Go Time - September Update

Friday, September 7, 2018 3:12 PM

TGIF! Even though the summer is over, football is back, Major League Baseball is heating up for playoffs (sadly without my Jays anywhere near joining the party) and I've kicked off another year of adventures in grade five. More importantly… We all survived the first week of school!  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. I apologize though in advance that this update is a bit longer - just becasue it is the first.

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

Important Dates

Friday, September 14th – School photos for grade 5

Monday, September 17th – Sign up for September conferences begins 6:00am

Thursday, September 20th – Fun Lunch + Spirit Day (FCS Gear)

Thursday, September 20th – Parent Teacher Conferences (pm)

Friday, September 21st – Parent Teacher Conferences (am) *no school for all students

Tuesday, September 25th – Terry Fox Run 2:30pm *all families are welcome to join

Thursday, September 27th – Welcome Back Event 5:30pm *weather dependent

Friday, September 28th – Orange Shirt Day


Language Arts 

Students will be practicing their decoding and comprehension skills each day by completing at least 30 minutes of quiet reading in the classroom. During this time, I will be pulling individual and small groups of children to also target these skills. We have begun our first novel study, entitled “Graffiti Ghoul”, which is written by Marty Chan. Marty visited our school last year, and many students had the opportunity to learn many writing tricks from this hilarious author. I really enjoy reading “Graffiti Ghoul” and I think the students will enjoy it too. It’s a great idea to test your child’s listening and comprehension skills by asking them to relay what has been happening in the book to you. We will kick-start our writing unit by focusing on paragraph writing, to help focus on basic skills such as complete sentences, proper punctuation and grammar, and adding details.


Above all else this year, our goal is to massively boost each student’s confidence in their own math skills and understanding. 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. My expectation is that come June, they all have a strong basic facts foundation, able to complete 60 basic facts questions of each operation in under 5 minutes. 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.

In addition to my Math Resources, is a great resource for some good old fashioned practise questions.

We will begin the year with an initial focus of Place Value, focusing on the reading and writing of large numbers with Expanded Form and Standard Form. We will spend the first 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 it. 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. 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.


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. We are fortunate to have amazing wetlands so close to us, and we will definitely be visiting the Park to take a closer look (hopefully before the weather turns nasty).

Social Studies

We will begin our mapping unit by looking at the provinces and capital cities of all 10 provinces and three territories of Canada. We will also look at the major oceans around the world, and the continents. Once we are complete this, students will be quizzed on their knowledge of these maps, before we move on to other mapping skills such as latitude and longitude.

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. As part of this work with the map of Canada, we will also focus on other mapping skills such as latitude and longitude.

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.

Scholastic Book Orders

Your child should have brought home a Scholastic Book Order. If you would like to order from here, please have it returned to school by no later than Monday, September 10th. Just a reminder that Scholastic does not accept cash, so it is preferred if you could order with cheque or credit card. If at all possible, please complete these orders online. If unsure of how to do this, you can follow these instructions.

Logs, logs and more logs: 

Your child should also have brought home a green-coloured sheet to record their nightly reading and basic facts minutes. I found one on the floor yesterday, so if this perhaps belongs to you, let me know and I can send another copy home! Please send this back once September is complete so that a new log can be sent home.

Mystery Bags

Many mystery bags have already come in and I am excited to see what we will find inside. Just a reminder that we will be starting this on Monday, so please ensure your child has their bag at school by then.  

Terry Fox Run

We’re kicked off this year’s Terry Fox fundraiser. Here’s a copy of the notice with important information about what’s happening. Fish Creek School’s Terry Fox Run will be taking place September 25th, beginning at 2:30 pm. Families are welcome and encouraged to join.


I’ll leave it there and hope that you all enjoyed the first week back as much as I did. This is truly a great group of students and I look forward to the coming year. Bring it on! Have a great weekend. As with anything, please let me know if you have any questions at anytime. 


Daniel Polsky
Grade 5 Teacher | Learning Leader
Fish Creek School |
t | 403-777-6400 | twitter @mr_polsky