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A First Attempt!

over 3 years ago

Welcome to my first effort at a school-related blog entry!

My thought in writing entries into this blog are to give families a view into our fifth grade classroom. I appreciated the opportunity to meet and talk with many families during Open House on Tuesday night. If you weren't able to make it, Miss Santucci and I understand! Hopefully, your fifth grader brought home some paperwork from that evening if you weren't able to attend. 

The highlights from the math and science end of Open House, as far as things go from the home end.


  • Students have math daily
  • Typically, students will have one page of math homework Monday-Thursday nights. The homework reviews something that we worked on in class
  • If they have trouble, they should utilize their math notebook. It is in their binder and has notes added to it every few days. 
  • Math facts! We're trying to get them learned and luckily have use of the math program, Reflex Math to help us out. All students have an account and their passwords are in their agendas. Any additional encouragement to get them on Reflex at least three days a week would be greatly appreciated!
  • When the students have an upcoming math test, they will know about it a week ahead of time. They will always be given a study guide and will have the chance to attend an extra help session before taking the test.
  • Students have science daily
  • Generally, students will not have science homework. They do keep track of all science materials at school in a science notebook, but this typically won't come home. 
  • The students will have science tests. They will know about these ahead of time and will be equipped with a study guide. 
  • Students take an MCAS test in science in 5th grade!
Okay, on to the content that we learned about this week. Feel free to ask your students about this; all of it should be pretty clear in their heads!

In math, we practiced multiplying by powers of 10. Coincidentally, we also learned what powers of 10 are. Students practiced correctly reading ten raised to various powers, writing this as a multiplication expression and figuring out the amount in standard form. Students worked a great deal with place value charts and 'jumping' by powers of 10 on the chart. Ask them why we 10 is an important number in the place value system. Hopefully, they can tell you that each place is worth 10x as much as the place to the right. In fact, we talked about this so much that if you ask them about the place value charts and jumping, they'll probably complain! By the end of the week, they really were getting the hang of multiplying, so today I decided to throw in some division. We'll continue to practice this next week. 

In science, students shared their renditions of what a scientist looks like, as well as the things scientists do. Many of them were surprised to learn about the wide variety of jobs that include science in some way. Ask them about their illustrations...they had some pretty interesting features! Later in the week, we learned about making inferences (use observations and prior knowledge) and observations (use the five senses or measurement) and practiced using bags with mystery objects inside. The students claimed that I made the bags way too easy and most of them had very little trouble determining what was inside, even without looking!

Toward the end of the week, students began to explore the scientific method and we practiced applying it as a class, when we did an activity(experiment) to explore why apple flesh browns after it has been cut, assuming it is left to its own devices. 

Wow, it feels like a lot when it is all written out like this! Next week, students will move into the world of decimals in math and start to explore some science ideas about night and day, the seasons and the phases of the moon. Stay tuned!

If you made it this far, nice work. Thanks for reading!


By Elizabeth Mundy

September 19-23

over 3 years ago

So, my intention of posting every 2-3 days may have been overly ambitious...I think I'll be on a once a week schedule instead. 

With the official start of fall last Thursday, students began to explore the reason for the different seasons, as well as day and night. If you ask them about the difference between the words rotate and revolve, they should be able to tell you! The students learned about the fact that the earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours, giving us night and day. This is different from the revolutions that the Earth makes around the sun each year, which gives us seasons. In addition to the action of the Earth, students also began to think about how long the cycle of the moon takes. This coming week, students will explore the phases of the moon and rather the size of the moon changes as it progress through the moon cycle. 

In math, students worked on rounding whole numbers. Some of them really remembered how to round using number lines, while others needed a little bit of a refresher! Next week, we will explore the world of decimals and attempt to multiply and divide them by powers of 10...we'll see how it goes. Students should be relying on their math notebook if they get stuck on homework-there are always additional hints in their that will help!

In addition to their nightly math homework, they should also be trying to get on Reflexmath at least three times a week until they get 'the green light.' They can come upstairs early any day if they don't have access to computers at home. Leominster Public Library is also a great option for computer access. 

Hopefully the temperatures will stay a little lower this week-it is much easier for everyone when it is a little cooler in the classroom. Also, picture day is Tuesday! Students were sent home with picture order forms already. Please let me know if you need another!

Thanks for reading!


By Elizabeth Mundy

End of September!

over 3 years ago

We made it through our first full month!

The students have had a great start to fifth grade! Miss Santucci and I are thoroughly enjoying getting to know the new additions to the team and getting to know more about the kiddos we had last year. The students are working hard to act as role models in the school and while they need occasional reminders about what to do in various situations, overall, they are doing wonderfully!

In the math classroom, we continue to work on understanding and using powers of 10. Students can know recognize these numbers in standard form, exponential form and as multiplication expressions. They also know how to use these numbers to multiply and divide on a place value chart. Last week, the students delved into the world of decimals (all the way to the thousandths!). We talked about how small 1/1000 is and the relationship between the decimal place values. By the end of the week, students were doing a great job naming the place and value of numbers as high as the millions place and as low as the thousandths. Feel free to ask them about this frequently-the extra practice never hurts! Also, remind them that decimals tell them about parts of a whole and that decimals are NOT negative! For some reason, as soon as we move to the small place values (those below the ones place), students always want to believe we're in the negatives. No matter how many times I tell them they'll work with negatives in sixth grade, they continue to think it is happening now!

On Friday, the students were given their log in information for the electronic component of EnVisions. I gave them a brief tour of the website and explained that I won't typically give them assignments here, but that it is a good resource if they get stuck on homework or want to practice a skill we've been working on in class. There are also games they can play that are related to the math topics. This log-in information, along with their Reflex math log-in information, is located in the front of their agendas. Please contact me if there are any issues with this and I can attempt to help sort things out from my end. 

In science, students are continuing to learn about the seasons, day and night and how these things are impacted by the rotation and revolution of the earth. Students should be able to articulate why gravity is important and the impact that the gravitational pull of the sun, earth and moon. At the end of the week, we began to explore the phases of the moon and we will continue this on Monday and Tuesday. Students will participate in an activity where they investigate why the appearance of the moon changes over the course of a month. Ask them about it next week!

Other than that, the students continue with Second Step lessons, lessons about habits for a happy kid and PAWS lessons and choices. These ideas are all discussed every week and if students are asked about them, hopefully they can recall something about them!

Upcoming schedule items:

Students have no school on Friday, October 7th. It is a professional development day for teachers.

Students (and teachers!) have no school on Monday, October 10th. It is Columbus Day. 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns!

-Beth Mundy

By Elizabeth Mundy

A Short Week and An Assembly!

over 3 years ago

Good Afternoon!
I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend. Hopefully you got a chance to spend some time outdoors, the weather was pretty good! Also, although yesterday was a dreary day, it was a good one for those of you that are Patriot fans!

Last week, in addition to the normal fun of a school week (I will have all the students convinced that math and science are fun by the end of the year!), we also had an exciting assembly on Thursday. Kevin Robinson, a famous bmx rider, came to Northwest to speak with students about not bullying and just generally being a good person. He accomplished this using the acronym TRICK (Teamwork, Respect, Inspire, Confidence, Kindness). Kevin, who goes by KRob, showed the students videos of himself in various competitions as well as performed some tricks for the students on his bike in the gym. Hopefully they haven't tried any of the tricks at home! They were disappointed that I didn't volunteer to be part of his tricks, but they were impressed when he jumped (?) his bike over 5 teachers!

Now to the really exciting stuff....math and science! I would like to say I'm joking, but I honestly do find this stuff exciting!

In science, the students worked in groups to explore the phases of the moon, using a flashlight to represent the sun, a Styrofoam ball to represent the moon and themselves to represent the earth. Although there may have been more shadow animals created than I would've liked, the students did a nice job connecting this model to the real thing. Later in the week, they practiced naming the phases and trying to make sense of vocabulary words like 'waxing, waning, first quarter moon and third quarter moon.' By the end of the week, they were doing a great job with explaining why a first quarter moon is not 1/4 lit-ask them! I also had many students walk in and tell me that they had looked at the moon the night before. I was super impressed when they were able to tell me the phase. We'll spend a little more time on the earth's movement this coming week, before exploring volcanoes and landslides. I hope the students are keeping you posted!

In math, students continue to work with powers of 10 and multiplying and dividing decimals. They are now able to quickly recognize multiplication and division problems that can be solved quickly because they involve a power of 10. To challenge them further, we practiced word problems that involved multiplying and dividing by powers of 10. Admittedly, many of the students would rather just solve the math problems than work with the word problems! 

This week, we move on to the somewhat challenging topic of decimal equivalents, comparing decimals and rounding decimals on the number line. This math is certainly somewhat tedious, but the students will find the way decimal rounding works to be pretty interesting! I can already picture them rolling their eyes at my excitement...

I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading-


By Elizabeth Mundy

A Short Week (with a full moon at the end!)

over 3 years ago


I hope you are all having a fantastic start to the weekend. I am a big fan of the fall weather that greeted me when I woke up this morning and am glad that it is not going to suddenly into winter temperatures (at least not for a few days!). One never knows in New England!

Normally, I wouldn't discuss the moon phases in an entry title, but seeing as the students now tell me the moon phases every day, I felt it was appropriate! Honestly, I love that they are so excited and throwing around words like "waxing gibbous" so frequently. Many of the students have just recently discovered that these different terms to name the appearance of the moon exist, so the fact that they're applying them and thinking about them outside of school makes me so happy.

Although I wanted to move into the way the surface of the Earth can change through fast processes in science this week, the students needed additional time with how the movement of the Earth impacts the seasons we experience. They should now be able to clearly explain why we have the seasons we do, at the times that we do, in our part of the Northern Hemisphere. We spent a fair amount of time looking at pictures and videos of the Earth and how it moves over the course of the year. Students were pretty aware of the fact that places in the Southern Hemisphere experience seasons that our opposite ours, meaning when we have summer, Australia has winter. Interestingly (to me, at least!), probably 75% of the kids thought that this meant that these parts of the world (we used Australia as our reference location) also experienced the months at different times. When I asked them what month it currently is in Australia, I got a wide range of responses. Many students thought April, but February, March and July were also thrown out as possibilities. I spent a fair amount of time trying to correct this misconception, Hopefully, they're all now clear on the fact that the months are not different in different parts of the world, but that the way it feels outdoors does differ!

In math, students did all kinds of cool things! ( I realize some of you may be rolling your eyes as you read that!). We started off the week by proving why decimals like .7 and .70 are equivalent, using the Identity Property. I sincerely apologize to those of you that were asked why these two numbers are equal...I told the students that many adults would know they were equal, but would have trouble providing mathematical proof as to why. It really does impress me when they're able to reason through all of this. 

With an understanding of equivalents, students were able to be move into comparing and ordering decimals They have notes about all of this in their math notebooks, which continue to be a great resource for them to use on homework or in preparation for tests. By the end of the week, students were able to practice rounding decimals, which will probably be how we start next week as well. Although the students don't love rounding, they are doing a pretty good job with it thus far. In fact, many of them are somehow finding this easier than rounding with whole numbers. Yet another example of the mysteries of the way a fifth grader's brain works...

Phew! I am in a wordy mood this morning; I apologize! 

Just a few more general comments:

-Career week, which ends with the students doing a presentation about a career they are currently interested in pursuing, is the week after next (October 24th-28th). I really appreciate those of you that expressed interest in coming in to share with the students or provide something for the small celebration that is held at the end of the week. I will be in touch soon about days/times. On the last day, October 28th, students do a parade around the building around 2 o'clock, dressed up in the attire that would go with their career. 
-PARCC scores from the 4th grade test went home this week (for kids who were at NW for the fourth grade test). I get a scores as well and am happy to discuss these results with you further if you would like. Please don't hesitate to contact me. 
-Students in the Mundy homeroom (Sorry, Santuccis!) have the opportunity to participate in a fantastic experience, called Starbase. This is a wonderful program that I had the chance to participate in a few years ago. It is based at Hanscom Airforce Base and is a science, technology, math and science focused program. The students who have done it in the past thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait for my students to do it! The paperwork already came home, but the students informed me the dates weren't on it (I apologize). It is the 14-18th of November. Each day, students come to school like normal, we leave very close to the beginning of the school day for Starbase. We return before dismissal. Please contact me if you have additional questions!
-Students in the Mundy homeroom (again, sorry Santuccis!) won the Golden Spork award  and are well on their way to winning again...I think we're up to 7. The prize they chose for this round is an extra recess with a snack. I also got the green light to arrange to have Alfie brought by during the extra recess so the students can meet him. I'm so excited!

Other random information:
If you ordered from the CherryVille fundraiser (the one that already happened), the pick up date is October 18th, beginning right after the school day. 
-We just started another fundraiser, where the students are selling coupon books for 25 dollars. It sounds like there are some great deals in the books. NW PTO gets a good portion of the profits from the sales and the PTO makes great use of this money. These funds support the awesome presenters coming into the building, as well as keeping field trips free for NW families. I encourage you to participate if you're interested!
-Last thing, I swear! Pasta Supper is November 3rd at Northwest School. This is a great event for families to come to and the kids can be served by their teachers, which I always think is a fun experience. Miss Santucci and I will both be working at the event and would love to see your smiling faces!

Thanks for making it through this one; it was long!
-Beth Mundy

By Elizabeth Mundy

A Math Test to End the Week

over 3 years ago

I'm not 100% certain why the title of this week's entry is the one that came to me, but perhaps it is because I just sat and graded 40 math tests...! This wasn't the main focus of the week at all, just something for the students to complete at the end of the unit to show me what stuck and what concepts some of them need me to circle back to again. 
In math this week, students worked to solidify concepts they learned throughout the place value unit by participating in math centers. In this math center set-up, which I did as a way to review, students had the chance to demonstrate learning by playing math games with their peers and complete activity sheets. Many of the students were more fond of the games than the activity sheets (shocker!), but put great effort into both. The games they played were Spoons, where they had to find matching sets of 4 cards and Rounding U-Know, which is very similar to regular UNO, except there is a rounding element included. In my opinion, this added feature improves an already good game! On Friday, they completed the math test and after grading them, many of the students clearly understood the concepts quite well. I was impressed with how many students took the time to put effort into the test, rather than simply attempting to get it done as quickly as possible. 
Next week, we move into multiplying and dividing. I know many of you will be excited to see students start to work with the traditional multiplication algorithm, which I adamantly did not let them use during fourth grade. I promise, now that they have the conceptual understanding of multiplication that they do, the algorithm will make much more sense to them. Additionally, they all have a way to check their work because they have a few different strategies to use while solving a multiplication problem. 
In science, students learned all about volcanoes and the Ring of Fire. Ask them about the likelihood of a volcano popping up in the backyard here. They should be able to coherently explain why this is quite unlikely. They worked in groups to graph volcanoes that have already erupted and were asked to make statements about the pattern that arose. We started to speak about the famous volcano Mt. Saint Helens, which students will explore further next week. This volcano, along with other explosive volcanoes such as Mt. Vesuvius (which buried the Italian city of Pompeii), have features that differ from others, which is what students will delve into. We'll also talk about landslides and earthquakes this week. 
Otherwise, not much new news. This upcoming week is Career Week, so there are all kinds of interesting presentations taking place in both the Mundy and Santucci classrooms over the course of the week. On Friday, students have a newspaper article due and are asked to dress up in the attire of their chosen career. A reminder that their parade around the building in their career costumes is also Friday, at 2:00. They are more than welcome to come to school early this week ( no earlier than 7:45, please) if they need help brainstroming and starting the newspaper article. 
Also, the students will take MAP this week on the computers. MAP is an electronic (obviously!) test that students take in reading and math each year. Normally, we take it closer to the start of the year, but due to various issues with MAP, it is a little later this year. This is nothing for which the students need to study, although they do need to try their best! The results of these tests give Ms. Santucci and I good information to work off of as to what areas the individual students need additional support in or need to be pushed further in. 
The Mundy homeroom had a fantastic time playing with Alfie last Thursday. They were all wonderful around him and an added perk for me was how exhausted he was afterward. It was great to watch them so happy and excited to play with him. The Mundy homeroom also just won their second Golden Spork, so we'll have to brainstorm a new prize this week. They are doing wonderfully with cleaning up the cafeteria each day. 
Also, great news, Reflex Math is back up and running! Thanks to the kids that religiously asked me when it would be back; I appreciate their persistence!
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with questions about classroom things or events taking place outside of the classroom (such as the Pasta Supper or the coupon fundraiser). I typically know the answers to these questions and if I don't, I will find it for you!
Enjoy the fall weather (my favorite season!)

Career Week Presentations!

over 3 years ago

Phew, we made it through a somewhat crazy week! Although our schedule to be different every day this week, the students did a great job of going with the flow (better than their rather routinized teacher!) and I know they enjoyed hearing from all the visitors who came into the classroom. A huge thank you to the parent volunteers who were able to take time out of their schedules to come present to the students. Also, thank you to the families that donated items for our small celebration yesterday; the students had a wide variety of snacks, some of which got sent home because it was too much for one sitting!
We had presentations about: working as a police officer, creating and running a business as a professional organizer, working with computers at Hanscom Air Force Base, managing a car dealership, running a program that works with animals, and making ice for hockey rinks. While I knew really small amounts about each of the jobs before the presentations, I learned an immense amount, so I can only guess what the students learned! 
Yesterday, many of the students participated in the final day of Career Week by dressing up in the outfits of their desired careers. I always enjoy seeing what they come up with and how they decide to portray their careers through outfits (the future teachers I saw throughout the day make me laugh-they always seem to sport sweaters and glasses!). I also saw some great newspaper articles turned in. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to share the articles because of the chaos of the day, but students will share about their careers throughout the week next week. Thank you for helping them to get this assignment completed. I know that some had very little experience with the style of newspaper writing, so Miss Santucci and I appreciate any additional work that was done at home to expose them to this!
Other than the activities of Career Week, students took the MAP test for reading and math. This is an electronic test that they have taken a few times each year since they started at Northwest. We will share the results of the MAP test with families at parent teacher conferences in November.
Speaking of parent teacher conferences, a blue form should've come home this week for you to choose a day (November 21st or 22nd) to come to conferences. If you haven't seen this form yet, please ask your fifth grader! Also, if these days/times really don't fit into your schedule, please contact us, as we will be happy to figure out another time that does work! Once these forms are returned to school, the office assigns a time and then sends the form back home, with the time written on it. 
In science, students participated in a lab to explore thick and thin lava and create hypotheses about which type of lava comes from Shield Volcanoes and which kind comes from Cone Volcanoes. Their reasons were pretty interesting! I always find it enjoyable to watch them participate in hands-on acitvities, because they get so excited and seem to be genuinely happy about learning. It is a wonderful thing to witness!
In math, the students got back the tests they took on place value last week. We started a unit on multiplication and division, which will continue for the next few weeks. You'll even start to see multiplication being done in a way that looks really familiar. I know that many of you have been waiting for this for a few years now! For those of you that love long division the way you learned it, you're going to have to wait another year to see that...they need to get a little bit better with understanding why and how division works first!
Not much else to report. The NW Pasta Supper is this week on Thursday, November 3rd. Both Miss Santucci and I, along with many other NW staff, will be working at the event. I promise, it is drastically more enjoyable when we get to see the faces of our own students! So, if you have nothing planned for dinner on Thursday, please come enjoy a meal at NW! I believe tickets can be purchased at the door. I hope to see some of you there; it makes going home with tomato sauce and salad dressing on my clothes much more worthwhile!
Okay, that's it (I know, I don't seem to be getting any more concise...). I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

On to November!

over 3 years ago

Happy November!

While the week started out a little crazy (I don't think the candy wrappers I've been noticing in the classroom trash are completely innocent...), we made it to the end! After the chaos of Career Week last week, this week was relatively 'normal!' On a non-academic note, thanks so much to families that attended or supported the Pasta Supper in some way. The event was a huge success and the students of Northwest are the real recipients, as a large portion of the money raised goes to fund NW field trips and guest presenters. 

Students in fifth grade started a new rotation for Reteach and Enrich and if they are currently in a math group, they are delving into the world of the Metric System. They have all kinds of interesting pneumatic devices for remembering the prefixes and the order they go in. The students learned how to put the prefixes into a graphic organizer and then use the graphic organizer to complete conversion questions. Even with just a few days of exposure and practice using this, they are already doing well!

In math, we worked on solving multiplication problems using arrays, the Distributive Property and Doubling and Halving. In addition to these strategies, we also practiced making estimates before solving multiplication problems as a way to determine whether or not our solutions make sense. Next week, we move onto the algorithm for multiplication; I know the students (and families) will be super excited to see this fast way to solve. The best part is that they've had so much conceptual practice with multiplication that the algorithm will make sense to them, rather than just be a series of steps they need to memorize. I can't wait to see the 'light bulb' moments this week; it's going to be wonderful! And, yes, my enthusiasm is 100% authentic!

In science, the students learned about landslides and brainstormed solutions for how to protect a town from landslides. I discovered that when students are left to their own devices, they come up with some pretty unique solutions! Ask them about the ideas of classmates; some were pretty crazy! We started and will continue to explore earthquakes next week in science. 

Other happenings:

-Parent teacher conferences are currently being scheduled. Thanks so much to those of you that have returned the blue form and scheduled a time. If you haven't seen this blue form yet, ask your fifth grader! They should have it!

-Starbase is the week after next for the Mundy homeroom. Everyone is getting excited about this adventure! Please don't hesitate to email with questions as you think of them. 

-The Leominster email address (the one that ends with is experiencing some technical difficulties. If you have been trying to reach me and I have not responded, it is because my email is choosing not to send! You can always try  Since these issues are continuing to occur, I will check both of these email accounts. 

I think that is all for now. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend (and it is a bye week for the Patriots, so no game to watch), so I hope everyone gets a chance to get outside!



Oh, and thanks to all the kiddos that brought in fun size m and ms from their Halloween candy to give to me-I have been enjoying them all week!

By Elizabeth Mundy

A Very Short Week! (Nov. 7-10)

over 3 years ago

I hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start! I feel like this week flew by (kind of like the year seems to be...) 

In math, students started to work on the multiplication algorithm and they seem to be getting the hang of it! For now, they use both the algorithm and an array model to help them be sure they are answering questions accurately. Eventually, they will get to use the algorithm only. However, I'm going to make them continue with two strategies until they are consistently getting answers correct. 

Speaking of math, it is becoming very clear that some students could really benefit from strengthening their multiplication facts, as these are crucial for getting through the more difficult multiplication problems. ReflexMath is a great resource to help students with this. They were all given login information for this website and it should be located in their agendas. Please encourage your fifth graders to use this (at least three days per week is ideal!)

In science, we started to talk about tectonic plates and earthquakes. Students started to explore the concept of Pangaea and we watched some clips that provided evidence for this theory. It was exciting for me to see them process the idea that the continents could've all been one piece at one point in history. 

Next week should be an interesting one. The Mundys are off to Starbase for the week, where they will be engaging in a wide variety of STEM activities. The Santuccis will be with Miss Santucci all day, participating in their typical reading activities, with some math and science fun mixed in!

Other Information:

Please make sure you have returned the blue form to schedule a time for parent-teacher conferences. Miss Santucci and I love this opportunity to touch base with you about your child's academic and social progress. 

Report cards will go home with students on Monday, November 14th. The envelopes need to be signed and returned. 

I think that is all for now!

Enjoy the long weekend!


Starbase Week for the Mundys!

over 3 years ago

Hopefully the students in my homeroom came home and excitedly spoke about their daily activities this week! They had a great time at Starbase and I was continually impressed by their ability to work together and problem solve. Their knowledge and strengths in math and science was continually  It was quite a unique experience for me, as I had the chance to watch my class interact without being the person in charge of the class. Admittedly, it was slightly challenging to relinquish all my control...

Since the students had such a jam-packed week, I'm not going to outline it all again here. The students brought home newsletters each day describing the information they learned (except for Friday-I will give that one of them tomorrow). At some point in the near future, I intend to put together a slideshow of images so everyone can see the kinds of activities the students did at Starbase. 

This week we have a very short week! The students have half days on Monday and Tuesday and hopefully we will have the chance to speak with many of you at conferences. If I don't see you over the next few days, I hope you have a fabulous break!



December Begins! (Nov.28-Dec.2)

over 3 years ago

Holy Cow! How is it December already?! If it weren't for the date showing up on the calendar (okay, and the behavior that is getting more and more difficult to control...), I wouldn't believe we already made it this far! Hopefully we can continue with no snow days for a while, though...

It was great to see/meet so many of you at conferences last week. Miss Santucci and I sincerely appreciate that you take time out of undoubtedly hectic schedules to come in and chat with us. We also appreciate your understanding when we get behind schedule! For those of you that weren't able to make it to conferences, we have tried to get in touch to set something up. If you haven't heard from us, please don't hesitate to contact us!

I hope everyone had wonderful Thanksgivings and enjoyed additional time to spend with family and friends. If the students didn't tell you, my family comes to New England for the holiday and we stay at a house in Maine. I had a great time taking long beach walks with the dogs and spending time with my crazy family!

This week, we dove right back into school and it was helpful to have a full, normal week with no schedule changes. In math, students continued to work on the multiplication algorithm at the beginning of the week. I was so impressed with how many students remembered the multiplication work from before Thanksgiving...they're becoming little multiplication masters! Good thing, as they have a test on multiplication on Wednesday, December 7th. All of the students were given study guides last week to prepare for the test. I also have extra help on Tuesday, December 6th from 7:45-8:15. 

In the second half of the week, we began division, which students will continue to work on for the next few weeks. The strategy that they will primarily use will be the 'Super 7,' which is not the way most adults do division. Just like in multiplication, we teach this strategy first to build up a strong conceptual basis for understanding division. In sixth grade, they'll learn traditional division. The fact that they know multiple ways to arrive at the answer ends up being a good thing, as they sometimes forget the steps for solving with the division algorithm. 

In science, we finished up earthquakes (finally!) and started to talk about slow processes at the end of the week. We will continue with weathering and erosion this week. 

In reteach, students in the Mundy homeroom are working with the ELA teachers on vocabulary/word study. The students in the Santucci homeroom are working on the Metric System with the math teachers. All the fifth graders should be rockstars (they'd make fun of me for using that word...) at the Metric System by the end of the year! They should also be able to tell you why it is important to know the Metric System!

Miss Santucci and I are trying something a little different in math and ELA, starting Monday. Ask your fifth grader about it! Please don't hesitate to give us any feedback, as well. 

This week, the Troubadours and Bulldog Band have their evening concert on the 8th. These students put in a lot of time and effort to perform well, so we wish them luck!

Have a wonderful week and stay warm!


Starbase Video

December 5th - 9th

over 3 years ago

Woah, it suddenly feels like winter this weekend! As I write this morning, it is 12 outside...maybe that's cold enough to make some of my shorts-wearers to switch to pants this week?! 

I'm not sure that is possible to communicate the way an elementary school classroom feels in the time between Thanksgiving and Winter Break...we'll call it controlled chaos! The students are doing their best to remember how to behave, but it seems to get pretty tricky for them. Any additional reminders from home would certainly be appreciated (and might help Miss Santucci and me to stay sane!)

This week, students worked on division in math and showed their multiplication skills on a test mid-week. I must say, I was pretty impressed by how well they did with the multiplication assessment! I'm so proud of the little mathematicians they're all becoming. They will get those tests back early this week, so please ask them to see them! There were some fantastic scores! As always, if they're having trouble, please don't hesitate to send them to extra help (Tuesdays, 7:45-8:20). Similarly, if you think they're having difficultly, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'm generally quite aware of which students understand and which are struggling, but it never hurts to make sure we're all on the same page. 

In division, they're practicing estimating the answer to division problems and solving. For this first time, they're solving division problems where they have to divide by bigger numbers (like, greater than 12). This is a hard skill to learn, so bear with us as we work on a variety of ways to solve these kinds of problems. They do have pretty thorough notes in their notebooks (many of them claim "you write way too much!') if you ever want to refer to those to see how I'm explaining things. We'll continue to work on division this coming week, so hopefully things will start to click into place. 

Also, Miss Santucci and I mixed things up this past week and now have some Mundy and some Santucci kids in each math and reading class. Please ask your fifth grader how they like this new arrangement and feel free to give us feedback. It's new to us, too!

In science, students continue to learn about processes that can change the surface of the earth. We talked A LOT about erosion, weathering and deposition this week and then ended the week with a skittles erosion activity on Thursday and a Mystery Science activity on Friday. If you ask them about these, they should be able to tell you about what we did and how weathering, erosion and deposition were shown in the activity. 

In science this week, we delve into the rock cycle and learning about soil! 

This week is also the Jingle Bell Fair, where students can bring money to school and shop for holiday gifts. The day assigned to the Mundy/Santucci group is Wednesday. An orange (I think, going from memory!) piece of paper went home explaining the Fair and our class shopping time went home last week. Please be in touch if you have questions!

I think that is it for now. Stay warm!!


By Elizabeth Mundy

The End of 2016!

over 3 years ago

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful break and that the new year is off to a fabulous start! I spent the week in Virginia (where there was no snow!) with my family and am attempting to ease myself back into a routine today... 

I apologize for the lack of updates in the two weeks leading up to break. It's difficult to explain what an elementary school classroom is like at that time of year...controlled chaos might be close, though!

In math, the students continued to work on division and will have a test on January 11th. They are becoming pretty efficient in how they solve and the area that needs the most work is still deciding what the remainder means when they solve a division word problem. We will practice this a little more this week. Students will also receive a study guide for the test this week and, as always, have notes about all the division skills in their math notebooks. If there is any thing they are having trouble with, please encourage them to ask me! I would love for everyone to get an A on the upcoming test. 

In science, we are working on rocks and minerals. Before break, students tested various unidentified minerals, identifying their hardness, color and streak. This week, they will attempt to use the properties of each sample to figure out the name of the mineral. After this, we will move on to the three types of rocks and how they are formed. 

Other than that, there is not much new news to report. Thank you to everyone that sent in donations for the gingerbread house creations. They students had an absolute blast, even with a fire drill interruption in the middle! The gingerbread houses were...unique!

Good luck to everyone with the transition back into 'school mode' this week! Please let me know if you have questions or concerns!


2017 Begins!

over 3 years ago

Woah, I wasn't sure we would all make it through this week! I'm not sure how a week is all students (and teachers!) need to fall out of routine, but it is. It took everyone a little bit of time to get back into the school routine this week, but I think we finally got there by Friday!

In math, we picked up right where we left off and continued to work on division. Students are doing a great job with some tough problems. I was pretty impressed with how well they did with division story problems, as this is where things can get particularly challenging. They will have a test to show off all their great skills on Wednesday, January 11th. As always, I have extra help on Tuesday mornings, from 7:45-8:15. Students received a study guide for this test last week, which they worked on in class and we went over the answers. 

Also, I am attempting to upload a video that covers the majority of the division skills. Once I get it working, I'll post it to my class page. Please excuse the messy handwriting; it is hard to get it to look neat on the ipad program I use. When I did a similar presentation last year, a great deal of the feedback I received was related to the fact that I spoke too quickly, so I attempted to slow myself down. Hopefully this works out for everyone (it sounds painfully slow to me!). Please let me know any comments you have about the video. I am very open to feedback and want it to be beneficial to you guys!

On Friday, we started decimal addition and students seemed to pick it up relatively quickly. Other than one day of a division test next week, the remainder of the time will be spent working on decimal operations. 

In science, students finished up with their testing of minerals and we have moved on to rocks! I'm pretty psyched to get the minerals out of my room; I seem to be able to smell the sulfur samples every time I walk in. 

Other than that, not too much is going on. I'll keep you posted with new things as they happen!


Division Presentation

January 9-13

over 3 years ago

This week was relatively uneventful, which in the world of an elementary school classroom, is a positive thing! Students seemed to be more in the routine than they were the week after Winter break, which definitely made things run much more smoothly. 
In science, the students have become experts on the types of rocks, how they're made and the differences between rocks and minerals. We will wrap up our rocks, minerals and soil unit early next week, before moving on to some new science content. Although the fifth graders kind of (ok, definitely) made fun of me, we listened to a great 'rap' about the rock cycle, made by a 6th grade teacher. As much as they made fun of it, I am confident I saw more than one of them singing the lyrics by the end of the week!

In math, students took a test on division mid-week. For the most part, the fifth graders did a great job with the division content. If they scored below 70 percent on the test, they brought home a note attached to their test, which parents/guardians need to sign. These students also have the opportunity to complete test corrections to earn back half of the points they lost. These test corrections need to be returned by Tuesday, January 24th. 

Other than the division test, students started working on adding and subtracting decimals. Many of them were delighted to discover how similar (read: exactly the same) adding and subtracting decimals is to adding and subtracting whole numbers. Other than occasional incorrect placement of zeros, the students caught on to this with ease! We will work on multiplying decimals this coming week and probably the following one. As with other math learning, I will work on developing understanding for multiplying decimals rather than simply teaching students a rule. So, if you see them solving in a way that is different from how you solve these kinds of problems, please have them explain what they're doing! Giving them the chance to explain will allow them to solidify their understanding and also give you the chance to see how their strategy connects to the way you solve. 

In our reteach/enrichment block, we worked on learning the order in which to solve expressions with many different operations. The students are beginning to become familiar with PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction) and are experiencing more and more success with solving the problems accurately. We will continue to work on this in the coming weeks. 

Phew, it feels like much more when it is all typed out at once! 

Have a great long weekend!

January 16-20

over 3 years ago

As I write this, it's definitely sweatshirt weather (many of the students would argue it's been sweatshirt weather all winter...) and we also had a two-hour delay this strange!

Even with a day off Monday and a shortened day Wednesday, the students managed to stay focused and work hard all week. Their continued attention to polite, respectful behavior is impressive and I hope it lasts beyond the end of elementary school!

In math, we worked on multiplying decimals. This is a little bit of a tricky skill, but the students dove right in and are doing a great job so far. It was actually super exciting for me to teach (nerdy, I know!), because this is entirely new content that none of the students have seen. If you want to know how they're multiplying, ask them to show you or show you their math notebooks! We'll continue to work on this next week. If your fifth grader is having trouble or wants extra practice, please don't hesitate to send them in early (7:45 or after) and I would be happy to help them and work on it more! I love a chance to do some extra math!!

In science, we started off the life science unit with learning about photosynthesis. Students should be able to describe the steps plants go through to make their own food. We are working on an interesting lesson from Mystery Science about what causes plants to 'gain weight.' To explore this idea, students will work on exploring the weight of air on Monday.

On Friday, I asked them their thoughts on whether or not air had any weight and they had a wide variety of reasons to support their thoughts. We'll test it all out Monday! Following this lessons, they'll begin to explore food webs and other animal topics. I'm hoping these standards will be interesting to the students. I find that they usually enjoy animal-related content!

Three students in each fourth and fifth grade homeroom also have the school spelling bee this week, on Wednesday night at 6:30. Although spelling bees may not be the most exciting events for non-participants, I always encourage students in the class to attend as a way to be supportive of their peers. Obviously, this is not a requirement, but the participants get a thrill out of seeing their classmates there to cheer them on! I'll excuse those that attend  from homework for the evening, as well, which sometimes is enough of a draw to get them there...

I think that's all for now! As always, please contact me if you have questions or concerns. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and of course, GO PATS!


January 23rd-27th

over 3 years ago

Another week complete! I'm not sure the students are going to know what to do when they have a full, 5 day school week, given that they haven't had one since before Winter Break!

This week, students took the mid-year MAP test in both reading and math. This is the test that they take on the computer three times each year to gauge their progress. The kids seemed to put in their best effort on the tests, which is what matters the most to both Miss Santucci and me!

In math, we worked on multiplying decimals. They're getting pretty good! We'll continue to work on this over the next few weeks, while also learning how to divide decimals. As always, students have notes about all this math in their math notebooks. I am at school early on Tuesday mornings (and other days with notice) and am always happy to help kids who want some additional practice or help on how to do the current math. 

In science, students continued to explore how plants 'gain weight' by completing an activity where we used balloons and a balance scale to weigh air. Ask them about it! They should be able to explain how the experiment proved that air has weight. Next week, we'll move on to learning about food chains and why animals might move to different locations. Given the students' enthusiasm about the plant activities, I'm hopeful that they'll enjoy the upcoming science activities.

Otherwise, there is not much new going on in the world of fifth grade. 

Other information:

The kids who participated in the Spelling Bee this week did a great job! I'm always impressed with their ability to get up and spell in front of a crowd. I don't even like speaking into the microphone, let alone having to do something academic!

The winter dance for the Northwest ladies is coming up this Friday. Money for tickets can get sent in this week and the PTO will fill the ticket orders and send the tickets back home with the kids. Notices were sent home about costs and ordering tickets. This is a great event that the girls always love, so I encourage you to participate if you can!

I think that is it. Have a wonderful weekend!!

February Begins!

over 3 years ago

Wow, a full week! Apparently all I had to do was mention it in last week's blog entry and it happened! The students did a great job making it through the week and many of them are excited for the big game this weekend. 

As far as the academics go, we continued with decimals in math. Students spent the week dividing decimals by whole numbers and dividing whole numbers by decimals. This math is challenging for everyone and all of them need additional practice to solidify these skills in their brains. 

They have notes about all of this math in their math notebooks and it will continue to be practiced next week, while also adding in the skill of dividing decimals by decimals. Please be patient with them as they work on these new skills on homework assignments or when classwork comes home with problems solved incorrectly. The decimal division is challenging and it will take all of them some time to become experts...don't worry, we'll get there! The continued practice also gives me the chance to keep a close eye on which students can do the work independently and which students continue to need my support. 

In science, students worked on a variety of activities to learn some new vocabulary. Ask them about producers, consumers, decomposers, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, predators and prey. They should be able to tell you the meanings of these words and give you some examples of plants or animals that fit into each category. 

On Friday, we began an activity to explore what happens to leaves when they fall on the ground. This led students to the next idea of the concept of mold and how it grows on food in our homes. Next week, we'll do an experiment that gives students the chance to investigate what conditions accelerate the growth of mold and what conditions help to slow down the growth of mold on foods. 

After our exploration about mold, students will begin to learn about animal adaptations and how they allow for the survival of animals in different environments. 

In the non-academic world, many of the girls in the class were very excited about the Winter Ball, which took place at Northwest last night. I'm sure I'll hear all about it on Monday!

Okay, I think that's it. Have a great weekend and.... GO PATS!!


A Double Week (February 6-17)

over 3 years ago

I apologize for the lack of update last weekend (for any of you that wait in anticipation of what I have to say about our week...). I always get thrown off with snow days and the fact that we had two in one week really messed me up! I'm hoping we're done with snow days for the year, but New England weather is notoriously difficult to predict...

In school, the students continued to work with decimals. Decimal division is pretty difficult and they're doing their best to learn which strategies to apply when. I have told them all, numerous times, that I think decimal division is the most challenging concept they learn during their fifth grade year. I can't say they were upset when I told them we would take a break from decimals for a little while last week and after vacation! 

Last week, we worked quite a bit with coordinate graphing. Students practiced making coordinate grids and graphing points. On Friday, they had the chance to graph numerous points, with the end result being a cartoon character. These were pretty difficult and a few students wanted to continue the challenge over break. We'll see if any of them persevere and bring back the completed images!

In science, students enjoyed observing their mold terrariums over the last two weeks (I was more than happy to throw them out on Friday!). After February break, we'll have a discussion about how the different things they added to their terrariums impacted mold growth. Some of the terrariums were pretty nasty by the end! 

Also in science, the students learned about structural/physical and behavioral adaptations. They practiced sorting different adaptations into one of the two categories. The students also learned that behavior adaptations can either be instinct or learned. We tried to classify these as well (they seem to be more difficult for the students than behavioral/physical adaptation sorting). 

Other than that, we just tried to make it to February break! I appreciate that you all, and the students, were so willing to change the day of our Valentine celebration. Again, I apologize for that mess up!

Next week, March 2nd (Thursday), is Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day. To recognize this, we will have a guest reader in the classroom and students are invited to dress up in such a way that they celebrate their favorite book/author/character/series. I really want them to participate because it ends up being a fun, school-community event. I am dressing up, but I'm not disclosing my awesome costume until that day!

Okay, I think that is it! Have a fabulous second half of break!


By Elizabeth Mundy

The Beginning of March! (Feb. 27- March 3)

over 3 years ago

 I'm slightly unsure how it is already March, but I'll take it! I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy the nice weather we had for the majority of the week. The students got four glorious days of 'full playground' recess, which is their favorite and something they haven't had for long time. It was great to see them excited to get outside and run around!

We also celebrated "Read Across America Day" on Thursday, which is recognized on the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Some of the students, as well as their slightly crazy teacher, dressed up in outfits inspired by Dr. Seuss books or their favorite book character. It was wonderful to see some kiddos get involved and express their creative side on Thursday! We also had a member of the Leominster community, Mrs. Cipolla, come to our class to read us a book. I have attached a few pictures (I think?) below. Mrs. Cipolla is currently the Athletic Director for Leominster High School, but has been a teacher and an administrator in the district as well. The students were a great audience for the story (and probably enjoyed a break from my teaching!). 

In math, students started fractions by reviewing their understanding of equivalent fractions, improper fractions and mixed numbers and adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators. We are off to a good start and next week, will dive into adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators...I can't wait! 

In science, students worked on answering standardized questions about adaptations, as a way of reviewing the content they've been learning about plants and animals. Students will receive these back on Monday, so please ask them to show you them if you want to see how the questions for 5th grade MCAS science are worded, as well as how the students are doing with answering them! Students will continue to practice their understanding of adaptations next week, before moving in to some new content later in the week. 

The other big news of the week was that the students found out what their field trip is this year...a trip to Fenway Park for "STEM Day at Fenway." STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and the students will have the chance to participate in STEM activities prior to watching the Red Sox play. This field trip will be in early April. Keep an eye out for permission slips containing additional information next week. 

Next week is also Math Night on Tuesday, from 6:30-7:45. Students (and parents) in grades 3-5 can come to NW to participate in math activities. Who doesn't love an evening of math fun?! I will be there and in charge of a game, so I hope to see some (many!) of my students there. They'll get a homework pass, too!

That's all for now!


March 6-10

over 3 years ago

 Another week is in the books! Since progress reports went home Monday (if you didn't see one, ask your fifth grader! They all got them in math), it means we are halfway through the third quarter. I can't believe this much of the year has gone by!

Last week, students worked with adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. I think some of them are enjoying this new challenge to their fraction learning, as well as a break from decimals! Some of the students have started to practice simplifying fractions, which is a new skill for many of them. We will continue to practice this as they learn more about fractions in the coming weeks. Please be patient with them as they learn this, they'll get there eventually! 

In math next week, students will continue to work with adding and subtracting fractions, but with the added challenge of decoding word problems later in the week. We'll see how it goes!

In science, students reviewed their knowledge of life cycles of animals. We talked about the idea that some animals are born resembling what they will look like as full grown animals, while others, like the butterfly, undergo a complete metamorphosis. Next week, students will learn about the life cycle of plants, as well as inventions inspired by animals.

Other than that, not much is new in the world of fifth grade. I'm not sure if it was this week or the week before that the Mundy homeroom won the Golden Spork for a clean cafeteria area 10 times, earning them a reward. They work very hard to behave appropriately at this unstructured time, so I am always very proud of them when they win this award!

This week:

-Hat Day on Tuesday. For a dollar, students can wear their favorite hat to school. The dollar is going to Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

-Half day for students on Wednesday. 

We'll see what else comes with these weather predictions...!

As always, please contact me with any questions!


March 20-24

over 3 years ago

Lorem Another week done! Even with some crazy weather days (spring one day, winter the next), students got outside for some fresh air every day. The Mundy homeroom continues to be an impressive community of students, regularly receiving compliments from other adults in the school about their behavior. Not only do they love hearing these positive comments, but it just gives me another reason to be so proud of them!

In the academic world, students are working hard to learn new content in both math and science. In math, we've been working on adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. I must say, they're getting really good! Students are experiencing a great deal of success as they solve these problems. We are beginning to move into division problems that have fractional answers and creating visual models to represent the problems and their solutions. Next week, we will continue to practice this, as well as begin to multiply fractions. I (nerd-ily!) can't wait for students to see how easy multiplying fractions is compared to adding and subtracting them!

In science, students finished up the life science portion by learning about plant and animal life cycles, as well as biomimicry. We are spending some time practicing open response style questions that attempt to pull out the ideas students have about science concepts. Expect to see some of these come home with grades on them in the next few weeks. We have been talking about how to answer these questions fully and students are working to make their answers as thorough as possible. 

We are moving on to work, power, energy and simple machines next week. 

Upcoming events;

-Fenway field trip is on April 6th. This is an all day field trip (actually, students will need to be at school by 7 and we plan to be home around 5). We talk about it every day, which goes to show the level of excitement!

-Spring pictures are on Tuesday, March 28th. These are the pictures that you choose a pose for, they are taken and then you receive them. After receiving them, you decide if you want to keep any and send back money or send back the whole package untouched. The students should've brought home a paper with all the different pose options on it last week. 

-The Mother Son Jamboree is this Thursday, March 30th. Money for tickets can be sent in each day this week, but the tickets are not being sold at the door. 

-Permission slips for what items could be included in the 5th grade yearbook also went home this week. I had most permission slips returned, but am still missing some. If you think there may be one floating around your student's bag, please help them find it!

As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns!


The end of March!

over 3 years ago

 Another week complete! I hope that everyone got home without issue yesterday afternoon and that you're watching this strange April storm from somewhere warm! 

The students spent another week working hard in math and science and continue to develop some new skills in what they're able to do in math. We worked on finding fractions of a set and the students did a fabulous job setting up and solving these problems accurately. 

On homework, you probably saw them working with shapes and definitions...welcome to geometry! I put a fair amount of responsibility on the students this week with homework, asking them to read their math notebooks to help them complete the homework, as it all involved content I had not explicitly taught in class this year. My goal with this is to help them continue to develop the skill of relying on notes as an additional source of information when they don't have access to the teacher. There are some kids who did an incredible job with this and made me feel confident about their years of school to come! 

In science, we work on simple and complex machines. Students can easily identify all six simple machines and are continuing to work on identifying which simple machines make up various complex machines (admittedly, even I have a little trouble with this sometimes!). Don't be surprised if they randomly shout out something like, "Hey, that's an inclined plane!" Trust me, it's been happening at school all week!

Next week, we're moving on to fraction multiplication and division in math and properties of light in science. Of course, the most exciting news for next week is the trip to Fenway Park. The students are so excited and we have talked about the trip everyday. The students need to be at NW at 7 AM and we plan to return at 5 PM. They need to make sure to eat a good breakfast and bring a lunch (and maybe an extra snack or two, as it is a long day for them!). 

I think that is it! Please let me know if you have any questions and enjoy the weekend!


A Week of April Showers!

over 3 years ago

With a few indoor recess days and a rainy trip to Fenway Park, I am impressed we all made it through this week! The students did a great job putting up with some frustrating weather and a field trip day that wasn't perfect. Ms. Santucci and I were both pleased with how they carried themselves that day!

Related to the Fenway trip, you probably heard that the game got rescheduled to this coming Thursday, April 13th. As a fifth grade, we cannot go this day due to MCAS testing. However, the tickets are being sold to the families of fifth graders as a fundraiser for 15 dollars each. The fifth grader would get their ticket for free. The caveat is that if you decide to take advantage of this offer, you have to promise that your fifth grader will be at school for MCAS on Thursday morning, meaning you could not dismiss them until 11:00 or after to go to the game. The students were told all about this on Friday and brought home an order form. The order form and payment must be returned Monday in order to be considered for the tickets. Obviously, if families chose to take advantage of this offer, they are responsible for all transportation to and from Fenway, as this is no longer a field trip. 

In addition to the field trip, which was the big news of the week, we worked on fraction multiplication while at school. Students are learning this skill in steps, which began with multiplying a fraction by a whole number, followed by multiplying unit fractions and then multiplying non-unit fractions on Friday. They are quickly recognizing that multiplying fractions is significantly easier than adding and subtracting them and that there are many less steps! We will continue to practice and solidify these skills next week, while also adding on multiplying mixed numbers. They will have notes on all of these skills in their math notebooks. Please ask them to show you what they know! They are also working on their geometry skills, particularly the properties of two dimensional shapes. Any opportunities you have to ask them questions about these would be greatly appreciated; they are all struggling with it some!

Note: Due to ELA MCAS on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, I will not be giving math homework all week. So, when they say they don't have homework, they're telling the truth! I think MCAS takes a lot out of them mentally and the only thing I can do to lighten the load is take away homework for a few days (trust me, it is painful for me!). 

In science, we spent the week talking about different types of energy and how energy is converted from one type to another. The students are continuing to practice this skill, but it is another one you can ask them about! They know about chemical, mechanical, thermal, electrical and sound energy. This coming week, we are going to talk about light, specifically refraction, reflection and absorption. 

Students will be bringing home another practice science open response question early next week. They did better this time around and we continue to talk about how to improve their responses. They're getting there!

Random school info:

There is now a half day scheduled for Good Friday (April 15th). 

MCAS ELA Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Please make sure your fifth graders go to bed at a reasonable hour so they're able to put in their best effort during the tests. We try not to stress the students out about MCAS and remind them that these tests are merely to demonstrate what they've learned in the classroom. That being said, these tests do have a big impact for our school and we do want students to feel proud when they get back results in the fall. In order to make all this happen, it is important for them to have a good night of sleep, a good breakfast and to arrive at school on time. We sincerely appreciate your support and help in this regard!

Third quarter report cards come home this week. If you are concerned or curious about any grade changes, both Miss Santucci and I encourage you to contact us or set up a meeting with us, as we are happy to discuss what is occurring in the classroom. Often times, the report card grades do not allow us to paint the full picture and we are happy to discuss things in more depth. 

I think that is it! As always, please get in touch if you need me for anything!


Last Week of April!

over 3 years ago

Phew! I always feel as though making it through the post-vacation week is an accomplishment! Additionally, April Vacation always feels like an especially tough one because of the nice weather. As nice as vacation was, it was wonderful to see all the students and hear about their various adventures.

In math this week, students worked on multiplying mixed numbers and dividing fractions. While this math is somewhat challenging, many of the students worked hard to understand the new concepts. I am increasingly impressed with their ability to solve a wide variety of math problems and explain their work as they solve. On their math homework this week, they worked on translating algebraic expressions into words and vice versa. This is the beginning of algebra (as the description of the concept might suggest…) and while it is slightly awkward and unfamiliar for many of the students, they were doing great with it by mid-week!

In science, students explored the concepts of light and sound energy. We did some activities to explore how sound travels and how our ears receive sound. We also did an activity to determine how high of pitches students were able to recognize (almost all of them can hear better than me!). They are still working on the vocabulary associated with these concepts. For light, we talked about the words translucent, transparent, opaque, reflect, refract and absorb. Feel free to ask them how light is behaving as it hits various materials and if the materials are translucent, transparent or opaque! We will continue to work with these concepts in more detail next week.

Next week in math, we move away from fractions and decimals for a little while so that students can explore the idea of volume. I think this will provide them with a nice, relatively simple, concept to work with for a few days! Hopefully they won’t be too upset about the fraction/decimal hiatus!

On Friday, students had the opportunity to see a ‘Hands on History’ presentation about the Revolutionary War. They were great audience members and seemed to be fascinated by many of the authentic objects the presenter brought to make the presentation even more realistic.

Upcoming Events:

Tomorrow, April 30th-The annual Leominster Education Foundation Run/Walk for Education at Doyle Field. This event has been discussed numerous times at school, but students/families are encouraged to come to day promoting health and wellness. There are various runs (a “Fun Run” for little ones, a 2k, a 5k walk and a 5k run) and sponsors on-site. Registration for elementary school kids is free and is open at 8:30 tomorrow at Doyle Field.

May 2nd-Author Jeff Nathan visits Northwest during the school day. Northwest staff has been working hard to expose students to the work of this author by posting his poems around the building. There is also a trivia contest in which classrooms work together to answer daily questions about the author. I’ll keep you posted on how the Mundy homeroom does!

May 8th and 9th- Math MCAS. The students know this is coming up and other than getting a good night’s sleep, a good breakfast, arriving at school on time and putting forth their best effort, there is nothing else students need to do to prepare for these assessments. They have been learning all year and these tests simply serve to determine how the learning is going. If their daily work effort is any indicator, it’s going pretty well!

By Elizabeth Mundy

Another Week in the Books! (May 1 - 5)

over 3 years ago

We made it through another week (even with fidget spinners and slime!) In addition to the typical events of the school week, the students had the opportunity to see author Jeff Nathan on Tuesday, which I think many of them enjoyed. He taught them about how to find meaning in poems in a silly, interactive manner. My personal favorite was the part where we stood up and sat down every time one of those words were mentioned in a poem...quite the leg workout!

Students also had the opportunity to wear hats to school on Thursday if they donated a dollar. The money was to support an approved Youth Venture, designed by a team of Northwest fourth and fifth graders. The idea behind youth ventures is that students in a community come up with a plan that gives back to the community in a meaningful way. The school raised $407 from the hat day, which will certainly help the venture get off to the right start!

Additionally, the Mundy homeroom has yet again won the Golden Spork for maintaining a clean table in the cafeteria 10 times in a row. I continued to be impressed with their dedication to this task!

In math, the students learned all about volume (and saw my struggle with mentally decomposing 3-d shapes!). Volume 'clicked' with most of them and was a nice break from all the work with fractions and decimals. On Thursday and Friday, they had the opportunity to look at all the topics they've learned in math this year (HOLY COW. There are SO many!) and work on problems that they felt they needed additional practice with. I think they were shocked with how much math they know. 

In science, we discussed materials and their properties and students worked on answering open responses related to this content. Since next week is math MCAS, we will do extra science next week (to make up for the times this week where we did extra math!). 


Math MCAS- May 8th and 9th. Please help us by attempting to get students to bed at a decent early, reminding them to have a good breakfast and put forth their best effort!

Science MCAS-May 17th and 18th. 

Survivor at Fall Brook-June 2nd

Field trip to Tall Ships- June 6th

Step Up Day (look at the middle schools)-June 7th 

Field Day-June 15th

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions!


May 8 - May 12

over 3 years ago

I am SO proud of the students after the hard work they seemed to put forth on MCAS this week (and on all the MCAS tests, in general!). I have tried to explain to them numerous times that the most important thing is putting forth their best effort and that a large part of these assessments is to check how well we’re doing with our instruction and to be sure the students are learning the content they’re supposed to be learning. I continually remind them that these are not tests that they need to get nervous about or study for, but as with any large scale assessment, many of them do get nervous. Feel free to remind them of all things I tell them-maybe hearing it from someone who isn’t their teacher will make them believe it! They have only two days of testing remaining; Wednesday and Thursday of this week. These are the science and technology tests and the students have learned LOTS of science this year. I feel that they are very well prepared for this week!

We spent a fair amount of the week working on reviewing science to help students feel confident as they take MCAS next week. We reviewed their knowledge of wind currents, weather fronts and pressure systems, in addition to all kinds of other topics! Feel free to ask them about the order of the planets, electricity, magnets, plants and animals, rocks and minerals, soil, why we have seasons and day and night, the difference between climate and weather, life cycles of plants and animals, properties of materials and simple/compound machines. See…I told you they have learned a lot!

In math, we took a break from some of the fifth grade topics after students completed MCAS. In fact, we took a break from learning new math altogether on Monday and Tuesday! For the remainder of the week, students learned about complimentary, supplementary and vertical angles. This is actually a seventh grade standard, but the students did a great job attempting to tackle it! Some of them certainly have a flair for geometry!

Next week, we will do a little science at the beginning of the week, before taking a break so the students can do MCAS. In math, we’ll go back to some topics that we went through quickly and I’ll work to make sure all the students have a firm understanding. We’ll also start talking about probability, which the students will use as they design games for the math carnival. Please continue to send in recycled materials…I’m sure we’ll find a use for many things! The students should have brought home a note including materials that we look for. Attached to this note was a handout about upcoming dates to keep in mind as the end of the year approaches. There are many events for fifth grade in the next month or so.

Also, please send in a white shirt for us to tie dye for Survivor! Keep in mind that the shirt will be tie dyed and the students will be wearing it all day, so nothing fancy!

Please continue to me with any questions or concerns!


May 22-26

over 3 years ago

The end of the year is quickly approaching! The students have all kinds of various countdowns on the board, from days until the field trip to days until the end of the year (not including weekends!), so clearly this is on their minds! Although they certainly have their crazy moments, they are a fabulous group that I will sorely miss next year.

With all of the MCAS testing finally behind us, the students are doing a variety of things in math and science. In math, we are going back and reviewing topics that we initially went through quickly. This includes word problems, decimal division, fraction division and volume. Some of the students are doing extension activities on these topics, while others are simply getting additional practice.

On Friday, many of the students also started an assessment that would qualify them for advanced math in middle school. They will continue this assessment next week. They also have to take the end of year MAP assessments in math and reading next week.

Students may be asking for recycled materials at home, which is because they are building games for the math carnival. This is a fun way to get students to think about probability concepts, use their creative sides at the end of the year and practice working cooperatively in groups. The students will ‘run’ the carnival on June 9th, when the fourth grade students come to play the games. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out…!

In science, students have been doing some Mystery Science lessons about water. They love these interactive lessons and last week, learned about the drastic difference in availability of fresh and salt water in the world. Students also learned about aquifers and how they can be a source of fresh water in locations where there is less readily available fresh water.

With the end of the year approaching, the schedule starts to get pretty crazy each week. This coming week looks like:

Monday: No school

Tuesday: MAP testing in ELA/Work on carnival games in math

Wednesday: MAP testing in Math/Work on poetry in ELA

Thursday: Normal day!

Friday: Survivor at Fallbrook

Thank you so much for sending in white t-shirts! I am doing a little tie dying experiment this weekend…we shall see how the shirts turn out! The students will wear these shirts the day of Survivor, to show that we are a NW team! The students should’ve brought home a permission slip for Survivor and for the middle school move up day. Please sign and return these! Also, they need to bring lunch on the day of Survivor (or ask me to order a bag lunch from the cafeteria for that day).

I think that is all for this week…but, I will certainly let you know if I forgot something!


The Start of June! (May 30-June 2)

over 3 years ago

Three weeks to go! Although the weather is implying otherwise, we are quickly approaching the end of the school year. There are all kinds of events coming up and students are showing that they can handle themselves appropriately outside of the school building…they are a great group (I may be biased, though!)

In math, students took the Spring MAP assessment this past week and the growth that some of them made from the fall to the spring was incredible! Some of the students did not finish that assessment, so they will have an opportunity to do so this week.

The students also finished up the assessment for them to qualify for the advanced math track in middle school. From the looks of the questions, this was not an easy test so I am pleased with them, regardless of the outcome, for the effort they put in to the assessment.

Other than testing, the students worked on their games for the math carnival (which is this Friday!). They seem to be having a good time creating the games and hopefully they’ll turn out unfair and the fourth grade students will enjoy playing them!

This week, we have a field trip to Boston, a visit to the middle schools, the math carnival and the annual Northwest Technology Trot (called the Safety Sprint this year!). It should be a great week and I’m sure the students will have a great time!

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns!