It’s a Bigly New Year - January Update

Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:22 PM

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. We’re back at it and no joke, it’s almost February. There’s not an ounce of quit in the students and we’re flying. In all areas, we’re busy learning and kicking butt (thats a technical term). With the weather having finally taken a turn for the nicer, while you’re getting the first sunburn of the year, take a little read below to see what we’re up to in the crazy world of grade 5.

Math - Measurement

We’ve moved onto tackling the concepts of measurement, shape and space. We began by focusing on the Metric System and understanding the relationships between mm, cm, dm, m, km, etc. We’ve been practising converting between the different measurements, allowing us to incorporate our work on decimals and place value. Going forward, this will be a concept that we will continually review and touch on. We’ve now moved on to the ideas of Perimeter, Area and Volume. On the Math Resources page, you can find links to all these concepts. In particular, we’ve been focusing on the meaning of “dimensions” as in  1D (a line), 2D (a shape) and 3D (an object) and how that affects/dictates the units we use in measurement. We’ve been limiting ourselves to working with rectangular prisms but once we’ve nailed area, perimeter and volume, we will move on to exploring and understanding regular vs irregular polygons and other 3D objects. Once we’ve wrapped this up, we will move to transformational geometry. I’ll pass along more information on this when the time comes.

Just for a really long look into the future, once we finish geometry, we’ll be moving to exploring fractions and decimals, learning how fraction and decimal can show the same value and practising how we can compare and order decimals and fractions. We’ll review and practise once again how to read and write decimals according to their placement on the Place Value Chart. From there we’ll focus on the ideas of decimal equivalency and converting from fractions to decimals and vice versa.

This is all leading up to the whole reason that March exists.... March Madness. Watching endless games of basketball, arguing with your friends about why they are total and complete idiots for choosing the wrong team (only for you to come crawling back when they chose the right team in the end...). But yes, this is why we study math. So... Once Selection Sunday happens, I will be updating the bracket for the students and then we can get going. Please refer to the Polsky March Madness Headquarters for all information, resources, links and explanations.

Science - Classroom Chemistry

Walter White’s time in the classroom has almost come to an end as we’re in the final throws of our Classroom Chemistry unit. We’ve explored the differences between homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures, learned how to separate different mixtures and can now say we understand the difference between reversible (physical) and irreversible (chemical) changes. We’re working to solidify our understanding of these concepts while knocking off the last few chemistry concepts such as differentiating between acids and bases and then reviewing all concepts before the cumulative unit test (gasp!). We will be distributing a study guide for all students to use as they review for this and, as always, they’re welcome to use the Chemistry Web Links too.

Social Studies - NWMP and beyond

We will be wrapping up our focus on the North-West Mounted Police next week. We’ve explored the history of the NWMP, and how the NWMP changed Canadian history . With all students divided into their own troops, with some being promoted to corporal or even sergeant, we learned what a day in the life of an NWMP constable was like. We researched and understood their difficult Great March West and what it really meant to be The Force in the North.

As part of this, we sent the students back in time to help protect the wild, dangerous and unruly North-West Territories. While there, in the mid 1880s as constables, corporals and sergeants of the NWMP, they managed to take the time to pose for a photo. You’re all invited to explore these photos here.

Once we’ve wrapped up the NWMP unit, we will likely me moving on to a study of the Fur Trade, in preparation for our culminating field trip to the Glenbow Museum at the end of February.

Language Arts - The City of Ember

We have begun our next novel study with the City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau which will tie in nicely with the next unit in Science, Electricity and Magnetism (I mean it has a lightbulb on the cover... hello!). As we move through the novel, we will also begin developing and highlighting reading comprehension skills, allowing us to become stronger, more effective readers. This is a really interesting read, which will support the work that will begin in the spring around creative writing, and understanding the important parts of a story.

This will be an ongoing process between now and the end of the year so stay tuned for some literary gold. The Pixar Story Rules, a series of rules that Pixar story artist Emma Coats published on Twitter last year, is a great resource to use when helping the little humans write their own adventures.

French - Curriculum Update from Mlle. McGlade

Students started the term by learning a variety of daily greetings, and commonly used vocabulary terms. They learned about days of the week, months and the four seasons. Students were encouraged to participate in class on a daily basis to build confidence in their French speaking voice. The first big unit of focus was on Clothing and Accessories. The students learned many vocabulary terms, and later used them in an assignment to create outfits for different occasions and settings. In the latter part of the term, students started to explore pronouns, and have now moved on to a new unit about, Food and nutrition.

Music - Curriculum Update from Mrs. Dymianiw

The Grade five students learned to read, write and perform simple and complex rhythms. They worked on appropriate vocal exercises to ensure proper singing tone. New songs and rhythms were introduced in the form of canon, round singing, partner songs, 2 and 3-part singing. Various drumming techniques and rhythmic ostinato were taught while playing the Djembe drums. In January, the students focused on time signatures, dynamics and Canadian songs.


I’ll leave it there as I’m bordering on “way too long” territory. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you and also want to thank you all for your continued help and support. The students have been having a fantastic year and your support at home of what we’re doing is a HUGE help each and every day. With report cards coming home tomorrow, I encourage you all to take a read through of their comments as I enjoyed the opportunity to share some insights and celebrations with you all, alongside some suggested next steps. By all means, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns and I will get back to you as soon as possible.



Daniel Polsky 

Grade 5 Teacher | Learning Leader
Fish Creek School |

t | 403-777-6400  twitter @mr_polsky