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

Week of 8/26/2019

Happy Wednesday, Parents!

Learning for the week:

Math:   We are getting ready to take our Module 1 assessment!  These last couple of weeks, we have been focusing on our deep understanding of place value and how it applies to standard algorithms.  Clickhere for another great parent resource that you can use to review all of the math concepts learned in Module 1.

Reading:  As good readers, we are constantly checking back on our essential question- Why do laws continue toevolve?  So far, we have read and compared selections about the development of laws and about people who have fought to change unfair laws.  This week’s reading selection is  “Thurgood Marshall’s Liberty Medal Acceptance Speech” which we will give us more information on how laws continue to change.  To continue the dialogue at home consider asking- Why was Thurgood Marshall’s Liberty Medal Acceptance Speech important? Explain how Marshall’s use of real-life examples makes the ideas and concepts in his speech “concrete” for his audience.

Science: We started our science unit and we’re answering the question: “Why does the Sun rise and set?”If you have the chance to watch the sunset or sunrise with your child, be sure to turn around and check out the super long shadow you both cast when the Sun is low in the sky.  For a spectacular view of the sunrise, I recommend you and your child watch this time-lapse video of Earth:click here to watch the video.  It was created by putting together photos taken from the International Space Station. You’ll see the yellow lights of human civilization, the flashing white of lightning in the clouds, and in the end, a brilliant sun rising above the curve of our planet.

Mexican Fiesta: A reminder that the Camarena Community is invited to our school’s Fiesta Mexicana on Friday, September 13th starting at 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Stop by to enjoy tasty food from a variety of vendors and listen to great music!

Have a great week!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 8/19/2019

Happy Tuesday, Parents!

Here’s what’s happening this week:

Math:  This week we will begin to divide decimals by whole numbers. Students will continue to use place value understanding and relate it to a written methods.  Click here for another great parent resource!

Other helpful videos:

Lesson 14 Divide Decimals with Remainders

Lesson 15 Dividing Decimals Using Standard Algorithm

Lesson 16 Solving Word Problems by Using Decimal Operations


Reading:  This week we started reading the Dred Scott case. Here’s the gist of this case: 

  • The case of Dred Scott vs. Sanford deals with slave rights. John Emerson, Dred Scott’s owner, moved to the state of Illinois and took Dred Scott with him. The case is rooted in this move because Illinois was a state where slavery was outlawed. After spending over a decade in Illinois and other Midwestern states, Dred Scott refused to move with Emerson when the man wanted to return to Missouri.  Dred Scott claimed that he was no longer tied to Sanford because of the move. Dred Scott claimed that he was no longer a slave because Illinois did not allow slavery. Dred Scott then sued Emerson’s estate—the estate was represented by the executor, Mr. John Sanford. Dred Scott claimed that he was freed from being a slave because of Illinois’s laws.

Some questions to consider asking your child:

  • Explain the basis of the Dred Scott case.
  • What was the argument for each side based on?

Writing:     This week, students will have the opportunity to write about Native Americans and their experiences in different regions.  Some topics include:

  • Native Americans living in the Pacific Northwest region and going on a whale hunt
  • Native Americans living in the Plains region going on a buffalo hunt
  • Native Americans tribe experiencing a drought
  • Native American living in the Eastern Woodlands region and building a longhouse

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 9.06.07 PM

Before students begin writing narratives, we will focus on making sure we are answering to all parts of a prompt .  How do we do this?  By creating a “DO/WHAT” chart.    Ask your child, what is the purpose of a “do/what” char

Social Studies:  Students are learning about the routes and the early explorations of the Americas.  Some other topics include:

  • the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European expeditions, and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world.
  • the routes of the major land explorers of the United States; the distances traveled by early explorers; and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe. 

Students are learning about all explorers but will soon become an expert in one.  Ask your child about his or her explorer and some important details about the explorer.

Mexican Fiesta: The Camarena Community is invited to our school’s Fiesta Mexicana on Friday, September 13th starting at 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Stop by to enjoy tasty food from a variety of vendors and listen to great music!

Have a great week!

-Fifth Grade Team

Week of 8/12/2019

Dear Parents,

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Math:  We are adding and subtracting decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value.  Students will relate the strategies to algorithm methods and explain the reasoning used. Students will also focus on the multiplication of a decimal fraction by a one-digit whole number.

Below you will find more great math resources for you to continue to support your child at home!

Math Resource

Math Resource

Helpful Videos: 

Module 1 Lesson 9 Adding Decimals

Module 1 Lesson 10 Subtracting Decimals

Module 1 Lesson 11 Multiply Decimals Using Model

Module 1 Lesson 12 Multiply Decimals Using Estimation

Module 1 Lesson 13 Divide Decimals

Reading: Students have been discovering how one of the nation’s most important documents has been shaping our lives for hundreds of years.  I invite you and your child to look up the Bill of Rights online and read the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution together. Then quiz one another on each amendment!  A simple and engaging activity that will support and extend your child’s learning at home.  Enjoy!

Writing:    Our first text type will be narrative!  Your child will begin to write real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.  But before they can begin writing stories, we will work together to create a success criteria.   Some ideas that should come up are the following:

  • Responding to all parts of the prompt
  • Orient the reader by establishing a situation
  • Introduce a narrator and/or characters
  • Organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally
  • Use effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, and pacing to develop  experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations
  • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events
  • Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and/or clauses.
  • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely
  • Organize writing that attends to task, purpose, and audience
  • Use appropriate voice
  • Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization (convention errors do NOT distract the reader)
  • Write legibly with correct spacing and margins

Read Aloud:  We are currently reading Morning Girl, a novel that explores the world of a sister and brother living on a lush island in the Bahamas just before the arrival of 

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 10.20.35 PM

Columbus. Morning Girl and Star Boy narrate the story in alternating chapters, giving readers a view into the Taíno Indian culture of which they are a part.   The ultimate arrival of Columbus is a minor footnote in their story, but the epilogue, reminds us that the coming of Europeans to the island will eventually mean the nearly complete destruction of the Taíno and their way of life.  Some questions to ask your child as we continue to read Morning Girl:

  • Based on what you’ve read so far, do you think Morning Girl and her brother are close? Why or why not?
  • What does Star Boy say that he doesn’t like? How does he deal with this when he feels it?
  • What does Morning Girl think of the new sister? What does Star Boy think of the new sister?
  • How does the relationship between Morning Girl and Star Boy change by the end of  chapter 3?

Have a great week, parents!  Let us know if you have any questions.

Fifth Grade Team

Box Top Update

Bye Bye Box Top Clippings-page-001

Robotics Team: App due Thursday

All applications must be submitted by this Thursday.

Team Application



Week of 8/5/2019

Dear Parents,

We are starting our third week as fifth graders and we can’t be more excited!  A couple of reminders for this week:

Reading:  We will be starting our unit 1 where students will discover how one of the nation’s most important documents has been shaping our lives for hundreds of years. They will discover how the Constitution continues to change to guarantee rights for all Americans, including the civil rights and voting rights of women and minorities.  Understanding the way our government can influence the way we live will help students become responsible citizens. I hope the topic will spark some lively discussions at home.

Math:  Last week we started naming decimal fraction numbers in expanded, unit (e.g., 4.23 = 4 ones 2 tenths 3 hundredths), and word forms as well as comparing decimal fractions.  Have questions about this topic?  Click here to learn more!

This week we will continue with to round a given decimal to any place using place value understanding and eventually add and subtract decimals using place value strategies.

HOW YOU CAN HELP AT HOME: Play the “Comparison” card game with your child.

Write a challenging number with three numbers to the right of the decimal, such as 1,769,432.158. Ask your child to say the number in unit form. “Say the number using place value units starting from the millions to the thousandths place.” (Answer: 1 million, 7 hundred-thousands, 6 ten-thousands, 9 thousands, 4 hundreds,3 tens, 2 ones, 1 tenth, 5 hundredths, 8 thousandths.)

Take out the Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces, and Jokers.

Put the stack of remaining cards face down.

You and your child will each flip one card.

Name each card as tenths, and then compare them.

The person with the larger number wins a point.

For example, you flip a 2, it represents 0.2. She flips a 7, it represents 0.7. Since 0.2 < 0.7, she wins a point.

Note: Flip 1 card to compare tenths, flip 2 cards to compare hundredths, and flip 3 cards to compare thousandths.

Ask your child about place value units while looking at a multi-digit number. He can attempt to do this without a visual aid for an extra challenge. “What unit is to the left of the ones place on the place value chart? What unit is to the right of the tenths place on the place value chart?”


You can also click on the following for helpful videos:

Comparing Decimal Fractions

Rounding Decimals Using Vertical Number Line

Adding Decimals Using Place Value

Subtracting Decimals Using Place Value

Writing:    Our first text type will be narrative!  Your child will begin to write real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.  We will begin our narrative unit by looking closely at the different narrative elements, such as characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.  We will start off by using our read aloud and ask: How does the author use descriptive language to develop the setting? 

Read Aloud:  This week we will start our first read aloud.  Morning Girl is the story of a Taino girl and her brother, told in alternating first-person chapters from each of their perspectives. The setting is Hispaniola, near the time of Columbus’ first landing.  Some questions you can begin to ask your child are: 

  • How would you describe Morning Girl?
  • What are Morning Girl’s main complaints about her brother Star Boy?
  • What is the point of view in this story? From whose perspective do we see events?

Hope this this information and resources are helpful to continue the learning at home.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Have a great week!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 7/29/19

Welcome to our fifth grade blog! We are excited to begin a new school year!  Here, you will find important classroom information, upcoming events, parent resources and much more!

Here’s what’s happening in fifth grade…


This past week, we reviewed some fifth grade reading expectations.  We will continue to strengthen these areas as we begin to prepare our reading block.

  • Selecting Books and Enjoying Independent Reading-  We learned the way that the books are organized, and modeled how students can check out and return books.
  • Seeking Help During Independent Reading Time-  Explained guidelines and rules for students who might seek help during the independent reading time.
  • How Readers Choose Books- Lead a discussion about the different ways that people choose books.
  • Thinking and Talking About Your Reading- Used the think-aloud method to model how readers think about what they are reading.
  • How to Share With One Another- Lead students in a discussion to create a list of norms for sharing. (one person talks at a time, look at the person who is speaking, listen to the speaker, etc.).
  • Abandoning Books- Discussed reasons to abandon a book (too easy, too difficult, expected something different, etc.)
  • Distinguishing Between Fiction and Nonfiction- Used examples of what the class and individual students have read to explain the differences between fiction and nonfiction. Discussed the types of fiction and nonfiction texts that are in the classroom library.
  • Rules and Expectations for Independent Reading Explained the importance of independent reading, and lead students in creating a list of norms or guidelines for independent reading in the classroom.


Welcome to Module 1!

In this module, we will cover place value and decimal fractions.  Students will reason concretely and pictorially using place value understanding to relate adjacent base ten units from millions to thousandths.  Students will also use exponents to name place value units and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point.  Lastly, we will use exponents to denote powers of 10 with application to metric conversions.

Here’s a glimpse of one of our first topics:

When we multiply a decimal fraction by a power of 10, theproduct will be larger than the original number; therefore we are shifting to the left on the place value chart.

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 10.52.33 PMClick here to check out a math resource!

Helpful videos:

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5


Social Studies:

We kicked off our social studies unit with picture inquiry charts.  Students worked collaboratively to predict what our unit of study will be focused on. In this unit, we will examine major pre-Columbian settlements and how the North American Indians were diverse in their language, culture, social and political organization, and traditions.

Our essential questions for this unit:

  • How did geography, climate, and resources affect the development of Native American groups?
  • How did conflict/cooperation among different groups of people affect the development of the United States?


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

-Fifth Grade Team