Thursday 3/23 *plus, service learning stages review


Learning Targets: I can identify important parts of service learning projects

Wow, students did an incredible job once again with their service learning projects today!! It is incredible to see the impact that fifth graders are having in the world!

If you are in need of a refresher on each of the stages, I have included one here:

Service Learning Stages Review copy

One important thing to remember is that students created a google-slides presentation already with all of the slides that they need for their service learning presentation.

Another way that they can access their google-slides presentation is to go here. Once they sign into their google drive, once again they can sign in using their MSP username and password.

Another way  you can access your google account is by simply going to When students log in, they need to use their school Then it will prompt them to use their MPS login information, which is just their username and password (without the part). Once you get through the login hoops, continue to google slides, or the google drive. There, they should simply be able to search for service learning and find their presentation.

Homework for tonight: Magazine Topic Proposal and study for spelling test 15.

Wednesday 3-22


Learning Targets: I can show how commas separate independent clauses in compound sentences.

I understand how to use the LHUC library and Hennepin County Library to find books for the magazine project (and for research in general).

Fifth graders first reviewed their comma assignment from yesterday. Then, we talked about independent clauses, and coordinating conjunctions and, but, and so.

Students then practiced using commas between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.

The assignment that we worked on today can be found here: Commas in Compound Sentences

Students then received the homework for tonight which is to read pages 179-198 in Esperanza Rising which is chapter “Los Aguacates/Avocados”. Students also need to identify what challenges to human rights do characters face in this chapter? How do they respond?

You can find a copy of the homework here: 3-22 HW

Students also visited the library today. Gretchen talked to students about how they could check out books from their local libraries, as well as put books on hold from home. She also taught students how they can check out ebooks and download them directly to their home computer or device!


Tuesday March 21st


Learning Targets: I will understand how to properly use a comma in a list.

I can use evidence to show how Esperanza is changing in the chapter.

Today, students began class by reviewing their Greek and Latin assignment that they completed yesterday. Students then reviewed how to use commas in a series. Students have a homework assignment on this topic tonight: Commas 1

Students also continued their Esperanza Rising text-based questions. Today, students answered the following questions:

3.) On page 163, what did the doctor mean when he said that Mama was depressed? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.

4.) The chapter starts: “Esperanza almost never left Mama’s side,” and it ends with Esperanza saying: “Don’t worry. I will take care of everything. I will be la patrona for the family now.” How has Esperanza changed in this chapter, and what does it mean to be la patrona? Cite specific evidence from the text to support your answer.

(Block One) 5.) What did the author mean when she wrote on page 176, “Isabel had nothing, but she also had everything. Esperanza wanted what she had”? How is this different from the way Esperanza acted when they first moved to California? Provide evidence from the text to support your answer.

Today in both classes, we also talked about how people can unintentionally hurt each other with words in and out of school. Students came up with examples:

  • Making a joke and accidentally hurts someone’s feelings
  • Laughing at someone’s inability to do something
  • Talking about a sleepover with a group of friends in front of someone who was not there
  • Saying “That’s Racist” when it has nothing to do with race.

We stopped to discuss how saying “That’s Racist” as a joke can be extremely harmful, and belittle actually racism that people experience. We talked about what to do if you feel that someone is saying something that actually is racist, and we talked about school expectations and how that is not acceptable in any place at school. Students brought up the word ‘microaggression’ and we talked more about what this word means. Microaggressions are defined as behaviors or statements that do not necessarily reflect malicious intent but which nevertheless can inflict insult or injury. Students may want to talk more about this topic at home, and I wanted to let you know what we discussed today.

Thank you for reading!

Homework: Commas 1, also look for this invitation for more information about specific dates and times for service learning presentations: Service Learning Invitation

Monday 3-20

Happy Spring!

Learning Targets: I will learn the Greek and Latin roots that are used this week on the spelling list.

I can understand the difference between the physical and emotional pain that Mama is experiencing in Esperanza Rising, and identify examples in the text.

Today, students first reviewed their Human Rights Newsela article that they received for homework over the weekend. Articles were graded and returned to students. We went over the answers as a class.

Next, students began to study the Greek and Latin roots that would be on the spelling list for this week. Students began (and most completed) this assignment: Latin Roots Week 3

Spelling List 15:

  1. television
  2.  invisible
  3. thermometer
  4. thermos
  5. construction
  6. audience
  7. audio
  8. photograph
  9. photosynthesis
  10. photocopy

The roots that students will be working on this week are:


Therm- Heat

Struct- Build

Aud- Hear


Our mindfulness topic today was self compassion. After our mindfulness time, students were asked to reflect on two questions:

1.) How can you be more caring towards yourself? What does that look like?

2.) Have you caught yourself being mindful unexpectedly outside of school? What was that like?

Next, we continued our study of Esperanza Rising ‘Potatoes’. Students used their books to answer the following questions:

1.) How was Mama feeling physically? Show evidence to prove your answer.

2.) Reread the last paragraph on page 161. What inferences can you make about how Mama is feeling emotionally? The author uses the word ‘listless’. Use context clues to define this word.

At the end of class today, we played a game that reviewed literary terms (as well as nouns that students came up with). Students did a great job guessing and using their inferencing skills to get the correct answers!

Homework: Review spelling words, complete any classwork that did not get done in class.


March 17, 2017

Learning Targets:

  • I can comprehend what I  read and do my best to answer questions on the quiz.
  •  I will be able to identify what human rights are, and answer questions about human rights.

Today, students began class by reviewing ‘Potatoes’ from Esperanza Rising. Students then took a comprehension quiz on the chapter.

Students completed spelling test 14.

Students also had some class time to get started on their human rights homework. You can find it here: Human Rights HW 3-17

Students in Block 1 had an assembly during their block about the Read-A-Thon! Congratulations to Nora Kamrow for reading the most minutes in the grade! Also, congratulations to my advisory for reading the most minutes! We will be having a pizza party in the future to celebrate.

Also, all class books are being reprinted due to a manufacturing error. The publisher has said that they are trying to get them reprinted and shipped to us as soon as possible!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday 3-16


Unfortunately, I was unexpectedly out of the classroom today.   I missed you today, students!

I wanted to make sure to give you a brief overview of the homework. Tonight, students should read ‘Potatoes’ in Esperanza Rising. You can find the audiobook here. Students should also study their spelling words. You can find the list on Monday’s post. Signed parent letters from the magazine project introduction are also due tomorrow.

Have a great night!

Wednesday 3-15


Learning Target:


I can use context clues to help me determine why the author chose specific words in Esperanza Rising.

I can identify a fake news story and a fake news source.

Today, students had the chance to show off their writing skills with a test on writing skills based on the chapter ‘Plums’. A few students will be bringing home to tests to continue their work at home if they wanted more time.

Students also had the chance to go to the library. Gretchen had a wonderful lesson for students on how to spot fake news. Students were able to look at a few articles and identify which articles were from credible sources and which articles were not factual.

*The only homework that students have is to study spelling words for homework tonight.



Tuesday 3-14 Magazine Project Introduction!


Learning Targets:

I understand the expectations for the magazine project.

Today, students were introduced to a project that has been a tradition for Lake Harriet fifth grade students for many years, the magazine project! Please take a look at the attachments to gain a deeper understanding for the project. Students had wonderful questions today, and seemed eager to get started!

Parent Letter Magazine– A signed copy of the parent letter is due on March 17th

Magazine Project Details For general details about the project, as well as due dates, take a look at the magazine project details attachment.

For homework: Students need to read Plums (pages 139-157). Students are welcome to listen along here and here. Students should also answer “How is Esperanza changing throughout the chapter?” If students forgot their assignment at school, they can complete the assignment on loose-leaf paper and bring it to school.

Monday 3-13



(Hello from snowy Milwaukee Avenue, the pedestrian street where my family lives!)

Learning Targets:

I can identify themes in Esperanza Rising.

I will understand the Greek and Latin roots that spelling list 14 focuses on.

Spelling List 14:

1.) location

2.) dislocated

3.) local

4.) signature

5.) significant

6.) nation

7.) recognize

8.) incognito

9.) pedestrian

10.) pedals

Students also completed an assignment working with the Greek and Latin roots that are associated with these words.

At the beginning of class, students completed a comprehension quiz on Esperanza Rising chapter “Almonds”.

Students also looked at the following questions to identify figurative language in the text for an in-class assignment:

1.) What does the author mean by the sentence “Now if they bloomed she could drink the memories of the roses that had known Papa”? How is life like a rose? Use evidence from the story to support your answer.

2.) On page 128, Esperanza is helping to shell almonds. The author describes an almond as “like two hands pressed together, protecting something inside.” Then, as Esperanza cracks one open, the text says “… then pulled the meat (the edible part of an almond) from its defenses.” How is the almond a metaphor for Esperanza?

3.) On pages 131-133, Marta is using kittens as a metaphor for the farmers. How are the farmers like kittens? How does Marta suggest they fight being “like kittens”?

There is no additional homework tonight, but there is a longer assessment on the chapter Plums on Wednesday, so students may begin reading the chapter tonight if they like. 

Friday 3-10

Learning Targets:

I can understand the dangers of distracted driving.

I will learn how I can be an advocate for car safety.

I will understand the importance of always wearing a seatbelt.

I understand the importance of identifying challenges for Esperanza in chapter 7 for homework, and how that will help me with my comprehension quiz and classwork on Monday.


(Sgt. Eric Dison, listening to Sgt. Steven Zerwas talk about what we can do to be safe while driving, which was the topic of Sophia’s Service Learning Project.)

Today, Sophia invited four officers into the class to inform students about the dangers of distracted driving, as well as reviewing the importance of wearing a seatbelt. One of the options for types of service learning is advocacy, and Sopia was bringing awareness to the dangers of texting and driving. The officers talked about the importance of having this awareness well before students are actually driving. This way, when students are faced with the temptation of texting and driving, they will hopefully have a deepened understand of the horrific impact just making one text can make.

Sgt. Eric Dison showed the class this video, which shows a few teenagers coming to terms with the reality that texting and driving can create for victims.

Students asked wonderful questions and brainstormed about what they could do to help. Students learned how to be help when they see distracted driving, and the devastating impacts that distracted driving can have.

Students completed spelling test 13 today.

Students also received homework: Read chapter 8 Las Almerdras/ Almonds (pages 121-138). If students would like to listen to the audiobook as they read, you can find it here.