March 22

Things to Remember

Happy Friday!

It has been a fun-filled week full of costumes and activities. But that doesn’t mean the learning has stopped!



Today the students got their “Adding and Subtracting Decimals” test back. Please sign and return on Monday.

We have continued with our multiplication and division unit. Students have learned a few different strategies for this, and I will be posting a blog with a tutorial on these strategies shortly. In the meantime, you can ask your child to share what they’ve learned so far with you.

In terms of rote multiplication, next week we will be focusing on 3s and 4s. Here are some tricks to help you practice:

3 – Doubles + 1 – when multiplying by 3, multiply the number by 2 and then add one more group. Ex: 4 x 3; 4 x 2 = 8 plus one more 4 = 12. Therefore, 4 x 3 = 12

Here’s a really cool video showing how to skip count by 3s

4 – Double Double – when multiplying by 4, double the number, then double it again. Ex: 6 x 4; 6 x 2 = 12 and 12 x 2 = 24. Therefore, 6 x 4 = 24

You can use the same links from my last post to practice these new facts.


Public Speaking

We have started the process of writing our public speaking speeches! We will be breaking this process up into very manageable pieces, and working on it in class. The first step is to just brainstorm a topic. Here is the schedule, where you’ll be able to see all the due dates.

By Monday, students need to fill out the brainstorming sheet and email me with their topic choice. We will continue on from there next week. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.


March 20

Becoming Primary Learners

There has been a lot of buzz around the school on documenting learning. As you may or may not be aware, I am part of a cohort of teachers working with Silvia Tolisano, learning and practicing various methods of documenting our own learning as teachers, and the learning of our students. Dr. Mitzmacher has blogged about our experiences, and shared his goals at the Town Hall at the beginning of the year, for all OJCS students to own their own learning (North Star!) and manage personal student blogfolios.

It has become my goal to share what I’ve been learning with my students, to help them understand what an authentic artifact of learning is, how they can capture their own learning and how they can use documentation OF, FOR and AS learning. 


I recently wrote a post on my professional blog about my journey so far. My ultimate goal is for each child in grade 5 this year, to share their learning journey with you – their family and friends. I welcome any and all feedback as we go through this process. Please visit my blog and share your thoughts with me and with your children. I hope you will get as much out of this process as I believe you will, and as I believe your children will!

March 15

Why did two 4s skip lunch? They already 8!

Who doesn’t love a good math pun?

And it’s perfect timing for our multiplication and division unit! As we embark on this next unit, it’s extremely important that students are practicing their multiplication facts daily, or as close to that as possible. As a guide, we will be focusing on specific facts each week, however that doesn’t mean a student couldn’t spend more time on a fact, or move on if they’ve mastered it. It’s all about finding out which numbers need extra work, and persevering till you’ve mastered it! We will be practicing all our multiplication facts up to 12×12.

Here are different things you can do to practice the facts:

  1. Make Flashcards. This is much better than buying them premade! Writing the facts down is in itself a form of practice. Students can cut the cards, write the multiplication sentence on one side, and the answer on the back.
  2. Math rap songs. For our auditory learners, listening to songs about multiplication and adding a beat to it can be helpful. Students can learn all the newest pop songs by heart…why not their multiplication facts? YouTube has tons of options. You just need to find the one that appeals to you.
  3. Online multiplication practice. These are a few suggestions but there are TONS to choose from.
  4. Printed practice sheets. I have heaps of practice sheets that students can take home.
  5. Find tricks to help you remember your facts. I will share tricks each week as well.

This coming week we will be focusing on the easier facts to get them out of the way!

O, 1, 2, 5, 10

Tips and Tricks:

0 – Every number multiplied by zero is zero!   Ex:    0 x 1 = 0      0 x 12 = 0     7 x 0 = 0

1 – Every number multiplied by 1 stays the same!  Ex:   1 x 3 = 3    7 x 1 = 7    11 x 1 = 11

2 – Add the number to itself…in other words, double it!  Ex:   2 x 4 = 8 because 4 + 4 = 8

5 – There are a few different tricks for 5.

i) Cut the number in half, then multiply by 10. Ex:  5 x 6,   half of 6 is 3,  3 x 10 = 30  therefore, 5 x 6 = 30

ii) Multiply the number by 10, then cut in half.  Ex: 5 x 3,   10 x 3 = 30,  half of 30 is 15, therefore 5 x 3 = 15

iii) The last digit follows the pattern 5, 0, 5, 0… Ex: 5, 10, 15, 20…

iv) Think of a clock. The numbers on the clock represent the minutes in increments of 5. When the minute hand is on the 4, it’s 20 minutes. Therefore, 5 x 4 = 20

10 – Add a zero to the end.  Ex:   3 x 10 = 30     6 x 10 = 60    12 x 10 = 120

March 7

Thank you!

Thank you to all the incredible grade 5 students who worked so hard to produce incredible STEAM Fair projects. I loved walking around, hearing all that you learned, and seeing all you created.

Thank you to all the incredible families for taking the time to come and visit our class and share is our work. (If anyone took any pictures, please send them to me!)


Later in the afternoon we had the chance to go and see what the grade 6, 7 and 8 students had produced. Given that next year grade 5 students will be among those projects in the gym, each student was asked to look with a critical and inquisitive eye at all the projects. They needed to take a picture, video, or any other form of documentation to reflect on which projects inspired them and why. These annotated pictures or videos are due on Monday. How fortunate they’ll be next year to have this documentation to look back on as a memory for inspiration!

March 5

Wonder Update

Each student is responsible for finishing to read Wonder by March 18. As every student was in a different spot, they have each created a schedule to follow over the next 2 weeks. Please check in with your child to see the daily reading goals they have set for themselves.

peacefully reading

February 25

Full STEAM ahead!

Welcome back!

I hope you all enjoyed the week off. We had a busy Monday and are in full swing with STEAM Fair and all other exciting things happening over the next few weeks.

Here is the homework for this week:

  1. POW due Friday March 1
  2. Sign Math quiz
  3. Choose a picture from our day with Scientists in the school (from this folder) that you feel is a good representation of your learning. Remember, a picture alone is not evidence of learning enough. You may need to add text, a paragraph, a few pictures together, a video, or any other idea you have to PROVE that you have learned something. Please share your picture(s) with Mrs. Thompson by Friday March 1
  4. We will be spending the next week working on STEAM Fair in class. In order to keep everyone on track, we will be completing all our research by Wednesday afternoon. If you would like to work on this at home as well before then, you are welcome to do some research at home on the Bionic Body part you’ve chosen. Here is a link to the folder with all the important information should you need it.
  5. Please bring in any materials you may need for your model by Thursday. We will be starting to build and design that day.
  6. If you would like to place a Scholastic order for February, you can still do so up until Wednesday. You can always place your order online if you’d prefer.


Parents, please make note that STEAM Fair will be on Thursday, March 7,  from 8:45-9:30 am in our class. We would love for you to come and see the amazing projects we are working on.

Additionally, our grades 6-8 STEAM Fair is seeking 10 judges. If you or someone you know, who is in the field of science, mathematics, engineering, art or technology, is interested in volunteering their time on Thursday, March 7, for about 2 – 2.5 hours, please let Ellie Kamil know in the front office ( A light breakfast will also be served.