Kick Off - September Update

Monday, September 11, 2017 1:46 AM

So it's the best time of year. Even though the summer is over, football is back, Major League Baseball is heating up for playoffs and I've kicked off another year of adventures in grade five. We all survived the first week together and I just wanted to give you all an update on some of the things we will be doing in the coming weeks. Going forward, you can expect to get one of these larger updates about once a month, usually at beginning of the month, so that we are all on the same page about what is going on.

At any point this year, you can check out all things grade 5 on this website or through the grade five Twitter account.

Math - Basic meet Facts. Facts meet Basic. A match meant to be.

Above all else this year, our goal is to massively boost each student’s confidence in their own math skills and understanding. To this end, the single greatest thing we, and you at home can do, is to work on solidifying and improving basic facts knowledge. This directly translates to greater confidence and success in all areas of mathematics. Specifically, I mean the strong knowledge and rapid recall of basic multiplication and division facts. On the first day of school,I spoke to the students about the need to be practising their facts on a daily basis (even if it’s not explicitly written in the agenda). My expectation is that come June, they all have a strong basic facts foundation to support continued growth in mathematics. I strongly encourage and request your support in this at home as it goes a long ways in supporting the work done here in school. Each month, all students will participate in a timed ‘Fact Frenzy’ on all 4 operations with their achievement tracked and graphed, which will then be initialed by you the following day.

We completed our first fact frenzy on Friday and you should have all received this at home for your signature. We reminded all students that this is our starting point and from here out to set achievable goals for next month’s fact frenzy. There are many great apps to help support this as well as  good old-fashioned flashcards. There are also online resources such as and MathFactPractise. You can also check out my own Math Resources page. Lastly, is a great resource for some good old fashioned practise questions.

We will begin with an initial focus on Place Value. Focusing on the reading and writing of large numbers with Expanded Form and Standard Form. With this finished we will then spend a few weeks reviewing and practising our operations skills, focusing on the accurate and confident use of the basic algorithms and procedures to solve problems. By this I mean how to set up an addition/subtraction/multiplication problem to best allow us to solve. Once we’ve solidified our skills on addition/subtraction/multiplication, we’ll move on to division. I particularly want to draw your attention to the DMSB for Long Division explanation, these Long Division Class Notes and the Division Danger Zones and lastly information on multi-digit multiplication. On the Math Resources pages, you can find demonstrative videos, sheets and explanations for each operation. I update this frequently with resources so please refer to it often as it models and supports the work we’re doing each day.

Science - Wetland Ecosystem

We’ve begun the year with a study of Wetland Ecosystems. We will begin with a look at types of wetlands and their role in our ecosystem. Feel free to take a spin through the Unit SLEs, the Wetland Web Links and the Wetland Vocabulary for a sense of what will be covered. Students will be examining the different types of wetlands, exploring the impact that environments have on adaptations of animals as well as the role of food chains in our ecosystems. For their focus on animal adaptations, students will be creating their own wetland animals. Prepare for some scary (or not so scrary) creatures coming home in the near future.

Language Arts - Graffiti Ghoul & Paragraphs

We have kicked off our first novel study of the year with a great book, Graffiti Ghoul by Marty Chan. This is an excellent book which will help us look at the use of strong descriptive language. This will be our focus for the beginning of the year. We will focus on paragraph writing with a specific focus on descriptive language and detail. 

Social Studies - Mapping & Canada

We will begin the year with a look at Canada and mapping skills. This will have the students learn the names of the Canada’s provinces and territories, as well as their capital cities. To support this I have loaded study guides, links and resources to the Social Studies Resources page under the “Where in the World” title. With this finished we will be exploring the characteristics and features of the six geographic Regions of Canada; Atlantic Region, Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Lowlands, Canadian Shield, the Arctic, Interior Plains and the Cordillera). With much of this unit being text based, students will be practising their textbook skills, learning to find, retrieve and understand different text features. As they complete the different regions, they’ll be provided chapter questions for them to record their learning with. We’re developing a pretty cool unit project for them that we’ll roll out in the next few weeks but let’s just say your child will be a living encyclopedia of knowledge on these regions. Oh Canada for real. 

On the Social Studies Resources and Regions of Canada page, you can find links to video tours and guides from the different region’s tourism boards. We really do live in a good lookin’ country.

Mr. Polsky’s Camera - First Day of Grade 5

I have uploaded some pictures that we took of the students on the First Day of Grade 5 as part of the kickoff to our ‘season’ if you will. Over the course of the year, I will be uploading pictures of our adventures and please feel free to save any of them for your own personal use. These pictures will be fun to look back on at the end of the year to see just how much the little humans have changed. The photos section of the website is password-protected and the password was emailed to you all through school messenger. If you do not have this please email me and I can provide this to you.

You can always find the photos by navigating to Mr. Polsky’s Camera, or from the home page.

Twitter & Mr. Fero’s Blog

As I’m sure you’re all aware, we’re taking advantage of Twitter this year to help share our learning and adventures with you all. I have my own personal account here [@mr_polsky] as well as the Grade 5 account here [@FamousFCS5s]. Lastly, our new Principal, Mr. Fero, has his own twitter account [@principalfero] along with a blog that makes for a good read. You can take a look and bookmark it here:


At this point I can’t think of anything else that is crazy important to mention so I’ll just leave it there. I look forward to meeting you all the parent teacher conferences later on this month. At any point if you have any questions at all please don't hesitate to email me 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