Science – Levers and Pulleys

Written by JenniferG. Posted in 5th Grade


5th grade is beginning a new science unit, the FOSS Pulleys Module. We will be studying basic concepts in mechanics, a very important subject for fields that involve engineering and design. We will be investigating the benefits of pulleys, one of the six simple machines, finding out how it provides advantages to people, and how it is used in the real world.


A single pulley helps you move something up or down. However, the job is easier if you add another pulley or change the direction of the pull. No doubt your child will be an expert on this shortly.


The activities described on them suggest ways you and your child can extend the inquiry into your home, neighborhood, and community. Simple machines are used all around your home and neighborhood. There are pulleys hiding in elevators and fishing poles.


Your discoveries may start some family discussions about other simple machines around you.



We’re looking forward to weeks of fun with forces and simple machines!



pulley image

Podcast: A Closer Look at the ES Progress Reports

Written by Lila Jorge. Posted in 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Administration, Elementary School, ES Principal, Kindergarten, Nursery, PreK

In the early spring of 2012 we began discussions as an ES Faculty about redesigning our progress report.  The version we were using at the time had been in use for several years and despite certain strengths we found ourselves constantly analyzing its shortcomings.

While content that our progress reports were aligned to standards, we felt that numeric ratings of performance provided very little specific feedback to families.  Moreover, it was difficult to show progress and development over the course of a school year.  Needless to say, we were convinced that we could do better and that is the only motivation we ever need as a faculty to make a change.

Over many months we engaged in a process that incorporated research of best practices, teacher-led committees, grade-level focus groups and consultation from Ken O’Connor, a leader in the area of assessment and reporting.  Even though we were faced with the reality a child’s development can never be fully captured in a handful of pages, we were able to incorporate key facets represent a significant improvement from previous years.  As a result, we look forward to the Progress Reports playing an essential role in communicating with parents about their child’s progress and another avenue to strengthen the invaluable partnership between school and home.

For further information about the Progress Reports, please click on the video below to launch, A Closer Look at the Elementary School Progress Reports.  I have created a podcast that provides more information about the key facets of the Progress Report and examples of how they incorporated into the overall design.



Dividing With One-Digit Divisors

Written by JenniferG. Posted in 5th Grade

In math class, your child is learning how to divide with one-digit divisors. Learning this skill will require his or her understanding in the areas of estimating quotients, remainders, connecting models and symbols, dividing with one-digit divisors, and using zeros in quotients. You can expect to see work that provides practice in dividing whole numbers with one-digit divisors and checking the answer with multiplication. Your child should continue to practice basic facts in multiplication and division.


Here is an activity that you can do with your child to help him or her learn about dividing by 1-digit divisors:

Variations on a Theme

Materials: Pencil, index cards

Step 1: Write a × symbol, a ÷ symbol, and an = symbol on three index cards.

Step 2: Write down a one-digit number on an index card. Write a two-, three-, or four-digit number on another index card. Write the product on a third card.

Step 3: Ask your child to arrange the cards to create a multiplication sentence. Use the same equation that was used in the previous step.

Step 4: Then challenge your child to use the cards to make a division sentence.

Step 5: Repeat the activity with different sets of numbers.

Properties of Multiplication

Written by JenniferG. Posted in 5th Grade

In math class, students are learning how to multiply in order to solve problems. This unit will require the use of several skills that include mental math, estimating products, and multiplying one-, two-, and three- digit numbers. Students will be introduced to the multiplication properties: Commutative, Associative, Identity, and Zero.

IMAG0290During the study of multiplication, your child should continue to practice basic multiplication facts.

Here are some activities that you can do with your child to help him or her learn about multiplication properties.

Reviewing Basic Facts

Materials: Basic multiplication-fact flash cards

Step 1: Use flashcards to review basic multiplication facts with your child.

Step 2: Display 32 x 3 in vertical form and have him or her explain how to multiply a two-digit number by a one-digit number.

All Things Literacy …

Written by admin. Posted in 5th Grade

Our fifth graders have impressed us recently with their passion for writing!  In Writing Workshop, we have been writing personal narratives that tell the story of a meaningful memory from our lives.  These stories tell of hysterical moments of laughter, panic-inducing moments of facing our fears, sweet memories with people in our life that we love and adore, and the list goes on!  Students have now selected their most personally meaningful piece, and are revising it to perfection.

In Reading Workshop, we have been learning how to more effectively navigate non-fiction texts.  These non-fiction reading skills have been helpful when doing research on explorers for our Social Studies projects.  We have been putting into practice how to use text features effectively to gain understanding about our topic, how to differentiate between “cover-to-cover” books and “dive-in-dive-out” books (ask your student for an explanation of this!), and how to check for understanding by summarizing what we’ve just read in our own words after each passage.

Students are already growing leaps and bounds as readers and writers, and we look forward to the continued growth we will be seeing throughout the year!