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Classroom Update 9/16

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