January 16, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

1000 Days of Learning

1000th day bulletin board

Did you know that on the day when other students celebrate their 100th day of school, fifth graders celebrate their 1000th day of school? It’s true: 5 complete school years x 180 days each = 900, plus 100 days this year, equals 1000 days of school!

We are celebrating our 1000th day with some fun math and reading projects. One of the things we did this week was reflect on all that we’ve learned in the past 1000 days. We looked back over our class blog, and the blogs of some of our past teachers, and that helped us realize that we really have learned a whole lot in school over these past 1000 days!

All of the 32 students in our class made a list of 32 things which we have learned in school and wrote them on index cards, and now we have a list of over 1000 (32 x 32 = 1024) things we’ve learned in school. We posted as many as we could fit on our bulletin board, and we’ll continue to post more throughout the rest of the year. Our cards ranged from things we learned in kindergarten to things we learned last week, and covered both the things we’ve learned in the classroom and on the playground. As we’ve been reading over the things our classmates have written it’s a good reminder that we can increase our knowledge every single day.

Here’s a video showing a few of our cards.

What is something you have learned in school?

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January 8, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman's Class


It’s time for the #mathphotoaday challenge! Last year kids from all over participated in a challenge started by the 3B Bees, a class in Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. They challenged us to take pictures of things that illustrate a math concept, and post those pictures to Instagram and Twitter. You can see what others have posted by following the #mathphotoaday hashtag.

This year’s challenge has just begun, and we are excited to begin! Here are the daily topics for January:

Image by @3BBees. Used by permission.

Image by @3BBees. Used by permission.

It’s a fun challenge to think of creative ways to illustrate a math concept! Here’s our picture from yesterday, showing whole-part-part.


You can see the pictures we post daily on the right sidebar of our blog, or on Instagram or Twitter. We’d like to challenge other classes to join us!

Do you have any suggestions for how we can show some of the other math ideas for this month?

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November 6, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Fifth Grade Math Challenge

Question mark sign
Photo Credit: Colin Kinner via Compfight

Tomorrow, our fifth grade class is going to have a video conference with Mr. Lockwood’s students, who go to a school a few miles away from ours. We’ve decided to challenge each other to solve some fraction word problems, since that’s what we’re both working on in math. Our questions for Mr. Lockwood’s class are below. (Any of our other readers are welcome to post their solutions, too; we just won’t publish your solution until after we talk to Mr. Lockwood’s class!)

These questions are modified versions of problems in this great math book: 5th Grade Math Journals.


There are two dozen muffins on a plate. 1/6 of the muffins are chocolate. 7/12 of the muffins are banana. The rest are cinnamon. How many muffins are cinnamon?


Jenny collected 2 5/6 of a bin of newspapers to recycle. Sam collected 3 1/2 times as many newspapers as Jenny.

(a) How many bins of newspapers did Sam collect?

(b) What is the difference between the number of bins Sam collected and the number Jenny collected?

EXTRA CHALLENGE: Can you show the answers to these problems using models or manipulatives?


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October 27, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Heart of a Hall of Famer

Today our class participated, along with several other schools, in a video conference with Alan Page, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Alan Page was a member of the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears during his playing career. He played in four Super Bowls and was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1971. He was very successful after his playing career, too. He became a lawyer, and since 1992 has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court.


We were able to ask questions of Justice Page, and we learned a lot about the importance of character. We all took notes during the presentation. Here are some some of the key points we wrote down:

  • It took confidence, mindset, and motivation to play football. He had to be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. Preparation is the key to being successful in all areas of life.
  • The six pillars of character are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. He thinks the most important one is trustworthiness.
  • You have to know how to collaborate with other people to get along in life.
  • He dropped out of law school the first time he enrolled because he thought it was too overwhelming to do all the reading and homework. Later he realized that the work was hard for everyone, and that he needed to persevere to achieve his goals, so he tried law school again and this time he graduated.
  • He has learned that things that are easy are boring!
  • “It’s okay to question the rules, but don’t break them,” said Justice Page.
  • His biggest role models were his parents. They supported him and encouraged him to try his best at whatever he chose to do.
  • He thought of being a judge because he was interested in the law and he used to want to be a lawyer in 4th grade! He remembers reading about the Supreme Court decision that desegregated the schools when he was young and that had a strong influence on him.
  • When he is faced with a hard decision sometimes he goes with his feelings but sometimes he has to think hard about all the possibilities. If you are trying to make a hard choice, first think about what is the right thing to do, then do it, even if it’s hard.
  • He has learned more from the defeats than the victories.
  • “Prepare yourselves to take on world’s problems because you can fix them and you can make our nation a greater place,” said Justice Page.

We thought it was a privilege to talk to someone who was so accomplished and inspiring!

What did you learn about the importance of character?

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October 1, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman

Wonder: Our Favorite Precepts


Our class read aloud for first quarter has been the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. It’s the kind of book that makes you think, but it also makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. We’ll probably be a little sorry when it ends in a few days!

As we’ve been reading we’ve also been learning a lot about literature. We’ve learned about:

  • Point of view: the book is all written in first person, but there are multiple narrators so we get to hear different points of view.
  • Elements of plot: we’re now reading the resolution of the story.
  • Character development: we’ve seen how characters can change and grow through the course of book, while still keeping their major traits.
  • Theme: we’ve discussed how a book can have more than one theme, and how the message, lesson or moral may be different depending on the reader.

In Wonder, the main character has a teacher named Mr. Browne. Every month Mr. Browne introduces a precept, which he defines as “rules about really important things”, or words that help guide the choices people make.  Some of them are famous quotes and others are written by the characters in the book. It’s been interesting for our class to discuss the precepts as they come up in the book.

R.J. Palacio just released a new book called 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s PreceptsWe’ve started exploring the precepts in this new book, choosing our favorites and writing some of our own. Some of us made Haiku Decks to show the ones we like the best.

Andrew – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Naomi – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Ciara – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Aiden – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Falicity – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Irlanda – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Adrien – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Our next read aloud will be The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer Holm. We’re looking forward to connecting with others while we’re reading that one, since it’s one of the choices for for Global Read Aloud 2014!

What is your favorite precept?

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