Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 10, 2011

President's Day (no school): Monday, February 21
DWA (Direct Writing Test): Thursday, March 3
Science Fair: Friday, March 25
Arts Night: Thursday, March 31
Spelling Bee: Friday, April 1

Parents, thanks for taking the time to help your child revise the paragraphs they have been bringing home each week. I told my students that you were the secret ingredient in helping them become better writers, and it's working! I've been amazed at the leap in scores on our writing practice tests. At first, it was rare for anyone to score higher than 20 (possible is 30), but now, most of these students are scoring in the mid twenties. Please continue to sit down with your child each week, and encourage him/her to use the website to practice their writing at home.

Students are gearing up for the Battle of the Books competition with Parowan Elementary. They are in teams and have decided who will read which books on the list. We'll continue to keep you updated on this.

Math: We are up to our necks in fractions. After this last test, we've decided that we need more practice in adding and subtracting mixed numbers. Next, we'll learn how to multiply fractions.

Science: We just finished learning about Static Electricity, and will move into Current Electricity. The Science Fair is March 25. All 5th graders are expected to enter, so they can be thinking about this.

Social Studies: We're studying the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. We will work on memorizing the Gettysburg Address.

We're getting to be proficient in playing the harmonica. You'll have the chance to hear us perform.

Thanks for all your support!

Mrs. Jeanne Payne

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 10, 2011 Happy New Year!

Students and Parents,

Can you believe that the year is almost halfway over? Here are a few happenings you need to know about:

Monday 10th: South Elementary PTA fundraiser at McDonald's, 6-8 PM.
Thursday 13th: All work for term is due
Friday 14th: End of 2nd Term/Worker's Holiday (Read-a-thon)
Friday 14th: Begin learning harmonicas
Monday 17th: Martin Luther King Day (no school)
Friday 28th: Alvin Ailey Dance Performance, Heritage Theater (we will walk)

All work must be turned in by Thursday, 13th in order to participate in our Worker's Holiday. All the reading done during this Read-a-thon can be counted on the January Reading Calendar, so students, make sure you bring your reading book and maybe a pillow or blanket.

Also, this Friday I would like to start teaching the harmonica. You can buy one from me for $4.00, or you can buy one elsewhere for more (but maybe higher quality). It would be nice if students have their own, but I have some that are available to borrow (they have been sanitized).

We are studying magnets in science now, and we're learning that they are everywhere in our modern world. In social studies we are learning about the westward movement and settling of the western United States. Of course, in language arts we are working on writing 5 paragraph persuasive essays. We are struggling a bit on this, but will keep at it for the next 6 weeks until the assessment March 2.

A new spelling list will be passed out tomorrow and a test given on Friday. These words are
more math and science vocabulary.

Our art students have their art hanging at the top of the stairs at the District Office throughout January. If you pass by there, drop in and have a look.

Parents, in an effort to help students write an effective paragraph, I plan to send home a weekly assignment. Students will need to write a paragraph on a topic I give them, then they need to revise it. This paragraph needs your signature. Will you please read it and help your child re-word, re-think, etc. so that the finished product is detailed, clearly written, and with more advanced vocabulary. It doesn't need to be perfect, but hopefully, your personal help can give them the boost they need. Many state writing tests are scored lower because students use vocabulary too simple for 5th grade. A forthcoming letter will explain this better.

Thanks for your help in this. I appreciate your support! Please call or drop in if you have questions.

Mrs. Payne 586-4744

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 2010

I hope you can find the time to read this, with all your Christmas comings and goings.

Our new spelling list (for the entire class):

line ray parallel lines intersecting lines perpendicular
line segment plane angle acute right obtuse straight
vertex vertice protractor point
degrees polygon regular polygon

A spelling test will be given Wednesday, December 15.

Christmas Party: Friday, December 17. If you'd like to bring a treat to share, you may. We have 31 students, and the party will be at 2:00. We won't have a gift exchange, just a party of games and food. (This is assuming that we earn it:)

Harmonicas: We will begin learning in January. Students may buy one from me for $4.00, or you may wish to buy one on your own. Just make sure it is in the key of C. If you (parents) would like to give it as a gift for Christmas, you can buy one from me anytime. Just let me know.
(I also have harmonicas that I can loan, if you don't want to buy one).

We now have pen pals in Mrs. Sherratt's 4th grade class. We're writing
back and forth, trying to improve our writing skills and make a friend at the same time.
We all have pen names, so we can remain a mystery until it's time to meet each other.

Patriot Award: this is an optional activity. Those wishing to participate must learn and pass off everything in their packets by May. I'm pleased to see so many students working hard to learn all the historical data. It isn't easy to learn so much.

Keep reading every night.

You're welcome to email or phone me with your questions or concerns.
Jeanne Payne (

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Our Ancestor Share Fair is right around the corner: Monday, November 22. We need students to bring their displays to school by lunchtime on that day so they can share it with our class before it is displayed in the gym at 2:00-3:15. Parents, friends, and students from other classes are invited to tour the event in the gym during that block of time (2:00-3:15). We will have samples of displays sitting in our 5th grade classrooms if parents would like to get a better idea of what has been done in the past. Remember to print two copies of the information that you type, so that one copy can be entered in the Sons of the Utah Pioneers Essay Contest.

We are wrapping up our unit on the Revolutionary War, and then we will take a week or two to learn about the Constitution. On Tuesday we will celebrate the end of the War by eating cornbread, handing out certificates, and taking a test on the unit. I will give each student a study guide with all the answers they need to know.

We have begun studying chemical/physical changes in science class, and we will be doing many investigations. (We'll try not to blow up the school:). This is always a favorite subject for fifth graders. Be sure to check out our volcano pictures on Mrs. Williams' blog (click under her picture on the school web site).

We've been practicing how to "explode a moment" in writing. Students are getting better at using vivid details and stretching out their ideas as they write. This week we have added a list of prefixes to our spelling lists. They are: mono, uni, bi, tri, quad, quint, hex, oct, poly, mega. The spelling test will be on Monday, next week.

Please call or email me if you have any questions about the Share Fair or anything else.
Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26, 2010

First term is over, and everyone begins this new term with an "A".

Next Wednesday, November 3, we will walk to Cedar High to watch their play, "Wizard of Oz".
November 3: Reflections Contest entries are due.
Ancestor Share Fair is Monday, November 22, 2:00-3:30 in the South Elem. gym

Social Studies:
In their spare moments, students have been working on their Patriot Award, memorizing and passing off important facts, quotes, speeches, etc. that are important in U.S. History. Learning all these may take much of this school year, so I'm glad they are off to a good start. They can work on this at home, if they want. Their prize will be a copy of the Declaration of Independence, awarded in May.
We are still learning about the American Revolution, my favorite part of social studies.

Share Fair:
We will send home an Interview Questions sheet that your child can use to interview a relative. I would like to see this interview sheet so that I know students have fulfilled this part of the assignment. (I'll let you know when this is due). Students need to gather information about an ancestor who immigrated to America, and compile the data on a 2 or 3-fold display board, which will be shown at our Ancestor Share Fair on November 22. Family and friends are invited to this event.
Look for a letter to come home on Wednesday explaining this in greater detail. You can also come in to our classroom and see some examples of some displays from past years.

Look at Mrs. Williams' blog to see pictures of the volcanoes. (Click under her photo on the school website). It was fascinating to see all the creativity and hard work involved in building these volcanoes. We will finish studying landforms and erosion by this Wednesday, then will begin our new unit on physical and chemical changes. We enjoyed Alex's dad giving us a chemistry demonstration. What an exciting way to kick off this next unit of study. Thanks, Mr. Manley!

Reading & Writing:
Every student has read at least two novels so far. Some have read many more.
Right now students are learning how to write a 5-paragraph persuasive essay, and it's really not as hard as they thought it would be.

I just gave out a new list of words today, and will give a test next week--Thursday or Friday (Nov. 5). We usually "sort" words in class for the first few days, then I let students take them home to study there. However, if you'd like them to bring the words home sooner so you can work with your child, just let me know.

I appreciate you parent and grandparent helpers who come in and offer your time and
encouragement every week. I also appreciate you who can't come in, but support us in other ways. It was good to visit with all of you during SEP week. 100% of you came in! Every year since I began teaching at South Elementary, I have been amazed at the parent support. Not every school has this. It's a rare and wonderful thing. I love your students, and I enjoy going to school every day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

Dates you need to know:

Wednesday 13--Book Project Due
Friday 15--Last progress report of the term to be sent home
Friday 18--After school class
Tuesday 19--Volcano Explosion Day
Tuesday 19--All assignments must be turned in to attend Worker's Holiday
Wednesday 20--Worker's Holiday
Wednesday 20--End of First Term
Thursday 21-Monday 25--Harvest Holiday/Fall Recess

Happy Birthday Jared!

I gave each student the handout, Book Project Ideas, from which they can choose a project. This project will be shared with the class on the 13th. Some favorites include making a diorama, writing a sequel, writing a play, creating a board/card game, drawing a comic strip, writing a poem or rap, or making a video. Of course, these need to have something to do with the book they have read. I would like them to have their book with them on the day they share their project.

I hope you read the Volcano Day paper I sent home last week. Remember, we will set off the volcanoes on Tuesday 19th at 2:30. Students may work with a partner from any of the 5th grade classes. Let me know if you need more information.

Practice these words, and look for other words with the same
spelling patterns.

Sort #34--wa/al/ou

watch, thought, walk, calm, bought, wand, talk, stalk, fought, chalk, ought,
brought, cough, almost, swat,

Sort #54 --ie/ei/cei

thief, receive, neighbor, seize, niece, ceiling, eighteen, weigh, deceive, weird, sleigh,
grief, shield, either, receipt, mischief, freight, conceit

Sort #23 --long and short "e" sounds

needle, feather, succeed, season, increase, leather, compete, repeat, defeat, feature,
heavy, freedom, pleasant, meaning, fifteen, extreme, sweater, steady, healthy, people,
thirteen, healthy

Sort #21 --long "o" sound

toaster, hostess, explode, bureau, suppose, lonely, closely, owner, remote, lonesome,
approach, awoke, postage, soapy rowboat, erode

We are setting up our Revolutionary Battle Camps.
Each "Battle Camp" will be named for a famous battle ground (Concord, Lexington, Valley Forge, Sarotoga, Ticonderoga, Bunker Hill). Each camp will create flags and a battle cry.
We'll learn about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and many other
great patriots. We'll learn about Valley Forge and the suffering of the soldiers. As part of our study of American History, we will be memorizing famous verses, speeches, quotes, and poetry. Some are required and some are optional. I will send home a packet next week.

Please sit down with your child and check to see if s/he can successfully divide with a single digit divisor (Ex: 345 divided by 4). With 31 students, it's sometimes hard to get to everyone who needs help. Thanks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

You should have received a newsletter and progress report last week.

Friday 24--Field Trip, Cedar Breaks and Mammoth Caves (9:00 AM--3:30 PM)
*Bring water bottle, walking shoes, jacket, flashlight.

Parent helpers will be needed starting this week. Thank you for your help!

Happy Birthday, Mia!