Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting There

GREAT papers and awesome presentations this week so far! I'm so proud of the kids and what they've done over this last few months.

Huge thanks to Mrs. Hawkins, Mrs. Alford, and Mrs. King, who have all volunteered for me in the last few days. It's so much easier when you have someone running around doing all the stuff you would do if you were able to leave the room!

You'll have to ask the kids about a couple of the writing projects we've done recently. We did shared story-writing and today we created super-heroes. Fun stuff!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gone to the Dogs

I made a newsletter that was supposed to go home on Friday. You'll get it tomorrow! Or I should say it will be sent home tomorrow.

It was good to see everyone at the carnival yesterday. Thanks for stopping by the Trading Post.

And last but not least, congratulations to all Butler Bulldog fans! I wish the Boilers had been so fortunate this weekend, but I hope I can now root for the Bulldogs--they're so safe for anyone from Indiana to feel good about, being neither IU nor Purdue. Now with the hometown advantage at the Final Four, anything is possible!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

History in the Making

Wow, did the Social Studies tests ever look good today! At first I was a little worried that a four-pager would be too much for fifth graders, but your kids showed me that not only was it not too much, but I received some extremely high-quality work from all of them.

Honestly, overall, your kids have surpassed every expectation I've set for them. You're doing great!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paper Trails

I was sure happy with the awesome papers the kids turned in the other day. Only a few kids really have to add very much at all, and I'm anxious to get this project over and done (and I'm sure you all are too!). Final draft is due Friday.

Tomorrow is the big Social Studies test! I told the kids to have their essay-writing hands fired up and ready to go.

Have a good week, everyone!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not Quite the Fireside Chats

Whoops! Looks like the Social Studies test will now be next Tuesday. We were a little bit ahead in Social Studies anyway!

Tomorrow is still the Spelling test, though.

We had a lively debate in class yesterday! If your kids haven't told you about it already, make sure and ask them. About half the class needs to brush up on their debating etiquette, but I think they'll get it next time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Say You Want a Revolution

Well here we are at the start of a new week, and what better time to try to play catch-up on this blog, and if all goes according to plan, you will be receiving this in hard copy form tomorrow, since we still have a few parents out there who are not accustomed to the blogosphere just yet. And you know what? That's okay. This one is dedicated to you.

First off, on Friday we're going to have a Social Studies test over the American Revolution. I have to say that this is the best I've ever taught the Revolutionary War if I say so myself. I think there's something to be said for slowing down and taking a little time to really investigate the inside-outs of the war, looking at it from both sides, and trying to show just how daring these guys were to try what they did. When you look back on it with all the facts in your hands, it's pretty stunning that it worked out like it did. Anyway, I will be giving the kids a study guide by Tuesday, so they'll have a pretty good idea of what to study for the test. Like I said, we've really dwelt on this for awhile now, so I'm pretty comfortable with seeing what they pulled from it.

For Reading, we're starting in with a set of novels for their reading groups. Don't worry, we will be continuing with our reading program in our curriculum, but it's high time we're doing some novels as a part of our class work as well. I'll list the books in a future post, but in the meantime, just know that they are of different lengths, but it's no worry--one kid isn't going to get an easier job than any other student.

In Science this week, we will be doing some mini-experiments to help drive in some key concepts to the scientific method. From light refraction to the properties of air, we will be donning the lab coats a few times this week.

FYI, I will be gone Wednesday afternoon because I'm going to be having a wisdom tooth pulled and having a broken tooth repaired, hopefully all in one fell swoop. I'm sure it will be completely painless, too.

Congratulations to the Math Bowl team this week! We placed much better than we had last year, which is great. But what really made this team great is that there was no whining, we had a high attendance during the practices after school, and spirits were great all the way through the practices. I want to extend a huge thank-you to Mrs. Franklin, Mrs. Carroll, and Mr. Ohnemus for all their help and donations during the before-time and to Mrs. Carroll for her snack donations for the practices. And to the team, whether you were on the team by choice or because Mr. Carter knows your parents too well, I want to thank you! You guys rocked. And to Ike and Michael: You guys rule also. Thanks for the time you took to be there. To Mr. Vahle, Mrs. Davis, and Mrs. Elder: Thank you for coming out to support us that night! It meant more than you can know to have you there for us. I felt like something of an outsider just watching all of this happen...thank you for doing the work!

The Maggie Moo's fundraiser was awesome, guys! Thank you to everyone who came out that night and supported the PTO that night. Who knew how much fun it could be to scoop ice cream and serve up some truly twisted creations to you all. (Royal blue cotton candy ice cream with Butterfingers crushed up in it? Glad all I had to do was make it!)

New due dates for the paper:

Second rough draft: Monday, March 15.
Final draft: Friday, March 26
The next week will be the presentations. Details on that will come home this week!

Thanks to everyone who sent in their change for the Pennies for Patients project last week for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This came today from Nurse Barb:

We now have totals for the week:






Total raised for Pennies for Patients by Woodbrook Elementary was $2848.29

Breakdown was:

- 26444 Pennies

- 5520 Nickels

- 6126 Dimes

- 3817 Quarters

- 7 Silver Dollars

- 734 dollars in paper money

Friday, March 12, 2010

And We Thank You for Your Support

The kids' second rough drafts are due on Monday! They've known about this all week, so let's make sure they're good to go that day. Thanks for your cooperation!

Bowled Over

We’ve been learning about the Revolutionary War in Social Studies recently, as you know. While I love this Social Studies book, it spends only one chapter on the war. Luckily, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. One thing we’re doing to augment this chapter is by watching sections of the John Adams series from HBO. Don’t worry, I’m carefully screening it each night before I show any of it to the class, and we discuss the scenes before, during, and after watching them. It’s awesome when I have certain students (some more than others, for sure) pick up on things we’ve learned about in Social Studies through the book or that I’ve talked about. Most of them are really paying attention, and that’s a great sign. It amazes me how much a lot of them do understand.

Thank you to my Math Bowl team, as well as my helpers, Ike and Michael. Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Elder were also both on hand to cheer us on, as well as all of the parents. A HUGE thank you to Mrs. Carroll, Mrs. Franklin, and Mr. Ohnemus for staying with the kids before the competition. We came in fourth place in the city, which is awesome! Great work and huge thanks to everyone involved!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Great Quote

"Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don't rent them out to tomorrow."

--Jerry Spinelli, author, (1941-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Scoop

Hey there! Just letting everyone know that tomorrow night I'm going to be at the Maggie Moo's at 146th and Hazel Dell. I'll be scooping ice cream for the PTO fundraiser. Come on out and maybe I'll get to be your scooper--provided I pass the test, I suppose.

Today we talked introductory paragraphs, and I told the kids to make sure they have their research materials at school tomorrow if they're still needed.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Throughout this week, we will be working toward revising their first drafts. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the first revisions on your child's paper. Most of the kids have to add substantial amounts of information to their papers still, but luckily there is still plenty of information out there.

Each day I'm going to go over a different aspect of this paper with the kids and show them exactly what I want from them on it. Tomorrow we're going to work on the introductory paragraph. On Wednesday we'll learn about the bibliography, and on Thursday we'll talk about writing the concluding paragraph.

Sorry about the slow pace of the blog recently. I've been really busy with Math Bowl lately, especially right after school when I'm normally typing up the blog entry for that day.

Hope everyone has a good week, and keep your eyes open for more news.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Word from Nurse Barb

Dear Woodbrook Families,

During the week of March 8th through March 12th, Woodbrook will be participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program.

Did you know it’s estimated that $10.5 billion in loose change is sitting idle in American households? It’s time to empty that coin jar, check in pockets, and look under the couch cushions for spare change. It’s time to put all that idle change to work in a way that will make a big difference for people battling blood cancers like leukemia. Pennies for Patients provides an opportunity for children to raise funds to support The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s efforts to find cures for blood cancer-leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

March 8th through March 12th we will be honoring former Woodbrook student, Tyler Frenzel, who lost his valiant battle with leukemia in 2004, by collecting spare change. Tyler’s birthday is on March 12th, so this is a perfect time to honor his memory. More research is needed (and we can help), because in spite of advances, leukemia causes more deaths among children than any other cancer. So….

Monday, March 8th, bring in your pennies and wear Stripes.

Tuesday, March 9th, bring in your nickels and wear Tie dye.

Wednesday, March 10th, bring in your dimes and wear Woodbrook clothing.

Thursday, March 11, bring in your quarters and wear Slippers.

Friday, March 12th, bring in your dollars and wear your favorite College Shirt.

We are trying to reach a goal of $1200. If we reach our goal, our very own Principal, Mrs. Davis, will do one of the following:

a. Karaoke at lunch

b. Stand on roof advertising that we reached our goal

c. Be a student for the day

Every penny counts and we thank you for your support. You can also send checks made payable to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Barb Neukam RN – Woodbrook Coordinator for Pennies for Patients

Woodbrook Student Council

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Second Day Rundown

Today we watched most of the first episode of John Adams. The kids really got into it, I think. It shows a more real side to the story--far more human--than anything provided in most textbooks.

We also did this little thing called ISTEP for an hour, and then in Math, we did math bowl work. Story problems during school, and area and volume after school.

That's about it for today!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Everything Educational Is Covered With Brown Paper

Today we did two ISTEP tests. Of course, they were thrill-o-matic fun, but the good news is that tomorrow we have only one test, and then on Wednesday, they only have one as well. So really, we're halfway done already.

And...well...it's ISTEP, which means that this is all the news that there is for today. Which is fine.

For Math Bowl today, we learned about prisms and pyramids, about stem-and-leaf plots and box-and-whisker plots, and also about mobius strips. So yeah, we went from the mundane to the trippy and in between, we filled in the gaps by doing some work with the coordinate plane.

Thanks for allowing your kids to stay after school!

Do something happy this week!