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! 




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!