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! 




Friday, October 20, 2017

Mid-October Update

What a wonderful and busy time fall has been so far! I had a great two full days of parent conferences. It was so nice to sit and talk with all of you. If we haven't had our conference yet, I look forward to it soon.

There are a few upcoming things to keep in mind as we move forward in the month of October.

Things to keep in mind when
reading from different sources

Reading Reminder! 
As you know, reading is not officially homework in room A1. Assigning reading as homework actually discourages kids from reading, and it makes reading about compliance rather than about developing the start of a lifelong habit. So, while I do not "assign" reading, I do ask the kids to think about and work on their personal reading goal every night at home. For some kiddos, this involves simply sitting down and reading a book or magazine of their choice for 30 minutes. For others, it involves working toward finishing a loved series, and for others it may include reading multiple sources around a particular interest. Whatever the goal, please encourage your fifth grader to continue to read at home.


PiE... We're desperately short of the funding we need! 
I've spent 15 years as a teacher in Palo Alto, and have been so fortunate to provide my students with every extra I have ever asked for. This is the first year where I am not even asking for these extras due to funding. Nixon has especially been hit pretty hard. If you have not donated to PiE, it is not too late! In fact, if you donate before 10/23 (this coming Monday), your donation will be matched by The Challenge Grant. You can donate using this link. Also, if you know of creative ways to raise funds for our school, I know we're all ears! 


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 had such a great time at 
San Francisco's Exploratorium 
earlier this month! 





Monday, October 2, 2017

Exploratorium Trip Preparation


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Information about our 5th Grade Exploratorium Field Trip on Thursday, 10/5/17

We are so excited about our first big group fifth grade experience of the year! It is bound to be a fun day of learning, curiosity, and exploration for all. All fifth grade classes will be departing by bus from Nixon shortly after school starts. We will return by bus shortly before school ends.

Things to bring/wear:
  • A disposable/compostable lunch (ideally with nothing left to bring home).
  • A very light jacket (forecast: low of 53 and high 72). It may be breezy.
  • Comfortable closed toed walking shoes.

Things we recommend to leave at home:
  • Camera or device of any kind- if one is brought on the trip, the student who chose to bring it is 100% responsible for it. Teachers and chaperones will not hold any items for students.
  • Money. There will be no opportunity for students to visit the gift shop or to buy anything. So, please do not send money with your child.

Other things to know:
  • There will not be an opportunity to buy food, so please be sure to send your fifth grader with all the food they will need for the day.
  • If a student chooses to bring something to the museum and loses it, we will not have time to search around for it. So, please leave all unnecessary items at home.


The Fifth Grade Team

-Mrs. Deremigio, Ms. Ellenberger, Ms. Nosek, Ms. Schwarz

Friday, September 22, 2017

Late September Update

We've been having a great couple weeks here in room A1! We're nearly finished with all of our beginning of year assessments, and are making a lot of progress moving ahead in all of our academic areas. Here are a few things to keep in mind for the coming couple weeks:


  • Our first book orders of the school year were sent home last week. To place an order, you may go to scholastic.com and enter the code DY7RP. Alternatively, you may send in a check and the orders with your 5th grader.
  • Our parent/teacher conference slots are filling up. If you have not scheduled your conference yet, or need to reschedule, please do so using this doc.
  • If your fifth grader has not turned in their signed permission slip for our Exploratorium field trip on October 5th, please remind them to do so no later than next week. Thank you to Kristen, Mae, Maggie, and Patricia for volunteering to chaperone. We're so glad you'll be joining us on this great trip!
  • Our first big social studies quiz is coming up on Thursday the 28th. Ask your fifth grader about how they are making the choice to study.
  • If you have questions about anything coming up, or anything else, please feel free to get in touch through email or pop in after school (any day except Fridays).

Check out our new work stations! We now have 12 of these workstations that
allow students to stand or move while working. Thank you so much to our
Donors Choose donors who helped fund these great learning tools!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Orders!

Our first book orders of the school year were just sent home. To place an order, you may go to scholastic.com and enter the code DY7RP. Alternatively, you may send in a check and the orders with your 5th grader.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Early September Update

We are now fully into the swing of fifth grade! Please take a look below at a few important things to keep in mind. 


  • All important dates are listed to the left of this message on the sidebar. If you are ever unsure of an important school date, please look there or ask your 5th grader. All fifth graders are keeping track of important dates in their binder calendars.
  • Please also ask your fifth graders about how they are keeping on top of their assignments that are due, and if they need to ask me for support. Time management is a critical skill we're trying to help our kids build in 5th grade. Students keep track of all assignments in their calendars. The kids are not assigned a lot of homework, but it can certainly feel like a huge overwhelming task if longer term assignments are left until the last minute- or are not chipped away at a little at a time. Also, if your child ever needs support with homework or you feel they are just spending too much time on it each day, please remind them to come and talk with me about it. I'm here to help! There is absolutely no reason for anyone to feel stress around homework in fifth grade. 
  • If you have not turned in your optional field trip donation yet and would like to, please do so next week. We are currently confirming all of your field trips for the school year and may have to cancel if we do not receive enough funding.
  • This coming Monday is September 11th. Every year in fifth grade, I have discussed the anniversary with our students in a manner that is appropriate for kids this age. A huge part of being a fifth grader is trying to start to make sense of our nation and world as a whole- which, as you know, can be confusing and even troubling at times. If you have never chatted with your fifth grader about this day in our history, sometime soon would be a good idea. Even if you choose not to discuss it with your kids, I guarantee they are hearing about it on the playground from others. If you are interested, I have some great books on the topic that would be great as a family read aloud. Just ask! 
  • Finally, we engaged in our first engineering challenge this week! We built the tallest free standing structures we could given limited materials. Take two on this challenge will be on Monday! Check out a couple pictures from that experience... 







Have a great weekend!