Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Three plants walk into a Petri dish...

A slice of tomato,  a piece of bread, a section of orange rind.  Add water. Place in the dark. What do you predict will happen?

Mad science continues!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Is it Living or Non-living?  Two substances, both alike in dignity... by which I mean similar in color, size, texture, dryness, quantity. Different in terms of smell, the way they react to being shaken around in a styrofoam cup, the sound they make when shaken, a different feel when touched.
Substance A and Substance B.  What if we put them each in warm water and give them food in the form of sugar?  What will happen? Will they react to the change? Will they get and use the energy?  Will they grow? Produce waste?  Reproduce?  Are they alive?
Cups with substance A are on the right side of the photo above. Cups with Substance B are on the left. Which one reacted to change, used the energy in the sugar, and produced waste in the form of CO2 gas?
These photos were taken Tuesday, September 17, four days after the start of the experiment.  Are the yeast cells from Cup B still living?    The sand from Cup A seems to still be non-living, despite the sugar we added to the water.
Mad science!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Harvest Festival, canoe trips, Adventure Program, World Geography, reading and Writing workshop, Everyday Math, Life Science/Greenhouse, Terra Nova testing Sept. 24-26, Open House....

So little to do, so much time..... wait... stop... reverse that.

We are off to a great start in Fifth Grade!  What a wonderful bunch of students!  We have just begun our adventures in world exploration by studying the continents, latitude and longitude, and the time zones of the world.  Next up: mapping, directions, land forms, and a journey of discovery!

What happens when you try to make a flat map of a spherical object?  Look south for the 7 "maps" we created using orange peels, and then see the cartographers at work!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Letter to Parents and Students

August 28, 2013

Dear Fifth Graders (and Parents),

Welcome back!  I hope you all had wonderful summers and that you are coming back well rested and energetic and looking forward to an interesting year of activities.  If there are mementos of your vacation that you could bring in to share with your classmates over the first few days of school, we can all spend some time trading stories and catching up as the school year begins. 

I hope many of you got the chance to read some good books over the summer.  I read several Massachusetts Children’s Book Award books as well as a few other mysteries and plays.  Over the years Fifth Grade has been well represented at the MCBA book parties in February.  They are a lot of fun, and I hope many of you will be invited to come this year (everyone who reads 5 or more MCBA books is invited to attend the party).

I thought I would give you a sense of some of the things we will be studying this year as well as what our weekly schedule looks like.  Our Science and Social Studies Units are:
                  September -November
                           World Geography
                           Life Science

                  November - January
                           Endangered Species

                           Ancient American History (Inca/Aztec/Maya)
                           Physical science

                           World Explorers
                           Macro-Invertebrate mini-unit, Salmon stock out,
                           Earth Science and Human Body mini-units

Our weekly schedule is not set in stone yet, but it looks like we will have the following schedule:

Monday            Tuesday         Wednesday         Thursday               Friday
Art/Music                    Art/Music           Library                               Phys. Ed.
Second Step/                Greenhouse                                               
Adventure Program         Chorus/Math                             Phys. Ed.

Please remember to wear sneakers or bring them into school Mondays for Adventure Program, as well as Thursdays and Fridays for P.E.

I look forward to seeing all the parents at Open House.  If you have an email address that you use, please email me at and I will compile a class email list for newsletters and announcements.  Also, please do not hesitate to call to leave a message or to set up a time to meet if there is something you would like to discuss before parent teacher conferences.  I can be reached at 548-9144, ext. 141.

Yours truly,

-Bill Stewart
Grade 5:  I have returned!  14 wonderful students have joined the crew of the good ship LES V.  We are off to a grand start, with a new class Constitution and a thirst for adventure.  We may not be able to swim with the salmon this year, as federal funding has been cut to the Atlantic Salmon Restoration Project, but we will swim nonetheless.  Our journeys will take us around the world in less than 80 days, and then we will head back in time for a history of the Americas and the Age of European Exploration. In Science we will study endangered species, physics, and the very Earth itself!  Welcome aboard!

Our class contract follows:

As an LES student, I pledge to:

• Take care of myself, my peers, and the school. 
            For Fifth Grade that means:
The school: We expect and hope for a healthy school environment.
            1.  I will keep the school and playground clean.
            2.  I will treat the school and environment with respect.
Each other:  We want other people to take care of us by treating us respectfully, to be surrounded by good friends who help us.
            1. I will listen, share, have fun and try hard to get along with my peers.
Ourselves: We want to have fun, be safe and healthy, and share materials fairly.
            1. I will strive to succeed academically: to do math well, to write well, to read well.
            2. I will communicate with and help others. I will interrupt less and listen more.

• Deliver important school papers to my family each day: 
            I will bring homework folders and assignment books back and forth each day.

• Complete all school work with good effort and respect.
            I will put effort into my work.

• Let my teacher and family know if I need help.
            I will let my family or teacher know if something at school is too hard or             complicated, or if it is too easy.

• Be prepared for school each day by getting my things ready the night before, leaving at home any items that may distract me from my work.
            I will get my school things ready at night so I am ready for the morning, and I will leave distracting electronic media and toys at home.

I understand that the pledges above lay the foundation for LES students’ success.  By signing below, I commit to upholding my part of this contract.

Student: _________________________________________

As a member of the LES Administration, Staff, and Teachers, I pledge to:
• Maintain a safe and consistent school climate for all students.

• Maintain clear  methods of communication for parents.

•Have high expectations for all students.

• Be aware of the individual needs of each child and partner with families to ensure success.

•Prepare and deliver important learning experiences every day.

•Strive to teach at the right pace for each student and listen to my students.

I understand that the pledges above lay the foundation for LES students’ success.  By signing below, I commit to upholding my part of this contract.

Teacher: _________________________________________

As a LES parent or guardian, I pledge to:

• Contact the teacher first when a concern arises.

• Read class newsletters, the Friday Post, and

• Establish routines that support my child’s learning.

• Partner with  my child and his/her teacher to ensure success at school.

• Send my child to school on time every day, unless my child is ill or has a medical, dental, or similar conflict.

I understand that the pledges above lay the foundation for LES students’ success.  By signing below, I commit to upholding my part of this contract.

Parent/Guardian: _________________________________________