June 12, 2015

Our last day at Pierce

Thank you for the wonderful journey

Team Pierce

Pierce 5th grade promotion, A Walk Down Memory Lane. Thanks for your contributions!



Concert at Seaholm starts at 6:30 March 25th
arrive by 6:15 in nice looking clothing. Nothing new is needed.

March 16


You should be getting a reminder e mail about conferences. Check sign up genius if you did not get a reminder

Wed 5-8
Thurs 1-4, 5-8 ½ day of school dismissal at 12:05 or 12:10 We never figure out which one!

Check the wiki for homework questions


Don’t forget we have filed trips coming up and the musical

March 23 11:30-3;30 by bus Bloomfiled Hills farm- wear boots or shoes that are OK to get muddy.

March 25 Musical practice- Am trip to Seaholm by bus for rehearsal 9-12. We will eat when we return
Evening performance at Seaholm

March 30 Cranbrook Science Museum trip 12:30-3:15 parent drivers

March 9, 2015

Conference sign up link


Sign up to help with the 5th grade end of the year events.


We are practicing for Derby homework so you will see more subjects on more days for homework. Let’s all try to keep a positive attitude and know that the students can and will rise up to the challenge.
Please remember your instruments and lunches. We still need a few permission slips returned. They need to come back by Friday or we will be adding that to the Zap list. I have extra copies of most of the permission slips or you may make your own.
Bloomfield Hills farm March 23 in the afternoon
Musical practice- March 25- morning practice Remember they have a concert this same evening at Seaholm
*Many students are missing this note for the bus to Seaholm+
Cranbrook science center March 30 12:30-3:15

Derby Sign UP Feb 9 Meeting
Today, Derby middle school staff visited our 5th graders and gave them an overview about Derby. Your child will bring home today the blue 6th Grade Course Selection Sheet for you to fill out with your student. Please read the entire form carefully. Please note that courses for Math step 2 will be determined by our staff. If your child is currently in advanced math, we review whether it will continue to be a good placement for them for 6th grade. We discuss the appropriate placement for mathematics during our spring conferences in March.

Please select Lang. Arts 6 for Step one. All students are in this unless they are taking reading through the LRC or ESL.

You can leave Step 2 blank at this time or put what you think your child will be in for math. When we register in the computer lab, all the students will mark Math 6 and the Advanced Math students will have their placement changed after the NWEA math test scores and their next report card. Some students who have been in 5th grade math may place in Advanced math. The NWEA test will flag them for this change. Testing is also available over the summer for Advanced Math placement. Some students even move up while at Derby. We are trying to give challenges without extra stress about math placement. Please let me know if you have a question or concern about this during our spring conference. We will have plenty of time to discuss the best option for your child.

Math Lab 6 is an option for students needing extra remedial math. This can be in place of a Language or music.

Step 4 on the form is only if a class is not going to be offered from Step 3. This just never happens so don’t stress about not getting the classes your child is interested in. Also, changes can be made after conferences, in June or even over the summer. If you get the schedule in August and see an error, they are still willing to make changes. Derby has a very child friendly approach to the scheduling.

Feel free to e mail me or the Derby Counselors if you have a question. I believe there is a parent meeting, but I am not sure of the date. We will check and let you know.

Please return the course sheet to me by Friday, February 27, 2014.

Diana McComas

Feb 3

I hope your families had a fun time in the snow. Please try to send boots and snow pants for this week. The students really do enjoy the snow at recess time if they remember to wear boots. Snow pants are good for this deep snow.

Tuesday is a D day so we have band and orch. Please encourage your child to stay positive and keep practicing their instrument. Band and Orch is a creative outlet for musical talents.

Wed is a late start for students, so teachers meet their requirements for teacher inservice. Students come at 10:25. Teachers have inservice from 7:50-10:20am. This is instead of students having 1/2 days off for teacher inservice.

Valentine's Day will be celebrated the Friday before break. We are planning on exchanging valentines or small tokens of friendship(candy, pencils etc). We will ask the students to brainstorm ideas. Store bought Valentines are fine, but we can have a small substitute items instead. I usually give the students a deck of playing cards which we will have fun with that day playing different card games.
We are asking students to make/remake/recycle a valentine's box to store there valentines. We have had some very creative use of recycled materials or redecorated boxes or bags in the past. Given some time and some paper products you watch their creativity shine.

Some families plan to start the vacation early. We will pass out their cards to others by a friend and save new cards for your return.

Battle of the Books is this Friday. We have 13 attending from our class who read 6 or more books. Everyone read at least one book. I am impressed.
Mrs Diana McComas

Skate Party on January 24, 2015! It's at Skateworld which is in Troy, MI
(written by the students: Nina G, Rozy L, Lily F, Zoey T, and Ava M)

external image th?&id=HN.608047741827090710&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0
Info on the Skateworld party sign-up!

Dec 15.2014
Register today for a free Girls Only STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) event. This event will help foster and cultivate interest in STEAM related fields for our girls. Block Kids is made available by the National Association of Women in Construction-Detroit Chapter, along with Birmingham Public Schools and the Birmingham Education Foundation. There are 60 slots available for 4th & 5th Grade girls. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. You can register online

http://tinyurl.com/llx49b4 or with the attached registration form. This is a first come, first serve opportunity.

Thank you Pierce families for this donation in memory of my father. I know tha Center for Peace and Justice will put it to good use for the students.
Diana McComas

Dear Diana:
This afternoon we are mailing the acknowledgement for your school's donation of $225 in memorial for your father. We have allocated this gift for the Chaplain James Leslie Center for Peace and Justice.
Blessings and care,
Jon Powers, University Chaplain
Ohio Wesleyan University

Conference sign up information Nov 19 & 20

Nov 18 email
www.signupgenius.com/go/5080D44ACA82EA46-mrs1 conference reminder
No band/orch on Wed since it is a ½ day. Bring your instruments on Friday. The band and orch teachers are very proud of the progress the students are making. Keep up the beautiful sounds!!!!
· A study guide was sent home today for the Social Studies test that will be this Friday.
· A writing assignment will be sent home tomorrow. It is due Tuesday, November 25th.
· We are reading in a unit Unit called Following Character’s into Meaning. Please check with your child to make sure they have a chapter book that they are currently reading.
Most are reading Battle Books.
Students will need to use their own book to completed the reading assignments in class so bring your chapter book or have one for home and one for school.
· We won’t have spelling this week and next week but we will get back to spelling after Thanksgiving. Our spellingcity account was not working so we just put that on the back burner.
· Your child filled out their wish list for the book fair. Please stop by during conferences.
· Report cards were sent home yesterday. Please return the envelope by the end of this week.
· If you need to change your conference time there are many spots available.
· I look forward to discussing your child’s progress. Please bring any questions that you may have.
· Above are the attachments for Social Studies and writing assignments.

PParent Information
9-24-14 Announcement team sign ups so far. Changes may occur if needed
Thursday morning
Our class will start this Thursday. For now this is the schedule we have.
Mrs Bell will need your team of broadcasters at 8:35 a.m. on their day. Because the broadcast will be LIVE we must be prepared to start on time! Mrs McComas will help with each groups first day. Try to arrive at 8:30 to make it to the media center ready to go at 8:35. Don’t worry if you are sick. We will cover for you.
1. Sept/Oct Thursday
Isabella, Ella, Rozy, Sofia, Jalen*
Jalen will go each Thursday since he is in Kids club in the morning. He will be the fill in or anyone who is absent. He also plans to help Mrs Bell or a subsititue.
2. Nov/Dec Lily, Gabriel, Jane, Zoey
3. Jan/Feb Andrew P, Will, Drew R, Grace, Ava
4. March/April Mariam and others to be determined
5. We will leave the end of the year for repeat broadcasters.
Mrs Bell will help assign the job.
Broadcasters 2
Weather person 1
Camera 1
I pad prompts 1
Soon we will be asking for students interested in Student Council to write a short speech for our class.
“Ideas I have for Student Council and our school”
If they were on Student Council in previous years. We ask them to let others have a turn this year.
Calendar contest drawings are due. Try to do this by Friday. It will be a good writer’s workshop piece.
Extra credit contest info
This week’s homework

Curriculum night

Thank you for attending Curriculum night or reading over the packet if you were not able to attend. Hopefully you have an idea where you can get information if we missed sharing everything. Thanks to our excellent room parent, we have been able to keep up with the fast pace and amount of information. I will often copy e mails into this part of the wiki so you can take another look at the information shared by e mail. Check out the information below you might have missed.

*technology form to bring in devices
  • summer reading log
  • Band web link
  • report card information

Curriculum Night Power Point

Pierce Calendar

Technology form for parent and student signature

Farewell messages from Pierce teachers- great fun to watch to see your favorite teachers fro the past.

Check out the information on the summer reading program

Dear Reading Support Family,

The Birmingham Education Foundation is offering a summer reading program, this year, called “Bee A Reader!”All students going into grades K-5 next fall can participate.

The program is explained in detail on the district’s fusion page: http://bee-a-reader.birmingham.k12.mi.us and I’ve attached all of the files here, as well.

Here is what students need to do:

  • Return the blue “Have You Heard the Buzz?” reading contract to school. This was sent home with students last week. You can also print the attachment if you lost it.
  • Each student needs to read and log at least 800 minutes of reading during the summer. See the attached “Bee A Reader Program Resources page for ideas. (pre-school students going into kindergarten have their own special reading log to complete). All students will bring home a reading log, but you can also print one off here or from the district Fusion page.
  • First through fifth grade students also need to complete the journal pages on the reading log.
  • Return the completed reading log (and journal pages) to your new classroom teacher during the first week of school.

There will be a special celebration in the fall for every student that completes the project and returns the reading log.

If you forget to turn in your contract this spring, don’t worry about it. As long as your child returns the completed log in September they will be invited to the celebration.

For our littlest readers, 800 minutes can be a lot. It is okay to count the time that these students are being read to.

Copied from the reading teacher and sent by Mrs McComas

technology information

Visit Mr. Rodgerson’s beginning band website at: www.bpsbeginningband.weebly.com

Check out the Pierce “We are the World Blog”

Pierce Ski club Thursdays in Jan


Science Olympiad information- Forms due Jan Practices start Jan March

This is the information from last year. We are excited about having many of the scientists from 4th grade be part of Science Olympiad again.


Report card information Standards based grading information

The Literature and Informational Text areas of reading on the report raced are linked to Standards. Some of the assessed assignments are from more formal reading tests and some are from short assignments like sticky note reflections.
Our hope is to build reading strategies appropriate to each student’s level and to stretch reading skills into student’s own reading for pleasure as well as their reading in the content area.

For this fall we were reading as well as testing with nonfiction text. The readers were asked to read nonfiction text in school. They were allowed to look back into the story for answers. We developed details and new vocabulary reading about Nature’s Fury and Scholastic News articles. We also read nonfiction text for testing about animals, a high speed train, the Internet and many other topics. Retelling these details makes students stronger readers. Hopefully the techniques we are using with reading lessons in class are making students more aware of how to build their reading vocabulary and comprehension.

Reading Foundations
The standards under this category match to the Fountas and Pinnell F&P reading test teachers have been using for the past few years for one-one reading testing.
We listen to a reader for about 2 minutes recording their oral reading. We are listening for fluency and expression and word decoding. Students who have strong fluency are aware of punctuation and parts of the story where expression will make the reading more meaningful. We are also recording their reading rate WPM. Words per minute. Speed is not as important as a smooth and easy to understand rate.

After the student has finished reading the remaining 3-5 minutes of the story, they discuss the story with the teacher. Authors purpose, detailed facts from the story, predictions, connections to the text,text features such as tables, graphs, vocabulary meaning and a general understanding of the story or passage are all part of this discussion and questioning time. Many students enjoy this one-one time to share their knowledge with a teacher with no interruptions.
The F & P test gives students a range for reading. Independent scores mean this a level where understanding will take place without help. Instructional reading levels usually are where more difficult vocabulary has made the comprehension come with adult, partner or more careful reading or re reading.
A-Q level are considered below standards for 5th grade
R & S level are working towards
T Meets most
U and above are considered Mastery at this point in the school year.

Mastery of 5th grade reading standards and reading strategies is our goal as well as a lifelong appreciation/love of reading.

Writing standards marked this time were:

Write routinely over extended time frames (a single setting or a day or two for a range of specific tasks, purposes and audience.

With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising,editing,rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.

Writer's workshop in class and Thursday night homework were used to assess this as well as the Mystery Book report and reading reflections.

Language Standards

Conventions of Standard English grammar and usage in writing Conventions of Standard English in capitalization, punctuation and spelling in writing
Spelling word list scores
Vocabulary word test

Math grades recorded for the standards
The Math print out will show quiz & test scores some will have points added for corrections and parent signature Review work and homework are given points for turning them in and completion

Homework will be discussed at conferences.
Students have different homework strategies. Some work independently and use homework time as practice. Others need parent or tutors to research the homework. This can take longer. Our hope is that students do not need to spend an excessive amount of time just to finish a page of homework. If parents need help monitoring this time we can have that as a conference discussion. Forgotten homework or lack of organization to get the homework done may also be an issue. Hopefully e mailing the answer sheet to the homework packet has helped parents. We are also hoping to find other resources for parents with the Math expressions program.

In class we will spend 10 minutes to demonstrate and develop understanding on some of the new concepts. Then students will often work with a partner or small group to practice or research the strategies. When homework is difficult, bringing in the tricky homework to share strategies is a productive teaching technique. When a student comes and teaches another student they help others as well as firm up their own understanding.

The Compass Learning math site is an excellent way for math work tailored for students math level. Students get math practice at their level as well as math remedial and challenge work chosen by their math instructor. Students who are working with the Math Lab program have remedial math help in a fun way both at school and at home by going on to Compass Learning.

Science for this report card we focused on the Standards for Sun, moon and earth. We did not have enough hands on experiments to evaluate the scientific process. We worked more on research and finding information, team work and looking and understanding patterns. After a short unit on Force and Motion, we will be dive into our Chemistry unit called Mixtures and Solutions.

I hope this helps explain the new report cards. I look forward to sharing at conference time.
Please excuse the long e mail which may have many editing errors. Camp and report cards have taken it’s toll on my time for accuracy.

Diana McComas
5th grade-Pierce Elementary School