Fraction Kitchen






Here’s a fun recipe:

  • 28 Excited 5th Graders
  • 2 Enthusiastic Teachers
  • 9 No-bake cookie recipes adjusted to fractional amounts
  • 3 Giant bowls of chocolate chips
  • More sugar than I have seen in one place at one time
  • A fair amount of milk and butter

Mix it all together on a Friday and enjoy!

We had a great time making chocolate no-bake cookies together and seeing first hand why multiplying a mixed number by a fraction yields a product smaller than one of the factors.  We also learned that accuracy in cooking is important:)


  • Wednesday, March 6 – Ash Wednesday mass at 9:00.  Dress uniform. Lent begins.
  • Friday, March 8 – Stations of the Cross @2:30 in the church
  • Friday, March 15 – 5th grade leads the Stations of the Cross @2:30 in the church. Please join us if you can.
  • Tuesday, March 19- St. Vincent de Paul field trip.


READING- In addition to our Achieve articles, we have introduced Daily 5 into our reading program.  Students are asked to select a fiction book that is in keeping with their lexile level (doesn’t have to be an exact match).  At this time I have asked students to focus on traditional chapter books rather than graphic novels.  In Daily 5, students will choose between 5 reading/writing activities all directed toward building comprehension of the book they chose.

WRITING- Our current focus is on descriptive writing.  Students have drawn their own “monster” and are now writing a story about him/her/it. Each story will include a detailed description of the creature and will include figurative language and descriptive adjectives that tell us about his/her/its adventures.

SCIENCE – We have begun unit on the properties of matter (SLE:  We are active learners who meet or exceed Archdiocesan and national standards).  A big highlight so far 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!  We had our first chapter quiz on the basic concept of matter and are now learning about the properties of matter.

RELIGION – We are taking notes on the 7 sacraments and will be creating an art project depicting symbols for each of them.


All School American Flag STEM Project

Last week Sr. Pablo offered our STEM loving class a challenge:  figure out how to configure an American flag out of 480 students and some red, white and blue construction paper for an arial photograph.  After much examination of the flag, many measurements of the church, and several surveys of number and relative sizes of students, 8 plans were proposed.  Wonder how it’s all going to work?  Stay tuned!  We’re writing up our process and our plans will be implemented next Wednesday when the photo is actually shot!

Dear Students, here is the template to copy onto your desktop for the write up:  FLAG EDP.

The Engineering Design Process

Here are the steps of the Engineering Design Process.  Today we talked about how we would use these steps to get rid of the “fatberg” in England.  Tomorrow students will have a quiz in which they will be asked to apply these steps to create a potential solution to a different world problem.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel


Advent has begun and with it, we are thinking even more about ways to make our world a better place.  We have decked out the room with holiday cheer, will prepare our hearts by attending reconciliation on Wednesday and will lead the school wide liturgy for the Immaculate Conception of Mary on Friday.   St. John 5th graders and our 2nd grade buddies will be doing all the jobs…including bell ringing, greeting, the procession, doing the readings, bringing up the gifts and leading the school in song.  We would love for you to join us in prayer–mass starts at 9:00.  Stay tuned for details about our grade level Advent giving project. We are definitely paving the way for Jesus!


Social Studies – This week we will wrap up our Galleon social studies unit.  We have created a study guide and have been reviewing content for the past week.  The unit final test will be on Thursday, December 6th.

Religion – Advent and the Immaculate Conception

Math – We will apply our knowledge of adding and subtracting decimals as we design our own gingerbread dream houses and calculated the associated costs (the price of icing roofs has sky-rocketed these days:)).  We are approaching the end of the unit and I predict we will have our unit test on Friday.

Reading & Writing–  We are analyzing narrative structure in short fiction reading passages and creating our own stories using the elements of narrative writing.

Science- We will be reading about the Engineering Design Process to better understand how to effectively create our own STEM projects.

Explorer Reports

Last week, students selected a European explorer to research and write about (click here to see who your child chose: explorer assignment list 18-19).  We will primarily be working on this project at school but students are welcome to spend some time at home on it as well (I’ve already been asked if this would be okay…bless their motivated hearts!).  Currently, we are in the gathering sources and note taking phase.  Students note-taking sheets for recording important information.  (Note:  Students can print extra copies if needed in the Classroom Links tab.)


NOTE:  Thanksgiving liturgy on Monday at 9:00.  This is a dress uniform day!  If you purchased free dress from last year’s auction, kindly make sure your child’s outfit is appropriate for church.

Social Studies – Continuing our review of content, students will be taking practice quizzes to earn points in our simulation to race their ships back to race their ship back to Europe (or to capture a Galleon).

Religion – Eucharist means Thanksgiving and we will talk about both the sacrament and gratitude for our many blessings.

Math –  We will be working on the problem solving strategy of Making an Organized List.

Reading –  We will compare and contrast Native American and European perspectives of exploration.

Writing – We will be taking notes for reports.

Science – We will finish our Engineering Design Process unit and take a quiz on Tuesday.

Explorer Report Names

Dear Sweet Students,

If you want to explore:) the list of explorers, here they are!

St. John Fifth Grade Research Report Explorers Names

  • Hudson, Henry
  • Coronado, Francisco Vazquez de
  • Magellan, Ferdinand
  • Vespucci, Amerigo
  • Polo, Marco
  • Da Gama, Vasco
  • Drake, Sir Francis
  • Raleigh, Sir Walter
  • da Verrazzano, Giovanni
  • LaSalle, Rene – Robert Cavalier
  • Dias, Bartholomeu
  • Cabot, John
  • Cartier, Jacques
  • Cortes, Hernando
  • Pizarro, Francisco
  • Desoto, Hernando
  • de Leon, Ponce
  • Champlain, Samuel de
  • Frobisher, Martin
  • Balboa, Vasco Nunez de
  • Prince Henry the Navigator
  • Cabral, Pedro Alvares
  • Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez
  • Columbus, Christopher



It was lovely meeting with families and talking about 5th grade successes and goals for the year!  Thank you for taking the time to participate in our parent/student/teacher conferences.  If I haven’t met with you yet, I look forward to seeing you next Monday!


Social Studies/Writing- Next week the two subjects merge as we begin a research report project.  Students will choose a European Explorer who impacted the development of North America to learn about and will write a 5 paragraph essay describing his contributions to creating the world as we know it.

Religion – On Wednesday, November 7th, we will celebrate Dios de los Muertos. Today students were given a planning sheet to record information about a family member or friend who has passed away.  They are also asked to bring an “ofrenda” (photo and item to represent the person) to place on our classroom altar.  We will take exremely good care of these items and will make sure they return home safely!

Math –  Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals!  We’ll wrap up this unit on Wednesday and have a test on Thursday.

Reading –  Next week we will compare and contrast the Native American and Spanish perspectives of the arrival of Europeans to the “new world.”

Science –  Our cranking elevator STEM project and Halloween activities hijacked our week so did not begin our properties of matter unit.  Instead, we will get started on it next week. In this unit of study, students will come to understand that matter is made of particles too small to be seen by developing a model. We’ll also explore the math concepts of proportion and quantity as they relate to our scientific investigations.

Religion-Today students made cards of support for our local Jewish community members to let them know they are in our prayers following the shooting in Pittsburgh.

Day of Play!

Big excitement this week came with the completion of our CARDBOARD CHALLENGE.  The unique and creative games students created for our day of play were a big hit with our 2nd grade buddies.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the spirit of innovation come alive in your child as they engineered a game and experienced “technology” without the use of an electronic device!


Thanks so much to those who helped with Dia de los Muertos mask making!  Between the vaseline moisturizer and the plaster exfoliant, kids not only wound up with a snazzy mask but also spa-like smooth skin!

Our Jog-a-Thon wrap-up assembly was on Friday.  I am so appreciative of your continued support of St. John School through your generous donations to this fundraiser.  As a result of our efforts, our class has earned two of the incentives we set up back in September:  free seating in class for a week (for bringing in more $ than Mr. S’s class) and a movie and popcorn (running more laps than the 4th graders).


Social Studies –  Our GALLEON unit continues.  Last week we learned about longitude and latitude, medieval times and the Crusades.  This week we will read about several influential European explorers and conquistadors.  Students have been introduced to “mind-mapping,” a visual note-taking technique, and will use this tool to build their understanding of the forces leading to the exploration of and eventual settlement of Europeans in North America.

Religion – Students have been preparing for our Dia de los Muertos celebration.  Thanks for all who helped with the mask making!  Additionally, we will be reading and studying the book of Genesis next week.

Math –  Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals!  It all begins next week.

Reading –  We are just wrapping up our short novel, Pedro’s Journal by Pam Conrad in which students read about Columbus’ first voyage to San Salvador as told from the perspective of a young apprentice.  Next week we will read another short novel entitled Morning Girl by Michael Dorris about the Columbus’ impact on the Taino tribe from the perspective of a young girl.  These readings will provide rich opportunities to compare and contrast historical events.

Writing – We will have one more week focusing on the structure of expository paragraph writing as we solidify the effective use of topic sentences, supporting details, and concluding sentences.

Science –  This week we will begin learning about the properties of matter. In this unit of study, students will come to understand that matter is made of particles too small to be seen by developing a model. We’ll also explore the math concepts of proportion and quantity as they relate to our scientific investigations.

Fall Fun

We are officially finished with MAP testing!  Now we can really settle down into a regular routine and enjoy the fall.  Please note that our first school-wide liturgy is this coming Wednesday, October 10th and students will need to be in dress uniform for the occasion.


Social Studies – This week we are learning about navigation by plotting points on a map, reading longitude and latitude lines, and discussing how explorers found their way across the Dark Sea (AKA the Atlantic Ocean).  On Thursday, students will make an astrolable that they can use to determine their own latitude right here in Seattle.

Religion – This week we will focus on God as Creator as we dive into our new Religion text book.  One of the features I really enjoy is the way the book ties religion content to art.  Students will be looking a a frontispiece from the Bible Moralisse and using it to analyze the artist’s faith and message.

Math –  Students took their chapter 1 math test last week and are working on test corrections which can be submitted for extra points and an adjusted grade.  Once they have their final score, I will ask for parents to sign the test to ensure you have seen their work.

Reading –  We have begun reading Pedro’s Journal by Pam Conrad, a realistic fiction novel told from the point of view of a young Spanish boy sailing with Christopher Columbus.  Students will be answering comprehension questions, applying the Big 4 reading strategies, and meeting in small lit groups each week as the try to put theirselves in the shoes of the European explorers of North America.

Writing – .This week students are writing log entries to show their understanding of the risks and dangers facing European explorers.  To get started, we listened to “sounds of a creaky ship” (courtesy of youtube!) and really tried to imagine life on board a Galleon.  Entries are due on Tuesday and will be used to earn points for their next Galleon move.

Science – Science will resume next week when we dive into our new science curriculum and textbook!