Sunday, February 28, 2010
The kids' thrice-edited rough drafts were due on Thursday, and they're still not completely graded by me. I like to do them thoroughly, and it's not like the kids are going to need to work on them until Thursday at the earliest. Still, I'll make sure they get them back ASAP and that they all have plenty of time to get their second rough drafts done. Some of them are going to need to gather a bit more information than others, but that's a-okay with me.
Math Bowl practice tomorrow after school until promptly 3:30. I have to tutor at 3:45, so please have kids picked up by 3:35!
Be good, everyone, and have a great week!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Gave the kids a book report today that is due on Monday. It's not a big project--don't panic. The meaning exercise is due tomorrow.
The remainder of the Math Bowl schedule is as follows. I'll give out a hard copy of this to the kids tomorrow, but I just got the rest of it finalized today. We've been working on this in class since my class is just the right size for an entire Math Bowl team. There is only one boy who wanted to be counted out, so that makes twenty even.
First off, if we have any time in class during ISTEP week, this is what we're going to focus on. I would really like it if on some of those days we would just be able to work straight through after school until 3:30. Math is at the end of the day, and I think it would really help to be able to work for two straight hours at least four or five times between now and the Math Bowl.
In case you didn't know, Math Bowl itself is Thursday afternoon, March 11 at Forest Dale, beginning at 5:00. I'd like for all the kids to be there by 4:30. It's always over by 7:00 at the latest.
Even though it's kind of a small-scale short-term deal, I always like for my teams to be as good as they can possibly be, and I like for them to have a good time. It's impossible to know what is going to be on each Math Bowl test, but we're going to give it a go.
Here's the schedule (subject to alteration...just make as many as you can):
Monday, March 1 Practice after school until 3:30
Tuesday, March 2 Practice after school until 3:30
Wednesday, March 3 Practice after school until 3:30
Thursday, March 4 Practice after school until 3:30
Monday, March 8 Practice after school until 3:30
Tuesday, March 9 Practice after school until 3:30
Wednesday, March 10 Practice after school until 3:30
Thursday, March 11 Math Bowl competition at Forest Dale, arrive at 4:30
We'll also be practicing during class!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Now you all have an assignment. The kids have edited each other's rough drafts twice now. I haven't looked at them except to tell a few of the kids that they need a bit more...meat...in their papers. (A couple of them looked awfully anemic.) So it's your turn now to edit them, look through them and tell them where they could add some more information, awkward wording, and when something is unclear.
Don't worry! I'm not going to grade your editing. I will make the final edits after they've done their revisions over the weekend. I just want a grown-up pair of eyes to look at them and let them know what you think.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The kids did a nice job on their rough drafts for the most part, and today the peer edited them. Tomorrow we're going to do a second peer edit, and then we'll do a grown-up edit, where they'll have to have someone over the age of eighteen look through the paper and pick apart anything that does not make sense, or point out where you could use some more information. Then I'll edit them after that--so don't worry; your final word won't be responsible for your child's score. :)
We've also been learning about Loyalists and Patriots in Social Studies, Sacagawea in Reading, and in my Math class, we've been learning about probability.
Happy Week, everyone!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I also had the kids write peer evaluations for the Rube Goldberg project and write quotes up for the quote board outside my room. It's been a pretty even-keeled day.
A few recent bits of business:
Hanna brought in an article yesterday (the day before? sometime recently) about a local girl by the name of Lauren Miller, who is doing a project for Haiti relief through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. She's gathering up supplies to make medical kits. The supplies she will need include combs, finger nail clippers, toothbrushes, Ziploc bags, bath soap, band-aids, hand towels, and bandages appropriate for covering up wounds. If anyone would like to donate any of these supplies, please send them in to the school. We'll get a box started, and Mrs. Houck said she would take the donated supplies to CUMC for us. Here's a link for the cause. I think this would be a really neat 5-1 project through which everyone can help.
In more 5-1 Dojo-related news, Carter G.'s grandpa is volunteering up in Canada right now for the Olympics. It sounds like he's having a really fun time, which we can see through his blog. Carter's mom sent me a link about a week ago and I never got it put up here, but click here to take a peek!
That's all from the now-less-stressful world of 5-1! :)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
That was just about all we got finished this morning. No, that was all we did. Thank you to all the parents who came through to look at the projects, and for all of you who put up with the frustrations on the home front. The kids really liked this in the end, and I hope it was worthwhile.
This afternoon the junior high guidance counselors came to talk to the kids about scheduling for next year. Those forms are due back on Friday, February 26. Let me know if you have any questions about those!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Well, tomorrow is the Rube Goldberg event. The parents are welcome to come in a little before 10:30 to watch the projects. Unfortunately, it's going to be in the classroom and it's going to be pretty fairly cramped. I'm going to do my best to video record it so that they can be preserved. I've been so impressed with these, but I will admit I'm ready to have them finished up.
Also, the kids do have Social Studies homework (two pages with a handout to cut and paste into the workbook, as well as questions starting with #9 on page 88).
Hope all is well with all of you!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The Rube Goldberg contest is now on Wednesday. And it WILL be on Wednesday. No programs, no mid-morning Math tests, not even wild horses will be able to stop the mechanical maneuverings of the groups in 5-1. For one thing, I'm anxious to see what the kids have done. For another thing, I'm really ready to have all the junk out of the classroom!
A huge thank-you goes out to Natalie Skarbeck, Jill Pitz, Kelly Alford, Beth King, and Carol Fleitz for coming to put on the Valentine's party! It's such a relief that we have such great room parents. The kids had fun, and hopefully their sugar buzzes have subsided come Tuesday morning.
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The outline is due tomorrow. I was really happy with the amount of kids who came in and already had it done today, but of course, it's not due until it's due.
Thanks for all the flexibility and understanding!
"If your child ever feels overwhelmed, please shoot me an e-mail. I'm somewhat flexible, but also understandingly stern."
But you know what would be about ten times better than that? Have your child come in and talk to me! I promise I have never bitten any child, ever. (Well, except probably when I was about four years old myself.)
Onward with the day!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
We're all going to make it! As Red Green says, "Remember I'm pulling for ya. We're all in this together."
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Oh, and my Math class had a homework sheet that I didn't tell you about in the last post. One sheet. They don't have to do the bottom section.
And a few of the boys cleaned out Barton's tank. The brave few, that is. (Joosh, Ike, Nick Snow, and Michael.)
Monday, February 1, 2010
Dear Mr. Keillor,
As longtime fan of A Prairie Home Companion and a daily listener to The Writer's Almanac, I find both comfort and encouragement in your fatherly sign-off for the latter program: Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.
But I've often wondered what you mean when you say, "Be well." How do you define well-being? What do you do to achieve it?
I love Mr. Keillor's response here:
You're a college guy and I'm an old writer, Steve, so we're looking at this from different angles. I'm more aware of decline and decrepitude than you possibly could be. I'm at the age when people tell me, "You're looking good" in that tone of voice that says "for a guy your age." For me, well-being has a lot to do with forward motion. I need to have deadlines, a list of projects, people who rely on me, some ambition on my back like an outboard motor. Good health is good, of course, and you don't want big black splotches showing up on the CAT scan, but my sense of well-being comes from waking up each day with work to do. It was different when I was in college: the work was imposed by teachers and so much of it seemed irrelevant, make-work, a lot of pointless exercises. What you hope for in life is a sense of a calling, a vocation, which simply means that one goes to one's work gratefully, not out of fear or habit but with a whole heart. It's the whole-heartedness that makes for well-being. Everyone has to live with a degree of doubt and restlessness, but there's nothing like enthusiasm, especially when you're 67. I have a plumber in my house right now, working to repair a pipe that broke when it froze and rebuild part of a jerry-rigged heating system, and it is so clear to me that this man loves his work. So does my internist. So do the women who care for my ancient mother. So do the musicians on the radio show and the writers of the Almanac. Thanks for your note.
One of the comments left by a reader was particularly moving:
I try my hardest to be that plumber. And I really do get up out of bed each day with a sense of duty, and for that I am eternally grateful. I've told the kids that I never have a day where I don't want to come in to work, and this isn't because I'm afraid of what would happen if I didn't. It's because of the things the kids say that make me bite my lip to keep from laughing. The look in their eyes when they finally understand something, and the amount of growth I see in each of them throughout the ten months we spent together.
I still remember my high school Health teacher's definition of health: "The state of complete physical, emotional, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." By that definition, Mrs. Craft was one of the healthiest people I know. (Or is. I hope she's still alive!)
The other night after karate competition practice, which was here at Woodbrook, I was walking back to my classroom with a few of my former students and one of the other Senseis. We ran into Mr. Vahle, a fellow teacher who was and is my mentor, who was there with his family. He had a huge smile on his face to see the boys (all of whom are in high school right now and were his students as well) and gave them big hugs and looking them in the eye and asking them how they're doing. The youngest of the boys, Matt, a freshman who has been a "little old man" since he was in the second grade, came into my classroom, smiled, and said about Jay, "That's the ultimate success--to be happy with your lot in life."I hope each of my students grows up to be happy with his or her lot in life--that's the kind of success I want for each of them.
We're also getting a visit from a broom maker tomorrow. I've never seen one, but it sounds like an interesting way two hours. I'm sure the kids will like it, and who doesn't love brooms?
Our new tin punch project for Colonial Day was practiced over the weekend with actual fifth graders. There were some major kinks. I thought a bigger can would be sturdier for the kids and easier. Of course, I thought wrong! They couldn't nail a hole through it! So, we emptied some small condensed soup size and they could nail through them much easier. So, if you don't mind mentioning to the children (I emailed all of the Colonial Day volunteers already) that we need small, condensed soup cans for Colonial Day that would be great! Tell them to run them through the dishwasher and bring them in and give to Claire Hatton. Maybe put a collection bag in the hallway for her? If you want to forward this email to your classes that would be great too. We need 70 more by this Friday!