News from Room 5 – April 22, 2014

John came in on Monday and stated, “there are 44 days of school left.”  Several jaws dropped, including mine.  There is still so much to do!  

Next Tuesday, our class will be taking the math portion of the OAKS test.  We will take a look at the practice test as a class and talk about good strategies to use, but feel free to examine the practice test with your child at home, too.  It can be helpful to see what kinds of tasks they will be expected to perform.  The practice test can be found here:  Please support your child’s performance by making sure they are getting plenty of sleep in the nights before the test and eat a healthy breakfast on Tuesday morning.

Last week, with your help, our Donors Choose project was funded!  Our new Zuma rockers are en route right now and the whole class is eagerly awaiting their arrival .  Thank you so much for your support!

The homework this week is all about fractions on a number line, a concept we have spent a good deal of time on in class.  While many students feel comfortable drawing a sketch of a fraction, comparing fractional amounts can be quite challenging for some.  We have been exploring the relationship between the denominator and the size of the fraction, as well as what it looks like to add or subtract fractions with like denominators.  It can be tricky to master these ideas, so I encourage you to support your child’s learning by visiting the fractions section on IXL for more practice.  

In our Portland history unit, settlers from the east have arrived to claim the free, available lands that Lewis and Clark found on their trip.  Unfortunately, the settlers arrival brought much sickness to the native population and the majority of them perished or were incorporated into nearby tribes.  Over the next few years, the settlers will be establishing Portland as a busy town, rife with trade and shipping.  Check out the blog ( for photos and other updates on our adventures through time.

Thank you for all that you do,

Ms. Elissa

Changes in Portland

This week we have been making our way through some huge events in the history of Portland and surrounding areas.

Lewis and Clark stopped by, the returned east to tell everyone there was free land available to anyone who’d make the trip.


Then people began migrating from the east coast. Newcomers arrived and announced that their friends were on their way…


And just today, a whole wagon train arrived, bringing settlers looking for land to farm and build on.


Unfortunately, those settlers also brought diseases such as cholera and small pox which decimated the native population. Up to 80% of the local population succumbed to disease at this time.


It was a day tinged with excitement for the future and sadness for our losses. Big change is on the horizon. Stay tuned for more historical updates.

-Ms. Elissa


News from Room 5 – April 16, 2014

Our field trip to Reed Gallery last week was informative and fun.  We got to see some ancient pieces of writing, primarily from the Qur’an as well as some more recent artistic interpretations of Arabic calligraphy.  We got to watch a video of an artist creating some ornate pieces, hear about techniques for creating and storing inks, and feel the tools used for this type of work: the qualam and some parchment.  I know some of our students have been motivated to continue their studies outside of class, which is exciting to hear about.

In math, we are dialing in our understanding of fractions.  We will take a close look at a variety of fraction situations: fractions of objects, on a number line, and we will compare fractions.  Please support your child’s learning by encouraging them to practice the fractions section on IXL over the next few weeks.

Scholastic Book Orders are due this week!  Please turn yours in so I can place the order promptly.

Report cards will be sent home on Friday, so keep your eyes out for those!

Feel free to contact me at any time.

Take care,

-Ms. Elissa


Walking Field Trip

Yesterday out class made the trek down to Reed College to check out the exhibit on Arabic calligraphy. It was a beautiful exhibit and the kids had some great questions to ask. A big thank you to all of our parent chaperones – you were invaluable!

Here are some pictures of when Mr. McNaughton visited our classroom to teach us a little bit of the Arabic alphabet and our gallery tour.











The gallery is open to the public until April 27th. If you’d like to check it out, check their website for hours:

-Ms. Elissa

News from Room 5 – April 9, 2014

Another busy week! I am looking forward to seeing you all at our drama performance tomorrow night. All students need to arrive by 6:00 pm. The performance begins at 6:30 for other family or friends who are coming to watch the plays. I am looking forward to seeing the results of 4 weeks of hard work and practice!

Thursday afternoon is our walking field trip to the Cooley Gallery at Reed College to view some ancient Arabic and Persian calligraphy. Please make sure your child wears some comfortable walking shoes for the trip. If you are interested in being a chaperone for this trip, sign up outside of Room 5 – we’d love to have you along for a walk in the sunshine.

We have been engrossed in Portland history for the last two weeks, with a focus on the Native Americans who inhabited this area for thousands of years before it was settled by Europeans. Check out the blog ( for pictures of our historical adventures so far.

Enjoy this beautiful weather!
- Ms. Elissa

The Clearing Part II: Portland History

On Friday, we continued our study if Portland’s past and each student made their own character to live in our village. The students had to incorporate what they have learned about the native people of Oregon by creating their clothing and listing their skills on a brief biographical card.

The kids will continue to experience Portland’s history from an first person perspective as we continue through this unit. Stay tuned for more updates!



















The Clearing – Portland History

We have begun our deep study of Portland’s history, a venture that will last for the remainder of the year. Yesterday table groups worked together to build a glimpse into what Portland may have looked like for thousands of years before white settlers arrived.

Check out their hard work and the detail they put into out mural!








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