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 Hi 5th Grade Families,

Hope you are enjoying the Presidents' Day weekend with lots of family, laughs, and rest. We are very excited about the units of study and some fun events happening this next month or so!
Black History Month Guest Speaker
In honor of black history month, we are honored to once again host our good friend, Mary Hawthorne, as she shares about some of the African American figures throughout our nation's history that have shaped who we are today. Her presentation is engaging and informative, and the kids will love it! She will be joining us Tuesday afternoon, right after lunch. Be sure to ask your child about it Tuesday evening!
Young Ameritowne
This next week marks the start of a very exciting time of the year: Young Ameritowne (YAT)! We will begin our lessons this week by taking a "town tour" and will continue with one short lesson almost every day up until our field trip on April 5th. Please watch for more information on YAT and how to help coming via email on Tuesday. 
End of the 2nd Trimester
The end of this trimester is Friday the 23rd, which means report cards will be sent home the beginning of March. Watch for those in Friday folders!
Student-Led Conferences
Spring conferences will be held Wednesday, March 14th, and Thursday, March 15th, this year. Spring conferences are optional or by teacher request, but all students will be required to share their learning and goals from their portfolios either at a home conference with you or at the school conference. Look for more information to follow very soon. 
Social Studies
We are in the midst of the American Revolution unit. The colonies have just declared their independence with a letter to the tyrant, King George III! Huzzah! We will continue to learn about the revolution by studying a few battles and research and share about a few significant individuals of that time. As we prepare for YAT, some social studies lessons will be peppered with lessons in national, state, and local government too. This will give us some background knowledge for our last unit of the year, the Constitution and formation of a new government, which will work out perfectly. 
Students have started the Living Organisms unit. It will lead into some learning around the digestive and skeletal systems, with an emphasis on the ways that the systems work together for the organism's survival. The Growing and Changing unit will begin right after Spring Break in April. Look for information in the coming weeks about the parent informational meeting (optional) and the required permission slips for this unit. In the next few weeks, we will learn about the other human body systems as a platform for the Growing and Changing unit. That will be the final science unit of the year.
In math, we are currently finishing the fourth unit, "Multiplying Multi-Digit Numbers and Decimals." We will have a short quiz this next week to see where we need to do some more work before starting the next unit (division of decimals). Math homework will continue to be Wednesday evenings. 
We are nearing the end of our expository research unit. The next unit will be persuasive writing, and it will begin in about a week and a half. The kids are working hard on the current unit, and their topics are so interesting! It will be fun reading the finished pieces when they are complete! We are also going to be starting a "Test Taking Strategies" unit for the weeks leading up to spring break. About once a week, we will be learning about, and practicing, some strategies for success on our spring testing. In 5th grade, students take a total of 4 different content (11 individual) PARCC tests over several weeks. We will also be administering the final round of MAP testing in May around the same time. As such, we hope to show the kids some test taking strategies that might help them during the testing period. We appreciate you helping to make attendance a priority during this time. The kids will do great!
In reading, we have just finished "The Magician's Nephew" and a unit about main ideas and details. Using thinking maps, we have dissected many stories and articles to find text structure, synthesize ideas, and identify theme. The next reading unit centers around "Theme Across Multiple Genres," and we plan to begin the book "Wonder" as a class read aloud. If you have copies at home for students to follow along with, please send those in this week! Students should continue to read and write for their literacy logs. The February log is due March 1st. 
Have a great rest of your weekend! Please let me know if you have any questions. See you on Tuesday!

Mrs. Vallory Darting, M.Ed.

5th Grade Teacher

Blue Heron Elementary School

Littleton, CO