Forests and Awards and MAP (oh, my)


What a week!  We had a terrific time learning about man’s impact on the environment with our Mountains to Sound Greenway teacher, Tony Allison.   Tony visited us in class on Monday and Wednesday, teaching about the sometimes competing claims on our forest resources.  On Tuesday, we explored Tiger Mountain and surveyed an area of the forest to determine suitability for development, recreation, or preservation.   On Thursday, we went to Lake Sammamish State Park and  FREED THE TREES from invasive Himalayan  blackberry bushes!  It was  terrific stewardship project that tied in nicely with both our SLEs and science learning target.

THANK YOU so much to the parents who drove, hiked, helped survey the forest, and braved the thorny blackberry bushes with us last week.  I am so very grateful to you for enabling us to have such a rich environmental experience with Mountains to Sound Greenway.


The fabulous readers in room 26 (that’s us!) are Read to Succeed National Award winners!  This honor was awarded for our high level of participation and achievement in the Achieve 3000 reading program.  On Friday students celebrated their hard work with a party organized by our class student government.


On Monday-Thursday next week we will be taking our final round of MAP tests. Our testing window is from 10-11:30.  There will be very little homework this week (if any) so students can stay fresh, get good rest, and enjoy some downtime after school.  You can help by ensuring your child gets to bed early and eats a nutritious breakfast before coming to school.


SCIENCE/ELA combines this week:  We will wrap up our environmental studies this week by writing up a proposal for land use using the ideas we discussed in our Mountains to Sound Greenway experience.

READING: Students will continue reading their Colonial America Novels

MATH: We will review 2-D shapes, prisms and pyramids, perimeter/circumference, area and volume concepts this week.

RELIGION: Students are memorizing the Hail, Holy Queen prayer to recite on Friday, May 12th. Link: Hail Holy Queen prayer

SOCIAL STUDIES:  Still stinging from the effects on our colonial Boston economy from the Stamp Act and Townshend Act, the students will learn about the King George III’s military response to the colonist’s protests of NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

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Given that, as they remind us, Rome wasn’t built in a day, I think we did well recreating Colonial Boston in three!

We have launched our unit studying causes leading up to the American Revolution.  In addition to setting up a town, students have invented merchant families and had their first town meeting discussing the fairness of taxation.  Governor Hutchinson (played by our own Mr. Thomas) stormed in upon hearing rumors of treasonous talk and reminded us of our duty to the king but we’ll have to wait and see if the Tories or the Patriots win out in the end!



Monday, 5/1: May Crowning Mass at 9am

Tuesday, 5/2: Tiger Mountain Field Trip

Thursday, 5/4: Lake Sammamish State Park Field Trip

Week of 5/8-5/12:  5th Grade MAP testing

Thursday, 5/11: Spring Concert


SCIENCE:  We will spend the week learning about man’s impact on the environment.  Guest teachers from Mountains to Sound Greenway will join us on Monday and Friday to lead lessons on land use in our region.  On Tuesday, we will investigate the health of our forests at Tiger Mountain.  Two days later, we will participate in a service project where we eradicate invasive species (pesky blackberry bushes) from Lake Sammamish state park

ELA: We’ve been working on commas and capitalization and will have a quiz at the end of the week.

READING: This week we have begun our book clubs. Students were assigned a book that was set during the Colonial America time period. Each day, students meet in small groups to discuss their reading and record responses.  Work not completed in class will be assigned for homework.  As a result, we will not be doing reading logs for the next several weeks.

MATH: We are studying geometry this week and will be classifying and identifying polygons, finding area and perimeter, and understanding volume.

RELIGION: This week we will begin learning and focusing on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. On Monday, students will attend a Crowning of Mary.  Students are asked to bring a flower and a rosary to school for the service.


Cafe St. John



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Pretty much everyone’s lunch looked, smelled and tasted better than mine today.  The Nutrition Projects were quite the collection of culinary masterpieces and students walked in the door this morning bursting with new wisdom on the art of meal preparation.  I learned how to prevent avocado sauce from turning brown, that 1/2 cup of orzo makes much more than you might expect, how to don a cowboy hat and eat off a snazzy handmade placemat to elevate any meal, and that if you choose to have a BLT for lunch, you won’t have a lot of extra calories left over for other foods:)  I’m looking forward to hearing more from the students when they do their presentations tomorrow and Thursday.  Knowing families helped out by chopping those onions, cooking the food that splattered and giving lessons on myriad kitchen techniques, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the sous-chefs among you who helped make your child’s edible dreams come true.




Lunch is Served

We are now just a few days away from the unveiling of our nutrition projects.  On Tuesday students will bring in their lunches, set them up in an attractive display, and show them off to the 3rd and 4th graders.  Once everyone has had a chance to admire their nutritious culinary creations, the students will get to enjoy eating the fruits of their labor (so to speak).   The report portion of the project (either a powerpoint or written report) is also due on Tuesday.

In other news, St. John will once again host Family Literacy Night .  It will be held on Wednesday, April 5th from 6:30-8 in Egan Hall.  Be on the lookout for a flyer with all the details.  Some highlights include:  iPad literacy games, a “book walk”  (like a cake walk, but you win a free book,) games like scategories and Bingo and more.


WRITING:  We will be exploring brain research into regulated vs. disregulated states of mind and our writing will center around our thoughts on this topic next week.

READING:  Students will be completing two articles on Achieve 3000 per week and one article of choice at home. In addition, students have been asked to have a fiction book on hand for our Daily 5 reading sessions.

MATH: Our current unit is on dividing fractions.  It is a relatively short one and we will likely have our chapter test by the end of next week.

SOCIAL STUDIES:  On the horizon for next week: the return of Social Studies!  We will be reading about early colonial times (1600s-1700s) in preparation for our upcoming unit on Colonial Boston and causes leading to the Revolutionary War.

SCIENCE: In addition to showing their lunches and sharing their reports, students will be studying for their Nutrition Final which is scheduled for Friday, March 31st.


RELIGION: We are continuing to focus on Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Reconciliation for 5th grade is scheduled for Thursday, March 30th at 10:00.  Stations of the Cross are at 2:30pm this Friday.  Feel free to join us!


Bon Appetit!

thToday we all got to start fresh in our last trimester of the school year! Report cards and SLE rubrics will go home this Thursday. Please review and send the envelopes back on Friday.

In our last trimester, both Mrs. Ahern and I will be focusing on preparing students for middle school. We will reinforce positive independent time management,  study habits, and organization.

To kick off our new trimester, we have a new project.  The students are really excited about creating their own nutritious, delicious, unique and enticing lunch!  Read all about it in the Science update below.


WRITING:  The focus for the next week and a half is our Inventions Essay. This prompt requires students to choose either a helpful or harmful invention and support the claim with details. The rough draft is due Friday, 3/17. The final draft is due Wednesday 3/22. This is mainly an in class project.

READING:  Students will be completing two articles on Achieve 3000 per week and one article of choice at home. In addition, we are reading non-fiction articles related to our study of nutrition.

MATH: We have covered multiplying fractions by fractions as well as whole numbers. We are moving into multiplying fractions by mixed numbers.

SCIENCE: The nutrition project was introduced and explained today. The final project is due Tuesday, 3/28. Presentations are on Wednesday, 3/29 and Thursday, 3/30. I have encouraged students to break this up into manageable parts according to schedules.

Here is a link to the powerpoint the students saw outlining the project:  Nutrition ppt 2017

This link takes you to the handouts with detailed information about the project, including the Nutrition Charts students are required to complete and submit:  Nutrition project 2017

RELIGION: We are continuing to focus on Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Exciting News-5th graders will be leading Stations of the Cross at 2:30pm this Friday.  Please join us!



Ms. Kelley


This week started with a celebration of Martin Luther King’s life and work.  His message of peace and equality strongly resonates with my social justice loving fifth graders!  We are deep into our study of the Civil Rights Era and our book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963.  The idea that our world can be made better by loving one another (not incidentally our school’s theme this year) is a powerful message.  At St. John School, we are constantly reminded that we are not only Active Learners but also Empowered Disciples who show that we value the diversity of all God’s children.  I hope to see you at our upcoming Catholic Schools Mass and Open House next Sunday (January 29th) where we can celebrate the gift of Catholic education together!


  • Monday 1/23 – Accreditation visiting team come to St. John! 2pm dismissal & dress uniform
  • Thursday 1/26 – Progress Reports Go Home
  • Sunday 1/29-  Catholic School’s Mass at 10:30am, open house immediately following
  • Monday 1/30- Friday 2/3 Catholic School’s Week
  • Friday 2/3 – PURPLE AND GOLD DAY
  • Wednesday 2/1- Geography Bee


READING/WRITING: We are about a third of the way through our novel, The Watson’s Go to Birmingham- 1963. Each week, students will be reading roughly 3-4 chapters, some being in class and some assigned for homework. They will be required to track their reading via a chart and will also be meeting in literature circles to discuss characters, plot, setting, and answer comprehension questions. Each week there will be a short comprehension quiz from the chapters assigned that week.

MATH: We are moving into work with adding and subtracting fractions next week.

SCIENCE: We began studying Physical Properties of Change this week and will continue learning about the subject next week as well.  In addition to reading information in our science book, we will conduct a scientific investigation, and making informational posters.  There will be a short quiz on Friday 1/27 covering our study of mixtures, solutions, density, and properties of matter.

RELIGION: We began our study of the sacrament of baptism this week. There will be an open book quiz/reflection next week.

All That Matters…


We have rung in the 2017 by choosing School-wide Learning Expectations (SLE) goals for the new year.  Students are writing paragraphs explaining why the goals are important and outlining steps they will take to ensure their success.  We’ll keep referring back to these plans throughout the year, assessing progress along the way.

Another of our goals this year is to think about ways we can be better peacemakers in the world (SLE:  We are empowered disciples who live out Gospel Values, Catholic Social Teachings, and the Mission of the Church).  On Achieve3000, students read about both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, jr.  In religion, we learned about St. Francis of Assisi.  Next week, we will study Nelson Mandela, St. Teresa, and Rosa Parks.  All are such strong role models, inspiring us to advocate for peace and justice in our daily lives!

We have begun a new science unit on the properties of matter (SLE:  We are active learners who meet or exceed Archdiocesan and national standards).  A big highlight of the week was learning to use balance scales to measure mass in grams.  We got to borrow the fancy scales from Mr. Tice’s middle school science lab for the task!  Reading for this unit can be found in our science text book, HSP science.  An eBook is available online and you can access it through the Classroom Links section on the sidebar of my teacher page so any homework assignments can be completed without lugging home the heavy text book!


READING- Next week we begin reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.  This book explores themes of racial justice during the civil rights era.

WRITING-In addition to reading about peacemakers, we will write essays on some of the people who inspire us to be better peacemakers ourselves.

RELIGION – Students have begun memorizing St. Francis of Assisi’s Prayer for Peace.  Recitation day is Friday, January 13th.



“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

The season of Advent reminds us of what is truly important in life…preparing the way for Jesus.  We are getting ready for Him by praying in the hallway with the 3rd and 4th graders every morning, researching the symbolic importance of the colors of the Advent wreath, and thinking deeply about the Nativity story as told in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.   We are excitedly embracing the message of Christmas as a time of giving and planning a service project to show our love and care for the ill and homebound in our parish.  All of this to say we are getting ready to receive Christ our Savior in a special way this Christmas.

I wish you all many blessings in this joyful season!

Ms. Kelley


WELL DONE MISS THORNTON! We congratulate Miss Thornton as she finishes her student teaching experience and completes her teacher training.  Her last day in fifth grade is December 2nd.  While we will miss her, we don’t have to say good-bye for long.  She will be taking teaching Mrs. Todd’s 2nd graders come February when baby Todd arrives.

MATH – Students are working on multiplying and dividing decimals and will continue this work up until Christmas break.

READING-We continue enjoying reading Achieve 3000 articles both in class and at home.  In the 2nd marking period, students will complete one teacher led article and one self-selected article in class each week.  Additionally, students will be assigned one article for homework every Monday to be completed by the following Friday.  In the month of December we will also be learning about the American short story fiction genre and reading O. Henry’s classic:  The Gift of the Magi.

WRITING-Narrative (story) writing is the focus of our next writing unit.  Students are learning the features of fiction writing and applying them as they plan and write several narratives.

SCIENCE – Our first major unit of study is entitled VARIABLES and consists of a series of experiments designed to teach students the scientific inquiry process.  We began testing pendulums and will move on to catapults (take a moment and picture that in a fifth grade classroom:)), and capacity.

RELIGION- We are blessed with the opportunity to lead the Feast of the Immaculate Conception liturgy with our buddies on Thursday, December 8th at 9am.  Please join us if you can!

Ahoy Mateys!

thShiver me timbers,  we are learning about European exploration of North America by experiencing a simulation entitled “Galleon.”  Students have set sail in either a Galleon ship bound for the new world to find gold for Spain or a Privateer ship, determined to steal what they can for Mother England.  Assignments and projects earn points to propel the ships toward their destination and back again.  Last week, students selected a European explorer to research and write about.  Currently, we are in the gathering sources and note taking phase.  Students have a handout describing the project in full (including deadlines) and note-taking sheets for recording important information.  Links to both are here: explorer-report-handout-16, explorer-notesheet.

We are so fortunate to have two very dedicated librarians helping us with research materials.  Our own Mrs. Bodmer has many, many books on explorers for 5th graders to check out and Jennifer Bossin at the Greenwood Public Library has pulled books from throughout the SPL system and is holding them at the reference library desk for our students.  Students are required to use at least one book for source material so be sure to arrange for your child to stop by a library soon.


MATH – Students took their unit 1 math test last week and will be moving on to study division skills.  A quick reminder that re-takes on math tests are always available for students who are still working to master concepts!  I am available to meet with students any morning before school to review, refresh and solidify skills–just send me an email if your child plans to come in so I know whom to expect.

READING-Our Achieve 3000 articles (all are non-fiction) have been integrated with our social studies content.  Having finished reading a Pedro’s Journal, a fictional account of Christopher Columbus’ voyage, students will now begin reading Morning Girl by Michael Dorris which tells the story of the arrival of European explorers from a Native American’s point of view.

WRITING-Not only will we begin writing our research reports soon, students will also be identifying prepositions and continuing to build their own Language Arts reference book.

SOCIAL STUDIES- Galleon, Galleon, Galleon!

RELIGION- October is the month of the Holy Rosary.  This month our prayer lives will be enriched and deepened as we learn more about our Blessed Mother Mary and the prayers of the Rosary.

And We’re Off!

Ms. Kelley’s 5th Grade Joggers!

We ran our socks off and let our school spirit soar at last Friday’s Jog-A-Thon.   Thank you so much for your generous support.  Our class set a goal of collecting $3,500 in pledges and at last check-in we had raised $3,475!  The deadline for all pledges is Friday, September 30th so please make sure to get those final pledges in on time.

Miss Thornton and I have spent the past weeks getting to know the students as learners, friends, thinkers, and citizens.  Our Design-A-School project let their skills shine! We saw so many examples students cooperating with others, doing careful & detailed, work,  showing creativity, and listening with empathy and respect.  This week we will be gathering important beginning-of-the-year data on where each student is on their personal continuum of learning by taking the MAP test.  This adaptive, on-line assessment will give us a base-line from which to compare future growth and will provide information on the specific skills we as teachers should focus on.


MATH – We are working on place value, exponents, properties of operations and multi-digit multiplication and division.

READING-Achieve 3000 has been a great success for the fifth graders.  The non-fiction articles are interesting and tailored to each child’s individual reading level.  Next week we will begin reading our first novel, Pedro’s Journal by Pam Conrad.

WRITING-Students are practicing  identifying main ideas, translating them into well crafted topic sentences and choosing juicy supporting details as they write perfect paragraphs this week.

SOCIAL STUDIES- Camels, Crusades, knights in shining armor, and a love of riches from the East…we have begun learning about why Europeans sought a route to Asia and how this led to the exploration of the Americas.

RELIGION- We will continue to learn about and practice habits of mind this week.  Additionally, students have begun writing cards of support to the ill and homebound in our parish.