Week of May 11-15

  1. Discover the historical methods of Classification (Aristotle)
  2. Discuss the 7 level system of classification we currently use
  3. Introduce the 6 Kingdoms of Living Things

No Quizzes or Tests


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


Week of May 4-9

  1. Introduce Classification
  2. Class discusion of why we classify things
  3. Play game of “”guess who”" by using a crude classification system”

SOL Testing is underway……We will not have any quizzes or tests until SOL testing for all 6th graders is complete.

Earth Day Extended Celebration

Last Friday and today, Ms. Kass and I took the students in her Science classes outside to do a little exploration of our environment. In a scavenger hunt type activity, we made a list of concepts the kids have studied during the year and went outside to look for examples. We looked for stages of life cycles, evidence of the water cycle, erosion, pollution, and documented the organisms in our ecosystem. Over the next few days, students will share the images they made with their iPad cameras in a Schoology class discussion. We will discuss what we found, and if we have a chance, we will make a plan to clean up the substantial amount of trash we found in the woods.

Here are a few of the pictures I made of during our outings of little things the students found.

Soldier beetle

Lichen and moss



Sawfly larvae



Fun Online Reviews

Spend 10-15 minutes and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned and what you remember!


Science Book - Really cool stuff and great pictures!  Electricity is next!

Virginia Studies Text Book

Username: Student (with a capital S)
Password: History (with a capital H)
This address gives students and parents access to the grade level student texts with or without audio.
Click on any chapter on the table of contents page and you will be taken to that chapter.


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


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!

Week of April 13-17

Continue with SpongeBob Genetics Activities. Review and make sure students can work simple MonoHybrid Crosses and introduce Di-Hybrid crosses to students who have mastered the concept.

Performance Based Graded activity at the end of week.

Animating Science with Scratch

One hallmark of true understanding is when students understand material well enough to reteach that information to others.  5th grade students have been doing just that by creating animations to teach science concepts to other students.  Students have created animations to share information about the scientific method, simple machines, electricity, meteorological instruments, astronomers, and ecosystems.  The students plan to share their creations with other students throughout the school as they learn about these scientific subjects.



Week of March 2 – March 6

When is the cold gonna go away? If I’m right we are all ready for 70 to 80 degree weather and the color green! Snow is great to have, it brings a sense of joy and cleansing, but it is time for growth and renewal of nature and WARM weather!

Speaking of the color green, we have been learning about Photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make there own food supply. We have learned that Photosynthesis is an energy conversion process. Ask you child(ren) to explain it to you, don’t worry if they can’t do a great job of it. They really only need to understand the basics (Plants make their own food) right now. They should know the basic ingredients (reactants) and what is made (products).

We will be having a quiz over Photosynthesis and Respiration on WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY, unless we get more of that white stuff!


Thank you for all the donations for our class basket!  


Dr. Suess Week~ Monday: Crazy Hat Day/ Tuesday: Pajama Day/ Wednesday : Wacky Day~ Mis-match your clothing, inside out, backwards, as wacky as you can!/Thursday: Grinch Who Day? ~Wear your hair like a Who from Whoville or wear all green like the Grinch/ Friday: Favorite Suess Character Day

  • 3/2 Monday: RoadRunner SOL Tutorting Camp: after school starts, 4:30 pick up
  • 3/4 Wednesday: GHS Dance Team visits 3-5 Grades for 1:00 Performance
  • 3/6 Friday: Items due for Silent Auction basket
  • 3/13 Thursday: RES Spaghetti Dinner & Silent Auction
  • 3/17 Tuesday: Young Scientists visit 4th Grade
  • 3/20 Friday: End of 3rd Marking Period
  • 3/23 Monday: REGULAR SCHOOL DAY (This is a change due to snow)
  • 3/25 Wednesday: Chik-fil-A Fundraiser at SP Mall Food Court 5:30-7:30
  • 3/27 Friday: Report Cards go home
  • 3/27 Friday: Individual Picture/ Class Picture Day
  •  3/25 Wednesday: Chik-fil-A Fundraiser at SP Mall Food Court 5:30-7:30
  • 3/31 Tuesday: Reading Olympics Tournament at BES
  • 4/1 Wednesday:4th Grade to Hanover Tavern
  • 4/3 Friday: Spring Parties
  • 4/6-4/10 SPRING BREAK
  • Science~We will finish up this week with Space, Moon, and Planets.  Students will be working on their group project in class and present Wednesday. Test should have been last Friday, so we will have it Monday.
  • VA Studies~We will begin on Tuesday with VS7: Civil War. Please remember to review those 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. Look for a quiz at the beginning of next week.  We’ll start out Civil War time capsule this week as well!
  •  Math ~  DECIMAL assessment was to be last Thursday, so we will have it Monday.  Please make sure to review naming, place value, writing decimals in word, expanded, and standard form, rounding, comparing, and ordering.  Be sure to look over you notes for those reminders and steps.  Next we will move onto Elapsed Time.  There are lots of review sites and videos list on the math page of the blog.  Be sure to make those time lines to help you figure out elapsed time.
  • Language Arts~  We will  have a word study this week.  Test on Thursday.  Last weeks word study will be assessed tomorrow.  Persuasive writing is on the menu, and we will be creating commercials and ads for our G21 “Nab the Tab” campaign.  We will also start new novel studies this week in class.  Be sure to ask your students what book they are reading with their groups.  I will be pulling content Civil War reading into LA too.  Cold Read on Friday.   Great job submitting the Engineer Girl!!


I can’t believe it!  Everyone is ready to submit their engineering writing piece.  I am really proud of the efforts put forth by the students!  Here’s the plan:

  • If it snows and we’re NOT here on Thursday and/or Friday, I am sending home each child’s piece.  It’s up to the child to type it into the Engineer Girl submission site and have you enter the personal information.  There might be some inaccurate punctuation, but that’s OK.  Remember, the children will be judged against their peers.  Their pieces look AWESOME!  Saturday (2/27) is the deadline.)  Please send me a quick email stating that you submitted.  
  • If we ARE here on Thursday and/or Friday, we will submit from school as scheduled.  I am flexible so if you have 3 minutes to slide in, we can make it happen.  

Please give lots of support as the students have worked so very hard over the last two months.  I am so proud of them!

Submissions completed:  FF, GW, BS, RB, PC, KS, EA, NP, AD, KW, CW