Monday, November 11, 2013

Functional Text Workstations - Using QR Codes and Found Items

Recently, we finished studying and learning how to read and understand functional text.  This includes any kind of text you read to get real-world information such as brochures, menus, coupons, road signs, permission slips, and so much more.

To practice working on this in class, students participated in workstations.  They went around the classroom scanning QR Codes with our school iPads.  Each code brought up a question they had to read and find the answer to using the matching functional text.  The 7 items around the room included concert tickets, a playbill, classified ads, store sales ad, and a few others.  Other students worked in our library by reading pieces of functional text everyone brought in for homework.  They had to come up with a couple different questions on their own using the information they found.  We then had other classmates read to find the information and answer the questions.

A few other students had a chance to work on to create a billboard that included a picture and information just as they would find and see on the freeways or along roads around the city. Here is a peek at how that looked in our classroom.

Using coupons to create questions to better understand functional text 
Using BigHugeLabs is a great way to practice functional text
Billboard creating

Banned Beginnings and Beautiful Beginnings

Students in our classroom are working on writing better and more exciting beginnings in our writing.  Up to now, most students have used the same sentences and phrases over and over again.  But now that they are in 5th grade, it is important they leave these basic beginnings behind and move on to more detailed starters.  This past month, students have been working on their Haunted House stories.  The first thing they had to do was try out a beautiful beginning and try hard not to use the banned beginnings.

Look at our classroom anchor chart we created together to see which beginnings are not allowed to be used any more and which beginnings are highly encouraged.  You can help out at home by checking your child's draftbooks to make sure they are not using the banned beginnings.  Encourage your children to use them in their writing at home.

This is a chart I shared with the class to show them what each of the Beautiful Beginnings would like using the plan I modeled for them for my first paragraph.

Adding and Subtracting Decimals using Real-Life Skills

We recently finished working with and learning how to add and subtract decimals.  This is a life-long skill that students will be doing long into adulthood.  When they are at the grocery store, they must total up their groceries to make sure they are not spending too much.  If they are eating out, they need to be able to add up the items they are ordering in order to know how much they are spending.  No matter what the task is, adding and subtracting decimals is something everyone uses day-to-day.  In order to practice this skill, we pretended we were grocery shopping to put together a 3-ingredient dish for a special Decimal Dinner.

You can help out at home, but checking to see if your child is lining up their decimals and their place value digits.  Also, when you are at a restaurant or grocery store, ask your child to check on the total. Ask them to subtract the total from the amount you can spend.  Practice, practice, practice!

Check out this game at home and do some practice on your own.

Click here to access the free game.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Attendance Award

We were able to spell out "Harris Hawks" by the end of first quarter for having perfect attendance.  To earn our letters, all students had to be at school and on time.  Congratulations!  We did it!  Let's see if we can earn it even quicker before 2nd quarter ends this time around.

Notice our signed trophy we were able to covet for a couple days?  Everyone was able to pick up a special reward too.  Keep up the great work with being in class every day 5th graders!

...and a silly one too.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Well done! Quarter 1 is Behind Us!

Quarter 1 is behind us and so are the Galileo benchmark tests.  The results are in and our class did so well!  It's time to celebrate with a nacho party when we get back from break.  Mmmmm mmmmmm goooooood!

Here's a sneak peek at the classwide results for Math and Reading.  When we get back from break, students will be receiving their data/scores to bring home and share with their families.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Field Trip of the Year...Robin Hood!

Last Wednesday, we had the time of our 5th grade lives on our first field trip.  We won a scholarship from Childsplay that gave us a chance to attend a play we may have never have had the chance to attend otherwise.

 Thank you so much Childsplay!!!  Where do we even begin thanking you for such a fantastic day and experience?  You rock!

We rode out to the Tempe Performing Arts Center to see the Childsplay production of Robin Hood.

From "Childsplay Arizona" site
From the mouths of the class themselves, this was the BEST play they have ever seen!  We even loved the really big beautiful theatre and the fancy bathrooms.

Among our favorites were the Sheriff of Nottingham, who was incredibly funny, and Robin Hood.  We laughed our tails off and enjoyed all of the action and fighting scenes.  It was even better when we were able to stand up to chant and be part of the play from our seats.  The set and props were so realistic and the costumes looked really neat.

Waiting for the play to start and feeling super excited about our 2nd and 3rd row seats
Everyone definitely wants to go back again.

Once the play was over, we gathered outside and ate lunch in the park while we enjoyed the cooler weather.  There was time to roll down the hills and splash around in the fountain.  Since we took our classroom outside today, we did sit down to work on finding the plot elements of Robin Hood by working together in the shade of the trees.  It was tricky, but seeing a live play made it more fun to pull a story apart.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Learning About Each Other - Using Technology in Our Classroom

Our first official writing assignment gave us a chance to write about ourselves!  Mrs. Garrison asked us to write an essay that would help everyone get to know us a bit better.  We had to choose 3 important things we thought others would enjoy reading/hearing about.

We learned a new trick about writing in 5th grade as we try to become better authors this year.  So far, we are working on using a variety of sentence starters.  It was a bit tricky to do since we tend to overuse the word "I" or "My" in All About Me essays.

Of course, being part of Community 45, we also had to pull in technology to take our writing to a new level in order to entertain our audience.  This year, the audience isn't just our teacher or each other...we have this blog to share our writing with the world and our families!  So, we used our school's set of iPods. microphones, and the Sonic Pics App in order to make a type of picture slideshow that we paired with recordings of us reading our essays.

This was no easy task!  It can be hard to not read too fast, too softly, or too much like a robot without emotion in our voices.  We were graded not only on our style of writing and how well we used different sentence starters, but on how well we read our essays to our audience.  It took a lot of practicing, but we did a pretty nice job!

Here are a few of our favorites.  Take some time to listen to some of our All About Me essays that we worked hard on for the last couple weeks.  We hope to come back to this post at the end of the year to see how far we have come as writers.

**Unfortunately, for some reason, our pictures don't match what we recorded when we put them on the blog here.  But we promise, they do when we watch them in Quicktime!**