Sunday, January 8, 2017

Friday, December 9, 2016

Crafting Supplies Needed

If you can donate any of the following so we can do some crafting.....  AWESOME!

red yarn
green yarn
gold yarn
beads--plastic, wood, anything!
felt scraps
clear contact paper!!!
thin ribbon

Thank you!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Congratulations to the Spelling Team!

 Theo and Jonathan helped the spelling team get to the states competition last week!  They tied for second place!!!!   Woo-Hoo!!!!!!  So proud!

Congratulations Geobee Participants!

Jonathan and Ava are participating in the Geobee here in the library on December 21!   Good luck, and we are proud of you!

Congratulations Winter Tales Poets!

 Congratulations Sophia and Landon!  Their poems were chosen from submissions across the state to be part of Winter Tales at FlynnSpace!

Sophia's Ski Boots will be performed by Vermont Stage Company (VSC) actors at FlynnSpace in Burlington on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Landon's Spread Eagle will be performed on Saturday Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November Update

Our classroom is looking great these days, with a new rug, beautiful sky panels to cut down on the florescent lighting, and four "gaming chairs"  that were hand-me-downs from the library.  Olivia Brunelle recruited her grandmother to make beautiful cases for them so they look like new!  Thank you!

In reading, the kids are practicing close reading with nonfiction articles about Mt.Everest, Zoos, Extreme sports, and Ocean exploration.  They are learning to summarize and take notes from these articles.

In writing, the fourth graders are writing persuasive essays about the best teacher they have ever had, and the fifth graders are using their close reading skills to come up with a claim and put together argument essays.  Yes, I'm teaching them to argue--sorry!

Thursday Nov. 17---Geobee test at recess and a lunch bunch with me

Friday Nov. 18---Twin Day and movie in afternoon--Legends of the Guardians--PG--inspired by the Guardians of Ga'Hoole book series...If you prefer that your child not watch this, please let me know.
Anyone want to bring in popcorn???

Have a HAPPY Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your families!

Monday, November 14, 2016


Assessments are as follows:


We are using the Words Their Way spelling program.  The students work with the words by spelling them and sorting them 3 times each week.   For many of the kids, this is enough practice with the skills to reach mastery, but for some, some practice time at home would be helpful. All words should be written in the students' homework planners.  Please let me know if this is not happening.  Thank you!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Classroom Update--October

Tomorrow-Star Wars Day
Monday, Oct. 31-- Picture re-takes--We will be taking our class photo again

Mr. Guilmette's and Ms. Downing's classes are finishing up their narrative writing this week.  The kids' pieces will be on display in the hallway.  This is my favorite unit to teach kids, because these are the stories that are important to them.  I feel like I am freezing a bit of their minds in words for their families to cherish.

Last week I went to my own daughter's parent-teacher conference.  I was in awe of her writing (Richmond is using the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop as well.)and it was exciting to see the memories, and details of those memories, that stick out to her as most important.  Reading her writing is a window into her mind.  Fascinating.  My husband loved it as much as I did.

In reading, my class is impressing me every day.  Whereas last year, I had a significant sized group who were reluctant readers, this year, the kids are into reading workshop.  They are talking about books, sharing book recommendations, and writing about books in their reading journals.
Some of the books that are on fire in my room are The One and Only Ivan and Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate and the Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Team Building with Sand Mandalas!

Conference Forms

Forms went home last week to sign up for conferences during the week of October 17-21.  They were due back to school this morning, but if you never received yours, please email me and we will find a time that works!  Thank you!

Conference times will be written in the students' homework planners today.  See you soon!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Welcome Back!!!

September 6, 2016
Dear Families,  

Welcome Back to Mountaineer!  Mr. Guilmette and I are excited to work with your children again! We had a wonderful few days last week, and I hope you had an amazing Labor Day weekend.  It was a family weekend for me with lots of company, and Rowan turned 8!

Homework looks a little different this year.  Students are expected to read for a minimum of two hours each week.  IF students are busy on the weekend, then they can make up their reading time during the week, and if the weeknights are busy, then they will need to plan accordingly. Reading logs are in the students’ homework planners, and they are due every Monday morning, signed by a parent. Meeting the reading goal for the week earns 4 points for their class.

Speaking of points, we have decided to move on from moula and auctions this year; instead the kids are earning fun, short activities (mini dance parties or games) each day they earn 100 points, and choice time on Friday morning from 8:10-8:40.  If kids have not completed their homework, it will be completed during choice time.

Math homework will come home only if students have not used class time productively.  This is also true of Typing Club, which should be practiced for a minimum of 20 minutes each week.

Homework planners will be filled out at the beginning of the week for the upcoming week.  In it, you should find your child’s spelling test days, and school celebrations, special events, and homework expectations.  Please feel free to write me a note in these planners, as I will be checking them at least every Monday morning.  E-mail works well too! All papers should arrive home in the Fleming Folders.  If you notice papers shoved into backpacks, please encourage your child to show you their homework folder and USE IT.

It is important to me that students are dedicating themselves to reading good books this year.  If you see your child reading a different book each evening or abandoning books before they’ve given them a valid chance, please let me know.  Also, please check in with your child and have them read a page aloud to you once in awhile.  If students are stumbling, pausing, or guessing at 3 words per page, the book is too challenging to be read independently.

And finally, your child’s happiness is important to me!  Please let me know if things don’t seem to be going well in fifth grade---I will do everything in my power to help!

Thank you so much for your support!  Your assistance on the home front helps me sooooo  much!

Most respectfully,

Amy Downing

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Summer Vacation!

Dear Families,

I wanted to take a minute to thank you for the wonderful thank you notes and gifts I received ton the last day of school!  It was so sweet of you all! I'm so lucky to teach this group of kids and to work with their supportive families!

Also, as promised, I'm sending a list of activities that the kids can work on over the summer.

The kids should continue working on Typing Club for about 15 minutes each week, they can do math games at, as long as they are challenging themselves, and Kahn Academy is accessible as well.

...and of course, most importantly,  the kids should read!

book suggestions:

Any books by Roald Dahl--Matilda, The BFG (The new movie is out in July!), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches

Fantasy:  Inkheart, The Percy Jackson Series, The City of Ember

Animal Stories:  The One and Only Ivan, Guardians of Ga'hoole series, Warriors series

Twisted Fairy Tales:  Whatever After series

History: I Survived series

Frienship:  Bridge to Terabithia, Wonder

Other authors I love:  Wendy Mass-the birthday series is great, Gary Paulsen--for the outdoor adventurer, and Margaret Haddix--for the futuristic, adventure, fantasy lover

Don't forget about the Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award list!  I recommend those that say grade 4 and up at

Please email me if you need more suggestions!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Final Auction Items Needed

Our final class auction is next week, and our supplies are dwindling!  If you have any items laying around your homes that you'd like to get rid of, please consider donating to our auction.   Thank you so much for your support!

Please Return Library and Classroom Books!

Hi Families!  The library is collecting books that have been checked out, and I need to collect my own classroom books to get the shelves reorganized for fifth grade next year!

Please search books bags, cars, bedrooms, and under living room couches for any school books.

Thank you so much!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Publishing Poetry

One of the best gifts I can give to my students' parents is a piece of their child's imagination imprinted on paper for eternity... or until it is lost, damaged or shoved into a box!  I'm lucky to have this ability as a literacy teacher! Together with Mrs. Foley, the kids made beautiful books to publish their poetry--so sweet and special!

SBAC Week Fun!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

SBAC Testing--loving the snacks-Thank you!!!!!

Hi Families, I'm looking for healthy snacks to enjoy during breaks from testing next week.

I'll ask the kids to volunteer tomorrow to bring in popcorn, cheese and crackers, and any other all natural snacks they would like.   Please email me if you wish to volunteer to bring something in!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Student Led conferences

Confirmation slips went home last week, but in case you missed it:

10:30-11--Ca and L
12-12:30--An and So
12:30-1--El and Is
2-2:30---  O, Th, and Et
3-3:30--Jo and Av
4-4:30--N, To, and V
4:30-5-- F, Co, and Ch
5-5:30--S and JH