Monday, March 30, 2009

Carnival Aftermath

The kids should be working on their rough drafts for their research papers. I've told them loud and clear that if they are planning to be gone on Thursday, that they should turn it in on Wednesday. And I told them that if they're unexpectedly sick that day, that I wanted them to make sure that they had mom or dad run it to school. It's very important that I have them to grade so that they can have them back right after break. 

Also, the kids have their second book report due on that day as well. Just so that you know I'm not a big meanie, I did let them know about this one a long time ago. We have some time in the computer lab on Thursday so that we can get them all typed up before break also.

There is a Math test on Wednesday, and the kids seem pretty well prepared for it. Because we have only one more chapter to go, we'll be reviewing at the end of the year and making sure the kids have everything they're going to need for next year. I find that most kids transition pretty well to junior high Math from the sixth grade class, but I'll keep an extra eye on these guys until the end just to make sure. 

It was fun to see everyone at the carnival on Saturday. I haven't heard numbers yet, but it sure looked like a record turnout. Maybe the crummy weather actually helped us in the end. Anyway, thank you to all of you who volunteered. This school is so great about that, but I have to say I think my class was particularly well-represented with parents. I happen to think we're a pretty great class. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So Many Loose Ends Finally Tied (More to Be Unraveled Soon)

In the last couple days, we've finished up a three and a half hour video on Lewis and Clark (over eight days), FINALLY finished reading Time Stops for No Mouse, and also, incidentally, finished up our first book of Two Minute Mysteries. (But never fear; Dr. Haledjian, Inspector Winters, Sheriff Monahan, Nick the Nose, and the lovely Lady Octavia all have further perplexing problems in the sequel, More Two Minute Mysteries.) 

Most of the kids really really enjoyed the Lewis and Clark documentary. As I told them today, every bit of history has a real story behind it that would be every bit as long. I hope they're all learning their piece of history well through this research project. 

I have everyone's outline except for a couple people who weren't here, and they should receive them back tomorrow. They look pretty good so far. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Outline in the Sand

Hey, folks, wanted to make sure that everyone knows about the outlines. 

As I told everyone in class yesterday, they don't have to have every word from their notecards on the outline. Just the main idea.

And the outline guide that I gave them yesterday was an idea of how I wanted it to look. They should have a bare minimum of five paragraphs, not including the introduction and the conclusion. This is a very bare minimum. 

Gotta run; the kids are coming back from recess. Just wanted to get that info out there. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Updated Due Date

The outline is now due on Wednesday, March 25!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Important Dates

Thursday, March 19, 2009: Notecards are due

Tuesday, March 24, 2009: Outline is due

Thursday, April 2, 2009: Rough draft is due

Friday, April 17, 2009: Final draft is due

We'll talk about the presentations as we get closer to them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Later, but In a Hurry!

Today there are a few things that are due--the 3x each ABC order is due tomorrow, and then also my Math class has two worksheets due tomorrow. Guys, these are just like what we've been doing in class. Use your cross-multiplying and fraction-reducing skills. Also, a DOL was given out today. 

Other than that, we've been keeping ourselves more than busy with the research paper, and trying to keep up in all the other classes. 

Oh, and Jodi Weghorst sent some information yesterday that is very worthwhile. 

GREAT information for Science projects and the Science-minded.

Take care, and as always, let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homework Hotline

Today in homework news: First off, you will need your Math Journal to do the math homework. Guess who didn't say anything to them about needing the Math Journal? Me. So I'm sorry; mea culpa, we will do this IN CLASS tomorrow. Apologies.

What is due tomorrow for my homeroom is a DOL. There is also the normal Spelling homework this week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hot Off the Press on the Ides of March

We have been really busy the last couple weeks. With ISTEP over for now, we have been focusing mainly on the research paper. Remember that all forty note cards (one fact each) are due on Wednesday of this week. On Wednesday, we will be having a more detailed lesson on outlining the papers. The updated list of due dates will be sent home either today or tomorrow. Many of the kids have complained to me about their busy schedules and the fact that they don’t have time to do their homework. This is why I’m trying my hardest to give them time to get their work done during class. They’re not going to have time to get everything done in class, but I am giving them more time to work as the year wears on. Warning, however, this is nothing like what next year will bring. I walk a fine line between trying to get them ready for next year and trying to give them the last breath of elementary school. Let me know if you have any questions.  

Just Right
The team went down swinging last Tuesday for the Math Bowl competition. I truly appreciate the time the kids put into coming to the practices, doing extra math during their lunches and all that. The appreciation everyone--students and parents alike--showed to me that night was just incredible. I was very proud of them. Even when things looked bleak, they didn’t get down. Wouldn’t life be wonderful if everyone was always such a good sport as what we saw out of your kids that night? I think we should all recognize Irene Georgiadis, Ryan Jou, John Meganhardt, Kristyn Eckl, Naheel Khatri, Richard Du, Sebreena Zalam, Madison Linkmeyer, Mitchell Zimmer, Ryan Karpinski, Will Weghorst, Lizzie Simpson, David Baldwin, Gretchen Nihill, Rachel Page, Joey Vinyard, Matt Han, Kimaya Raje, Olivia Morfas, and Max Jolly. Also, I want to thank Nathan Bruns for being the designated card-flipper and Michael Hargis for helping me out that night. I should recognize our gallery of fans as well: In addition to the kids’ parents, we had Mrs. Elder and Mrs. Hall from the school show up to support the team, as well as Mr. Vahle, Woodbrook’s proctor, and a handful of student fans who came out and cheered us on: Matt Rhoad, Jack Johnston, and Justin Carlton. Guys, I honestly can’t tell you how much it meant to the team (and me) that you all showed up. Thank you so much. It was a very worthwhile experience for everyone. And if I missed anyone, please let me know. 

Baby Baby It’s a Wild World
Coming up in Science, we’ll be taking a closer look at the diversity of life and environments of living creatures in the ecosystem. There are lots of interesting things that we’ll be doing with this unit, which is usually a lot of fun. We’ll look close to home with creatures that are native to Indiana, and even closer to home in our own backyard. I get to dust off more of those outdoor education tools I picked up at Camp Tecumseh on this one, as well as stuff from Project Wild and even the Indiana Soybean Board, which supplies us with oodles of awesome Science supplies for the unit. Animal adaptations, the parts of a cell, and all kinds of other pieces of the living kingdom will be studied this spring--as well as one the kids are mostly looking forward to: dissecting an owl pellet. 

Wagons West
We’ve been studying up on the birth of the United States, arguing over the Constitution, and the upcoming (in class, anyway) Lewis and Clark expedition. This week we will be watching a video by Ken Burns about the Corps of Discovery as they charted the way west, discovering new animals and plant life along the way. They had no idea where they were going, or what they might find. 

I really hope that by doing the research paper, your kids are all gaining an appreciation for independent study. It’s fun watching the kids come back from the library and want to actually write their information on their note cards. Hopefully soon you’ll be seeing some new entries on the blog (
 because the kids are turning in some nice work there. I even have some high hopes that the kids will continue to contribute next year, when they’re reading more books beyond my class. 

By the Numbers
We’re on to a new unit on rates and cross-multiplication to solve rates and to compare fractions. Oh, and we’ll be sure to use what we just learned in our probability unit this week--okay, maybe only in homeroom--to compare our picks in some kind of tournament that begins this week. You know, it wouldn’t feel right to ignore such an opportunity when it knocks. 

24 Hours
I’d like to announce to everyone that Carmel’s Relay for Life is from June 6th until June 7th of this year. This is a week after school has ended. As the team captain from Woodbrook, I’ve developed quite a group of people who come out each year to support the cause for the American Cancer Society. It’s a big twenty-four-hour party during which we will have to keep someone walking or running on the high school track for an entire day. This is one of my favorite activities of the year, and I’m sure that everyone--like me--has someone special they have lost to cancer, or a close cancer survivor. We will need volunteers to head up any fundraising (the kids are already talking lemonade stands and car washes). And please don’t think you have to come for the whole twenty four hours, but feel free to if you want. Please contact either me or Jodi Weghorst if you’re interested in this. It’s a great big bang for the end of the year.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great. ”
—Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Paper Trails

The kids have been working hard on their papers in class. We've been taking notes on notecards, both in the computer lab and in the classroom from their books and encyclopedias. I'm really pretty profoundly happy with how they've been working.

I don't want this to be a stressful thing for anyone. I'm here to help at any time.

Patrick wanted to be mentioned on the blog. There it is.

Tomorrow Spelling meaning exercise is due, and my Math class has homework due tomorrow also on rates. I believe it's Study Link 8.2. Also, the kids' forty (at least) notecards--not counting their bibliography cards--are due next Wednesday, March 18.

Send me an e-mail if you have any questions!

Oh, and this was Will, by the way. Mr. Carter, who is a total BEAST, asked me to be the blogger. So now I'm finally doing my duty.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another Sunny Delight

This week we've been focused mainly on ISTEP, but we've also had our share of Social Studies and Math. In Social Studies, we're learning about the baby United States, and the skirmishes that occurred between the founding fathers. My favorite duo back in that day was John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These are two really fascinating guys (not to mention Adams' spirited wife) who we'll continue to explore next week. 

Did everyone make it out to Cool River Pizza last night for the school fundraiser? I didn't get out there in time for their closing because of karate. If you didn't, maybe you could go to the First Annual Woodbrook Elementary Auction next Friday, March 13. It's at St. Elizabeth Seton from 6:30-9:30. 

With ISTEP out of the way, next week we'll be able to do quite a bit more with the research paper. We went to the library yesterday to get some research materials, but please don't do any work for this over the weekend. I've told the kids again and again that I do not want them stressing over this at home--yet. The time will come, trust me, but I'd like for that time to be concentrated over about a week (and actually just a few days with options of which days to choose--I know we all have very complicated schedules) rather than an entire month or more. There will be short assignments in the inbetween time, but that's called "chunking" so that the kiddos don't get overwhelmed. 

Also, the National Competition for the Rube Goldberg contest will be on Saturday, March 28, at Purdue University (aka: God's country). If you think your child would like to go, maybe we could set up a carpool or something like that if we get enough people. It should be fun for everyone to see the cool things that the college crowd puts together now that they've tried it on their own. One thing you'd need to understand is that this would not be a school-mandated or a school-related field trip by any means. This would just be a bunch of people who happen to be going to Purdue at the same time on the same day. There is no admission fee. 

D'oh! And I just learned from the kids during our ISTEP break that that is the day of the carnival. Great. Why can't they spread out the goodness?

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

—Margaret Cousins

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Warning About Tomorrow


It is my understanding that many of you think the whole paper is due tomorrow.

Mrs. Shearman made it very clear to you last week that we are going to do this bit by bit, here in class, and that no one is to come in tomorrow and have it done. You have no idea how I want your papers to be, and I have not given you any of the final information. 

Do not do anything other than read through the materials that you got from the library today.

That is all. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Contest of Champions


Honestly, I have had it written down for a week to talk about in class. I imagine I keep getting distracted.

Probably Probability

In Math, we're doing a very short chapter on probability, and I'm going to give the kids a very short take-home test tonight right before they go home. This shouldn't take long, but I will tell them that they need to have their hardback books with them before they go. 

We're finally getting caught up on Time Stops for No Mouse this week, and I'm actually hoping to get it finished by Friday. Wish us luck!