Author Archives: Graciela Flores

Week of 12/10/18

Dear Parents,

Happy Thursday! We can’t believe we have one more week left before quarter 2 ends!  Here’s what’s happening in fifth grade before we are off to winter break:

Reading: This week, students completed the Level Set (reading test) on Achieve3000.  The purpose of this test is to establish your child’s reading level, so we can continue to support your student’s reading skills.  Note that this is only one measure of your child’s reading level.

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Math:  Students are continuing to work on seeing that fraction addition and subtraction are analogous to whole number addition and subtraction. Students add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators by replacing different fractional units with an equivalent fraction or like unit. Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 8.51.20 PM

Students also move away from the pictorial altogether as they are empowered to write equations clarified by the model. Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 8.54.37 PM

We also are moving towards adding and subtracting fractions greater than or equal to 1 so that students begin to see and manipulate fractions in relation to larger whole numbers and to each other. This leads to an understanding of and skill with solving more complex problems, which are often embedded within multi-step word problems.

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 Need another math resource?  Check this one out!

Science:  We are towards the end of our matter unit! Students engaged in scientific dialogue and developed conceptual understandings of the nature of matter, and how matter changes from one form to another. Students explored those characteristics of matter (i.e.,physical and chemical properties) that are useful to classify and differentiate substances. Throughout this unit, students analyzed scientific data by collecting, using, interpreting and comparing experimental results.   Check out this website that shows pretty cool videos of physical and chemical changes!

Blood on the River Read Aloud:   Students have enjoyed getting to know the characters in the story!  To continue the conversation at home, here some guiding questions you may ask your child:

  • Which place would you rather live, in Namontack’s village or James Town? Discuss the positives and negatives of each.
  • Reverend Hunt has another conversation with Samuel about making right decisions. Do you believe it is true that you will always know the right decision when you choose from love? Give examples of how this may or may not be true.
  • Samuel says to Reverend Hunt, “Thank you for treating me like I was worth something.” What does Samuel mean by this? What difference did Reverend Hunt make in Samuel’s life? How might Samuel have been different without his influence?
Any questions? Please let us know!
Fifth Grade Team 

Week of 11/26/2018

Dear Parents,

Welcome back and happy Wednesday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Reading:  Welcome to our next unit of study, “Comparing Points of View.” We hope you’ve enjoyed our first three units and are ready for “Comparing Points of View.” In this unit, we’ll be reading plays, humor, and science fiction as well as a diary and folktales. To compare points of view, we’ll study familiar stories that have been given fresh twists. For example, we’ll read an entry in Cinderella’s diary and then a play that dramatizes how her stepmother and stepsisters feel about her. Likewise we’ll hear how the giant and giantess feel betrayed by Jack, and we’ll even learn what the cow Jack sells thinks of him, too. By looking at differing points of view, your child should gain a better understanding of story elements and literature. It’s our hope, as well, that our students will also gain insights into their own lives. And since so many of our reading selections are silly and humorous, we think we’ll have a lot of fun, too.

Math: We started 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!

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.

Writing: We are continuing on the process of informative writing.  Currently, students are learning about sharks and whales and eventually write compare and contrast informative essay on these two animals.  As we guide them through the process we are making sure students are:

  • Responding to all parts of the prompt
  • Introducing a topic clearly and providing a general observation and focus.
  • Grouping related information logically.
  • Developing the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
  • Providing a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.


Have a great rest of the week! Please contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions.

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 11/06/2018

Dear Parents,

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

Reading: We are excited to begin 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 almost towards the end of this module!  This week we will take some time to review previous standards to prepare students for the upcoming Module 2 test.

Recently, we have been working on dividing decimal dividends by multiples of 10, using basic facts to approximate decimal quotients with two-digit divisors, reasoning about the placement of the decimal point and making connections to a written method.  We are finishing this unit by making sure students apply the work of Module 2 to solve multi-step word problems using multi-digit division.  An emphasis on checking the reasonableness of their answers draws on skills learned throughout the module, including refining their knowledge of place value, rounding, and estimation.   Click here for a another great math resource!

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 are currently learning about the 13 colonies and the factors that shaped colonial North America.  A question you may ask your child is:

  • How did conflict/cooperation among different groups of people affect the development of the United States?  

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!

Any questions, please let us know!

Fifth Grade Team


Week of 10/15/2018

Happy Thursday, 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?

Read Aloud:  Students have been listening to the story Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone. We have been learning about a character named Samuel Collier.  He’s a rough and tough young orphan who becomes the page of Captain John Smith as they head for the New World.  Brought up in poor conditions and street-smart, Samuel has to learn to control his anger and to use his head instead of his fists. During the journey on the ship, Samuel begins his lessons in determining right from wrong. Through interactions with other boys his age, as well as key figures such as Captain John Smith, Reverend Hunt, and Master Wingfield, Samuel encounters conflict and discovers ways to avoid it.

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?

Science: This week in science we explored how the sun’s path changes with the time of the year. Students learned 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  also feature this information included with the day’s forecast.

Math: This week, your child took the Mid Module 2 assessment.  We will use this data to continue to review any skills needed to better meet students’ needs.  In the meantime, please continue to check out our parent resources to support your child at home.  Here’s a resource for this upcoming topic!

Any questions, please let your child’s teacher know!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 10/9/2018

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?
Writing:  We are starting a new text type!   Your child will be working on writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.  How will they do that?

  1. Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general
  2. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, or other information and examples related to the topic.
  3. Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrast, especially).
  4. Use precise language and domain-specic vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  1. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.

Science: This week students were introduced to constellations, and learned how there are different constellations visible each season. They explored the Mystery, “Why do the constellations change with the seasons?”

Your child will build a model, “Universe in a Box,” that will make it easy for them to visualize the answer.

Take this opportunity to have your child explain how their “Universe in a Box” works.  Ask them:

  • Why do we see different constellations each season?
  • What are some constellations we will see if we go outside tonight?

If you have an iPhone or iPad, check out “SkyGuide” for iPhone and iPad. It lets you point your phone at any part of the sky, and then it will show you what constellation you’re seeing. Enjoy!

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.

Have a great week!

Fifth Grade Team


Week of 9/10/2018

Dear Parents,

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We have a couple of more days before quarter 1 ends! Here’s what’s happening in fifth grade land before our fall break:

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.

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 Intern

ational 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.

Math:  We started Module 2!  In this unit we will be multiplying and dividing whole numbers and decimals.  How can you help at home?

  • Become familiar with the area model, a different method of multiplying than you may have learned
  • Continue to review the place value system with your student
  • Discuss mathematical patterns, such as 5 x 9, 5 x 90, 50 x 90, 50 x 900, etc.

In this module, we will be building up our knowledge of first multiplication and then division. We will start with whole numbers and then move to decimals as we practice different ways to model these operations. Click here for another great parent resource!

Happy parent/teacher week!

Fifth Grade Team

Week of 9/4/2018

Happy Thursday, Parents!

We are almost towards the end of the week, but here are some things to keep in mind:

BizTown: Your child has now completed the core lessons for Junior Achievement’s experiential-learning program JA BizTown. The journey has been fun and educational! Hopefully, you have heard about the simulation at JA BizTown, where your child was employed within a thriving community and economy.  We invite you to continue your family’s involvement with Junior Achievement and encourage you to visit the Junior Achievement USA website ( JA My Way ( offers interactive games, competitions, and timely, pertinent information about your child’s economic future.

Math: This week, we started 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!

Reading:  Below you will find some questions and/or activities to discuss with your child about our last passage.

Ask: What was the purpose of Marshall’s historic speech? What was he hoping to persuade his audience to do? Then do a search online or at your local library for a complete list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Parent/Teacher Conferences:  A reminder that parent/teacher conferences will begin Thursday, September 13th 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: The Camarena Community is invited to our school’s Fiesta Mexicana on Friday, September 14th 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 day!

Fifth Grade Team


Week of 8/27/2018


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Happy Monday, Parents!

Thank you all who were able to make it to Curriculum Night! We are looking forward to the continuous communication and support.  Now that you are familiar with the fifth grade expectations, parent/teacher conferences will be a good time to look closely at your child’s current academic levels and goals.  Please make sure you contact your child’s teacher to schedule a parent teacher conference.

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.

Biztown: We are looking forward to the big day!  This week, your child will apply for a job.  One of the questions we are asking is- What interests and skills do you have that would make this job a good fit for you?  We are looking for CEO’s, anchors, sales, news reporters, photographers, and much more!

Minimum Days:  Parent/teacher conferences will begin Thursday, September 13th and dismissal time will be at 1:15.

Mexican Fiesta: The Camarena Community is invited to our school’s Fiesta Mexicana on Friday, September 14th starting at 2:00 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 8/20/18

Dear Parents,

Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Here’s what’s happening this week in fifth grade:

Curriculum Night: Our Fifth Grade Back to School Night for parents is this Thursday!  We have prepared two sessions for you to choose from either at 5:30 pm or 6:15 pm.  We will share important information, fifth grade expectations, and plans for the school year.  Can’t wait to see you all!

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!

Reading:  This week we will begin to read about the Dred Scott case.  Some questions to consider asking your child:

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

Biztown: We are looking forward to our very first fun field trip! 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.

VAPA: Every two weeks, your child will participate in VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts).  This week, VAPA will be on Tuesday.


Have a wonderful week, parents!


This Week 8/13/2018

Dear Parents,

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

Math:  We will soon start to add and subtract 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.  Below you will find another great math resource for you to continue to support your child at home!

Math Resource English

Math Resource Spanish

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.  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


Curriculum Night: Don’t forget curriculum night will be August 23rd!  We will have three rotations starting at 5:30 p.m.  Mark your calendars!

Have a great week!