Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fourth and Twenty

One thing we talked about today is the idea of writing stamina. We're trying to get the kids used to the idea of writing for more than just a few minutes at a time. The idea that they can just write and write on one topic is something we're trying to put into their minds. For many of them, writing is something they could easily do for hours. For some, they treat writing two sentences as though I was pulling out their fingernails. But today, even the ones who consider writing to be a horrific chore instead wrote for six full minutes without stopping. Tomorrow we're going for eight.

This is going to be really important, not only for their research paper and their book report, but also for ISTEP and their continuation into middle school.

We've also been having some fun reading Genius Files. I'm thinking that I could write a whole paper about how Dan Gutman is the perfect read-aloud author for guy teachers of fifth graders. So much funny material here about spies, exploding frisbees, renegade teachers, geeky parents, Pez, yo-yos, and RV cross-country family vacations, all tied into 9/11, and yet somehow never failing to be outrageously hilarious. I love this book. This is the one I went back and added to my "wish list" at the book fair because I needed something to add. Dan Gutman is all it took for me to add this to my list, but only because I needed to add something. Man, am I glad I did. This is instantly moving up to #2 on my read-aloud list for next year. It would be hard for anything to replace I Was a Rat for the beginning of the year, but this would make a choice for the second book of the year. We've even been following the family's trip on Mapquest, as suggested by the book. Pure joy. I really hope there's a sequel out there.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fibonacci Sequencing

The following message is for my Math class only! First of all, I want to profoundly apologize that it has taken so long for your children to get a few quizzes back. It's not for lack of having them graded; it's just that there is never a regular time to hand them back. Anyway, that's no excuse, because I clearly need to create that time in my class during the day.

Second of all, we need to do some heavier review on Venn diagrams, evidently. We also need to do a heartier redux on the tree diagrams for probability. These are the parts of the test that was planned for tomorrow, but now I am going to go with either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on their apparent grasp on the material. I don't want to rush them through it, especially since after chapter 7, there are only three chapters left! Needless to say, we have wiggle room to make sure the kids are ready for the sixth grade (seventh grade) Math class. Miss Mellinger did a great job of getting these guys through without missing a day on the lessons, so now we will have plenty of time at the end of the year to go back and see what we need to take another look at and clean up .

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Handing Off the Baton

The American Cancer Society's Team Woodbrook for the 2012 Relay for Life is looking for a leader! Woodbrook has a proud tradition of being one of the top teams in terms of fundraising and membership each year since the Carmel Relay for Life began in 2006. Relay for Life is a 24-hour event in which team members keep one person on the track for the whole day, beginning at 10am on Saturday morning, June 2 and lasting all through the day and night until 10am on Sunday, June 3. It is a fun event to raise money and support for the American Cancer Society, and let's face it, we've all been affected by cancer in some way shape or form. If you would be interested in either being the chairperson or the co-chair with a friend, please contact me at 317-846-4225 ext. 1851 (or e-mail: jcarter1@ccs.k12.in.us) or Nurse Barb at 317-846-4225 ext. 1805 (bneukam@ccs.k12.in.us).

This is going out in the Woodbrook World in a couple weeks, but I thought I'd toss it up here just to see if we have any biters. I'm available if you have any questions about it. I am going to fund raise and participate, either through Woodbrook or Adamson's Karate (more likely both), and it is always a great time. It's like a big party--just bring your camp chairs and keep someone from your team on the track at all times. It takes place at the Carmel High School football stadium. It's always a very neat experience, and I'm sure this year will be no exception.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jumbled Letters; Missed Opportunities

First off, I want to thank Mrs. Hurdle, Mrs. Keen, and Mrs. Saam for coming in to the school today to help out with Everybody Counts! The kids behaved nicely for the most part, and one thing I will say for this class is that they are very forthcoming with their disabilities. Of course, they are also pretty forthcoming with the fact that Mr. C is dyslexic, but that's fine, because I make no secret about it.

We also had a spelling test and managed to get some more of Genius Files read (I'm having fun with that book), but unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried to squeeze it in, we were unable to fit in an auction using their dollars. I told them that we would do this on Tuesday, because that is the last day of "dollar days" before we go to the Woodbrook unified "tickets" system. It's a long story that the kids understand (I think), but you'll have to trust me.

More to come. Hopefully everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wonder Woman

Congratulations to Elizabeth Hargis, the one and only person in our class to pass the Presidential Physical Fitness Test today! Mr. Z told me when I picked them up from gym that she was only one of two girls in the whole fifth grade to pass it. He did say that the test was pretty tough and that he didn't give anyone any leeway. He also said that we did have quite a few people who came awfully close, but I wanted to give Elizabeth the shout-out for her efforts and success today. Way to go!

Concentric Circles

Today in my class, we learned:
  1. How to set up a true scientific experiment!
  2. How to pronounce the name Sacagawea, even if some people go with the wrong pronunciation still.
  3. Taking research notes over our topics isn't all that bad. Plus, some people are almost done with their note cards.
  4. My Math class learned more about Venn Diagrams, and how they really are Math.

We have also been reading a really good book, The Genius Files. It's another one by Dan Gutman (how I love to read his books out loud) about a couple of kids who are chosen to be a part of an organization of children who have been selected to replace the thinking minds to take over intelligence agencies in the post-9/11 world. It's an action-packed story that is pretty funny too.

I hope everyone reads the post below this one. Not everyone took their mail home tonight and there is information in there that is also posted below. Please have all of your required shirts!


This is what I have for groups that are going to be photographed tomorrow.



Garden Club

Art Club

Recycling Club

Student Council

Pups Running

Friendly Helpers

Peer Buddies

Student Council

It looks as if most groups are 4th and 5th graders. Choir and Orff will get there pictures first since they are the bigger groups. Choir and Orff pictures will be taken on the steps in the gym. Please have all t-shirts appropriate for the pictures! Mrs. Shearman tells everyone just to look nice if you're in Student Council.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unsent Letters; Shattered Glass

Ironically, just today I typed up two notes to go home expressly today, and neither one was copied to be sent. It's okay, because I will send them tomorrow. Anyway, the first was a reminder of this very blog, because I've had some questions recently from people about material that's been on the blog recently. Unfortunately, this is only being read by regular readers because that note didn't go home today. Not that it matters, because by the time I'm writing this, the only people reading this "today" are the insomniacs who won't even remember reading this tomorrow morning.

The second note is about the note cards for the research papers. I will let that note speak for itself when it comes home, but please know that I did tell the kids earlier that the deadline has been moved back to February 3rd, and I'm only going to want 30 to 40 note cards instead of the earlier 40 to 50.

You should have seen a take-home test come home for Social Studies tonight over slavery. We spent quite a bit of time discussing all those topics before this, so hopefully they didn't have too much trouble.

Lastly, after asking the kids if they had seen the footage of Boomer shattering the backboard of a local high school gym during a basketball game, I had to show them the footage on Youtube. It's only 42 seconds long, but it's pretty funny. Evidently, Boomer is accustomed to a break-away rim. And evidently whoever runs that school's athletic program and allowed Boomer to visit has never seen what Boomer does with a trampoline and a basketball during a Pacers game.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Red Shifting

Hey, guys! I gave the kids a reminder of some important dates today. I told them that I wanted them to have their note cards done by February 1, and that I want them to have 30 to 40 note cards. I have decided that I am going to push that date back to February 3rd, because I want to model for them how to do those note cards tomorrow (most of them are fine with this so far, but some aren't), and I also think it would be a good idea if I generated a piece of paper that shows how I want them to be done.

We read about Lewis and Clark in Reading today and had a lengthy discussion about them, we read about slavery for Social Studies from a book written by a man with historical artifacts of quotes from slaves. The artwork in this book is pretty stunning.

And last but not least, in Math today we talked more probability.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Occupy Woodbrook

Hey, everyone. Sorry for the late posting tonight, but I was unable to update this blog at school today because of the blocker. I need to talk to whoever the computer guru in charge is and get this blog unblocked. I need to convince the computer people that this isn't one of those blogs that is urging anyone to "Occupy" anything, evidently.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a fun afternoon/evening at Clay Middle School today. I told the kids today that I know a few of the teachers over there, and I'm happy to know that at least my students will be in good hands next year.

The kids are getting used to getting their research materials and using them to take notes onto one note card at a time. I'm enjoying watching the students get into their materials and learning all about their topic. Remember: We have a long way to go. This whole process is going to take about ten more weeks, so there is no need to rush things just yet.

We got a lot crammed into today, including in my Math class. I love days like this--days where I had fun teaching and we got a whole lot of stuff taught and done. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To Your Health

Hey there, folks! After this afternoon's Wellness Committee Team meeting, I have a couple of new-ish announcements to make about upcoming events, and stay tuned for a special plea at the end.

The first event is the Family Fitness Night. This will take place on Friday, February 17th. I just realized that I don't have the times on that one, but it's an evening event as you may guess from the name. This has been in the works for awhile, but as it looks from the previous meeting's minutes, I wasn't there, so my apologies. Anyway, we are planning to have ten to fifteen fitness stations set up in the gym. Mr. Z, Nurse Barb, Mrs. Jackson, and I will all be there, as will parent coordinators Lori Baldwin (technically a 5-1 parent, seeing as how Alex is in my Math class...) and Jackie Krueger (former 5-1 parent) are also helping to head this up, and it should be pretty awesome. They were asking me today about having a karate station, so I'll be looking into that soon. But for now, plan on coming to Woodbrook that night and plan on working up a sweat.

That's February. Then on the afternoon of Sunday, April 29th, we will be having the Annual Woodbrook Wellness Fair. This event is different from the Family Fitness Night. This is more of a fair with stations set up with different health and wellness businesses there to answer questions and show off what they've got. Also, we will have the big obstacle course set up in the gym, where you'll be able to test your heart rate. There will be the Amazing Race once again this year, which is always a lot of fun (okay, so I'm told...admittedly I've never done it yet). Finally, the Woodbrook Blood Drive will take place during the Wellness Fair, so it would be awesome if you could come out and give blood that day if possible.

Here's the plea: If you would be interested in heading up (or co-heading up) Team Woodbrook for the Relay for Life on June 2, 2012, please let me know! I am relinquishing this duty this year, and I'm trying to find someone to head this up for Woodbrook. I will be there for part of it, but won't be heading up a team. Nurse Barb has volunteered to co-chair the team, but doesn't want to do it on her own. I'm not going to lie--it's a pretty big undertaking, but the Relay for Life Committee is great about helping you all throughout the process. And having done it for years, I am always free to answer e-mails and questions. This is a 24-hour event. Fundraising would be involved as would team meetings with the Relay for Life Committee. In fact, they're already underway, but it's never too late to join up. Remember: This is for the American Cancer Society. Who hasn't been affected by cancer? Woodbrook has lost many family members to this dreaded disease, and personally, I have a grandfather who lost his life to cancer, a mom who is a two-time survivor, and just lost a cousin to breast cancer on Sunday. I'm just over-committed this year, so I can't do it like I used to, but I am planning to participate. If you are at all interested, please let me know via e-mail. And if you can't head it up, please consider joining either Team Woodbrook or any other Relay for Life team.

And there's to your health, Woodbrook.

Cards Up Your Sleeve

Today I showed the kids how I wanted them to do their note cards. Tonight, they should be able to tell you about this process, the color coding, the one-fact-per-card idea, and then the bibliography. I showed them a paper that I had written years ago, and how I had to do the same thing even when I wrote my paper for college. This is the first real research paper the kids write. I'm not sure how much they will have to do this in middle school, but I know that they will have a solid footing on doing research and presenting what they have found in a written paper. I was speaking with a teacher from Lawrence Central a couple weeks ago, and she said that she has some students who come into her class never having written a paper before, and how she thinks it's a great thing that we do it in fifth grade. Like I tell the kids, we're doing this one deadline at a time. Tomorrow, the kids should either have something printed off and/or have their books, magazines, or other materials with them. We will be doing some note-taking in class, and everyone needs to have materials. If you are low on ink at home and need to e-mail it to me, I can print it off here for them.

The kids should be hard at work on reading their books for their book report projects. Mrs. Appelsies and Mrs. Somers walked around and wrote down the titles of everyone's books today, so we now know what to look for from everyone.

In Math class today, we talked probability. Dice, spinners, and playing cards all came up, as well as the idea of rolling a dice (or "number cube" in case you're against dice and "number cards" if you're against playing cards...you never know) more than once, such as, "What is the probability of rolling a six and then a two?" We covered it all.

Lastly, there is a Caesar's English test on Friday. Lists went home at the end of the day today, but we did not go over them yet. We will do that tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Duly Noted

Note cards! The kids need note cards by Tuesday morning. Most of them already have note cards in their desk; they came with the kit at the start of the school year. I'm going to talk to the kids that day about taking their notes, writing down the bibliography cards, and then transferring the information onto the note cards. Here's the thing they always tend to struggle with: putting only one piece of information on each note card. There is a method to this madness, though, as the children will find out very soon.

While speaking of this project, I always tell the kids: One deadline at a time. It's like eating an elephant. One bite at a time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Red Light Green Light

Here are some guidelines I gave the kids about online research for their papers: I gave them the green light to use any website that ends with .org, .edu, or .gov; I gave them a yellow caution light on websites ending in .com (I told them to use the discretion of teachers and parents before trusting the information), and I told them a great big red flashing "don't go here" sign for Wikipedia, Ask.com, and About.com. I'm sure there are more I could add to that list, but I'm going to throw those into the yellow category--sometimes they're okay, but not always.

They will begin doing the research tomorrow in the computer lab. A few of the kids came to me today and wanted to change their topics for their papers. I was actually relieved in all of those cases, because the topics they changed to are much more interesting. I told them that they are going to dedicate a substantial part of the next twelve weeks to this topic, and I want them to want to learn more about it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Calm Like a Bomb

Hey, everyone! I've dropped a couple of bombs on your children the last couple days, but at least only figuratively. I'm going to be challenging them more and more with my expectations for reading and writing, yet my hope is that at least they will have fun doing it--within reason.

The first is the research paper. This is a big project that will ask the kids to spend twelve weeks (!) researching, writing, taking notes, more writing, typing, bibliography-ing, and finally presenting a finished product based around what they have learned about their subject matter. I've told them that I've learned to spot a cut-and-paste job from a mile away, and since they will be writing these under my guidance (and let's definitely not forget the help of Mrs. Appelsies and Mrs. Somers), it is our hope that in the end, the kids will all have something that they are very proud of doing. We will be using the Rigby lessons to directly apply to the paper. This will count in their grades for Reading, Writing, and Social Studies. The reason for the latter is that they are all studying historical topics. I told them nothing younger than 25 years--and I've really enjoyed what I've seen so far. I realize some of them are still changing their topic around a little bit, but that's okay, understandable, and entirely expected. This project will take us all the way up to Spring Break!

Don't panic, either. I told the kids that we are going to do this research one deadline at a time. I'm not just turning them loose and then sitting back and waiting until Spring Break. We have a lot of learning and instructing to do between now and then to guide us home on that one.

In the meantime, we will also be really busy with other things: Science, Social Studies (ISTEP is coming...believe me, this is being driven home to us teachers too...good thing I love teaching Social Studies), and as for work at home, the book report. The book report is a pretty big undertaking in itself, but like the research paper, my hope is that they will be proud of the finished project. By Friday, they will have told me the book they're planning to read for that one.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Possibilities and Expectations

Sorry I wasn't able to get a post up earlier today. We had a staff meeting after school today which went right up to me starting tutoring, which led all the way to the end of my night. There was quite a load dropped on your kids today, and you may have heard an earful tonight when they got home about the book report project and the big paper they will have to research and write over the next twelve weeks.

There is more information forthcoming about both of these projects soon. Do not panic yet! One of the kids asked today about due dates. I told them that for right now, I only wanted them to worry about the first due date, which is tomorrow on which they need to have five possible topics to write about for their research paper. (At least five...I told them a horror story today of a real past year's experience...thank goodness it's in the past...) Anyway, that's all they need to worry about for now.

More to come on all fronts. For now, it's bedtime!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Future Shock

Okay, guys, sorry for the delay, but here's the schedule as I know it for the upcoming transition to Clay Middle School events:

January 18 @4pm-5:30pm: Parents should drop off and pick up children at the front entrance of Clay Middle School. A flyer will be sent home with your child prior to the event. During these afternoon meetings, students will take a tour of the school, meet with current students, enjoy pizza, get a Clay t-shirt, and learn about the day-to-day life of a Clay student.

January 24 @7pm: While parents of incoming 6th graders attend a meeting to receive information regarding the scheduling process, incoming sixth grade students will meet in the gymnasium to learn more about being a student at Clay. In addition, the performing arts department will provide and overview of the middle school band, orchestra, and choir programs for students.

February 9 @9am: This one is for parents only. Clay Middle School administrators and guidance counselors will be hosting a coffee at Clay Middle School to answer any unanswered questions and get to know incoming Clay parents.

February 13 @9:15am: Clay Middle School counselors will be going to the elementary schools to speak with the students about scheduling their courses for sixth grade. Expect the kids to bring home information regarding the course offerings.

February 24: Course selections must be completed through the online course request system by this date.

April 25 @6:30pm: Incoming sixth grade students and parents can attend an informal open house at Clay. They will take guided tours, learn about school clubs, and have the opportunity to ask questions about life at Clay.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Once Again, This Time With Feeling

As I was cleaning out my junk e-mail box, I found that way back in the year 2011, I had received a couple of pictures from the fifth grade program from Woodbrook's own Mrs. Helgeland. Here they are:

About a month late, but hey, it's still winter time. That really was a pretty good show, wasn't it?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Compounding the Fracture

The year is only half over, and already Clay Middle is trying to steal the kids away from us! It happens every year, so it's no surprise, but really, it's like getting to the middle of the roll on a roll of paper towels--it goes so much faster from here on out.

Just look over the past week's posts to see some of the stuff coming up. I have a whole lot of karate practice going down tonight, so if I'm not too wiped out after that, I hop on later and type up the information for some upcoming events and activities for the transition information for the 2012-2013 school year.

Music Notes

Opportunities Are Just Around the Corner
with Clay Performing Arts!

January and February will be your 5th grader’s opportunity to explore and join
Band, Choir or Orchestra at Clay Middle School.

Demonstration Concert
Tuesday, January 24, 7:00pm

(To take place in conjunction with 5th grade parent night)

· This fun concert will feature important information about our performing groups.

· Students will have an opportunity to see all the instruments in action.

· Parents are strongly encouraged to bring their student to this event.

· Each student in attendance will take home a special gift!

Performing Arts Try-On Sessions
Monday, January 30 (4pm-7pm)
Thursday, February 2(4pm-7pm)
Monday, February 6 (4pm-7pm)

· Sessions will be available for students to try up to three different instruments they are interested in, as well as sing for our choir director.

· Your student will choose the instrument they are best suited for on these evenings.

Please contact Jeff Frizzi, Performing Arts Department Chair, if you have any questions

Thursday, January 5, 2012

All of Us

Here's another FYI about an upcoming event. This time, it's Everybody Counts.

Everybody Counts is a wonderful program put together by the PTO (and in this instance, our very own 5-1 mom, Dr. Julie Saam...thank you!) which teaches the students about people with disabilities and what they go through each day. The program for fifth grade is very important because it focuses in on learning disabilities.

The program will be on Friday, January 27, 2012. We're looking greatly forward to this program once again during the kids' last year at Woodbrook.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Everything You Always Wanted to Know* But Were Afraid to Ask

Message from Dr. Dudley:

Calling all 5th grade parents!!

Ruth Lilly Parent Preview Nights

Each school year the 5th grade class attends the Life Begins Program at the Ruth Lilly Health Center. Parents have the opportunity to preview the material covered by the Life Begins Program prior to the students attending the program.

This year the two parent preview nights are scheduled for:

Tuesday, January 10th at 7:00 pm at Woodbrook Elementary

Wednesday, March 21st at 7:00 pm at Orchard Park Elementary

Parents may attend either session. As an integral part of the fifth grade health curriculum, 5th grade students attend the Life Begins program at the Ruth Lilly Health Center. The purpose of the Parent Preview is to acquaint them with the subject matter that will be covered by the Life Begins program. An informational letter and flyer concerning this field trip were sent home to parents by your child’s school last semester.

The Condensed Version

Not a whole lot of homework tonight. I'm sure no one is complaining, but it's one of those days where I sat down and started to fill out the assignment notebook under the overhead, and realized that there was very little to do. Of course, reading is always essential, so keep that in mind! And make sure those bookmarks are being signed off nightly.

More later: I have information on Everybody Counts, more on Colonial Days, and scheduling day for Clay. Have a great day!

Colonial Days

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

To All Ye 5th Grade Parents

Colonial Days is coming

Friday, February 3, 2012

All Woodbrook fifth grade students will spend this noble day engaged in the time-honored arts of basket weaving, quilting, candle making, square dancing, cooking, and more! Take notice and plan ahead to dress in Colonial attire and to carry to school a lunch prepared without modern conveniences (see attached page).

We are in need of donated items for the day’s activities:

Frozen metal juice lids 12oz –16oz

Cereal boxes one per child

Kindly send in these items to your child’s teacher.

We appreciate all your support to make this a fabulous experience for our students.


Karen Watson Carolyn Crane

kkbiwatson@att.net ccozenscrane@gmail.com