The week ended with the Fun Run, which for 4th and 5th grades was 9:30 this morning. I am amazed at the fact that my class as a whole has gotten over $1,400 pledged! Yet, I am glad this is over since we have so much material to cover this year. With the schedule being off, I was still able to get in the literacy portion a bit and then we had an early lunch from 11:10 to 11:35. In math, we had the weekly warmup quiz and then the students worked on their IXL. I discussed the expectation that the IXL that is assigned on Monday is due on Friday and that they have all week to get it finished. This weekend will be the last time I will allow them to work on it past the due date. Next week, the grade in IXL at the end of the day on Friday is the grade that gets entered unless there are extenuating circumstances. In science we reviewed for the test on Wednesday.
The weekly parent email was sent out. It is, and always will be, quite lengthy but I want to make sure that I keep the parents informed.
Lastly, this is a reminder that there is no school on Monday, October 3rd. Today was pretty much a continuation of what we have been doing all week. I am going to hit on multiples and factors tomorrow since it looks like my students are ready. In science, we made batteries out of salt water but the voltage output was too weak to power the bulbs. I would like to redo the experiment next Friday using lemons and limes.
Lastly, I have added more tutorials in math for place value. I will continue to add them as the year progresses.
One week from today the first science unit test will be administered. I would like to encourage you to have your child practice for it by doing the online quiz as often as possible. The questions on it (and the math one too) are very similar to what is on the test. Plus, all of the experiments that we do (or demonstrations) have something to do with eat least one question on the test. It is like that for all of the units. Literacy was a continuation of higherlevel thinking skills such as inferences and summarizing. In math we are coming to the end of the section on adding and subtracting. I am having my students do complex and multistep problems with and without decimals.
In science, we did the second of the three experiments for the week. Today's focus was about static electricity and how static charges on certain objects allow them to stick to other objects due to opposite electrical charges. Just like with magnetism, in electricity there are two poles only instead of North and South there is Positive and Negative. However, the same principle of opposites attract and like repels still applies. For this, we used balloons. Students inflated and tied up balloons, rubbed them against their shirts or pants, and then stuck them to the doors of the student cabinets or my storage cabinets. Since I have 30 students, we had to be careful in the use of available space. I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored the students in my class. As of yesterday, my class has a total of $590.00 in pledges which is amazing! Actually, this number is outdated because I had at least three more students turn in pledge forms this morning and who knows how many did it online. I will get the update this evening since the emails usually come around 6:30 pm. It takes the Fun Run crew a considerable amount of time to collect everything, compile it into a spreadsheet, and distribute prizes. In literacy, we continued with the usual higher level comprehension. I use an activity called Jacob's Ladder that Mr. McDonald introduced me to. It uses a tiered level approach to reading. Students read a passage and when they answer questions, they start at the bottom of the page and work their way upward (just like a ladder  clever, huh?). Each step upward requires more higher level thinking skills such as summarizing, predicting events in a whatif scenario (my favorite!), etc. I like the whatifs because it requires the reader to really delve into the text and then use the existing knowledge of a character's personality and history to predict how he/she will likely react in a hypothetical situation. In math, we went back to subtraction and addition of large numbers (with and without decimals) since I jumped a bit far ahead. I still use the prewarmups and some math challenges from two years ago.
While just about all of the students are doing pretty well with this unit, I am noticing that any wrong answers are caused by minor mistakes. So, I am continuing to talk about the need to be careful and methodical when solving problems because one mistake will bring about an incorrect answer. The more steps there are in a problem, the more potential for a mistake and thus the need for being careful is more pronounced. In science, we did the first of three experiments after reviewing the notes and main concepts. Today's experiment was to measure the distance of the force (attracting and repelling) between two magnets. The class was divided into pairs and each pair was issued two magnets and a ruler. I had the class use the metric side of the ruler because: 1) It is easier to use until we cover fractions and measurement much later in the year and; 2) The rest of the world uses the metric system. With the economy becoming only more interconnected and global, I want my students to be acclimated to the metric system since they are more likely to be working with people from around the world in their adult lives. The students first checked to see which edges of the magnets attracted and made note of it. One magnet was placed with its right side at the 0 cm mark along the edge of the ruler. The other magnet was place along the same edge about 10 cm away. One student had his/her finger holding the magnet on the left side at the 0 cm mark. That magnet needed to remain fixed. The other student slowly moved the magnet on the right side along the edge of the ruler towards the fixed magnet. Watching carefully, they observed the distance at which the magnet first began to attract. Afterwards, the magnet was flipped over and the procedure was repeated to test for the distance of repulsion. 
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