Category Archives: Fun!

What’s going on in 2014?

I hope you all had a wonderful winter break!
Here’s some of what will be happening as we head into 2014!
January Research project
As we start learning about matter in Science, you will select a random element from the periodic table, research it, and create a 3D model of it.  While most of the research will be done at school, the 3D model must be completed at home.  You will have two class periods to research your element. You can use your binder, the books available at the media center, and the Internet to do your research.
January Reading discussion
Everyone in class will be reading “The Pinballs” by Betsy Byars. You will have an activity packet to complete as you read, and a job discussion sheet to take notes on throughout their reading. At the end of the month, we will form groups to discuss the book like we’ve done in the past.
We are going to be reviewing the steps of multi-digit multiplication and division. We then will take a look at measurement, both customary and metric.
Word Study
Word Study work continues every week.  On Monday, you receive your words and discuss the rules to which they are sorted by. Then, you copy these into your notebooks so that they have the words with them for homework all week.  Then you select and complete a homework activity EVERY NIGHT, so that when you turn your notebook in on Friday, you have completed 5 assignments: your classwork, and homework from Monday-Thursday nights.
We are going to shift from expository writing (writing to explain) to narrative writing (writing to entertain/tell a story.)
Matter matters!  We finally get to take a closer look at the periodic table of the elements!  You will research an element, learn about protons, neutrons, and electrons, and compounds and mixtures.
Social Studies
We will be learning about the colonies of Plymouth, Jamestown, Roanoke, Massachusetts Bay, Pennsylvania, and Georgia – reasons for establishment, goods and services the colonies specialized in, and location and climate.

Type To Learn
You will be able to practice Type To Learn at home! Information is being sent home in Friday folders.  You should already have your username and password – the program just needs to be downloaded at home.


2014 is going to be very busy, and the end of the school year will be here before you know it! You need to stay organized, stay on top of your assignments, and stay focused!


Week one is done!

Our first week of school was extremely busy!

In class, we have been very busy organizing and labeling all of our supplies, learning new routines and procedures, and getting to know each other.  Some of the activities we completed were discussing what we need to do to be successful this year, how to get along in class, and our feelings about the first day of school, which we displayed on a graph.  We read and discussed the book Chrysanthemum and are going to start reading The Mystery at Jamestown.

Next week, we’ll be moving more in depth into our curriculum.  These are some of the things we’ll be working on:

Language arts – Choosing books that are just right for you and the procedures for borrowing books from my classroom library. We will also work on developing detailed sentences and paragraphs, reviewing parts of speech, and writing correctly capitalized/punctuated sentences.  Students will have  a writing journal to write in at least once a week, if not more. In the next week or two, we will begin our word study spelling/vocabulary program.

Math – We’ve been doing a “Daily Math Jam” and will continue these for a little while. These are short reviews for me to check students’ background knowledge of math topics such as place value, rounding and estimating numbers, fractions, fact families, time, etc. We will begin the year by studying different types of graphs.

Science – We have talked a lot about making observations and then using them to make inferences about what we have observed. (Like our “Brown Bags” we have been looking at in class.) We will transition from these lessons into reviewing the scientific method – creating and testing a hypothesis, making observations, and recording and analyzing our results.

Social Studies – We will begin Social Studies with an introduction to geography.  We will learn about the 7 continents, 5 oceans, geographic features/landforms, geographic regions of North America, and major bodies of water in the U.S.


Meet the Teacher!


Hello, awesome 5th grader!

My name is Ms. Strassner and I am so pleased to be your teacher this year! This is my 12th year teaching, but it’s my first year at TJ.

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, but when I was in 8th grade, my family moved to Florida. I went to college at the University of Tampa. After I graduated, I did most of my teaching in Sarasota. I moved to Falls Church last year and taught 5th grade at MEH.

On October 26th, I’ll be getting married. That means my name will be changing to Mrs. Goodwin. If you want to go ahead and start calling me Mrs. Goodwin now, that’s fine with me!

When I’m not teaching, I like reading, writing, going to concerts, going for walks, and cooking. Some of my favorite things are:

Color – Pink. And I love polka dots!
Animal – T-Rex.
Restaurant – Pizzeria Orso.
Treat – Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate.
Sweet – Anything with dark chocolate!
Team – Washington Nationals / Pittsburgh Penguins.
I collect – Rubber ducks!