Language Arts
·         In writer’s workshop, we began writing new short stories with our peers.  We’re focusing on creating a mood, building suspense, and using show, not tell.
·         We also learned about 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person point of view.
·         In readers’ workshop, we wrapped up our first guided reading books, which were nonfiction.  Next week we’ll begin reading novels in guided reading.

·         We continued working on our science fair research, wrote our bibliographies, and drafted our mission plan (which includes the procedure, hypothesis, materials, question, purpose, and variables).  Once the students receive their approved mission plan back, they will be able to begin testing their experiment.

Social Studies
·         This week we began reading books in small groups called: You Wouldn’t Want to be an American Colonist, You Wouldn’t Want to Sail with Christopher Columbus, and Roanoke: The Lost Colony.  As we work with our team to read these books, we’re creating Power Maps, which help us organize the new information we learn and identify the main ideas and important subtopics of the books.


Language Arts
·         In language arts class this week, we worked more on making inferences, understanding what we read, highlighting key details, and briefly summarizing new knowledge.
·         We also worked on finishing our first drafts of our writer’s workshop stories.  Next week we’ll be revising, editing, sharing, and publishing!

·         In science class, we continued working on research skills.  We spent quite a bit of time learning to search for information and evaluate websites for quality.  We also practiced taking notes (through highlighting) when online.
·         Next week, we’ll be working on:
              o  science fair procedures
o   hypothesis
o   materials lists

Social Studies
·         We learned how Sir Walter Raleigh lost a lot of money when the colony he funded (Roanoke) failed.  In fact, the Roanoke colony is known as the Lost Colony today.
·         We learned the difference between Sole Proprietors and Joint Stock Companies.  As part of a game, we made our own colonies, decided whether to use a joint stock company or sole proprietor to fund the colony, and created colony goals.  Then our colonies learned their fate: some were attack by natives.  Some traded with natives.  Others grew lots of crops and made money, while some colonies went hungry.  In the end, most of our colonies did not make much of a profit, but also did not suffer big financial losses.  A few colonies did end the game without any money, and one colony struck it rich!  5th graders, share with your parents how your colony did, and whether or not your choice to be part of a joint stock company (or be a sole proprietor) was a wise choice.
·         We also played a simulation about Jamestown.  In this activity, we needed to select a smart settlement location, determine how to interact with the Powhatan Indians, plant crops, and decide who would do the work.  We learned how the different choices we made affected the success of our colony.


Language Arts:
·         We learned about inferences.  After discussing how and why we infer in everyday life, we practiced inferring while reading.  Finally, we wrote paragraphs that require the reader to infer.  Check out samples of our work by visiting the “Author’s Spotlight” page of this site.
·         We continued learning how to “show, not tell” in our writing.  There are also student samples of show, not tell on the Author’s Spotlight page.
·         We discussed how to find quality web sites when researching.
·         Many students finished the first draft of their writers’ workshop story.

Social Studies:
·         We continued working on our Discovery Scrapbooks during computer lab time.
·         Due to science fair activities, we did not have regular social studies this week.

·         We finalized our science investigation questions.
·         We began learning how to use keywords when on search engines.
·         We learned about the stages of the scientific method (and how even the Mythbusters follow this method)!
·         We evaluated websites according to their value as research sources.


Language Arts
·        We began the 100 Book Challenge in mid-September.  Through this program, the students try to earn 100 “books.”  Every 15 minutes they read, they get 1 book on their chart signed by an adult who witnessed them in the act of reading.  Each student should be reading 30 minutes each night; therefore, they should have 2 books signed at home.
·        For the month of September, our class had 488 books signed—that means we independently read for 7,320 minutes!
·        For October, our goal is for each student to earn 100 books.  Students who reach the goal will have read 1,500 minutes!  The best way to grow as a reader (and as a learner) is to read.  So, pick a book you love, find a cozy spot, and get lost in a great story!
·        In readers’ workshop, we also began learning Power Mapping during guided reading.  One team is reading about robots and another team is exploring a book about special effects in movies.  The last two teams will begin meeting next week. 

·        In science, we wrapped up our study on observation and measurement (although we’ll be refining these skills throughout the year).  All the students took the science quiz on Thursday and Friday.  They did a great job focusing, double checking to make sure it was their best work, and respecting others’ need for a quiet, thinking environment.
·        We also began our science fair unit.  The students selected a topic, worded it in the form of a question, and wrote a purpose for their investigation.  Our class project will be: Does boat design affect the amount of cargo it can carry?  Ask your 5th graders to explain how we’ll be testing this question.
·        Upcoming science fair due dates are:
   o   Pre-approval form: due on Thursday (The students
             will receive a copy of this on Tuesday.)

   o   Project research: due Wednesday, October 15th
            (We’ll begin science fair research this coming

   o   Variable list: due Friday, October 17th (We’ll discuss 
             variables during that week.)

Social Studies
·        We concluded our discussion on the Conquistadors.  We also worked on mastering the locations of the seven continents and the 3 main European countries that created North American settlements: Spain, France, and Great Britain (England).  We’ll continue practicing this next week.
·        The students worked on creating an Exploration and Settlement scrapbook during our computer lab time.  They will continue working on this project over the next two weeks.
·        We began discussing English settlements in the New World.  Roanoke, the “lost colony,” was the first English settlement, but it mysteriously disappeared.  Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement, and was also the setting of the real-life Pocahontas story.  Next week we’ll dig deeper into these two stories.