Monday, August 31, 2009

Paper Trail

Hey, first of all, I'm VERY sorry about all the papers that need to be returned still. I have a bunch at home graded and in a pile, and I simply forgot to pick them up this morning before I left. Also, I have even more to grade tonight. Even if I'm up all night, I will have them graded. It normally takes me a little while, but not a week practically.

That having been said, my Math class has a test tomorrow. The kids have the study guide and we've reviewed the last couple days over it. They're ready.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Brief Prelude

I'm looking forward to another great week in 5-1. I think that by the time this week is over, we'll all be ready for a three-day weekend.

This should be a good week. The kids will be bringing home another Caesar's English lesson and another states and capitals page on Monday, and the quizzes on those will most likely be Friday. If the kids don't have an abundance of homework this week, it will be because Friday will have two quizzes and a spelling test.

Well, that's all for now. Have a good week!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dr. Haldejian Will Have You in Jail in Two Minutes Flat

Tomorrow we are having our "big" States and Capitals test over four states. We also have the Spelling Test. We didn't take any time to study the spelling words during class this week. And what's more is that the kids informed me that I mistakenly have only eleven words instead of twelve on this spelling list! Grrr! Their win, I guess.

The kids have been putting more and more research into their state projects, and next week they will be giving group speeches over their states. These speeches are next Wednesday. I think the kiddos are going to have a good time with these.

For my Math class, we are going to be having a test next Tuesday. I gave them a study guide for this test today. I think they're going to do fine--this first chapter is fairly simple, but it's really easy for the students to make a simple mistake which can make a big impact on their grades. I need for them to make sure to take their time on this test, because I'm a little bit worried that they will get careless.

Next Monday we'll start a little bit of short testing for the kids' Rigby Reads levels. This is nothing for which you can study; it's just to let me know how we'll be grouping the kids for the reading groups at the beginning.

Some of the kids shared two-minute mysteries that they wrote themselves today. They ranged from really good to really funny ("The Case of the Dead People"?)

Also on Monday, we will have our first visit from Mr. Dean Shriver, a high school student who will be doing his exploratory classes here at Woodbrook in my classroom. I'm really looking forward to this, because Mr. Shriver is also a Sensei where I teach karate. I think the kids will really like him, and I can't wait to bring him in here and show off my class to him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Chaos Begins Now

Things are always happening around here! That's what you get when you have a teacher who has been around this barnyard a couple times and knows how to pace out the year a bit better. I've found that the only way to pace out the year in a way that allows you to get everything done is to never ever stop. (Okay, we will occasionally...but only for short periods.)

The kids found out today that they are going to have speeches next week on their state projects. I told them they could bring in props and costumes.

Spelling test on Friday, and a Math test (for my Math class only) next Tuesday. I will give them a study guide (it shouldn't be bad at all) tomorrow. Also, we have those four states and capitals (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma) on Friday.

We learned a bit about George Washington Carver (i.e. the smartest man ever to live) today. It was the first in our "People of Character" project for this year. My brain got pumping on this one earlier today, and I'm getting excited about it. As your child about GWC, about the Sioux Indians, and also if they know where to find the zenith of a mountain.

Oh, and please be thinking about JD, a guy from my hometown who just got some really sad news. I normally don't put stuff like this on my blog, but this really got to me this week. Our time is precious: don't spend too much of it stressing on homework. Some things are more important.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Split Second Chance

The kids decided today that their next States and Capitals test--which only consists of four states--is easy enough that they will take it on Friday. The states are: Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Tomorrow is the Caesar's English quiz. It's only five words, and the kids just have to know what the words mean.

Many of the kids came in today trying frantically to get their homework done because they didn't take their Social Studies workbooks home last night. They were lucky that this was the day that we didn't have Spanish until 8:45, because many of them had the time to get it done and handed in. This is not normally the case--the kids should have their work ready when they come in. We talked about this in class today, and they seem to understand it pretty well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Business as Usual

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

This week's big events are the States and Capitals quiz which is tomorrow. The Caesar's English quiz is on Wednesday (the kids talked me into that one). And the spelling test is Friday, of course.

Tomorrow workbook page 9 in Social Studies is due, as well as the definitions for spelling and my math class has Math Boxes 1.8 due.

Also, the kids' book reports (in their mailboxes today after we talked it over) are due next Wednesday, September 2.

Right now I'm reading the kids the book The Homework Machine. Dan Gutman, the writer, is a great writer for reading aloud. Something about his conversational tone makes him just great for reading out loud. I even got an idea for a class project today while reading it. (And no, it's not a homework machine.)

That's about it for now. Gotta run!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sky Blue Sky

Today we had our first "typical Friday". We graded DOLs, we had a spelling test, and the kids are really ready for the weekend.

I told them that they have a book report that is due next Monday. I think I am going to change it to next Wednesday (September 2) instead, because I didn't get a chance to talk them through it today. It's not hard or particularly time-consuming; it's just that I wanted them to know my expectations before they start doing it.

EVENTS for next week...
Tuesday: Caesar's English Quiz and States and Capitals (the western states)
Friday: Spelling Test

As I said above, we did grade DOLs today. We had an alarming amount of people who didn't have them turned in. Okay, so there were only about three, but we will grade these every Friday. I told the kids that they have to have them turned in on time, because we grade them together. Also, they learned the hard way that if they didn't have their name on the top of it, it was still going to be ten points off. Ten points off a paper that is only worth 35 points is...not good. Anyway, it's the first week of DOLs, and they will learn very quickly. I expect next week will be much different.

Have a great weekend! Looks like it's going to be a pretty one.

Mr. C

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fill In the Blank

Tomorrow is the first spelling test of the school year. I showed the kids today what this would look like. I will give them six of the words for the front of the test, and then they will have to write them in the correct blanks. (I'll have sentences with blank spaces in them on the front too, and that's what they'll have to fill in.)

Then on the back page, there are six words that they'll have to write their own sentences for.

This is really hard to explain. After the weekend, the kids will get them back and you'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about. The thing that's different is that they have to know the definitions as well as the spelling of each word.

It was really good to see and meet everyone last night. I'm not completely sure, but I think we had 100% representation last night. I'm pretty sure that's a first. Bravo to you all!

My plan is to start posting pictures of the kids and their work and projects and stuff like that on the blog, so if there is anyone in my class whose parents don't want the child's picture online, please make sure and tell me.

That's it for now! The time is starting to blow by pretty quickly now that we're at the end of the first full week. Hard to believe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dogs Will Be Tired

Well, the second year of Pups Running gets underway next week. Several of us teachers think we're going to join in the "fun" of long distance running. Now, I realize that two to three miles isn't exactly long distance for you marathoners out there, but it's awfully long for those of us who haven't run recreationally since college. And even then, it wasn't exactly recreation in the strict sense of the word.

But if you think that your child would like to join, go to to sign up. And if you yourself would like to run along with the kids, please know that there will be plenty of other parents and some teachers as well. Mrs. Jackson and I have committed now, and rumor has it that we might have some other folks from around the building out there with us also.

We'll be, you know, the ones trotting along about a mile behind the kids.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Groove, and Getting Into It

A few things today really quick: The kids got their spelling lists today for the week. Tomorrow their definitions need to be written down with the parts of speech. These kids are pretty good at knowing the parts of speech if they know the definition, and I told them that if they know what it means, it's okay to just write that down. No need to use the dictionary if you're sure of what it means. We did talk about how sometimes you think you know what the definition is, but if you're not sure, always err on the side of looking it up.

Weekly assignments for spelling (each full week, unless told otherwise):
Monday: Receive the list.
Tuesday: Definitions are due.
Wednesday: 3x each ABC order is due.
Thursday: Meaning exercise is due.
Friday: Spelling Test.

Also, the kids' maps (coloring the regions, etc...they have directions) are due on Wednesday. Oh, and their Western States and Capitals quiz is NEXT Tuesday, August 25.

Whew! Today was like a whirlwind. Luckily for the kids, we didn't get to everything today that I wanted to get done!

Friday, August 14, 2009

One Week in the Books Already

Everyone should have had a newsletter come home tonight, although from the looks of the mailboxes right now, a few of you didn't.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at Meet the Teacher Night on Wednesday night at 7:15pm.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Location Location Location

One of the things we talked about today was orienteering to a specific location. We studied the globe and talked about longitude and latitude, ways of describing where they are located in the room, and the purpose of knowing exactly where you are in the world. Of course, we talked about "where you are in the world" in the literal sense--we don't normally get too metaphysical in my class, haha.

For homework tonight, I asked the kids to read for thirty minutes, and I also asked them to write out five ways they can become healthier. We read about this today from our Health books, so they shouldn't have much problem coming up with these.

One last thing; I received BIG compliments on how well behaved my class was during Music today. I was taking the kids out to the buses when Mrs. Ratner stopped me and told me about what a nice crew of kids I have. I told her I knew that already, but it's always a good thing when you hear it come from another teacher.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fantastic Start Part 2

Wow! As good as the first day was, the second day felt about ten times better somehow. I think it's probably just the kids getting more and more used to the routine and everything. We did quite a bit today--learned how to do DOLs (more on that on Meet the Teacher Night next Wednesday), about history (in Reading and Social Studies both), writing in their daily journals, and choosing good books for their personal reading.

Right now I'm reading to them from one of my favorite read-aloud books, I Was a Rat. Most of my classes enjoy this book, but this class seems to love this book. I'm glad they're liking it as much as I do.

We also started our new Math classes today, so that was pretty cool too. We did the scavenger hunt/inventory today, but tomorrow we'll be moving on to bigger things.

I realize the homework is pretty sparse right now (because I'm sure you're really complaining about that one...), but don't worry; tomorrow they will begin getting actual homework. Next week we will also be starting in on Spelling, and there are nightly assignments for that as well.

Also, I told the kids that I would hand out the schedules for Specials, lunch menus, journal turn-in days, and the daily schedules tomorrow. We've been doing a bit of tweaking here at the beginning, but we're getting settled in now. I also sent home volunteer forms, student information verification sheets, and if your child didn't bring them home yesterday (they were in the mailboxes!), the typical first day packets. Starting soon, I'm going to have the kids do some guest-writing on this blog.

Here's to a fantastic day two. Just shoot me an e-mail if you have any questions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009/2010 Go!

Great first day! I can already tell this class is going to be a lot of fun. While it will probably be a few more days before the "real" personalities are out there, sometimes you can just get a good feeling early on, and this class is going to be a good one.

I did give them the same first-day spiel that I always give my classes. We operate as a family in 5-1. Families don't always get along, but they do look out for each other.

Looking forward to the kids getting into the new routines--and hoping I remember to go over all of them! You don't realize how much of your classroom atmosphere is specific to your class until you try to explain everything right away. It will take a little time, and I'm more than willing to give them the time to do it.

They all seemed pretty pumped about going to Camp Tecumseh in October! Probably not quite as excited as I am, but that would be pretty difficult.

Tomorrow we start Math!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Castles in the Air

Everyone I show my new class list to tells me that this is a wonderful class. This is the same thing I heard last year, and they were absolutely right. So my hopes are high.

Of course, being the night before school, I can't sleep. I'm taking solace in the fact that my teacher friends from all over the United States (with a few overseas)--and they are legion--tell me that it's normal to be nervous before your first day. In fact, more than one of them have told me that it would be abnormal if I wasn't nervous, so that makes me feel much better.

The name tags are on the desks and the cubbies. Last minute changes have been made. The lessons have been set for the next two weeks (and undoubtedly will also change). I'm as ready as I'll be. I figure your kids are the same way.

It's good to be back.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Either Nine or Ten, Depending On How You Count It

Well, I'm putting the finishing touches on the classroom right now. I'm about ready to head out of here, though. It's been a long week.

I'm really looking forward to the next class coming in. I've written all your names on enough things now that I can't wait to match a face with some of the names. We have twenty-four students this year, just the same as last year. This is a good sign. Just scroll down through the last year (particularly the last several posts) if you have any doubt about how much fun we had, and more importantly, how much everybody learned.

Fifth grade is an adventure, and I'm ready to get it started.

And to those of you moving on, I know you're all ready for it. Go take on sixth, seventh, eighth, or whatever grade you're in now. Remember to do what's right, and I think you'll find it paying off for you in the end. You're all good people.