May 4, 2020 — Camarena Elementary School – Official Site


Robo Broadcast for the Week If you want to give a shout out to Julie and Evan click here.Are you planning on returning to Camarena Next Year? Please let us know by May 15 so we can determine the number of classes we need for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Click here.Friday, May 8…

via May 4, 2020 — Camarena Elementary School – Official Site

Camarena Caravan Parade-This FRIDAY

The Camarena Caravan is Coming this Friday, March 27 starting at 10:00 am! dr. mclaren and some of our robogriffin staff will caravan through our camarena neighborhoods to wave to our kids! We want you to know how much we love and miss you. Here are some important things to note for everyone’s safety: Staff…

via March 25, 2020 — Camarena Elementary School – Official Site

Week of 2/24/2020

Happy Monday, Parents!  Here’s our learning for the week!


Math: We are still working on Module 4, where students continue to learn to multiply fractions and decimal fractions and start to work with fraction division. Below are some math topics we have been learning about and some helpful parent resources!

  • Multiply unit fraction by unit fractions.
  • Multiply unity fractions by non-unit fractions.
  • Multiply non-unit fractions by non-unit fractions.
  • Solve word problems using tape diagrams and fractions-by-fraction multiplications.
  • Relate decimal and fraction multiplication.
  • Covert measures involving whole numbers, and solve multi-step word problems.
  • Covert mixed unit measurements, and solve multi-step word problems.

Converting Measurements

Relating Fractions and Decimal Equivalence

Compare the Size of the Product to the Size of the Factors

Another Parent Resource

Writing: Students are working on an informational essay and explaining why water is essential to human life. Students are including information about how water has helped people live and do work in the past, present, and how it may be used in the future. 

As we guide students, we are making students have the following:

  • has a clear statement of purpose, or focus.
  • is well-organized and stays on the topic.
  • provides evidence from the sources to support your ideas.
  • uses clear language that suits your purpose.
  • follows conventions of writing (spelling, punctuation, and grammar)

Social Studies:  Students have learned that the American Revolution was a time when the British colonists in America rebelled against the rule of Great Britain. There were many battles fought and the colonies gained their freedom and became the independent country of the United States.  So far, we have read a variety of passages, watched videos and discussed the causes and effect of these battles.  Check out below our “poetry battle” between the British and Patriots.  Ask your child:

  • Based on this poem, how do the British feel?
  • How do the Patriots respond?
  • Who’s battle would you be part of?  Why?Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 10.23.22 PM

Physical Education:  Reminder: Our fifth graders will participate in the California Physical Fitness Test (PFT). The FITNESSGRAM is the required annual PFT for students in grades five, seven, and nine in California public schools. This health-related fitness test is intended to help students acquire lasting habits of regular physical activity. Please click on the following link to find out more information.

Any questions, please let us know!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 1/27/2020

Happy Tuesday, Parents!

Here’s what’s happening this week:

Math:  We will continue to focus on the following:

 -Relate fractions as division to fraction of a set.

-Multiply any whole number by a fraction using tape diagrams.

-Relate fraction of a set to the repeated addition interpretation of fraction multiplication.

-Find a fraction of a measurement, and solve word problems.


Below are two examples students have been working on.

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 10.02.28 PMScreen Shot 2019-02-06 at 10.04.36 PM

Click below for other parent resources: 

Multiply a whole number by a fraction using a tape diagram

Multiply whole numbers by a fraction using standard algorithm

Find a fraction of a measurement

Compare and evaluate expressions

Social Studies:  Students will explore the answer to the question “How did conflict/cooperation among different groups of people affect the development of the United States?”  The American Revolutionary war is a significant point in the history of America.  By studying this time period, students will gain a better understanding of historical concepts and themes, as well as individual and global connections in history.  It will give students an understanding of the founding of America and help students better appreciate how this historical period relates to their lives.

Physical Education:  Reminder: Our fifth graders will participate in the California Physical Fitness Test (PFT). The FITNESSGRAM is the required annual PFT for students in grades five, seven, and nine in California public schools. This health-related fitness test is intended to help students acquire lasting habits of regular physical activity.

During PE instruction, we will begin practicing the 6 Fitness areas students will be tested on.Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 10.38.12 PM

Your child can continue to practice at home by clicking here!  You will find videos of the all the fitness areas your child will be tested on.  Enjoy the exercise!

Again, if you have any questions please let us know. Have a great week!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 1-21-2020

Happy Wednesday, Parents! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Reading:  We are currently reading and comparing the different perspectives in selections to analyze point of view. We have learned the way a writer uses point of view, informs and changes our understanding of the story.  Writers vary point of view depending on what they want us to know and think about events.  Talk to your child and discuss the following essential question:

  • How can other perspectives help us evaluate the world?

Math:  We are continuing to focus on interpreting fractions as division. Equal sharing with area models (both concrete and pictorial) provides students with an opportunity to understand the division of whole numbers with answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers (e.g., seven brownies shared by three girls, three pizzas shared by four people). Discussion also includes an interpretation of remainders as a fraction.  Tape diagrams provide a linear model of these problems. Moreover, students see that, by renaming larger units in terms of smaller units, division resulting in a fraction is similar to whole number division.  Below are some great resources to support your child at home. 

Interpret a Fraction as Division

Interpret a Fraction as Division2

Use Tape Diagram to Model Fractions as Division

Click here for another great resource!

Writing:  Students are currently working on their speech.  We encourage parents to continue to support their child by discussing the connection between student’s writing and our 2020 THEME: “Looking Forward”.   We also encourage parents to help their child on speech development.

Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The speech is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. A good speech immediately engages the audience’s attention and then moves forward toward a significant conclusion. This development of the speech structure is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, delivered with such smoothness that they blend into the framework of the speech to present the audience with a unified whole.

Click on the following link view some of our past Student TEDx talks.

Science:  In the previous lessons students learned about the indicators of chemical change: gas production, color change, temperature change, precipitate formation, or light production.  This week,  students will apply what they know about the physical andchemical properties by conducting an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.  Click here for a science resource!  

Any questions?  Please let us know!  Have great week, parents!

Fifth Grade Team


Week of 1/14/2020

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year and welcome to quarter 3! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Reading:  Welcome to our current unit of study, “Recognizing Author’s Point of View.  In this unit, we will read and compare the different perspectives in selections to analyze point of view. Students will read selections in a variety of genres, including poetry, journal entries, historical fiction, biography, and humor. This unit will spark some lively discussion at home as we examine how understanding someone else’s perspective can help us to evaluate and understand the world.

Math:  We are currently working on Module 4 where students are learning to multiply fractions and decimal fractions as well as working with fraction division.  Equal sharing with area models provides students with an opportunity to understand division of whole numbers with answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers (e.g., seven brownies shared by three girls, three pizzas shared by four people). Students will learn that tape diagrams provide a linear model of these problems.  Check out the examples below or click here for another parent resource.

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 9.24.56 pm

Science:  A variety of online videos, strategies of think–pair-share, model drawings, and writing pieces will help students understand the following essential questions:

  • How can matter be described and identified?
  • How do physical and chemical changes affect matter?

As we begin our matter unit, your child will learn that matter is made up of particles too small to be seen, but we can prove it exists.  We will learn that the amount of matter is conserved when it changes form.  They will also identify matter based on properties which can be measured and observed.

During this unit of study, students will observe, measure, and identify materials based on their properties and begin to get a conceptual understanding of the particle nature of matter (i.e., all matter is made of particles too small to be seen). In the first portion of the unit, students will focus on describing a variety of physical properties. These observations and measurements will be used to produce data that will serve as the basis for evidence that will be used to identify materials.

Read Aloud:  This week we will start our new read aloud, Chains.  It is a book that talks about the Revolutionary War.  One of characters students will be learning is thirteen-year-old Isabel who wages her own fight… for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 10.42.03 pmCity couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
Some questions you may ask your child:

              • Describe the life of slaves in the American colonies in the 1700s.
              • Isabel and Ruth Finch are slaves. How are their lives similar to those of other slaves you’ve read about? How are they different from th

Click here to check out the book trailer!


Writing/Speech Contest:  

Students learned about this year’s speech contest. The Chula Vista Elementary School District Speech Contest has changed its name. The event is now titled “CVESDTALKS.” Over the years,  we have showcased student’s abilities to give amazing presentations with the focus of developing public speaking skills.  This year’s theme is “Looking Forward.”  

The theme for CVESDTALKS references the year 2020. Our theme allows students to look towards their future. Students can choose to speak on anything that addresses the theme, “Looking Forward.” Students can consider some of the following areas:

• Technology • Education • Relationships • Science • Social Justice • History • Global or Local Issues

As we work on our speeches, students will also work on the following different categories:

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 8.22.48 PM






Click here to view some of our past Student TEDx talk.

Sanford Harmony Social-Emotional Learning Program:

Your child is learning about Diversity and Inclusion in the Sanford Harmony Social-Emotional Learning Program. The ideas below will reinforce what we are learning in school— there are activities to play, topics to discuss, and behaviors to role-model. These are all designed to fit into your daily routine and provide opportunities to further connect with your child.

●  Your child’s classmates are getting to know one another better by sharing items that are important to them. Ask your child to discuss the items that were shared in class that he or she enjoyed learning about.

●  Students are getting to know what they have in common and how they are different from their classroom Buddies. Ask your child to describe what he or she was surprised to learn about their Buddy.

●  Challenge your child to find out something they have in common with someone who is seemingly completely different from him or her. This could be a relative, friend, or neighbor.

●  Ask your child about favorite things he or she enjoys doing and could teach a family member how to do (hobbies, crafts, games, sports, math problems). Alternatively, seek out opportunities for your child to learn something new from those in your family or community.

●  Select a meaningful item to share with your child, explaining why it is important to you and what it says about you.

●  Collaborate as a family to create a name and motto. Work as a team to brainstorm a variety of ideas and then decide what best represents who you are as a family.

An important part of this program is for students to continue discussing and practicing concepts outside the classroom. Thank you for your involvement in reinforcing at home what we are learning in class.

For more resources to help your child and family build healthy relationships, please visit

Any questions?  Please let us know!  Have great week, parents!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 11/18/2019

Dear Parents,

Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Reading: We are currently working on our third unit in the Benchmark Advance program. In this unit, your child will read and compare selections about cultivating food in the past and today to understand how we develop our natural resources. They will explore the big business of farming as well as how to grow corn in your own neighborhood. They will] look especially at the history of corn as a food resource in North America, and follow its development into the big industry it is today.  The selections in this unit feature a variety of genres, including informational texts, opinion essays, tall tales, folktales, and editorials. This unit is sure to inspire deeper interest in where our food comes from, and it provides good opportunities for out-of-the-classroom learning.

Math: We are currently working on Module 3!  The beginning of this module, students will revisit the foundational Grade 4 standards addressing equivalence. When equivalent, fractions represent the same amount of area of a rectangle and the same point on the number line. These equivalencies can also be represented symbolically. Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 9.44.18 PM

Click here for a great math resource!

Other useful resources:

Equivalent Fractions

More Equivalent Fractions

Adding Fractions Using an Area Model

Improper Fractions

Subtracting Fractions Using Area Model

Subtract Fractions from Numbers between 1 and 2

Writing: We are currently working on the process of informative writing.  But before students can write proficient fifth grade writing pieces, students need to have a clear understanding of proficiency.  Here’s the success criteria we will be using which will guide students as they write their informative pieces.

Respond to ALL parts of the prompt
Introduce a topic clearly and provide a general observation and focus.
Group related information logically.
Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and/or clauses
Use precise language and academic vocabulary
Use paragraphs to organize writing
Organize writing that attends to task, purpose, and audience
Use appropriate voice
Use correct punctuation, capitalization, and grammar
Write legibly with correct spacing and margins

Social Studies: We started our Colonial America unit!  We will examine the motivations, attitudes, individuals, and circumstances involved in the colonization of what is now the United States, as well as the effects of that colonization on people of the past and present.  Questions you may ask your child throughout the unit:

  • How did conflict/cooperation among different groups of people affect the development of the United States?
  • In what ways was interdependence in Colonial America essential to survival?
  • How did all the different roles people had in a colonial village help people survive?

The book, Blood on the River, explores the day-to-day lives of the colonists at James Town, Virginia, as well as themes such as learning how to react to anger and conflict.     A major theme in the novel is presented when the character, Captain Smith says, “Don’t let your anger get the best of you, Samuel. . . . Learn to channel it, and it will become your strength rather than your weakness.”  Discuss with your child, what does Captain Smith mean by this? What can we infer about these characters?

Have a great week, parents!

Fifth Grade Team


Week of 10/22/2019

Happy Tuesday, Fifth Grade Parents!  Here’s what’s been happening this week:

Reading: We finished our stories from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  With your child, reflect on the excerpts “Becky Returns,” “Games in the Woods,” and “Camp-Life.” Then discuss Tom Sawyer’s character.  What is Tom Sawyer like? What qualities did we learn about him that we may value? Why do we value certain qualities in people?

Math:  We have started introducing division and different ways it can be interpreted. Students round dividends and two-digit divisors to nearby multiples of 10 in order to estimate single-digit quotients and then multi-digit quotients.  The series of lessons in these topics lead students to divide multi-digit dividends by two-digit divisors using the written vertical method.  Each lesson moves to a new level of difficulty with a sequence beginning with divisors that are multiples of 10 to non-multiples of 10.

Check out some resources below:

Estimating using basic facts


Divide decimal dividends by two-digit divisors

Read Aloud: We are continuing with Blood on the River and learning more about our main character, Samuel.

Some questions you can ask your child:

  • What have you learned about Samuel? What have you learned about Captain John Smith, Reverend Hunt, and Master Winfield?
  • What are some conflicts in the story?  How do the characters respond to the conflicts? How would you have reacted if you were Samuel?

Each chapter opens with a quotation from a primary source, which means that it was written from a person who was actually there during the historical event. Historians study primary sources and other artifacts to piece together what really happened.

Other questions you can ask your child:

  1. What might be some advantages of referring to primary sources?
  2. What problems could come with primary sources?

Writing:  We are working on a new narrative story:

Imagine that you arrive at school one day, and your teacher tells you that you have been asked to be principal for the day.  What would you do next and why? Write a story about what would happen in school the day you are principal.

As students begin to write their next narrative, we are making sure we follow our success criteria:

When we analyze the prompt and plan, we make sure we…

  • Read the Prompt
  • Respond to all parts of the prompt (Do/What chart)
  • Think about the purpose and who your audience is (who is reading it?) 
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Create a PLAN that develops the setting, characters and plot

When we draft, we make sure we…


  • Write an introduction section that establishes the setting and narrator 
  • Organize the PLOT in sequence: setting, characters, and plot
  • Use lots of descriptive language to develop or helps me understand the setting and characters 
  • Include dialogue 
  • Write a conclusion that wraps up the story and makes sense 
  • Make sure the story has a theme, moral, lesson, or clear solution
  • Use transitions  and phrases to connect ideas
  • Use sensory details
  • Use a voice that is appropriate for the genre and audience 


Biztown:  We are preparing for our big day at Biztown!  Students haven been introduced to bank services and practices that will help them be successful at JA BizTown and in life. They now understand the basics of banking, including deposits and withdrawals, electronic transactions, bank cards, and checking.

This week, students were introduced to the concept of the circular flow of money and goods in an economy. They will continue to define basic economic concepts and discuss the impact of taxes and philanthropy.

Have a great week! Any questions, please let us know.

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 10/8/2019

Happy Tuesday, Parents! We hope you had a wonderful fall break! We are so excited on what’s ahead and ready for quarter 2! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Reading:  We are continuing with our second unit in the Benchmark Advance program.  We are reading stories in which students compare characters and analyze their relationships with each other. As we continue to analyze several excerpts from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we will focus on:

  • Analyzing key events to make a prediction about the text.
  • Reading to identify and annotate key events.
  • Using key events to summarize a narrative.
  • Integrating information from two texts to understand character
  • Drawing inferences from the text
  • Contributing to a discussion by building on classmates’ ideas.

Here’s what you can ask your child:

  • How many main characters are in the selection you read today?
  • What types of people are they?
  • Where does the story take place?
  • What was one key event in the story?
  • What can you infer about the character?  Or What is the author trying to tell you that’s not stated in the text?

Math:  We are currently working on Module 2.  Students are moving from whole numbers to multiplication with decimals, again using place value as a guide to reason and make estimations about products.

Words to Know!

  • Area Model
  • Product
  • Standard Algorithm
  • Factor
  • Numerical Expression
  • Estimate
  • Decompose

Things to Remember!

  • Standard Algorithm is a  Step-by-step procedure to solve a problem
  • Numerical Expression is a mathematical phrase involving only numbers and one or more operational symbol Example: 11 x (6+13)
  • Symbol for ‘about’ ≈
  •  Product is the answer when two or more numbers are multiplied together.

Here’s a resource you can check out to become more familiar on this topic.

Other useful videos:

Find the product of decimals and using estimation

Use multiplication to find equivalent measurements

More conversion examples

Solving word problems

Read Aloud:

Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 8.12.28 PMWe are starting a new book!  Here’s what we know about one of our characters, Samuel.  He’s a rough-and-tumble young orphan and becomes Captain John Smith’s page on his journey to the New World. Brought up in poor conditions, Samuel is street-smart but also quick-tempered. He has to learn to control his anger and to use his head instead of his fists. During the journey on the ship, Samuel begins to learn how to determine right from wrong. Through his interactions with other boys his age and with key figures such as Captain John Smith, Reverend Hunt, and Master Wingfield, Samuel discovers ways to avoid conflict.

Some questions you may ask your child:

Reverend Hunt speaks about making decisions based on love, not on anger. Anger is a problem for Samuel. He is angry ―with the world.

  • What do you know about him so far that would explain why he is so angry?
  • What would it look like for someone to do as Reverend Hunt says and ―make decisions based on love when there is no one left to love?‖

Biztown: We are looking forward to our very first fun field trip! This year, our class will participate in an exciting program called JA BizTown. This program encompasses important elements of community and economy, work readiness, financial literacy, and business management. As part of the program, we will spend the day at the JA BizTown site on Wednesday, November 6th. This on-site visit will provide students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned in a realistic setting. Each student will assume a job, produce and/or sell products, receive a paycheck, work on a business team, repay business loans, shop, and manage a personal bank account. To prepare for our upcoming day, your child will begin to learn about:

  • Financial literacy skills needed to use in financial institutions
  • Managing spending and savings accounts.
  • Practice formal business greetings, letter writing, job application skills, and job interviewing.

The early development of these important skills will help students as they enter the world of work and begin to manage their personal finances.

Any questions, please let us know! Have a great week!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 9/9/2019

Reading:  We are beginning our second unit in the Benchmark Advance program.  In this unit, your child will read stories in which he or she compares characters and analyzes their relationships with each other.  We will read several excerpts from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This will help students get an idea of how different characters interact with each other, and it will also help them understand what makes some characters more likable than others.  We are looking forward to this exciting unit! It will be fun to discover how they make connections between the characters in the stories and people in real life.

Here’s what you can work on at home:

  • Discuss with your child the question we have been discussing in class: “Why do we value certain qualities in people?”
  • Help your child focus on qualities that people consider most admirable by working together to make a top five list of the most important character traits of a good person. Then discuss why that value is important.
  • Next to each of the character traits, list a real person or fictional character who has that trait.

Math: This week, we are working on Module 2.  In this module, students apply patterns of the base ten system to mental strategies.  Students move from whole numbers to multiplication with decimals, again using place value as a guide to reason and make estimations about products.   Students will also solve multi-step word problems using multi-digit multiplication and division with unknowns representing either the group size or number of groups.   Click here   for another great parent resource!

Other helpful videos: 

Write and interpret numerical expressions using models

Convert numerical expressions

Connecting models with standard algorithm

Multiply using area diagrams

More area diagrams

Multiply using standard algorithm

Science:  This week in science we’re exploring how the Sun’s path changes with the time of the year. Students will learn that on summer days the Sun comes up earlier, rises higher in the midday sky, and sets later than it does in winter.

If you find that your child is curious when the Sun rises and sets, Google now provides sunrise and sunset times simply by typing “sunrise” and “sunset” in Google. Many weather apps for smartphones (such as iPhone) also feature this information included with the day’s forecast.

Writing:  This week, we are continuing to work on our narrative pieces.  Narrative writing encompasses a lot! Author’s purpose, tone, voice, structure, in addition to sentence structure, organization, and word choice.  This means,  students are including and revising the following elements:

  • Organization:  Students must understand the basics of story structure to create their own. In narrative, stories are often organized in a certain way, with the characters and setting introduced before the problem. Then, the plot progresses chronologically.
  • Characters:  Characters are the people, animals, or other beings that move the story forward. They are whom the story is about. Creating characters by describing the character and planning how they will act in the story is an important prewriting step.
  • Plot:  The plot of the story involves a problem that the character must address or a main event that they need to navigate. Outlining the events and how they unfold will help students craft out the body of their story.
  • Detail:  Narrative writing incorporates a lot of detail—adding details about the character, explaining a setting, describing an important object. 
  • Endings:  After the problem is resolved, and the climax of the story has concluded, students need to wrap up the story in a satisfying way. This means bringing the memories, feelings, thoughts, hopes, wishes, and decisions of the main character to a close.

Parent/Teacher Conferences:  A reminder that parent/teacher conferences will begin Thursday, September 12th and dismissal time will be at 1:15.  Please make sure you check in with your child’s teacher to schedule a conference.

Mexican Fiesta:  Camarena’s Fiesta Mexicana is this Friday, September 13th starting at 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.  Stop by to enjoy tasty food from a variety of vendors and listen to great music!

Have a great week, parents! Any questions, please let us know.

-Fifth Grade Team