Happy New Year 5th Grade Families!
Thank you for your thoughtful Christmas gifts I hope all of you had a wonderful time with family and friends. The new year is underway and we will be heading back to school and diving back into our studies. Your students will continue to be working in class on the cultural diversity, and we will wrap up our Solar Car projects in Science.
As we deepen our learning in 5th Grade, students should be improving in their written and verbal responses to literature and will be given opportunities to make presentations to their peers. Your 5th Grader should have gotten better at active listening, taking relevant notes and asking probing questions. I have seen some improvement in the comments they provide each other in homogeneous and heterogeneous groupings. I cannot thank Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Madsen and Officer Reynolds enough for their committed volunteering with reading, critical thinking and classroom support. As a result of their consistent efforts, your scholars are able to build their skills around the PA State Standards and I am seeing (and hearing) students backing up every comment, and or argument with evidence, which is very encouraging.
In math we are working on all aspects of the Everyday Math Curriculum and we are seeing that if we struggle with our multiplication and division, as some students do, it continues to be a challenge for us in other areas. I would encourage each family to practice multiplication and division with their students each night. I have set up Moby Max accounts for each student to practice at home and here at school. They also have access to ConnectEd and Prodigy to help them, but if they need to log on and practice. Although students have math everyday here at school, we do not have enough time for every student to practice, and be challenged at their individual learning rate. The additional practice at home makes a huge difference in my experience, and they will better grasp the challenging mathematical concepts we tackle in class. The material in class is growing more challenging each day, and those who are not skilled in recalling their basic facts, or doing multiplication and division problems, risk falling behind.
If you Google “math flashcards” there are online programs you can use. You can also create your own flashcards and quiz your student daily, increasing the difficulty to challenge them. Students are also encouraged to practice on the textbook website for Everyday Math mentioned above (www.connected.mcgraw-hill.com) each night, as this is a way to improve their success in math as well.
I would also strongly encourage that students Read! Read! Read! And read some more each night. Too many students struggle to answer math word problems appropriately (aka: “writing in math”) because they struggle with reading. As you know, most math problems on the PSSA are word problems. We cover answering strategies in class, but again it is important that students practice at home. This allows them to think and process the information learned earlier in the day, and builds their problem solving skills. Subsequently, when they are faced with challenges, they are better able to handle them. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he states that it takes about 10,000 hours to master, or become an expert at a task. I have not done the research on Gladwell’s premise, so it may take longer, or it may be shorter in some cases, but what I do know is it takes practice, and lots of it.
Thank you for your continued partnership in getting your 5th Grade Student on the road to success.