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Friday, March 21, 2014

Endeavor News

Dear Families,
    Have you asked your child recently about the Boston Tea Party or the Quartering Acts?  Your 5th graders are deeply immersed in reading articles, informational texts, and historical fiction all about pre Revolutionary Times and the events that led to the American Revolution.  They are paying incredible attention to the details in their reading and taking the time to analyze the facts, the perspectives of the English and the Colonists and to make connections between events and people!  As 5th Graders they have been taking endless notes and reflecting upon them and having conversations with one another. These notes, reflections and opinions will make their way into their research reports.  As we move through our Historical Fiction books we are also thinking about the story elements.  5th Graders wrote to me about the setting in their books, citing sentences and words from the text that justified the time period or the mood of the setting. 5th Graders have also been keeping a timeline of important events in their stories, keeping track of what has happened and thinking about what might happen next.  Keeping a timeline also engages us in thinking about which events really matter to the plot of the story.  So much reading, writing and analyzing going on!
    Can your child divide 432 by 18?  What strategy would they use?  An area model?  Partial Quotients? Standard Algorithm?  Do they use a multiplication menu to get them started?  Can they see connections between these strategies for division?  Light bulbs have been going off around the classroom as students focus on finding the most efficient division strategies for themselves.  Students are working hard to also be accurate and precise with their math so that they are coming to the correct answer!  Our goals for math have been:
*Use mental strategies to multiply by 10
*Begin to use mental strategies to multiply 2-digit by 2 digit numbers
*Dividing 3 digit numbers by 1 or 2 digit numbers with our without remainders
*Investigating divisibility rules for 2, 5 and 10
*Understanding the relationship between multiplication and division
    As Writer's we have been busy flash drafting about everything we know about colonization, Plymouth colony and next week the reasons/events that led to the Revolutionary War!  Our muscles have been flexing (in our hands and our brains) as we organize our facts into detailed paragraphs that not only teach our readers about our topics but also include analysis (our opinions, reflections and wonderings about our topics).  We also have been working on an on-demand task, reading information about a topic (a magazine article, a chart comparing two things, captions and photos) to gather information to be used to respond to a prompt.  As we write these pieces we are continuing to use the LEAF format to organize our writing!  We are taking the LEAF Paragraph format and applying it to a multi-paragraph essay!  We have been helping one another brainstorm interesting and catchy leads that will hook our writers, discussing the variety of ways in which our paragraphs can be organized following the EA pattern (Evidence/Analysis) and sharing our finishers or conclusions!  Next week we will be writing an "on demand" piece and hopefully all of our writing will help us create a cohesive writing sample in one 70 minute block!
     Looking for some extra typing practice, check out this link... Students used this site with Ellen during their Tech class on Thursday!  Many of them also explored the Smithsonian Quests, they have their login information and can continue with this on their own.
    Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Due to last week's snowdays a couple SCS events have been changed for this week.

The 5th Grade Concert Band and Small Ensemble Concert that was supposed to be last Wed will be held this Wed 3/19 at 7 PM in the SCS gymnasium

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


The Winter Concert on Wednesday, March 12 at 7pm, featuring Concert Band, Wind Ensemble's small ensemble program, and Stage Band is postponed to Wednesday, March 19, 7pm due to the upcoming winter storm.  The original concert day's scheduled dress rehearsals and other details will be scheduled exactly the same the following Wednesday

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

News from FEED

First, because of the success of the 1st taste test  (Overall for K-5, 57% of students tried the soup; Of those who tried it, 85% LIKED it; Of those who tried it, 83% want it on the menu! ) we are having another one next Monday, March 10th during lunchtime. Please encourage your students to participate! It will be Chicken White Bean Chili (with vegetables). As we did last time, a 4th grade team-this time Polaris- will be preparing and cutting vegetables ahead of time.

Second, there is an awesome writing contest opportunity happeningThe Young Writers project has a challenge for students that is sponsored by the VT Community Garden Network!  Applicants have a chance at  winning $50 cash for themselves and a $50 Red Wagon Plants gift certificate for SCS's garden! Go to and find out the details! Here are the topic choices that are relevant to our school:
           (A)  Does your school have a garden? How has it changed your attitude about food and/or your school?
    OR (B) Tell a story about an event that focuses on sharing food – a family gathering, a celebration, a farmers’ 
                 market, a picnic.
The deadline is March 20th- the 1st day of spring! Regardless of who wins, ALL writers will receive a bundle of seeds to plant this spring – in their school, garden or at home – courtesy of the writing challenge sponsor, Vermont Community Garden Network.

Welcome to March

First, I would like to say THANK YOU for supporting our community and our school budget!  WOW!  We are so fortunate here at SCS to be surrounded by such a supportive community!!! Thank you!
Also, I hope that your child came home yesterday and shared with you about the special guest that visited us!  His name is Sam Drazin and he is actually a 3rd grade teacher in Bradford, VT.  He came to SCS and spoke with all 4/5 teams about growing up with a "facial difference" because he was born with Treacher-Collins syndrome.  This is especially relevant to students right now because of the immense popularity of the book Wonder.  In Wonder, Auggie, the main character, has Treacher- Collins syndrome and the book shares his experience as a 5th grader, and the perspectives of some of the people in his life.  Wonder is a fantastic book with a very important message.  Sam Drazin wants to share his story and experience to help pass on the message.  He wants to remind kids that: everyone deserves a chance, don't ignore people just because they're different, and that their actions and reactions impact the people they interact with.  It was a very powerful presentation and I certainly hope it provoked discussion at home.  If you want to find out more, you can check out:

RJ Palacio website:  
Sam Drazin has a non-profit called Changing Perspectives, and you can find out a bit more at his 

Additionally, Wonder is the 2014 VT Reads book so you can find out more at the VT Humanities website:  
Things we're working on this MONTH:!
New Math Unit - 4- Multiplication, Division, and Fractions -  Students did well on the Unit 3 post-assessment!  I hope your child came home and told you some of the highlights of their test.  The tests will come home with report cards.
Writing- Research Reports - US History - We will be focused on using our non-fiction reading to write a research report about a significant historical event in Early US History.  We will begin this unit with a brainstorm about what we already know and students will create "All About" Books to start. 
Reading - In addition to reading non-fiction while we study US History, students will soon start historical fiction books related to the Revolutionary War or the events leading up to it.  This will tie in nicely with all of the work we are doing and should help to deepen their understanding of the vocabulary of our History unit, and the important people, places, and events in US History.
US History - You've already heard about our Plymouth Plantation reenactment!  This will continue over the next week or so.  Students are really enjoying this work and learning a lot!  Afterwards, we will move into the major events leading up to the Revolutionary War and learning more about the colonization of the US.  
Additionally, this year the PTO is sponsoring the FLYNN Words Come Alive program as the artist in resident program.  This is targeted at 5th graders so we will enjoy 4 sessions with Flynn professionals.  In our work with them, we will be dramatizing what we are learning about US History!!! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sam Drazin comes to SCS!

Today Sam came to talk to us about his facial difference, Treacher Collins Syndrome. He talked to us about his challenges and how they connect to the book Wonder. Even though he has a facial difference, he pushes through it. We were amazed when we heard about his alarm clock! It beeps, makes the lights flicker, and vibrates a small disk under his pillow. This helps him wake up even though he can't hear very well. His story taught us that even though people might be different, they all  make an impact on the world.