We’ve spent the last few weeks working on our biography reports. Children have researched, bullet pointed, and organized information. Some children have created timelines, some have used outlines, while others prefer to use bubble maps as organizers. While several children have completed their three body paragraphs, others are still working on gathering information. Most children prefer to gather information, organize, and write each paragraph separately. Historical figures like Harriet Tubman, Hurricane Carter, and Abraham Lincoln have become a regular part of our weekly discussions with common vocabulary ranging from abolitionists to suffrage and civil rights.

Thank you to anybody and everybody who helped with Grand Friends day! It was a huge success. Several children presented their essays with such pride and confidence. Ilana shared her love bubble by creating art with all, and some children even got to share food from home.


This is the paragraph I wrote last week:

We have a field trip coming up! On Tuesday November 28th our fifth graders will be going to Seymour Marine Discovery Center. As I sit here writing and contemplating our means of transportation, it pours outside. Given the time of the year I think it best if we drive the children rather than ride bikes. With that, please let me know if you are available to drive and/or chaperone this trip. We will leave campus at 10:30 and return around lunchtime.

Thank you to those who stepped up to drive last minute. Again, my apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

We’ve started a new novel called Becoming Naomi Leon. This realistic fiction includes themes of family love, heritage, Mexican traditions and culture. Mature themes such as divorce, alcoholism, and mental illness are tied in with self, discovery, determination, and hope. If your child comes home asking questions about any of these themes, and you want further information, please let me know.

As a way to explore our identity, we’ve created Identity flowers individually as well as a class identity wheel in which we are able to express our heritage, personality traits and hobbies in a visually creative way. Check them out.


Children have also spent a few hours working on iMovies, which teach the steps of the Meta Moment. We hope to have those ready to share by the end of the week.

Most of the math in this Unit is focused on computation strategies. In fourth grade Kurt and I taught the traditional algorithms for all computations. For those of you who are around my age, these algorithms are the same we used in elementary school. For fun, I shared the Japanese method for multiplication with the children. We were all so fascinated with the way it worked. It is quite visual and a few children noted that rectangular arrays were being created in solving the problems. I’ve inserted a tutorial here.