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5th Grade; Middle School Latin news

04.28.17
5th Grade News

We have been moving west in 5th grade, as we simulated traveling on the Oregon Trail. Students were grouped into threes, and then blindly selected an occupation and a budget. We had common 1800s occupations such as farmer, minister, railroad layer, or doctor. Based on their occupation, each group wrote their reasons for moving west and their plans once they reached Oregon. We added some math, as groups chose their supplies for the trip based on set prices. Students had to think critically about the equipment and food to purchase so that they could feed their families and keep moving if an animal died on the trail. Then, the fun set in as students embarked on the journey. They were presented with a slideshow of trail decisions to consider, and depending on their choices, they had to face consequences. What time of year did they plan to set out? Did they purchase enough food to last a few months? Did they have weapons to kill animals for food? Would they wait out high winds in the plains or push through them? Each decision yielded either positive or negative consequences, delaying the trip or unfortunately, for two groups, resulting in disease and death in their families. This activity was a great exercise to give students as much experience as possible of what life would have been like for the Oregon Trail pioneers. Students had to work cooperatively and think rationally. We love interactive lessons such as this because they always strengthen students' minds and help retain information better.

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04.07.17
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade has been studying Thomas Jefferson's interest in westward expansion during his presidency. On Friday, March 31, fifth graders became explorers like Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and set off on an expedition of their own. Their mission was to chart a short course around the school campus, complete with directions in feet, degrees, and landmarks. The class divided into teams with specific duties for each member. Using a compass and a tape measure, the teams measured the distances and directions from one door in the Middle School to a bush on the side of the building, where treasure was hidden. The teams also relied upon a map of the campus to guide them in the correct direction. Like Lewis and Clark, the teams noted natural and man-made structures along the way, and kept detailed writings of their observations. After a few missteps, the (edible) treasure was located and shared by all students. The teams typed paragraphs about their observations for future explorers. Those future explorers, the fourth graders, tested the maps and paragraphs on Wednesday to see if our fifth grade directions could be followed. After some detours, the fourth grade found its own treasure. We have certainly learned that creating maps and directions is as important a skill as reading them!

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03.24.17
5th Grade News

Today the 5th grade stepped back in time to the 20th century (not too long ago!), and presented a showcase featuring each decade. Students prepared for three weeks, researching their assigned decade for the important people, events, entertainment, inventions, toys, and foods that defined the period. Not only did students learn how the world has developed in 100 years, but they also noticed that some events (wars, human rights movements, inventions) built upon one another and that some trends (movies, music, fashion) have repeated themselves. After compiling the research and writing paragraphs, students created tri-fold display boards to illustrate examples of their decade's highs and lows. They also designed and played a Prezi, a multi-media online slideshow concerning their decade's entertainment. For the project, students dressed in the fashion of their decade and displayed household items, books, foods, and toys for the rest of our campus and our parents to enjoy. Fifth grade loves to demonstrate our learning through projects, and this one is one of the most engaging of the year!

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02.24.17
5th Grade News

With the completion of our Science Fair, the 5th grade has extended our study of variables with a water bottle flipping experiment. Loved by most preteens (to the likely aggravation of their teachers), water bottle flipping has become quite a trend, so we decided to apply the scientific method to this phenomenon. Students broke into pairs with four different types of water bottles (the independent variable). They filled the water bottles with the same amount of water and then applied the same flipping technique to a set number of tosses per bottle. The center of gravity of the water and the momentum involved in the flipping technique were essential to landing a bottle upright. Math also factored into the experiment, as students tallied the number of successful tosses, determined the fractions and percentages of those tosses, and then graphed their results. Each pair of students had a clear winner, and the pair then tested the winning bottle with various amounts of water to determine the amount of water that would yield the most successful flips. Students finally designed their own water bottle on paper. Never has there been so much water bottle flipping in the middle school (and likely never will there be again), and never has there been this much excitement generated from a simple science experiment in the 5th grade!

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02.10.17
5th Grade News

The 5th grade just completed our informational writing unit, and students culminated all of their knowledge into beautiful magazines. For the past several weeks, we learned one of the five text structures-- description, sequence, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, and problem and solution-- per week by reading and analyzing passages featuring each text structure and then writing paragraphs of their own in each text structure. To demonstrate their understanding of this concept for a final project, 5th graders choose a topic of their choice and designed a magazine around that topic, with five articles illustrating each of the text structures. Each magazine also included images, advertisements, and an illustrated cover. The topics range from panthers to puffins, duck hunting to dancing, art to the Arctic, clearly identifying the authors and their passions. 5th graders LOVED working on this project, as they took ownership and produced fantastic magazines with interesting content. I am so proud of their hard work. Thank you to Ms. Gunter for laminating our magazines. We are excited to be able to display the magazines for Grandparents Day.

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01.26.17
5th Grade Class News

Fifth graders are studying variables in Science, which is timely, given the upcoming Science Fair. One exciting way to test variables in a controlled experiment is to fly planes. Students built planes out of craft sticks, straws, a plastic propeller, and a rubber band (for thrust). After setting up flight lines of fishing line, our lab teams then tested their planes by estimating how many winds of the rubber band could fly the planes the length of the line. Over a course of three days, teams experimented with different variables, changing only one at a time, such as tautness of the lines, incline, number of passengers (paper clips), and number of winds. The teams then graphed their results to see relationships between the variables and the outcomes. What a enjoyable way to study science-- what kid doesn't love wind-up toys?

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01.13.17
5th Grade News

Fifth grade always likes to get into the roles of historical figures to help us think critically about our topics, so this month we have assumed the roles of Patriots prepared to fight for independence for our study of the American Revolution. With the help of a lesson plan from Breakout EDU, which provides classroom escape games, students read a letter from Samuel Adams and John Hancock, asking the students to break codes in order to learn about the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Students divided into teams and analyzed primary source documents to decipher codes with techniques that were actually used by the Sons of Liberty in 1775 in their secret communications against the British. The team that broke the first code unlocked a box that contained more sources with invisible ink and a black light to reveal more codes. The team then deciphered these codes and unlocked a box that held a note from the Sons of Liberty (and a small reward for the winners). This activity not only required collaboration, perseverance, and problem solving, but it also cemented students' understanding of the "Shot Heard Round the World" in a way that merely reading about the events would not have accomplished. Interactive role-playing increases retention and hones analytical skills, and it's exciting to boot. Fifth grade enjoyed this lesson so much that we are clamoring for more breakout games.

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12.09.16
5th Grade News

Children learn best by doing, so, in studying our thirteen colonies unit, 5th graders considered the essential question of how would a 17th century colonist live, and they became colonists for a month! Students divided into groups to study the three geographical regions: New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. After learning about various aspects of daily colonial life, students developed their own characters and wrote "day-in-the-life of " journal entries. Then, each group chose one room in a house and one business to design, construct, and showcase to our campus and parents. With generous guidance from Ms. Denise, students recycled materials to set up walls and fireplaces. Ms. Denise built the roofs and helped us stage storefronts, living areas, a bedroom, and a stable. Parents, Ms. Denise, and other teachers allowed us to borrow many household items to display.

Today, students dressed as colonists and acted out their roles, teaching the other St. James classes about the jobs and life in each colonial region.

Our project extended to Art class, where Mrs. Wright taught us how to make hex signs and quills. Ms. Denise took photos of our faces and created silhouettes to hang as “portraits” in our rooms. The class further applied colonial living to math by designing paper quilt pieces and determining the fractional and percentage breakdowns of each color used in their designs. Finally, we used the colonists’ process of making butter to study physical vs. chemical changes in matter.

Fifth graders enjoyed immersing themselves in colonial life, and I loved witnessing the connections they made between history, math, science, and art!

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11.03.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth graders have been honing their multiplication and division skills so that they can recall these facts quickly and be prepared for more complex math problems. In order to appeal to a variety of learning styles, we are practicing these skills on paper, as well as through whole class ball games, partner dice games, and "Family Feud" style challenges where we call out the equation and students buzz to solve it. Sometimes we compete with each other, and sometimes we compete with ourselves. Fifth graders also are using hands-on materials to learn fraction and percentage equivalents. Students enjoy this math "practice" because it spices up our daily lessons. Moreover, these visual, kinesthetic, and auditory activities help students retain their facts better and apply them to a wide range of math problems.

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10.20.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade enjoyed its annual overnight field trip last Thursday and Friday. What a fantastic experience our 5th grade class had at the beautiful 4-H Arkansas Outdoor School. Our guide, Mr. Eric, focused on teaching the students teamwork through various challenges. We learned that in order to accomplish some goals, we have to work together and listen to everyone’s opinion. It’s easy and natural to want to assert your own opinion, but in order to hear others’ comments, you have to respect their chance to speak. We learned that “loudness is not leadership”, and this phrase stuck with our class so much that we are working on implementing in our classroom.

Students worked together on a snake rope challenge, balanced a platform as a class, and canoed blindfolded on a lake, which required blindfolded rowers to rely on the directions from their sighted student partners. The teamwork continued with orienteering skills, in which groups of students used compasses to locate points of interest throughout the woods at the camp. Our final and probably favorite team activity was climbing a 40 foot rock wall. Each climber was harnessed to a rope held by a team of four students and an adult. The team had to pay attention to the climber to make sure that he or she was given enough slack to repel when ready to come off the wall. We ended our day at 4-H with a campfire, roasting marshmallows for s’mores and performing boy and girl skits.

On Friday the class ventured into downtown Little Rock to tour some of the oldest structures in Arkansas at the Historic Arkansas Museum. We visited a home, a tavern, and a printing press. Hopefully, students took away some ideas of how Arkansans lived in the 19th century so that they can apply them to our colonial living history project in December. After lunch at Gusano’s Pizzeria, the class crossed the Junction footbridge to visit the U.S.S. Razorback submarine docked on the north side of the Arkansas river. It was amazing to see how sailors lived and worked in the submarine for months at a time, with torpedoes right next to their heads! How brave these men must have been to take on such a challenge—talk about teamwork!

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09.22.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade has been writing, writing, and writing for the past two weeks. Strong, effective writing is important in many aspects of life because humans engage in written communication constantly. Therefore, we spend significant time on grammar, mechanics, and the six traits of writing in 5th grade.

Not only did the students create their first class newsletter full of expository writing about their daily activities, but they also began the process of narrative writing. Narrative writing tells a story, so it requires a plot. Devising a plot, with characters, setting, and various events takes much thinking and organization. It sounds like it might be easy, but telling a good story does not always come naturally. To help with organization, students brainstormed ideas on a graphic organizer and drew pictures to assist them with developing characters, setting, a problem, and a solution. Next, students wrote a strong topic sentence to hook their readers and followed with supporting sentences that unfolded the plot. Finally, they crafted a satisfying conclusion that did not end with characters “living happily ever after”. Mrs. Jordan banned that phrase because it is overused. Students wrote more than one draft of their story, reworking action verbs and adjectives to give their stories spark. The process of writing is slow and for some, a little painful, but the results— quirky characters with exciting story lines and strong diction-- are worth the wait. We will continue to apply these skills across other subject areas this month—from journal entries in the perspective of our European explorers to clear depictions of the erosion processes in our science investigations—and work our way to a five paragraph essay.

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09.09.16
5th Grade Class News

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! What a fantastic group of learners we have in 5th grade this year! It's especially neat to teach this group, as I have known most of these students since they were 3 or 4 years old.

We have dived right into the 5th grade curriculum, and one of my favorite units to teach is landforms, not only because it is cross-curricular between science and social studies, but also because students use higher-order thinking skills to demonstrate their learning through building and creating maps and models. In social studies, we review map skills and latitude and longitude before we begin to study European colonization of the Americas. Reading and plotting coordinates can be a little tricky at first because it is counterintuitive, but after a few practices, students were getting the hanging of locating places on world maps. We then transferred our understanding to creating our own countries that included cities and a few places of interest, and then accurately naming the coordinates of these places so that others can read the maps. Students also showed their specific interests, for most countries were named after food (Baconation is my favorite!), sports, and even art and dancing.

In our science investigation, students discovered the benefits of 3-D models and 2-D maps, creating their own models of the St. James campus and then tracing the models onto a grid overlay from a bird's-eye view, and finally transferring the grid overlay to a paper map. Again, students learned the importance of labelling items on maps and including a key for people to use the map correctly. These are lifelong skills that can always prove useful because even in the 21st century, GPS systems can break down and we may need to rely on paper maps!

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05.27.16
5th Grade Class News

This past Tuesday our class continued a 5th grade tradition-- the annual Progressive Dinner. Not only an opportunity to dress up and enjoy the fellowship of our classmates among three delicious courses at three student homes, the Progressive Dinner serves as a display of dining etiquette and table manners. The students practiced proper etiquette at school so that they were prepared for each course. Using good manners is an essential social skill, and the 5th graders sharpened this skill very well. They were polite to their hosts and enjoyed themselves immensely. Thank you to the Curry, Fuqua, and Lee families for opening their homes to us and for their generous hospitality!

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05.13.16
5th Grade Class News

Middle school students just celebrated their fifth annual Roman feast! As always, fifth and sixth graders selected Roman deities to represent and research, but we changed our showcase this year to host a carnival of games and activities based on our deities' personalities. What fun this new event was today. After feasting on picnic-style foods generously donated by parents, fifth and sixth grade students and their fourth grade helpers donned costumes to present a Mount Olympus Carnival to the rest of our school. We featured activities such as dining with Juno, water balloons with Neptune, weight-lifting with Hercules and Atlas, braids and beauty with Flora and Venus, hunt games with Diana and Luna, musical chairs and a petting "zoo" with Apollo and Pan, not to mention wisdom challenges with Minerva and Fortuna, taste tests with Vesta and Ceres, races with Mercury and Janus, and an obstacle course with Mars, Vulcan, and Saturn. We even had a real dog to pet, Mrs. Joyce's own Samson, in our Pluto and Cerberus booth. Students displayed their academic skills via foam boards created about their deities, but they also strengthened creativity, cooperative learning, and social interaction skills-- all important life skills. What a fantastic culmination to our week!

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04.15.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade has embarked upon a individualized learning project for the last 9 weeks of school. Each Friday afternoon, we devote an hour to exploring our interests and passions, called "Genius Hour". A phenomenon in American schools over the past few years, Genius Hour is based on Google's "20% time" concept in which Google employees take 20% of their work week to work on ideas which personally excite them to improve Google. This idea has sparked Google News and Gmail.

This same philosophy applies to schools during Genius Hour. With a small class, Genius Hour is a perfect avenue to take ownership of our own learning. Students brainstorm their passions or curiosities and then create an action plan approved by me for an idea that can be investigated, created, or performed. These are small projects meant to be completed in the classroom, although some have required work at home. After preparing the project, students then present to the class. So far, we are having a grand time! Some projects include balancing on a soccer ball for as long as you can, researching the Bermuda Triangle theory, baking cookies in different shapes to see if taste is affected, creating designs in Terrapin Logo, handwriting analysis, building a clay cannon, working on improving a golf swing, and seeing how many laps can be run between the soccer goals in five minutes (predicted: 7; actual: 23). I love watching students' brains and hearts light up about their passions to take charge of their learning!

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04.01.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth graders are preparing for a 50 states map test, wherein they will identify all 50 states on a blank geographical map. This geography knowledge comes naturally to some students, but it's not easy for everyone, even adults, to recall all 50 of the United States. To study, the class is taking turns on various stations that appeal to different learning styles-- puzzles, an iPad game, wipe-away map mats, and to exercise our kinesthetic learners, a queen-sized sheet with a blank outline of the country, on which students are playing Twister. Each student also chose a state to research and designed a "great state plate" akin to the souvenir plates sold in Stuckey's and road side stops. Next week, students test their geography knowledge-- wish us luck!

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03.18.16
5th Grade Class News

Today the 5th grade class transported our school and themselves back in time with our 20th century living timeline. For the past three weeks students researched each of the ten decades and prepared short reports about various topics and events such as important people, inventions, fashion, foods, and toys. Using their 21st century digital skills, the students also prepared a Prezi about the music and entertainment of their decade and included images and video clips of popular films and songs that were shown on iPads. The 5th grade's efforts culminated in their school-wide presentation where, complete in a costume appropriate to the fashion of the decade, each student set up tri-fold boards and displays to teach other classes about his or her decade's highlights. This project illustrated a combination of research, language arts, digital, and oral presentation skills in an interactive and engaging way while allowing all of us at St. James to live a little bit through 20th century history (a second time for some of us!).

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02.26.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade students have been engaging in persuasive writing this week. What better way to persuade an audience than to create an advertisement, so we became copywriters! Pairs of students were given a creative brief from a fictional client who wanted to sell snack foods. Each pair chose a snack food out of our snack box, delved into some taste-test research, and created a colorful billboard to sell the product. Our products were Cheeto Puffs, Cheez-its, Fruit Gushers, Rold Gold Pretzel Dippers, Pop Tarts, and Stouffer’s Animal Crackers. Each pair also had to write a short speech to convince the 4th grade class that their specific snack is the tastiest. The 4th graders, a.k.a. customers, came to our snack booths, which were set up to woo everyone. For 10 cents, they tried as many snacks as they liked after listening to the copywriters' ads, and then they voted for their favorite ad, based soley on creativity. Cheez-its won for creativity. Thank you, 4th graders, for participating and for donating your coins to Opportunities, Inc. We enjoyed learning how to write and speak persuasively- some of us may even have a future career in advertising!

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02.12.16
5th Grade Class News

Sometimes this hardworking and thoughtful group of 5th graders deserves a treat, and this past Tuesday, the class enjoyed one. One student asked if we could ever eat lunch at Chick-Fil-A, and the class is well-behaved and they are good listeners about 98% of the time, so I felt that they had earned a reward. As we were having an upcoming field trip around lunchtime, I informed the class that we could go to Chick-Fil-A if the students thought of an educational reason for doing so. Several students submitted proposals as to ways we could incorporate language arts and math into our outing. What a fantastic approach to ownership of our learning! I took a few of their ideas, and each student wrote a paragraph persuading his or her audience that Chick-Fil-A offered the best food in Texarkana. The students also relied on their current math skills on averaging, double digit multiplication, and division to work a few scenarios involving the restaurant menu options. At Chick-Fil-A each student ordered his or her own meal, paid with the money he or she brought, and kept up with his or her change. All students used their best manners, eliciting compliments from other patrons and the staff. I am delighted that we took this opportunity to engage in this "out of the box" learning; the students cannot wait to do it again!

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01.23.16
5th Grade Class News

Fifth graders began a new science unit this week, studying variables. We have already had experience with variables through other science investigations this year and through our science fair projects, but we have enjoyed applying variables in a new way. The class divided into pairs and then constructed simple swingers out of string, paper clips, pennies, and pencils. Each pair hung its swinger at the same length and then released its swinger at the same position for fifteen seconds and counted the number of cycles. Most pairs counted the same number of cycles, but a couple students encountered some obstacles. They problem-solved and were able to get their swinger to work better. After the initial test, each pair was allowed to change a variable on their swinger. Some students added mass by including another penny or trying a dime. Some released the swinger from a different position. Everyone predicted the outcome and then after writing their observations, compared their results to their predictions.

We learned that changing a variable can affect the outcome of an experiment, and we also learned that changing variables shows relationships between them. We will add more variables next week and see if we can establish more relationships. Hands-on science labs are a great activity to learn the function of statistics and other cerebral matters in a way that fifth graders can understand.

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01.09.16
5th Grade Class News

At St. James we are blessed to be able to support all of our students by attending performances, exhibits, and projects in other classes. On Friday the 5th grade attended the 4th grade’s International Fair, and not only did we learn many interesting facts about 18 foreign countries, but we utilized these facts in our own learning. First, the fifth graders collected various data about the countries to prepare graphs in the computer lab. Part of our Science Fair project requires students to graph the changes that they observe in their science experiments. We decided to learn how to create computer graphs through the International Fair data collection. We learned quite a bit: the number of continents represented, the number of countries that are an island, and even, the number of countries at the fair that have the color red in their flags!

Later in the day, our class returned to the fair for each 5th grader to research five facts about a country of his or her choice. The purpose of this research assignment is to practice descriptive expository writing, also to assist us in preparing for the Science Fair, as students need to write about several aspects of their experiments. Fifth graders will convert their facts into descriptive paragraphs with transition words.

Thank you, 4th graders, for teaching us about other cultures, providing us with tools to help us in our own learning, and for your hard work on your projects!

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12.12.15
5th Grade Class News

Fifth graders are finishing our Thirteen Colonies unit and, wow, how much they have learned! Children learn best by doing, and so, we have become colonists to immerse ourselves in this time period. Students divided into groups to study the three geographical regions: New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. After learning about various aspects of daily colonial life, students wrote summaries and then each group chose one room in a house and one business to design, construct, and showcase to our campus and parents. With generous guidance from Ms. Denise, students recycled materials to set up walls and fireplaces. Ms. Denise built the roofs and helped us stage storefronts, living areas, a bedroom, and a stable. Parents, grandparents, and other teachers allowed us to borrow many household items to display.

On Friday, December 11, students dressed as colonists and acted out their roles, teaching the other St. James classes about the jobs and life in each colonial region. They spoke articulately and vividly!

Our project extended to Art class, where Mrs. Wright taught us how to make cornhusk dolls and quills. Ms. Denise took photos of our faces and created silhouettes to hang as “portraits” in our rooms. The class also applied colonial living to math by designing paper quilt pieces and determining the fractional and percentage breakdowns of each color used in their designs. Finally, we used the colonists’ process of making butter to reinforce the scientific method in our Science lesson this week.

What an exciting time we have had in this unit!

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11.20.15
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade spent most of our math periods this week applying real-life math skills-- how to plan for and budget a Thanksgiving dinner! The students divided into pairs and created a guest list. Then, they decided what dishes they planned to serve and how much food to estimate that each guest would eat. Using local grocery paper ads and online weekly ads, each pair calculated the cost per item per guest, which included both division and multiplication skills. The pairs then totaled their budgets and made a bar graph of the cost per turkey based on increasing numbers of guests. Finally, each group needed to purchase serving dishes, utensils, and glasses for their feast. For this part, they were given a strict budget and learned how to comparison shop for the best deal. Everyone enjoyed this project, and the dinners ranged in options from elaborate to very simple. Even Mrs. Jordan was invited to one of the dinners, along with Elvis Presley and Adam Levine! Call on a fifth grader to help you budget your Thanksgiving meal-- we have some expert planners!

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11.06.15
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade started a new Science unit this week-- Environments. We are studying organisms in various environments, and learning about how living and non-living factors can make an impact on an organism's development and survival. For our first investigation, our class created terrariums with five kinds of seeds: corn, barley, pea, radish, and clover. Each group plotted their own design in potting soil and then determined the amount of water to add. The groups then chose a spot near a window for their terrariums to start growing. It's only been two days and each terrarium is already sprouting! We are very excited to continue this investigation and observe the growth of our plants. The class is hoping to taste their vegetables soon, and we may even use them in our Colonial America project in December, as we have learned that most colonists in early America kept their own gardens.

Speaking of colonial America, as fifth graders research their colonies for the Colonial America project, we are also "walking the colonies" to learn how each colony was founded. Each day we count our nightly reading minutes to see how many miles we can travel. Each mile equals one minute of reading, so the students have increased their nightly reading so that we can get farther. We are traveling in the order in which the thirteen colonies were founded, so we are moving north, then south, then north again. We have studied 7 colonies so far; we are currently in Rhode Island and moving to Delaware. The students read a section in our history textbook about each colony and then we summarize our reading as a class and write it on an index card in our history notebooks. This lesson is providing the class not only with the excitement of reading, but with math reinforcement (we add our minutes daily, and then divide the number of our students by the number of miles needed to travel to the next colony), and of course, with historical knowledge and summarizing skills.

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10.24.15
5th Grade Class News

Our fifth grade class has been racking up miles, both on the road and in our reading! We traveled to Little Rock last week for a fantastic overnight trip to the Arkansas Outdoor School, Historic Arkansas Museum, and U.S.S. Razorback Submarine. Then, this past Tuesday, each student presented his or her Favorite Book Project. Each student chose a book that he or she loved and set to work on describing and illustrating the story elements of the book-- character, setting, and plot. Students also made text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections as well as a short summary, a book review and a self-reflection. They pasted all of these elements on to a file folder to create a lapbook and decorated it. We also included a technology component-- an iMovie book review, in which each student designed an iMovie and presented his or her review (all glowing ones, as it was our favorite book). Thank you to our parents for coming to listen to the project presentations and to the iMovies.

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10.09.15
5th Grade Class News

The fifth grade class is partnering with Opportunities, Inc. for community service this year, and we initiated our partnership with a wonderful Special Olympics event at the Opportunities campus today. The fifth graders created signs to cheer on the children, and we moved around to various activity stations to support the children as they worked on their gross motor skills. Not much time passed before our fifth graders put away their signs and began to interact directly with the children and help them through the rotations. From the smiles on their faces, it was clear that our class had as much fun as the children! What a gift to spend part of our morning helping others. It was difficult to leave and return to the real world of school, but we are eagerly anticipating our next visit to Opportunities in November!

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

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09.25.15
5th Grade Class News

Fifth grade is having a fantastic time with our hands-on Science lessons. This past week fifth graders continued their stream table investigations in Science to replicate the erosion and deposition that caused the Grand Canyon two hundred million years ago. In this experiment, students dipped a cotton swab into blue food coloring and then positioned it over the tiny hole in the water source. As the water dropped on to the earth material, we watched tiny rivers form...then canyons....then deltas. In some tables, the water flowed quickly enough to push a little earth material past the wood angle "dam" set in place. In these observations, students noted that the clay in the earth material settled farther than the sand in the table because clay is lighter than sand. As we effectively replicated the beginnings of the formation of the Grand Canyon, we also learned about the forces of motion. Some students also observed a faster flow of water with the blue dye this week than with plain water last week. Could the dye have something to do with that? I love watching my class make connections between our experiments and the real world. Science is one of most our exciting periods of the week! Next week, students learn more about erosion and deposition through flooding their stream tables.

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

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09.12.15
5th Grade Class News

The power of pictures, especially the power of Chris Van Allsburg pictures.

This past Friday, our fifth graders used picture prompts from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick as inspiration for creative writing. This intriguing book, premised on a packet of drawings left at a book publisher's office by a vanishing Mr. Burdick, features fourteen magical drawings with only titles and captions. Chris Van Allsburg, the renowned author and illustrator of many children's books, such as Jumanji and The Polar Express, treats us to a feast of tricks of the mind's eye and mysterious occurrences. The students responded so well to this lesson that some of them wanted to take home their stories to finish them over the weekend!

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

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09.07.15
5th Grade Class News

Fifth graders have spent the first nine days of school focusing on maps, models and their usefulness in our lives. In social studies, students explored our classroom globe to look at longitude and latitude lines, located coordinates of U.S. cities in our atlases, and found the stadiums of NFL teams based on their coordinates. We warmed up our math muscles by measuring our desks and plotting them on a paper grid to set up our classroom.

In Science, we have delved even deeper into the function of models and maps. After studying the layout of our campus on Google Earth, we began our first science investigation. See how students worked in pairs to construct models of our campus, and then traced their models onto an overlay grid to make a map of the area. This week, each student will draw his or her own map from the overlay grid and design a map key. Learning the similarities and differences between models and maps has allowed students to recognize the importance of both items in representing places.

Students will apply their knowledge of maps to history this week as we begin our European explorers unit and study maps' role in travel and exploration, especially in a time period of undiscovered lands!



5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

5th Grade Class News image

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04.25.15
Class News the Week of April 27

It's truly hard to believe that Friday is the first day of May! Where has our year gone?

This week, fifth and sixth graders will spend most of our class time writing (poetry for 5th, autobiography for 6th) and preparing their Roman Feast projects. There will be no spelling or Wordly Wise lessons, as the classes will rehearse for the Spring Musical Friday morning.

For the Spring Musical, please remember the following costumes:

5th Grade-- black t-shirts (easily found at Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, Target), blue jeans with no holes, designs, or bling, and school-appropriate sneakers

6th Grade-- orange & white striped t-shirts, blue jeans with no holes, designs, or bling, and school-appropriate sneakers

On Friday, students will be dropped off IN COSTUME at the Sullivan Performing Arts Theatre on Summerhill Road between 8:15 a.m.- 8:30 a.m. and picked up promptly at 11:30 a.m. Students have a half day. Please return to the theatre at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The show starts at 7 p.m. and should be finished by 8 p.m.

Other Dates to Remember:

Tuesday, April 28th-- 6th Grade McDonald's Night, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the State Line location. $5 meal tickets will be sold in the pick-up lines on Monday and Tuesday.

Friday, May 1st-- Spring Musical (see above)

Friday, May 8th-- Roman Feast, 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Middle School Commons (more details via email)

May 11th-15th-- Testing Week

Tuesday, May 19th-- 5th Grade Progressive Dinner, 5 p.m.

Friday, May 22nd-- Field Day for 1st through 6th Grade; early dismissal

Monday, May 25th-- Memorial Day- no school







Class News the Week of April 27 image

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04.18.15
Class News the Week of April 20

Fifth grade will begin studying the Industrial Revolution this week, and I feel that they already understand the main concept because we have been quite industrious in the classroom! “Industry” derives from the Latin root “stru”, which means “to build.” Students have been building many foundations of learning this year, and I love seeing them making connections between their learning and the real world.

This week both fifth and sixth grade will have spelling and Wordly Wise lessons, with a test on Friday. Fifth grade will complete haikus—short poems always seem to take more time due to narrowing our focus. Fifth grade will also have a vocabulary quiz on Latin chapter 32. Sixth grade will work on autobiographies, Out of the Dust projects and their Mount Olympus project.

Please note the following reminders:

Friday, April 17—St. James Gala, Texarkana Country Club, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, April 20—6th grade artwork fundraiser forms and payment due

Tuesday, April 28—McDonald’s Night for 6th grade, 5:30-8:30 p.m., State Line location

Friday, May 1—Spring Musical

Friday, May 8—Mount Olympus Carnival/Roman Feast

May 11-15—Testing Week

Class News the Week of April 20 image

Class News the Week of April 20 image

Class News the Week of April 20 image

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04.11.15
Class News the Week of April 13

For a short week, we had quite a busy one! I am proud of the fifth graders and their United States geographical knowledge. The class will finish our states unit this week with a “Great State Plate” mini-project. Each student will pick a state to research and then draw and feature facts about their state on a paper plate. I think we will have fun with this project.

We are starting the countdown for the end of school, and will remain steadily busy until June. This week, both fifth and sixth grade will have spelling and Wordly Wise lessons, with a test on Friday. Fifth grade will continue our poetry unit with haikus. Sixth grade will work on autobiographies, complete Out of the Dust and begin a small final project on the novel. In Latin, 6th grade has a quiz on Thursday, and 4th grade has a quiz on Friday.

Latin classes are beginning to work on their projects for the Roman Feast. We will have a Mount Olympus Carnival this year, and I hope that all of us get into the Roman spirit!

Finally, please look at the class projects that will be auctioned at the Gala on Friday, April 17. The 5th grade painted a really neat guitar, and someone needs it in his or her home!

Please note the following reminders:

Friday, April 17—St. James Gala, Texarkana Country Club, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 1—Spring Musical

Friday, May 8—Mount Olympus Carnival/Roman Feast

May 11-15—Testing Week

Class News the Week of April 13 image

Class News the Week of April 13 image

Class News the Week of April 13 image

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04.05.15
Class News the Week of April 6

I hope that everyone enjoyed the Easter holiday. This week, both 5th and 6th grades will have Wordly Wise, but no spelling lesson. Fifth grade will continue its poetry unit with cinquains and our reading workshop will feature Greek and Roman myths. Fifth grade will also study the 50 states geography, taking the map test on Thursday. Sixth grade will continue reading Out of the Dust, work on theme and language descriptions in the novel, and also write autobiographies.

Mark Your Calendars:

Friday, April 17: St. James Gala, Texarkana Country Club, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 1: Spring Musical

Class News the Week of April 6 image

Class News the Week of April 6 image

Class News the Week of April 6 image

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03.28.15
Class News the Week of March 30

Wow! I cannot state how impressed I was by the creativity displayed by fifth graders in their Holes projects. Students demonstrated their understanding of the novel in various formats from Camp Green Lake survival guides, Holes board games, casting for your own film version of the novel, and lizard comparisons. Luke even brought his pet lizard, Camo, so we could see the habitat of a real lizard compared to a yellow spotted one. Even I have to say that Camo was pretty cute.

Given our short week, we will not have Wordly Wise and spelling. We will engage in a great deal of writing this week-- poetry for 5th grade and autobiographical writing for 6th grade. We will also begin reading Greek and Roman myths in 5th grade, and 6th grade will continue reading Out of the Dust.

On Friday, fifth grade became explorers like Lewis and Clark and charted a short course around the campus, complete with directions in feet, degrees, and landmarks. Fourth grade will test our map on Monday to see if our directions can be followed. I hope so! Fifth grade will continue its exploration of America and study the 50 states geography this week with several brain-based activities.

Mark Your Calendars:

Thursday, April 2: Parent-Teacher Conferences. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.

Friday, April 3-Monday, April 6: Easter Holiday- no school

Friday, April 17: St. James Gala

Class News the Week of March 30 image

Class News the Week of March 30 image

Class News the Week of March 30 image

Class News the Week of March 30 image

Class News the Week of March 30 image

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03.21.15
Class News the Week of March 23

Welcome, spring! Spring conveys the idea of hope and renewal, with the bloom of trees and flowers and with Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. In the same vein, I always feel a refreshed sense of purpose in teaching, and I hope that the students will feel the same in learning. We worked hard last week. The classes engaged in a great deal of cooperative learning with spelling activities and Latin work. I really enjoyed watching students think out concepts together and support each other.

This week, I look forward to the fifth graders’ presentations of their Holes projects. How neat it has been to hear and see the variety of ideas students have developed; I cannot wait for the final products. For our regular lessons, we will do Wordly Wise and spelling, with the joint test on Friday (for both 5th and 6th grade). Fifth grade will learn about the difficulties adapting to life in America after the Revolution, and will begin our fifty states unit. Sixth grade will continue writing autobiographies as well as reading and responding to Out of the Dust. All three classes, including fourth grade, will begin new Latin chapters this week. Fifth grade has reached the final chapter in the first book!

Mark Your Calendars:

Thursday, April 2: Parent-Teacher Conferences

Friday, April 3-Monday, April 6: Easter Holiday- no school

Friday, April 17: St. James Gala


Class News the Week of March 23 image

Class News the Week of March 23 image

Class News the Week of March 23 image

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03.13.15
Class News the Week of March 16

I hope that everyone enjoyed the spring break and is reenergized to begin a great week of learning. Due to the snow days we had at the beginning of March, our plans for a spelling review were postponed so that we could complete other important work. Therefore, this week, both fifth and sixth grades will have a spelling review. Students will be given a list of 15 words from patterns we have studied since September. There will be a test on these words, both the spelling and meaning, on Friday. We will engage in several methods of review, from making vocabulary maps and word chains to dollar sentences and Pictionary.

Fifth graders will also learn about the Constitution this week and about the Founding Fathers who struggled to write this document and lead our country at its very beginning after the Revolution. They will also continue to work on their Holes final projects, which are due next Monday, March 23. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we will write some leprechaun stories in 5th grade. Sixth graders will compose limericks, work on autobiographies, and begin a new novel unit, Out of the Dust, which brings us the Great Depression through the eyes of an Oklahoma girl living in the Dust Bowl. This book, written in free verse, is the one of the most moving children’s novels I have ever read and I cannot wait to share it with our sixth graders.

Fourth grade Latin students will have a quiz on Chapters 14 and 15 this Friday. Study guides will be emailed this weekend.

I look forward to seeing our students and hearing all about their spring break adventures!




Class News the Week of March 16 image

Class News the Week of March 16 image

Class News the Week of March 16 image

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02.28.15
Class News the Week of March 2

So long, February and hello, March! The metaphor that “March comes in like a lion” is certainly fitting this year with our frigid winter weather. I believe that we all hope that it will “go out like a lamb,” bringing us a calm and pretty spring.

This week we will catch up the lessons we missed due to our snow days. As it is the week before spring break, we will not begin any new units. There are no spelling or Wordly Wise tests. Fifth grade will engage in a spelling review, finish Holes, complete a Latin verb assignment, and learn about the founding fathers and the Constitution. Sixth grade will take the National Latin Exam, read Bud, Not Buddy, and also review spelling words. Both classes will have a Dr. Seuss writing workshop, as this week is Read Across America week in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We will read excerpts from Dr. Seuss books and reflect upon them in our writing.

Fourth grade will study Chapters 14 and 15 in Latin this week, and prepare for a quiz on these chapters after spring break.

Please check your email for reminders about the Spring Picture Day and Middle School Talent Show on Friday.

Mark your calendars:

Tuesday, March 3—National Latin Exam (for 6th grade)-12:15 p.m.

Friday, March 6—Spring Picture Day/Middle School Talent Show

Spring Break—March 9-13

Class News the Week of March 2 image

Class News the Week of March 2 image

Class News the Week of March 2 image

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02.21.15
Class News the Week of February 23

I am hoping for sunshine this week, despite a wet and cold forecast. We need some vitamin D for our bones, and the children will benefit from time outdoors.

In fifth grade we wrap up the American Revolution unit and study the making of the Constitution. We will learn that independence from Britain was not as glorious as promised. The class will also continue to read Holes and complete our writing lessons on cause and effect. Sixth grade will read Bud, Not Buddy and resume autobiography writing. There will be a spelling and Wordly Wise test on Friday for both classes.
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Mark your calendars:

Tuesday, March 3—National Latin Exam (for 6th grade)

Friday, March 6—Middle School Talent Show

Spring Break—March 9-13



Class News the Week of February 23 image

Class News the Week of February 23 image

Class News the Week of February 23 image

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02.13.15
Class News the Week of February 16

What a fantastic Grandparents Day program today! Thank you to all who attended the program. Our students demonstrated one of the special opportunities St. James provides—performing in public, and they did so incredibly well. I am very proud of all the students, but especially of the fifth and sixth graders who dressed so nicely, behaved well in the bleachers, and performed beautifully. Isn’t it wonderful that we can show our love and gratitude for our grandparents in this way?

Next week, we resume our regularly scheduled programming. There will be a spelling and Wordly Wise test on Friday. Fifth grade continues to read Holes, and we will study the relationship of cause and effect in the novel. At the same time, we will also engage in the writing structure of cause and effect. Tying this together between reading and writing will strengthen students’ understanding.

Sixth grade will present Long Way from Chicago final projects on Monday. Both classes have new Latin derivatives to find this week.


Mark your calendars:

Scholastic Book Fair—open Monday and Tuesday, 8-3:30; Wednesday, 8-5:30, and Thursday, 8-noon.

Friday, February 20—Middle School Talent show auditions (for anyone who did not audition two weeks ago)

**Both classes will go to the Book Fair on Wednesday during the library period, so you may send money with your child on Wednesday to purchase books. Please send cash or a check payable to SJDS .

Class News the Week of February 16 image

Class News the Week of February 16 image

Class News the Week of February 16 image

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02.07.15
Class News the Week of February 9

This week we will prepare for Grandparents Day in both fifth and sixth grade. We will also read realistic fiction in both classes, with Holes in fifth grade, and in sixth grade, a read aloud novel, Bud, Not Buddy, which gives us an African-American perspective of The Great Depression and a boy’s search for his father. Sixth grade will wrap up their Long Way from Chicago projects this week as well.

There are no spelling or Wordly Wise lessons this week; however, fifth grade has a Latin quiz on prepositions this Wednesday. I gave a study guide last week and we have been reviewing in class using an interactive technology game.

The Scholastic Book Fair opens on Grandparents Day from 8 a.m. to noon, and will be open the following week. I will email the dates and times, and our classes will visit the book fair during our regular library time to purchase books.

Mark your calendars:

Tuesday, February 10—“ I Have a Dream” at the Perot Theatre (dress uniforms).

Friday, February 13—Grandparents Day. Chapel in the gym at 8:30, with class presentations to follow. Father/Daughter dance- 7 p.m.

Class News the Week of February 9 image

Class News the Week of February 9 image

Class News the Week of February 9 image

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01.31.15
Class News the Week of February 2

Wow! February is here. This will be a busy month for 5th and 6th grade, with the science fair, Grandparents Day, Scholastic Book Fair, a field trip, a 6th grade fundraiser, and our regular lessons. Both classes will continue to work on written gifts for grandparents as well as spelling and Wordly Wise lessons this week. Fifth grade will begin the novel Holes and study the first battles of the American Revolution. The sixth grade will prepare end-of-novel projects for A Long Way from Chicago.

Mark your calendars:

Friday, February 6—6th Grade candygram fundraiser orders due. Also, auditions for the Middle School Talent Show in March will be held after school.

Wednesday, February 10—“ I Have a Dream” at the Perot Theatre

Friday, February 13— Grandparents and Special Friends Day in the gym. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m. Father/Daughter dance at 7 p.m.




Class News the Week of February 2 image

Class News the Week of February 2 image

Class News the Week of February 2 image

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01.24.15
Class News the Week of January 26

In this last week of January, fifth and sixth grade will have both spelling and Wordly Wise lessons. Both classes will take a short break from Informational Writing to work on figurative language in preparation for creating some Grandparents Day gifts. Fifth grade will begin the road to the American Revolution as we study tensions between the colonists and the English government (key word here: taxes). Sixth grade will finish A Long Way from Chicago.

Please note the following reminders:

Friday, January 30—Middle School Talent Show audition forms are due.

Friday, February 6—6th Grade candygram fundraiser orders due.

Friday, February 13—Grandparents Day. Invitations were sent home last week. This is an early dismissal day.

Class News the Week of January 26 image

Class News the Week of January 26 image

Class News the Week of January 26 image

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01.17.15
Class News the Week of January 19

Last week the Middle School students enjoyed a field trip to the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra. We learned quite a bit about Ludwig von Beethoven and his Fifth Symphony. Students were impressed that a deaf man composed some of the world's most beautiful music! Isn't it wonderful to overcome our difficulties and strive to create amazing things? Like Beethoven, Martin Luther King, Jr. faced many challenges in his efforts to earn African Americans civil rights. We will read a couple of biographies about Mr. King on Tuesday, as I introduce the concept of sequence in our writing.

As we have a short week with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, there will be no Wordly Wise lesson. However, we will have a spelling lesson with a test on Friday. Fifth graders will continue its Thirteen Colonies study with the Southern Colonies. Both 5th and 6th grades will learn a new text structure in Informational Writing:--sequence, and will practice writing how-to paragraphs in our Colonies study as well as write procedures for the upcoming science fair experiments. Sixth grade is speeding along in our reading of A Long Way from Chicago; everyone seems to be enjoying the antics of Grandma Dowdel!

Fourth, fifth and sixth grades will have Latin quizzes this week on their respective chapters. Study guides have already been given.

This weekend is lovely, compared to the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing. I hope that you enjoy some time outdoors!

Please note the following reminders:

Monday, January 19—No school- MLK Holiday

Friday, January 30—Middle School Talent Show audition forms are due.

Friday, February 13—Grandparents Day. More information to follow.

Class News the Week of January 19 image

Class News the Week of January 19 image

Class News the Week of January 19 image

Class News the Week of January 19 image

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01.10.15
Class News the Week of January 12

I hope that everyone is trying to stay warm with the frigid temperatures that we have been experiencing. This week, fifth and sixth graders will continue our informational writing unit through comparing and contrasting a topic. In Reading, fifth graders will engage in another cross-curricular lesson with American history on the Middle colonies. We will also study the life of Benjamin Franklin, an important figure in the Middle Colonies and in American history. Sixth grade will read A Long Way from Chicago and learn more about the eccentric characters who populate this novel. Our Word Study component resumes this week with both spelling and Wordly Wise lessons. We are completing Lesson 11 in Wordly Wise, and will have a joint spelling/Wordly Wise test on Friday.

Reminders:

Wednesday, January 14—Texarkana Symphony Orchestra field trip. Dress uniforms required.

Monday, January 19—Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. NO school.

Friday, January 30—Middle School Talent Show audition forms due. These forms may be submitted to your classroom teacher.

Friday, February 13—Grandparents Day and Book Fair. Early dismissal day.

Class News the Week of January 12 image

Class News the Week of January 12 image

Class News the Week of January 12 image

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01.01.15
Class News the Week of January 5

Happy New Year and welcome back to St. James! I hope that everyone enjoyed a restful holiday break and that students are recharged for 2015. I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday.

We will begin a new writing unit on informational writing, which does exactly what its name describes—informs the reader about a topic. Fifth and sixth graders will dive straight into this genre with descriptive writing. Students will also study word choice and learn how strong words are essential to descriptive writing. In Reading, fifth graders will have a cross-curricular lesson with American history on the New England colonies. We will spend a few days analyzing a reading passage about the five New England colonies. Students will learn both how to paraphrase the reading sections as well as how to use text evidence to support answers to critical thinking questions. Sixth grade will begin a new novel, A Long Way from Chicago, which is a Newbery Honor book about two children’s experiences with their grandmother during the Great Depression.

As it is a short week, there are no spelling or Wordly Wise lessons. Word Study will resume the week of January 12.





Class News the Week of January 5 image

Class News the Week of January 5 image

Class News the Week of January 5 image

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12.06.14
Class News the Week of December 8

I hope that everyone plans for a great weekend. For this week in both 5th and 6th grades, there will be no spelling lesson. Instead, we will focus on the Wordly Wise review from Lessons 1-10. Students received a list of words to study and they are encouraged to begin studying over the weekend. We will review in class as well. The review test will be Friday, December 12.

Fifth graders will continue our New England Colonies study with the Salem Witch Trials. We will engage in a reading of an actual Salem Witch trial transcript. Both classes also will continue to have reading lessons tied to the holiday season: more Christmas Around the World reading passages for 5th grade and A Christmas Carol Reader’s Theater for 6th grade.

Both 5th and 6th grades will have Latin tests this week on their respective chapters. Study guides have already been given.


Please note the following reminders:

Friday, December 12: Picture Retake Day (please bring the original picture packet to school by Friday if you want a retake).

Tuesday, December 16: Candlelight for 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades- 6 p.m.

Thursday, December 18: Candlelight for 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades- 6 p.m. (Thursday is a half day. We will meet at St. James Church in the morning for Candlelight practice and dismiss from the church at 11:30 a.m.)
**I will send an email with more details for Candelight dress and time.

Class News the Week of December 8 image

Class News the Week of December 8 image

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11.29.14
Class News the Week of December 1

It is December! I hope that everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving break and spent time relaxing with family and friends. With only three weeks until the Christmas break, we will be busy in 5th and 6th grades.

This week, both grades will focus on tricky homonyms in our Word Study lessons. Classes will have a spelling test on these words Friday. Although there will be no official Wordly Wise lesson this week, students will be given a list of 25 review words from Lessons 1-10 to prepare for a review test next Friday, December 12.

Fifth graders will finish typing their five-paragraph essays whereas sixth graders will publish theirs after revisions this week. Fifth grade will begin our Colonies unit in American History, studying the Puritans in the New England Colonies. We will analyze why the Puritans came to America and what drove their beliefs. Both classes will have reading lessons tied into the holiday season: Christmas Around the World reading passages for 5th grade and The Gift of the Magi for 6th grade.


Please note the following reminders:

Friday, December 12: Picture Retake Day (only if you want a retake of the individual picture)

Tuesday, December 16: Candlelight for 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades- 6 p.m., St. James Church

Thursday, December 18: Candlelight for 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades- 6 p.m., St. James Church
(Thursday is a half day. We will meet at St. James Church in the morning for Candlelight practice and dismiss from the church at 11:30 a.m. More details to follow.)


Class News the Week of December 1 image

Class News the Week of December 1 image

Class News the Week of December 1 image

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11.15.14
Class News the Week of November 17

Thanksgiving is almost here! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for its simplicity of being grateful for all of our blessings. Thank you to the many parents who are bringing food to our Middle School Thanksgiving Feast on Friday. I was blown away by the immediate response to the sign-up email. A reminder will be sent mid-week.

Fifth grade will engage in an interactive Pilgrims fact find, edit and publish their Little Rock essays, and perform group skits about their predictions about Shiloh’s future. Sixth grade will complete its Mo-Ranch essays and work on their autobiographies. We will have spelling and Wordly Wise lessons this week.

Please note the following reminders:

Nov. 24-28: Thanksgiving break. No school.



Class News the Week of November 17 image

Class News the Week of November 17 image

Class News the Week of November 17 image

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11.08.14
Class News the Week of November 10

Thank you to the sixth grade class for hosting a dazzling Egyptian bazaar this past Friday. The students’ efforts were impressive, and they honed their wares quite convincingly. Fifth graders enjoyed participating as guards and servants. Thank you, too, to Kandice Kimmel for making the delicious Egyptian food, which was mouth-watering to our hungry servants!

This week, we will prepare for the Favorite Author Project presentations on Thursday, revise and edit our personal narrative essays, and wrap up our literature studies in both fifth and sixth grade. There will be no Wordly Wise and spelling lessons this week for either class.

There is a 4th grade Latin test on Chapters 6-7 this Wednesday.

Please note the following reminders:

Tuesday, November 11: Veteran’s Day Chapel service at 8:30 a.m./coffee and doughnuts for veterans to follow at 9 a.m.

Wednesday, November 12: DAR Essay entries due (optional writing contest-only St. James is participating)

Thursday, November 13: Favorite Author Project, 2 p.m.


Class News the Week of November 10 image

Class News the Week of November 10 image

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11.01.14
Class News the Week of November 3

The fall season is zooming by! We are already into November! This has been a busy past week, working on our personal narrative essays about the Little Rock trip and Mo-Ranch, reading in our literature groups, and Thank you to Anita Kurichety for enlightening the middle school students about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Not only did Mrs. Kurichety teach the students the origin and meaning of the holiday, but she also fed them wonderful Indian delicacies. We also threw in a little Halloween fun for good measure. Thank you to the Nichols and Smith families for supplying us with some treats. The students had the chance to engage in some healthy fun and bob for apples on the Kindergarten monkey bars.

This next week, we will continue working on the Favorite Author Project (look for the paragraphs to come home), write more on the personal narratives, and read more of Shiloh. Both fifth and sixth grades will have Wordly Wise and spelling lessons this week.

There is a 4th grade Latin test on Chapters 6-7 this Friday.

Please note the following reminders:

Monday, November 3: Picture payment is due today.

Tuesday, November 4: Picture Day (and Election Day—whatever your preference, please exercise your right to vote)

Wednesday, November 12: DAR Essay entries due (optional writing contest-only St. James is participating)

Thursday, November 13: Favorite Author Project

Class News the Week of November 3 image

Class News the Week of November 3 image

Class News the Week of November 3 image

Class News the Week of November 3 image

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10.26.14
Class News the Week of October 27

What a fantastic field trip our 5th grade class enjoyed on Thursday and Friday! From the group challenges at the Arkansas Outdoor School to the beauty of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and the amazing infrastructure of the U.S.S. Razorback submarine, the students experienced much learning in two days and had fun while doing it. We even had a nice visit from Ms. Cheryl and her daughter, Kendyl, a St. James alumna, who attended our campfire Thursday evening. The class represented our school well. I love watching the students enjoy each other’s company and work together to solve problems.

I am grateful to Lawson’s mother, Hampton’s father, Sebastian’s father, Luke’s mother, and Jacks’ mother for chaperoning this trip and for their care and encouragement of the children. This trip could not have happened without them, and it could not have run so smoothly without Ms. Cheryl organizing everything for us.

This week, we will channel our field trip memories into a five-paragraph narrative essay, continue working on the Favorite Author Project, read more of Shiloh, and resume Wordly Wise (no spelling).

I hope that the sixth grade class enjoyed its Mo Ranch adventure because it, too, will be drafting a five-paragraph essay this week. Students will also continue their literature study groups and complete Wordly Wise Lesson 8.


Please note the following reminders:

Wednesday, October 29: Parent-Teacher Conferences. Early Dismissal at 11:30 a.m. I will be emailing all parents to ask who will be attending after school.

Tuesday, November 4: Picture Day

Monday, November 10: DAR Essay entries due (optional writing contest)

Thursday, November 13: Favorite Author Project

Scholastic book orders for the October flyers are due by this Monday, October 27. Our class code for online orders is L3GPZ.

Class News the Week of October 27 image

Class News the Week of October 27 image

Class News the Week of October 27 image

Class News the Week of October 27 image

Class News the Week of October 27 image

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10.18.14
Class News the Week of October 20

We take learning outside the classroom with our 5th grade class trip to the 4-H Arkansas Outdoor School and Little Rock this week. The students grow more excited day by day, and I will be preparing them for what to expect from of this experience.

With our class trip, 5th graders will have only three days of instruction, so there are no spelling or Wordly Wise lessons this week. We will spend that class time working on the Favorite Author Project.

Sixth grade has no spelling or Wordly Wise lessons either, but the class will take a Latin test on Chapters 14-17 Monday before it heads to the Mo Ranch trip.

Please note the following reminders:

Thursday, October 23-Friday, October 24: 5th Grade Field Trip

Wednesday, October 29: Parent-Teacher Conferences. Early Dismissal at 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, November 13: Favorite Author Project

Scholastic book orders for the October flyers are due by Monday, October 27. Our class code for online orders is L3GPZ.

Class News the Week of October 20 image

Class News the Week of October 20 image

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10.11.14
Class News the Week of October 13

Last week, fifth and sixth grade students took their writing notebooks outside to explore the campus and find something meaningful to them on campus about which to write. I really enjoyed watching the classes spread out and sit quietly to do their best writing. All students engaged well in this process. Sometimes we need to get out of our desks and into nature to shift our perspectives for deeper thinking.

This week brings a new student to the fifth grade class—a girl, which is especially exciting for our three girls. The boys are looking forward to Ryan joining our class, too, and I know that all students will give her a warm welcome and help her learn our routines.

Please note that there is only a spelling test this week for 5th and 6th grades; there will not be a test on Wordly Wise lesson 7. We will complete an in-class activity with Wordly Wise words instead.

Please return the 5th grade field trip forms by Tuesday. We have no school Monday to honor the Columbus Day holiday. The holiday coincides with our study of Christopher Columbus and other explorers in American History this week.

Scholastic book orders for the October flyers are due by October 27.


Class News the Week of October 13 image

Class News the Week of October 13 image

Class News the Week of October 13 image

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10.04.14
Class News the Week of October 6

What wonderful Native American presentations fifth graders gave on Tuesday! Each student explained his or her research very well and some showed homemade items that they had created based on their research. I love watching students engage with a project. Some photos of the presentations are displayed below.

In fifth grade this week, I will announce another project, the Favorite Author project, which will be due November 13. Students will select their favorite author by the end of the week, and we will begin researching in class next week. More information will come home this week.

Please note that there is a 5th grade Latin quiz this week in addition to the regular spelling and Wordly Wise test. Fourth grade also has a Latin test.

Sixth grade has a lighter week, as its Latin quiz was last week. Sixth graders will be engaging in more autobiography work this week and meeting in their literature groups.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend!


Class News the Week of October 6 image

Class News the Week of October 6 image

Class News the Week of October 6 image

Class News the Week of October 6 image

Class News the Week of October 6 image

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09.27.14
Class News the Week of September 29

This week brings more writing in fifth and sixth grades. We will be publishing our narratives, writing letters to United States veterans, and constructing sentences and stories using our spelling and vocabulary words. Sixth graders will begin their first literature study of the year, and fifth graders will present their Native American group projects on Tuesday. I have been impressed with the enthusiasm for this project and with the interaction between group members. The students are working together nicely to ensure that each component of the project is completed.

The Innisbrook fundraiser deadline is this Friday, October 3. Packets may be returned to the classroom or to the main office. Thank you for supporting St. James in this endeavor.

School directory ads are due September 30. These ads help to pay for publication of the school directory.

The annual Gayble Moss Memorial Tennis and Golf Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 at Northridge Country Club. Students enjoy this event and funds raised support scholarships at the school.


Class News the Week of September 29 image

Class News the Week of September 29 image

Class News the Week of September 29 image

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09.19.14
Class News the Week of September 22

We have a lighter test load this week—only Friday’s spelling and Wordly Wise test, but we will begin publishing our first pieces of writing! Students are so eager to write a story and then say that they are finished and do not want to change or add to their work. Yet, we are learning that writing has stages and that our writing grows with each stage—last week we revised and this week, we will edit and then publish and share our work. We are blessed with creative writers in fifth and sixth grade!

Three forms went home Thursday in folders:

The Innisbrook fundraiser is in progress from September 19-October 3.

School directory are due September 30.

The annual Gayble Moss Memorial Tennis and Golf Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 at Northridge Country Club. Funds raised support scholarships at the school. Forms went home last week, and I have more if needed.

Thank you for supporting St. James in these endeavors!

Class News the Week of September 22 image

Class News the Week of September 22 image

Class News the Week of September 22 image

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09.14.14
Class News the Week of September 15

I hope that everyone is enjoying the weekend. We have been treated to some lovely weather!

We have quite a busy week mixed with some fun activities and two quizzes. Please note that there is a Latin quiz for 5th and 6th grades this week-- our first of the year-- on Thursday for 5th grade and on Wednesday for 6th grade. The Spelling Test/Wordly Wise Test is on Friday. We are studying Wordly Wise Lesson 3 this week.

Now, for the fun...September 15 is International Dot Day, as established by Peter Reynolds, the author of the wonderful picture book, The Dot. In this book, a little girl believes that she is a failure at drawing. The girl's art teacher asks her to make her mark, which the girl does with a dot. The teacher tells the girl to sign the page. The actual taking ownership of her dot raises the girl's confidence, and she unleashes her creativity with more dots. She also helps to pay it forward at the end of the book to a little boy who feels his own frustration. The Dot encourages children everywhere to "make their mark", and 5th and 6th graders will be doing the same, with our own marks. Of course, as we are writers, we will be writing our thoughts about our dots and where they will take us this year.

Our dots will be on display in the commons, so please come visit our works of art this week.

I am running into difficulty trying to upload the "What We are Learning This Week" files, so please look at your email account for that information. I have emailed it to all parents. Thank you.

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09.06.14
Class News the Week of September 8

We begin our first full week of school, which will be a week of "firsts"-- our first Technology and Library classes this year, our first Reader's Notebook letters, and our first spelling tests. I am looking forward to a fantastic week of learning.

Please place Scholastic book orders online using our class code (included on the front page of the form) by this Friday, September 12. Thank you to all of you who have placed orders!

Class News the Week of September 8 image

Class News the Week of September 8 image

Class News the Week of September 8 image

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08.31.14
Class News the Week of September 1

What an excellent first week of school! Students got to know each other a little better, learned routines and rules for our classroom, and worked on reading and writing. We are on our way to creating a strong community of learners this year.

Please see the boxes below for each grade's plans for this week.

Scholastic book catalogs went home in the folders last Thursday. Orders need to be placed online with the class code on the front page of the form. Please place your order by Friday, September 12, as I will submit the entire order on Saturday, September 13.


Class News the Week of September 1 image

Class News the Week of September 1 image

Class News the Week of September 1 image

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08.23.14
Welcome Back

I hope that everyone has had a fantastic summer full of equal parts adventure and relaxation! I also hope that you are ready to return to school as much as I am. We have a wonderful year in store for us, one full of reading, writing, exploring, questioning, translating, and learning from each other.

A couple of important notes:

5th Grade Meet the Teacher: 5:50 p.m. in Mr. Primm's Room/6:30 p.m. in Mrs. Jordan's room

6th Grade Meet the Teacher: 5:50 p.m. in Mrs. Jordan's Room/6:30 p.m. in Mr. Primm's room

Please do attend these meetings, as we will discuss our plans and expectations for the school year. Please bring school supplies.

I cannot wait to see your sweet children (and you) and hear all about their summer escapades!

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05.25.14
Class News the Week of May 26

I hope that everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. As we wind down the year in the middle school, we prepare for our Roman Feast, where students live like ancient Romans for a day through entertainment, display of their mythological knowledge, and of course, eating. Reminders about costumes and the meal sign-up will come via email this week.

Sixth grade finishes its autobiographies this week, and fifth grade continues to learn about the Civil War through our textbook reading and in computer class, with QR codes about the major battles developed by teams of students.

Upcoming Events:

5th Grade Progressive Dinner-- Tuesday, May 27, 5:30 p.m.
Middle School Roman Feast-- Tuesday, June 3, 10 a.m.
Graduation & Closing Exercises-- Thursday, June 5, 5:30 p.m.

Class News the Week of May 26 image

Class News the Week of May 26 image

Class News the Week of May 26 image

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05.17.14
Class News the Week of May 19

Although our class work be may be slowing down in anticipation of the end of the school year, we are only shifting gears toward a variety of projects. Sixth graders are completing their autobiographies this week. Both fifth and sixth graders are reading novels of their own choosing, and will present those novels to class the last week of school, hopefully inspiring some summer reading among their peers! Finally, all middle school students are preparing for the Roman Feast by researching their deities.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, May 23: Field Day (early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.)
Tuesday, May 27: Progressive Dinner (5th Grade)
Tuesday, June 3: Roman Feast
Thursday, June 5: Graduation (early dismissal from St. James Church at 11:30 a.m.)


Class News the Week of May 19 image

Class News the Week of May 19 image

Class News the Week of May 19 image

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05.04.14
Class News the Week of May 5

It's hard to believe that this school year has only five weeks remaining! Students worked hard last week and quite creatively, as fifth graders learned how to balance both consumer demands and costs of production while attempting to make an ice cream sundae that was mutually beneficial to both buyer and seller, as seen in our photo below. Sixth graders completed their novel web quests, and the Walk Two Moons readers presented their enticing road trip brochures to Lewiston, Idaho. We look forward to reading Hatchet readers' survival guide on Monday.

Upcoming Events:

Medieval Fair-- Friday, May 9, 9 a.m.
Field Day-- Friday, May 23
5th Grade Progressive Dinner-- Tuesday, May 27


Class News the Week of May 5 image

Class News the Week of May 5 image

Class News the Week of May 5 image

Class News the Week of May 5 image

Class News the Week of May 5 image

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04.27.14
Class News the Week of April 28

What beautiful weather for the 65th birthday party and the Gala this weekend! My family enjoyed both events, and it was great to visit with the wonderful parents and others who support our school.

This week, both 5th and 6th grade will review American government vocabulary in Word Study. Fifth grade will also learn the general principles of the free enterprise system and put supply and demand into action with ice cream sundaes. In Language Arts, we will study figurative language. Fifth grade will embark on independent novels and sixth grade will complete web quests on their class novels. In Latin, fourth grade will learn the future verb tense, fifth grade will begin a new chapter, and sixth grade will complete its final review chapter and translate stories. In all Latin classes, we will engage in preliminary work regarding the Roman Feast.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, May 9- Medieval Fair (5th and 6th grades)
Friday, May 23- Field Day
Tuesday, May 27- 5th grade Progressive Dinner
Tuesday, June 3- Roman Feast


Class News the Week of April 28 image

Class News the Week of April 28 image

Class News the Week of April 28 image

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04.18.14
Class News the Week of April 21

I wish a happy and blessed Easter for all. When we resume classes Tuesday, fifth grade will complete Found, our class novel, and also move to a different type of poetry-- the concrete poem. We have had so much fun learning about poetry and creating poems-- the students have taken to this unit. Come visit our poet-ree outside the classroom for a little inspiration!

Sixth grade will publish its 65th anniversary magazine and we will review and evaluate the finished product. We will also continue reading our class novels. In Latin, we have reached the final review chapter of our book, and will spend a couple of weeks reviewing all that the students have learned in the last year.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, April 25- 65th Anniversary Celebration, St. James Campus, 6-8 p.m.-- family-friendly
Saturday, April 26- St. James Gala, Texarkana Country Club, 7:30 p.m.

Class News the Week of April 21 image

Class News the Week of April 21 image

Class News the Week of April 21 image

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04.12.14
Class News the Week of April 14

As we enter Holy Week, classes will work more intensely on our lessons. Fifth grade will publish its free verse poems about weather, and move on to learning cinquains. The class also will continue to read Found and diagram the plot. In our Lewis and Clark study, the fourth graders will test out our St. James map to see if our coordinates and landmarks lead them to some hidden treasure!

Sixth grade will continue to create the 65th anniversary magazine, read and discuss their novels in the literature study groups and write readers' letters in their notebooks.

Both classes will have a Latin test this week-- Wednesday for fifth grade and Thursday for sixth grade.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, April 25-- 65th Anniversary celebration, 6-8 p.m., St. James campus
Saturday, April 26-- St. James Gala, 7 p.m., Texarkana Country Club

Class News the Week of April 14 image

Class News the Week of April 14 image

Class News the Week of April 14 image

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04.05.14
Class News the Week of April 7

The students' efforts in musical practice paid off with a grand Spring Musical Friday! What a great evening and showcase of St. James' talent in speaking, singing, and movement. Thank you, Mrs. Faulkner.

This week brings poetry to 5th grade, in celebration of National Poetry Month, and more magazine work for the 6th grade. Both classes will continue to read their class novels.
Fifth grade will begin westward expansion with the Louisiana Purchase and the discoveries of Lewis and Clark. We will become explorers ourselves and engage in map-making of the St. James campus, complete with compass points and landmarks. Both 5th and 6th grade will proceed to their next Latin chapter, and 4th grade Latin students take a quiz this Thursday on Chapters 16 and 17.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, April 18 & Monday, April 21-- no school (Easter holidays)
Friday, April 25-- 65th Anniversary Celebration on campus, 6-8 p.m.
Saturday, April 26-- St. James Gala, Texarkana Country Club, 7 p.m.

Class News the Week of April 7 image

Class News the Week of April 7 image

Class News the Week of April 7 image

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03.29.14
Class News the Week of March 31

This week will focus on reading class novels and discussing them in both fifth and sixth grade. Sixth grade will also continue to work on the 65th anniversary magazine project.

We have two early dismissal days-- Thursday and Friday. If your child will attend after school on Friday, please notify me. Please take note of these reminders:

Wednesday, April 2-- Spring pictures payment and unwanted photos due
Thursday, April 3-- Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m./Parent-Teacher conferences (sign up on SignUp Genius)
Friday, April 4-- Spring Musical rehearsal at the Sullivan Theatre--8:30 a.m./Early dismissal from theatre--11:30 a.m.
Spring Musical, 7 p.m., Sullivan Theatre


Class News the Week of March 31 image

Class News the Week of March 31 image

Class News the Week of March 31 image

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03.22.14
Class News the Week of March 24

What a great week of learning we had in the Middle School. Sixth grade began its magazine project for St. James' 65th anniversary and fifth grade students presented their personal artistic representations of the setting and plot from the novel Holes (we even ate a Camp Green Lake cake designed and baked by one of our students!). Fifth graders also practiced their United States geography skills, and fourth graders learned a new verb tense in Latin.

This week brings new class novels for fifth and sixth grades, and more in-depth study of the Latin imperfect tense for fourth grade.

Reminders:

Thursday, April 3: Parent-Teacher Conferences. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
Friday, April 4: Spring Musical, 7 p.m., Sullivan Theatre. Early dismissal after morning rehearsal at the theatre.



Class News the Week of March 24 image

Class News the Week of March 24 image

Class News the Week of March 24 image

Class News the Week of March 24 image

Class News the Week of March 24 image

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03.13.14
Class News the Week of March 21

I hope that everyone has enjoyed the spring break. Having some rest and relaxation does help us all recharge and be ready for more learning (myself included). I look forward to the students' stories about their activities.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, both fifth grade and sixth grade classes will write limericks on Monday. I hope that this will be a fun exercise. This week is a short week for 6th grade, so there is no spelling test. Sixth grade will still have a Wordly Wise lesson due this week, though. Fifth grade has a typical week, with spelling and Wordly Wise. Fifth grade will present their Holes projects on Tuesday, and I am eager to see their creativity in action.



Class News the Week of March 21 image

Class News the Week of March 21 image

Class News the Week of March 21 image

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03.01.14
Class News the Week of March 3

We have quite a busy week in store for us. 5th and 6th grade Latin students will take the National Latin Exam Tuesday during class. Sixth graders will also present their final projects on their class novels this week, as well as attend "The Miracle Worker" at the Perot Theatre Monday. Fifth graders will have some class time to work on their Holes final projects. As always, we will read independent books and write me letters in our readers' notebooks, to which I respond. I look forward to these "conversations" we have about books and what the students glean from their reading. We culminate the week with the Middle School Talent Show.

Fourth graders also have a Latin quiz this week on Chapter 14 and 15.

Reminders for this Week:

Monday, March 3-- 6th grade to the Perot Theatre-- Dress Uniforms Required/NLE Review 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 4-- National Latin Exam
Wednesday, March 5-- Talent Show Dress Rehearsal after school (in the gym)
Wednesday, March 5-- Spring Picture forms & money due
Friday, March 7-- Spring Picture Day/Middle School Talent Show- 1:15 p.m. (gym)/ice cream social to follow

Class News the Week of March 3 image

Class News the Week of March 3 image

Class News the Week of March 3 image

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02.23.14
Class News the Week of February 24

What a beautiful weekend! I hope that our students took advantage of the warm weather and played in the sun.

Fifth and sixth grade wrap up their class novels this week. Each student will work on a final project to demonstrate his or her individual artistic interpretation of the novel as a whole or a specific element of the novel. Regular spelling and Wordly Wise lessons resume. We will also review for the National Latin Exam, which occurs next Tuesday.

Upcoming Events:

Monday, March 3: 6th Grade Perot Theatre field trip for "The Miracle Worker"-- drivers needed (please notify me if you can drive).
Tuesday, March 4: National Latin Exam
Wednesday, March 5: Middle School Talent Show after-school rehearsal (MS commons)
Friday, March 7: Middle School Talent Show (afternoon in the gym)





Class News the Week of February 24 image

Class News the Week of February 24 image

Class News the Week of February 24 image

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02.15.14
Class News the Week of February 17

What a week for our middle school students! Fifth and sixth grade students were engaged in reading, writing, and learning on many levels, from Latin vocabulary flyswatter and a Dust Bowl webquest to an reenactment of Paul Revere's midnight ride in American history. Fourth grade students worked hard on an in-depth Latin review chapter; I enjoyed watching students help each other and use some deductive skills to find the answers.

This week, fifth grade and sixth grade students will continue to read and discuss our class novels, read and write about some of our country's Presidents, and try to put ourselves in the shoes of the President (not ones I would want to fit personally!). We also will be busy finalizing our Grandparents Day presentations. We look forward to welcoming grandparents and special friends on Friday.

Reminders:

Friday, February 21: Grandparents and Special Friends Day, 8 a.m. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday, March 4: National Latin Exam (in class)

Friday, March 7: Middle School Talent Show, time TBA



Class News the Week of February 17 image

Class News the Week of February 17 image

Class News the Week of February 17 image

Class News the Week of February 17 image

Class News the Week of February 17 image

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02.09.14
Class News the Week of February 10

I hope that everyone enjoyed the little bit of snow on Friday evening and Saturday morning. This week may bring a little more. This week also brings the conclusion of the Science Fair research paper so that students can focus on their display boards. As a person who does not have a scientific mind, I have enjoyed reading about the students' projects. I have definitely learned a few things!

Reminders:

Science Fair Final Paper due Monday, February 10
Grandparents Day-- Friday, February 21 at 8:30 a.m. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.

Class News the Week of February 10 image

Class News the Week of February 10 image

Class News the Week of February 10 image

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02.01.14
Class News the Week of February 3

Fifth and sixth graders are reading class novels, and this week, our word study lessons will include vocabulary and spelling words from those novels. Through some interactive vocabulary activities, we will study how words can change meaning depending on the context in which they are used.

Fifth graders have begun our history unit preceding the American Revolution. We will learn about the Stamp Acts and Boston Massacre this week. Students will walk in the shoes of the American colonists as they play a game in which they will learn what it feels like to be taxed without any representation.

Fourth grade Latin students will review the first twelve chapters of our text this week. Can you believe that they have already mastered 100 Latin words and it's only February?

Upcoming Events:

Monday, February 3-- Science Fair Research Paper Draft Due
Monday, February 10-- Science Fair Final Research Paper Due
Friday, February 21-- Grandparents Day. Early Dismissal at 11:30 a.m.







Class News the Week of February 3 image

Class News the Week of February 3 image

Class News the Week of February 3 image

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01.26.14
Class News the Week of January 27

The countdown is on to the Science Fair. With the outlines complete, this week fifth and sixth grade will begin to draft their research papers. We will concentrate on creating strong introductions and organizing the body of the paper to explain the experiments.
As a counterpart to our writing, we will start new novels this week. Fifth grade will read the Newbery-award winning Holes, whereas sixth grade will focus on the historical novels about the Great Depression, Out of the Dust (Newbery winner) and a Long Way from Chicago (Newbery Honor book).

Class News the Week of January 27 image

Class News the Week of January 27 image

Class News the Week of January 27 image

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01.20.14
Class News the Week of January 20

I hope that everyone enjoyed the beautiful three-day weekend.

Fifth and sixth graders will engage in a good amount of writing this week, as we finish the last of the non-fiction text structures-- problem and solution. This type of text structure should factor into many science fair papers. As students work on their experiments, they will note that if something does not go as planned, there may be a problem in the design, thus prompting the determination of a solution. We will learn the format that problem and solution takes when it is written, as well as writing our own paragraphs presenting a problem and solution, and including the signal words in our spelling stories.

Upcoming Events this Week:

Science Fair Research Outline is due this Friday, January 24th. It must be typed and printed.

Class News the Week of January 20 image

Class News the Week of January 20 image

Class News the Week of January 20 image

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01.12.14
Class News the Week of January 13

Fifth and sixth grade students worked hard this last week despite being restricted to indoor activities most of the week. I believe that we all are looking forward to nicer, calmer weather this week.

Please remember that we have a field trip to the Perot Theatre on Wednesday, January 15th for a performance by the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra. We will leave immediately following lunch. Dress uniforms are required on Wednesday.


Another week awaits us, full of reading, writing, and translating! There are a few tests this week, so please note them below.



Class News the Week of January 13 image

Class News the Week of January 13 image

Class News the Week of January 13 image

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12.31.13
Class News the Week of January 6

Happy New Year to all! I hope that everyone enjoyed a restful break. We will start this week reviewing some concepts in Latin and history. We also begin a non-fiction unit in Language Arts. I look forward to seeing the students and hearing about their adventures over their vacation.



Class News the Week of January 6 image

Class News the Week of January 6 image

Class News the Week of January 6 image

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12.14.13
Class News the Week of December 16

As our last week before the Christmas break approaches, we will engage in some fun educational activities in Latin and Language Arts. Please see these below. Parents are welcome at the 6th grade's performance of "A Christmas Carol" on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.
I wish your families a merry Christmas, a restful break, and I will see you in the New Year.

REMINDERS:

Candlelight Rehearsal at St. James Church-- Thursday, December 19, 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Drop off is 8:15-8:30
Please pick up your child promptly at 11:30 a.m.
**No Afterschool program on Thursday
6 p.m. Thursday-- meet in the Parish Hall for Candlelight (the service begins at 6:30 p.m.)




Class News the Week of December 16 image

Class News the Week of December 16 image

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12.08.13
Class News the Week of December 9

Although we are fast approaching the Christmas break, we are still busy reading, writing, analyzing, and translating in the Middle School. Check out what is in store for us this week.

Reminders:
Photo retake forms are due Monday, December 9
Candlelight-- Thursday, December 19 (early dismissal following the morning rehearsal in the church)



Class News the Week of December 9 image

Class News the Week of December 9 image

Class News the Week of December 9 image

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12.01.13
Class News the Week of December 2

Welcome back after Thanksgiving! I hope that a restful break and happy Thanksgiving was enjoyed by all. I count teaching at St. James as one of my blessings, and I am happy to start this week fresh and ready to engage with my students.

Here is what we will be doing:

Class News the Week of December 2 image

Class News the Week of December 2 image

Class News the Week of December 2 image

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11.17.13
Class News the Week of November 18

As we near Thanksgiving, American History finds us exploring the first English settlements in America-- Jamestown in Virginia followed by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We will study both of these settlements in connection with Language Arts through reading short stories about Thanksgiving celebrations, analyzing a primary source document about the first Thanksgiving in 1621, and also writing narratives about being thankful ourselves. We plan on a great week!

Class News the Week of November 18 image

Class News the Week of November 18 image

Class News the Week of November 18 image

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11.09.13
Class News the Week of November 11

We are expecting a week of great writing from our 6th graders about their 4-H trip, from our 5th graders about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I am curious to learn if there are various methods), and great translation from all middle school students in their Latin lessons!

We hope that you enjoy your week as much as we are planning to enjoy ours.



Class News the Week of November 11 image

Class News the Week of November 11 image

Class News the Week of November 11 image

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11.03.13
Class News the Week of November 4

The sixth grade class is off on their trip most of this week, but we are moving along in fifth grade and in fourth grade Latin! We have much happening this week, so please take note:

Reminders:

Monday, November 4-- DAR Essays due
Thursday, November 7-- Parent/Teacher Conferences. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
Friday, November 8-- 5th Grade Favorite Author Projects. 10 a.m. Middle School Commons

Friday, November 8-- Deadline for picture packets (payment due with packets). Class and individual photos will be taken Tuesday, November 12.

Class News the Week of November 4 image

Class News the Week of November 4 image

Class News the Week of November 4 image

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10.26.13
Class News the Week of October 28

I hope that everyone will enjoy the Fall Festival this weekend. A big thank you goes to all St. James parents for helping to make this event fun for the children, and special thanks goes to our own Montano family for the haunted house!

A couple of reminders for upcoming events:

Friday, November 1-- DAR Essays due for 5th and 6th grades
Thursday, November 7-- Parent/Teacher Conferences. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
Friday, November 8-- 5th Grade Favorite Author Presentations

Class News the Week of October 28 image

Class News the Week of October 28 image

Class News the Week of October 28 image

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10.19.13
Class News the Week of October 21

What a beautiful weekend it has been so far! I hope that the next week brings the same lovely weather.

We have been writing and writing in Language Arts, practicing our declensions and conjugations in Latin, and of course, reading! Check out some photos of our students in action below.

Reminders:

Thursday, October 24-- Field Trip to the Perot for 5th grade. We will leave at 8:45 a.m. Dress uniforms are required.
Saturday, October 26-- Fall Festival, St. James Day School Gym, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 7th-- Parent/Teacher Conferences. Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
Friday, November 8th-- Favorite Author presentations for 5th grade in the Middle School commons.

Class News the Week of October 21 image

Class News the Week of October 21 image

Class News the Week of October 21 image

Class News the Week of October 21 image

Class News the Week of October 21 image

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10.14.13
Class News the Week of October 14

It's a short week, but we plan on a busy one of writing, reading, and learning!

A few reminders:

Friday, October 18: Fundraising packets for Innisbrook and Fresh Country are due.
Thursday, October 24: Perot Theatre field trip for Let's Go Science, 9:30 a.m. We will depart from school at 8:45 a.m.
Saturday, October 26: Fall Festival, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 1: DAR Essay Contest due for 5th & 6th grade
Friday, November 8: 5th grade Favorite Author Project presentations






Class News the Week of October 14 image

Class News the Week of October 14 image

Class News the Week of October 14 image

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10.05.13
Class News the Week of October 7

We are planning on another wonderful week of learning! There will be a good amount of review in word study, as well as our weekly Wednesday writing exercises and daily reading.

Just a few notes for 5th grade:

Fundraising packets are due Friday, October 18.
The Favorite Author Project is due Friday, November 8. We will be doing some in-class research this week.

The Daughters of the American Revolution essays is due Friday, November 1. The information I sent home in the red homework folders is detailed, but please ask me if you have any questions.

Enjoy your week...we plan to do just that!

Class News the Week of October 7 image

Class News the Week of October 7 image

Class News the Week of October 7 image

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09.29.13
Class News the Week of September 30

Looking forward to a wonderful week! Please check out below what we will be reading, writing, and translating.

Please note that fundraising packets will go home Tuesday. Progress reports will be emailed Tuesday as well.

Upcoming Dates
Friday, Oct. 4-- Gayble Moss Memorial Golf and Tennis Tournament/Kids Game Night




Class News the Week of September 30 image

Class News the Week of September 30 image

Class News the Week of September 30 image

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09.22.13
Class News the Week of September 23

Please see our plans for this week below.

Class News the Week of September 23 image

Class News the Week of September 23 image

Class News the Week of September 23 image

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09.15.13
Class News the Week of September 16

General Notes for the Week:

Scholastic Book Orders are due this Friday, September 20. The form may be brought in with payment, or orders submitted online through our class code on the front of the form. The website is http://www.scholastic.com/reading club. You will need to register at the website to place an order online. Please contact me with any questions. Thank you!

Class News the Week of September 16 image

Class News the Week of September 16 image

Class News the Week of September 16 image

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09.08.13
Class News the Week of September 9

We had another wonderful week last week, reading and writing in Language Arts and history, and studying Latin. We spent some time outside before the heat grew oppressive, brainstorming about an important school memory. This week brings our first spelling/Wordly Wise vocabulary tests on Friday.

General Notes for 5th Grade:

Submissions for the School Directory Drawing contest are due Monday, September 9.

Please return Scholastic Book Order forms or place orders online using our class code (included on the front page of the form) by Friday, September 20th.



Class News the Week of September 9 image

Class News the Week of September 9 image

Class News the Week of September 9 image

Class News the Week of September 9 image

Class News the Week of September 9 image

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09.02.13
Class News the Week of September 2

Happy September! This Yankee teacher smells fall in the air (at least I am trying to conjure images of leaves falling and apple cider). Please take a look below at some photos of our 5th and 6th grade class work last week.


GENERAL NOTES FOR 5TH GRADE:

Dress Uniforms for our first all-school Chapel Tuesday, September 3.
Scholastic Book Order forms will go home Tuesday. Please return forms or place orders online using our class code by Friday, September 20th.

Submissions for the School Directory Drawing contest are due Monday, September 9.

5TH GRADE
WHAT WE ARE LEARNING THE WEEK OF SEPT. 2

LANGUAGE ARTS:
Reading:
Continue reading independent reading books
Different Kinds of Fiction and Non-Fiction
How to use sticky notes to jot down questions about our reading
How to use Reader’s Notebooks to write weekly letters to Mrs. Jordan about our reading

Writing:
Using Writer’s Notebooks to gather seeds for writing
The purpose of sketching—its use in sparking writing

LATIN:
Complete Chapter 13 review chapter by this Friday (complete at home if not done by Wed. class).
Weekly Derivative will be given Wednesday. The derivative and its definition is due Friday. (may be completed in class)

HISTORY:
Chapter 2, Lesson 1 Build Our Nation
How Early People Developed in America


6TH GRADE
WHAT WE ARE LEARNING THE WEEK OF SEPT. 2

LANGUAGE ARTS:
Reading:
Continue reading independent reading books
Different Kinds of Fiction and Non-Fiction
How to use sticky notes to jot down questions about our reading
How to use Reader’s Notebooks to write weekly letters to Mrs. Jordan about our reading

Writing:
Using Writer’s Notebooks to gather seeds for writing
The purpose of sketching—its use in sparking writing
Using a prop to generate writing (bring in family photo—this is a seed for autobiographical writing)

LATIN:
Complete Chapter 10 review chapter/prepositions review
Weekly Derivative will be given on Tuesday. It is due Friday (may be completed in class).



4TH GRADE LATIN
WHAT WE ARE LEARNING THE WEEK OF SEPT. 2

Review Chapter 1 vocabulary words and complete chapter worksheet.
1st conjugation for verbs – present tense
How English words derive from our Latin vocabulary words.

Class News the Week of September 2 image

Class News the Week of September 2 image

Class News the Week of September 2 image

Class News the Week of September 2 image

Class News the Week of September 2 image

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08.24.13
Class News the Week of August 26th

Welcome back! I know that everyone has enjoyed the summer break. I am eager to hear about your adventures. Another wonderful school year awaits us.

I am excited to add 5th & 6th grade Language Arts to my teaching this year. We will engage in much reading, writing, and thinking in English as well as Latin!

For those of you visiting this page routinely, I will list the classes by these headings: 5th grade Language Arts/History/Latin, 6th grade Language Arts/Latin, and 4th grade Latin.
Please look for specific class information posted under these headings. For 5th grade general information, I will list it as the first paragraph on the blog. I will update this blog weekly.

We will spend this first week reviewing concepts and learning my teaching methods for this year.

I look forward to seeing everyone at Meet the Teacher on Sunday, August 26th. The 5th/6th grade class meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School commons. We will then separate into individual class meetings in our rooms at 7 p.m. Please bring school supplies on Sunday evening.

Please note that regular school uniforms can be worn on Tuesday, August 27th. Our first Big Chapel will be held on September 3.



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04.28.13
Latin & History News the Week of April 29

6TH GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

We will begin this week with European empires, as we study the power struggles among Great Britain, France, and Spain to be the greatest countries in the late 19th century. The class will also review economics concepts, including the free enterprise system, and engage in a supply and demand lesson involving ice cream!

5th GRADE AMERICAN HISTORY

The class moves out west again this week, as we journey along the Oregon Trail and mine for gold in California. Seven more states will be added to the Union as result of mining in the West. We will also review government concepts, including consent of the governed, and elements of the Constitution.


5TH/6TH GRADE LATIN

The Roman Feast is here—this Friday! The classes have been busy preparing—practicing the play and learning about their deities. We will continue to rehearse this week, but no week is complete without some sentence translation. Therefore, on Tuesday and Wednesday, students will continue to translate cardinal and ordinal number sentences before we work on Roman Feast details.

4TH GRADE LATIN

We are going to take a break from our chapters this week to translate sentences and to also prepare the 4th graders’ part in the Roman Feast. They will create menus in Latin as well as study for the Mythology Jeopardy game.


UPCOMING EVENTS

All Latin Classes: Friday, May 3—Roman Feast—9 a.m. (amphitheater)


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04.21.13
Latin & History News the Week of April 22

6th grade Ancient Civilizations

What fantastic presentations all of the students did on the Renaissance Awards last Friday! I am proud of their efforts on their outlines, slides and their creative awards. This week, we move along to the Age of Revolutions, studying the Scientific, Industrial and French Revolutions. After learning about the events occurring during these fast-paced times, the class will engage in short writing exercises on these topics.

5th grade American History

We will begin the week with persuasive writing about the Reform movements of the 1830s and 1840s; students will choose either the anti-slavery, women's rights, education or temperance movements and advocate for their cause. Then, we will study events occurring simultaneously as the Reform movements, but in our own state of Texas-- its fight for independence from Mexico and annexation into the United States.

5th/6th Latin

The classes have learned Latin cardinal numbers one through ten, and this week, they will learn the ordinal numbers--first, second, etc. Students have been translating sentences with the numbers as adjectives, and they have been reinforcing their grammar skills through these exercises. We will do more this week, as we also work on our play for the Roman Feast on May 3. Students should be preparing their costumes for the feast and learning about their deity's symbol and/or interesting facts.

4th Grade Latin

The class has learned Chapters 21 and 22, and it will have a quiz on these chapters this Thursday. We will review vocabulary and the present and imperfect tenses of the verb "to be"--sum, essential, fui, futurus--one of our most common verbs. Students are also studying up on Roman mythology for their participation as Jeopardy contestants at the Roman Feast.

Upcoming Events

4th Grade Latin Quiz-Chapters 21 and 22--Thursday, April 25

Roman Feast-4th through 6th grades-- Friday, May 3

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04.14.13
Latin & History News the Week of April 15

6TH GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

We have been revisiting European Explorers, a topic learned in American History. After we complete this lesson Monday, the students will write paragraphs about the impact that exploration in the 1400-1500s made on the world at that time. We will then study the Scientific Revolution, where students will make connections about how communication with other cultures broadened horizons in the natural world.

This Friday, we will host the Renaissance Academy Awards in the classroom. I am looking forward to the students’ presentations and their awarding of the winners!

5th GRADE AMERICAN HISTORY

The class will continue learning the effects of industrialization upon America. This week, we will focus on how geography, resources and society played a role in shaping the economic growth of the North and the South. The students will write paragraphs about these topics. We will also study the reform movements against slavery and in favor of women’s rights. My goal is that, with these lessons, the class will be able to foreshadow the future of North-South relations.

5TH/6TH GRADE LATIN

Last week, the classes created their own Latin sentences using prepositions. We will continue to see prepositions in all of our classwork and chapters, including this week’s chapter about cardinal numbers. The students’ knowledge of Spanish numbers will help them in learning Latin cardinal numbers one through ten. We will practice sentence translation and case function by using cardinal numbers as adjectives. We will also work on the Roman Feast play.

4TH GRADE LATIN

With a short week last week, the class worked hard on their vocabulary in Chapter 21, and did a great job translating sentences. We will review Chapter 21 before we begin Chapter 22 this week. The class will also learn more about Roman mythology, with a focus on the twelve major Roman Gods.


UPCOMING EVENTS

6th GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS: Friday, April 19—Renaissance Academy Awards
All Latin Classes: Friday, May 3—Roman Feast

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04.07.13
Latin & History News the Week of April 8

6TH GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

Last week we studied the Reformation; this week, the class will learn about cultural centers throughout history such as the Ottoman Empire and the Ming Dynasty. The class will also have some time Monday to work on the Keynote slides for their Renaissance project. The outlines for each Renaissance individual are due this Friday, April 12. An email reminder will be sent home Monday.

5th GRADE AMERICAN HISTORY

The students will continue their study of westward expansion with President Andrew Jackson’s election by frontiersmen and his involvement in the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which brought about a negative side of our past with the Cherokee Indians’ Trail of Tears. We will then move on to the Industrial Revolution, which will segue nicely into an economics lesson about the free enterprise system. This lesson will be followed by an interactive lesson about supply and demand featuring food!

5TH/6TH GRADE LATIN

Prepositions—they’re back! With all of our focus lately on case function, the classes will resurrect their knowledge of the most common Latin prepositions and work on translating them with the proper noun cases. There will be a brief quiz on Friday wherein students will be given a list of Latin nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions from which they will create 3 sentences in Latin that are grammatically correct—using the correct noun/adjective case with the correct preposition as well as verb. Please also look for an email this week about the Roman Feast, which will be held on Friday, May 3.

4TH GRADE LATIN

This week is a short one for 4th grade Latin, with only two class periods. We will start Chapter 21 and learn the vocabulary and grammar concepts, as well as continue to translate basic sentences using the three verb tenses learned so far.


UPCOMING EVENTS

5TH/6TH GRADE LATIN: Friday, April 12—Preposition Quiz
6th GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS: Friday, April 19—Renaissance Academy Awards
All Latin Classes: Friday, May 3—Roman Feast



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03.31.13
Latin & History News the Week of April 1

Welcome back! I hope that everyone enjoyed a happy Easter with their families and friends. April is going to be a busy month in Latin and History!

6th GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

We finish our study of the Renaissance this week (although students will still be researching important Renaissance contributors for an upcoming project). We will then move on to the Reformation, and engage in some writing about its causes and effects.

5TH GRADE AMERICAN HISTORY

Due to a special presentation for the Middle School on Tuesday and the 5th grade’s trip the remainder of the week, there is no class.

5TH/6TH GRADE LATIN

Last week, we thoroughly reviewed the five cases’ functions in Latin grammar, and we will go over our quizzes from last Friday. With only 6th graders for most of the week, we will focus on our prepositions with a review of their use with the five cases. Students will also translate a story in their history readers.

4TH GRADE LATIN

We have studied another two chapters, so it is time for a quiz this week. The class has learned the vocabulary quickly and translated sentences wonderfully last week. The quiz, on Chapter 19 and 20, will be this Thursday, and will focus on the future tense as well as the twenty vocabulary words.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

4th GRADE LATIN: CHAPTERS 19 & 20 QUIZ, THURSDAY, APRIL 4
6TH GRADE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS: RENAISSANCE ACADEMY AWARDS,
FRIDAY, APRIL 20


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