3 weeks to go!  We can do this!  Stay on track with me and we’ll be set!

Special opportunities this week:

  • Monday – Leave No Trace is a national organization that teaches citizens how to be good stewards of our environment and keep our outdoors clean and healthy.  
  • Tuesday – Math SOL pt. 1
  • Wednesday – Math SOL pt. 2
  • Friday – Young Scientists’ lesson on force, motion, energy (Please send in your $15 if you haven’t done so already.)

Science – We will finish up our unit on electricity this week and allow time for our bioluminescent creatures next week.  You’ll have to look for them during our PTA Ice Cream social on May 21st.

LA – We are still reading, reading, reading!  Check out our AR post from earlier to see how we’ve used this one tool this year to foster reading across the curriculum through a variety of genres.  I think you’ll agree we’ve had unbelievable success.  Rm#116 has 85% of our team scoring 80% or higher on comprehension and vocabulary.  We’ve read aloud many books this year in addition to several hundred books that the students have read independently.  Our current read aloud is Book I of the Island Series: Shipwreck by David Korman.  This book is a favorite among my students.  We get so involved that we actually finish all three books in the series before we leave for summer.  Many students have received feedback from Engineer Girl – please forward it to me.  It’s good information.  :)

Math – Our SOL is split over two days, Tuesday and Wednesday.  We’ll do awesome but persistence and work ethic will be keys for success!  Be sure to check out our MATH REVIEW PAGE for practice items.   Be on the look out for 5th grade math over the next few weeks!

Thank you all for a fabulous Teacher Appreciation Week!  I am so lucky to be able to spend time with these incredible 22 young men and women.  Your support and teamwork have helped make this an awesome year.  They have grown tremendously since August and I know they’re ready to move on to 5th grade.  Keep reading over the summer and work on pushing those math skills!  Don’t stop – we’ve all grown so much!


Reading? √

I’d say we’re reading like crazy!  There’s lots of discussion about AR out there – Rm#116 loves it.  Here’s the proof (to date):

1406 tests taken

31,448,835 words read (that’s MILLION)

32 books read aloud this year 

100% of our students are in the 10, 25, and 40 point clubs

87% fiction and 13% nonfiction

4609.9 points earned

We’ve met goal after goal and we’re still rolling!  Pick up a book and read with us!  The door is always open . . . 


Math Science Innovation Center

Today, our MSIC representative gave us an opportunity to share the types of energy sources that we knew –  renewable: biomass, hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal AND nonrenewable: oil, nuclear, coal, and gas.  Did you know we use coal to power most of Virginia’s electricity from the southwest region of VA (Appalachian Plateau) in Tazwell County?

Her focus was on solar energy – solar cells are a way to capture the sun’s energy and change it to electricity.  Our experiment looked like this:

Question: How will the size of the solar cell affect the distance the car will travel?

Hypothesis: If the car has the full solar panel (car A) then it will travel a further distance than the car with the less (partially) full solar panel.

  1. Measure and record the length and width in mm the photovoltaic cell for Car A.
  2. Do the same for Car B.
  3. Calculate the area of the solar cells.

Procedure: (summarized) One group at a time.  We will place cars on black tape with back wheels on tape.  When teacher says go, lights will be turned on to activate the panels.  Partners will measure distance.  We will do this 3 times.

Conclusion: My hypothesis was proven correct as the full solar panel car (A) went further than the partial solar panel car (B).  The independent variable was the size of the photo cell on the car. Dependent variable was the distance it went.  The constant variable was that we started lights at same time, the  power of the light, the cars started on the same starting line,  and we all used the same type of car.

Discussion point:  How does the size of the photovoltaic cell change the distance the car will travel?  Ask you child . . .s/he knows why!

Overall, great day with lots of  math and science learning and hands-on! I can’t wait to read the class reflections . . .

IMG_7960 IMG_7959 IMG_7962 IMG_7963 IMG_7965 IMG_7966 IMG_7970 IMG_7967 IMG_7971 IMG_7974


4H Ag Day 2015

Sarah Crews planned quite an event: 4th graders from RES and GES rotated among many hands-on, educational stations that highlighted the science behind local agricultural practices;  students learned about animal science, health and nutrition, soil and water, horticulture, and much more; and, special guests included hunters, local taxidermists, 4H students, local producers, Farm Bureau members, to name a few. This was a wonderful opportunity for our youth to make real world connections with the science lessons they are learning in class. #VISTA #handsonlearning #whateverittakes

IMG_1531 IMG_1528 IMG_1533 IMG_1532 IMG_1535 IMG_1534 IMG_1537 IMG_1536 IMG_1542 IMG_1541 IMG_1538 IMG_1545 IMG_1544 IMG_1547 IMG_1546 IMG_1549 IMG_1548 IMG_1550 IMG_1554 IMG_1553 IMG_1552 IMG_1556 IMG_1555 IMG_1558 IMG_1557 IMG_1560 IMG_1559 IMG_1562 IMG_1561 IMG_1564 IMG_1565 IMG_1567 IMG_1566 IMG_1572 IMG_1571 IMG_1574 IMG_1573 IMG_1576 IMG_1575 IMG_1578 IMG_1577 IMG_1580 IMG_1579 IMG_1583 IMG_1582 IMG_1581 IMG_1585 IMG_1584 IMG_1587 IMG_1586 IMG_1590 IMG_1589 IMG_1592 IMG_1591 IMG_1594 IMG_1593 IMG_1596 IMG_1595 IMG_1598 IMG_1597 IMG_1600 IMG_1599 IMG_1602 IMG_1601 IMG_1605 IMG_1604 IMG_1603 IMG_1607 IMG_1606 IMG_1609 IMG_1608 IMG_1612 IMG_1610 IMG_1614 IMG_1613 IMG_1615 IMG_1616 IMG_1618 IMG_1617 IMG_1622 IMG_1621 IMG_1620 IMG_1624 IMG_1623 IMG_1626

Opinion Writing and SOL Review

I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend!! Can you believe how quickly the school year has seemed to have gone by?! The end of the year SOLs will be here in two weeks with the Reading SOLs taking place first.

Reminder: Students are able to retake their SOLs if they score between a 375 and a 399. However, students have to turned in a signed form granting permission for them to retake one or all of their SOLs. The form was sent home before Spring Break. Please let me know if you need another copy :)

5th Grade SOL Schedule

  • May 5th ~ Reading SOL
  • May 12th ~ Math SOL (Part I)
  • May 13th ~ Math SOL (Part II)
  • May 19th ~ Science SOL
**Students will also be taking a Social Studies MP test during the month of May


This week in Writing, students will be reviewing opinion writing through a week long activity where they focus on locating the pros and cons in an article. They must then write a short essay either being for or against educational video games in school. Students began the week by reviewing opinion writing and its various components. Throughout the week, students will view a variety of opinion pieces that relate to educational video games in school. Using the information learned through the week, students will be able to write their short essay.

Students will also be working to apply correct transitional phrases to their writing.


This week in Reading, students will be reviewing past SOL skills from this school year. We will be focusing on author’s purpose, point of view, and main idea among others. Students will use reading passages, text cards, and board games to review the skills learned this year.

Students will also have a daily SOL assignment to complete each night where they will have to read the passage, use their various strategies, and answer the corresponding questions that goes with each story. We will be going over each story in class, the strategies used, and how they were able to determine each answer.

Lastly, students need to continue to read at least 30 minutes a night. The daily SOL passages and reading/reviewing their notes for other classes can count towards the 30 minutes of reading time.


Keep checking in for updates!

VS – the study calendar has been sent home since 4.13.  Please make sure you are reviewing nightly as a formative grade is taken the next morning on the topic from the previous night.  Due to beautiful weather this weekend, the VS9 assessment was open book today!  :)  We’ll cover the remaining part of VS 10 this week and will have an assessment on Tuesday of next week.

LA – Our final MAPs is tomorrow.  I’ve encouraged everyone to get a good night’s rest and eat a solid breakfast.  We should be giving 110%.  We’ve got this!  With all of our reading and strategies – we’ll nail it!  Keep reading for your log and AR.  We’ve got 6 weeks left but AR will end early so make sure you reach your goal.  No word study this week.  We are reading aloud Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Math – MAPs test on Wednesday.  Time for review.  We need to be working it nightly.  Review fractions, decimals, place value, long division, graphing, median/mode/range, geometry. LCM/GCF, multiplication, and word problems.  Your choice, just review it.

Ag Day is this Thursday.   Bring your lunch, put on your sunscreen and get ready for an exciting day outside!  (Dress for the weather.)

Kings Dominion is this Friday for Mr. Snead’s students.  Please check with him if you have any questions.

This week is Administrative Assistants’ week.  Let’s show Mrs. Drake and Mrs. Russell how much we appreciate them!

Egg incubation is underway.  We should have chicks by May 1!


VA Studies~VS9: Changes in VA. Please remember to review those notes each night, as we cover a lot of material.  Review SOL HW will be starting this week. Directions are on the HW calendar and needs to be signed nightly. Please let me know if you have any questions. Test next Monday on VS 9 and possible quiz this week.  Please be sure to check agendas for changes. Check blog posts and VS page for review and quizlets for Race to the Gov. House.


Math ~  Median, Mode, Outlier, and Range the beginning of this week.  Quiz on Thursday: Median, Mode, & Range. We will also be reviewing fractions: simplifying, adding, subtracting, mixed numbers, and improper fractions. MAPS tests and SOLs are right around the corner so we will be doing spiral review to ensure retention.


Language Arts~  Word study this week with a test on Thursday. We will be doing lots of spiral review this week: Inferencing, Figurative Language, Context Clues, Synonyms, Antonyms, Homophones, comprehension. Cold Read assessment will be on Thursday since we have Field Day on Friday.  We’ve finished Ruby Bridges and are looking forward to some cool short reads!

Check It Out! Family Fun and Cool Things To Do!

Here are some really cool thins that relate to our Virginia Studies units.  Enjoy!

Appomattox and the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War


1.  NEARLY 90 EVENTS are occurring in a five-day span to commemorate the end of the Civil War as it occurred at Appomattox. Several of the events are scheduled to occur at the same hour and minute as 150 years ago, giving you a real-time feel for what you’ll be witnessing. Key moments occurring at the National Historical Park that you won’t want to miss:

    • April 8, 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – Battle of Appomattox - Narrated. Demonstration of the Confederate artillery versus the Federal cavalry.
    • April 9, 7:30 a.m. – Battle of Appomattox Court House – Narrated. This was the final battle in the Eastern Theater of the war, producing approximately 2,000 casualties.
    • April 9, 11 a.m. – Opening Ceremony
    • April 9, 3 p.m. – Lee Leaves the McLean House – Reenactors portraying General Lee and his staff will emerge and depart from the McLean House in an act that reflects, in real-time, a moment that occurred exactly 150 years ago.
    • April 10 – 2 p.m. – Confederate Cavalry Surrender – In a real-time event, the Confederate cavalry will surrender their equipment.
    • April 10 & 11 3 p.m. – Stacking of Arms Ceremony – The real surrendering of arms took about six hours and 30 minutes in 1865. Get an idea of what such an event looked like when Confederate reenactors come one at a time into the village to lay down their weapons and flags before the Union reenactors. You’ll be especially moved by the salute from the Union troops to the Confederate troops and the return salute that was offered.


2. THERE ARE TWO MULTI-DAY EVENTS running consecutively for the Sesquicentennial commemoration at Appomattox.


3. EXTENDED HOURS will be offered at the Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox, allowing you to visit without missing programming at adjacent sites. Extended hours will be offered April 8-12 only (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Special programming is also available at MOC this week with your paid admission:


Trying to stay on top of it all . . .

We learn a lot in a day and it’s very important that students take a few extra minutes to review nightly.

VA Studies~VS8 Reconstruction. Please remember to review  notes each night, as we cover a lot of material.   Richmond, VA is full of Civil War history  here is list ideas for a weekend field trip if interested: VA Historical Society, Museum of the Confederacy, Chimborazo Medical Museum, American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, Pamplin Historical Par & National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, Petersburg National Battlefield, Cold Harbor Battlefield. Be sure to check out this link to Richmond Civil War Sites.

LA – We’ve been doing a lot of free writing and nonfiction reading!  Trying to hit all of those strategies.  No word study this week.

Math ~ Measurement.  This week we will cover measuring mass and volume in customary and metric units.  Students need to review all the measurements and will also learn how to convert units from large to small and small to large.  Be sure to review all your notes in your journal.  Quiz Friday on mass, capacity, and conversions.

Narrative Writing and Reading Comprehension

We are getting closer and closer to SOL time. Students have review materials on each teacher’s blog, as well as, review items that will be coming home over the next month. Please don’t hesitate to email (ncarter@glnd.k12.va.us) if you have any questions :)


Last week, students began learning a bit more about narrative (fiction/story) writing and its various components. Students will be continuing to learn about narrative writing through various fiction books. Students will be able to use the books read in class as references for their own stories.

Monday, students read Sweet Music in Harlem and learned that a story can be created from a photograph. Students used pictures found in magazines and created a narrative about that picture. We also talked about the different components of narrative writing (characters, setting, and plot) and using dialogue/dialogue tags throughout their writing.

Tuesday, students read The Sweetest Fig and came up with various writing ideas. The Sweet Fig focused on a dentist who was more focused on himself. The ending surprised us all! Some ideas that students came up with were magical foods (the figs made the dentist’s ideas come to life!), dreams coming true, and many more!! Students were able to come up with a variety of ideas with this book :)

Later in the week, students will also be reading Uncle Jeb’s Barbershop and getting more ideas for their narrative stories.

Students will also be introduced to new word study words on Wednesday. They will be reviewing the grammar that they have learned this school year throughout the week. Students will also work to apply the different kinds of grammar learned in their own writing.


In Reading, students have been reviewing the SOL strands: main idea, cause and effect, and compare and contrast. Students have been working on using their reading strategies with the various Reading assignments. Students have also been using four little words to help them determine the main idea a paragraph/passage: Who did What and Why/How. Students have taken to this strategy really well and have used this throughout their reading to answer main idea related questions.

Each night, students are given an SOL passage. They will need to use their reading strategies in each paragraph and come up with questions for each passage. The questions at the end of the passage will be answered at the end each week.

Lastly, students have to read at least 30 minutes a night or 120 minutes throughout the week. They have been doing wonderful getting their nightly minutes and signatures. Their month reading project is due this Friday, March 27, 2015. In the project, there are three components – 5 AR point minimum, a 2 paragraph letter, and their total amount of reading minutes.

3.16-3.20 UPDATE

VA Studies~VS7: Civil War. Please remember to review those notes each night, as we cover a lot of material.  Test Thursday VS 7A-C.   Richmond, VA is full of Civil War history  here is list ideas for a weekend field trip if interested: VA Historical Society, Museum of the Confederacy, Chimborazo Medical Museum, American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, Pamplin Historical Par & National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, Petersburg National Battlefield, Cold Harbor Battlefield. Be sure to check out this link to Richmond Civil War Sites.  Don;t forget to practice SOLpass (Randolph) daily.

Language Arts~  We will share our Civil War Time Capsules this week and circle back to figurative language.  There will be a cold red on Friday.  We will also have an opportunity to free write this week.  :)  There is no word study this week.  Students need to be reading in order to reach our class AR percentage goal of 80% and individual point goals.  Reading Olympics is still going strong.

Math ~  Moving on to Measurement.  This week we will cover measuring length, mass, and volume in customary and metric units. Students need to review all the measurements and will also learn how to convert units from large to small and small to large.  Be sure to review all your notes in your journal.  Quiz Wednesday on length conversions and measuring length.  Quiz Friday on length, area, perimeter, and conversions.

Snow Days and Civil War

We’re getting ready for our time capsule.  Here are some resources for your background knowledge.  We’ll get rolling on this on Monday so just be thinking over the snow days and weekend.

Try these passages for some reading:

Frederick Douglass passage

The Other Flag passage

Soujourner Truth passage

Harriet Tubman passage

Bugles and Taps passage

Struggle fro Equality passage

Fort Sumter passage

Gettysburg passage

Slavery in the Territories passage

Just enjoy reading the passages and having in depth conversations with your family.  Count this as your reading log and don’t worry about answering the questions that follow the passages.

Don’t forget the sites on our VS REVIEW page under

VS7 – Civil War.


Getting Back in the Groove

I hope that everyone had a wonderful few days off due to the snow!!


Students will be introduced to a biography project tomorrow. Students are able to choose any person that they wish. However, they must choose a person that intrigues or amazes them in some way. They will research their chosen person and practice citing sources, as well as, using notecards to assist with keeping the important information organizer. Students will each pick a different person that they would like to research.

**The project will last two weeks and will be due on March 6, 2015

Students will also continue with double negatives and quotation marks. Both of these will be used in their writing and be edited for correctness.

Language Arts

Students will be learning about nonfiction features and use the material learned in various nonfiction passages. They will learn how to use the text features to help them answer the questions related to the passage. Students will also work in small groups and in partners to practice the skill.

Students have been working really hard at finding books that interest them and building their reading stamina/fluency level. Students’ second reading project will be due on Friday, February 27th.

I have been keeping track of students reading minutes daily and they have also put their minutes in the Book It program. The project also focuses on a letter that they have to write that summarizes their book, as well as, tells their opinion of the story. There is a chart that students can use to help them complete their two paragraph letter. If your child is in need of another sheet, it can be located on the Schoology webpage in the Reading course. I can also print off a paper copy if you wish.

Lastly, the Reading project consist of students having to get 5 points by the end of the month. The AR points count the most in the final project. Please let me know if you have any questions :)

**Daily Homework: Read 30 minutes and nonfiction reading passage practice (Monday – Wednesday only)