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!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keeping Your Head in the Game

The kids have worked hard all morning on their states project. We will have a little more work time tomorrow, but the kids are to have their speeches and their physical states ready for Friday. I'm hoping this will be a lesson in time management, so please please don't bail them out on this. They are to be working on this at school; they have been given plenty of time. After tomorrow, they should be ready to give their speech on Friday morning. Some of them didn't do a whole lot of work today and didn't check over the checklist of things to be working on. I told them that it's too late for today's Social Studies grade, but not to get upset over it. I told them to get back into the swing tomorrow and keep their heads in the game--not to give up.

Also, about three times a week, your child should be bringing home a DOL to look over a little more closely. I always tell them that they should have their WriteSource 2000 book and a dictionary out while they are doing these. Some of the kids even have out their proofreading mark sheets while they're doing DOLs, which is extremely sensible. These were given to them to stay in their stop folders for the entire year. If they have lost them, there are proofreading marks on the inside back cover of their WS2K books.

Okay, they've been doing their silent reading while I've been typing this up. It's just about time for me to get their attention again. Remember the spelling test and the Caesar's English test on Friday!

EDIT: A couple more add-ons: Social Studies page 17 # 2-5 is due tomorrow, and Math Study Link 2.1 is due for my Math class.

Anything I've missed should be in their assignment notebooks. If it's not, please let me know! I need to know if they're not writing things down in those notebooks, and I can only afford the time to spot-check them. Also, if your child hasn't brought any papers home in the last two nights, it's because they a.) haven't been taking things out of their mailboxes, or b.) have been throwing their papers away. Check often!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When September Comes

The math tests are graded AND HANDED BACK already! I think that may be a world record. Okay, maybe not a world record, but a Mr. Carter record for sure.

Today we finished reading The Homework Machine. I liked it all except for one part of the ending, but all in all, it was a pretty good book. I haven't decided which book to start on tomorrow, but I have it narrowed down.

The new day for the speeches for Social Studies is on Friday. I told the kids today that it is Friday no matter what. I will give them time to work on it in class if they can do it quietly, but if not, then they'll have to practice at home for the speech. Hopefully they'll get to practice in school.

The two remaining quizzes for Friday are Caesar's English and Spelling. They received their Caesar's English yesterday. I showed them exactly what the quiz on that one will look like, so hopefully they either took notes or have extremely sharp memories.

As for the States and Capitals quiz, that will be next Wednesday (September 9).

These changes are made for two reasons: one, because I tend to try to cram more than what is humanly possible into any given day (hey, better than not having enough to do...), and we're trying to get caught up. Two: To help preserve your sanity at home.

Oh, and we did go to the computer lab today and took that test for Rigby Reads. Whew! We'll have a couple of kids finish up tomorrow as well as a couple kids who were absent today.