Welcome to Ms. Upchurch's Fifth Grade Site!

Weekly Updates!

Week 7 Update

Hi everyone! I apologize for not updating the website these past two weeks - conferences really hit me hard! I loved meeting with many of you last week to talk about the progress your students have made so far this year! I have loved getting the opportunity to know each of them, and I am looking forward to many great days in fifth grade for the rest of the year.

As for our learning targets, we are working on many different projects in each subject area. In ELA, we are continuing to read Gregor the Overlander, and delve deeper into some character analyses in reading group. We are also writing Spooky Stories to help celebrate Halloween! On Halloween, we will be doing dramatic readings of the final drafts of our stories. For now, we are just starting the rough draft stage of the writing process. For this narrative, we will be focusing specifically on the elements of plot that drive a story forward.

In math, we are finishing up Topic 2, and will be taking a test on adding and subtracting decimals to the hundredths place tomorrow morning. Next week, we will begin Topic 3, which involves multiplying multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm and area models.

In religion, we have been discussing Creation, and the differences between things that are man made, and things that are created by God. Students have been working on researching a non profit organization that works to help protect God's creation. We will begin presentations on Monday.

In science, we are wrapping up our first unit on States of Matter and Changes in Matter. We were visited this week by Mrs. Miotke, who lead an engaging engineering design challenge where students had to design bat wings to make a paper bat fly the farthest. We will begin our next unit on the study of the Earth next week.

In Social Studies, we are continuing on with our Kid Governor project! Students have been working on writing platforms and tomorrow will be Primary Day where they will vote to elect one candidate from our class to be the Representative from our school to move on to the statewide general election!

Have a great weekend!!

Week 4 Update

It's crazy to think that next week will be October, and our first month of school is almost over!

We have been working on some great things this week. In ELA, we have been meeting in reading groups to discuss what's going on in Gregor the Overlander. In writing, the kids are working on their first formal writing piece for the year, which will be a personal narrative. We have entered into the drafting stage, where students will be writing a rough draft of their narratives, focusing on word choice and narrowing in on the small moments.

In math, we have finished Topic 1 in our books, and will be taking a test on things such as exponents, decimals, and number patters with decimals. Next week, we will go over our tests, and then we will begin Topic 2, which covers adding and subtracting decimals to the thousandths place.

In religion, we are talking about the Blessed Trinity. Students have been making their own visual representations of the Blessed Trinity, similar to how Saint Patrick used a shamrock to describe the three parts of the Trinity as one God.

In science, we are continuing our study of matter. On Tuesday, we made and played with Oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid to talk about the states of matter. Today, we learned about physical changes of matter, and ran an experiment to test how different properties of matter are affected by changes in temperature.

In social studies, we are finishing up our study of the systems of government in Oregon, and moving on to the Kid Governor portion of our unit where students will begin to develop platforms around issues that are relevant to kids in Oregon. I sent home a blue piece of paper on Wednesday that explains what the next few weeks will look like, and some of the activities that we will be doing. I have attached it below if you would like another copy for yourself.

Next week is Spirit Week! It is still normal uniform dress, but with a special something extra added each day to celebrate our school! Monday will be Crazy Hat Day, Tuesday will be Crazy Sock Day, Thursday will be Stuffed Animal Day, and Friday will be Regis Saint Mary Spirit Gear Day with jeans allowed. The middle school leadership team has also planned fun activities for the whole school to participate in throughout the week. Monday afternoon will be our first Student of the Month Assembly at 2:10 in the gym. I hope to see many of you there to support our first Students of the Month for the 2019-2020 school year!

Have a great weekend!


Here are some photos from when we made Oobleck on Tuesday! It is a simple mixture of corn starch and water, which makes a non-newtonian fluid, commonly referred to as Oobleck from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck!

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Week 3 Update

We have had a great week in fifth grade this week! In ELA, we have started reading Gregor the Overlander, which is a novel written by Suzanne Collins, who also wrote The Hunger Games. Kids will either be reading it independently or reading it together in a reading group. You may also begin to see students take home their accompanying novel study booklets that have the required supplemental material that will show that students successfully comprehended what they have been reading. They will also be doing additional reading comprehension activities in reading groups each week. We also started brainstorming possible topic ideas for our first writing piece, which will be a personal narrative about an event in students' lives that has had a profound impact on them.

In math, we are continuing to work on decimal place value, which includes skills such as writing decimals in expanded form with exponents and fractions, as well as comparing numbers to the thousandths place and multiplying them by powers of ten.

In science, we are studying properties of matter and practicing how to make observations. We did a lab on Wednesday that had students naming different types of properties of matter, as well as describing objects based on those types of properties they identified. Next week, we will begin working with changes in matter.

In religion, we wrapped up our discussion about the Apostle's Creed with a fun drawing project! Students learned that there are twelve beliefs that we hold as Catholics that are professed in the Creed, and students worked in teams of two or three to create a visual representation of one of those beliefs. We will soon be moving on to discuss the Trinity and the significance the Trinity holds to our Catholic beliefs.

In social studies, we are starting our Kid Governor unit! Students began with a journey through the three branches of Oregon's state government - the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. We will soon be talking about the roles of the Governor, as well as discussing what the roles of Oregon's Kid Governor are.

Reminder that tomorrow is Spirit Gear Friday, and students are allowed to wear any Regis Saint Mary t shirt, along with jeans! Please no ripped jeans or jeggings.

Have a great weekend!!

Parent Night

Thank you so much to everyone who came to Parent Night this evening! I love having the opportunity to meet with as many parents as I can, and being able to share the best things to expect in fifth grade this year!

For those of you who were unable to attend this evening, I have posted my Google Slides presentation below this update. If you have any questions about anything in the slides, please feel free to reach out via email. I am so excited for all the things we have planned for the year!

Have a great weekend!!

Welcome to Room 13! Parent Night

First Week in Fifth Grade!

Hi everyone! Welcome back to another fabulous year on the Saint Mary campus!! This first week has been full of schedule changes and getting used to a different way of life in room 11. The kids have been doing a GREAT job so far going with the flow when things change last minute and we have to adjust course.

This week has really been focused on learning the routines and procedures of the classroom. They have all been adjusting to using a locker and to changing clothes for PE class. I have gone over expectations for homework, and I will be explaining in class tomorrow how to use the planner that they received this afternoon towards the end of the day. The expectation for the planner is that at the end of each day, they will be filling it out with all the work that they have done in class that day as well as any homework that they need to complete at home. They will then take it home and show it to a parent or guardian, and the parent or guardian is expected to sign it at the bottom only once all the homework and schoolwork has been reviewed and completed. Most homework is due on Fridays, unless it was something that was done in class and was not completed, in which case it is usually due the following day.

I would like to extend an invitation for you all to come visit the classroom and hear about some of the fun things that we have planned for fifth grade this year next Thursday September 12th from 6-7 PM for Parent Night! I will be giving a talk at 6:00 and again at 6:30 that covers all the important information for the school year. If you are unable to make it, I will be posting my slides from the evening's talk here on the home page of my website.

Next week we will be taking our first STAR test of the year in both math and reading. This test will just be to see where they are now as compared to where they ended the year last year. Please make sure that your student comes to school having eaten breakfast and had a good night's sleep the night before. The math STAR test will be on Monday, and the reading STAR test will be on Tuesday.

Finally, a note about t-shirt Tuesdays. T-shirt Tuesdays have now become RSM Spirit gear Fridays. Students may wear any Regis Saint Mary spirit gear, including sports team and activity t-shirts, as long as they have the name Regis Saint Mary printed on there. Logo t-shirts will no longer be allowed on Tuesdays.

Have a great weekend!

Here's a few shots from the first day of the 2019-2020 school year!!