December 2017

Fall has flown by and Christmas is just around the corner. It has been a delight to get to know these fifth graders this year. We just finished our exploring our driving question:

“What would you say to the Mayor of Philadelphia in 1793 to help stop the spread of Yellow Fever?”

We had a Christmas party this week and had the opportunity to act out the answer to the driving question. Our 5th grade students wrote a script and we made a video of their discussion with the Mayor. We also built Gingerbread houses, enjoyed games and worked on math- a wonderful way to end before the break! May all of your families have a wonderful and refreshing Christmas break with family and friends!


September 2017

We enjoyed our trip with middle schoolers to the ropes course in Salem the second week of school. It was a great opportunity to work on facing fears, overcoming obstacles and team building.


June 2017

The end of the year is always bittersweet as we say goodbye for the summer. I hope you all have a wonderful summer break, and come back in September full of memories and stories, and ready to jump into another fun school year!

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May 26, 2017

These last two week, the students picked the driving question.

How can you use the design process to buid the ultimate robot?

Each group designed and built 2 robots. One for the capture the flag competition, and another one for a dodgball type game. Lots of laughter and squeals with these games!

April 25, 2017

The students spent the last month researching, designing, building, and presenting about the robots they created to solve problems found in the colonies in the late 1700s. Now, they are working to answer our newest driving questions:

How can you use computer programming to modify your robot to better solve the problem? How would taking this robot back in time to the 1700s change the culture of the colonies?

The students have been independently programming their robots to solve the problems. This week they will be presenting their robot prototypes and environments, and analyzing if the pros and cons of computer programing versus using a remote control.

Next, they will be answering the driving question:

How can you present your robot to persuade the panel to choose yours as the one to go back in time?

Come to our Project Night next month to be “the panel” and choose which group was most persuasive!

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March 24, 2017


I can’t believe it’s Spring Break already! I hope you have a wonderful week, and I can’t wait until we get back and get to answer our current driving question: “Design a robot to take back in time and give to Benjamin Franklin. What problem will it solve?” 

We have spent the last few weeks studying robotics, inventors, the design process, early US History, and researching, in order to answer this question. We have worked our way up to creating the prototype of the robot that the students will present as their solution to a common problem of the 1700’s. 

All the subjects are integrated to give us the skills to answer this question, and to give more real life meaning to everything we are learning. For example, when we get back we will be doing reading fluency on a passage about inventions, answering robot real life problems for math, doing guided reading with a book about three inventors, practicing our grammar and spelling rules in our writing while creating a Google Slides presentations on our robot prototypes, collaborating and using critical thinking skills as we build our prototypes in small groups…etc. 

I can’t wait to see what solutions the class comes up with! 


January 23, 2017

This month has been crazy will all the snow. The students are doing well with jumping back into things even after our snow days. One of the highlights this month has been our Mad Math Mondays. Today we did airplane math and sang a fraction song to help us add and subtract fractions!


December 16, 2016

Thank you for coming to our Project Night. It was a blast! The students did a great job answering our second driving question: If you could go back in time, what would you teach the Native Americans about the spread of disease?

If you missed it, for Project Night our classroom was a time portal. When you went through the doors, you became a Native American in the year 1492. We were scientists from the future that came to teach you about the spread of disease before it wiped out 90% of the Native American population. The scientists could only take their knowledge back in time, not medicine or vaccines. The scientists taught about viruses, the immune systems, and simple ways to help stop the spread.

We look forward to seeing you for our next Project Night in the Spring!



Thanksgiving Break

I hope you are all having a great break, full of family fun! When we get back on Monday, we are going to have tons of fun! We will be doing Mad Math Monday with balloons, airplanes, and Matholomew Marcus McMullen. We’ll also be practicing our puppet shows to go perform for a local daycare. Plus, our novels are coming along, and we will be adding the bulk of the story to them this next week. I can’t wait for our next few strong weeks of academic adventures before Christmas break!


(Matholomew Marcus McMullen the Mad Mathematician)

October 25, 2016

This last month we have built up our knowledge of Native American regions and cultures, ecosystems, how humans affect natural resources, geometry, and geometric design, and have integrated these in with our reading and writing skills to be able to answer our first driving question: What can we, as a class, do to conserve a natural resource? The students have discussed and answered this question by writing a paper, and are now creating a geometric symbol to go with it.

We’ve also been enjoying Mad Math Mondays. We’ve had detective math, fall math, ninja math, and spent one Monday finding our multiplication problems on a huge coordinate grid in the gym!

This next month, we are starting our second driving question which corresponds with our first PLTW Unit.


(Ninja Multiplication)


September 23, 2016

We have had a great start back to school! This week was our first “Mad Math Monday”, where we do rigorous math activities in a super fun, engaging setting. This Monday was M.C.I.S. (Mathematical Criminal Investigation Services). We were math detectives that solve all kinds of multiplication mysteries. We even had our own detective badges and used black lights to see the secret information!


August 30, 2016

Back to School

I’m so excited to meet each of you and get started with the awesome school year that we have ahead of us! Our classroom is all ready to be filled with the many adventures and friendships that will be created here!




June 13, 2016

I hope you all have a wonderful summer full of fun times outside. I encourage you to go the library and find books that fascinate you! Keep reading everyday, so we can keep up all the progress we’ve made with our reading fluency and comprehension!

Thank you for a crazy fun year full of silly memories! I am so proud of the amazing academic growth that I have seen in each one of you this year!

Goodbye my little geniuses!


May 27, 2016

We added to our flexible seating options this week with a swivel stool table. We are so excited to have options to learn how we individually learn best, whether that means sitting still or moving while we work. As the year comes to an end, we’ve been enjoying more creative writing time and  reading time. The students have been choosing writing prompts, and then then writing, editing, and rewriting one page creative stories. Next Thursday, they will be able to share their favorite two stories with the class.

For Mad Math Monday, we were detectives again! This time we solve mystery (algebra) problems unit of measurement conversions.




May 20, 2016

This week we had an awesome time with our last PLTW Module. We learned why and how scientists use models. As we prepare to create our own model of how infections spread, we modeled this scenario through a game and studied what happened when we changed the parameters. We also learned how to code using an app named Tinker. Through this app we created a dodgeball game and then we started a new model that will show a predator/prey situation. Next week, the students will use their knowledge and coding skills to create their own model of the spread of infection.

May 13, 2016

Thank you everyone for coming last night to the Spring Program and Project Night! It was awesome having our classroom full of siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. I loved seeing the engagement with our Power of Persuasion project. The students did a phenomenal job with their persuasive writing and got lots of compliments about their writing skills from visitors. They also enjoyed sharing their commercials, jingles, and flyers. After counting up the votes today, the anti-federalist won more the most persuasive group.

Next week, we get to start our last PLTW module: Infection-Modeling and Simulation. This is a super fun and engaging unit where the students will be studying the spread of infection and then modeling it by using different games, apps, and programming.

May 4, 2016

This week started off with an awesome Mad Math Monday: Camping Style! The 5th graders went fishing for story problems, answered algebra problems while gazing up at the stars, and found the area and volume of the S’more components. Check out our Facebook page for more pictures! We’ve also in the middle of our Frindle book club and have been enjoying reading together and having deep discussions that help us grow in reading comprehension and fluency. For our Persuasion Project, the 5th graders wrote jingles and have been designing flyers. Next week they will be creating a commercial with sock puppets and having a debate. We are so excited for the Walk-a-thon!


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April 25, 2016

We have so many fun things going on in our class right now! Our room has turned into a construction site as we measure, find area, multiply and divide decimals, and use critical thinking. We also started a new book club for the book “Frindle”. Today was also the take off for our next project, “The Power of Persuasion”. Students have been split into two groups, Federalists and Anti-federalists, and we have gone back into time to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The students will be writing persuasive papers this week that will be published as pamphlets. Then they will be creating commercials and flyers over the next couple of weeks.

April 15, 2016

This was a short week, since we had Parent Teacher Conferences. We did Venn Diagrams with Hula Hoops to compare and contrast the different groups of people who moved to the West after the expansion of the United States. We also read a book about Abraham Lincoln and then wrote interview questions that we would ask him. We used critical thinking to answer the questions the way we inferred that Lincoln would answer them.

Tuesday was Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s and we enjoyed a surprise field trip. The kids worked really diligently to earn enough time to go enjoy ice cream. We even hung out with our local meteorologist, Bob Shaw, while we ate our ice cream.

It was a short week, but a fun one!

Free Cone Day

April 8, 2016

This week was full of Jeopardy, singing, games, idioms, adages, prepositions, and decimal fun! For Mad Math Monday, the students picked characters to be and come to play Decimal Jeopardy with Joretta Jeopardy. The students learned an important lesson of always labeling their story problems answers, as many of them lost lots of “Jeopardy money” through this mistake. Good thing we weren’t playing for real money. 🙂

We also focused on verb endings this week and for Word Surgeons, we removed parts of the words to make our verbs present tense, and then studied irregular verbs as well.


April 1, 2016

We had a great first week back from Spring Break! It started off with an equivalent fraction egg hunt. Then our math problems jumped off the page and hid around the room. We had to go find them and match them to their answers. We also spent time this week writing and practicing puppet shows on taking initiative. Initiative is April’s character trait and we learned about it by teaching younger kids through puppets. We did our puppet shows for a local preschool today.

We also had Imaginary Friend Day, where our imaginary friends came to school for the whole day. It was awesome! 5th grade is full of some very creative kids!


March 18, 2016

The 5th graders got the opportunity to go the Coquille Tribe Reservation this week. The tribe invited us to spend the night on the reservation. We gifted the tribe with the books that the 5th graders wrote, illustrated, and published in Chinook Jargon and English. We also gathered sage for them. In return, the tribe gifted us with more knowledge of their culture and traditions. We had a wonderful time! We even got to the go play on the beach in the sunshine!

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March 4, 2016

Mad Math Monday this week involved standing on the table rapping about fractions! Say what? We had a great time reviewing adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions with a catchy rap! We also started our Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop this week. The students are writing hilarious stories using three historical figures from the Revolutionary War, and putting them up in space! We will be finishing next week and you’ll have to hear the final version of these awesome stories. When you read them, look for all the figurative language they’ve included! FullSizeRender

February 26, 2016

This week started off with an awesome Mad Math Monday. The students entered into what used to be their classroom but was now MCIS headquarters. They became Mathematical Criminal Investigation Services detectives! They rotated through three cases by showing their MCIS detective badge. In two of the cases, numbers had gone off the grid and disguised themselves as shapes. The detectives had to solve for what number each shape represented. In the third case, someone censored out the numbers in our story problems. The detectives used the answers to the story problems to work backwards and solve the case of the missing numbers. Since everything was top secret, the detectives had to use black lights to see and solve the cases. Check out the MSCS Facebook page for more pictures!

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February 19, 2016

This was a short week filled with lots of fun. We had Grandparent’s Day on Wednesday where we were able to have lunch with our grandparents and lead them in a worship song with the middle school. This week was also filled with History. We dug in deep into the build up of the Revolutionary War. This included reader’s theaters, writing letters as Patriots and Loyalist, reading historical fiction books in our book club center, and working on our fluency and comprehension while studying this topic.

We ended the week by going to the local daycare to present puppet shows we wrote. The 5th graders taught the preschool about the importance of a joyful attitude through their puppet shows and songs that they taught the kids. The room was filled with giggles and smiles!


February 12, 2016

This week we had Candy Shop Math! To practice adding and subtracting decimals, the 5th graders got to take turns being the cashier and the shopper at the Candy Shop. The cashier kept track of the transactions by adding and subtracting the money. They also answered eighteen challenging story problems about candy prices. These 5th graders are decimal experts now! Check out our Morning Star Christian School Facebook page for more pictures!


February 5, 2016

This week, Vinnie the Villain came on Monday to try to convince the 5th graders that Zero is a villain and not a hero. The fifth graders spent the day using debating, persuasive writing, and mathematical logic to prove that Zero makes math easier not harder. Math was integrated into every subject. By the end of the day, they had convinced Vinnie that Zero was indeed a math hero!


January 29, 2016

This week was full of critical thinking, collaboration, and presenting in our Robotics Module. The students programmed their autonomous robots. At the end of the week, we did a check for understanding and discussed what skills we learned that we can take with us in life.

The 5th graders also wrote, acted in, filmed, and edited short films about our monthly character trait: Discernment. These films were shown to the whole school at our weekly chapel. It is so awesome to see them use their talents to reach out to the younger students and help them understand how to apply these character traits to their day-to-day lives.

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January 22, 2016

The highlight of this short week was starting our Robotics and Automation: Challenge Module in PLTW. The 5th graders have spent the last few days gaining programming skills that will enable them to program an autonomous robot to complete a challenge obstacle course.

Next week is the last week of the 2nd quarter! There is no school next Friday, and then when we return the following week, we will start our 3rd quarter electives.



January 15, 2016

Andrew the Alpaca came back for Mad Math Monday again this week and taught us how to add and subtract fractions with different denominators. In Language Arts, we started a new literacy center where we record and record ourselves reading as we improve our fluency. We also started a doing a daily fluency game called Speed1000.

To end this week, Billy Bob came today and did a Persuasive Writing Workshop with us. Each student wrote a persuasive essay to present to Mr. Bails about our school.

No School Monday. Have a great long weekend!


January 8, 2016

We had a great first week back from Christmas Break! A puppet friend, Andrew the Alpaca, introduced a new Fraction concept on Monday. The students played a Bingo game and a timed circle game help ensure that they had a concrete understanding of this concept.

In Language Arts, we read samples of paragraphs with no adjectives and then the same paragraphs filled with imagery. The students then wrote about a typical morning for them, but filled their paragraphs with so many sensory details, that the audience felt like they were right there with the author. We also enjoyed some of our weekly favorites: Beach Ball Spelling, Word Surgeons, and reading with Action Punctation.



December 18, 2015

Today was full of Christmas fun! We finished it off with an engaging Christmas writing game that ended with some silly stories! This week’s Mad Math Monday included a fraction picnic and playing Fraction War with fraction playing cards. The highlight of Social Studies was learning about the mystery of one of the first settlements in America- the lost settlement of Ronoake. The students wrote papers with their theories of what happened to Ronoake.

Enjoy your Christmas Break! I look forward to our adventures planned for the new year!


December 11, 2015

5th grade had an awesome week that started off with Mad Math Monday. We did long division problems on the glass doors and windows. Then did Multi-digit Multiplication Scoot down the hallway. We also enjoyed our weekly Word Surgeon activity where we surgically remove the Greek and Latin roots from our spelling words.

In Social Studies, the 5th graders researched early explorers that discovered the New World and then presented their newly found knowledge using Google Slides.

We did a lot of critical thinking in the form of real life math problems. We even wore our genius glasses to help us dig deep into the problems! 🙂 We also dug deep in our book club by finding examples of cause and effect and discussing, “Can one person really change history?”

To end the week, 5th grade performed the puppet shows, that they wrote, to the preschool. 5th grade loved hearing all the little giggles and being able to bring joy through their talents.

MSCS Happenings