5th Grade – Simmons

October Newsletter

It has been an amazing first two weeks of the school year.   Miss Willis and I are really enjoying getting to know the 18 individuals who make up this years Arbor Academy fifth grade class.   We really hit the ground running.  Here are a few highlights:

Classroom Community Building/Social Studies.
The subject of our first reflective writing assignment involved multiple prompts regarding individual Hopes and Dreams.  The students were tasked to reflect on their successes and struggles during the last school year.  What would they change going forth into new school year and what are their concerns?  Once we had this feedback the class paired off into partners to brainstorm the types of classroom rules we would need to set these individual goals up to succeed.  In this way they each acknowledge their ownership of Fifth Grade Expectations, our very own Classroom Constitution.  The children learned that it is difficult to design rules that will please all citizens. This will tie in nicely to our Social Studies lesson  on September 20th, Constitution Day.  In addition to this we have been exploring

During the last two weeks we have been reviewing the associative and commutative property of multiplication, as well as learning different strategies to solve two and three digit multiplication problems.   We’ve also begun factoring  large numbers and determining prime numbers.

During these two weeks we’ve learned the history behind the development of the compound microscope.  Each student has also had first hand practice using this amazing devise.  (Fruit-flies, Yuck!)  We’ve also begun learning about basic cell structure (naturally).

Language Arts:
We have begun this year’s writing with what may be one of the most important skills for a Fifth grader…..NOTE TAKING.  How do you know what information may be important?  Are there different challenges to taking notes from a textbook, an oral lesson or a video?  What do you look for in the way of clues?  Are there shortcuts?  What about abbreviating like you do in shorthand or texting? Is neatness important?  In order to set each child up for success we’ve already begun applying these skills and strategies to all pertinent subjects. Are there different types of note taking?  You betcha and we’ll give each student a chance to figure out what style works for him or her.  We’ve also been reviewing our basic knowledge of homophones, synonyms,and antonyms.  We’ve learned about subject vs predicate and the difference between single and compound examples of each.

More news to come next time (Specials)


Being a new teacher at Arbor I did not write the Back To School Supply list.  The following are supplies our classroom desperately needs.  Your contributions would be appreciated.

-Dry Erase Markers Multipacks to be shared with the students as needed.

-Five or six paper 2-pocket folders for each student to keep ongoing work organized by subject.

The following games/activities for Indoor Recess that they can complete in under 30 minutes.

Chess, Checkers, Connect Four, Spirograph, Battleship, Uno, Trouble, Playing Cards….things of this type.

Thanks in advance,

 Mr. Madelung