Birthday Bonanza

August ended with a bang as we celebrated not one, but TWO birthdays today.

Daniel and Jao both brought in a bunch of birthday bounty, allowing us to celebrate each one with some delicious treats.

Cake and candy were enjoyed by all, and kindness and consideration filled up everyone’s buckets as we burst our way in to the weekend filled with sugar and smiles.

Daniel’s Birthday


Jao’s Birthday


Do you have a favorite birthday cake recipe you are willing to share? If your tasty treats are not top secret, please share your recipes using the form below. We will assemble all contributions into a book of birthday bounty. Mmmm…

Birthday Bounty

Place Value – Pursuing Purpose Beyond Practice

In our pursuit to solve problems with place value, today we played a game with a partner that prompted us to think about place and value and their purposes. In addition, we were presented with some problems related to the procedure of the game that each pair resolved reflectively. After playing the game, we took time to think about the problems we faced and the process we went through to solve them.


Challenge: Consider how our understanding of place value is important as we interact with information outside of the classroom.

  • How can we connect our problem solving power with place value and our study of China?
  • How can place value impact our understanding of landforms in China and problems they might cause?
  • What kinds of problems in this place might be related to and resolved by our understanding of place value?

Here are  a few resources that might get you thinking.

Kids World Travel Guide

National Geographic Kids


Mr. Donn: China

The World Factbook

China Facts for Kids


Plotting a Problem, A Powerful Process

Today, as we continued to inquire about the power, process, and perspective of problems solvers, we took a look at the process authors use to plan with power, incorporating problems that propel their plots.

One tool that helps both plan and analyze development and resolution of problems is a plot diagram.

We then examined one illustration and caption from Chris Van Allsburg’s book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Archie Smith, Boy Wonder 

A tiny voice asked, “Is he the one?”

Having previously determined that problem solvers observe, we took some time to examine the illustration and record our observations. From the details in this simple scene, we then allowed our imaginations to wander and wonder. In addition to our noticings, we also collected some questions sparked by our curiosity and that of our prospective readers.

  • What are the balls of light?
  • Who is the tiny voice?
  • Is the voice related to the balls of light?
  • Why is Archie Smith a “boy wonder?”
  • Why is he sleeping? Is he tired because of something he has done?
  • Is Archie hiding something under the covers?
  • Is the window open? Why? How?
  • Why is there a boat in the scene?
  • Is the boat like Cinderella’s slippers? Does it cause the boy to change? Does it give him special powers?
  • Why is there a bat? How does Archie use it?
  • What is on the window sill? How does that affect Archie?
  • What makes Archie a “boy wonder”?

After taking a few minutes to start a story, we stopped to hear our hooks. Having saved ideas from Ms. Kraft’s first library lesson, we knew the first line of our story was critical if we wanted to capture our readers’ attention.

Will we be able to answer all these questions? How will our stories develop from this one mysterious image? What kinds of problems will our characters face? What will be their process and perspective?

Chris Van Allsburg

Who is Harris Burdick?



The Art and Kraft of Choosing a Book

One of our favorite days of the week is… library day. Luckily, our library day is Monday.

Each week, Ms. Kraft prepares and presents a lesson that provides a fresh perspective on books and a valuable tip on choosing something that will help us realize:

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” – Henry David Thoreau.

Last week, we participated in an activity called “First Lines.” Using shelf markers, each student selected a book and read the first line. After pausing to ponder, each student shared the line with a partner and considered whether or not that first line was powerful enough to draw him or her into the story and continue reading. It also made us consider, as authors, how important that first line is.


In our first reading group today, we did the same thing. We read the first line of the book, Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones.


Why did the author, David A. Adler, opt for onomatopoeia?

On the padlet below, have some fun with… first lines. (Be sure to include your initials in the title of your post.)

**Alert: We are currently having technical difficulties with the embedded padlet. Come back later to complete this activity.**

Made with Padlet

Today, after reviewing our library agreements, Ms. Kraft tested our problem solving abilities with a riddle.

What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment, but not once in a thousand years?

As has been true of most of the problem solvers we have encountered over the last two weeks, observation was a key to solving this problem.


We also had a special guest join us today. Thank you, Mr. Eugene, for helping us check out our books while Ms. Merveille is taking her exams.


Unfortunately, next Monday is a holiday, so we will not have a library session next week, but you are welcome to bring back your books in any day and swap them out for some new ones.

Homework for August 27-31 (Week 3)

  1. Read for at least 30 minutes each night. Complete the online reading log OR one on paper. (Copies are available in class).
  2. Explore some lessons on and / or Khan Academy in the following areas:
    • *Number Sense*
    • Logical Reasoning
  3. Log in to some of the scholarly multiple sources and explore.
    • Refer to your password paper for log in information (most are connected to your Google Classroom log in).
    • If you are unable to log in to one of the resources, please let Mrs. Rupp know.
  4. Reflect back on Week 2, and complete the “Reflection: Learning Habits” form.

Note: Homework is due on Fridays.

**Check back later in the week for additional homework related to in class discussions and activities.


  1. Library is scheduled weekly on Mondays from 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.
    1. Bring your book bag and books.
  2. P.E. is scheduled weekly on Mondays and Fridays.
    1. Come dressed to exercise – sneakers, hat, sunscreen.
  3. Trimester 1 After School Activities (ASAs) begin this week.
    • Note: Due to the director candidate visit, ASAs are cancelled on Monday, August 27.
  4. We’re on Twitter! Follow us @Scholarsare.
    • Note: Twitter is new for us, so we are not quite “trending”… yet.

A Plethora of Picnics

Despite being delayed, our first Mix It Up Picnic was a delight. Our leisurely lunch on a leaf-laden lawn was lovely. What could be better than enjoying a bite to eat with a good beat in the background, a bunch of blankets beneath us, and our best buddies with whom to bond?

What wonderful way to build relationships beyond our classroom!


Of course, equally enjoyable was Sunday’s PTC TASOK 2018 Family Welcome Picnic. Thank you to the PTC and to all you who joined us for an afternoon of leisure and laughter. Like the rain we enjoyed last night, building relationships is refreshing.


I was especially excited to see some persistent problem solvers and some beautiful bucket fillers in action.


Thank you, too, to a few faithful staff members, Madeline, Tamak, Papa Paul, and Silas, and our new catering company, Zamani, for helping make the afternoon special. Know you are appreciated!



Absolutely Perfect!

Today, we continued building our learning community by reading and discussing a book by Kevin Henkes entitled Chrysanthemum. (Click on the links to learn more about the author and the book). While the story is simple, the ideas are significant. After reading, we spent time discussing the form and function of Chrysanthemum as a problem solver. While it was not initially obvious how Chrysanthemum could help us learn about problem solvers (form) and the problem solving process (function), as we dug deep into the words and actions of the primary and secondary characters, we discovered there was more to learn than we first thought.

Made with Padlet

In addition to referencing the TASOK Learner Profile and seeking to apply what we learned to our interactions with others, we also took time to think about the text through the layers of the literary analysis triangle. Kevin Henke’s word choice is particularly powerful. In the days ahead, we will continue to analyze the text using this tool, considering the main character, her community, and the conflict (internal and external). In addition, we will make connections to other stories, draw conclusions, and identify the theme.

Listen to the story reread aloud.

Throughout the reading and analysis of this text, it was easy to put ourselves in the shoes of Chrysanthemum, but how would the story have been told if Victoria was the main character. As a scholar, consider a different point of view.

Challenge: Write a letter from the perspective of Victoria to Chrysanthemum. Retell the events of the story, apologize for the actions of Victoria, and explain the lesson learned. As you write, think about what qualities of a learner each character needs to strive to grow.

Challenge: Somewhere in your letter, strive to use a list of synonyms in the same way Chrysanthemum’s father did.


Character, Community, Conflict, Connection, and… Cup Stacking?

We started off our day today by spending time with Eve Bunting’s book One Green Apple (Interview with Eve Bunting). While reading, we discussed character, point of view, author’s purpose, conflict, and theme. As part of our analysis, we referenced TASOK’s Learner Profile, trying to identify qualities evidenced in the main character, Farah. We will be rereading this text to further discuss Farah as a problem solver, recording our thoughts in our problem solving journals. Our captured thoughts will allow us to compare and contrast ideas with several other texts.

As an extension of our reading, at the end of the day, groups embraced a cup-stacking challenge that required communication, reflection, thinking, risk taking, focus, patience, and perseverance. Through this activity, scholars experienced what George S. Patton intended when he said,…

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”


Below is a padlet containing evidence of our time of reflection and discussion after the activity.

As you continue to reflect on this team-building task, please feel free to post additional ideas about yourself as a problem solver and the process of problem solving.


Made with Padlet

Today we discovered, like a freshly pressed glass of apple juice, striving to stack cups with rubber bands and string is satisfying.

Soaring. Stretching. Shining. Striving.

At TASOK, we believe in excellence, integrity, and inclusivity.

As learners at TASOK, we strive to be:

  • inquirers
  • knowledgeable
  • thinkers
  • communicators
  • principled
  • open-minded
  • caring
  • risk-takers
  • balanced
  • reflective

This past week, we dug into the meaning of some of these terms, and each scholar took time to consider with which descriptor he / she most identifies. As we continue to grow as “fifth grade thinkers,” our desire is to develop each of these qualities in ourselves and to recognize and celebrate them in one another.

Take a peek at the following video clip from “The Rescuers.”

Bernard, Bianca and… the Bottle

Like you, Bernard and Bianca are scholars striving to soar.  Each character has areas in which he or she soars, is stretched, or is striving towards. Using the terms from the TASOK Learner Profile, how would you describe each character?

Complete the form below as you REFLECT on “The Rescuers.”

Periodically, we will take time to REFLECT on ourselves as learners. Click here fora peek at a paper version of our self-reflection form, which might be useful as you think about Bernard, Bianca, and… YOU!

After reviewing the paper version of the reflection form, take a moment to complete the online form below, reflecting on learning habits demonstrated during Week 1.


Homework for August 20-24 (Week 2)

  1. Read for at least 30 minutes each night. Complete the online reading log or one on paper.(Copies are available in class).
  2. Watch a video clip of “The Rescuers,” and complete “The Rescuers: Profiled” form.
  3. Reflect back on Week 1, and complete the “Reflection: Learning Habits” form.

Note: Homework is due on Fridays.

**Check back later in the week for additional homework related to in class discussions and activities.


  1. Library is scheduled weekly on Mondays from 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.
    1. Bring your book bag and books.
  2. P.E. is scheduled weekly on Mondays and Fridays.
    1. Come dressed to exercise – sneakers, hat, sunscreen.
  3. Mix It Up Picnic – Wednesday, August, 22, 11:15 a.m. CHANGED to Friday, August 24, 11:15 a.m.
    1. Optional: Bring a picnic blanket.
  4. PTC TASOK 2018 Family Welcome Picnic – Sunday, August 26, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
    1. Hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, makemba, ice cream, and cold drinks will be available for purchase OR bring your own picnic food to share with our family.
    2. Bring your picnic blanket, swim gear, and sports shoes to enjoy the TASOK facilities.
  5. Trimester 1 After School Activities (ASAs) begin Monday, August 27
    1. Sign up online this week.
  6. We’re on Twitter! Follow us @Scholarsare.
    1. Our first tweet features a booksnap created using Google Drawings.


Skip to toolbar