Friday, October 29, 2010

The Distance Lessened Between Them

I want to thank everyone who made the Camp Tecumseh 2010 trip possible:

Bruce and Lisa Ackerman (who also acted as our medical staff--and went above and beyond in that department), Jeanne Adaniya, Casey Alexander, Shelley Arnold, Ann Block, Eric Bruun, Bethany Burdick, Matt Carlton, Monica Chezem, Melissa Clark, Michael Clark, Mary Jane Coffing, Leah Crowley, Chris Dobie, Erick Eastes, Sue Eckl, Anne Goetz, Judy Gripp, Brett Halbleib, Vickie Halbleib, Natalie Harris, Sheila Heffern, Joan Jackson, Rhonda Kuchik, Kelly Lawrence, Beth Lepard, Tara Lindley, Peggy Loeffler, Valerie McNerney, Leigh Moorman, Andy Moulton, John Oblazney, Jenny Page, Ruth Patterson, Jennifer Pippen, Sydney Rothenanger, Julie Schipp, Becky Schmelz (coordinator!), Brenda Shearman, Tina Smith, Mitzi Spangler, Todd Spencer, Kelly Stemnock, Heather Stephenson, Susan Sveen (coordinator!), Jay Vahle, Mike Van Zetta, Peter Wang, Hannah Weidman, Bill Winn, Kevin Woodhouse, and Young Xie. Because of all these people, we were able to give this experience to the kids.

I lost some of my pictures during a computer snafu, so any parents who could e-mail me pictures from camp, that would be awesome. Thanks.

I couldn't have been more proud of the behavior of my students or the Woodbrook students overall. They represented the WB like none other.

I hope everyone is getting some sleep now.

Combat Multiplier

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I had some great talks with several parents today concerned that we may not go to camp anymore after this year. Believe me, I agree, and I hope for the best. Some things are out of our control, but for now it seems like things might stay as they are.

One thing I heard Mr. Spencer, a 5-1 father and officer in the United States Army, say today is that in the Army they have certain exercises by the name of "Combat Multiplier", in which their training and their knowledge of how combat situations work is multiplied, evidently through means that aren't synthesized combat situations. He talked about how he sees the camp experience as a "Curriculum Multiplier"; a situation that won't add new curricular information to the students, but it amplifies everything that goes on back in the school situation. He perfectly articulated something that I've never been able to put into words.

Words can't explain what makes camp such a transformational experience for classroom groups. The whole dynamic just shifts in a special way when you take a whole group of people, kids, parents, teachers, and put them in a whole new environment for a few days, where they are asked to eat meals together, sleep in the same cabins, and work as a team to get less food waste, get across a cable while blindfolded, or just to endure the cold wind together does somehow make us all into stronger individuals as well as a stronger cohesive unit.

Of course, Camp Tecumseh's coffee doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hello Mother, Hello Father

What a great first day we had! Everyone did well up here at ol' Camp Tecumseh, my former home. It really does feel like I'm just taking a whole bunch of people I know--kids and their parents as well--"home" with me. I love that I got to see my students already acting in roles that they don't normally play in the classroom.

I only took a couple pictures today, but here's the smattering I caught from my class at the climbing tower this afternoon.

On tonight's Night Hike, we did get a beautiful view of the stars. I don't know where these stars go when we're in Carmel, but they look nothing like the sky we have here at camp. You should have seen the Big Dipper--colossal. I know the other groups went their way, but I took mine to the pine forest and then up through the oak forest on our way back. My group even got a peek at what I used to look like way back in the mid-90's. Nothing made me more "pleased" than to hear "Wow, you look young in this picture!"

Sure enough, there are barn cats aplenty, but luckily my class is following my mandate that they keep them on the ground and don't touch them.

Seriously, guys, I couldn't be more proud of not only my class, but of the parents and the other students that I'm getting to know through our time here at camp. It is truly a unique experience of things that cannot be taught in the classroom.

Can't wait for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Camptown Races

A few odds and ends before tomorrow. You have a flier coming home with this information on it, but I wanted to post it here too:
  1. Get to the school at 7:45 tomorrow morning! Not before!
  2. Bring a completely disposable sack lunch for tomorrow! All items must be able to be thrown away. Please do not bring a porcelain lunch container that your great-grandmother gave you. It will be tossed into the trash.
  3. Snacks! Don't bring them! We will have snacks for the kids before bedtime.
  4. It's a GREAT idea to have a coat in case of chilly weather at night. Also, have rain gear. You never know when you might need it!
  5. Bring a pair of binoculars or a telescope if you'd like to help our class look at the night sky tomorrow night--we're learning astronomy right now in science, and it would be perfect!
  6. Get ready to have fun! Get plenty of rest tonight, because it's a very harrowing three days full of fun, learning, and much exercise.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Persuade Me, Why Don't Ya?

Today, we decided what ideas we will use for our persusive essay there where a lot smoking essays and make resess longer ideas, shock...

Okay, that's what Griffin wrote, but evidently he got cut off when it was time to leave. We did cover the persuasive essay ideas, and tomorrow they are to have three reasons for why their argument for or against their issue is a good one.

Also, we have one (ONE!) day left before camp! I will go over the pack list with them tomorrow and hopefully clear up any last minute odds and ends.

Tomorrow we have lots to do! I told them today that tomorrow is no slouch day--we need to squeeze every last drop of learning time in order to be where we need to be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Red Ribbons

It was announced on Friday, I wrote it on the board on Friday, but we've all slept a few times since then. Hopefully everyone reads this before school on Monday: Remember to wear red, white, and blue on Monday for Red Ribbon Week! Red Ribbon Week is an anti-drug use thing that we'll be focusing on while we're here this week. While we aren't here, we will be at Camp Tecumseh, as you hopefully know!

We will be going over the kids' persuasive essay ideas tomorrow and developing them more on Tuesday, so please know that we will be doing that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Going Off the Rails On a Crazy Train

Well, we got everything all situated for our new situation in Math today. We'll be implementing the Otter Creek program for the mastery of math facts. This has long been a complaint of our other Math program, and so this daily exercise should prove helpful to all Woodbrook students from here on out.

I received word the other day from Mrs. Adaniya that Colonial Days are on Friday, February 4th this year. Get your colonial outfit ready, and be prepared to have a good time.

But long before that will be our trip to Camp Tecumseh--as in one week from tomorrow. This will be an awesome time! Be there! Of course I'll post pictures here as well. We're going to have a great time!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Art of Persuasion

The biggest thing the kids need to have on their minds right now is their persuasive essay. I told them to come up with three ideas over which to write a persuasive essay by Wednesday. On Wednesday, we'll choose one and that will be their big project for Monday and Tuesday of next week, as we learn how to build a good argument either for or against something, and write this argument in a cohesive format.

The second thing they should be concerned about is having an amazing time at Camp Tecumseh next week!! I am so pumped about this I can hardly sit still. I hope your child is excited as well. We will be discussing packing lists and stuff like that next Monday and Tuesday, so don't miss out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Crossing Worlds

Hey! So so sorry for the lack of posts this week. I had the teacher camp meeting, individual meetings with students and parents, teaching karate, and lots of other stuff sucking up all my time over the last few days in good ways, but it has left little time for class blogging.

I gave the kids a very good idea today of what would be on tomorrow's test in Social Studies--hopefully they studied! For Math (not too much studying you can really do for that) and of course Spelling.

We did have fun today creating the cabins, trail groups, and eating groups for camp today. I am just about ready to bust open from being so excited about camp. That's my second home, and there is nothing I love more about each school year than sharing that part of my life with my class.

Hope you are all ready for a good weekend, an awesome fall break, and an even better trip to Camp Tecumseh in less than two short weeks!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's That Time Again...

Okay, profoundest apologies, first of all! The kids told me that they never got their cereal box book report grades nor their state project grades. I did them all in the same weekend, and swore up and down that I gave them back. If one or two kids had told me I didn't pass them back, I wouldn't have believed them, but the whole class says they never got them. I did show them their grades on those today, but that's a lot of notes missing, so if and when I find them (think in terms of next April), you will see them come home.

Also, there is a test over Social Studies on either Thursday or Friday, so make sure the kids are looking over their study guides every night until then.

Hope everyone is doing well. I'm a little flustered at the moment...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Daily Double

A couple of hot news flashes:
  1. Ian got his orange belt in kempo karate on Tuesday night! Wooohooooo! Good job, Ian! (Sorry, longtime readers will know that I like it when my students take martial arts--no, not because it's necessarily better than any other sports, but because it's what I do too. Personal thing.)
  2. Our student council representatives, elected by the class itself, are Annie and Griffin. Congratulations to them, and also congratulations to everyone who ran for the office, because not only did they all do such a wonderful job, but they also each received 25 bonus points in Social Studies for going through this learning experience. Mrs. Shearman said she wished she could have taken them all, because all of their speeches were so well-written. Just telling the students who won is one of my most hated tasks, because so many people feel bad.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Council Tryouts

Congrats to all of the kids who tried out for student council Annie , Tess, Mona, Griffin, Lily, Brooke, and Bethiany. The speaches were all amazing tommorow so good luck to all. --Griffin

I will chime in also and say that the speeches were all excellent, and that I do not envy those who had to make the decisions.

Let me just say also that I love my job every day. Working with your kids makes me happy each time I come in. I've e-mailed a few of you about doing conferences coming up, and if I haven't e-mailed you yet, I will be sometime soon. My hope is to get everyone done in the few weeks around fall break.

Hope everyone had a wonderful hump-day, and that your week will close off nicely as well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post Camp Run

Hey, there! We're trying our hardest to get through everything this week, but man, there just aren't enough hours sometimes, you know? Needless to say, we are making our way through our Social Studies and Reading and sprinkled throughout this week is some Astronomy as well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010, marks the day of the 2nd Annual Ghosts and Goblins 5k/2k and Wellness Fair benefiting the Carmel Clay Education Foundation. It begins and ends at Carmel High School, and starts at 9am. To register, go online to, and you can fill out an application there. Should be a lot of fun, assuming everyone isn't too tired from Camp Tecumseh!

Your kids continue to make me smile every day. Thank you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Looking Toward the Busy Road Ahead

How good it was to see four of our own 5-1 parents (okay, three and one older sister--way cool) at Camp Tecumseh for the training the other day. It's going to be a great trip--although we will all admit that we're hoping for slightly warmer weather.

The week ahead is going to be a full and busy one:
  1. We'll be learning all about astronomy, in particular why we have the seasons, the moon phases, and how the sun, moon, and Earth interact. Our lessons about ancient astronomers will even tie in with our lessons in Social Studies on the early explorers (who were legion, by the way).
  2. Commas! We are now on the part of the comma process where we're talking about clauses (both dependent and independent), conjunctions, and then splicing sentences together to form more concise wordings. We're also going to be doing some worksheets this week which entail all of the comma rules. But no fear, I will put the page numbers from the WriteSource 2000 books that have these rules. These are to prepare them for a quiz-test ("quest") next Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm proud to say that grammar is coming along nicely, as evidenced in their DOLs and the other sheets and assessments we've done in class.
  3. Today the kids are even creating their own super-heroes complete with origin stories. These will go on the bulletin board outside the classroom--which has been the same since the start of the school year. Yikes, well, at least it's being changed now.
  4. Later on in this week, I hope to introduce the class to the four types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. This shouldn't take too long to cover.
  5. The big states and capitals test is this Friday! Review these with your child each night and it will help them a lot. This is the perfect thing to review while driving, while they're eating breakfast, during commercials...
  6. Math! In Math this week, we will be continuing with our hodgepodge of a unit, but mostly focusing on using a protractor, the angles of a triangle, using a compass, etc. Look for a unit test to occur next week, approximately midweek. This one should be fairly easy if the kids can get the concepts down. Most kids like this stuff better than plug-and-chug arithmetic type problems.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know! Look for updates throughout the week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Funky Friday

What an eventful day this was:
  • The kids' fifth grade year is now immortalized complete with 2010 haircuts and clothing, as today was picture day.
  • We learned about well-known explorers like Juan Ponce de Leon, Giovanni Coboto (or as we 'Mericans know him, "John Cabot"), and Hernando Cortes. We started taking notes on them in our white pages.
  • We also went to Mrs. Haberfield's room to play a math game with our first grade buddies.
  • We had a spelling test and a math test.
Okay, so this description doesn't seem as mad-scramble as it felt, but now it's all over, and I wish you all a great weekend. I'll see a few of you tomorrow at Camp Tecumseh! Looking forward to it.