Saturday, September 20, 2008

Busy Weeks Ahead

First of all, I'd like to thank all my old students and their parents from whom I've received comments on this blog as well as e-mails about how they're still keeping track of what goes on in my class by reading Mr. Carter's Dojo. Each day I hope you are all doing well over at middle school. From the reports I've heard, I know you are doing great. You have great teachers over there, and I'm sure they're all teaching you new things as you grow up and accept more responsibility.

As for you here in my class right now, I almost have your cereal boxes graded, I've rearranged the desks, and I've still got a few more things to get ready for Science on Monday. First up: Physics! We'll be learning about Newton's laws through experiments and, of course, you will have to write down all your observations and findings. And I also found a way to use that thing that's supposed to hang down with all the spaces for stuff that I was showing you guys on Friday. Plus we're starting reading groups.

Remember: This week there is Current Events, spelling, and everything else, so make sure you make good use of your class time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

But If We Were In a Vacuum, We'd Run Out of Air

As alert reader and recent student of mine, Claire B., pointed out yesterday, the huge shockwave of homework does come at them like a brick wall. So I'm not going to hold back too much on it this year, although I do have to admit the beginning of last week was a bit over the top--but just a little bit. 

I'm hoping this afternoon or before lunch to get some more work in Time Stops for No Mouse done. The testing has been a little more time-consuming than I thought. We always make our testing plans as if we were in a vacuum, or not actually in the real world where life continues to happen whether or not you're in the midst of some earth-shatteringly important test in which you have to actually chain and bolt their test booklets into a closet if you want to go to the bathroom at any point during the day. And that, children, is a run-on sentence.

Indeed, life has continued apace this week, and between the bathroom breaks and the drinks and the snacks and everything, we're left with a pittance of spare minutes in our day, and have ended up reading about a paragraph and a half of this book each day or so. Needless to say, we'll be continuing this next week, as well as getting with our guided reading groups. 

And as we find that Time Stops for No Class, either, the kids may find themselves having to make good use of their spare class time. With some urging on my part, they might learn that they would have less homework if they spent more time working on it at school and not putting the 348th layer of tape on their name tags. 

These are great kids. I know I say it all the time, but I just continue to enjoy coming in to work each day. Please contact me if you have any questions about what is coming up in class, anything to do with camp coming up (anyone going to the workshop this weekend or next?), and if I can answer you, I will be happy to do so.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Standardization Nation

Testing is going great so far. The kids are almost all doing a good job of staying quiet during the duration, which is leaving me enough time to make some big time plans for the coming months! And I'll try to hold off on the homework a little bit, but not so much that junior high comes as a total shock.

And I know a lot of you have been asking, when will the book talks be? I'm shooting for next Tuesday. We really need to get them wrapped up soon, before the momentum is gone, if it's not already.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taking Precautions

A new Carter Current went home today with most all of the information on it pertaining to the classroom right now. I gave the kids a break from the homework today, but they still should be studying up for Spelling and Caesar's English as well as putting the finishing touches on their book reports.

Talk Like a Pirate Day is Friday! The kids can wear their pirate costumes, but don't go buy anything. We'll supply the eye patches.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

How Your Kids Can Relax and Learn to Love the Bomb (or this case, the test)

Yesterday we had a special guest with us all day, Mr. Shriver, a high school guy who teaches karate with me at Adamson's. He wants to be an elementary school teacher, asked if he could come in and shadow with me occasionally, and I said sure. I'd love to see him become a teacher, and so I'm going to encourage that one any way I can. He really enjoyed his day with us, and I told him next time he came we could do some karate with the students. And don't worry, no contact!

This week it's back to normal...well, kind of. We will have a Caesar's English quiz and a Spelling test at the end of the week, and there's a States and Capitals quiz on Tuesday, this is all true. However, ISTEP is looming large over our heads for next week. Some kids look forward to this because of no homework, etc. Some students loathe the bitter taste of standardized testing and the way it affects their future. It's such a fine balance between trying to get them to relax a little bit so that, for some fo them, they can do their best, while still putting the fire under some of them in order to get them to do their best. Whichever your child needs, make sure you place it into them at home, because there's no real way I can do both en masse at school.

To help the kids relax a little before the test, we always celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day right before the ISTEPs. This is an actual holiday (okay, not actual actual, but kind of actual). The kids are encouraged to dress like pirates for the day, and we'll have all kinds of activities and stuff like that during the day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Melt (updated now)

We're melting! Actually, a couple people have brought in fans, but now I'm having to yell over them. This isn't a huge problem because I have a pretty loud voice, but I've told the kids that we're going to have to be extra-nice to each other during this heat. When I went to elementary school, that's just the way it was. Amazing how coddled we've become, isn't it?

No spelling this week, but I am giving the kids a new Caesar's English today. That quiz will be over Latin roots, and it will be next Friday.

Speaking of next Friday, next Friday will be Talk Like a Pirate Day in fifth grade. On that day, we will learn all about pirates, do many fun pirate activities, and the kids are encouraged to dress like a pirate that day. (Not to mention take their Spelling test and Caesar's English quiz...) We do this on the last day before ISTEP testing for kind of a fun day before the big one begins. I have no idea what we'll do before we take ISTEP again in March. 

Oh, and UPDATE: Now we DO have air. Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We'll Be Studying Perspiration This Week

Keep in mind that there is no spelling this week, and there are also no Current Events this week. We'll try to use these shortened weeks to play catch-up on other stuff while doing our best to charge forth in our curriculum. Next Tuesday will be our next states and capitals test over the Southeast. There are twelve states in this one, and they received their list today.

We also did another DOL today after grading three from last week. Tomorrow and Friday we'll be spending some time in the computer lab to finish up their typed up reports on their states.

Oh, plus NO AIR CONDITIONING until the end of the week, so I told the kids they may want to dress cooler than they had before. Most of them had adapted to the balmy 60 degrees at which I normally keep my room. (Okay, not really, but it's not that far off...)