get their hands dirty!

During social studies time, we're continuing our year long study of American history. Topics will include how our government works, The Constitution, and basic US geography.

Wish List
In all my years of teaching in Palo Alto, I have never needed to put together a wish list. Alas, we do not have as much money allocated for classroom items as we have in the past. So, I have created a wish list of items that we need in the classroom. No pressure at all to purchase anything on the list, but if you are interested in helping out, any of the items on the list would be greatly appreciated! Here is the link to the list: Ms. Nosek's Wish List

Field Trips
March 6th: Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose
Thank you to Mae, Ruchi, and Patricia for volunteering as chaperones for the day. We have two more spots for chaperones if anyone else is interested. Permission slips will be sent home in the next couple days.

April 16th: STEM at Levi's Stadium
For this trip, we will need parent drivers. So far, I have Patricia confirmed to drive and chaperone. If anyone else is able to join us, please let me know.

May 10th: Middle School Field Trips
The majority of our class will be heading to Terman Middle School for an informational field trip. If your child will attend JLS or Jordan middle schools, we will try to get together parent drivers to take them to those schools. If you are able to drive on this trip, please let me know. 

Later in May (I need to find out the date!): 5th Grade Swim Field Trip
This is organized by parents. However, we will need as many parents as possible to accompany us walking to/from the pool.

Puberty Education
All Nixon fifth graders will receive five hours of puberty education March 26th-30th. A trained health educator will be delivering the lessons in our class. I will sit in on all lessons with the kids. They will learn quite a bit in these five hours. It's not a bad idea to start opening the dialogue at home now if you have not done so already. If you have questions about the topics that will be covered, I'm happy to answer.

Our state mandated CAASPP testing will take place April 16th-May 4th. Fifth graders will have nine testing sessions that will be about an hour long each. I'm giving you the dates now to let you know that we have a lot of fun things planned in May for the end of fifth grade, and I would hate for any of the kids to miss those activities to make up the tests. So, punctual attendance during those three weeks is highly recommended! Missing an end of year activity to make up a standardized test is never fun. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Walk Through American Revolution Information

Walk Through American Revolution Information

Date: Friday, 2/2
Time: 8:15-11:30
Parents are welcome to attend for some or all of the experience.

Items Needed:
The fifth grade teachers have the costumes and props necessary for the experience, however it would help for uniformity if you child is able to arrive to school already dressed in the following:

Male Characters
  • White shirt 
  • Pants or jeans
  • Long socks (baseball or soccer socks are great, they need to be able to pull their socks up and over their pants)
  • Dark Shoes (black or brown) 

Female Characters 
  • Long skirts 
  • Blouse
  • Dark Shoes (black or brown)
If your child doesn't have one or some of these items, it's not a problem. Please don't feel the need to buy anything- that is not the point of this experience. Some students might also ask to bring in items from home to use as props. There are a few teams that need blankets, and/or the team has big ideas. Your fifth grader will let you know if they need to borrow items from home. 

As always, don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions. I hope you'll be able to join us for some or all of the experience! 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 2018 Update

Happy New Year! I hope all of you had an absolutely wonderful winter break! I'd like to start this update with a note of thanks. Teaching your children is truly a gift to me. In today's world, I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to spend my days in a way that I love, and in a way that I know is making the world a little bit better for our kids. Being appreciated for it truly is the icing on the cake (pardon the cliche). So, thank you so very much for the extremely generous holiday gift. I am truly touched.

The second half of the fifth grade year is always full of special classes, special events, and dates galore to add to the calendar. As best as I can, I will send you all of those as soon as I get them. I'll also send reminders through your fifth grader in their binder calendars. The first date to take note of is the puberty education parent ed night at El Carmelo on January 18th (I also sent an email about this right before winter break). Click here for the flyer for that which will give you all the details you need to know.

On to academics... we have many new things in store in January and then ahead in the coming months. First, in math, we're going to finish up our unit on place value with decimals in the next couple weeks and then move into multiplying and diving whole numbers and decimals. If your fifth grader still needs practice with memorizing basic multiplication facts to automaticity, now is a good time to get those flash cards going or working on facts in car rides for 5-10 minutes everyday. This fourth unit in math (which we'll start in mid January) is heavy on multiplication and division, so memorization of the basic facts is of high importance. In addition to these two math units, we'll also continue with the MOEMS Math Olympiad, MARS tasks, math learning games, number talks, and other math learning activities.

Coming up in social studies, I am looking forward to diving into learning about the 13 original colonies and The American Revolution with the kids. This can be a difficult time period for kids to understand. Through reading, discussion, writing, reenactment, exploring and analyzing primary sources, and some short video viewing, we'll explore the ideas of colonization, basic economics, freedom of religion, power struggles, injustice, war, and slavery. Keep in mind we will only be scratching the surface of this time in American history (roughly the mid 1600s - late 1700s), but even so, it is not always easy for kids to grasp. The kids will not view any difficult graphic images, but some descriptions of violence and injustices associated with the American Revolution and this time in American history will be in some readings. I highly encourage you to chat about these topics at home with your fifth grader. We'll start this study right away on Tuesday the 9th.

Additionally in social studies, we will learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. over the next few weeks and his immeasurable contributions to our society and life as we know it. One thing I absolutely love to do every year is to analyze parts of his I Have a Dream Speech with the class. This is always such a valuable activity that truly brings about such a rich discussion. If you would like to view his speech or read the transcript, please click on the following links: speech & transcript.

In reading, we will continue our 25 minutes of free choice reading every single morning. This has been a wonderful way to start our everyday in room A1. In addition, for reading workshop, the kids will embark on a new adventure in reading with historical fiction book clubs.  All fifth graders will read 1-3 novels (depending on length of time needed to read and length of books chosen) that take place during the time of the colonies and American Revolution.

For writing workshop, we're going to start working on two different areas of study: literary essay and independent writing projects. Much of the writing our kids will be tasked with on standardized tests and in middle school will revolve around response to literature. The literary essay unit of study will not only prepare them for the challenges of those tasks ahead, but will also teach them specific strategies when it comes to the important writing skills involved with reading critically, making a claim and developing a thesis statement, and then supporting those claims with properly cited evidence and thorough explanation.

We'll also be embarking on a new science unit!  Starting on Thursday the 11th, our room A1 fifth graders will spend two sessions a week with Mrs. Deremigio to explore more about our Earth and solar energy. In addition, every couple weeks or so we will continue to work with the maker cart and other engineering projects in our own classroom.

As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to send me an email!

I'm looking forward to a 2018 ahead of trying new things and appreciating all that we are 
so lucky to have in our homes, our school, our community, and our world! -Ms. Nosek
I'm not big on resolutions, but I do like to reflect and add something positive to my life with each new year. 
This year, my goal is to spend at least 30 minutes in nature everyday! I took this photo at 
sunrise at the baylands on the 3rd day of 2018.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Things to Know Before Thanksgiving

Just a few thoughts and things to know before heading off for Thanksgiving break... 

  • Ask your fifth grader about their Thanksgiving reading plan. All room A1 fifth graders have a novel read planned for the week. Thank you for supporting your fifth grader's lifelong reading habit by encouraging reading at home! 
  • Our room A1 fifth graders' science study of living systems began on Thursday the 2nd with Ms. Ellenberger. If you are interested in helping out with this unit, we are in need of three to four adult heart dissection volunteers on Thursday, December 14th, 8:30-10:15. Please just send me an email if you can volunteer with us, and I will pass your name along to Ms. Ellenberger. 
  • Ask your fifth grader about our writing/social studies/documentary film making project. We are so excited about this adventure in learning! Our seven documentary topics are US Geography, Native Americans Before Exploration/Conquest, English Explorers, Spanish Explorers, Roanoke, Jamestown, and The Real Story of Thanksgiving. Once all the documentaries are finished, they will be uploaded to a secure site for you and your fifth graders to view
  • In class PE with me, all kids are participating in a fun ongoing game called The Ultimate Catch Challenge (UCC). Ask your fifth grader all about it!
  • In the final week of November, we are finishing up our study for fractions in math for the time being and moving on to exploring place value and decimals. If you are interested in learning more about what we have coming up in math, please take a look at the Unit 3 Bridges Family Letter. Also, please ask your fifth grader how math is going in class. I've been working to really meet the needs of all of our different learners, so I welcome any feedback or questions you may have. 
  • First semester progress reports are available at the end of this week on Infinite Campus. Please let me know if you have any questions after reading your fifth grader's progress report.
  • We have our annual Nixon Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank currently going on. All nonperishable food donations (think cans) are encouraged.
  • Finally, mark your calendars for Friday morning December 21st, 8:00AM. We would love to have you join us for our winter writing celebration where each Room A1 student will share a selection from their nonfiction picture book (a project we will start working on after Thanksgiving break). 

Enjoy the week off! I am headed to St. Louis to present on reading conferences with students and to learn from the experts in literacy education at The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference for the first half, then am off to Tahoe to spend time with family at the end of our break. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Starting Anew in November!

We are beginning many new things while still continuing on in others during the month of November! 

  • Our room A1 fifth graders' science study of living systems begins on Thursday the 2nd with Ms. Ellenberger. If you are interested in helping out with this unit, we are in need of three to four adult heart dissection volunteers on Thursday, December 14th, 8:30-10:15. Please just send me an email if you can volunteer with us! 
  • Today, we began a new novel read aloud: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. This is a beautiful science fiction tale of friendship and technology's interaction with the natural world. By the way, our last read aloud, Wonder, is coming out in theaters in November!
  • Ask your fifth grader about our new writing/social studies/film making project. We are so excited about this new adventure in learning!
  • We are continuing our work with fractions, informational reading, and building a lifelong reading habit throughout the month of November.

Just a reminder about Halloween at school... 

Tuesday the 31st is Halloween! While it is a ton of fun for kids, a lot of responsibility also needs to be involved. Please be sure that your child is responsible for managing their costume on their own at school. 
  • Students may choose to wear their costumes to school as long as it does not get in the way of learning from 8:00 to 12:00.  
  • If a mask is involved in the costume, your child may bring it to school, but may not wear the mask until after lunch.   
  • Please remember that no weapons or anything that may be interpreted as a weapon are allowed at school. I ask the kids to use the Nixon lifeskill of common sense when considering this. 
  • Also, in all my years as a teacher, I will say that wearing face paint to school has never ended well! Please save the face paint for Halloween fun outside of school.  
The Halloween parade and party will take place after lunch, 12:45.  All parents are welcome to join us for both the parade and party (but, this is optional, so no pressure!). A huge thank you to Jeanne, Patricia, and Irene for organizing our class Halloween party. Also, please know that all allergies in room A1 were taken into consideration when planning. So, all the food will be accessible for all fifth graders in class. Wednesday, November 1st is a regular school day. And, all of us at Nixon School ask that kids enjoy all Trick or Treating candy at home. Thank you for your help with this.

We're working on wisely searching on the internet.
Ask us all about it! 

We had a blast with the maker cart on Friday afternoon!