August 2020
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A Snapshot of Life as a Fifth Grader

A Snapshot of Life as a Fifth Grader


We start each session practicing math fluency or reviewing a skill.  Then continue on with Math Connects.  Our Performance Expectations include, but are by no means limited to, long division, fractions, decimals and problem solving.  We started switching for math two weeks ago to better meet every student’s needs.  These groups are fluid and your child may change teachers based on his/her skill level within various units during the school year.  It is expected that fifth graders already know their multiplication facts!


Reading: We use the Scott Foresman reading basal as the foundation for building reading comprehension skills.  The reading program is supplemented with Scholastic News each week, non-fiction reading in science and social studies and various book studies.  In a few weeks we will begin a book study with Holes.  In addition, we will have the Family Literature Night on December 6th

Spelling: Each week students are given 5 spelling words plus 5 challenge words on Monday.  These will be tested on Friday.  Spelling homework is given each Monday that reflects the skill they learned that day or from a previous lesson.  The spelling test not only tests spelling, but also has students determine which form of the word is the right word.  For example: there, their, and they’re.

Writing: The Six Traits + 1 writing program and Step Up to Writing program are used to teach writing.  Various writing projects will be completed during the year with the State Report being one of the larger writing projects.  A writing assessment is given each trimester and will be graded using the writing rubric.  The focus for 5th grade students is to write an organized piece using complex sentences fluently with interesting word choice.  Poetry, short stories and thematic paragraphs will also be written.


We cover many scientific concepts this school year because fifth graders take the Science MSP in May.  We will be studying Energy, Matter, Geology, Landforms, and Environments. The Scientific Process is taught through the Nutrition and Rat Unit. There will be a Science Fair Project due in March before Spring Break.


In the fall we start with Explorers coming to the New World and eventually winning our independence with the Revolutionary War after the 13 colonies were formed.


Computer skills in keyboarding, word processing, research, power points, editing and publishing will be taught and used to support the academic areas.  We also use the math programs to reinforce skills and concepts. 


Students will complete various pieces of art.  Art helps develop fine motor skills and creates an appreciation for the arts.  Elements of line, color, shape, and perspective will be explored in various mediums.

Technology and Science…A Perfect Pairing!

Science and Technology compliment eachother perfectly!  As an example of this dynamic duo, students will create Podcasts about their science experiments.  Take a listen!


Mrs. DaMassa's Podcast sample A

Winter News Letter


Dear Parents,

Winter is upon us and with that comes a busy time of learning in the classroom as well.  In math we are working on algebra and will be starting fractions soon.  Science will take main stage with completing labs in class where we actually go through the scientific process and learn to write a scientific conclusion based on the lab results.  We will also be learning or reviewing various scientific concepts. We are close to completing the Cell Unit and are starting the Nutrition Unit next week, then onto Human Body Systems.  With this unit we show the Boy/Girl film the week before Spring Break.  Information will be sent home for you with dates to preview this film ahead of time if you want and student permission slips as well. Last, but not least, all 5th grade students are required to complete a science project that will be displayed at the Science Fair March 30th.  Information will be sent home Monday laying out the requirements are so they will have time to complete the project at home in a timely manner.  Colonizing America will be our focus this trimester in Social Studies. Students will be making connections about how the geography and cultural backgrounds of the various settlers affected their colonies economy and way of life.  The Social Studies text will be used each week in reading to teach non-fiction reading skills such as cause and effect and finding information from the text. 

With everything that needs to be covered this trimester, the students will need to be well rested and stay healthy.  Also please make sure they have a warm coat for recess.  It seems like the cold weather may be here to stay for awhile.  As always, it is important for your child to complete their homework each evening. 

It is hard to believe that March is arriving so quickly.  This pregnancy seems to have flown by!  My due date is fast approaching and I wanted to keep you informed on what will be happening in your child’s class.  My plan is to stay in the classroom as long as I can.  We have such a great classroom community this year that it will be difficult having to leave.  We have hired a long term substitute by the name of Ed Watson.  Mr. Watson is a veteran teacher who we have pulled out of retirement.  He is a well respected, highly qualified teacher who has been with the Camas school district for many years, doing a majority of his teaching at Lacamas Heights.  He helped pilot our Math Connects curriculum, has experience supervising state tests and is very familiar with 5th grade curriculum and end of the year activities. He is going to be a great fit!  As hard as it will be to leave I know I will be leaving my class in good hands.  If you have any questions or concerns after I have left please feel free to contact him or Ms. Sork. 

This is an exciting time of year with a lot of learning going on!  Below I have made a list of important upcoming events.  Please email or call me with any concerns you may have.  I am so excited and feel very lucky to be working with such a great group of kids this year! 

Thanks for your support,

Kristi DaMassa 

Important Upcoming Dates:

2/11             Fox Dance

2/21             No School/President’s Holiday

3/11             Spring Photos

3/30             Fox Science and Math Night

3/28-4/1       PTA Book Fair

4/4-4/8         Spring Break


Science is cool!

We have had a great time learning about landforms and the evolution of our earth!  Please enjoy the song “Lava Flows” courtesy of Bill Nye!

Lava Flows

Welcome to fifth grade!

We have had a great start to fifth grade!  September flew by, the students have settled in to the routine of our schedule, and we are working at building a strong community of learners.

The field trip up the Gorge was wonderful.  The weather couldn’t have been nicer!  A big “thank you” to all the parents who helped chaperon.  I think we all have a new appreciation of this beautiful area we live in.  Students are now working on their expert groups and teaching their classmates about mountain building, volcanoes, earthquakes, weathering/erosion, and the structure of the earth.  We will compile all of our geology work in a notebook for students to share with you!

Each month our class will be taking a “walking field trip” to the bio swale and stream next to our school property.  I will give advanced warning so that students can wear appropriate clothing and footwear.  (Our next testing is scheduled for November 22nd).  This is a great hands-on learning where we are collecting real data to support the work of the Water Resources Center.

It was great to see so many of you at our Fox Open House.  If you didn’t make it, I hope you received the yellow information sheets about our class.

I am sending home mid-term progress reports.  Please keep in mind that these are not final grades!!! Participation, growth, and individual abilities are factored into the final grade for report cards.  This progress report does show if your student is consistently turning in work, which has a direct correlation to higher grades.  A blank spot means that the assignment was not turned in to be recorded.  (It may have been done, just not turned in.)

As the weather gets wetter, and colder, please check that shoes and clothing are appropriate for safety patrol and outdoor recess.

I am really enjoying this group of fifth graders!  The kids come to school happy and enjoy learning which makes my job so much fun.

Looking forward to a great year!

Mrs. DaMassa