Our total reading minutes for the 2016-2017 year?

104,432 minutes or 1,740 hours, 32 minutes, or 72 and half days of total reading outside of school!!!


Total pages?


That’s a small library of books!


Have a great summer filled with adventure and great books!

Brook Trout Stock Out

Grade 5 stocked out 52 healthy brook trout fry into the Saw Mill River in Montague this week!

The habitat looks to be healthy and perhaps even safe for swimming???

Country Websites!

An eleventh-hour publishing feat was completed today when the final two country websites were published!
The Fifth Grade is proud to present:
Madagascar, Australia, Portugal, Israel, and Chile!  The country sites are from a dropdown menu on each continent:

Endangered Species Publication

We have successfully published our endangered species books. We gave TED-style talks in the school library about the animals we studied and presented the animals and the threats facing them with a slide show and Q and A.

The book form of our reports are finished and each student designed a cover for his/her report. 


We are now writing persuasive pieces to submit to the Daily Hampshire Gazette to convince others to act to preserve the species we studied.  (Submission to the paper is optional.)


Our brook trout are getting big! We plan to stock them out in June if we can keep the ammonia levels down. We are changing out the water about twice a week.

May 15 we have been invited to participate in a program with the UMass fish biologists to help do field research on a local stream!

Keeping Warm with Blubber

In our continuing Life Science exploration, and as a segue to our unit on Endangered Species, we did a little experiment about keeping warm with fatty insulation!

First up: Pack a 5-gallon container with snow. Estimate how much water it will now hold (in addition to the snow). Then add water till it is 3/4 full with icy/snowy water. Our estimates ranged from 6-50 cups of water. The average was about 35 cups to an already packed bucket! Snow holds a lot of air!

Next we put one hand into a nitrile glove and immersed it in vegetable shortening (in a gallon zip-lock bag). We placed both hands, one bare and one immersed in a fatty later, into the ice water and reported how it felt three times: initially, after 30 seconds, and after one minute. There was much grimacing but no frostbite and the bare hands got very cold, red, tingly, burning, and stiff. The blubbery hands were cozy warm and comfortable.

That’s how polar bears, whales, seals, manatees, snow leopards, tigers, and many other animals keep warm!

A Fair to Remember!

Our Ancient Cultures Fair was a huge success! We had over a hundred student visitors and scores of adults come visit our celebration of Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures. There were games to play, number systems to learn, foods to sample, art to create and view. There was information about mountains, temples, calendars, gods, astronomy, hunting, record keeping, money, trade, cities, food, drink, religion, fishing, markets, gold, writing, gambling, warriors, empire, cities, and more!

Thanks to all our visitors who arrived with curiosity and open minds!

Hats off to the Fifth and Sixth Grade classes who hosted this amazing event! The Cultural Fair was the culmination of six weeks of hard work: reading, searching web sites, note taking, writing, preparations at home and in school, and then an enormous effort welcoming, entertaining, feeding, and informing visitors on the day of the event!  In preparation, each student wrote a written report, selected or created visual aids to accompany it, and then presented their findings formally to the other 5th/6th Grade classes.  The next day, we hosted the Cultural Fair for all the students in Grades Pre-K to 4 plus parents, staff, and the community! According to the knots tied on the quipu of our record keeper in the Incan Empire, we had 107 visitors to that site alone!

















A Day at the Museum!


We got a glimpse of two museums yesterday in preparation for the creation of our own interactive museum installations next week.
Thanks to Aaron, Ellen, Kendra, Sam and the Mount Holyoke College students who were our docents.  They all helped us see the artifacts and displays of the Skinner Museum and the Mount Holyoke Art Museum with fresh perspectives and gave us a chance to look behind the scenes at artifacts from South and Central America.  What a wonderful way to connect us with our study of Incan, Aztec, and Mayan culture!


Thanks also to the parents and guardians who joined us on the trip!  We could easily have stayed twice as long and never run out of things to see and experience.



Mae Tuck’s Trial

We held a mock trial last Friday for Mae Tuck, a character in Tuck Everlasting. It was fun to put on costumes and have a trial, but the issues we talked about were serious and the debate was lively! We wound up with a hung jury: 3 insisting on Mae’s innocence, 3 convinced of her guilt, and 9 convinced she was guilty of a lesser crime than the capital offense she was charged with.

What a class of performers!