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!

Living in Harmony

Last week we reflected on our school’s theme:  Rejoice in the Lord Always-Live in Harmony with one another. 

And here are a few notes to keep you in the loop…

Power School, St. John’s online grade book with a parent portal, is now up and running for our class.  Many assignments have been logged in and the rest will be by the end of the weekend.  Please take time to log in and check your child’s work completion.  If you notice a score of 0 for any of your child’s assignment it likely means one of four things:  It hasn’t been finished, it hasn’t been turned in, it doesn’t have a name on it, or I made a mistake (much to my dismay, I am still not perfect.  Sigh.)  Solutions?  Make a list of missing work and check backpacks, folders, have you child check their desk at school on Monday, and remind your child to check the no-name bin.  If the mistake is mine, you will find the work in your child’s Boomerang folder on Monday and can let me know (by sending back the work) so I can update Power School.  Which brings me to…

Boomerang Folders, our finished work-to-home system launched on last week.  From here on out, I will be sending Boomerang folders home on most Mondays.  When you receive yours,

take a moment to look through your child’s returned work, check for any school handouts & sign the front of the folder.  Anything inside is yours to keep.  Kindly return the empty folder to school the next day for use the following week.

Note:  Returned tests are generally given directly to students the day after we take them.  I ask for parent signature on those to ensure you have seen your child’s progress. Spelling & vocabulary tests are exceptions.  Please look for those in the Boomerang Folder–no signatures needed on these.


NOTE:  MAP testing continue this week.  On Monday from 8:30-11:00 students will take the Language Usage skills test.  On Wednesday from 8:30-11:00 students will take the Science test.

Social Studies – We are learning about the causes leading up to European exploration and colonization of the Americas.  It all begins with life in Medieval times and learning about how a desire to trade with and travel to the Middle and Far East led to the quest for an all water route to Asia.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Religion – It’s hard to separate religion from our unit of European Exploration and the forces that led to the “discovery” of the Americas.  This week we will look at the ways Europeans in Medieval times created stained glass windows to show the Bible stories they loved and create our own versions.

Math –  This is a short math week for us due to MAP testing.  Our lessons will focus on the order of operations.

Reading –  Students will apply the skills of predicting, questioning, making connections, and summarizing their independent reading books.  We will also be talking about how to self-select books at an appropriate lexile level.

Writing – Paragraph structure is key to expository writing and we will be analyzing writing and creating our own well crafted, perfectly organized paragraphs for the next week.

Science – Due to a two unexpected additions to last week’s schedule, we had to bump our STEM experience a week.  Students will begin learning about the Engineering Design Process next week.

And We’re Off!

Sweaty, tired children after running their own laps and then joining their 2nd grade buddies on the track. They should sleep well tonight! You’re welcome:)

We had a blast at today’s JOG-A-THON!  Thank you so much for the donations made so far.  We will continue to collect pledges through the end of the month so it’s not too late to donate or get your corporate matching dollars in (let me know if you need a form for this!).  We have some fun classroom incentives to inspire us to greatness but if our class has the most pledges of all, we will have a pajama day!

It was a pleasure meeting so many parents at Curriculum Night last week.  As promised, I have linked a copy the entire powerpoint presentation for your reference; you’ll find it in the classroom links tab.

High on the list of exciting classroom happenings:  Design-A-School!  Students are excitedly creating schools to teach essential skills to a wide variety of students.  No “learner’s” needs are going unmet– there is a school for memes, dogs, and both magical and non-magical creatures alike!  Our academies teach students how to get scammed and hacked, how to inspire either fatness or skinniness in cats, or how to play pranks.  Talk about diversity in education, we have it all!

Read on for details about the rest of our classroom happenings.


Religion – Hope is our virtue of the month and we will be exploring ways we believe all that God has revealed in class.

Math –  We’re working on place value, multiplication, properties of multiplication (with special focus on the distributive property), and exponents.

Reading – THE BIG 4 is a set of skills we use constantly in fifth grade (and beyond!).  Students will practice predicting, questioning, making connections, and summarizing on a conscious level this week and learn to automatically apply these skills to reading throughout the year.

Writing – Paragraph structure is key to expository writing and we continue working on and creating our own well crafted, perfectly organized paragraphs for the next two weeks.

Social Studies – Next week we will travel back in time to the dark ages where we begin to learn about what motivated European exploration.

Science – We will have our first STEM experience of the year where we explore the engineering design process.

The Best Part of Me

Last week we read a book of poetry called The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald.  In it, students wrote about themselves in poetic form and selected a pose to be photographed to accompany their masterpiece.  Inspired by our reading, we also wrote poems and they are now proudly on display in St. John’s second floor hallway.  Please stop by for a look at the wonderful poems and thoughtful photos.


JOG-A-THON – We are working hard to earn some special class incentives and support our school.  Please help your child collect pledges for this important fund-raiser.  The jogging itself happens next FRIDAY!

MAP TESTING begins next week.  We will take the Math test on Monday, September 17th and the Reading test on Thursday, September 19th.

READING – Comprehension skills are our focus next week. Students will apply the strategies of Predicting, Questioning, Making Connections, and Summarizing to several short stories.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Once upon a time knights in shining armor, feudalism, the sad life of serfs, the quest for a direct route to the holy land, and a desire for trade with the far east somehow brought us all to a New World we came to call the Americas.  The story begins next week!

MATH – We are going deeper with place value as we explore exponents, scientific notation and the properties of addition and multiplication.

WRITING – We will analyze paragraphs for effective organization and write our own.

RELIGION -We will be reading Genesis to reflect on God as architect, builder, geometer & craftsman and will look for examples of His grace in our lives.


Starting the Year Off Right!

The days are getting cooler, the leaves are thinking about changing color, and the most unmistakable sign of fall of all has happened…school has begun!   It has been so delightful getting to know my new crop of fifth graders.   Student have been hard at work already with beginning of the year assessments, team building activities, and math problem solving (pictured above).  I look forward to telling you more about our classroom at St. John’s K-5 Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 13th at 7pm.

Excited about a fabulous year of together,

Ms. Kristine Kelley


HOMEWORK-I will begin assigning daily homework on Monday.  Please check your child’s planner each night to see what is due, then initial the bottom of the page.  During the first trimester, I will use this system to help build good work study habits.

JOG-A-THON- We had our kick-off assembly today and students received their fund-raising packets this afternoon.  Please support the school through this fun and important event!




Welcome Fifth Grade Friends

On the first floor of our school, construction workers are busily working to make our school even better than before.  There’s some dust, some noise and lots of excitement in the air as we get to see the building process first hand.  On the second and third floors, teachers have been setting up classrooms, talking about curriculum, and eagerly anticipating a new school year.  In our classroom, everything is in place, but the desks look sad and empty and the books seem lonely on their shelves.  We are all just waiting for the fifth grade magic to begin!

I can’t wait to meet you all on the first day of school!

With excitement and anticipation,

Ms. Kelley