Dear Families, 

I hope you have all enjoyed the April Break. I am looking forward to the coming weeks as we enter the last months of 5th grade. In this email you will find information about what we are working on presently, and what we have upcoming. 


Prior to vacation, we were deeply immersed in the learning about multiplying fractions and mixed numbers using area models, number lines, and noticing patterns to develop an algorithm. If you attended our second Math Night in February, this is what we worked on with the tan square and yellow rectangle. More information on division of fractions and decimals to come! 

Upon our return after break, we will take these concepts and apply them to word problems before diving into division with fractions and then work with all operations with decimals. There will also be a new POM titled "Bacteria" that I will send along at the beginning of the week. Due date TBA. 


In the next two weeks we will be finishing up our Greek Mythology unit, encompassing both writing and reading, while also beginning our new reading Unit on Medieval Legends. We have a lot going on in English right now! 

For our Greek Mythology work, students will be composing a Literary Essay on virtues or lessons from Greek Mythology. We have begun this work intensively in class, and will continue to do so this week. There will be typing/writing homework for this piece in the next two weeks. We will be spending time working on mechanics such as run on sentences, sentence fragments, verb tense agreement, and sentence structure variety. The goal for the final polished piece (worked on in-class and some for homework) is for Friday May 5 (if we need more time, we will take it, but this is the goal!). 

Additionally, students have been reading a large variety of myths to immerse themselves in the stories of Greek Mythology. For each myth, they have worked on a storyboard to sequence events. Their completed myth reading and storyboards are due Friday April 28. This has been in-class work up until now, and is shifting to be homework for this week. Most students are in a great place to complete this work, and I plan to check in with all to support them in finishing this component of our mythology work.  

We will be starting the final literature unit of 5th grade on Thursday April 27, which is Medieval Legends, that dovetails with Jonathan's Social Studies unit on Medieval Europe. My goal is for each student to read a version of 2 of 3 Medieval Legends - Robin Hood, King Arthur, or Beowulf. 

Each lit circle will take place over the course of 4 weeks (book 1) or 3 weeks (book 2). Besides May 18, the Lit Circle meetings will take place on Wednesdays (May 3, May 10, May 18- only Thursday, May 24, May 31, June 7 and June 14). Students will have some time in class on Mondays to work on their assignments, but the reading and assignment completion is primarily outside of school

The assignments that go along with the Lit Circle reading are very similar to those of other lit circles I have had students complete this year. As it is the final trimester, my expectations in terms of completion and thoughtfulness for the assignments are going to be higher (i.e. complete sentences, thoughtful question writing, etc.) - I will outline this with students when I introduce the lit circle. 

In addition, we will be wrapping up the Classical Roots Vocabulary program (Lesson 13 test Friday April 28, Lesson 14 test Thursday May 4, Lesson 15 test Thursday May 11).

Believe it or not, we have one final writing unit starting in late May that is focused upon Persuasive Opinion Writing. More to come when we get there! 

Phew! That was a lot of information. Please reach out if you have any other questions. 



Hi all - 

Tomorrow, your children have a draft of a Literary Essay due. They have materials in their writers notebooks that are helpful guides and models of all elements of their writing. Many are well through their draft, and spending 20-30 minutes tonight should be more than enough to wrap up a draft that includes an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. They have worked diligently as independent writers in school, and have all they need to continue this work independently at home. They will need a printed copy for class. If they need to print, please have them come in before school and they can print from the computer lab. They've worked hard as writers to develop a skill set that is challenging and abstract. We're headed towards self-assessment, goal setting, and revision in the next week before taking our literary essay skills and applying them to a new text. 

Looking forward in math - See attached for the March Problem of the Month called "Once Upon a Time" - students receive copies in class, but in the event you need to print a copy, it is attached. A brief update - we are working in class on developing the algorithm for calculating the area of a triangle, and in the coming days, look to take our geometry knowledge and apply it to the coordinate grid before we jump fully into a second fractions unit focused upon multiplying and dividing fractions.  

As always, please reach out with any questions - 



Greetings 5B & 5W Families, 

Over the next days and weeks, your child will be bringing home writing homework that will involve typing (this begins tonight!). To access their work, they will need to sign into google classroom - the link is on my classroom website, and they can also access it by going to classroom.google.com

This is a homework assignment that they must complete themselves - I know that the typing can be slow, and you may have the urge to help and type for them. I ask that you please let your child do this on their own. The best way for students to develop proficient keyboarding skills is by practicing. 

If your child does not have access to a computer or would prefer to do their typing here at school, they may come in early at 7:30 any morning, Monday through Friday. Additionally, homework club on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 is another time for computer use. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. 



Greetings 5B and 5W Families, 

A couple quick things: 

1) There is a new POM for February, called Tri Triangles. I have attached it here. Your child is responsible for solving A and B by this Friday. Levels C and D are quite tricky, but can be solved with the use of a t-chart, and really thinking closely about patterns. Please reach out if you need assistance supporting your child. 

2) A reminder: Students have an Independent Reading Classics Assignment due NEXT Friday, February 17. This includes reading a Classics book of their choice (those have already been selected) as well as completing, thoughtfully and thoroughly, a response. This is an assignment that is worth checking in with your child about, and seeing where they are at. They get daily reminders at school, but a reminder from home can be helpful with a longer term assignment such as this. 

As always, please reach out if you have a question. 


Greetings Families, 

As we have settled into the routine (save for the snow days!) after the holidays, I write to update you with what we are working on in Math and ELA.

Math: In Class
In class, we continue our work with fractions - looking at adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators, and using strategies such as a number line and identifying lowest common multiples to find equivalent fractions with common denominators. Additionally, in our warm-ups, students are working on continuing to solidify large number multiplication - using the partial product and the standard algorithm strategies. We are also discussing order of operations and translating words to numeric expressions (for example: write the expression "the quotient of 10 and 2 plus 7"). 

Our upcoming unit will focus on polygon geometry, and we will apply fraction knowledge to finding perimeter while additionally looking at the relationship between perimeter and area. The January POM is due next Friday (Feb 3). The next POM will be focused on identifying patterns and finding the "nth" pattern. I will email it out when it is assigned. 

PARENT MATH NIGHT - ALL ABOUT FRACTIONS - THURSDAY FEB 2, 6:30-7:30. Kara McKeever and I encourage you all to come and learn all about fractions. The evening will be hands on. More information to come soon!

ELA: In Class
Poetry - In Celebration of MLK Day, each class recited a Maya Angelou poem at REP. I was impressed! It opened up a conversation about Civil Rights and peaceful protest. Students were thoughtful, and perceptive about challenges that were faced years ago as well as today.

Reading-  In reading, students have been working on reading Classical Literature - with a focus on unfamiliar vocabulary, figurative language use, and beginning work with identifying character traits and evidence to back it up. In the last couple of weeks, we have spent time working on that in class to support what can be a challenging genre of text for students. On Friday, students will have their last literature circle meeting for this book they are reading right now. 

Writing - We wrapped up an informational writing unit in December on an expert topic, and are heading into a big writing unit on the Literary essay (we just began yesterday) - see below for more information. 

Vocabulary - Students have review lesson 8 (exercises A, B, C, and D) due tomorrow, after which we will be taking a hiatus from vocabulary until March, in order to work on our writing unit, as well as allow more time for an upcoming out-of-school reading project. 

Reading - Students received last Friday an independent long-term reading assignment (I've attached the assignment and book list here). This Friday, they will select a Classic Literature book to read independently and respond to in an assignment due Friday, February 17 (the day before Feb break). This is an important assignment for students to plan out and work at bit by bit. We will be spending time doing that in class on Friday (chunking apart their reading, etc). This will be something that having a parent check in will be helpful to make sure it is completed on time! 

Writing - We began yesterday a big unit focusing upon the Literary Essay. Students worked to annotate a sample essay in an effort to identify parts of a literary essay (I've attached a mini chart of the language we will be using - this will be going in students writers notebooks). Over the course of the next month and a half, students will be writing several literary essays - initially focusing upon a shared video text, then based upon short stories written by Ralph Fletcher. In March, students will transfer Literary essay skills as a writer to our literature unit focused upon Greek Mythology. Our ELA time in class will be entirely focused upon writing. 

A Recommendation:
Students will be working more and more with a computer in the coming writing unit. This means typing! I encourage you to work with your child at home to practice typing. We will be doing some in school, but our time is limited, and some at-home practice is very helpful. A great (and free) website is www.typingclub.com. Start from lesson 1 and work from there - the lessons include short videos explaining correct finger placement on the keyboard. 10 minutes a day a couple times a week goes along way with developing touch-typing skills. Please email if you have any questions about this.

FYI - Before School Availability:
If your child has a question or needs some support to work on assignments for ELA and Math, they are always welcome to come in before school to meet with me. I am in by 7:30 each day. You can send an email to confirm, or just have your child come and talk to me to make a plan. I know that sometimes an additional couple of minutes can help, and am happy to provide a space for that. 


Dear Families,

5th graders have had an invigorating start to the year in English, as students have been engaged in Writing Workshop on an almost-daily basis since early September. This model of teaching writing, the Writing Workshop, comes from the Reading and Writing Project, based at Teachers College at Columbia University. With almost three decades of work under the leadership of Lucy Calkins, it is an innovative approach to teaching young readers and writers.

Students have worked diligently to grow as writers - finding meaning in their personal narratives, employing a variety of techniques to elaborate and develop stories, annotating and using mentor texts to guide their own writing, and revising using checklists, partners, and sticky notes.

When you arrive at the Open House on Wednesday, you’ll have the opportunity to see your child’s Writer’s Notebook, a place for generating ideas, drafting, and practicing techniques, as well as a polished Personal Narrative. Polished pieces may contain errors - and that is okay. These pieces are representative of where students currently are as writers and we’ll continue to work on grammar and mechanics throughout the year. Students have worked hard to develop their skills as writers and raise the level of their writing. Today we celebrate where each individual is in this ongoing process of growth.

Students have embraced ownership of their writing, and their growth has been exciting and fulfilling. During your visit to the English classroom, you can encourage your child to share his or her accomplishments and growth. Please ask them to read aloud the piece they’re most proud of, in their best storytelling voice. You might ask them to share their initial draft of this piece, too! You may also be curious to ask questions such as:

  • What are some ways you’ve grown as a writer since the beginning of this unit?

  • What are you still working on or what goals do you have as a writer?

  • What techniques are you trying?

  • How are you using the checklist and mentor text to annotate your work, assess personal growth, and set goals?

Please contact me if you have any questions - and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Homework Club: 
This year Homework Club will be on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning this coming Monday, September 26th. Interested? You can sign up on this Google Doc for September and October. 

Classroom Information:

Welcome to Ms. White's 5th grade website. Take a look around to see what kind of information you can find here! Lots of resources to check out. 

5th Grade Welcome Letter and Supply List: 

August 2016

Dear Fifth Graders and Parents,

As your homeroom team, we welcome you to a new year at the Marion W. Cross School! We are thrilled to celebrate the arrival of a new class of fifth graders, and we know this year will be one of joy, intellectual growth, and maturation. 

Beginning this year, students will have separate teachers for their core academic subjects: Ms. White and Mrs. McKeever for Mathematics, Mr. Buck for Science, Mr. Fenton for Social Studies, Mr. Fenton and Ms. White for English, and Mme Hyams and Mme Chartrand for French. The homeroom teacher will provide each student with a copy of the weekly schedule. Students will meet in homerooms at the beginning and end of each day as well as during snack and lunch.

In addition to the above classes, students will have physical education twice a week with Mr. Newton, music once a week with Mr. Ramsey, art once a week with Ms. Eastman, and library once a week with Mrs. Blongewicz. 


The following is a list of supplies we recommend for the year:

1) A 3-ring binder at least 2” wide.

2) Subject dividers (with pockets are good, but not necessary)

3) A small amount of lined paper. (Teachers make paper available in the classroom and typically rely on handouts.)

4) A 3-hole punch that fits onto the binder’s rings.

5) A pouch for pencils and erasers.

6) A year’s supply of traditional yellow pencils with high-quality, soft erasers. (The slip-on, cap erasers work best. Store-brand pencils typically have erasers that just don’t work. Decorative pencils are slightly thicker and don’t sharpen well in the classroom sharpener. We do not recommend mechanical pencils, as too many students spend an inordinate amount of class time refilling the graphite.)

7) A box of reinforcements to repair torn paperwork.

8) An advanced-level dictionary for homework (kept at home)

We provide each 5th grade student with an assignment planner, costing $4-5, on the first day of school. Remember to continue working on your summer reading, and be sure to bring in your log, with parent/guardian signature!  

Thank you!


Mr. Buck, Mr. Fenton, and Ms. White

Important Dates: 
School Year 2016-2017 Calendar
  • August 31, 2016 - First Day of School

FYI: We have several field trips for 5th grade at the end of the year. Permission slips will be coming soon. 

    • Friday May 26 - Vermont Law School 
    • Thursday June 1 - River Day 
    • Friday June 9 - Fairbanks Museum
    • Monday June 12 - Rauner at Dartmouth
Other important dates: 
                -  Mayfest May 25
                -  SBAC Testing (more information coming in a separate email) - May 15-19