Fifth Grade

*This page is used to fill you in on what the class has been working on during the past week, as well as a sneak peek into next week.


Good afternoon 5th grade parents,

We have started a countdown in our room to the GFGA, which is currently less than 2 weeks away!  On this day 2 weeks from now, we will hopefully be enjoying beautiful views and waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park as we wrap up the second day of our Great Adventure!  The kids are super excited!  This final full month of the year is packed with events, so I’ve attached a “Final Month Calendar” that was made up for the teachers, so you can see the events that impact the 5th graders in some way.  Here are some highlights from what we’ve been working on in the core subjects this week.
1) In Science, students have been researching an animal we expect to see on the GFGA, and creating a Google Slide show about that animal, specifically its adaptations that help it to survive in its environment.  We’ll present these next week and then get started on our final unit: marble rollers coasters!
2) In Social Studies, students presented their posters about major Civil War battles, and we looked at a timeline and read more about the end of the war and Lincoln’s assassination.  We’ve started discussing the Reconstruction time period, and students will receive a study guide tomorrow for their final Unit test on Monday, 5/13.
3) In Math, we’ve continued our study of prisms and pyramids, learning how to find the surface area and volume of rectangular prisms.  We also tried some fun math riddles, and Mr. Norry has challenged them to a particularly challenging balance problem which I encourage them to share with you.
4) In Language Arts, we read a historical fiction story about Chinese immigrants during the time of the gold rush.  We have also been working on our Tall Tales in the tech lab and will peer edit them tomorrow, in preparation for sharing them with our buddies on Monday.
*Note that they do have a couple things due tomorrow for homework, but if they are attending the Spring Concert this evening and don’t have time to complete something, nothing will be counted against them tomorrow, other than them being ready for their spelling test.  Have fun tonight!
1) Bake Sale on Tuesday, May 9th – On Tuesday, May 9th, the 2nd grade class is having a bake sale to raise money to purchase backpacks that will be used to make welcome kits for local refugee children. The 2nd graders have been studying refugees and have created welcome cards, lists of recommended places to visit, purchased books and more for the welcome kits. Please help support our work by sending your child to school with $1-$2 to purchase some yummy baked goods. If you have any questions, please contact Kate Newman. 
2) Battle of the Books finals – Wednesday, May 10th, at 2:15 in the Commons.  We’ll know the finalists after Monday afternoon.
3) Lower School Field Day – Friday, May 12th, from 1-3.
4) *That’s it for next week – as mentioned, I’ve attached a list of other upcoming events.  The Assembly, recognizing Julia Johnson and Kate Norry(and Lulu Burnside, since she missed the last one) is Friday, May 26th, and be sure to look over the end of year events as well.
I hope everyone is having a great week, and let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

It’s been a short week, with Monday off and our field trip to Old Salem on Tuesday.  That trip went very well, and I hope your kids were able to share a little of their fun experience and what life was like in this Moravian Colony in the late 1700’s!  I uploaded a few photos to “Old Salem” on the TDS Photos if you’d like to see them.  Otherwise, here’s a brief blurb about the core subjects and what we’re working on.
1) In Social Studies, we’ve been researching events in the Civil War, gathering information and working in groups to create a poster and prepare to share the information with the other groups.
2) In Science, we reviewed our Chapter on Ecosystems and prepared for our Unit test on Friday.  We will then do a brief class project on adaptations, focusing on animals we might see on our GFGA in a few weeks!
3) In Language Arts, we had our last Lit Group, discussing the endings to the historical fiction novels they’ve been reading.  Then they also worked on editing the historical fiction stories they have been working on.
4) In Math, we started a new unit on 2D figures, starting off by reviewing the common polygons and classifying triangles by their angles and sides.  Students practiced labeling different types of triangles, and tore off their angles to show they always make a straight line(180 degrees!).
1) Student Treasures – these are complete and bound and ready to be shipped off!  We’ll get them back in about a month, and students will all have a bound booklet to keep with them, and extras if they ordered them.  They look great, and thanks for your help with getting them finished up!
2) Report Cards – they are going live today(a day early).  Let me know if you have questions.
3) April Assembly tomorrow – Rhythm and Blue will perform and we’ll recognize Lulu Burnside and Jason Sorin as this month’s Talented Tornadoes!  Rhythm and Blue will be selling CD’s if you’d like to bring money to purchase them.
4) Jump Rope for Heart – next Friday.
I think that’s about it.  I hope everyone has had a wonderful week, and let me know if you have questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow marks the end of the 3rd quarter, and the year is really starting to wind down!  The 5th graders continue to make excellent progress and be such a delightful group to work with!  It’s been another full week, with lots to talk about, so let me jump into the subject summaries.
1) In Language Arts, students are continuing to read and discuss their Lit Group books, and they have all started writing their own historical fiction stories in the tech lab.  We’ve also been working on finishing up our Student Treasures – more info below about those!
2) In Math, students took their quiz on Probability on Monday and they got these back and went over them carefully.  We then started our next unit on Angles, where we have been using protractors to measure angles and discussing different relationships that can help find missing angles.
3) In Social Studies, we had a fun “Zorp update” on Monday, reviewing some of what has been happening and helping them connect with some of the reasons that led up to the Civil War, which is our next big topic!  We read in the text about the differences between the North and the South and looked at slavery and some of the abolitionists working to end it.
4) In Science, we have continued our unit on Ecosystems, learning about how ecosystems change, and how animals and plants adapt to survive in their environment.  This afternoon, we did a fun experiment, with them pretending to be animals with adaptations trying to collect enough food to survive!
1) Student Treasures – all students received a form today that needs signed(by next Wednesday if possible).  All students get 1 free hardbound booklet, and if you’d like an additional copy as a gift or keepsake, they are an additional $19.95.
2) Lip Sync Extravaganza – attached is a schedule for the performances tomorrow.  You are welcome to come watch and enjoy. 🙂
3) Field Trip to Chestnut Ridge – Thursday, 4/13.  This fun Science Field Trip will get students exploring with ecosystems and forces in motion.  Students will need a bagged lunch that day and be prepared to be outside!
4) Field Trip to Old Salem – Tuesday, 4/18.  This full-day field trip down to Old Salem will give students the opportunity to experience more about what life was like in early America!  Students will get hands-on tours of buildings in groups and need to bring a bagged lunch and appropriate clothing for being outside.
5) JLDOC Essay Contest winners – Kate Norry and Jason Sorin were selected as the winners of $100 each for coming up with an idea to help the community get healthier food!  We entered this contest held by the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties a couple months ago and they were selected as the winners!  Exciting stuff! 🙂
I hope everyone is having a good week, and please let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,

-Dan Forringer


Hi 5th grade parents,

It’s been another productive week in 5th grade, so let me jump right into the subject summaries and announcements.
1) In Language Arts, we’ve been working on finishing up our Student Treasure poems and plan to start working on illustrations next week.  We also started our new historical fiction Lit Groups, reading “Blood on the River”, “Johnny Tremain”, and “Blue”, each excellent novels that take place during a significant time period in US History.
2) In Math, we continued to explore some bracket probability during our extra math time with Mr. Norry.  We’ve also started Chapter 10 in Math in Focus on Graphs and Probability, this week focusing on interpreting graphs, plotting points, and working with function tables.
3) In Science, the robotics groups each presented their programs, explaining what their goals were, what problems they ran into, and what notes they took to help their robots be precise.  This was a challenge for many students and stretched their willingness to problem solve.  We also did the kick-off lesson for our next unit we’ll be getting into next week on Ecosystems.
4) In Social Studies, we continued to learn about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, doing a Constitutional Convention skit, memorizing the Preamble and discussing the vocabulary terms used in it, and debating how much power the president should have.  We also did some Lewis and Clark online adventure activities, making decisions and learning more about what was involved in their epic journey.
1) As you’ve heard – Jason Sorin won the Duke Regional Spelling Bee!!
2) 5th graders to help paint Croasdale Art mural!  Cindy Lucas has teamed up with Beth Reeves(former TDS parent) to have our 5th graders help paint a mural at Croasdale next Thursday morning during Art class.
3) International Festival – next Friday, March 31st, from 1-3pm!  We could use a few more cultural food items to share at the International Cafe – if you are interested, please contact Bethany Bassler to let her know.  The March Assembly, recognizing Justin Voorhees as this month’s Talented Tornado in 5th grade, will be from 1-1:40, followed by cultural activities prepared for the students.
4) Game Night – also that Friday, 3/31, from 5-9pm!
5) Lip Sync Extravaganza(4/7) – videos should be sent to Mr. Forringer by Monday, 3/27.
Let me know if you have any questions and have a great weekend!

2/27 – 3/3

Hello 5th grade parents,

Having seen most of you today, this update seems less needed, but I figured I’d still send out a brief one.  It was good seeing everyone, and feel free to let me know if you realized something else you wanted to discuss after you left.  Here is a little of what we’ve been working on during the week.
1) In Math, students have continued learning about percents and different strategies for finding percents – we took a quiz yesterday.  We’ve also been practicing the digits of pi, and will do a brief circle unit for the next week.
2) In Language Arts, we’ve been working on our Student Treasure poems that students will illustrate and have made into a booklet.
3) In Science, we’ve continued to work on our LEGO Robotics mat challenge in their science lab groups.
4) In Social Studies, we watched a couple videos related to writing the constitution, discussed the 3 branches of government, and have spent a lot of time rehearsing and preparing for our play next week!
1) Rise for Hunger Event tomorrow – students may bring baseball caps to cover their hair(otherwise they will wear a hairnet), and girls must have their hair in a ponytail.  We’ll be making 20,000 meals for the hungry in our community!!
2) Musical – costumes/props due tomorrow.  Full dress rehearsal Monday, and our performances are still Tuesday at 2 and 6pm, with PDQ celebration time after.  Please have students to TDS between 5:30-5:45 that Tuesday evening, so we can have them ready to start at 6.  There is still a chance of a 3rd performance, but if we do it, it will be after Spring Break.
3) Pi Day Assembly – Thursday, March 9th, from 2:15-2:55 in the gym.  We will do some activities related to circles and hold a class contest for memorizing the digits of pi in preparation for this!
4) GFGA – I will send out the most updated itinerary and the final payment amount by next week.  It will be less than the expected budget total of $350.
5) International Festival – please contact Bethany Bassler if you’d be willing to volunteer to help out at this event, on March 31st.  It’s being set up in a new way and should be really neat!  We’ll have a whole school assembly starting around 1pm, followed by workshop sessions on a variety of cultural topics!
I hope everyone’s had a good week, and let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

It was great seeing all the 5th graders at the Science Expo last night!  I didn’t get to see many of their projects, but we shared in our classroom this afternoon, and the kids had a lot of excellent information to share!  I hope you were able to see them, and enjoy the robotics and Duke students that had all sorts of neat science toys and demos to entertain with!  We also finished up our Secret Valentine’s week this afternoon, and that went very nicely.
*Attached is some information about our musical that we will performs in a little over 2 weeks – March 7th!  Let me know if you have any questions about it.  It is a lot to manage and keep track of, so we want the students to be prepared and be responsible for their costumes and props for their scenes.  We’ll begin full run-thru’s without scripts on Tuesday, so students should know their lines and songs.  Thanks for your help with this!
Here is a little more information on what we have worked on in the core subjects this week:
1) In Social Studies, we completed the review sections in our workbook and students received a study guide for their Unit Test next week on the American Revolution.  We also rehearsed for our musical.
2) In Science, we continued to learn about the different sensors on their EV3 robots.  Today, we introduced their “final math challenge”, which involves 6 different challenges on the LEGO mat using a combination of all that they’ve been learning.  We also shared their Expo projects!
3) In Language Arts, we read the story, “The Master Spy of Yorktown”, which is about an African American spy named James Armistead, who worked for Lafayette and provided key information that helped the Americans win at Yorktown.
4) In Math, we completed chapter 9 on decimal computation and we started working on percents, exploring how decimals, fractions, and percents are related and how to convert from one form to the other.
1) Friday, February 24th – Career Day Assembly.  Students are encouraged to dress up as a career and some middle schoolers will share career day projects.  We will recognize Asha Mankad as this month’s Talented Tornado!
2) Parent Conferences – March 2nd.
3) Crossroads – making sandwiches for Stop Hunger Now!
4) Pi Day Approaching – The countdown has begun! Only 26 days until Pi Day (March 14th), and only 21 days until the 3rd annual TDS Pi Day Assembly and Memorization Contest. Of course, this is optional, but all are encouraged to participate. The task? Memorize and recite as many digits of pi as possible. Class winners will compete on stage during the assembly on March 9th.
5) GFGA optional parent meeting – I do still want to set one of these up before Spring Break, just to go over a few things and give you a chance to ask questions if you have them.  I’ll tentatively suggest the Friday after next, 3/3, and confirm next week.  It would be brief – about 3:30-3:45.
6) International Festival – Friday, March 31 – assembly with LS Performance, followed by mini-workshops on different cultures.  You should have received an email with options for volunteering/bring food/presenting, if you are interested.
Have a wonderful, long weekend, and let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

It’s been another fun and productive week in 5th grade, so I’ll jump right into the subject summaries:
1) In Science, we finished up our balloon-powered jet races with an exciting finals between Apollo 1(created by Jasper and Lulu) and Emma(created by Julia and Kate)!  We had good discussions of how Newton’s Laws impacted their designs, and successfully launched a Cosmic Rocket outside this afternoon!  Students also got a study guide and we’ve been reviewing for their Forces Quiz tomorrow.
2) In Social Studies, we’ve continued to learn about the events leading to the American Revolution, discussing advantages and disadvantages for both sides.  Students researched a specific significant battle or event during the war, and then shared their information with others.  We also researched information on the Greatest Americans from our musical, and will rehearse tomorrow and a few times in the afternoon next week during ERB week.
3) In Language Arts, we read a story called, “If you Lived at the Time of the American Revolution” that provided a lot of information on how the Loyalists and Patriots felt leading up to the war, impacts the war had on their lives, and many of the more famous people involved.  We’ve listened to a couple related “Hamilton” songs, worked on cause and effect relationships, and also did a couple analogies and grammar activities.
4) In Math, we’ve continued our lessons on multiplying and dividing decimals, understanding place value, and estimation skills.  We also did a little specific practice with multiple choice questions and Quantitative Comparison problems, and students worked on their normal Superstars problem sets this week.
1) Bingo Night – tomorrow evening.  Enjoy some pizza and bingo with TDS friends!
2) Secret Valentines – students will draw names tomorrow.
3) Career Month – let me know if you are interested in sharing about your career! 🙂
4) Penny Wars – last day is tomorrow if you’d like to participate in this!
5) ERB testing next week – these are in the morning during normal Math and LA times.  No homework will be assigned or due during next week, so it would be a great time to finish up those Science Expo projects and make sure those are all prepared!
6) Valentines for Volunteers – Tuesday morning, February 14th!
7) Science Expo – Wednesday, February 15th!
8) GFGA update/meeting – I’m planning to set up an information meeting for parents in about a month and the final costs will go out by then.  The planning is going smoothly and the trip continues to look great!  PDQ cards can continue to be sold throughout this month, so let me know if you’d like some.
9) Field Trip to Poe Center – Wednesday, February 22nd.  Ms. Womble and I will take them in the TDS bus, so no parents needed.
I think that’s about it for now.  I hope everyone is having a good week, and please let me know if you have any questions about anything!  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

It’s been an especially exciting week in 5th grade as the students create balloon-powered jets to race across wires in the classroom, start rehearsing for their Greatest Americans Play, read about Science Fairs as they plan out their own projects, and even set up a surprise party for their classmate! 🙂  They are continuing to do some really good work and make a lot of progress as the second quarter is coming to an end.  Here are a few more specifics on what we have been learning about in the core subjects.
1) In Science, students finished their Science Expo Proposals and will turn these in tomorrow.  In class, we continue to learn about Newton’s Laws of Motion and are applying this knowledge to design balloon-powered jets that we’ll race across the classroom.
2) In Social Studies, we did an activity where the students were either colonists, tax collectors, or members of Parliament to get to experience the tax policies before the Revolutionary War.  We also read in the text and answered workbook questions about this time period.  Tomorrow, we will rehearse in our official roles for the play!
3) In Math, we continued to work on the cumulative review of the first 7 chapters in the Math in Focus text, and students took the full midterm assessment over a 2 day stretch.  I’ll return these tomorrow to go over carefully and they will take these home to be signed and corrected.
4) In Language Arts, we read a story called “Jake Drake: Know it All” about a boy preparing for a Science Fair and how he figured out ways to make it fun and meaningful.  We also had our normal spelling and grammar lessons, and read an article about the scientific method.
1) GFGA fundraiser – PDQ cards.  We’ll keep selling these until March.
2) Junior League of Durham and Orange County is offering an Essay Contest on how to use $100 to help our community have better access to healthy foods!  We’ve taken some time in class to brainstorm ideas and set up a google doc, and these would be due by the end of February if students want to participate. 🙂
3) January Assembly and Pep Rally – 1/27 – we’ll recognize Claire Collier and Merinda Harry as this month’s Talented Tornadoes, and we’ll play some pep-rally games, finishing with the 8th grade playing the faculty in a game of basketball!
4) Penny Wars – this exciting Fundraiser for Stop Hunger Now will begin on Monday, January 30th, and last that whole week.  During the week, students can bring in pennies to add points to their team’s containers, and bring other coins or bills to subtract that money value from their containers!  Should be fun!
5) Auction on Saturday, 1/28, and Science Expo coming up on Wednesday, 2/15!
6) Class Pictures are on Wednesday, February 1st.  I’ll send home order forms tomorrow.
7) Secret Valentines – I do plan on letting the kids participate in a secret valentines exchange the week of Valentine’s Day.  I’ll send more information on how that will work when we get closer. 🙂
I hope everyone’s had a wonderful week, and please let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hi parents,

I hope everyone was safe and enjoyed the icy conditions and extra time at the house this week!  These kids have done such a nice job of refocusing and getting engaged in their schoolwork, considering the inconsistent schedule!  We’ve had a productive couple days, and here is a little of what we are working on.
1) In Math, we are finishing up our unit on ratios, and tomorrow we will start some cumulative review for their midterm assessment next week.
2) In Language Arts, we read a story about tornado chasers in our Imagine It unit on Energy, and we have also started a new read aloud which they have really been enjoying!  We also had our first optional book club meeting today, and it went very well.
3) In Science, we completed lesson 1 on Forces, and have been preparing for our balloon-powered jets that we’ll start building next week!  We have also been working on our EV3 robots in science lab, and making an initial plan for our Science Expo projects!
4) In Social Studies, we connected our Zorp project this afternoon to the colonies being taxed and given all sorts of new laws after the French and Indian War.  The students were not thrilled to have King Forringer forcing them to house soldiers and have no private meetings, and this will all lead nicely into our unit on the American Revolution.  We do hope to share roles for their play tomorrow, and with it being MLK Day on Monday, we’ll take some time to honor this great American of the 20th century specifically.
1) Spelling Bee tomorrow afternoon
2) End of 2nd Quarter on Friday, 1/20.  Report Cards will go live on Monday, 1/30.
3) Pep Rally Assembly – Friday, 1/27 – Merinda Harry and Claire Collier will be recognized as this month’s Talented Tornados!
4) TDS Auction – Saturday, 1/28.
5) The “Penny Wars” are coming… 1/30 – 2/3
6) Class Pictures are on Wednesday, 2/1.
7) Science Expo is on Wednesday, 2/15!
Let me know if you have any questions about anything, and I hope everyone has a good finish to their week!  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

Happy new year! 🙂  I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday break!  Since we’ve had a very short week, I’ll use this weekly update to share more about what is coming up in each of the core subject areas.
1) In Math, we’ll be working on our last lesson in volume 1 of the text and workbook on ratios.  We will then do some cumulative review and take a midterm assessment on the topics we’ve worked on in those first books.  Students will then get new texts and workbooks for the 2nd half of the year.
2) In Language Arts, we will be working in a couple of Imagine It units for the next few weeks, starting with stories from Unit 2 on Energy, which will connect to Weather and the Science Expo we’ll be getting ready for.  We’ll then shift to Unit 3 on Making a New Nation, which will coincide nicely with our Social Studies topics.  We will return to our schedule of having spelling pre-tests on Monday, and then spelling and reading tests on Fridays.
3) In Social Studies, we will be learning about the time period leading up to the American Revolution and then the war itself.  In addition, we’ll be working on our play, “Greatest Americans of the 20th Century”, and we’ll learn more about the people involved in this play.
4) In Science, students will be working on their Science Expo projects, writing up a proposal and then preparing to present them on February 15th.  We will do a unit in class on Newton’s Laws of Motion, which will involve making balloon-powered jets and racing them across the room!  In addition, the students have started putting together their EV3 robots in Science Lab and we’ll be working on those in class as well.
1) GFGA update – separate email with more specifics coming later.
2) Geo-bee – tomorrow afternoon.  Jason Sorin will represent 5th grade.
3) Spelling Bee – Next Friday, 1/13.
4) 4th/5th grade musical – “Greatest Americans of the 20th Century!” – We’ll finish assigning parts by next week.  You can save the date for our performance, which will be Tuesday, March 7th, both during the school day and in the evening.  More information will go out later on what students should wear.
5) Optional Student Book Club – those interested can get a copy of the book “Wish”, by Barbara O’Connor, and we’ll meet once a week during lunch to read and discuss this story for fun!
6) TDS Auction – Saturday, January 28th.
7) Science Expo – Wednesday, February 15th.
Let me know if you have any questions about anything, and be safe and hopefully enjoy some pretty snow this weekend! 🙂  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

It’s been another excellent week in 5th grade, so I’ll jump right into the subject summaries and announcements for the week!
1) In Math, we took our assessment on our Algebra unit on Monday and went over them Tuesday – students took them home to be signed.  We’re now working on Area and Perimeter of rectangles and triangles, some including fractional units.
2) In Language Arts, we are continuing to read our class novel, discussing themes and answering comprehension questions.  We’ve talked a lot about Claudia and Jamie’s relationship and Claudia’s desire to feel different, and we did an activity yesterday where we sculpted soap in honor of the angel sculpture they are investigating.
3) In Science, we’ve continued our unit on Earth’s Surface, learning about erosion and soil, and Mr. Peck came in to help the kids plant tulip bulbs in our class garden.  We’ve also started discussing plate tectonics and how Earth’s plates impact land forms.
4) In Social Studies, we presented our Zorp decisions and had some fun discussions about why groups made certain choices.  We’ve also been working on geography skills, taking our 50 states quiz on Tuesday and starting to practice the capitals.  We watched the “Tour the States/World” videos and took our Geo-bee this afternoon!
1) Hour of Code – students worked with a neat program in tech lab this week creating music using code.
2) Candy Canes – all next week, Student Council will be selling candy canes to give to friends and help raise money for Stop Hunger Now!
3) Spelling Bee – We’ll have our classroom spelling bee for those participating on Monday, 12/19.
4) December Assembly and Winter Sing – Tuesday, 12/20 – Kylie Hansell and Jasper Makarushka will be recognized as this month’s Talented Tornadoes and we will also have a dance performance with some of our 5th grade girls.
5) TDS Auction – Saturday, January 28th – coming soon!
6) Science Expo – Wednesday, February 15th – I’ll encourage students to start thinking about ideas next week for what they’d like to do.  We’ll start working on these after the winter break.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving break!  The students have done a nice job of transitioning back into the swing of things, and we’ve had a productive and exciting week!  We’ve been reading a new class novel, making some final decisions for settling Zorp, and, of course, figuring out our final GFGA destination, which you’ll get a separate email about tomorrow.  Here are some other highlights from the core subject areas.
1) In Science, we’ve continued learning about soil and erosion, doing demonstrations of water erosion and getting ready to start stream tables in Science Lab.  We’ll learn about the different parts of a river on Friday and how erosion can cause deltas and oxbow lakes.
2) In Social Studies, we looked closer at our GFGA finalists this afternoon and are working on a final decision.  We’ve also been in the tech lab working in groups to create Google Slides of the decisions for settling planet Zorp.  In addition, we’ve been practicing identifying states on a blank map and playing some geography games in preparation for the Geo Bee next Thursday!
3) In Math, we’ve been finishing up our Algebra unit, working on applying their understanding of variables and solving basic equations to solving word problems.  We’ll do some final review tomorrow and take their chapter assessment on Monday.
4) In Language Arts, we have started reading “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” as a class novel, discussing themes and acting out some of the early scenes.  I’ve also been sharing their stories they wrote during read aloud.
1) Battle of the Books – students have been split into teams!  They have a username and password for, and we’ll continue to meet and practice in preparation for the competition which is scheduled for late April.
2) Quarter Games tomorrow – students should bring in $3.00 worth of quarters tomorrow to play some Minute-to-win-it games and raise money for Stop Hunger Now.  Additional donations will also be accepted.
3) Project Friendship – thanks for returning these permission forms.  We’ll do this activity 3 days next week for about 30 minutes each, working on skills for being a good friend!
4) Geo Bee – this is scheduled for Thursday, 12/8, next week.  Students answer questions related to US and World geography and those who answer the most correctly participate in a school-wide contest.
5) Spelling Bee – we’ll hold the preliminary round in class for those interested the week after next, and then a representative from each grade will participate in a school-wide contest after the holiday break.
I hope everyone is having a good week, and let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer

11/7 – 11/11

Hello 5th grade parents,

I look forward to seeing most of you tomorrow at Conferences.  It is just a 20 minute time slot, but my goals will be to:
1) Share with you about your child’s academic progress in the classroom – strengths/weaknesses
2) Share with you behavior and social/emotional observations
3) Listen to your questions/observations
4) Discuss goals
I will have a folder of some work samples and the report card on my I-pad for you to refer to if you’d like.  Here is some information on what we’ve been working on in the core subjects this past week.
1) In Math, we’ve started a new unit in the Math in Focus program on Algebra!  So far we have worked on writing expressions using variables, and simplifying and evaluating expressions that contain variables.
2) In Language Arts, we had our last Lit Group session on Tuesday.  The students made a lot of progress with their assignments and really enjoyed these books and discussion times.  We’ve now been putting our full attention on writing our own stories, and will continue working on these next week.
3) In Science, we went over the Weather Tests on Tuesday, and are starting our new unit on Earth’s Surface.  We’ve read about the different layers of soil and been learning about organic and inorganic matter – good timing for hopefully planting in our garden next week!
4) In Social Studies, we’re supplementing our early settlers unit with an in-class exploration called Zorp!  Students will work in groups and make decisions in preparing to settle a colony on a newly discovered planet similar to Earth.
1) Conferences tomorrow.
2) Nursing Home visit – 5th grade will be visiting PACE Nursing Home on Monday to do an arts and craft activity and spread some joy! 🙂
3) November Assembly – 11/18, from 2:15-2:55 in the gym.  Brandon Fox will be recognized as this month’s Talented Tornado for 5th grade!  Classes will also do a brief “Thankful” activity to share what we are thankful for.
4) Lower School(3rd-5th) Movie Night – November 18th, Friday, from 5:45-8pm.  Snacks provided, but NOT dinner!
5) Grandparents and Special Friend’s Day – Tuesday, November 22.  Families will spend some time in their child’s classroom, will go to a Compliments Class with them, and then see a performance before dismissing at noon!
6) Class Party – the students just filled their 2nd jellybean container and have earned a class party!  I will talk with them about this next week and set it up soon and will let you know if I could use your assistance! 🙂
Let me know if you have any questions about anything, and I will see you tomorrow.


Hello 5th grade parents,

It’s hard to believe the end of the first quarter is already here!  These kids are such a delight to teach and are making great progress! 🙂  In addition to some of the normal academic activities, we had our first Battle of the Books gathering with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders this week and talked about how that will work this year.  We also watched an “Alice in Wonderland” performance by Jordan High School, which led to a discussion about our musical that we’ll put on with the 4th graders, and the kids seem excited about that!  Here are some of the highlights from what we’ve been working on in the core subjects:
1) In Science, we did some research on hurricanes and tornadoes and created “tornadoes in a bottle” to demonstrate these powerful forces.  The students received their study guide on Wednesday for the Unit Test on Thursday of next week, and we’ve started studying and preparing for this in class.
2) In Social Studies, students finished their Google Slides on their European Explorer and presented them to the class on Tuesday.  We’ll take a quiz Friday on these 15 explorers that we’ve been learning about, and the students can review the slides on Google Classroom as one way of studying.
3) In Math, we took a quiz today on Multiplying and Dividing Fractions and Mixed Numbers, and we’ll continue to do some cumulative review of all the concepts we have learned about during this fractions unit.  We also played a coordinate grid game and students worked on Superstars sheets.
4) In Language Arts, students have been preparing assignments and meeting in their Literary Groups to discuss the novels they’re reading, and I’ve seen good progress with this already.  We also continue to work on writing strategies and will start planning out our realistic fiction stories next week!
1) Spirit Week is next week!  Monday = Costume Day, Tuesday = Pajama Day, Wednesday = Wacky Tacky Day, Thursday = Student/Teacher Swap Day, and Friday = Purple/Gold Day.
2) Noon Dismissal tomorrow.
3) Grading period ends tomorrow.  Reports cards go out next Friday, November 4th!
4) Twister Trot – next Saturday, November 5th!
5) Lower School(grades 3-5) Movie Night – Friday, November 18th, from 5:45 – 8pm in the Commons. (movie starts at 6!)  Attached is a permission form that I will also hand out to the students tomorrow.
6) GFGA update – Students have the final directions(posted to the website), and the final project is due November 15th!  I told them I’d like to see their essay draft next Friday, just to help keep them on schedule!  We’ll present that week, and vote on our final destination after Thanksgiving break!
I hope everyone is having an excellent week, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments about anything!  Take care,
-Dan Forringer

10/10 – 14

1) In Language Arts, students have been split into Literary Groups, and will be reading and preparing assignments to share with their groups as we discuss different aspects of these novels.  We will also be working on story-writing skills, preparing to write our own realistic fiction stories in a couple weeks.
2) In Math, we have continued working on fraction skills, focusing on adding and subtracting mixed numbers, learning how to borrow and looking at a variety of real-world problems.  We’ll move on to multiplying and dividing fractions next week.
3) In Science, we have been learning about different types of clouds and precipitation and how they are formed.  Students worked in lesson 4 in the text and we completed the Interactive lesson and watched a brainpop on clouds.
4) In Social Studies, we have started learning about early European explorers.  Students have read general information in the text, each student has been given a specific explorer to research, and we will create Google Slides in tech lab to show what we have learned.  Students are also turning in their initial GFGA itinerary drafts for me to look at tomorrow!
10/3 – 7
1) In Social Studies, students got back their Native Americans Test on Tuesday and we have begun looking at our next unit on explorers.  We also spent some time discussing itineraries for their GFGA projects, and they have their next assignment, which will be due next Wednesday.
2) In Science, we didn’t have a lot of time this week with some of the special events, but we spent some time discussing Hurricane Matthew and how hurricanes form and the impact they can have.
3) In Language Arts, students wrote a couple personal writing prompts about experiences they had being brave or kind or with a family pet.  We’ve also been presenting the Heritage Projects!  Next week, we will begin Lit Groups and start reading survival novels!
4) In Math, we’ve begun our unit on fractions, reviewing simplifying and finding equivalent fractions, and working on adding and subtracting with unlike denominators.  Students also received a 4’s challenge in problem-solving that they’ve enjoyed working on.


1) In Math, students took their Chapter 2 assessments on Tuesday and got these back Wednesday and went over them.  We played Factor Captor during problem solving time, and continued to work a little more with bar model problems.  Next, we’ll start our new unit on Fractions!
2) In Language Arts, students turned in a portion of their heritage project written assignments, which have been really interesting!  We also read a story about the Yup’ik eskimos and how their heritage has been passed along from generation to generation and changed over time.
3) In Social Studies, students presented their Native American models and we played a review jeopardy game.  They also received a study guide on Monday for their test tomorrow and we’ve worked on writing complete answers with supporting details to the questions they’ll be asked.  We are taking a brief break from GFGA assignments until heritage projects are turned in next week!
4) In Science, we have continued our unit on Weather, reading about the ocean’s impact and learning more about the different weather instruments used.  We did two neat experiments on air pressure, both of which the students could pretty easily do for you at home with a few materials!


Hello 5th grade parents!

It’s been another exciting and productive week in 5th grade!  The students should have officially started working on their heritage projects, and we’ve spent class time discussing their plans and schedule for completing these.  They are juggling more responsibilities with project assignments and higher expectations, which can be challenging early in the year, but overall they have been doing a great job with it!  Here are a few of the topics we’ve been working on this week in the core subject areas.
1) In Language Arts, we read a story about the civil rights period, focusing on learning from our ancestors.  The students really liked the quote, “You can know where you’re going in this world only if you know where you’ve been!” and wrote it on our Quotes Board.  We also started reading “Greetings from Nowhere” as our next read aloud.
2) In Math, our last lesson in chapter 2 on whole numbers has focused on learning the “bar model” strategy for solving word problems, and the students have done a nice job of working on this and recognizing how effective it can be.  We’ve started reviewing and will have our next chapter assessment on Whole Numbers on Tuesday.
3) In Social Studies, the students turned in their 2nd checkpoint assignment for their GFGA on Wednesday, and I’ll look these over and give them back on Monday.  We’ve also continued to work on our Native Americans tribe, gathering information to include in our models and writing it on a Google Doc they’ve worked on as a group.
4) In Science, students got back their Scientific Method quizzes on Wednesday, and we’ve officially started working on the Weather unit.  We started a couple experiments in the class related to the water cycle, and we completed the first Interactive Science lesson.
1) Students Council speeches are tomorrow – congrats to Otto, Brandon, Asha, Kate, Lulu, Julia, and Merinda who are running for Reporter and have all turned in excellent speeches and will share them with the school tomorrow afternoon!  Students will vote after the speeches and the results will be announced next week.
2) Next Friday is the whole school assembly and Pep Rally!
3) Energy Kits – students saw a show this week and received cards with directions on how to order free energy kits!
4) Picture Day – this will be on Tuesday, 10/4, and students took home the forms today for ordering.
5) Author Visit on October 6th!  Rohan Gavin will visit our school to talk about his books and what it’s like to be an author – very exciting!
6) Talent Show – this is on Friday, 10/7, at 1:30 – refer to the TDS website for details about signing up. (also – linked to TDS Weekly Newsletter)
7) Heritage Pot Luck! – This is officially scheduled for Saturday, October 8th, at Tammy Fox’s house here in Durham.  We’ll play some games, share about their Heritage projects, and enjoy some yummy food!  I’ll send out more specifics about this in a separate email soon.
8) Photos! – I have just put some pictures in the 5th grade photos section on the TDS website.  Some highlights include students doing Show and Share, performing science experiments, Asha participating in the Duke Energy Show, fun at Crossroads, and more!
9) Online Resources – attached is a sheet I plan to pass out tomorrow to 5th graders to keep in their binders.  It has reminders of many of the online resources they have access to this year.
That seems like quite a bit of information this week!  Please let me know if you have any questions about anything, and I hope you are having a wonderful week!  Take care,
-Dan Forringer

Hello 5th grade parents!

We have had a productive week in 5th grade.  Here are a few specifics on what we have been working on in the core subjects.
1) In Math, we have continued our unit on whole number multiplication and division, focusing on the standard methods and exploring how these work.  We also have been learning about the Order of Operations and worked on the Bridge Riddle in groups for a Ted-Ed challenge.
2) In Language Arts, we read a short story about a Japanese girl who was placed into an Internment Camp in the US during World War II and how she showed resilience by maintaining her heritage through dance.  We also went over the expectations for their Heritage Projects and are nearing the climactic conclusion to our first read aloud!
3) In Science, students have worked on the Chapter Review for our first Unit on the Scientific Method, preparing for a quiz on Monday.  We will then shift our focus to our next unit on Weather, as the kids have already started gathering data from our school’s weather station.
4) In Social Studies, students have been gathering information about their tribe group.  We’re studying the Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, and Northwest tribes, learning about their environment, homes, traditions, and how they get food, and students are creating clay models to share that information.
*Students also received their 2nd GFGA assignment to start selecting possible activities for their trip.  This is due Wednesday.
1) Purple/Gold shirts for tomorrow!  We’re having Crossroads with the TK students and we’ll be splitting up and playing a game.
2) Heritage Pot Luck – one more REQUEST for a volunteer to host this event on Saturday, October 8th.  Please let me know if you are interested.  If I don’t hear from someone by this weekend, I’ll email some specific people who I think may be willing. 🙂
3) September Assembly and Pep Rally on Friday, 9/30 at 2:10 in the gym.  We’ll recognize Otto Schonwalder and Bobby Rossilli as this month’s Talented Tornadoes, and there will be some fun purple/gold challenges and a faculty vs 8th grade volleyball game!
4) Talent Show – Friday, October 7th at 1:30 in the gym.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, and let me know if you have any questions about anything.  Take care,
-Dan Forringer


Hello 5th grade parents,

I look forward to seeing many of you in a few hours at Back to School Night.  It will be helpful in getting to know each other a little more, and I will share a few more specifics about the academic curriculum for the year and general expectations and routines of the classroom.  You will also rotate through the complements classes and hear an introduction from Mr. Norry.  We are starting to settle into our routine more in 5th grade, taking our first assessments and beginning to work on our first projects.  Here are a few of the specific topics we’ve been learning about in the core subjects:
1) In Math, we took our first assessment on Chapter 1 in Math in Focus on Whole Numbers and the students got these back Wednesday and should have gotten them signed.  We also did a neat Ted-Ed riddle on figuring out a pass code, working in groups.
2) In Language Arts, students took their first Wordly Wise test and received a schedule for their homework routine(posted to the homework site).  We also read a story called “Our Song” about a girl from Senegal who learned about a song her family had passed down.
3) In Science, we completed lesson 4 in Interactive Science and students performed an investigation on what type of paper towels absorbed the most water, focusing on being precise and accurate as they followed the procedure.
4) In Social Studies, we watched a brainpop on Native Americans and split into our “tribe groups” today, where the students began researching information to help them create a clay model of their tribes community.
1) Back to School Night tonight from 6-8!
2) Cheer group – students were told about Cheer Group and given permission forms if interested.  These are due Monday.
3) Student Council – I’ll pass out these forms tomorrow, and students who are interested will fill them out and turn them in next week.  “Campaign week” will be the following week, and then we’ll hold elections on the Friday, 9/23.
4) Heritage Projects – these will officially be introduced tomorrow in class, and students will need to get the directions sheet signed by you.  This will culminate in a Heritage Potluck held at a family’s house in October(likely 10/8), so be on the lookout for more information!
5) Twister Trot – this is Saturday, November 5th, and all proceeds go to the TDS Annual Fund.
If I don’t see you at the Back to School Night tonight, I will send home some information with your child tomorrow.  Let me know if you have any questions.
-Dan Forringer


Hi 5th grade parents!

I hope all of you are having good weeks and looking forward to a nice, long weekend!  We have jumped into our first real Units this week, with homework assignments and our first assessments, and students are continuing to figure out the expectations and routines of the classroom.  Overall, they’re off to a great start, and here are a few of the concepts we have been working on during the week.
1) In Science, we’re continuing to learn about the Scientific Method and what is involved in doing scientific investigations.  The students experimented with Oobleck on Wednesday, making hypotheses about whether it was more like a solid or a liquid, and then performing tests, collecting data, and forming a conclusion!
2) In Social Studies, we assigned GFGA cities this afternoon, and students received their first assignment, to contact the city and request information that will help plan their trip!
3) In Language Arts, our first unit is on Heritage, and we read a story about a boy growing up in Vietnam and his memories and experiences with his Grandma and how they impacted who he is.  We also started our Wordly Wise lessons and got our first spelling words, and the students have their first spelling test and reading tests tomorrow.  We also have been reading “No More Dead Dogs” for read aloud, and the kids are enjoying this story!
4) In Math, we’ve been reviewing whole number estimation and place value, and the students will have their first assessment on this on Tuesday.  Students also received Superstars sheets on Wednesday, and we did a neat Ted-Ed riddle on factors in class today, which I was really impressed with how the students worked together to solve this challenging problem!
1) Remind students to wear their Purple/Gold t-shirts tomorrow for an all-school picture!
2) Back to School Night is next Thursday(9/8) at 6:00pm – hope to see you there.
3) Class Website – the 5th grade website, which is linked to the TDS site, has homework posted for the week.  Specifics may be added, and students will write everything down in Planners as well.  The site also has copies of the updates, upcoming events, a general schedule, and I plan to add pictures soon.
4) Student email addresses – all TDS students now have their own TDS email addresses.  These can be monitored and are meant only for academic purposes.  If students have academic questions, I don’t mind them emailing to ask me.  It will also allow them access to Google Docs, Drive, Slides, Sheets, and other resources.
5) Thanks for all the great toddler pics!  You can enjoy a fun bulletin board when you come next week! 🙂
Let me know if you have any questions or comments about anything, and have a great weekend!

8/24-26 (First week!)

This week was spent learning the class rules and routines and creating our “Covenant” on what RESPECT means to us.  We didn’t do much academic work, though I introduced our first Science unit on the Scientific Method and we began discussing the GFGA, going to the tech lab to research potential cities the students might select! 🙂