Homework 11/30

  • Elijah has a Current Event due tomorrow.


Math– 5A Workbook pgs. 117-119, Adding Mixed Numbers


Reading– Remember to complete your vocabulary definitions, find 2 synonyms and 1 antonym for each word, and put each of our 10 spelling words in a sentence (10 sentences total) (scroll down for the words)

  • Spelling Quiz #6 on Friday


Writing– Complete a rough draft 4-5 paragraphs, on the topic you chose last night and that we discussed at length in class today.

  • Thesis statement– what your paper is all about.  What are you trying to say?  Purpose of the paper?

Today we worked on our introductions in class.  Last night, students were supposed to write at least 10 notes on a topic that they are already familiar with, a topic that they are experts in.  I framed the assignment this way so that writing a full-fledged essay would be easier to research and support with facts.  Today we continued our discussion of the importance of expanding upon just listing information – why is the information in your essay important?

The introductions should be attention grabbing, not “this paper will be about…”  Use the notes and resources that I’ve given you on this topic.

  • Remember, include quotes, statistics, numbers, charts, graphics, geographic locations, compare/contrast.  The more data you include, the more professional and authentic sounding your paper will be.  

Each body paragraph should contain a separate thought, or 1 of 3 different main ideas.  Remember to combine similar facts together to create a full paragraph, as well as explain why the facts are important to the overall thesis/main idea of your paper.

I was super-impressed with the essays for our community project, so I know that you have the ability to incorporate your own personality into a fact-based essay.  Give it a try tonight and we’ll read and discuss how to make improvements tomorrow.  Thanks!


Social Studies– Chapter 4, Lesson 1, notes and vocabulary and review questions will be assigned tomorrow.


Gradebook Updated w/ notes


Current as of tonight.  While there are some students w/ what seems like many missing grades, I firmly believe that any student has the ability to right the ship before it becomes too late in the quarter.  I’ll start pulling kids during Recess and Fun Day 6 for the most pressing of assignments so they can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.  Furthermore, if a student is making up late work, it is their responsibility to come show it to me AND place it in the homework bin for final revision.  I know sometimes students make up assignments but it never finds its way to me, so I think this helps in explaining that little quirk.  

I still have to put some major grades like the essay and the project for Social Studies, however, if you submitted the paper and a model/illustration, I am almost guaranteeing A’s across the board.  From what I’ve heard thus far in class from the student-prepared essays, I was blown away by their creativity and explanations for why they made the decisions they came to in designing their communities.  Very proud, this content will go into a Writing folder w/ many other samples that I’ll be keeping throughout the year.

Anyway, I’ll get on that asap.  Thanks!

Homework 11/29

  • Lauryn has Current Events tomorrow for 5S.


Math– Chapter 3, Extra Practice, worksheet pg. 52

Follow the model that I placed at the top of the page.  For #s 3-6, use long division to convert your fractions to decimals.  For #s 7-10, convert your fractions to mixed numbers.

DOWNLOAD (attached is the entire packet, just do page 52) – Chapter 3 Extra Practice Worksheets


Reading– Continue reading your independent non-fiction book, take at least 7-10 notes in order to back up and support what you are reading.  Keep an eye on bold/difficult words, charts and graphs, timelines, photos, captions, fun facts, maps, important dates, etc. Read with a critical eye – remember, great writers are strong readers!

  • Where Did We Get That Word? Worksheet, non-fiction passage.  Why is a sandwich called a sandwich (main idea)?

I have a handful of these short articles that are based in reading comprehension so we are going to continue practicing these skills as we move ahead.


Writing- Tonight, choose a topic that you know a lot about and that you don’t necessarily have to research.  Tomorrow in class we will compose an essay using your notes.  Please do not write your essay this evening, just write at least 10 notes on your topic.  Use the informational resources I gave you today as support; try and incorporate statistics/data, quotes, and other supplemental information to make your notes appear more professional.  Remember our conversation from today (and that has been ongoing through the entire quarter), it’s okay to expand upon the facts using your own personality.  Remember, don’t just list information, explain why you feel these facts/details are important!

  • Cause and Effect worksheet
  • DOWNLOAD copies of the notes for Reading and Writing as well as the Homework worksheet below…



Social Studies– we will begin with Egypt in 5S tomorrow, 5L after we are done completing our presentations (we have about 3 left)

Until then, make sure that you’re caught up with your assignments and check the calendar that I posted yesterday for your Current Events.  Thanks!


Homework 11/28

Going to keep things easy tonight…I was going to give some Writing homework but I think the assignment would be best done in class tomorrow (I’m going to return the westward expansion essays w/ my revisions/notes and students will revise their papers tomorrow in class using all of the strategies we’ve learned thus far).

Current Events 5S

Tyce- Tuesday, Day 1

Lauryn- Wednesday, Day 2

Elijah- Thursday, Day 3

Josh- Friday, Day 4


Reading– Common Core English workbook pgs. 70-78, be sure to take good notes for pg. 78.  If it helps, please hi-lite any sections of the article that you find interesting and/or would like to share w/ the class.  Try and figure out the main idea or ideas from the passage as well as details to support your claims.


Spelling Words #6, due Friday

Students are to also find 2 synonyms and at least 1 antonym for each of the 10 words (I wrote 2 of each on the board, but I’ll reduce the # of antonyms to 1)

  1. tributary
  2. meticulous
  3. ingenious
  4. gregarious
  5. ambivalent
  6. vulnerable
  7. caravan
  8. emperor
  9. humble
  10. imperative


Math– short Math quiz tomorrow on lessons 3-1 through 3-4.  The Quiz will be short, only a few questions of each, and then we will continue w/ our lesson from today on adding and subtracting mixed numbers.

  • Students will be asked to add and subtract fractions, create like fractions, find equivalent fractions, turn fractions into decimals using long division, and compare fractions on a number line.  Finally, students will be asked to simplify and convert improper fractions to mixed numbers.

Settlement Projects Video

So WordPress won’t allow me to post videos unless we pay for the service…so instead here is a direct link to one of two videos I took today and uploaded to Google Drive 🙂

These projects were so well done, I’m so proud of our kids for the hard work they put into their designs as well as the support from home.  I look forward to reading the essays this week and the presentations during our double-session once we return to school.  Feast your eyes below on the glory that now decorates the second floor hallways!  Thanks again and enjoy the holiday!  Remember, homework assignment #1 is to spend time with your family! 🙂

Homework 11/22

***Please remind your child to take home their graded work from the mailbox on Monday…I’m spending all this time grading and leaving comments, I want to make sure that the information gets home to mom and dad.

Grading will continue through this evening and into the week…I’ll have the more major stuff done towards the end of the week, things like the Western Expansion essay and the more recent Social Studies project writing assignment.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the break.  Homework assignment #1, spend some quality time with your family!! 🙂


Math– (optional practice)

Other links for fraction support below…IXL allows you to practice 10 problems a day.  Some of these skills we have practiced, some we have not, but either way I think it’s good experience to push yourself to try more difficult work.


Social Studies– same as yesterday

Chapter 2, Lesson 3, begins on pg. 102

  • Vocabulary and definitions
  • 4 Main Idea sections written in purple
    • 3+ notes per section (12 minimum, you can always write more!)
  • Review questions on pg. 107, #s 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6


Reading/Writing– today I sent home another copy of the notes for the Informational Reading/Writing unit.  Please use this information as a guide for all future assignments.  I will be adding some more information as we proceed through the unit, but the material I provided today should be sufficient to keep you in the loop.

I also posted a while back similar resources to the blog (and what I gave the kids last week).  Please keep an eye on the website for future updates regarding different links and supplements that you can use to bolster your child’s understanding of this most important topic.


Choose 2 articles from your Junior Scholastic Magazine (the one w/ Trump on the cover)

Write a short summary (1 paragraph each) of 2 articles from the magazine.  What is the main idea?  Is there more than one?  What are some supporting details from the text to support what you’re trying to say? 

Look for dates, quotes, geographic locations, numbers/data, ANY information to support your main idea.  

  • If you were absent today, choose 2 articles from the newspaper or the Internet (or magazines, etc.), it just has to be a nonfiction source and it must be appropriate for school.


Science– complete your take-home Test from yesterday

Homework 11/21

Math– 5A Workbook pgs. 115-116 (due tomorrow, Tuesday)

Please follow the instructions this time.  A few students last night did not turn their fractions into decimals, or if they did, they did it improperly.  If you have a proper fraction, how your decimal possibly have a whole number?

Please use your textbook and your notes as a resource.  There is nothing in the work from last night or tonight that we did not go over in detail during class.  We’ll of course continue to review this material, but what good is the review if we don’t pay attention or if we don’t follow the methods I am showing you on the board?

Anyway, if you’re having trouble, please speak up more during class.  Thanks!


Due Monday, 11/28

Social Studies–  students began presenting their projects today.  I AM SO IMPRESSED BY EVERYTHING THAT I’VE SEEN SO FAR!  I’m going to post some pictures/video tomorrow afternoon, so be on the lookout!  We likely won’t get through all the projects tomorrow, we’ll certainly continue them next week during our double-periods.  Thanks!

Back to the usual routine…

Chapter 3, Lesson 2, begins on pg. 102 

  • Vocabulary with definitions
  • 3+ notes per section (4 purple main ideas, 3 notes per section minimum, 12+ total)
  • Review questions # 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 on pg. 107


Science– take-home Test, the packet was given out in class today (those students that were absent today and will not be in school tomorrow, I’ll try and get a copy scanned into the computer for you)




Homework, 11/18

Social Studies– 

Please make sure that you complete both parts of your project this weekend (artistic and writing)!  Please follow the directions so you can present your illustration/model as well as the 5 paragraph essay and answers to the prompts I provided in some type of logical sequence (as you have been taught during school)  Please scroll down to find the instructions (if you misplaced them) as well as some pictures of what the kids did last year.  The directions were given out around or before November 2nd that’s when I posted the pictures of what the kids did last year to the blog as well as other information pertaining to the project on the website.  We’ve also been discussing this project ad nauseum since it was first announced because my goal was to provide constant context and feedback during the times in class in which we used the textbook above all else.  

Here is a direct link to that specific blog post w/ pictures.  You can get a basic idea of what the models look like (remember, though, if you read my previous blog post you’d have learned that many kids didn’t follow the directions 100%, rather, they simply built modern cities from the ground up.


Continuing, I’ll be honest, I heard far too many kids today in both 5S and 5L tell me that they didn’t even start their projects yet after almost 3 weeks, that they don’t even know what the link to my website is, or what they have to do, etc., this is despite the fact that they can easily grab extra copies of the work they lost/missed  on the side counter by the door OR they can follow through on their responsibility and download the homework that I post on the blog 9 times out of 10.

  • My primary website for 5S is, once again, pacssanteramo.wordpress.com  ….for 5L, it is https://pacssanteramo.wordpress.com/5l-social-studies-homework/

Unfortunately, a small handful of students are too irresponsible to check the blog on their own (as many parents are finding out the hard way).  Ultimately, this kind of lapse in judgment is inexcusable, especially partway through the second marking period.  Continuing, I expect much more accountability/improved submission rates now as it pertains to individual responsibility since Quarter 1 was a new experience and overall very trying on my students.  We have multiple layers of redundancy in place now as well aimed at giving students countless opportunities to submit their work (99% of the time) w/ out penalty.

Anyway, I did receive a couple of projects yesterday (w/out the writing, of course :-). …and they looked GREAT!  I can’t wait to see what the students have in store for me on Monday.  Thanks!

HOMEWORK – complete your project


Math– please use your textbook and notes to help you complete the double-sided worksheet, Reteach 5A, pages 53-54


Reading– use your Reader’s notebooks and keep track of your Log for at least 2 days this weekend (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, choose 2 of 3 days).

Write down the main idea, subheadings, and at least 3 notes per subheading – I showed students how to do this two separate ways on the board, once on the front board and again on the back board – so my hope is that they use their notes to complete this assignment as they have been taught.  Proper note-taking is a process and a skill and so I expect to have to drill this concept into our students for a while to come.

Remember, it’s very similar to how you take your notes for Social Studies – the subheadings are the purple sections and the information below are the notes.  It’s no different than that.

FINALLY, if you did not submit all of the assignments from yesterday, please do so this weekend.  I left copies of every single activity that the sub gave out during class on Thursday on the counter by the door (I always leave extra copies over there).  I know that I did not collect the work from everyone today as many kids had only some of the work, not all of it.  Attached below are copies of the items I have available online.  I’ll have the gradebook updated by Sunday and so you can have a better idea of what your child is missing.  Thanks!


Two Separate Updates for Parents

Attached below is an exchange between myself and another parent from today that I think applies to all students regarding how Writing has been going…

PARENT – You are a good teacher, you are right, you are challenging the kids like they are supposed to be challenged – like little adults in life.  They are to be aware and knowledgeable about their environment.  Academically, they are learning to learn and study. Eg, the writing , at first it was hard for us to see why so much writing without editing, but now _______________ is comfortable writing easily 4-5 paragraphs.  As for narrative stories, I saw her grow from a simple narrative style to a full dialogue narrative style.  Her final piece seemed like an excerpt from a novel, full of dialogue, of course, minus grammar and punctuation, which we are working on.  I am looking forward to see how she grows in informational writing.


MR. S– Absolutely, you’re not wrong about the editing.  I’m actually taking more and more of their writing home with me now and I’ll be reading it and providing more feedback as we move forward.  It doesn’t make sense to obviously check and give feedback every night, that’s why I lecture, so that students can make the changes/modifications on their own (aside from not having the time).  I do have a TA now so she can help me with the editing of their Writer’s Notebooks throughout the day (I can probably get through  3-4 in a period the way I do it now since if I rush, the kids will miss everything), so that’s a blessing.  I wish she was there more than once a week, but c’est la vie.

Anyway, I really want the kids to move away from the marble notebooks because they are too scared to remove pages from it and thus it takes me too much time to do it myself.  I showed them a trick using a ruler (from the movie Dead Poet’s Society w/ Robin Williams  :-), but are are hesitant to use it).  If they had perforated pages, I can collect the work quickly and then read it at home on weekends.  Right now I take a couple of notebooks a weekend and do what I can, but again, the TA will hopefully have the most positive impact on this particular area moving forward.

I’ve also been saving the bulk of their submitted writing assignments in folders so that students and parents can track their growth from the beginning to the end of the year.  I always found that enjoyable once I completed a grade to see the folder of my work and how far I developed my abilities.

I think right now we are on the cusp of students fully grasping the routines and so I hope during the second half of the year I can incorporate some different things.  Remember, we still have a great variety of projects coming up, large and small.  The mummy one is going to be next.  Paints and brushes will be needed as well as any dolls we can get donated.  I purchased many last year at the Dollar Tree so I’ll take a look again.  After that we will practice Chinese calligraphy and study how the Greeks, Chinese, Romans, used both government, technology, and the arts to develop their empires.

After that, during our Mystery reading unit, we’ll be doing a lot of play acting, learning to take/lift fingerprints, how detectives track a case and use evidence, how to extract and examine DNA, etc.  We have a lot going on, I just need to wait until the kids are ready to perform.

Anyway, I give you my word that more editing will be done as we move ahead.  I know that we’ve been doing a lot more grammar than other classes (some, literally, don’t do grammar at all since it’s “not part of their curriculum”) which is great because we have some issues with punctuation and spelling.  With those Spelling Tests, students are now going to have to look up the words, find at least 2 synonyms and antonyms, and then put those words into sentences or even the occasional story.

With Math, we have a wonderful long-term lesson using the stock market (spiraled w/ fractions, decimals, %s) later in the year.  Students will choose stocks to invest in on their own and we will track the prices for use on line graphs over time as we learn about the importance of the stock market on the US economy at large as well as in the lives of everyday people like you and me.

These are just some things I know that the kids loved and enjoyed last year, that I myself went through and learned to appreciate more when I got older.  I promise that your kids are in good hands and that they are learning some wonderful things in a more advanced way that I know properly prepares them for the future.  I have a handful of students now emailing me almost on a weekly from their private boarding schools thanking me for teaching them things that they are only just now seeing again in 6th or 7th grade and that the concepts are easy because they aren’t foreign to them.  They are ahead of their classmates because they are more prepared as they were exposed to these wide-ranging skills during their time with me.

In summation, that’s why I do what I do…I know my style is making an impact and I know that the kids understand that it now falls more than ever upon their shoulders to step up and take ownership of their education.


Attached below is the letter I sent to all parents today in both classes, 5L and 5S…

Hi, so I just wanted to reach out to everyone in both classes regarding two short things.

First, I have been in contact with the tech department and they are aware of the issue in not being able to see the Quarter 2 grades as of yet.  I was emailed a short while ago by a parent who said that the Quarter 2 gradebook is now indeed accessible.  The only issue at the moment is that you cannot see grades from years prior, but I’m sure that’s something that will be ironed out shortly.  So long as you can see the Quarter 2 grades for this year, that’s my primary concern. 

The second and most important part of this email has to do with what I feel is a misunderstanding or a slight misconception of how things are going in class, what my philosophy on education is like, etc.  I just thought it helpful to communicate my thoughts on the matter since in all honesty, no one has really reached out to me regarding anything going on in my class and yet I still hear that there are some concerns.  If there are some questions that you have, please feel free to reach out and let me know;  even during basketball season I’m always accessible (I prefer text or email over the phone first, I’m just not a phone person unless it’s absolutely necessary).  I do indeed call parents, but only when it’s a major concern with their grades or an incident happens.  Net Classroom and our blogs (pacssanteramo.wordpress.com) should be the resources that you rely on as that is how I speak to all parents on a nightly basis.  Either way, I’m up all hours of the night so just let me know so I can hear things first hand and adjust rather than second hand or sometimes not at all. 

Continuing, the kids in both 5S and 5L are really being exposed to some wonderful, high-level concepts in class. I’ve been pushing them to work very hard, that what they say and what they do matters, that words matter and to do their work with pride and high expectations for themselves.  Obviously, since I see my students more often than Miss Lujan’s, much of this is directed at my boys and girls, but in truth, both classes are being held to the same high standards and exposed to same diverse curriculum that blends our obligation to the text alongside what is going on in our world today.

I truly believe that the education I provide my students goes beyond what’s in the curriculum and that is what makes our classroom so vibrant and engaging.  I feel like my background as a coach, the ability to speak on and develop trust and strong bonds with students on a variety of levels both within their own lives or in their community, I truly believe that many teachers avoid current events and topics many consider taboo because they’re not comfortable or knowledgeable enough to present the information in a way that allows the student to think and decide for themselves.

:-). Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope parents are understanding that I’m developing the whole student, that my goal is to educate their children to be knowledgeable, well-rounded members of society, and to want more for themselves than they may have ever dreamed about before.   I present the world as it is but with a feeling of hope for the future that their lives will be as fruitful as our own and that the world will one day in their lifetime reflect more of their image than that of my own.

Lastly, (phew!) I believe my biggest gift and strength for my students is that I know a little bit about a lot of stuff, and so that is another way that I feel like separate myself from other teachers who in general are more comfortable with one or two topics rather than 10 or 12.

Anyway, I know this was quite a tangent but I figured it best to communicate this message to every parent so you have an even better understanding of my philosophy and what I’m trying to achieve in class.   I love each and every one of the 42 that I have now along with the other hundred plus students that I see in the building on a daily basis. I’d go to bat for my students eight days a week if they needed my support. The only thing I expect in return is for my parents to push their children once they leave school to develop a sense of responsibility and accountability, that’s all.

Anyway, thanks again for hearing me out and let me know if there are any more changes to the gradebook.



Homework 11/16

  • I’m aware that we still have an issue with the Quarter 2 grades not showing in Net Classroom.  Hopefully that will be resolved by the end of the week.


READING/WRITING HOMEWORK: Tonight, continue your research into ways that readers determine the main idea(s) of complex nonfiction texts.  But this time, study two things.  First, study a much longer text, i.e. your nonfiction bookIf you have chosen a nonfiction book that is too complicated for you, you may read the provided Read Works article instead (Leaping Lizards, posted below).  Read something that is at least ten pages long (I’m aware the Read Works article is short).  And second, study yourself.  Notice what you do to determine the main ideas of the text.  Use your Writer’s Notebook, take down some notes from what you read, and try and summarize your reading with an overall main idea.  I would like to see at least one page of notes as well as the main idea of what you read (if there are multiple main ideas, you may attempt to write them out as well). 


Below is a link to other one page articles where you can practice finding the main idea(s).  



Math– 5A Textbook, pg. 136, Chapter 3-3, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, Division Expressions

  • If you are comfortable, try converting some of the fractions to decimals (definitely write your improper fractions as mixed numbers)


Social Studies– continue working on your project, I will have an assignment for you during class tomorrow