Halloween Costumes

Dear Fifth Grade Families:

In case you are shopping for a costume this weekend, I wanted to make sure that you are aware that we can’t accomodate inflatable costumes.  They are not something that the children can comfortably wear all day.  They are hot and it is not easy to even sit in them.  They are much more appropriate for trick or treating.  Also, if the costume has a mask, it will need to be removed during class time.  Thanks for your help in guiding your children in costume selection.

Ms. Patti Garcia


This week, students begin to explore the circulatory system.  Students will learn how blood is delivered to every human cell by a system of vessels connected to a pump, the heart.   We will also read about the structures inside the human heart. Students will then use simple equipment to assemble a functional model of a circulatory system that can pump blood to the lungs, collect blood from the lungs, and pump it to the body, where it is recycled.



A Few Reminders

Dear Fifth Grade Families:

I hope everyone enjoyed their fall break!  It was nice to get re-energized.

Grandparents’ Day will be on Friday.  See the website for times and schedule.  We are looking forward to having many visitors.  The Coffee Cabaret is also on Friday in the evening.  Both bands and choir will perform.

As we wrap up our current novel, Sing Down the Moon, we will have our last Qwest #3 next Monday, October 23.  There will also be a couple of questions about the book.  The students could go back and go through their comprehension questions as a way to study.

Please remember to label your student’s outerwear.  We are already having sweatshirts and sweaters appearing in the lost and found bin.

Looking forward to meeting grandparents on Friday!

Ms. Patti Garcia

Spanish Class News

¡Hola!  The fifth graders have started their new unit “La Ropa”. They are learning new vocabulary for various articles of clothing and accessories. Students will work in groups to design their own store. They will design clothes, take inventory and come up with a store name, all in Spanish. At the end of our unit, students will practice buying and selling items using the Spanish phrases they have learned.

¡Hasta luego!

Sra. Van Straalen

Week of September 25

Dear Fifth Grade Families:

I am still encouraging all parents and students to read my blog each week.  It helps everyone to be up-to- date on various activities for the week.  There may even be a quiz on it!!

Our new book that we just began last week is Sing Down the Moon.  We will be having a Qwest for the first set of vocabulary words.  The students have already made flash cards for these words.  They will also need to know the part of speech.

As it begins to cool off in the mornings (hopefully this will continue!), I am starting to see some light jackets being worn.  Please make sure that your child has their outerwear labeled.  We end up with mountains of unlabeled sweaters and jackets in the lost and found.  These are then donated several times a year.

We are trying to help out another Episcopal school in Houston.  Some of the students have lost their homes so we are trying to help out with either gift cards or cash donations.  Our Thursday mass collection will go to this school.  There will also be a carwash here on Sunday to try to raise additional funds for this school.  Any and all help is much appreciated.

Thank you for all you do.

Ms. Patti Garcia


This week students will explore Animal nutrition.  We will learn how animals get nutrients and the different levels in a feeding relationship involving producers, consumers and decomposers. Students investigate how animals acquire nutrients for their cells by eating and digesting food.

The human digestive system is explored through a video that shows an experiment on chemical digestion in the stomach.

Why is a palo verde green?

In our class reading today, we learned how producers make their own food.  Sunlight, water and carbon dioxide combine to produce sugar for the plant – photosynthesis!

Chris L.  had a great question today that we looked up and I had to post.  We learn something new everyday.  🙂

What could the tree possibly gain from being green all over, you ask? The palo verde’s bark is equipped with chlorophyll, which enables it to conduct much of the plant’s photosynthesis.

Why can’t the leaves do the job? All plant leaves have tiny holes called stomata through which water evaporates in a process called transpiration. The palo verde is what’s known as drought deciduous. During especially dry, hot periods, drought deciduous plants drop their leaves in order to prevent losing water. When the leaves go, the tree’s branches take over the job of photosynthesis.


This week:  September 18 – 23

Students design an investigation to determine the necessary conditions for activating dry yeast. After determining that water and a cookie produce yeast activity, they conduct experiment to discover that it is the sugar in the cookie that activates the yeast. Yeast is introduced as a single-celled fungus.

Our red worms are eating the newspaper and food that we provided for them.  These decomposers eat a lot!

Graded tests will go home on Wednesday 9/20 (which is a 1/2 day)




Week of September 18

Dear Fifth Grade Families:

I have a couple of things to remind you about.  We have a final test with the third set of vocabulary words from Flora & Ulysses tomorrow.  They should have been studying the definitions as well as the part of speech.  They also have a Math test this Thursday.

We have talked about getting some kind of container for all of their graded papers that are returned to them.  This has proved to be very helpful from time to time when there is a question about an assignment or maybe it will be a paper that will be helpful for a quiz.

Wednesday is a noon dismissal day for students.  Teachers will stay for a 1/2 day of professional development.

On Tuesday we are looking forward to our first class with Mrs. Scovil who is a docent from the Tucson Museum of Art.  She comes in for a total of 6 classes and demonstrates the styles of various artists like Monet, Picasso, Gaugin, etc.  The students then paint or draw a picture “in the style” of these various master artists.  We feel so fortunate to add this art class to our curriculum.  The children look forward to her coming to teach.  Stop in at the end of the week and admire their art work which should be up on my bulletin board by then.

Ms. Patti Garcia


We have been continuing to work with our unit on “las partes del cuerpo” (parts of the body). The fifth graders drew silly creatures and wrote questions about them in Spanish for other students to answer. There will be a quiz on Monday, September 18. Each student has received a study guide so they can review.

¡Hasta luego!

Sra. Van Straalen