Chuck Close Portraits

Every year, Room 5 students get the opportunity to make a self portrait during the first trimester. These portraits remain displayed in our classroom throughout the year. We’ve been learning the techniques and art style of portrait artist, Chuck Close. After tracing the major outlines of their faces, students have chosen fun symbols to create a pattern in boxes across their face. Soon, they will be coloring the symbols with colored pencils and each will look as unique as their own face!

Completed Art, Cells and Fungi, and Writing Workshop 

Everyone has completed their Wildflower art and tomorrow I will be mailing them off to the The Ansley Adams Gallery in Yosemite for the Gateway Expressions Art Contest. 

5th and 6th graders have been working hard during the month of September on their writing. They have explored different types of writing such as poetry, descriptive writing, narratives, writing instructions, and more. Each have had conferences with me weekly to discuss different strategies and improve skills. Yesterday we had our first “writing celebration,” where each student shared a piece of “published” (edited, revised, and typed) writing. We got to enjoy a treat in class and listed to fabulous examples of writing across the class. Next month, we will be exploring personal narratives, character development, and vingettes. 

Today two special people from U.C. Merced visited Room 5. As a part of a collaboration between U.C. Merced professor Caroline Frank and myself, Room 5 will be learning all about beneficial microbes and their place in our bodies and in our environment. For our first lesson, Carolin and her grad student, Paola, brought stereoscopes, slides of cells, and Petri dishes with bacteria and fungi. Students loved looking through the microscope and drawing what they observed. Next week, we will be exploring the effect of antibacterial soap on microbes as we discuss the scientific method and perform and experiment. We are all looking forward to it! 

Cells, Wildflower Progress, and Reading Buddies

Room 5 students love working on their Yosemite Wildflower Art. Everyone is at different stages in progress with this project. Some have finished sketching the outline of the flower, some have traced the outline in sharpie, and some have moved on to using pastel to add color to their flower’s details.

Thursday afternoon the kindergarten class and the fifth and sixth graders get together to read with their reading buddies. This Thursday, the older kids helped the kindergartners track each word with their finger.

The first science unit we are studying and class is animal and plant cells. After learning the terminology of all the organelles and their function, students got to make large stickers of plants and animal cells. Some had fun decorating their t-shirt with them! 

First Week Success and The Eclipse 





The first week back to school this year was a great start!

We set the tone by establishing a classroom constitution. All students made input about what they promised to themselves, to each other, and to their teachers by writing their ideas down on post-its, then creating and signing the constitution on a large poster that will remain on the door all year.

Fractions are a very important part of 5th and 6th grade math, so last week for an Art project we incorporated fractions. Each student was given multiple colors of construction paper and fraction circles of various sizes (fourths, fifths, tenths, etc.). They had to cut out fractions and use them to create a display on a black square background. They were asked to come up with something with rotational symmetry, like mandalas.

Today the eclipse brought a lot of excitement in Room 5. The 7th and 8th grades joined us for a lesson on eclipse science and later we headed outside, a few students at a time, to see the excitement. Students viewed the eclipse through special eclipse sunglasses, a pinhole projector, and projectors made of cereal boxes. Everyone was amazed to see it!

String Art Complete!

Almost all students are finished with their string art! One by one, a loud “I’m finished!” was heard throughout class this week. Some students are still chugging along and will probably finish next week. Room 5 looks forward to visitors during Open House tomorrow. Come see many of the projects we’ve completed this year! 

Fresno Art Museum

Last Thursday, both 3rd & 4th and 5th & 6th grade classes visited the Fresno Art Museum and enjoyed several new exhibits. We saw artist Nancy Youdelman’s work. She is the original member of the feminist art movement the began 50 years ago in Fresno. Another exhibition we saw was Leslie Batty’s. Her work was centered around American feminine identity and the roles gender has in our society.

Both classes enjoyed a funky art lesson led by our docents follows by a nice picnic in the museum’s garden.

Math String Art Project


We are working our way through the string art project. Everyone has completed their ratio portion of the project, which involved understanding fractions on a ruler. Thoroughly sanding and painting the boards came next. This week and last have been focused on the nailing component of the project. We hope to have these projects completed by Open House, on June 1st! 

Earth Day Festival Preparation 

Here is a sneak peek of the hard work fifth and sixth graders have been doing to prepare for the Earth Day festival. Stations at the festival include: a guided nature walk with plants specific to Catheys Valley with Ms. Korn, trivia games about endangered and local animals, learning centers about melting glaciers and world geography, nature origami, a recycling relay race, and many more! We have more hard work to do to prepare for the festival, but look forward to seeing families at school on Friday afternoon!