Classroom Newsletter for the Week of October 22, 2019

I cannot express enough how deeply sorry I am for the loss of Mrs. Marilyn Strutz. We keep her in our prayers and in our hearts.  God bless her and her loving family, Daliah, Sarah, David, Drew, and many others.  We pray for her soul to be in the glorious presence of God, our Father.

There was individual counseling, group counseling, and classroom counseling.  There were prayers and expression through art.  There were a myriad ways to help the students process our sorrow and feelings for Daliah and her family.  In the midst of this, we also tried to have class time, Holy Hoops, and a performance by the cute kindergarteners.  Here is some of what we did academically this week:

Math: Problem solving with long division, interpretation of the remainder in a division problem, and problem solving using a graphic organizer and multiple steps

Writing/ELA: The final draft of persuasive paper was due on Friday.  Some students finished early and began their descriptive paper, “My Greatest Fear.”  I will try teacher edit all of the rough drafts of the persuasive paper this weekend so students can write their final drafts next week.  ELA: past participle of irregular verbs

Social Studies: A debate was held with a question of whether or not the Spanish, English, and French explorers and settlers were justified in forcibly taking land that was used by generations of various Native American nations, such as the Zuni, Hopi, Algonquin, Huron, and more.

Religion: Chapter 5: Original Sin, the Sacrament of Baptism, and the Body of Christ.  Students reviewed how Catholics receive the Sacrament of Baptism in order to cleanse us of Original Sin and be welcomed as a member of our Church, the Body of Christ.  5th graders practiced for the November 1 mass and reviewed ACRE test vocabulary.

Literacy: Students read their books and discussed their readings in various literature circles.  Some topics we discussed were hyperboles, metaphors, similes, names of characters and their meanings, humor, cliffhangers, and predictions.

STEAM: Students finished their teeter totter models and learned about the ways that fulcrums are used to balance an inclined plane.  They made drawings to plan and revise their models and they worked together cooperatively to make their designs viable.  Students had an opportunity to play with one of the simple machines, a pulley.  They were assessed on simple machines and their potential uses.

Classroom Newsletter for the Week of October 14, 2019

Happy autumn!  I am grateful for another box full of food, toiletries, and socks for Hope House!  Thank you for your generosity!

Math: Students learned how to do long division, how to interpret the remainder, and how to estimate the quotient.

ELA/Spelling:  Students reviewed irregular verbs.  The spelling list is all about the /Ô/ sound spelled au, all, o, oa, and aw.

Writing: Students continued to work on their persuasive paper with a standard 5-sentence paragraph and a ‘hook’ or transition from one paragraph to another.  They are to use at least three facts to support an opinion.

Literacy:  Students began new books on Tuesday.  They are “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Among the Hidden,” “A Year Down Yonder,” and “The Great Gilly Hopkins.”  Pamphlets from the old books are due on Friday.

STEAM: Students began a new unit: simple machines (i.e., inclined plane, wheel and axle, pulley, wedge, screw, and lever).  They were given a demonstration by Mr. Blas, a Seattle firefighter, who showed ways in which simple machines can be used in real life applications.  Students also made teeter totters out of materials from the Makerspace room.  Their purpose was to learn about how inclined planes work.  First they drew a blueprint of their teeter totter in blue or green.  Then they created their teeter totter.  If it didn’t work just right, they were to go back to their blueprint and make modifications in red/orange.  Great job, 5th grade engineers!  We will continue our teeter totter modifications next week.


Religion: Students had the Touching Safety class wherein they learned steps to go through if an adult makes them feel physically or emotionally uncomfortable or threatened.

Social Studies: Students learned and discussed ways in which the lives of many Native Americans changed after the arrival of Europeans.

Please click on the links to the specialists’ classes to see what is being learned in Spanish, art, music, and P.E.


October 22nd-25th– Holy Hoops 4-on-4 Basketball Tournament for all students in grades 5-8.  For 5th graders, there will be reading as homework, but no math or spelling unless a student has fallen behind in classwork.

October 22nd and 29th- Health screenings at school

October 23rd– Chess Club begins

October 26th– Trunk or Treat 6:15 to 7:30 pm (pre-Halloween festivities at Church of the Assumption)

November 1st- All Saints Day school Mass at 10:45 am (5th graders leading this mass)


Classroom Newsletter for the Week of October 7, 2019

Hello all!  The children are excited about a three day weekend.  God bless all of you for balancing school and work schedules…and soccer, homework, music lessons, etc.

Thank you again for the food for Hope House!  We keep getting donations every week!

I also want to thank Mrs. Machinski and Mrs. Driscoll for volunteering to be the 5th grade room parents.  What a gift they are!

Math: We began chapter 2 which is about long division.

Spelling/ELA: There was no spelling list this week, but if you’d like a preview, we will be working on Unit 4 next week.  Students reviewed the proper use of -‘s, -s’, and s.

Writing: Students are working on their second paper of the year.  It is their persuasive paper.  It will take quite a while to finish this as it is all done in class and it is a five paragraph essay.

STEAM/Food: 5th-8th graders went to a tech boot camp given by Mr. Anderson and Mr. Costanza.  They learned about safety for their 1:1 devices and online safety.

After students modified their airplanes, they discussed why the planes went farther (or not) in the fourth trial of flight.  We discussed variables and air resistance.  Students discussed how they could have had less drag on their airplanes if they made them more aerodynamic.

Students discussed with the food educator about the need to have a balanced diet.  Your children had lots of great questions about nutrition and about reading labels.

Religion: Students reviewed chapter 5 and worked on their artwork of Original Sin, the Sacrament of Baptism, and the Body of Christ.

Reminder: Next Tuesday we will be having our Touching Safety class.  If you do not want your child in this class, please email me.

Literacy: Students are working on their final projects for their literacy books.  Some are doing travel brochures, others have chosen to do a pamphlet or a book report.  Next week we will begin reading Because of Winn-Dixie, A Year Down Yonder, Among the Hidden, and The Great Gilly Hopkins.  A few times a week I read Aesop’s Fables to the students and then we can see who can guess what the moral of the story is.  Students might want to do that at the end of their books as well.  It leads to a great book discussion!

Social Studies: Students worked in pairs (or solo) to research some of the Spanish and Portuguese explorers who came to the Americas.  We watched a portion of a video that showed how some people’s lives changed after the arrival of Europeans.  We will continue this discussion next week.

Art: The fifth graders are creating a landscape in monochromatic colors and beginning a triptyh about the Sacrament of Baptism.

For more information about specialists’ classes, please click on their links.

Upcoming Calendar Items: 

October 16th– Early Release Day, 11:45 am dismissal, Casual Dress

October 22nd-25th– Holy Hoops 4-on-4 Basketball Tournament for all students in grades 5-8.  There will be little to no homework…except for reading.

October 22nd and 29th- Health screenings at school

October 23rd– Chess Club begins

October 26th– Trunk or Treat 6:15 to 7:30 pm (pre-Halloween festivities at Church of the Assumption).  If you have young kids, I’d highly recommend this.  I took my little ones to this last year and I felt that they had a very fun and safe time!

November 1st- All Saints Day school Mass at 10:45 am.  5th graders will be leading this mass.

Ngansi and Bea work on a religion project
Just look at that smile! He loves religion.
And presenting…Joey and Marshall’s sketch!
Genevieve and Marshall are doing research on Spanish and Portuguese explorers
Are you in the protein or grains group?
Taylor is explaining how Columbus ended up in the Bahamas, not in India as he’d hoped.
Smiling students doing research 🙂



Classroom Newsletter for the Week of September 30, 2019

A million thanks to you for giving so much to Hope House!  I emailed Cheri Woolsey of Hope House and asked her if there is anything that they need other than food.  She said that they are ALWAYS in need of DIAPERS and SOCKS for all ages.  If your child would like to do a chore to earn a pair of socks or lots of chores to earn a box of diapers, that would be more than welcome!

I can’t express how wonderful it is to see your generosity and the way that you live the gospel by feeding our brothers and sisters.  Thank you!

It’s already time to bring in extra pencils if your child still has some from the supply list.  Thank you!

Social Studies: Students finished working in groups.  They presented the posters to teach one another about the nations they studied.  Next week we will see how those nations were impacted by the arrival of Europeans.


Thank you so much to Liam who brought in genuine arrowheads to show to the class!  What a great connection to his literacy book and our social studies lesson!

Math: Students have finished chapter one and they will be taking the chapter test on Friday.  This week students worked on mathematical expressions, the Order of Operations, and story problems.  Some reviewed the Distributive Property.


ELA/Spelling: Students studied the vowel /ōō/ and /yōō/ sounds.  For an opportunity to earn a 4 on Wednesday’s spelling assignment, some students chose to do the challenge work of labeling their sentences as interrogative, imperative, exclamatory, or declarative.  Others chose the option of beginning each sentence with a different pronoun.  Still others chose to begin sentences with an interjection.

Literacy: Students are studying new vocabulary by using their dictionaries to look up new words while others are finding proof in the text to support their opinions.  Some are doing research for historical facts that help them understand context of the fictional literacy books that are based on true stories.  And all students are discussing their readings in literacy groups (mini book clubs).  All students are expected to take notes while they read their nightly literacy circle books.  They should be jotting down the setting, main character’s actions, author’s purpose, and any predictions.

Science: Students learned about air resistance and aerodynamics and how that impacted their airplanes’ flights.  They made modifications to their airplanes to reduce the air resistance and to have improved aerodynamics.

Religion: Students have been sharing their sacramentals all week.  We took the chapter 4 test and began chapter five.  Thus far in chapter 5, we have studied the Sacrament of Baptism, what happened to us as a result of Original Sin, and the way in which we are all part of the Body of Christ.  Next week we will read about  eternal life and about two saints, Kolbe and Duchesne.

God bless all of our animals that bring us so much joy and unconditional love.  The fourth graders led the St. Francis animal blessing on Friday.  How fun to see our beloved pets at school!

Writing: Some students revised their “My Gifts” papers to improve their writing skills and earn a higher grade.  This week we began the prewrite for our persuasive essay by doing a compare and contrast exercise.  Students did research to find at least three facts to support their opinions.  Next week we will be working on the rough draft of this five paragraph essay.


5th Grade: The fifth graders are creating a landscape in monochromatic colors. .

Please click on the links for other specialists.