Room 16 School to Home Connection
22 Jun 2014

A beautiful ending to a happy story

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

Last Wednesday, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. We celebrated our last day of school by enjoying a fantastic talent show and a fun-filled field day. It was a great way to wrap up a marvelous school year. The last few weeks of school were a whirlwind of special events. We designed and built bridges out of popsicles sticks and then ran load tests to measure their strength. Many of them held more than 100 pounds! We learned about the American Revolution and reenacted the events of the Boston Tea Party in a performance for parents and students. We also got out of the building by taking our field trip to Oaks Amusement Park, which was an absolute blast, and took a walk to Takena Park to finally meet our pen pals that we have been writing with all year. There are some pictures of some of these events on our shutterfly site, as well as a video of our Boston Tea Party play in the tab to the right. Check them out. Finally, on the last Tuesday of the year, we had our 5th grade promotion. This was a beautiful and emotional event. It is truly difficult to say goodbye to this amazing group of kids. They have taught me a lot and I have so enjoyed getting to know who they are. I look forward to hearing about their adventures and future successes in life. Thank you so much for all of your support this year. I have been so fortunate to have such a warm and kind collection of parents this year. Have a lovely summer with your families!
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

25 May 2014

May’s Days

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

What a fun and exciting spring it has been. The students did an amazing job presenting their learning this year during the student led conferences. I was so proud of how seriously they took the process and how passionate they were to share their strategies with their families. Thank you to all of the families that attended. It speaks volumes of the value that you place on your child’s education and that translates to how they view the importance of school. The next week, the kids had the opportunity to participate in our 5th grade bike safety unit. The instructors led the students though lessons that taught the rules of the road, bike equipment, and skills necessary to safely maneuver through our community on two wheels. We spent time in the classroom, the black top, and our local neighborhood intersections. The culmination of the unit was going for a ride through Albany and meeting up at Monteith Park for treats. We all had a blast!
We have continued working on opinion writing and the students wrote a piece for the district writing assessment. We have also been working diligently on their hard cover books. Several of the students have finished theirs and will be sharing them with kids in other classrooms. They have taken great pride in creating brilliant and beautiful books. In math, we have been working on graphs, coordinates, and collecting, representing, and analyzing data. The students have been learning about the American Revolution and are starting to prepare our Boston Tea Party play that we will perform for the school. Many of the students took the second round OAKS tests and did very, very well. I am proud of their hard work and how much they have all grown this year. I feel confident in them taking the next step to middle school next year.
We had an extraordinary field trip to OSU last week. We started with a tour of the Native American Cultural Center Long House where we learned about the meaning of totem poles. We then walked to the Education Hall where the kids got a taste of being college students and participated in a structural engineering lesson in building towers. We then walked to the Engineering Hall where the students had the opportunity to view booths set up by OSU engineering students displaying their senior projects, ask them questions, and try out their inovations. It is basically a bigger scale of what our kids did in February during the invention convention. Finally, we all had lunch on the quad and enjoyed some music, with some of the kids getting on the dance floor. It was such a fun and enriching field trip. I want to thank all of our wonderful parent chaperones that joined us for this field trip. It could not have been the success that it was without you. This has been such a great spring with your children. I can’t believe we only have a few more weeks together. We’ll have to make the most of each of the days we have left. Thank you for sharing your remarkable kids with me. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

8 Apr 2014

Spring has sprung

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, after a cold and blustery winter, spring has appeared to have arrived in the Willamette Valley. We had yet more snow days in February. The school board decided to extend our school year a week to make up for our lost instructional days. Our last day of school will now be a full day on June 18th. Our 5th grade promotion has been rescheduled as well. It will be held on June 17th at 2:30pm. I hope that you can all make it to celebrate this milestone in your child’s life. It is always a very special event.
So much has happened in the last few weeks, it’s almost been overwhelming. The end of February found us sharing our ingenuity during the Invention Convention. The students did such an amazing job designing and implementing their original innovations. I was so impressed with their finished products, as was OSU’s patenting director, who served as our guest advisor for the event. You can check out photos of the event on our shutterfly site.
The students took their first round OAKS tests and did very well as a class. I’m proud of their effort and determination to really do their best. It is a long process, but they were really troopers. Some students will have the opportunity to take second round tests in May. Also, during this time, the kids participated in the water safety program at the Albany Community Pool. This was an eight day program in which the students learned skills to be safe in and around water.
The kids have been working on writing strong opinion papers, reading and discussing great literature, and working with decimals in math. They have also been exploring and investigating how to locate their ‘mystery site’ during our mystery class lessons. They are using photoperiod clues to find their site’s latitude, universal time comparisons to calculate their site’s longitude, and interdisciplinary clues to finally conclude an exact location of their mystery site. They will present a power point presentation to the class of their conclusion before the big reveal at the end of April.
Our 5th graders have had some opportunities the last few weeks to get a glimpse of what life will be like next year in middle school. We first visited Memorial Middle School for their band recruitment concert in which we enjoyed their beginning band, jazz band, and beginning choir perform for us. Later we revisited Memorial to watch a performance of the play “A dark and stormy knight”, performed by the drama department. The kids loved both of these outings and now have some different extracurricular activities to consider when they start at Memorial next fall. We also welcomed the Memorial counselor, Mr. Graham, to our classroom where he talked with us about what middle school will look like and answered questions. There is an open house at Memorial on April 29th from 6:30-7:30. I hope you can make it there with your child. Mr. Gilbert will do a presentation about your child’s transition to middle school and then you get to visit classrooms and meet with the 6th grade teachers. It’s a great opportunity to take a peek at what next year will hold. Very exciting!
The kids did a great job on creating ‘cereal box’ book reports for the end of March. The original format monthly book report will be due on April 30th. We have a field trip planned for May 16th, with a final trip planned for June 6th. The students are so excited for both of these field trips. Please let me know if you are interested in chaperoning one or both of these trips. On April 9th and 10th we will be having our student led conferences. The kids have been working hard to organize and prepare what they have to share with you. They have practiced presenting their work and are looking forward to sharing their accomplishments with their families. I can’t wait to see you all there. We have a great last couple months of school planned and I’m very excited to be able to share them with your terrific kids. Enjoy our beautiful Oregon spring days.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

2 Feb 2014

A Very Happy New Year

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

This has been a truly wonderful start to 2014. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing group of students. We have been very busy and working hard to have success in 5th grade. I hope that your child has been sharing with you what they have been learning and accomplishing in school. Their Friday journals that they bring home every weekend should serve as a spring board for great conversations about their experiences at school. In writing, we started off the year reflecting on our favorite memories of 2013, then started thinking about our goals for 2014. They wrote wonderful essays about their New Year’s resolutions. To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we watched Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The students then reflected on an injustice currently in the world, and wrote their own speech on their dream of a better world and what that would look like. Many of the students created podcasts of these writing assignments that can be enjoyed by clicking on the ‘students’ writing work’ tab on the right. The students received letters from their Takena pen pals and are writing back to them. They also now have new epals from Italy. These are Italian 5th graders that live in a small village in Italy and are learning English. This is a great opportunity for the kids to learn about a different culture and be a mentor to international students learning their language. We have also been working on writing narratives from given prompts. They have been working through the entire writing process, working both independently and with a peer to review and analyze each other’s work. I have also been conferencing with them throughout this process. There will be a district writing assessment the week of the 17th.
In reading, we continue to have our book club discussions. This is one of my favorite times of the day, hearing the kids’ thoughts on the stories and the characters. We finished ‘The Dark Hills Divide’ during our novel study time, and the students completed Characters and Conflicts posters to show their understanding of the novel. We started a new weekly event called Reading Buddies. Each Wednesday we are meeting with Mrs. Perry’s 1st grade class to read with them. Each of the 5th graders is paired up with a 1st grader and they read together. Some weeks the activity might vary. For example, the 5th graders might help the 1st graders with their writing. Buddies is something that helps build community in our school and confidence in our young citizens. I’m excited for all the kids.
In math, we have been really challenging ourselves with fractions. The students have learned to understand fractional parts, find equivalent fractions, add and subtract unlike fractions, multiply fractions to fractions, multiply fractions to whole numbers, multiply fractions to mixed numbers, multiply mixed numbers to mixed numbers, divide a whole number by a fraction, and divide a fraction by a whole number. This was a tough unit, but the kids stepped up to the challenge and worked very hard on these concepts. We will be moving on to geometry now, but will be continuing to work with fractions during our math review time.
In Social Studies, the kids have been learning about European explorers. They learned about how archaeologists collect and record artifacts and even got to got on a ‘dive’ of their own to a sunken ship to collect and record artifacts.
In science, we continue to learn about the different body systems. So far we have learned about the skeletal system, the muscular system, and the circulatory system. Next up, the respiratory system. The students were introduced to our big science project that is due at the end of the month, the Invention Convention. The Invention Convention is an exciting process for the kids to think of a ‘problem’ or inconvenience in the world, and create a solution by designing and producing a new invention. I will be conferencing with them in class about their progress and helping with questions about their designs, but most of the work and actually producing their finished product will occur at home. The design and plan details are due on February 14th. The finished invention product, display board, and presentation readiness is due on the big day of the Invention Convention, February 28th. We will be in the gym from 9:00 to 9:45. I would absolutely love it if all of our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings, friends, etc. could come to support our 5th graders and celebrate their innovations. This is such a magical event and the kids are very enthusiastic about sharing their inventions with everyone.
It’s that time of year again, and our students will be participating in the OAKS tests the next two weeks. They will be tested in reading, math, and science. Please make sure your child gets plenty of sleep and eats a big breakfast so they can do their best. I know they will do great and will do their best. Also, from February 10th to the 21st the students will be participating in the water safety program at the Albany Community Pool. Please make sure your child brings a swimsuit, towel, and bag on the 10th. Well, that’s it for now. More to come soon..
Thank you for raising such amazing kids.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

23 Dec 2013

Winter of wonder

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe that the winter solstice has just arrived. After that blast of snow, I’m feeling like we have already been in the middle of winter for some time. Although the snow days did get in the way of our schooling, I’m glad that the kids were able to have that memorable and fun experience. I hope that you were able to get some fun family snow time in during that week. Because of the snow days, the school board has altered our school calendar. I have updated our shutterfly class calendar accordingly. You can check it out at https://nazariansclass.shutterfly.com/.
When we were able to learn together in room 16, we sure did get a lot done. For writing, the students have been working primarily on engaging their audience by planning, drafting, and revising an interesting personal narrative. They also wrote a Thanksgiving themed piece in which they either chose to write about their family Thanksgiving traditions, a personal narrative about this Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving from someone else’s perspective (family dog, turkey, etc.). I just uploaded several podcasts of those stories on our ‘students’ writing work’ link to the right along with many of our more recent fictionary podcasts. Check them out. Along with our stories, the students wrote articles for our first Nazarian Newspaper. It was great fun and I hope that you were able to read the finished product when your child brought it home. The students did a great job bringing unique and intriguing perspectives to the newspaper. We also continue to correspond with our Peace Corps pen pal in Madagascar, Rajany. He just sent us a couple of postcards with a picture of a tree indigenous to Madagascar as well as a photo of the children that he is working with on his Peace Corps assignment.
In addition, the kids have created wonderful cookbooks to benefit our end of 5th grade hoorah. We have enjoyed two wonderful field trips already this year. The other day, one of my students asked, “Are we going on anymore field trips this year?” “Of course”, I replied, “We’ll be going to the OSU engineering expo in the spring, and then we’ll have an end of 5th grade hoorah trip.” A few other kids jumped into the conversation about where we could go for our end of 5th grade celebration. When I mentioned that we would have a limited budget to pay for our remaining field trip, another student suggested having a fundraiser to increase our budget. I love this problem solving idea. We decided that we wanted to create a cookbook from our favorite recipes and sell them to families and friends to help fund an extra special outing as a culmination of the first six years of their educational career. The kids all typed up their recipes, along with a description of their favorite meal. We are asking $5 for each cookbook ordered. If you would like to make an additional donation, that would be wonderful. 100% of the funds raised will go directly to our end of the year 5th grade hoorah. We will come up with a destination based on funds collected.
In science, we have started learning about body systems, starting with the skeletal system. We have learned about the functions of the skeletal system, as well as many of the different bones that make up the system. Next we will be learning about the muscular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems and how they all interact to to function as a complete body system.
In social studies, we have been learning about Native American cultural regions. We studied about the seven major regions; Northwest Coast, Plateau, California-Intermountain, Southwest, Great Plains, Eastern Woodlands, and Southeast. We learned about each cultures clothing, shelters, and tools based on their climates and resources.
In math, we have been really focused on fractions. We started with halves, fourths, thirds, sixths, and twelfths using a clock model. We have since been using number line models to continue our work on recognizing fractions, understanding equivalent fractions, and adding and subtracting fractions.
In reading, we have continued our work in our book clubs. I so enjoy reading with and discussing the novels with the students. They have very insightful things to say about the characters, making connections to their own experiences and other novels, and making predictions about what may happen next. The students have been learning new vocabulary and skills to become even better readers. We have continued to read and discuss The Dark Hills Divide as a class for our novel study. They completed their first monthly book reports and I must say that I am so impressed with the results. I can easily see the amount of effort that was put in by the students. They did a fantastic job of demonstrating their understanding of the novels that they read. Bravo! I look forward to the next reports that will be due January 29th.
On the last week of school before break, we had such a fun time together as a class family! The kids put together some beautiful holiday art that is up in the hallways. We have gotten lots of compliments. I will send those home when the kids arrive back. Many of the 5th graders and their families joined Ms. Napper and myself on a festive night of caroling. It was a first for many of us and it was such a success that I plan on making it an annual event. Unfortunately, we had to say our goodbyes to Ms. Napper as she is returning back to her native Australia. We will miss her fun, lively energy greatly, but we are looking forward to welcoming back Mrs. Rider after the break. We wrapped up our last day of school for 2013 with a jolly holiday party. Thanks to all of the parents that helped make that fun party happen.
Lastly, I want to thank all of the parents that came in during parent-teacher conferences. In my ten years of teaching, this is the first year that I had 100% attendance! It was so great to meet with all of you and share perspectives about your child. It really is a team effort to succeed. I feel so very fortunate to have not only amazing, smart, caring students; but also engaged and caring parents. I wish you all the happiest of holidays and a splendid new year.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

3 Nov 2013

Fun and Full Fall

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

It sure was an exciting and full October! After enjoying our Oregon Garden field trip just a couple weeks earlier, we had the opportunity to experience another educational and fun field trip to downtown Albany. We toured the Albany Democrat Herald where we learned about how our local newspaper reports about the happenings of our community and got to see the press and distribution rooms. We visited our local graphic design company, No Dinx, and learned about what makes for good design and how to screen print. Oh yeah, and we got to screen print our very own shirts! We strolled through our beautiful and historic downtown to Monteith House to learn about how the early settlers of Albany lived. We had a lovely lunch on a sunny day at Monteith Park. Then we toured the Albany Carousel and got to see first hand how important volunteerism is to building a strong and wonderful community. Finally, we got to stretch our legs on a nice, long walk back to school. It was an awesome day.

One of the reasons for our field trip was to visit No Dinx. We are partnering with them in a fun project for our kids. The 5th grade classes are participating in a design contest. The students have been working on coming up with a bold new design for this year’s t-shirts and sweatshirts. The top designs will be presented to all of the classes throughout the school and each kid will get to vote for their favorite design. The top vote getter will have their design screen printed onto this year’s t-shirts and sweatshirts.

In math, we have been working primarily with orders of operations and volume. Explanatory writing has been the focus in writing. The students wrote biographies about the historical person they have been studying for the wax museum and explaining the details of a chosen subject (softball, rocks, etc). We finished our first novel study, Maniac Magee, and the students completed a writing project reflecting their thoughts on the novel. We have been working in small book clubs with various novels and are really enjoying the rich discussions about the books. The kids are learning new vocabulary and writing great fictionaries with these words. We have learned about the migration routes of the first inhabitants of North America in social studies and started learning about friction in science.

I have posted several new podcasts of the students’ work on this website. Please click on the links ‘Fictionary Stories’ and ‘Students’ Writing Work’ to the right under the tab “Contact, Students’ Work, and other Class Information”. The kids would love for you to hear them. Also, check our shutterfly site to view pictures of our kids from the wax museum. Speaking of which, what an amazing job the students did on their wax museum projects! Every single kid honestly did a fantastic job. It was quite evident the level of dedication and the amount of practice that went into them. I was so impressed with the final result. I want to thank the parents that encouraged their children to do their best on this project and also for coming to support them on the big day of the event. We filmed the students’ classroom presentations for the wax museum and I emailed those out to each parent. I may or may not have had technical difficulties sending those. So, if you did not receive a video of your child’s class wax museum presentation, please let me know and I’ll resend it.

We ended October on a bang with not only the wax museum, but also our Halloween festivities. The 5th grade students were a smash when the performed a surprise rendition of “What Does the Fox Say?” on stage during our school Halloween assembly and parade. Everyone loved their enthusiasm. Finally, we ended the day with a fun filled and yummy Halloween party, thanks to some phenomenal parents that brought in treats and planned for a fun game of charades. Here’s to another great month ahead.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

6 Oct 2013

A great start to 5th grade

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

I am one lucky teacher. I have this amazing group of students who come to class everyday ready to learn and support each other. They greet me each day with a smile and bring a bright and cheery vibe to our room. I’m also very fortunate to have an outstanding collection of parents that have been very supportive and friendly. It’s been a great start to what promises to be a fantastic year. We’ve been busy this month. We’ve established routines and expectations in our class as well as developed relationships in our class family. We’ve been working in language arts by reading to ourselves and taking AR tests, reading to a partner out of our Storytown books, reading to each other and having meaningful discussions in our book club groups together, learning and using new vocabulary in our fictionaries, and learning new spelling words. We have learned about the six traits of writing, scored samples and scored each others. They now have a better understanding of what is good, what is exceptional, and what isn’t enough for 5th grade writing. They have written amazing pieces of writing about both their summer experiences as well as a more recent creative writing piece using writing advice from characters in a story we just read called “Nothing ever happens on 90th street”. I am impressed in their improvement in writing already. The kids watched a Ted Talks video on introverts and extroverts and wrote a reflection on how they see themselves and what they really need to be comfortable, happy, and successful in their lives. I am so enjoying getting to know your kids. They are really incredible. In math, we have been working on different strategies for solving multiplication and division problems. We have also spent a lot of time on solving word problems to connect the numbers to real life situations. In science, we have been learning about the relationship between the Sun, Earth and Moon; as well as looking at our solar system. In social studies, the kids have been working on reading and labeling maps. The planners finally arrived and the kids were thrilled. Your child should be sharing those with you nightly and getting your signature to return to school the next day. Our class went on an amazing field trip to Oregon Garden and learned about tree identification using a dichotomous key as well as using the scientific inquiry process to answer questions about our world. It was a wonderful day, in the sun no less, of learning and fun. I would like to thank all of the parents that volunteered their time to help chaperone. There is much more to come for an incredible year ahead. Thank you for raising such terrific kids.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

5 Sep 2013

Up, up and away!

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, the first week of school has been a blast! I have enjoyed getting to know your kids so much and am excited to work with all of them this year. We have spent much of the week getting to know each other and come together as a class family. We’ve collaborated on class agreements and expectations that will be necessary for all of us to have a successful year. We have also been getting the summer rust off and warming up for the challenging work ahead for 5th grade. It was a pleasure meeting with all of the families that attended the back to school night. I feel very fortunate to be working with such wonderful kids and families. Please check back from time to time to view new posts of what’s happening in room 16, enjoy the students’ work in the tabs to the right, and try out some of the listed links as well. As always, please email me with any questions. Looking forward to the best year ever.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

15 Mar 2013

March into Spring

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

The sunshine has returned to beautiful Albany, Oregon! We have enjoyed learning inside and outside over the last few weeks. The students studied about a chosen historical figure. Last week, they came to school dressed up as their person and acted out telling the story of their life in the ever popular Wax Museum. I want to thank all of the parents who helped their children prepare for this event and also all of the audience members who came to enjoy the kids’ performances.
We have been reading and discussing the novel The Watsons go to Burmingham – 1963, which is a funny and touching historical fiction. The kids have been learning new vocabulary words each week and writing them into great “fictionary” stories. In writing, the students have been focused on explanatory, or expository, writing pieces. They wrote about how to make something of their choosing, described their dream house, and chose from three prompts to publish an explanatory piece for their district writing assessment. We just started our poetry unit by going outside to get inspired to write poems in the familiar form of haiku. We have also spent some time outside drawing beautiful landscape/flower scenes by drawing what we see outside the classroom. In math, the students have been focused on working with decimals as well as using a new process when solving word problems. Ask your child to explain what they have been learning. Once a week, we work on a project called Mystery Class. The kids get into groups and use latitude and longitude clues to narrow down where their mystery site might be. They are getting closer to possible locations.
We have a very caring and compassionate class in room 16. The students decided to start a fundraiser to raise money to buy goats for families in Africa as a source of nourishment and income. They put a collection jar in our classroom and the school’s office. They also put on a “hat day” where Liberty students and staff could where a hat if they donated $1 to the cause. They have raised an amazing $180.54 so far! That’s enough to buy two goats and we’re on our way to buying a third. This service learning project is in addition to a cause that we have been giving to since the beginning of the year, Pennies for Peace. This organization funds building new schools as well as paying for supplies and teachers to educate children in Afghanistan and Pakistan where kids don’t have the same opportunities that they do here. Please check out the links to these great causes in the tab to the right “Class Service Projects – Making the World Better”. If you have any loose change under the sofa cushion, we appreciate your donations to helping us help others. I am so very proud of what big hearts these kids have. It gives me great hope for the future of our world. Thank you for teaching them to care.

Sincerely,
Max Nazarian

9 Feb 2013

Fantastic February in Fifth

Author: nazarian | Filed under: Uncategorized

We have had such a great beginning to 2013! The students have been learning about memoirs while sharing Knots in my Yo-Yo String written by Jerry Spinelli. They since have written their own memoirs and created a ‘memory quilt’ illustrating the memories that they wrote about. Both are on display in our hallway bulletin boards. It is so wonderful to hear the stories of their lives! The students also finished their January book reports. They are really perfecting their craft of analyzing the novels that they choose. February’s reading assignment is for the kids to learn about the details of the life of a historical figure that they have chosen. There research will culminate in our Wax Museum event. The kids will be in costume as their chosen historical figure and will take on their role, sharing about their lives with audiences. It is sure to be an entertaining and educational event. The kids have been working with fractions, percents, and geometry in math and are coming up with amazing strategies for solving problems. They have been learning about body systems in science and 13 colonies in social studies. The students have been working hard doing their best on our OAKS testing in Reading, Math, and Science. This is the first round of OAKS testing with the final round in April/May. Everyday, I am very thankful for this group of kids. They are fun, bright, and provide great insight for me everyday. Thank you for sharing them with me.
Thanks for making the world a better place.
Sincerely,
Max Nazarian