Monday, December 28, 2009

Diagnosis: Homework

Hey, guys, since it's pretty public knowledge what happened to me (it was during school, so yeah, people figured it out), I thought I'd let everyone know that the testing is all over, and today I finally went in and got my test results. I had a clean bill of health, and we're just going to "keep an eye on it" for awhile. They couldn't find anything wrong with me over the course of the five tests they did. I can't tell you what a huge relief this was to me today.

I hope everyone's having a fantastic break. Now that this is off my mind, I'm able to focus on school, and over the next few days, I can start developing my grand plan for the spring. Don't worry, it won't be TOO much more homework. Mwwwhahahahahaaaa!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Have a Good One!

Happy Holidays, everyone! And just remember, there's room for everyone on the nice list, so make sure to be good over break.

I'll see you next year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Life Less Ordinary

Hey, this is the 300th post! Woohooooo!

Today we went to the second grade and helped Mrs. Bartlett's class with some gingerbread houses and read with them, came back and talked about the Social Studies test tomorrow, took a Caesar's English quiz, and then did a DOL, journal, and silent reading. And this afternoon we got to make gifts (shhhh!!). THAT was chaotic, but very fun. If they didn't bring it home today, they'll bring it home tomorrow.

Needless to say, days around 5-1 right now are anything but ordinary, but pretty darn fun in the end.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Keeping the Lid on the Boiler Pot Clamped Down Hard

This week's test/due date schedule:

Tuesday: Caesar's English quiz. This list is the one that was given to them last Tuesday. The roots they need to know are bene, son, nov, sangui, and cogn.

Wednesday: OPEN BOOK Social Studies quiz/test over chapters six and seven. This is nothing to worry about. As I told them this morning, this is the same thing as having a worksheet to do without partners--and without being able to take it home to finish, either. Don't worry, plenty of time will be given.

Thursday: OPEN NOTE quiz/test for Science. Astronomy is the topic, and they have copious notes on this subject. Of course, they will have to use their inferences and their brains.

Friday: Spelling Test. I promise this list is pretty easy compared to the last few weeks worth of lists. It's a half-day (despite the new rule--I have no idea what's going on, honestly), but I still need the kids to be wearing their thinking caps that day.

I'm giving them a book report worksheet (not a project!) today, and this is due on Wednesday. I told them that this is for either of the two novels they have read over the last six weeks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Soul of Wit

The days are getting more and more frenetic as the big break gets closer and closer, but that's the same as every year. The bottom line is that your kids are some of the best around, and I enjoy each day I spend teaching them.

Happy Friday to you all. Tomorrow I'll post next week's quiz and test days.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Foot Out the Door

Today we bid farewell to Mr. Shriver, our cadet teacher. We're going to miss that kid (or technically, adult) in 5-1. He is going to be a natural at teaching. I first met Mr. Shriver through my karate dojo, where he's been teaching for awhile.

I like to think that he discovered the same thing about teaching that I did--teaching school doesn't automatically make you awesome at teaching karate (in my case) and vice versa (his case). Of course, with time, he became extremely comfortable with the kids and had them eating out of his hand. We've worked together quite a bit at the karate school, so I was really happy when he wanted to do his cadet teaching with me.

The kids wrote him letters of advice today before he left. I liked hearing these as he read them out loud--very insightful. I hope one day he'll come back and student teach with me, because he's going to be an awesome teacher.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Breaking Away

It was a wild goose chase--actually a wild hamster chase--today when Queen Whiskers broke free of her cage. The new rule is that no one is allowed to either open the cage nor put their hands in it. Queen Whiskers it to be enjoyed only from the outside.

Ever since the great escape, Barton has been shoveling away at the bottom of his aquarium. I imagine he's thinking, "If that rodent can break free, then so can I..."

Other than that, we had a pretty full day. We learned about the New England and Middle Colonies in Social Studies, and they had homework (the two aforementioned regions' worth of their SS journal pages 40-41, along with page 38. The kids also have spelling, a DOL, and my Math class has page 168 in the MJ and study link 5.2. (They most likely already have the MJ page done.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another Great Philosopher

Bah! No news yet. It was only for an EMG (not sure what that means, but evidently it stands for "we're going to poke you with needles and electrocute you"). When the lady called, she said it was to let me know what the tests thus far said. Now I'll find out right after Christmas.

Anyway, for your information, we're going to try to have the semester wrapped up by next Thursday, which means we're going to have to be regular whirlwinds up to that point. I'll do my best not to over-test, but we really should get another book report in there somewhere (don't worry, not another project), a Social Studies test, and at least one more Caesar's English test. I'll let the kids know tomorrow what is going to come when, but I'll also do my best to go easy on them.

The last thing my grandfather ever said to me was while he was in hospice: "You go easy on those kids!" His eyes were closed and it was almost not understandable, but it came through loud and clear. This was five years ago, right after I was talking about how I had to come down on some of them for being idiots that day. I try to remember that whenever I'm making decisions in the classroom, but often it falls to the back of my mind. I have to think that it must have seemed important to someone who was about to die, and I figure that's about the most clarity you're ever going to have on life. Even though it doesn't entirely make sense sometimes to me, I figure there's more truth to it than I know in the here and now.

So we'll successfully wrap up our semester, but if there are some loose ends, that's okay too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Anyone? Anyone?

It's been a long weekend, but I wish everyone a fantastic week ahead. If there's one thing I've learned this weekend (and there has actually been much more, but I say nonetheless), it's this. From the wisdom that is Ferris Bueller:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Oh, and by the way, no, this is not some allusion to some bad news I got from a doctor. I still have no news on that one yet (doctor's appointment tomorrow). I just didn't want everyone calling in all worried about me! I'm fine--honest! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Drawn to the Deep End

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. We had a good day yesterday--we had a drawing lesson at the end of the morning. I don't think the kids realize that even though I can draw, I'm not actually much of a drawing teacher. It took me eight years of teaching drawing at camp to realize that. The kids seemed to like it, though. And I have to say also that having the document camera makes teaching drawing so much easier.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It Needn't Be Untrue to Be Harmful

I had a very good report from the sub. You have no idea how much that means to me. I get the feeling the kids liked this guy, and I'll try to get him in the future whenever possible. My tests went very smoothly today, by the way. No problems in the least. I actually fell asleep during my ultrasound, much to the radiologist's chagrin.

We had a very much-needed talk about gossiping about each other in class today. I hope it sticks; I really do. Kids can be so mean to each other, often without even meaning to.

Oh, and I realize this week's spelling list is pretty challenging, but I know the kids are up to it. They normally do really well at spelling as a whole group, so we'll see how this week's list goes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stars Our Destination

Tomorrow I have more doctors appointments, so I won't be there for the latter part of the day. The rest of the week, though, I will be there.

There is a Caesar's English test on Wednesday, and we'll be back into the swing of the normal Spelling schedule this week.

It is also in my plans to make this a very astronomy-heavy week, as we're behind the rest of the fifth grade on that one. I'm looking forward to this, because this is one of my favorite things to teach, and yet it's been almost summarily neglected this year so far. At least it gives me a good excuse to do some pure astronomy lessons, unfettered by time limitations.

Don't worry, though, we will be covering our share of sentence structure, focusing now on adverbs, while continuing to review prepositions, and the kids will get their final book report assignment for the semester. Don't worry, this one isn't nearly as involved as the previous one. It's only every other one that you need to worry about.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at 5-1, Woodbrook Elementary, Carmel, Indiana! What a group!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Successionary Modern

We all have so many things to be thankful for, and I hope that over your break, that you all stop to at least think about how lucky we are.

Put some serious thought into doing something to make the world a better place during this holiday season. Talk about it as a family, and/or maybe we could do something as a class. In fact, here's my challenge*: come up with something we could do as a class, that would cost no money, that would somehow help out someone less fortunate than us during this holiday season. We'll do our best.

*Yes, I did just now come up with that. And yes, I am this stream-of-consciousness when I'm teaching sometimes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Phantom Menaces

It made me really happy to come back today. I realize I was only gone one day in "school time", but in "my life" time, it was at least a week. Having those yanking, horrible wires glued onto my head was not cool at all, and even though I got lots of grading done (and even more tonight), it still wasn't fun. After the lady pulled them off of me this morning and I headed back to school, I was happy to go pick the kiddos up from Spanish and see them all. These kids make me smile every day.

And we hopped back into the routine with DOLs, grammar (subjects, predicates, and prepositional phrases--a little trickier than I thought), and reading. We didn't get to Social Studies today, but that's what tomorrow is for. (And pardon me for ending a sentence in a preposition...I know you'll forgive me.)

Can still feel those wires where she pulled them off. Didn't realize they had been super-glued onto my head!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Now the Halftime Air Was Sweet Perfume

So I have a bunch of papers graded now (even those giant sheets with the pictures of the adjectives), and now I only have a stack of Math papers left to grade and about 2/3 of the journals to finish. Even though I'm not allowed to exercise, I was about to go crazy just laying on the couch, so I had to put the rest of those off for awhile. I do have plans made for this half-week already, though, so that makes me pretty happy. Other than that, it's been a lot of laundry, tons of football (including a *ahem* certain Oaken Bucket game yesterday--who won that again?), and some movies (sorry, Carter, couldn't find Hot Rod in time).

Now I'm just excited to get these wires taken off. They're full-blown annoying now.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Okay, everyone! I'm at home and wired up. It actually isn't as bad as what I was picturing, but the fact is that I still have wires all over my head. I think it's going to be more comfortable to lay down. Anyway, I appreciate everyone's flexibility this week, as well as all the help I've received.

You people are great! I trust Mrs. Adaniya is having a good day with the class right now. They've been warned!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fair Warning

I realize this went home with the Carter Current already, and that before that you received a note a few weeks ago, but please note that TOMORROW is our book fair day! This is a fundraiser for the library, so send in the money tomorrow.

We had a pretty good day today. Talkative, yes, but I'll take happy talkers over bickering quiet people any day.

Oh, AND one more thing: The kids have taken to making paper glasses for themselves to wear. I told them today to please leave them at home and wear them around the house to look cool and impress you parents because Mr. Carter is already about as impressed as he can be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swine Repellent

Has it ever been an interesting day today! I said in my newsletter yesterday the scheduling was going to get funky, and it really has. I don't know why I'm ever surprised by anything anymore, but let's just say that it's a good thing that your kids are so flexible when it comes to routine. ("Flexible routine"? It's time for an oxymoron lesson.)

The kids lined up and dutifully got their shots (those whose parents gave permission only...don't want to cause a panic!) and they were all very brave. We had no tears. I was so proud.

We also got some Science, Social Studies, and Reading done today. In addition to the shots, that made for a pretty full day, in actuality.

Tomorrow is a Caesar's English quiz. Oh, and no Spelling this week! Woohoooo!

FYI: I will not be here on Friday, because I'll be doing some tests to make sure I'm not growing a third arm or something like that. (Although, come to think of it, the implications of what a third arm would do for karate would be astounding...)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Current Carter Current

It’s Still Last Week
Hey, there, everybody! It’s great to be alive. Seriously, I’m fine, but I wanted to thank you all for the magnanimous outpouring of support and love I’ve received since last Wednesday. You all are the greatest. When I got home Wednesday night, my inboxes overflowed with people concerned about me. I’m truly sorry that the kids were told that I had gone to the hospital, but the response was a nice reminder of the support I have in you all. Between the prayers, the kind words, and the food, I couldn’t ask for more out of you all. Please accept my sincere thanks.

On Friday, I went to the cardiologist, who says I have the healthiest heart he’s seen in a long time. The neurologist believes it’s probably just a pinched nerve, but wants to go ahead and run a few tests. Because of that, I’ll be out this Friday as well, and then a couple afternoons in a few weeks. Seems excessive, but I’m not one to argue with the doctor.

Because of this fiasco, we’re now a little behind. But God willing, we’ll catch up; don’t worry! It might take some funky scheduling, but we’ll make up for all time lost as soon as possible.

So as Long as You’re Still Feeling All Warm and Fuzzy About Mr. Carter…
Okay, I’m coming out and saying that I could use some volunteers in the classroom. Many of you have asked me when you can come in, and I’m always non-committal, but seriously, I could use some help. I admit it. I’m going to need help with things like 1.) organizing file folders for each child’s portfolio of work, 2.) organizing in my pigsty--er, classroom, I mean--in general, 3.) hang up student work in the hallways and make copies, and 4.) floating questions during any morning, which would allow me to work with small reading groups uninterrupted, or in the afternoon, help out with small groups in Math to help people with trouble spots. Anyone willing and able to help me out is more than welcome. If not, I understand completely. I already have more support than most teachers in out there.

Trial and Error
In Math this week, it was pretty crazy. We had to do a reset, because we had people completely lost on the fractions. Anyway, most of the week was spent doing logic problems and other Math puzzles, and we still have a few kinks in the system to work out, but this week we should be back on track as far as the fractions go. We’ve been adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions. This chapter doesn’t involve the dividing of fractions, luckily. I apologize that this class was the one most interrupted by my “neuro-vascular incident” this week. Let’s hope this week is much closer to normal.

I Didn’t Ask for Your Life Story…Oh, Wait, I Actually Did
Wow, do the biography book report projects look awesome! I can’t wait to get these babies hung up in the hallway. This is definitely going to be an every-year project for me now. I love it when I find a new book report idea that works. The kids have almost talked me into employing my original idea of doing a 3-D model of a character or part of the book. So remember, when they come home with that project assignment, it was their idea, not mine!

Proud Americans
Did your kids ever deliver on the Veteran’s Day program the other day! I was so proud of them. This is one “Mr. Carter assignment” that I’m willing to hold onto, because I’m always left with a feeling of pride in my class. Awesome jobs all around.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eleventh Hour Recycling Post

American Recycle Day is November 15, and Woodbrook is celebrating by kicking off a Paper Drive this next week, November 15-21. Please drop off any recyclable paper you have to the Paper Retriever in the Woodbrook parking lot. Remember this is only for paper items and not cardboard. Woodbrook receives money for the paper we collect and we are being “green.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Real quick because I have to go:
  1. I am alive and unscathed! Getting checked out with the neurologist tomorrow, but I'm guessing it was just a pinched nerve or something like that because they determined that despite the symptoms, it had nothing to do with my heart. Thank you all for they thoughts and prayers and worries. You are all VERY much appreciated, and so are your loving kids.
  2. I will be gone most of the day tomorrow, but know that tomorrow is the day that they will go to the planetarium.
Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Okay, so tomorrow is the Veteran's Day program, so I'm sure it will go off without a hitch. I'm not sure why I always worry about this, because it's not like it's ever gone with major problems. Well, unless you count the time I forgot to have the kids include a time to have the veterans stand up to be recognized--I had about half a dozen people calling for my head on a platter that year. As long as Nick remembers his line tomorrow, I'm covered on that front.

Remember (assuming you're either up late or reading this early in the morning) to wear red, white, and blue!

Monday, November 9, 2009


HUGE apologies to Laura Moriarity for leaving her off of the Carter Current for yesterday! She went to camp, the training, and went a long way to help make camp the experience that it was for so many kids! THANK YOU, and I'm so sorry!

I do this very year. Someone is left off.

Sorry again.

Carter Current for November 9, 2009

Distance Lessened Between Them
From October 28 to October 30, the class had an incredible time at camp. Sure, there were some injuries (in fact, a few more than normal), but I think it's very telling that the people who got hurt either stayed at camp or came back as soon as they were okay. This was with good reason. During this trip, we bonded as a class, and as a fifth grade as a whole. The parents, kids, and teachers all came together and this is a huge part of what makes the Woodbrook Family what it is. The kids learned about leadership skills, team building, tried new things that they'd never done, hiked through the woods, through the creek, even through the rain one day. They all at least tried to get a fire started in the woods and fill a bucket riddled with holes, but the true worth of the experience is in the journey, isn't it? So many memories were made at camp as always. It was fun that two of our three staff members helping us were two of my old campers from summer camp when I worked there years ago (I won't say how many years ago). I would like to thank all of the parents who went. It's no secret that this trip means a lot to me, and this experience would not have been possible without your help. Thank you very much to Tim Allen, Fred Gans, Jennifer Christy, Beth King, Jill and John Pitz, Stacey Harrington, Sally Houck, Brad Shaffer, Abby Breedlove, Ed Skarbeck, Monica Henderson, Natalie O'Hara, Mirey Comes, Brian Cox, Brett Fleitz, Troy Franklin, Todd Snow, and CHS student teacher Dean Shriver. Thanks to you all, the kids now have memories that they will never forget. Thanks especially to our long-suffering camp nurse, Sally Houck! I don't think you ever rested. I also can't go without mentioning the efforts of Nancy Miller, without whom this trip would never have happened. She helped us fight to even keep the trip this year, and did the organizing, the buying of snacks, the calls to camp, the calls to parents, the calls back to camp and the calls back to parents. Thank you so much! You were all great sports, and that is something that makes me very proud. Thank you, my wonderful 5-1 parents, and thank you to my awesome 5-1 class. I couldn't have been more happy with the way they represented my classroom.

Stars Our Destination
We will be doing some exercises in Astronomy over the next few weeks in Science. I realize that we haven't had Science much in class yet, but that's because they're asking us to compress it into shorter times than what we had before. We watched a video about the Apollo mission last week, and it should lead in nicely to what we're about to learn, with the creation of stars and the more cosmic crazy stuff out in space, including gravitational pull, black holes, and quasars. It's enough to make you feel pretty small. This Friday is our trip to the high school for the planetarium. Mr. Turner at the high school always puts on a wonderful show for the kids, and we'll definitely be looking forward to this one.

Unlikely Subjects and Other Predications
In Reading this week, we will be continuing in our chapter involving the ocean and its creatures. In addition to that subject matter, we will use that as a backdrop while learning about prepositions and objects of the preposition, reviewing subjects and predicates, and clarifying the difference between an adjective and an adverb. Of course we will be doing our journals and DOLs as always, and of course the book report project is due on Friday. This is a the big comic strip project that I handed out last Monday.

Words to the Wise
This week we will not only be having our normal spelling list, but we will have a list of Latin roots from Caesar's English as well. The quiz over the Latin stems will be sometime next week (in fact, by the time you read this, the kids should have the date written in their assignment notebooks). Of course, the normal schedule this week will follow for the Spelling list: definitions are due on Tuesday, the three times each alphabetical order is due Wednesday, and on Thursday the meaning exercise (either sentences or pictures) is due.

Brave Old Worlds
I realize that the last chapter in Social Studies was very short, but the next one isn't quite as brief. It's really just a continuation to the previous chapter, but it's about the explorers that came from Spain, England, and France. We'll be learning about everyone from Ponce de Leon to Robert de la Salle. I'm going to "explore" the Woodbrook library to see if I can't find another book like the one about the Lost Colony of Roanoke, because that one was extremely interesting for not only the kids, but also for me!

If You Think Our Dance Is All in the Hips
Didn't the kids look great the other day during the fifth grade musical? I was so proud of them. I know that during the earlier part of the school year, my class didn't want to sing during Music class, and it was like pulling teeth for poor Mrs. Ratner. But on Thursday night, they all looked awesome, dancing and singing and smiling. They made me so proud! Even if I did have to give them a little motivation, it was a very good experience. (Ummm...on a completely unrelated note, we will be watching Finding Nemo throughout the week this week.)

Honoring Them
This Wednesday at 9:00am is the Veteran's Day program. My class is always in charge of doing this, and I was proud to have so many kids help out with not only volunteering for this (thank you, guys!), but also to help me write the program. It won't be very long, but it should be very worthwhile and meaningful. If anyone has any veterans in the family who live nearby, please, bring them in and let them be a part of the service.

"The most worthwhile thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others." --Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Performance Anxieties

The kids looked great today! You've all raised a bunch of good children. Hope to see everyone tonight.

Tomorrow we have the Social Studies test and the Spelling Test, but as long as they pump up the energy tonight, we're going to watch a movie tomorrow--the only-slightly-educational kind!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Colonial Day items needed:

1. Volunteers!! Contact

Corinna Ottinger:

2. The large sides of cereal boxes

please give to Abi C.

3. Large soup cans (18.6-18.8oz)

-without label and washed

please give to Olivia S.

or Claire H.

We've been hard at work in Social Studies, Reading, prepositions and linking verbs. It's enough to drive the kids batty, I'm sure. I'm just trying to get everything done in the time we've been allotted. The kids' musical is looking good, but there is still room for improvement! I'm sure you'll love it by the time you see it tomorrow night.

Over and out for today!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Out of the Frying Pan

Hopefully everyone is all dried out from last week. It was a soggy last day!

Anyway, the kids received information on their biography book report project today. Anyone without information needs to let me know ASAP. The kids all wrote it down on this template I gave them today, complete with rubric and a professional (and fictional) example.

We need to cram in as much before Thanksgiving as possible, so hold on tight. I won't give so much that the kids can't handle it.

They may have told you that we have a Social Studies test this Friday. It's a short chapter, and tomorrow they will receive their template study guide for it, so DO NOT PANIC!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Newly Strengthened by Shared Memories

  1. The best part was the way the memories flooded in like a dam burst open any time I stepped into a building and caught the scents again. You know how memory is so closely connected to the sense of smell? Man, nothing does that like camp.
  2. I take that back. The best part of this week for me was the way I got to see the kids and parents in a different element. We're all together in some other place, where you don't have to be silent in the hallway and where the classroom is huge and vast and where you can be hot, cold, and rained on. Yes, that was awesome.
  3. No wait, the best part actually was having so much fun at the campfire last night. Mrs. Shearman can play a frustrated chaperon in a way no one else can.
  4. Actually, the best part was seeing the kids in their individual trail groups learning to work as a team--each person with different talents and strengths adding to the group, and becoming successful in awesome ways.
  5. Okay, I actually can't decide what was the best part. All I know is that this is my favorite part of any school year. I get to show off what I used to do. A dad asked me this morning, "You left a piece of your heart here, didn't you?" And he was right. I can't help it. I love going to camp. And no one can take that away from me. (Or us.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Wilderness Is Calling

What an exhausting day! I'm ready for the peace and quiet of the woods.

Math page 131 is the only homework other than a DOL. I also promise to hand out the biography book report assignment.

Mr. C

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hiking Boots: Check

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great fall break, that you're all rested up, and most of all, that you're all READY FOR CAMP!!

I can't believe it's already time. As excited as I'm sure the kids are, I'll bet I am even more. I'll be talking to the kids about this over the next couple days, making sure I don't forget anything, and answering all of the ancillary little questions they may have.

In addition to camp prep, we will also be doing lots of other minutiae, such as preparing for the Veteran's Day program, which will be here on November 11. All of your kids will be in the program in one way or another, and I hope most of them will be willing to take speaking parts.

Also, this "week" (for two days only), we are not only going to try to wrap up reading Whales on Stilts, but I will also be reading them some of my favorite books about baseball, seeing as how we're on the eve of the World Series.

Oh, and in case I didn't mention it, we're GOING TO CAMP!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Hey, everyone, I'm going to assume that only four of you want to meet with me on Wednesday, and that otherwise I'm going to give everyone a phone call or shoot you an e-mail.

Just making sure all the notes went home, because I only heard back from a portion of you.

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bad Moon Rising

Tomorrow the kids have two tests--one biggie and then just a Spelling test. If your child is in my Math class, they also have a Math test! The kids took home study guides for those today (or they were offered--several are still on the table). Make sure the kids at least look over the map and that you quiz them on their states and capitals, because they don't want to be faced with that maddening ONE state they just can't remember.

Oh, and ask them about the towers of tape and newspaper. A strange confluence of events took a science experiment intended for tomorrow and sent it one day into the past. We did it today, to limited success. But as the kids learned, sometimes that's how the best lessons are learned--kids and adults alike.

That's all for now. The kids have been REALLY chatty today. I suspect that behind all those clouds there's a full moon just happily sending its crazy vibes down to us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stomping Grounds

The kids had a sub for the first time today. I'm always a little nervous when this happens, but I think she turned out to be a pretty nice lady. The kids always have funny stories about their former teachers and substitutes, which makes me wonder how they're going talk about me next year!

Anyway, we were sorting through all the camp stuff, and we hit a minimum of snags, I'm happy to say. I think we're going to have a great time. No, I KNOW we're going to have an awesome time. It means so much to me personally, but I wouldn't do it each year if I didn't know how good it was for the kids. The entire dynamic of the class (as well as the whole fifth grade) will shift as a result. It happens every year, and that's why we continue to do it as long as possible.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In So Many Forms

Sorry for the lack of update today so far. If you haven't received a sheet about conferences yet, then please look in your child's backpack! If you still owe money and forms for Camp Tecumseh, please get them in ASAP!

The great big States and Capitals test is this Friday. In addition to the map activity online (scroll down and look for the link), I told the kids that they also have a map that I gave them at the start of the school year which is laminated and perfectly laid out.

Have a good night, everyone.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Effort Expended

Hey, everybody! I hope everyone had a pretty decent weekend. The jury is still out on the Colts at this point. I'm blogging during commercials.

Thank you to those of you who came to the training yesterday for Camp Tecumseh! We had a lot more people than Mrs. Miller and I thought we would, so now we're pretty excited. At first, we didn't honestly know what to expect, but now I feel confident that we have so many people in our corner. This support is VERY much appreciated, and the kids are going to have a very good time at camp because of you guys.

I got the kids' paragraphs graded today, and I have to say overall I'm pretty impressed with them. There are a couple kids who warrant a conference to discuss how they just might put some more detail, facts, or descriptive words into their work.

The book reports also looked pretty good. I was particularly impressed with the kids who managed to go online and put them onto the "book report blog", Dojo Books. The reason I sent home those half-page papers was because some of the kids were still unclear on how to post to the blog. We spent some time in the computer lab on Thursday, but some kids couldn't get the hang of it. But the ones who were able to do it really impressed me! This book report was relatively easy, but the next one will be more time-consuming.

There will be a Math test this Friday. This is only for my Math class, of course, but it will be over all of chapter three. We still have two more lessons to do tomorrow and Tuesday, but then on Wednesday and Thursday we will be reviewing the material in class.

Also, we will be having a Social Studies test either this Friday or next Tuesday. I'm actually leaning toward next Tuesday. They will have some good notes before this week is over to study, though, regardless. The kids took some good notes as a part of an assignment this week, and we will be continuing that tomorrow.

Tomorrow the kids will get their last spelling list until November!

Okay, everyone, please stay healthy and do good work.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Final Opportunity

Dear 5th Grade Parents,

This Saturday, October 10, is your final opportunity to receive instructor training for Camp Tecumseh. This training will be held at Woodbrook Elementary School. Please enter at the Haverstick Road entrance. We will most likely be in the cafeteria. Sign-in will start at 9:00, and training will begin at 9:15. Training will conclude no later than noon.

Training sessions will be conducted by Mr. Carter and me. Camp Tecumseh does not provide us with any instructors. We cannot have a successful camp experience without your help!

If you have attended training in the past, will you please e-mail me the sessions you are trained to teach? This will help me schedule the trail group instructors.

Thank you, and I hope to see you Saturday!


Nancy Miller

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Music Boxes

The only big thing we had today is that the kids had to do the last three boxes on those Social Studies workbook pages. This was the continuation of what we did yesterday.

We enjoyed the symphony this morning, and then we came back to a peaceful day at school. I think we have many future musicians in 5-1!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quotable Quotes

Here's a fantastic link for anyone who wants to study for the gigantic states and capitals test, which I have moved to next Friday instead of next Wednesday. So it's now on Friday, October 16.

The kids tonight also need to write a persuasive paragraph. They will have their WriteSource 2000 books with them to help them with these. We discussed this heavily in class today, and they have two topics that they are not allowed to write about. The first is that they can't make the topic "less homework," (every kid's fallback), and they can't do "Can I get a pet?" because that was our topic of discussion today. They need to back up their stances with facts and not emotion.

Also, we talked about quotation marks and the proper way to use them. They are to write ten sentences using quotation marks properly. These also play into tonight's DOL, which has a whopping fifty-three mistakes at least. Sorry, tomorrow's has far fewer, I assure you. It's a little one.

In Social Studies, they have to fill in two boxes on page 17 in their white workbook (they should have at least five things in each box) after reading pages 32 and 33 in their hardback book.

In Math, the kids are just getting their Sunshine Math for the week. Normally I will give these out on Monday, but this week they're getting them on Tuesday. Sorry about that!

They have been given nearly a half hour of work time to work on these at school, plus about fifteen to twenty minutes to do that monster DOL (I gave a lot of help on that one).

If you didn't send in your permission slip for the symphony tomorrow, get it in tomorrow, or your child will have to stay here and do...something. Probably work for Mrs. Smith in the office. Nobody wants to miss the symphony! And thank you for sending in your Camp Tecumseh forms--that also told me that there are more people who read this blog daily than I realized. Makes it feel worthwhile.

Whew! Big one!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Painting a Picture Using Words

Okay, folks, IN ADDITION to needing your camp money ASAP, I also need you to send back a permission slip tomorrow for the symphony show, which is on Wednesday. That day, we will go to the high school and listen to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra (it's either that or the Indianapolis one--quite frankly, I can't remember which). But it's always good, I do know that.

Further, we learned about structuring a good paragraph--you know, the beginning introductory sentence (pardon my redundancy), the closing paragraph, and everything in between. In addition to that, we started out by learning descriptive paragraphs in particular. The kids' assignment tonight is to write a descriptive paragraph about their bedrooms at home. I don't care whether we get the clean version or the cluttered version (the latter would probably be most entertaining, in all honesty). I told them to have their Write Source 2000 books with them, but I still see a lot of them on desks...

We also had a DOL and the normal spelling assignments, so that's about it for tonight. Have a good one!


Please send your Camp Tecumseh money in if you haven't already. Thanks!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baby Face

Tomorrow is a Spelling Test, and that's the highlight for our Friday. Actually, I have more top-secret stuff in store for them, and how much of it we'll be able to get to, I'm still not sure. It's best to leave that stuff under the rug until it's time to pull it out.

It IS picture day tomorrow! Make sure they all look good and sparkly and toothy, for tomorrow is they day that they will be immortalized as fifth graders.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Almost a Slacker

Whoops! No update today except for the fact that your kids should have gotten everything done today in class, with the exception of reading tonight (they promised me they would), and maybe studying for their spelling tests on Friday.

I got a lot of Math graded tonight, but little else. Hopefully the small stacks that went home on Monday and Tuesday sufficed for the remainder of the week, because I don't see myself getting stuff graded tomorrow night.

Hope everyone is having a great week. Thursday is Blue and Gold Day, and Friday is picture day!

Mr. C

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interjections and Interruptions

The kids had ample time to get almost everything done today, but they may have to finish up a little bit of writing (five sentences each for three different comma uses: to set off interjections, direct address, and interruptions).

I, for one, am really getting into the book about The Lost Colony of Roanoke.

And last but not least, Mr. Shriver came back today after having surgery last week. The kids were all excited to have him back in the fold.

They do have three times each ABC order due tomorrow for their spelling words, as well as a DOL that's due tomorrow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

History's Mysteries

The kids had two Social Studies pages that they should have been able to complete in class today. In addition to that, they have their Spelling homework assigned today as per normal.

We've been learning a lot of stuff about Roanoke Island--and it's far more complex than even I knew. We're reading through a book right now together that gets into all of the gritty details surrounding the Lost Colony, and man if it isn't mysterious as all get out.

Turn in your fundraiser stuff if you haven't already; it was due today, after all! Thanks for getting those envelopes from the report cards back to me so quickly.

Tomorrow is Super-Hero Day! Come dressed up!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We Got Spirit Yes We Do

Hey, we're going to have another "normal" week--for the most part.

This week is Spirit Week because of CHS's homecoming:

Monday: Neon Day. Ummm...I guess, break out your hunting gear? Your day-glo biking outfits? The outfit you wore as an extra in White Men Can't Jump? I'm at a loss. Truly. I have a bright yellow soccer jersey that I think will work.

Tuesday: Super-Hero Day! Now this is one I can get behind.

Wednesday: Disney Day. I think I need to go shopping.

Thursday: Blue and Gold Day. Isn't it great when your elementary school and your high school have the same colors?

Friday: WB's picture day. Have them looking nice and smiling! Those pictures are the ones that will go on my back cabinet for years to come, and you want them to be remembered looking nice!

Have a great week! Get those report card envelopes back in ASAP!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

High Command

Okay, so evidently I inadvertently hit a button which printed the comment "Has respect for authority" on all of your kids' report cards. It's not that your kids don't have respect for my authority, it's just that I don't want to sound like a fascist dictator. I'm not sure how it happened, but it ended up on everyone's report card.

Really, I'm not such a bad guy!

Three Bags Full


We need to grade DOLs, listen to the speeches given by our Student Council candidates, and some other learning goodies.

I told them that next Monday we're going to start our reading groups, so they will have their cereal boxes by that time, because I need the space!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clearing Out Your Inbox

Testing is over. I wish they were all like that--done in one. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily, depending on your POV) tomorrow we will get back into the swing of things with heavy doses of Social Studies and Language Arts, as well as the return to Math. I promise I will have Sunshine Math for the kids tomorrow!

Welcome to those of you who are just now finding this blog. I've found out recently that many of you have either forgotten the URL or never knew about it, and have thought I've been Mr. No Communication all year long. (Which told me in a hurry which kids take home what I put in their mailboxes!)

Hope all is well, and please let me know if you need anything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pen Pals

My profoundest apologies for not having this up sooner. Luckily we don't have any more homework tonight than we already had from yesterday--partially because of the testing tomorrow. That brings me to my reason for posting late; I've been up to my ears in bubbling their names and ID numbers onto their test forms.

Congratulations to Jay Vahle, who won runner-up for the State Teacher of the Year! We all got to go down to his classroom during the presentation this morning, and it was really cool to see him receive the award.

Ask your kids today about the strange relationship between John Winthrop and Roger Williams. I don't care if they remember which is which right now, but the point is that the origin of the state of Rhode Island may not be what you think.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, September 21, 2009

An Atypically Typical Week

Monday as usual around here after a hopefully-restful weekend. The kids know that their grades were due by the end of today. Same situation as most Mondays: Spelling homework as per usual, and I gave them a DOL today also. That was about it, so it was a pretty light homework day as far as my class was concerned.

Hope everyone out there in the readership has a great week, and as always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Well, we didn't get as much done as I had hoped, and now I owe the kids a movie day (because of my poor planning, we didn't get to watch the movie with the rest of the fifth grade), but these scalliwags made pretty good pirates today, I must confess.

Next Wednesday is the InView testing. We didn't have ISTEP this year, but InView is a different story. It's just one day, though. It's not anything you can study for, so just have your kids there if it's at all possible next Wednesday!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Talk Like a Test-Takin', Commercial-Performin', DOL-Gradin' "Pi"rate Day

A few quick reminders:
  • Tomorrow is Talk (and dress...) Like a Pirate Day! This commemorates the end (can you believe it?) of the first six weeks!
  • Tomorrow is also the book report/commercial presentation day. I realize that this may mean changing out of one costume and into another, but I'm not particular.
  • Also, tomorrow we have a Spelling test!
  • And a test for States and Capitals (the Northeast).

Remember to be turning in your money and permission slips/medical forms for Camp Tecumseh. I can't wait!

In Math today, we discussed estimation and had a profound talk about the origins of the number pi. I was thrilled that I got to teach them something they never realized before--that pi is equal to 22/7. It's kind of sad that I get thrilled over that, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maybe It's Because of the Scurvy?

Today in class we made pirates out of construction paper to go on the bulletin board outside with their pirate stories. I'm not much of an "arts and crafts" teacher, but we had fun, and these pirates are pretty cool. They weren't allowed to draw anything on them; everything had to be cut out of paper. They really did a neat job on them.

We have six students absent today! We continued talking about strong openings, this time looking at the first chapters of Holes and Because of Winn-Dixie. There is a reason those books are so well-read by kids, and it's that they're almost effortless to read once you get started, and that starting is very vital.

We also continued reading the hilarious Qwerty Stevens Stuck in Time with Ben Franklin. I keep laughing while I'm reading it. Ask your kids what it means to take an "air bath".

Pirate Day is Friday, but we also have commercials that will be presented that day as well as two tests (spelling and states and capitals). If your child is absent today and tomorrow, we'll talk about when to make those tests up on an individual basis.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grab Hold of Them and Don't Let Go

Today we focused on writing by looking at the first chapter of a great book called A Corner of the Universe by Ann Martin. We talked about openings, catching the reader's attention and holding it. The kids were then assigned to write their own stories, called "My Life as a Pirate." These are going to go up on the outside bulletin board, so you'll have to stop in and see them soon.

We will be revisiting this idea of story openings in the coming days. Hopefully I'll have their wheels turning on how to open up any story in a way that doesn't punish the reader.

Talk Like a Pirate Day is on Friday! For the last day of the six weeks, the kids are encouraged to dress up like scurvy-ridden scoundrels for the day. Don't buy an elaborate costume, but let them wear a bandana and a dirty t-shirt to school for just one day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ragged Running

We've got the bug in 5-1! Three in absentia and then one who got sick toward the end of the day. Let's all try our best to stay healthy, push fluids, wash hands, and take your vitamin C!

Today we started reading a fantastic book called Qwerty Stevens Stuck in Time With Benjamin Franklin (whew!). It's by the same guy who wrote The Homework Machine (Mr. Dan Gutman), whose works are fantastic for reading aloud, at least as read by Mr. Carter. As the kids know, I'm a big fan of Ben Franklin and his lofty self-image.

Remember that tomorrow is our Caesar's English quiz over those five words (which we never did review today, so make sure they're doing it at home--I printed off extra sheets for them and had very few takers, so I'm assuming everyone has those at home still.

Friday of course is the big book report project. They also received new spelling lists today (same old same old on that one), and the states and capitals test is Friday as well.

Pup Runners did very well this weekend! Keep it up, kiddos!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Just a quickie tonight, because I have to run:

Tomorrow we don't have any quizzes or tests of any kind--how did we pull that off on a Friday? Don't get used to that, please!

Next Tuesday is the Caesar's English test, and then Friday is the whopper: a States and Capitals test on the Northeast, a spelling test (list going home Monday), and the kids' cereal box book reports are due. I talked to the students about time management today--making sure they start the planning on Sunday as to how much they're going to accomplish each day toward their goals.

Okay, I must fly now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The only major homework for tomorrow is a DOL, reading for their book report, and they have a Caesar's English test next Tuesday. It's just a quiz over five words, much like the last one.

For my Math class, they were given three study links, and they have to do all of SL 2.2, 1-11 on SL 2.3, and 1-8 on SL 2.4. They were given ample time to do these in class, so they shouldn't have much left when that's over.

If you weren't at the camp meeting last night, your child should have brought home the camp packet today. We had one kid already bring his packet back in today!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ancient History

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I know I did. The best thing about it is that we now only have a four day week. Well, only three left now--wooohoo!

Remember first off, the CAMP MEETING IS TONIGHT at 7:00pm in the Woodbrook Cafeteria.

Luckily for the kids, we didn't get to nearly everything I wanted to accomplish today. We did start in on Science with our Astronomy unit today, mostly reading over some notes that I typed up for the kids long ago. These were about the ancient astronomers, and the things they used to believe about the celestial bodies (a term we discussed today as well, along with "the heavens" and "heavenly bodies"). These kids showed me what they knew about astronomy already, but also the things they still have to learn. I'm happy that we'll be learning about things like Orion and the moon phases before we go up to camp, because I find that it makes the night sky much more interesting when they've learned about it--especially as clear as it is up there without all the light pollution.

The States and Capitals test for the South is tomorrow! Hopefully your kids have been studying hard.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Add Value

Next week the States and Capitals test is on Wednesday. A couple of brave souls went ahead and took it today. Sorry; no word yet on how they did, but I'm pretty sure they were confident since they wanted to take it today.

The speeches were a lot of fun! The kids really got into them, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of watching them up there. You have some creative children.

Last night at the end of my karate class, my sensei told everyone to have a good weekend and to "add value" to their families or whoever they spent time with over the three days. This is a phrase he uses quite often during our class on Tuesday and Thursday nights, in the context that at my level, class is self-directed. We rely on each other and share with each other what we're working on, and ask our classmates to add value to what we're working on during any given night at the dojo.

But when he said it last night, it was in a broader context, and I really liked it. I'd like to implore you all to make sure you "add value" to the lives of your families and friends, not just this weekend, but do your best to make someone's day every day.With that, I wish everyone a happy weekend.

Much Ado

Evidently a lot of hullabaloo is being made about some speech on Tuesday given by the president to the children of America, as a "welcome back" to school. I hadn't even heard of this until yesterday afternoon, but apparently it's raised a lot of concern.

Here are the reasons we're not going to watch it in class:

1. It is on while we are eating lunch.
2. We started school a month ago.
3. The content sounds like it's geared toward older students.

Nothing political, nothing personal, nothing of the kind. It just doesn't match up with our day logistically nor what we're doing academically.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Three Days, Two Nights: Message from Mrs. Miller

Fifth-Grade Camp Tecumseh Parent Meeting

Parents of fifth-graders are asked to attend a meeting Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at 7:00 pm in the Woodbrook Elementary Cafeteria. The fifth-grade teachers will go over details about the upcoming Camp Tecumseh Trip from October 28-30, 2009.

Parents will receive registration forms, packing lists, medical forms and other important information. Questions about the program and the trip will be answered at this time.
For more information, please contact Nancy Miller, Fifth-Grade Camp Tecumseh Director, at or (317)843-9983.

Out of Sequence and Back Again

Tomorrow are the big state speeches! I know the kids did work really hard in class today on these, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them tomorrow morning. We're going to have a day packed with speeches, grading DOLs, a Caesar's English test and a Spelling test. Speaking of DOLs, I was very happy with their grades last week, especially for the first real round of them. Bravo to your very teachable kids!

After a refreshing (hopefully!) three-day weekend, we will dive right into Science next week, and we're going to take a slightly different approach to Social Studies this year. Because we're following the Reading book in order this year, we're covering some of the Social Studies material that would normally come later in the year. So we'll be covering some material for that in Social Studies, and then later in the year we'll go back and talk about the explorers and all that. I just decided that yesterday, and I think it really makes the most sense.

Here's a note from another member of the 5-1 Carter's class family from last year, Michelle Carlton:

Good Afternoon Teachers,

I just wanted to ask if you could put an announcement in your classroom newsletters to promote the PTO membership drive. Let the parents know their membership helps out in so many ways- teacher grants, field trips, Everybody counts, in school enrichment, PTO activities and they will recieve the Woodbrook directory which no longer is given out by the school due to budget cuts.

Take a look at our Sunflower garden in the main hallway to see how your class' flower has grown. Also the classes that reach 90% participation receive a popcorn party.

Thanks again for all your hardwork with our students,

Michelle Carlton
PTO Vice-President

Our sunflower is growing pretty high, but there is still some room to grow. Let's go for 100% membership, 5-1!

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!