Monday, January 15, 2018

Ode To Our Families

Delores O'Riordan may not have a name that everyone knows, but man, she was an incredible singer. Her voice was unique and beautiful.

She is probably best known for the Cranberries song "Linger", but I will always remember her best for a few other songs--"Ode To My Family", "Dreams", "Free To Decide", and last but not least, "Zombie."

The Cranberries, her band, were a group whom I "accidentally" saw for the first time when they opened for Pearl Jam at Purdue's Elliott Hall of Music way back in, what, must have been 1994? No one had ever heard of them, but I thought, Man, these guys are good. And then, luckily, they exploded onto the scene.

Here's a tribute to O'Riordan, another one lost to the great beyond.

We Won't Share the Wish We Made

This week, we are going to have an altered schedule from what was originally planned, but that's cool.
  • We're going to forge ahead tomorrow with Math Chapter 5. We had a quick quiz we were going to take last Friday, but I think I will just fold that into this week's Friday quiz. Some of the material overlaps anyway, so it's all good.
  • We'll find some time this week to finally watch the long-overdue rest of Cars 3 from the Friday before break. 
  • One last thing, on Wednesday, I will be out of the classroom for the last part of the day. Luckily, I will have Mrs. Dawson on hand (according to plan right now--sometimes life throws a monkey wrench at us). 
  • Once again, we will have our Caesar's English quiz, originally planned for last Friday, this Friday. Nobody has any excuses not to do well with all that extra study time!
  • Last Friday, we missed out on an opportunity to receive a visit from one of my favorite guest readers from last year. He's eager to come, though, so we'll get him back as soon as we can. We should have a couple of special guests this Friday, though. Once again, monkey wrenches are always a possibility, but 5-1's collective fingers are crossed. 
Here's to another shortened week! Let's get as much done as possible. 

Friday, January 12, 2018


Well, it turns out that White Out Friday has turned out to literally be White Out Friday.

Three days on, four days off. Don't get used to that, kiddos!

I think what I'm going to do is set our Caesar's English quiz--the same one--for next Friday instead of giving them a new list next week. Does that make sense?

Everybody enjoy your extra break, and I'll see you on the flip side.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bean Water

Don't forget to wear white tomorrow for the big white-out!

Don't forget to bring in your bookmark tomorrow!

Don't forget to study for Caesar's English!

Ask your child about the science experiments we did in class today. It was regarding the chemical reactions of various acids. When most of us think of acid, we think of sulphuric acid, which is extremely dangerous. But I found out that most of the kids don't think of that (modern era!), but they rightfully had in mind citric acids (and that in Coke) and, even though they didn't think to call it this, acetic acids such as vinegar.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Endings, Beginnings, and Chemical Reactions

This is unusual, but the kids will have some Science homework tonight. We did an experiment in class today, and their only homework for homeroom tonight it to make sure they complete the End of Mystery Assessment. It's three questions, but they should be answered in complete sentences (however many the question calls for).

Also today, we finished The Genius Files series. It all ended today. It was quite the saga and quite the ending!

We did a listening comprehension activity today, and I also took the kids through all the books that made me into a reader, and they're not the kind you'd expect. It all stems from a book that I was introduced to just a few weeks ago, right before break. The introduction is by Dav Pilkey, who is responsible for Captain Underpants. I told the kids that it could say "By Jeff Carter" at the top instead of "By Dav Pilkey." Ask them about it.

I hope everyone has a great evening--two days down, two days to go. They really are easing us in this January, aren't they?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Blame It On Gravity

Okay, folks! Sorry, I had meant to post much earlier today, but I decided to wait until I got home this evening. But when I got home, my internet was down, and I had nearly given up when I checked one last time.

It was good to see the kids today. We all just kind of fell right back in where we left off. We did our best to finish off The Genius Files (we have at least one more day on that one), we did a Caesar's English list (quiz Friday!), we learned some Science, and last but not least, in math, we learned about the infamous box-and-whisker plots. If you don't know what those are, you're not alone. They came about in the time between when I learned math, and when I started teaching math. Have your kid explain it, and if they're in my math class, hopefully they can tell you about it.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone. Hopefully tomorrow's update will be a bit more timely. 

Monday, January 8, 2018


Happy Birthday, Sam!

Sam is the first person I turn to every day. It didn't take long for him to go from just being the attendance-reader of the week to becoming my permanent attendance man. I'm not sure why, but I just like the way he does it. He knows right where to put the attendance sticks when it's done, and he knows how to make sure the Lifeskills kids get included in the count even if they're not all in the room yet. But that's just the practical reason I like Sam so much.

Sam has a great sense of humor. He's the kind of kid who can look you in the face, give a funny response in a total deadpan, and never crack up at himself. Do you know how rare that is in a kid? I can think of only two other examples from my seventeen years of teaching, and both of those are from when I taught Challenge (this was back before it was called "HA"--ha!).

No day would quite be right without Sam. He's a good friend to everyone, he never has an unkind word to say, and he cracks me up.

Sam, you're one of the good ones, buddy. I hope you had a great birthday. You deserve it!


Happy Birthday to Miss Evelyn!

When I think of Evelyn, I think about how helpful she is--without question. I say that literally, because I can ask her to take care of any task--collecting papers, taking something to another classroom, or go down to the office to get something--and she may be the one person assigned to such jobs who won't ever come and ask me anything more. I know the job will get done.

She is a quiet leader in that way. Everyone likes her, and it's because she has such an easy-going personality. At least part of it is. I know that she also has a more advanced appreciation of music than most of her fifth grade classmates who consider--oh jeez, I don't even know what they think music is anymore. But I know that Evelyn likes Bon Jovi and Soundgarden, and those are both indicators of good taste.

Evelyn, I'm glad that you at least got to have the day off for your birthday, even if it was the last day before having to come back to school.

Happy Birthday, Evelyn! As one of my favorite people, you definitely deserve it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's Not a Personal Experience

Growing up in a place that has winter, you learn to avoid self-pity. Winter is not a personal experience, everybody else is just as cold as you, so you shouldn't complain about it too much. You learn this as a kid, coming home crying from the cold, and Mother looks down and says, 'It's only a little frostbite. You're okay.' And thus you learn to be okay. What's done is done. Get over it. Drink your coffee. It's not the best you'll ever get but it's good enough.
--Garrison Keillor
Say what you will about Garrison Keillor--sounds like he made some interesting choices during his peak years--but this is no less true.   
I had to have a talk with the kids about the proper attire to wear during the winter. They (and we) live in Indiana, which, for many years, has been a state where it gets cold outside. It's no surprise, nor is it unique to anyone here. 

I hope you are all making your kids go outside in this. They need to breathe in the cold air, feel their nostrils stick together, and then come back in after awhile to drink some hot chocolate. You and I all went through it, and we survived, and we're fine. 

Yep, it's warmer in Anchorage, Alaska. I've seen that post too. I don't care. If you took that fact for what it implies, you would think that it's 120 degrees there in the summer. It's not. It's called jet streams and meteorology. 

Endure the winter. It will make springtime all that much better.