An update from 5th grade ELA…

We are hard at work in room 220! March has roared in like a lion, and we are roaring back with enthusiasm and focus.

Our argument and advocacy unit drew to a close quite literally with the creation of some thought provoking infographics. This work communicates our opinions, reasons, and evidence around some hot button issues, and we’ll be happy to display them for you to see at our conferences next week.

A sneak peek:

We also completed our opinion essay writing unit with some passionate and well researched essays on whether chocolate milk should be served in schools. All of this work will dovetail nicely with the writing we will do in our current test preparation unit!

We are preparing for the fifth grade ELA test through a mixture of guided practice, partner work, and small group instruction. The students are already experienced after all their hard work in fourth grade; this year’s job is to maintain that level of focus while fine tuning our written responses for fifth grade expectations. We’ll discuss more at parent teacher conferences so that you’ll know the specific goals we’re addressing with your child.

Enjoy your weekend and see you soon!


Update from Claudia


The month of March we focus on Geometry.  Students will study triangles, quadrilaterals and circles as well as measuring angles with a protractor and calculating complementary and reflex angles.  Students should be able to describe triangles and quadrilaterals based on their characteristics (angles, side lengths, parallel lines and perpendicular lines).

We will start reviewing for the state test in the next few weeks and I look forward to seeing you to discuss your child’s progress next week!


Our work with Landforms is wrapping up and our next unit is Food & Nutrition, where we will study the science of foods.  We are always looking for experts in nutrition to come talk to the class, please let me know if you’re interested!

Science Fair has begun….ideas are due on Monday through Google Classroom I have asked the students to share their documents with you so when I leave comments and questions, they should be visible to you as well.  

Thank you for your support, please email with comments or questions!


MoMath Visits Lower Lab

Great experience with Arizona State University Professor, Bruce Bayly, this morning.  He is affiliated with Museum of Math and is spending his spring break in NYC visiting schools talking about math, science and everything in between.  The students enjoyed the visit, asked many questions and Bruce enjoyed his time at Lower Lab.

Pics and videos (sorry for the orientation!) below, hopefully your children can give you captions and recaps tonight!

(PS: Please send your $11 as soon as you can, the bill needs to be paid.  Thanks!)







An ELA Update…

To start off, I want to thank the whole Lower Lab community for the warm welcome back to fifth grade. It was a relief to know what good hands the classes were in with Eve while I was on leave, and it has been a pleasure catching up with everyone and getting the chance to share with you about the twins. They’re doing so well at home with my mother, who will have them writing their own literary essays in no time.

Speaking of literary essays, the fifth graders have been working hard to lift the quality of their thesis statements and choosing the richest quotations to unpack in support of their ideas. We are challenging ourselves to avoid cliches and instead make insightful inferences about the short stories we read. As we wind down this unit and prepare to publish the best of our work, we plan to jump right into another powerful essay unit – the research based argument essay. This unit will leverage the skills we are building in choosing and unpacking text evidence to support strong claims about topics in the world. Students will learn to suspend judgment as they read critically and note take before building reasoned arguments in support of their viewpoints. We’ll even appeal to our audiences and incorporate counterarguments to make our essays as convincing as possible. Prepare to be swayed!

As readers, we are drawing another cycle of book clubs to a close. The students have taken ownership of the roles Eve taught them to play in literature circles to hold themselves accountable to their club mates and have stronger, deeper conversations about their shared texts. Our next stop will be holding similarly meaningful conversations around nonfiction texts. This informational and argument reading will even spur flash debates that can provide opportunities for rehearsal for our argument essays! This work will require analytical reading and analysis as well as exploration of the author’s craft moves to determine her unspoken perspective on the topic. Readers will also synthesize across multiple texts on a topic so that they can write essays in Writing Workshop that are heavily researched and fully informed. There’s no debating that this will be a powerful unit for the fifth graders! (Are new moms allowed to make dad jokes? Hope so.)

Finally, the fifth graders are thrilled to be launching a new social studies unit on Canada! We will start by studying the origins of its national symbols and their significance. Later, we’ll tie into our argument unit by critically reading and debating about the mutual impact of polar bears and humans and the changing of the words in Canada’s national anthem. We will also study primary sources to explore what they indicate about important moments in Canada’s history. Our work will culminate in some independent research into Canada’s provinces and cities. We’re really looking forward to getting into this new area of study!

Happy to be back in the swing of things in fifth grade!


Update from Claudia


Happy 2018!  As a teacher, this is always my favorite time of the year.  The ‘new school year’ jitters have worn off, the students are in a really nice groove with each other and the systems and routines of the classroom are automatic for everyone.  Everyday feels productive and yet we can find some time to laugh and enjoy senior year!  

Our current unit of study in math is place value and decimals.  Place value in fifth grade involves multiplying and dividing by powers of ten (without using the standard algorithm), knowing how to rewrite each place value as a power of ten and being able to convert units within the metric system.  The work with place value helps students understand decimals in a more sophisticated way.  As the month continues, we will cover rounding, ordering, comparing, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals.  

We are in our second science unit, Landforms.  Landforms is our Earth Science Unit, we will study maps, learn to read topographic maps and observe the effects erosion and deposition have on the earth through in-class simulations using sand, clay and water.  We will take some virtual field trips to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley via Google Earth!

Inside Broadway Lottery Completed

Dear Lower Lab Families,

Please find the students pulled from the lottery for the After School CASA Grant- Inside Broadway Program beginning on February 1st 2018.

This is the 4th year we have had the need to create a lottery for this program. Kudos to Inside Broadway for their excellence and popularity. It is unprecedented that we had 70 applications for 35 spots. 

  • 20 – 5th Graders
  • 24 – 4th Graders
  • 26 – 3rd Graders 
    It is amazing that we had such a large response however extremely emotional for us to proceed with a lottery option.  This lottery was equitable for all grades (3-5)  There were no priorities in terms of seniority, repeat participants, or siblings. 
    Please note that we have also decided to select 6 alternate students should there be a need to replace any of the participants due to illness or lack of 100 percent participation.


We thanks everyone for their consideration and look forward to this years program. If you were not selected please consider the PTA Afterschool as another option for the Spring semester of classes.
Inside Broadway will begin on February 1st. Should your situation change and you are no longer interested in participating please let Gina know ASAP so that we might select someone from the wait list.  Email her at 

Inside Broadway Sign Up Sheets Deadline for interest has been moved up!

If you filled out a form for the CASA Grant and the Inside Broadway Opportunity grades 3-5 we will be doing our lottery on January 2nd. 

Please make sure you have submitted you INSIDE BROADWAY INTEREST SHEET ASAP

The new date for this submission is Monday December 18th.


Dear Lower Lab Families Grades 3-5 ONLY,

Please check the backpacks for the information sign up sheet for the Inside Broadway Program beginning February 1st – May 25th. This is a program only for grades 3-5 and will most probably have a lottery for selected students.

Hand in your interest sheet prior to January 2nd!  Lottery will be pulled on January 4 to give parents enough time to sign up for the LL after school programing should their child not get selected in the lottery.

Inside Broadway – NYC Musical Mystery Melodies for Students in Grades 3-5

Update from Claudia


As I mentioned in the last update, we are knee-deep in fractions and have been working on modeling, writing equations for and solving fractions of whole numbers as well as fractions of fractions.  The double number line, the bar model and an array are an integral part of our daily math lives.  

We have added ten Macbook Airs to our math classroom and students have an opportunity to practice skills online as well as complete a personalized ‘Mission’ using Kahn Acdemy.  The students use the laptops in small groups for about 20 minutes a day, 3-4x a week.  We have discussed the high level of responsibility that comes along with the use of a laptop, both online safety and respect as well as how to carefully handle an expensive tool.

As scientists, the students continue to practice and utilize their skills to design a controlled experiment, collect data, calculate average and create a line graph with the trials they’ve conducted using the flip sticks and small objects.  (Pictures attached for reference).


Last year I recommended this book to the class and many students enjoyed reading it and found it helpful when preparing for National Science League (the multiple choice competition for 4th and 5th graders) in April.  Maybe a holiday gift idea?

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need more information.


December Update from Eve

Dear 5A and 5B Families,

It’s hard to believe 2017 is drawing to a close so quickly! The 5th graders have had quite the November, and our December learning is already well underway. Thank you as always for your continued support and partnership in your children’s learning. It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know each of them and watching them learn and grow, even in such a short time.

In reading, we have dedicated hours of passion and thoughtful research to our Inquiry Research Projects, which we are currently in the final stretch of completing. Working both collaboratively and independently to ask thought provoking questions about our topics, synthesize our sources and subtopics, and grow new knowledge about our interests has provided the students with skills they will continue to use in middle school and beyond. From building Hamilton to exotic foods, and optical illusions to the Miami Dolphins, the research the students have completed using articles, books, interviews, and by evaluating personal experiences has laid the foundation for what is sure to be an exciting and educational series of shares and presentations in the next few weeks. I have already learned so much from everyone, and I am excited to see how far this research can take them!

The first half of our journalism writing unit is also wrapping up, and the students are putting their new skills to the test as they write news reports for our class newspaper or newscast report. Writing articles that showcase the happenings of Lower Lab and the New York City community, the students have been honing their skills writing catchy headlines, strong leads that include the “who, what, when, and where,” and interweaving quotes from interviews to add depth and character to their articles. To release their hard-hitting stories to the press, some students will work together to assemble a newspaper that will be distributed around the 5th grade, and some students will get their moment in the spotlight as they read their articles in front of the camera! The footage will be edited together to create our own “newscast report” to be screened by both classes. Both the journalism articles and inquiry research have kept us working hard, and the students’ efforts have certainly showed in their pieces and projects.

In the upcoming month, we look forward to continuing our journalism unit, extending our skills as we learn to write feature articles to add to our reporting repertoire. We are also beginning a new reading unit, which will focus on the importance of reading while keeping writing about this reading in mind. December is sure to keep us busy and productive!

Zumba Kids at PS 77


Dear families,

We have some exciting news! For the third straight year, our students will have the opportunity to participate in free Zumba classes at recess. The classes will be run by certified Zumba instructors from Training Concepts LLC. Classes will be held on Monday’s and Friday’s in the auditorium from 10:05 AM to 10:25 AM and 11:00 AM to 11:25 AM.

Zumba Kids will run on the following dates:

January 8, 12, 26, 29

February 2, 5

If your child is interested in signing up for Zumba, please fill out the school permission slip and Zumba release forms below. Both forms should be turned in to your classroom teacher.

Zumba Kids Waiver

ZUMBA KIDS school permission slip 2017

If you have further questions, please email Mr. Goodman at