"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." ~ Aristotle
About the Teacher:
My name is Aspasia Vasilakos and this is my seventh year teaching 5th grade at Bishop Dunn Memorial School. Prior to coming to Bishop Dunn, I worked as a long term substitute teacher in the Wappingers Central School District. I earned my MS Degree in Education from Mount Saint Mary College and I am certified to teach grades 1-6. Before making my career change to education, I worked at Doubleday Book and Music Clubs in the marketing and print media departments. I am happily married and have two daughters who work in the field of physical therapy. I am originally from Long Island and I love the beach! I am also an animal lover and I have a dog named Cooper. My great passion is teaching and focusing on educating the whole child. I know that no single approach is the right one for every student so in my classroom, I incorporate a love of learning, an enthusiastic and energetic approach to my teaching and always a sense of humor. With these elements in place, I am able to create a safe and loving environment where students are comfortable and ready to learn.
Fifth grade is a very exciting time! It is a year that offers students the opportunity to apply the skills learned in the primary grades while also learning new concepts to prepare them for middle school and the years to follow. This is a transitional year that bridges the students from lower elementary grades to middle school. I focus on creating a positive learning environment where all children can gain confidence and work to reach their full potential. The children's role as a student comes with the right to learn in a classroom that is safe, respectful, and caring. This leads them to think about their responsibility in helping to foster such an atmosphere both in the classroom and out in the real world where they will become responsible and productive citizens. If I was, to sum up my philosophy in. a few phrases, I would say: knowledge is power and honesty is the best policy.
Welcome to Fifth Grade
Mathematics: The fifth grade curriculum focuses on fractions, decimals, geometry, measurement, word problems, and an introduction to algebra. We are common core aligned. Students will be required to complete computation problems each night. Students should continue to practice their multiplication facts. We will be using manipulatives and the Interactive White Board during math instruction.
Social Studies: Social Studies Fifth grade focuses on United States History. We begin with Revolutionary War and end with the Civil War. The topics include: causes of the American Revolution, Branches of Government, the Constitution, Moving West and the Civil War. There are many opportunities for students to demonstrate learning through oral presentations as well as creative group projects.
Religion: This year we study the Holy Days of Obligation, the Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Seven Sacraments. We act out our sacramental celebrations when we finish studying them. Our religion text is Christ Our Life.
Writing: In fifth grade we implement the Writer's Workshop. This workshop is designed to turn each student into an author who is able to share and be proud of their "published work." Students will experience different types of writing and be assessed using a rubric.
This year I will be incorporating Image-Making Within the Writing Process into the curriculum which is an art-and-literature based approach to writing designed to support literacy skills in students with diverse learning styles.
Reading: This year we are continuing to implement the Reading Workshop Model. Students will read for meaning and through the use of reading strategies they will become independent readers. They will receive small group instruction that is focused on their strengths and challenges. As a class, students will be exposed to different genres as well as gathering information through the reading of informational text. Ongoing informal assessment will monitor your child's progress through out the year.
Word Study -Vocabulary: In the fifth grade, our vocabulary series is Vocabulary Workshop Blue Level from Sadlier Oxford. You can find fun and exciting ways to study at the website at http://www.sadlier-oxford.com/vocabulary/index.cfm.
Vocabulary is assigned every two weeks and continues throughout the entire school year. Students work on this assignment independently and be tested on every unit.
Science: We explore topics that are part of the fifth grade curriculum through discussion, lab experiments, and hands-on activities. Focus is placed on thinking like a scientist by hypothesizing and questioning how natural occurrences happen.
Topics that we cover throughout the year are:
Classification of Organisms Cells to Body Systems Building Blocks of Matter Processes of Living Things (plants and human body systems) Systems and Interactions in Nature (Ecosystems and Biomes) Solar System
There are no field trips scheduled for this year.
Battles of the Civil War ThingLink
For November conferences, I will post a SignUp Genius link.
New Item: Pencil Holder
5 marble notebooks: Any colors
(math, religion, science, social studies, writing/grammar)
1 inch binder - Reading
7 pocket folders:
Green - science
Red - social studies
Purple - religion
Blue - math
Yellow - writer’s workshop
Any color - reading
Any color - Take Home Folder
1 pack of sharpened pencils (if possible)
1 package post it notes ( 3 x 3)
2 packages of 3 x 5 index cards
1 box of crayons OR colored pencils
1 - 5 inch scissor (use one from home, it doesn’t need to be new)
1 box of tissues
1 crate (any color) to store your textbooks by your desk. We will not be using the cubby this year. ***(if you can’t find a crate or buy one, please let me know).
We start the year reading Esperanza Rising. If you have a copy of the book, you can use that. I have copies in the classroom too.
Thank you! See you in September!
As the students move from childhood to adolescence, we will be encouraging the students to find their voices as writers. What is Writer's Workshop?
- Mini-Lesson (5-15 minutes): This is where a short lesson is taught that focuses on a single topic that will help students with their writing. This is usually 2-3 times per week.
-Status of the Class (5 minutes): Finding out where each student is in the writing process.
-Writing Time (20-30 minutes): Students write! I will conference with individual students or small groups during this time.
-Sharing (5-10 minutes): Writers will share what they have written. The class will offer positive feedback.
Assured Writing pieces will include:
literary response (Esperanza Rising) biographies (religious saints) writing like a scientist (ecosystems/biomes) compare and contrast poetry persuasive essay
Reader's Workshop Skills:
Evidence based terms, "I Wonder" strategy, making inferences, using Post-Its, steps in a process, setting, character traits, main idea and supporting details, compare and contrast, determining theme of a story, and identifying text structures in both fiction and non-fiction passages.
We use the Common Core Modules:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Guided Reading Groups