Friday, August 28, 2015

August 24th - 28th

News of the Week:  Week of August 24th - August 28th, 2015


This week was the first week we really dove into the curriculum and it went very well!  It is wonderful to see the students hard at work and to begin to know them as learners and thinkers.  Here is what we've been working on this week in each subject.

Reading:  We started a whole group novel called The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park.  It is a realistic fiction book about a 10 1/2 year old boy who moves from Arizona to Massachusetts and has to start at a new school.  Many of the 4th and 5th graders can relate to that scenario!  We are focusing on making inferences (reading between the lines) to discover what the author is really trying to tell us.  Whole group class time is used to understand reading strategies and see them in practice as well as to have a shared experience with a high-quality novel.  Some key words from this week were: muffled, dread, and dismal.  See if your child remembers what they mean and can use them correctly!

At the end of the week, we began CafĂ© Reading, a time for students to build their stamina reading a good-fit book to themselves and practice on particular strategies that they need to improve upon. Meanwhile, both the teacher and the teacher assistant are conferencing with individual students about their reading skills. 

Writing:  We have reviewed the six traits of good writing and discussed how they all work together. Like our class reading book, our first writing unit is realistic fiction.  We practiced two strategies for finding ideas for our stories.  First, we practiced taking small, significant moments from your life and adding some fiction to increase interest and add a lesson or theme.  After that, we thought of stories we wish existed.  If we could find a book that we could really relate to, where we felt like we were reading about ourselves, what would that book be about?  Students are encouraged to continue brainstorming for ideas at home and writing them down so we don't forget them!

Math:  In both grade levels we have begun with place value

In grade 4, we worked with numbers up to the millions and wrote them in standard form, expanded form, and word form.  We discussed and investigated our base-ten number system and practiced ordering and comparing numbers.  Rounding is coming up next!

In grade 5, we started with whole number review and quickly moved into decimals.  We are working with numbers to the thousandths and focusing on writing them in various ways.  Up next we will be comparing and ordering decimals.

Social Studies:  The students are working with their table groups on a region of Africa (North, South, East, or West).  Each student has chosen 2 or 3 countries to research specifically.  We researched in the library for one session and have used chromebooks for two days now.  Students are learning various research skills including determining importance and how to choose the right site for condensed, effective information.  As soon as the research is done, the students will be creating a theme park of their region - they are very excited to begin!  Your child is welcome to continue researching at home.

A Note about Homework

Monday-Thursday evenings your child will have homework in both reading and math.  Occasionally, there will be something extra on top of this.

For reading, your child is expected to read his/her silent reading book for 30 minutes and to write one response in their Reader's Response journals.  There are specific directions on how to do this.  Each student should have a copy of them, please feel free to email me for a soft version in case your student cannot find their copy.  I collect their journals on Fridays to check how they've done and to write them a response.  

For math, your child will have IXL homework.  Their log-in information is stapled in their planners. As they practice each skill, they are expected to reach 90% mastery.  If he/she cannot do this in a reasonable amount of time (10 minutes or less), they can stop and see me to clear up any confusion the next day.  It is very important that your child does not reach "frustration level".  Math should be enjoyable and effective, not a headache!  Please note, if the internet connection is not working, they will have a piece of homework from the textbook that can be used instead.  They do not have to do both.  

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email me at

Upcoming Dates

August 31st:  Q1 After School Activities begin.
September 3rd:  Back-to-School Night, 7pm at AISB
September 5th:  Back-to-School BBQ, 1pm - 3pm at AISB

Friday, August 21, 2015

Our First Week Together

We had a wonderful first week at school.  We've built a strong foundation and we are ready to delve into things on Monday.  The students are happy and excited about learning and have great ideas to share.  The children are working together and helping each other learn every day. I am very lucky to be working with this group of kids!

I have added a few resources onto the left side of this blog.  They include some "safe search" websites for when the students are conducting online research as well as some math websites.  I suggest that each student practices his or her math facts at home each night.  Computational fluency is key to lowering frustration levels and increasing success in math.  

Next week we will begin units in each subject.  We will be starting a novel during whole group reading time as well as practicing independent reading strategies.  In writing we will be reviewing the six traits of strong writing and starting on narratives.  In math both grade levels will be working with place value and numeracy.  We will work on problem solving skills throughout the year.  Finally, in social studies we will begin a research project on the regions of Africa.  

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, September 3rd - Back-to-School Night at 7pm
Saturday, September 5th - Back-to-School BBQ at AISB

Enjoy a little peek into what we've been up to!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome to Grades 4 and 5!  

It was a very successful first day here in the 4/5 classroom.  We started to get to know each other, came up with class guidelines, learned about class routines and procedures and had a lot of fun.  

Your child will be bringing home a few important papers today.

1.  A welcome letter from me with some important information.
2.  A student information sheet to be completed as soon as possible.
3.  A list of which supplies they are missing (if any).

The classroom supply list is as follows.  Please note that this does not include supplies that may be needed for other classes.
  • 5 boxes of pencils
  • 2 erasers
  • 2 sharpeners
  • 1 box of colored pencils
  • 5 notebooks (standard size, with lined paper)
  • 2 packets of lined paper
  • 1 box of markers
  • 3 dry erase board markers
  • 1 dry erase board eraser
  • 3 Glue Sticks
  • 5 folders (4 with pockets, 1 with tabs)
  • 1 pencil case
  • 1 pack of post-its
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 2 special folders (ones that fold over and close with a button or elastic.  The ones used for French classes that school store sells work well)
  • 1 box of tissues
Everything should be labelled with your child's name.  If your child was missing any notebooks or folders, please label them according to the instructions below.

Notebooks:  please label one of each of the five notebooks by subject

  •  Reading
  •  Reader Response
  •  Math
  •  Science/Social Studies
  •  Writer's Notebook
  • 4 pocket folders 
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Math
    • Science/Social Studies
  • 1 tab folder
    • My Portfolio
  • 2 special folders
    • Homework Folder
    • Finishing Folder
If these instructions are unclear to you, please leave the notebooks and folders blank and I can help your child label them at school as soon as they bring them to me.

Thank you very much for your cooperation!  If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to email me at

Thank you,
Ms. Fezekas