Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 2019

Welcome back!! It's been a great first week back. I hope everyone had a wonderful two weeks and had some family time. Even though the first week was crazy for my family and I, we were able to spend some together and laugh, watch movies, and just be together. Below you will find some information regarding our curriculum and dates that are important to remember.

Important dates

January 18 - NO SCHOOL (teacher inservice day)
January 21 - NO SCHOOL (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
February 15 - NO SCHOOL (teacher inservice day)
February 18 - NO SCHOOL (President's Day)


Our focus for the next semester will be on nonfiction texts; however, students will still be working in fiction book clubs and focusing on determining themes. Right now, we are learning about complex nonfiction texts and all of the features that we need to muddle through in order to understand the text itself. In order to do this, we are focusing on text structures, text features, vocabulary, main idea & supporting details. We will also be focusing on reading within writing learning how to decipher argumentative texts. In order to help your child with nonfiction, continue to foster their love of reading. Helping them to gather materials that are nonfiction would be great. Going to the library or encouraging them to read magazines like Sports Illustrated for kids, Time for Kids, Scholastic News (they have access to this online), and more can help spark their interest in learning. Talking to them about debatable issues is another way that you can help. Ask them what the claim is that is being made? What reasons support that claim and what evidence supports those reasons? This will help them to dig deeper into topics that are up for debate.

We have also begun a study into idioms through our morning work. Each day we look at an idiom and try to understand what it means and where it is typically used. We will also be diving into word roots and affixes: prefixes and suffixes.

Our goals are: 
  • I can summarize a text by explaining how multiple details work together to communicate the main idea 
  • I can identify the claims presented in a text 
  • I can explain how a claim in a text is supported by reasons and evidence
  • I can explain the relationship between specific parts of a nonfiction text and the overall organizational structure of the text
  • I can compare how two texts from the same genre approach similar themes and topics
  • I can determine the meaning of unknown words and phrases 
  • I can describe the meaning of common idioms, adages, or proverbs 
  • I can identify symbolism, metaphors, and imagery in a text
  • I can use headings and images to signal logical groupings of information 
  • I can link reasons and evidence or details to main ideas using words, phrases, and clauses


We will wrap up our Response to Literature unit on Tuesday, however we will continue to practice what we learned in our weekly response for homework. More information regarding this will be later in this blog. Students will begin working on formulating an research based argumentative essay. In the beginning of our unit, we will be working on writing on a common argument: Should Chocolate Milk be served in schools? Once we are done with that, students will be invited to research an argument of their own. 

Our goals are:
  • I can identify the claims presented in a text 
  • I can explain how a claim in a text is supported by reasons and evidence
  • I can introduce a topic in an introductory paragraph 
  • I can use headings and images to signal logical groupings of information 
  • I can link reasons and evidence or details to main ideas using words, phrases, and clauses 
  • I can provide a concluding section or paragraph at the end of a text 
  • I can state clear claims about a topic or text 
  • I can provide reasons for claims that are supported by evidence 
  • I can integrate information from multiple sources into a text 
  • I can write for the purpose and task described by a prompt 
  • I can edit for subject/verb agreement and inappropriate shifts in verb tense 
  • I can edit for correct capitalization 
  • I can use italics, quotation marks, and underlining to indicate the titles of works 
  • I can use commas to set off elements of a sentence and to form lists 
  • I can edit for spelling

We will be finishing up our work on addition and subtraction of fractions and we will be working on decimals next. Students will be learning how to order, compare, round and add/subtract decimals all the way to the thousandths place. When this short unit is over, students will be moving on to multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals. In order to help your child, you could have them put the cost of a couple of items on the grocery list in order from least to greatest. Here is an example of what the students will be learning:

January/February Homework

For the next month, students will not be writing a quick thought nightly. Instead, students will be working on an assignment from Google Classroom. They will chose the article that they read as well as a prompt they must answer. They will do all of their work on a Google Doc provided for them weekly in Google Classroom. They do know how to access Google Classroom. Make sure that when they log on to Google, they start with a username of
Their password is Dcsd and then their lunch number. Please let me know if there is any issue logging on. The most important part is the s. after the @ symbol. 
Students will only chose one prompt per week to answer and that prompt is their choice. An example of a good response can be found below. Please note this is a comparison response that includes reading 3 articles.  Students will still be responsible for reading 90 minutes per week, however reading the articles/story can be included in this time. 

Write an essay explaining the similarities and differences in each article’s point of view about penguin rescue efforts after an oil spill. Support your essay with information from all three sources.

After reading, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Lauren Tarshis, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Dyan deNapoli, and “Update on Penguin Rescue Efforts from Oil Spill in South Atlantic”, I found similarities and differences in each one, of how the penguins were rescued.

First of all, there were similarities between the three articles. In all three, the penguins were oil infected. In article #1, it states, “You are not the only penguin who has become soaked in the poisonous oil. Thousands of others have been trapped in the massive oil slick.” The way the author wrote this article, is where the reader is imagining himself or herself as the penguin. This paragraph, paragraph seven, shows how the penguins were oil infected. In article #2, in paragraph one, it says, “In a matter of days, thick, toxic liquid had covered about 20,000 penguins.” Like article #1, the author explains how the penguins were oil infected. In the third article, it also showed how penguins were oil infected. It states, “Wildlife biologists estimate that half of the 20,000-penguin colony have some exposure to the oil and over 300 oiled penguins have already died.” In paragraph two, the penguins were oil infected in this article. Another similarity the articles have is, people help the penguins by taking them to a rescue center, or a rescue operation helped. Article #1 says, “A team of workers and volunteers has transformed a warehouse into a penguin rescue center.” This explains that the people who helped the penguins helped them in a rescue center. In article #2, it states, “Just outside of Cape town, a large warehouse was turned into a rescue center for oiled penguins.” Here, it shows how the help was done in a rescue center. Paragraph three in article #3 says, “...the difficult wildlife rescue operation…” This part tells about the rescue operation that helped the penguins out.

While reading, I also found differences in the articles too. In the first passage, it states, “A man catches you. You lash out viciously with your powerful jaws and razor sharp beak.” The penguins don’t like the humans, because they don’t know the humans are helping them. The other two articles don’t say the penguins didn’t like it. It doesn’t even mention how the humans took them to help. Another difference in the articles is, in paragraph 2 it says, “But for me, the most inspiring part was working with the volunteers.” The other articles don’t talk about what the volunteers felt, besides sickness from the smell. The other two articles probably would have said, “The most inspiring part was getting to see penguins.” The opinions on how the rescue process worked could have been different. Another difference was found in the third article. It says, “...3000 penguins have been rescued, along with seabirds and seals.” the other articles don’t say anything about other animals besides the fish that the penguins were eating. In articles one and two, the place the penguins were helped at was only a penguin rescue center. In article three, it was a marine wildlife operation. So, articles one and two, have nothing to do with seabirds and seals unlike article three.

“The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Lauren Tarshis, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue” by Dyan deNapoli, and “Update on Penguin Rescue Efforts from Oil Spill in South Atlantic” have similarities and differences of how the penguins were rescued.

Students will be graded weekly using a rubric. They can use this rubric at home to make sure they have included all of the required parts. They are encouraged to talk with me throughout the week to help them improve their writing as well. They can also check back in their email after the first week to see feedback that was provided to them. This will also help them improve each week.