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Classroom Update 10/16

posted Oct 16, 2013, 11:12 AM by Craig Yen

Wow!  It's been a while since I've come through and updated on our class website... my apologies. I will attempt to do a better job of doing so.  Thanks to all the parents in advance for supporting the Valle Verde Halloween Carnival in one way or another. Raffle ticket envelopes went home last week. If you need more raffle tickets, you can go ahead and bring your envelope to the box located in the office each Monday. Instructions are in the envelope and there are many prizes available. Thanks also to those parents for making the haunted house possible. Please be on the look out for additional information including scripts and times. We will spend a little time within class practicing for parts.

It's hard to believe that we are halfway through that first trimester already!

Picture make up day will be on October 22. (Tuesday)  Sizing form for the 5th grade t-shirts will be coming home soon. Please return right away as we'll need to place our orders for our t-shirts to make sure that they arrive in time for our Panaromic Picture day which is scheduled for November 7.

For those that are attending camp, please be sure to get ALL paperwork in promptly. All students must complete the Medical Authorization form. Information went home attached to last week's update. Thanks to all the parents who attended the parent meeting for camp.

Language Arts
We continue to read from both our Houghton Mifflin anthology as well as reading from our Common Core ready book. We first worked with main idea skill and have moved on towards learning and reviewing how main ideas ties back towards summaries in working with nonfiction material. Please be sure that students are continuing to read at least 20 minutes each night from their Accelerated Reader books. Do note that a student record for books read this trimester was attached to last week's update. You are also able to view this information online through Renaissance Home Connect available from the resource section of our website.

We've been reading aloud from Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. In doing so, we've connected with other classes that are reading the book at the same time!  Through the platform Edmodo, we have been discussing the book. We've also done some response work within our writing journals. We even had the opportunity to connect with a class in Edmonton, Canada just today to discuss more about the book. To find out more about the Global Read Aloud Project, you may click here.

Do note that science study outlines and vocabulary sheets have been distributed to students as has been mentioned on the weekly updates and has been told to the students. Our test date will be on Thursday, November 7. In our current chapter, we are learning more about the human body.

Social Studies
We are learning more about the colonies within the United States in the 1500 and 1600s. We first learned about the Spanish Colonies and are now learning more about the English colonies wthat were established including Jamestown. Social studies packets will be distributed to students soon. Do remember that these packets are worth 10% of student's grade.

We have been learning more about adding mixed numbers and fractions with both like and unlike denominators. In continuing to work with fractions, another skill set that will be very important as we continue forward in our work with fractions is that of turning mixed numbers to improper fractions and vice versa.

Classroom Update 9/16

posted Sep 16, 2013, 3:25 PM by Craig Yen   [ updated Sep 16, 2013, 3:31 PM ]

If you would like to be in the School's directory and have not yet updated your information, please do so promptly. Click here. The deadline is by Friday, 9/20.
We're in the final phases of the Give with Target $5 million dollar donation towards school program. All it takes is a click for those with Facebook accounts. You can only vote once a week, so please be sure to let friends or family know that you voted and to vote for our school.  For every 25 votes, Valle Verde will receive a $25 Target Gift Card. Please vote at

This past week we celebrated International Dot Day! Over 1.2 million people around the world have celebrated this event. We used the ColAR App (available on ios / android devices) to make our dots come to life. The purpose behind Dot Day is to inspire creativity with the underlying theme of what are you going to do to make a difference. This will be an ongoing discussion as the year continues. Today on Monday, students worked on some more art inspired by Dot Day using markers in a Pointilism style. We were inspired by the Pointilism artist, George Seurat.
Student Council officer elections are underway with fifth graders being able to run for President or Treasurer. Campaign posters are hung up in the multi use room. Speeches will be checked off on Tuesday and Wednesday this week by Mr. Yen and will be given to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at 9 AM on Thursday. Elections will immediately follow.  Classroom representative elections will be the following week.
Thanks to all the parents who have been returning their signed weekly updates. It is just another way that we make sure that communication is ongoing between parent and teacher.  Thanks again for helping in getting all the beginning of school forms in promptly.
Math chapter 1 tests where students worked with primes, prime factorization, factor trees, and greatest common factor were returned this past week. Flipped math instruction continues as we have begun working with fractions. We'll be working with both fractions and mixed numbers. Placing these onto number lines has tended to be an area where some students have struggled in the past. We will work on a number of different activities to continue to build that solid foundation as fractions are a major area of study in fifth grade. This past week we took the Curriculum Associates practice 1 from which we have gathered even more information which can help us to continue to guide our instruction including placing some preview and review problems onto our Board Math board.
We have begun utilizing the grammar component of the Being a Writer program. In learning more about nouns and adjectives, students have also been practicing their writing. Students have also finished a personal narrative where we wrote about our First Days of School. Within Social Studies we have been taking notes where we have been working on an organizer to create a regions brochure where students will be working on informational style writing.

Language Arts
We did take the AR test for Earthquake Terror this past week and even utilized the Edmodo platform to have students respond to and share from this book. We continue to work on understanding the main idea as well as supporting details while working with nonfiction passages. Emphasized has been vocabulary skills with the use of various materials including the Ready books from Curriculum Associates.
Ask your child about the couple of hands on experiments that we have done thus far where we worked with a penny in learning about the scientific. See if they remember what the difference between an animal cell and a plant cell was... or what sort of objects that we used for each of the organelles. Students have also drawn both an animal cell and a plant cell along with having built a foldable where we continued to take notes. Study guides where students are to complete the vocabulary and outline pages for 10% of their grades have been distributed to students.

Social Studies
Our class has been learning more about the early explorers of the United States including Christopher Columbus (chapter 3). In addition, we have been learning and/or reviewing our states and capitals. We even have a 50 states / capitals song where through music, we can help to learn. We are learning about a region a week with tests occurring on Fridays for each region. We learned about the West and its eleven states this past week and have moved on to the Southwest.

Classroom Update 9/3/13

posted Sep 3, 2013, 9:01 PM by Craig Yen   [ updated Sep 17, 2013, 3:45 PM ]

This section of the class website will typically be updated at least biweekly. We will utilize mostly some of the other forms of communication to keep you up to date of what's going on in the class.

We are just beginning to get into the routine of things! Be sure to check out a few of our art activities where you might have seen them at Back to School Night including reflections of summer as well as our footprints where w are taking a step in the right direction. One of our theme songs for which I love the message is Sara Bareilles' song "Brave" which I did share with the class during those first week of school. An activity that ties closely to this is where students are recording their goals for the school year. This is a work in progress at this point, where they will finish recording their results onto "helmets".

Flipped math instruction has begun! Your child should be watching videos, working on additional activities, and more! Follow up math activities within class include a little teacher instruction, group work, as well as some homework and practice pages. We will also be completing math journals as briefly discussed at back to school night.

We've been going over the scientific method within science class. We will do a plants and animals cell activity as we begin 5th grade with life sciences.

Language Arts
We started reading the first story within the anthology, Earthquake Terror. We have also started with our reading warm ups where students are reinforcing language arts skills such as vocabulary, comprehension, and more. Students will be doing some more writing soon for their memory books about the first days of school.

Volunteer opportunities will be starting this next week... as per email that was sent out to the class, we have the following available.

Library (Mondays 9:10 - 9:40 AM)

Wednesday Stations (Wednesdays 8:20 - 9:40 AM0 

Friday Stations (Fridays 1:10 PM - 2:35 PM) 

Additional volunteer positions which are not listed in volunteerspot to be filled are Room Parent as well as helpers for their Friday mailboxes.  Please email me should you wish to help with those two positions.

Thanks again for getting this school year off to a strong start!  More updates to come.

Summer 2013

posted Jun 25, 2013, 9:57 AM by Craig Yen   [ updated Jun 25, 2013, 9:57 AM ]

This section of the website contains announcements. Happy Summer!

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