Merry Force Be With You - December Update

Monday, December 5, 2016 12:48 PM

We’ve almost made it - just 9 more days of school. It’s been a crazy few weeks that have seen the students busting their butts in all different areas and in a few short days we’ll all have a well deserved break. Thank you to all of you who took the time to meet with me during conferences. I enjoyed catching up with you all and being able to share the work your child has been doing these past few months. With the Winter Break staring us down at the end of next week I wanted to give you an update on where we stand as of this week and what we’ve been up to in the mysterious land of Grade 5...

1. Math - Long Division

We’re wrapping up our focus on Estimation and understanding when/where we can best use it to make things easier on ourselves as well as how we can use it to check our work. This is particularly useful when we are long dividing and it is specifically for that reason that we did the estimation unit right after we review single-digit long division. Before we moved into double digit long division, we wanted to provide the students a strategy for them to check their work, using estimation, to essentially allow them to answer the question, “does this seem right?” That’s a long winded way of me saying that we’re now going to be working on double digit division. This forces a greater emphasis on their procedural understanding of DMSB. It will be a HUGE help if you were to practise going through some example questions with your child.

Here are some Class Notes and resources to help you and your child in the coming weeks:

In the next few weeks, students will be given a Number Unit Test as a further point of assessment. We will make sure to give you all a heads up in advance so you can assist in the review process. Lastly, we’ve developed a really fun Math task related to the 12 Days of Christmas song in which students will calculate the real cost of ‘True Love’ using PNC Bank’s annually adjusted CPI (Christmas Price Index). Without giving anything away, let’s just say love costs a pretty penny. :)

2. Science - Classroom Chemistry

Walter White is back in the classroom and frankly, I’m pumped. Classroom Chemistry is one of my favourite units in Science. We get to make a mess, blow things up, mix chemicals together and really just explore the chemistry of our world. It’s awesome. First things first though, we’ve started understanding the different States of Matter (Solid, Liquid, Gas). Beyond knowing these terms, we’re focused on understanding how depending on the state of a substance, its atoms and molecules will be moving faster or slower and will be more densely packed or more spread out. We’re going to learn the Scientific Method and then become experts at being ‘Like, OMG, For Real Scientists!’

This will let us then prove and explore the two main types of Mixtures - homogeneous and heterogeneous. Quickly to be followed by separating mixtures, and then acids & bases. It’s right around Acids & Bases time that things get awesome and explode-y as we demonstrate reversible and irreversible changes. Anyways, feel free to explore the Chemistry Web Links and the other chemistry resources on the Science Resources page.

3. Social Studies - Newcomers & NWMP
We are within a week of wrapping up our work on understanding both the role and journey that newcomers played in shaping the identity of Canada. As part of this, the grade fives worked with genuine artifacts from the Glenbow Museum, focusing on different aspects of the journey to Canada. As a group, we examined how the west was advertised while also discussing how propaganda was sometimes used to hide the difficulties that many would face in settling the prairies as ‘Mavericks of Alberta’. Students worked on developing their own advertisement posters followed by a look at the journeys that their own ancestors made to Canada. This culminated in a look at making their own family crests while understanding what the different elements and pieces mean. This further was supported as they worked to develop 5 Diary Entries as Newcomers to Alberta. I also pointed students to a resource I put on the website where they can hear the stories behind Alberta place names and why they were named the way they were. Check them out here: Naming Alberta & its Landmarks.

You no longer need to worry about your child getting a job. As of this coming January, they’ve all have joined the NWMP (North-West Mounted Police) and will be working to protect the west from dangerous whiskey traders and other criminals. With all recruits beginning at the rank of constable, there are many opportunities for advancement (constable -> corporal -> sergeant) based on good behaviour and “conduct becoming of an officer” (yes, demotions are possible). Each troop (aka table group) will be commanded by a sergeant and they will be responsible for managing their troops, following the orders of their illustrious, brave and highly decorated leader Master Sergeant Polsky. As the commanding officer of Fort Macleod (formerly known as Room 5), I pledge to restore the rule of law to the chaotic reaches of this “Fish Creek School”. God Save the King!

In the new year, we will be working with our next Museokit, focusing on the NWMP. I encourage you and your child to explore the resources on the Social Studies Resources page. If you love a really cheesy, good old fashioned Cops N’ Robbers show, you HAVE to watch some episodes of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. I’ve also provided links on the Social Studies page to the comic books and radio plays of Sergeant Preston’s adventures. The kids LOVE these and it’s also a great lesson in descriptive language and imagery for Language Arts. Students can also explore The Force in the North, an interactive resource from Virtual Museum Canada, as well as Without Fear, Favour or Affection: The Men of the NWMP for an in depth look at the lives of the men in the red serge. If you really can’t get enough of this (I love this stuff in case you can’t tell), you can explore A Tradition in Scarlet for even more facts, stories and information on this fascinating piece of Canadian history. Lastly, I’ve put together some further links and resource on the NWMP Web Links page.


If I’m not able to see you before classes end for the year, I hope you all have a great Winter Break and are able to enjoy some well deserved rest (with only a few eye rolls because of the in-laws). We’ll be hitting the ground running when we start up again on January 4th. With 2016 coming to an end, I do want to say thank you to all of you as this has been an excellent first half of the year. I know you’ve heard me say this a few times but this is honestly a fantastic group of students and they make being their teacher fun, easy and truly enjoyable. We have accomplished a lot and I look forward to all the adventures (and shenanigans) of 2017.




Daniel Polsky 

Grade 5 Teacher | Learning Leader
Fish Creek School |

t | 403-777-6400  twitter @mr_polsky