Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thirty Days and Thirty Nights: A Summer Challenge

Hey, guys, if anyone watches this and decides not only 1.) that they'd like to try it, and 2.) that they know what they're going to do, then please either leave a comment and tell us what it is, or shoot me an e-mail and share. I'd love to do a post in a month or so sharing the results.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No Excuses

"The letters float off the page when you read, right? That's because your mind is hard-wired for the ancient Greek," explains a fellow camper, gray-eyed Annabeth. "And the ADHD--you're impulsive, can't sit still in the classroom. That's your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they'd keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that's because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal's...Face it. You're a half-blood."

--Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
I love this quote. It's so empowering to those who have been labeled. I loved it the first time I read it, and any time I go back and read it again, I love it even more. This is the quote I was telling you about in my post about Proust and the Squid a few weeks ago. It's a great book, and if you're having trouble getting your child to read over the summer, I would highly suggest you read it too. It's by Maryanne Wolf. Fascinating stuff.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


To my Math class and other lovers of numbers, I give you the following.

You guys always had such an appreciation for all interesting number facts, such as the Fibonacci Sequence and its occurrences in nature, the Pythagorean theorem, and the Golden Ratio. You may recall the idea of imaginary numbers, which are, for instance, the square roots of negative numbers, and the double-answer to the square root of any number (such as the square root of 25 is both 5 and -5). Well, today I learned about two more.

The first is what is popularly called emirp numbers, more properly called reversible primes, which is a prime number whose digits can be reversed where the number is still prime. Example: 13 is an emirp number because if you take the digits and reverse them, you get 31, which is still a prime number. 13 was cited as the lowest emirp number, which I can only assume counts because not only is it a double-digit number, but also one where both digits are different. Otherwise, 11 would count.

Secondly, I learned that 13 is also the lowest happy number. This one gets a tad complicated. To be a happy number, which evidently has the same rules as emirp numbers in that it has to be a double-digit number, you must be able to take the squares of both numbers, add them together, add the resulting digits together, and get one for your answer. Example: Take 13. Take the squares of both numbers (1*1=1; 3*3=9), add them together (1+9=10), add those digits together (1+0=1). Because the answer is 1, 13 is therefore a happy number.

So take out those Mathcabulary Notebooks, guys, and add happy numbers and emirp numbers to them! You never know when these terms will come up in a trivia game of some kind.

Hope summer is going well, everyone.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Chance to Fight Back

Hey, everyone, please, if you're free any time this weekend from 9am Saturday to 9am Sunday, head out to the high school football field for the Relay for Life. Join Team Woodbrook and hit the track as we raise money for The American Cancer Society. Mrs. Saam was nice enough to take over being head of the team for me this year, and for that, I thank her. You can contact her directly through that website if you have any questions, or hit me up with an e-mail message if you'd prefer. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good-Bye, Ruby Tuesday

'Nuff said. Have a great summer and an even better experience at the middle school. You all will have a great time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The World Next Door

Here are a couple more book reviews from my class for your summer reading pleasure:

First off, here we are with Elizabeth's pick:
My favorite book that I read in the fifth grade is Heaven is for Real. I like this book because it has a lot of details and is well-written. Also, anyone can read this book because it is written through a child's eyes, but adults will be amazed by it too. This story is about a very sick three year old boy who died and went to Heaven. This book explains, with the power of prayer and God, he was able to come back to Earth and tell his story of what happened to him.
I could read this book ten more times. I loved it! I highly recommend this book to anyone of all ages.
Thanks, Elizabeth! Next up, Mr. John K.:
The best book I have read in the fifth grade was The Hunger Games. It was about a girl named Katniss Everdeen. Her sister, Prim, was chosen to be in the Hunger Games. Katniss is worried about Prim getting hurt, so she volunteers to be a tribute. The other tribute of District 12 is Peeta Mellark. Katniss and Peeta try to survive the games. If they do, they get a life long supply of food and protection.
I may have to give in and read that book over the summer. Thanks again, guys! And I want to state here that named a nameless paper a few days ago as being John's, but I realized--first when I realized I still had John's with me, and second when John himself came and told me that it wasn't his, that it was indeed Austin's paper. Let this serve as a life lesson, Austin from Boston. Don't sign your name, and you never know who's going to take credit for your work. (Kidding, the mistake was all mine.)


Ruth Lilly is over. The fifth grade party is over. Tomorrow is the last day. Thank you thank you thank you to ALL of the parents who helped make today possible. The party was great fun, and it was incredibly appreciated by all of the teachers and students.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Vertesch has been asking me all week to send her all of my class's parent e-mail addresses, and I've been busy. It's my fault you haven't received a picture link from today yet, but hopefully that will get done tomorrow. Many apologies--mea culpa.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ball and Chain

SACK LUNCH TOMORROW! Make sure the WHOLE THING can be thrown away! I also told them that they cannot "save back" some of their lunch because they want to eat more when they get back. Annoying.

Also, IF YOU have not sent back your permission slip, PLEASE DO SO BY TOMORROW, otherwise, your child CANNOT go with us. They will have to stay here and toil away in the office, doing menial work like sorting out paper clips according to size, and collating stacks of paper while listening to talk radio.

Okay, actually, I have no idea what they would do. But it wouldn't be much fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Magic Bus

Hey, guys. Hope everyone had a good final weekend of the 2011-2012 school year. Just a few reminders going into this week:
  • Tuesday is the field trip to the Ruth Lilly Center. The kids should bring with them a sack lunch that is completely disposable. Permission slips were due Friday, so if you haven't turned yours in yet, get to it lickety, please.
  • Wednesday is the fifth grade party. Yeah! Thank you so much to Mrs. Pitz and everyone else who is putting a lot of effort into this thing. Tutoring will prevent me from being there for the whole thing, but I truly appreciate all of the parents who are making this thing possible.
  • Thursday is the talent show (I'm looking forward to seeing some interesting talent that day) in the morning.
  • We are planning on having Math class on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of this week!

All this having been said, I wanted to post some more book picks from some of the kiddos. This first one had no name on it, but the handwriting leads me to believe that this is from Mr. John K. Plus, it's a doubler, and John is a voracious reader, so I can see him not being able to decide on just one book:

I read many gooood books this year. My favorite two are One Step At a Time by Josh Bleill and Heaven Is for Real by Todd Berpo. These are the summaries:

One Step At a Time: I like this book because of two reasons. The first is that it's well-written, and because I have a lot of connections because he works with the Colts and lived in Indiana his whole life. To summarize this book in three or four sentences, I would say this is about a marine and recovery. After he recovers, he joins the Colts as a motivational speaker.

Heaven Is for Real: I liked this book because it's a truly amazing story. My summary of it is that a little boy gets sick and his appendix explodes and they don't make it. After a three days, they move hospitals. They found out it was really his appendix and put him in surgery. A year after his recovery, they go past the hospital and he tells them he saw angels. Then his story of his trip to heaven and back unfolds.

These are my two favorite books from this year.

Thanks, John. I love that you didn't even mention in the first book that he lost his legs. Evidently when this author visited Woodbrook last year, you were far more focused on his important message than his disability.

Here's another no-namer. No idea who this is. Kyle? No, I don't think you would have written about The Hunger Games. Not sure at this moment. Maybe I'll recognize the writing style.

My favorite book that I read in fifth grade is The Hunger Games. I like this book because it is very exciting and interesting. It is a book about survival. Each person fights for their district to feed their people. I recommend this book for mature elementary students to adults. It is a book that keeps you on edge at all times.
Hmm, no idea. But glad you liked the book!

Now let's hear from Christian. Surprise surprise, he chose a Rick Riordan book. His enthusiasm for these books has made me into a Riordan fan.

The Son of Neptune is about a boy named Percy Jackson who loses his memory, but he finds out later that someone made him lose it. That person is Juno, or Hera, and she did it so Percy could go on a quest. The quest helps save every demigod in the world.
To the point, Christian. To the point.

From the very curt Christian to the more verbose Yosuke, here's a review of Everything for a Dog:

Everything for a Dog is the best book I read this year. It is about a dog named Bone (later Buddy). He is a stray dog. He lived in a shed at the Merrions' (a rich family that hates animals). One day Bone heard a gunshot. A fox got shot. Then, his mom got run over by a car. Now Bone knew he was in a dangerous place. He needed to move.

There is another character named Henry that is in this book. He is a boy who wants a dog, but his dad has a bad memory with dogs. One day he finds Bone roaming around. Henry thought he would make Bone his pet. But his plans don't work so well. After a few days, his plans stop working. Henry stops seeing Bone. His dad notices that Henry is sad. Henry says everything he has been doing. His father gets his feelings. They find Bone and take him to the vet and take him home later.

Thanks, Yosuke. Sounds like a good book for dog-lovers. Lastly today, I'm going to post Will's review of another Rick Riordan book, Throne of Fire. Don't worry, folks, I'll post more tomorrow. There's only so much look-and-type I can do without getting a headache!

My favorite book that I have read this year was Throne of Fire. It is the second book of the Kane Chronicles. It is an exciting book, mostly about ancient Egyptian mythology. In this book, Sadie and Carter Kane must awaken the powerful sun god Ra. He has been in an ancient sleep because the goddess found his weakness and put him to sleep so her husband could be the sun god. But now the evil huge serpent Apophis is trying to break out of his prison and swallow the sun to end the world. Carter and Sadie must go through many obstacles to awaken and save the world.
Nicely told, Will. I have The Red Pyramid, but have yet to read it. I trust I'm going to enjoy it.

That's all for now. Look for more reviews tomorrow, or at the very least, soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Can You Look Into These Eyes and Say No?

One more thing before I go: If you want your child to bring home an anole (sometimes called chameleons--I think they're the same thing), please send in a container with some dirt and grass and leaves, etc. tomorrow! Keep in mind, they do need crickets about once every couple weeks.

They are all excited to go home to new places. I can tell they're excited because they are sitting very still and not doing anything.

Lit Up the Night

Come on out to Woodbrook Literacy Night tonight! From 6:45-7:45 in the WB gym, you will hear camp songs, skits by teachers, and you will even get some reading time in there as well. Let's celebrate the written word tonight.

Words From Friends

I asked a few students and staff members to help me out by letting me know what their favorite books from 2010-2011 were.

First off, here's what Mrs. Stemnock from right next door in 5-2 had to say:

Magical powers, a cast of crazy characters, and a wild ride across small town America provide the foundation for the novel Savvy by Ingrid Law. Follow the main character, Mississippi, as she turns thirteen and waits to find out what magical power she has inherited from her mother. As she discovers her power, she has to also learn how to balance her magic in a family of magical people. This is a funny adventure book. I recommend this read to anyone who wants to wear a smile on their face.

Emma C. from my homeroom says:

A 16-year-old girl, Katniss Everdeen volunteered as a tribute to the "Hunger Games" for her sister Prim. The Hunger Games is where kids 12-18 fight to the death for punishment of rebellion and parents can't do anything about it. The boy is Peeta Mellark, who loves her. They end finally and interview their families.
Anna G., also from my homeroom, wrote:
My favorite book that I read in the 5th grade was The Hunger Games. I loved this book very much and I really recommend it to everyone. It starts off by having a reaping in every district. There are 12 districts to have a reaping for. Effie, who is from the capital, is deciding on who is going to be the two tributes from each district. In the drawing, there are all the kids' names from ages 12-18 in each district. Effie is the one to draw out the name. The 2 tributes ended up being Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, who were the winners of the drawing. They go to meet their new friend that will help them out with all the tips. He had once won the Hunger Games. They are introduced to all of the people they are competing against. They they are ready for action. Since there are 12 districts, there will be 24 people fighting in the Hunger Games. The last one standing will be crowned. They are starting the games, anyone could win now. In order to survive, they will have to make and find their own food and water. The 12 districts are trying to stick up for each other in order to win the 74th annual Hunger Games. Who will win?

Divy S. from my Math class in the afternoon says...

Maniac Magee is a story about a boy named Jeffrey who's homeless. He travels around the East End and the West End. The way he got his name was by doing a lot of things that normal people can't. So someone said, "That kid's a maniac." He does amazing things like untying a giant knot, and escaping the Cobras. Tons more. While Maniac goes on this adventure, he meets a few friends and a book. This book is great.

That's all for now. My hands are getting tired of typing these up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hard-Wired for the Ancient Greek

As a second installment of my Literacy Week posts, I want to talk about some actual grown-up books I've read recently. Since about January, I've read these books during my quieter times. In this installment I'm focusing in on the ones that have most profoundly affected my teaching, but I think you will find them pretty fascinating too.

Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf: This is an incredibly interesting book about the science behind reading, the history of reading and written language, and reading development. It explains what goes on in our heads while we're reading, and it goes on to give an oral history involving Socrates, Herotodus, and of course Marcel Proust. It explains why dyslexic people have such artistic and spatial gifts (and yes, the author was good enough to include Rick Riordan's explanation of dyslexia and ADHD as a quote in his book The Lightning Thief as well). This book is fascinating. If you're a fan of radio programming such as Radio Lab, This American Life, or A Way With Words, then this book is for you. It's very accessibly written. It also makes you feel smarter just having read it. I wish I would have read it at the start of the school year instead of during the second half, but I guarantee I became a better teacher as a result of having read this book.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr: At the risk of being alarmist, this is pretty much talking about what was decreed in the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Our lives are becoming so much easier and with so much more instant gratification that our brains are turning to mush. Quite literally. Our brains' very physiology are changing, and we have our collective selves to blame, at least somewhat. This isn't the only idea brought on by this book, but to me, it was the most fascinating. Nowadays, when we say, "I need to research that," we mean, "Let me pull out my phone right now and google that." For anyone like me--nearly Amish by heart, or at least worried about where we're headed as a collective people--this book is a very intriguing read.

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher: This book is incredible. It shows us what we've always known. The fact is, there's a reason, both cultural and genetic, that our languages affect the way we see the world. There is most certainly a reason that the French language is far more romantic than the Polish. Why the Germans are such incredible engineers and the Italians are more widely loved for their cooking. Anyone who loves languages, the way they affect our minds and our colors and the way we see the world. It talks about how the two halves of the brain take each other on to the point where to the victor goes the spoils--and the gifts. I love this book.

All three of these books are extremely well-written and in a language that is easily understood, not relying on confusing language to trip up the layman reader. Read them all--I need someone to talk with about them. I guess they are only interesting if you're somewhat nerdy like I am, but still, I can't say strongly enough how much I enjoyed each one.

Excavating the Future to a Certain Extent

Wow, did the choir and orff groups ever put on a great show! Trevor, Tera, Trey, Emma, Charles, Elizabeth, John, Winter, Cole, Alyssa, and Reece all got up there and belted out a great show, whether with their voices or their drums. I hope you all enjoy the show tonight.

We got done with the second round of ribbons today, but time was off the essence, and we only got through a few of them. I told the kids that I would expedite the process tomorrow.

Pizza Night tonight at Cool River! Go out and get some grub and if you tell them you're from Woodbrook, 20% will go to the PTO. And that's some darn good pizza if you've never had it. I highly recommend the Mad Duck.

A permission slip went out today about the big trip to Ruth Lilly next week. Completely disposable sack lunch is needed for that day--if they have an appetite left after the presentation, that is. (Kidding. It's not that bad.)

That's all for now. Tune in later as I (hope to) give you another recommended reading list in honor of Literacy Week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Breaking the Tape

I wanted to thank all of you parents who came today for Track and Field Day. It was great to see the likes of Mrs. Vertesch, Mrs. Berridge, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Mr. Vahle (of course), Mr. Tofaute, Mrs. Botta, Mrs. Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. Owens (the Reese ones), Mrs. Owens (the Winter one), Mrs. Cunningham, Mrs. Gans, Mrs. Hurdle, Mr. and Mrs. Keen, Mr. and Mrs. Sampson, Mrs. Niemiec, Mrs. Pitz, and Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers. I want to give a HUGE thank you to Mr. Rodgers, who manned the clipboard for the day. That's no easy task, and he handled it beautifully. It's always so nice when I have a parent to whom I can hand over the clipboard and just man the troops for awhile.

We didn't have any white or green ribbons today while we were handing them out (the kids were a bit antsy to get their ribbons), but I was able to acquire some after school was over, so we'll get the rest handed out tomorrow. I gave them the karate ceremonial treatment when it comes to handing out ribbons, including mispronouncing names like so often happens at karate tournaments (and all sporting events).

I will post some pictures on here soon. Once again, thank you for a great day.

With Dignity

Ladies and gentlemen, may I take this time to thank you for raising children who behave in a way which would make Coach John Wooden proud. Coach Wooden used to tell his players, "At the end of a basketball game, I should not be able to tell by looking at your face whether you won or lost. You should handle yourselves with dignity at all times."

The good coach (and Boilermaker, by the way...) would have been really happy with my class today.

I will post some pictures here later on, but before I left, I wanted to tell you that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pyramids, Superman, and Afghanistan

In honor of Literacy Week at Woodbrook, and for pretty much the remainder of the school year because I want my students to read over the summer, I am posting various reading lists here on Mr. Carter's Dojo, some by myself and some with the help of a few special friends.

For the first list, I want to name some of the titles of books which I've bought for my classroom for next year, and which I want to read before next August. This list consists of a few juvenile books that I want to read over the summer. Of course, my reading list is loftier than just these books, but as far as "kid books", this is what I'm most looking forward to over the eleven weeks we have this summer. Here goes.
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan: I actually bought this one after a reading conference with 5-1's Christian C., when I became enamored by the premise. From the author of the Heroes of Olympus series, this book follows young adventurer Carter Kane as the author explores the Egyptian mythology with the same fervor employed in his exploration of the Greek gods. I'm looking forward to this one in the same way that I looked forward to the Harry Potter books--good characterization woven in with real-life mythology (okay, oxymoron) is a sure-sell with me.
  • It's Superman by Tom DeHaven takes on Superman as he was born in our real world--in the 1930's. It was the late 20's/early 30's when Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1. This book assumes that, instead of constantly updating himself, Superman was born and raised during those days. I'm looking forward to reading this one because this kind of thing fascinates me. The fact that I've heard that it's a great book is my primary reason for wanting to pick this one up. Secondly comes the fact that it's about Superman. It's entirely prose, though--no comic book panels of which to speak. I told you that I urge the kids to read things that are more hardcore than comic books.
  • Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai: This one sounds pretty harrowing. It's about a boy from Afghanistan whose family flees the country and comes to California--just before September 11, 2001. Now they have to deal with not only hostilities over here, but they also are trying to locate his sister who remains in Kabul. Man, I want to crack this one open right now and get started on it.

The Event Horizon Tells Me Otherwise

We had a visit from a few students at Clay Middle School this morning. Assistant Principal Mr. Smith, three former Woodbrook students (but, sadly, none from 5-1), and one woman who just stood silently the entire time, came to answer the kids' questions about daily life in middle school. The questions ranged from things about what to do if you can't get your locker open, to an overwhelming amount of questions regarding food intake (sadly, no snack time in middle school).

Remember: Tomorrow is Track and Field Day! Wear BLUE! I told the kids that blue jeans were probably a bad idea, but to come in our class color of blue. We discussed being good competitors as well as good sports.

Note to parents: If you are the type of parent who greatly pressures your child in athletic competitions, please don't be that way tomorrow. I talked to the kids today about being good sports and good competitors, that they weren't allowed to call people out for being unfair as they saw it, and that they were to handle themselves with good manners. I expect the same from my parents. I want my students to have a positive athletic experience tomorrow, not one filled with crying because of pressure from other students or adults.

As long as you go by those rules, you are all welcome to come tomorrow and help me provide the kiddos with a good day. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Movement You Need

Here are some pictures of the kids doing their science today. They were observing the anoles (or chameleons) in their terrariums. They filled out observation journal pages on the feeding habits of crickets, earthworms, and chameleons. It was pretty cool to just listen to them making their observations.

Next week is a full week of school! Whatever shall we do? Have Track and Field Day, the choir show, a visit from Clay Middle School, and more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Karma Chameleons

It was really exciting today as the crickets arrived, along with the chameleons. We set up the habitats with grass, which we've been growing since last week. I gave the kids several tasks while I prepared things, and then it came time to put the crickets into the containers. That led to a pretty crazy time with just a few loose crickets running around the classroom, but we got all of them contained and into their terrariums.

As I type these lines, Christian and Divy are transferring both chameleons and earthworms into the terrariums so that we can continue studying them tomorrow. I am sitting here laughing hysterically while listening to them. Special thanks to Miss Hume, who came in to give the boys a few pointers with the earthworms.

Tomorrow should mean more fun with Science! (As well as reading and language worries.)

I'll post some pictures later, including the awesome poster made by Elizabeth and Anna for Nurse Appreciation Day as well as the after school animals.


Here are some pictures from the chameleon transfer and Nurse Appreciation Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunshine Superman

Well, the kiddos are outside at recess right now before lunch, but I have to say that "chaotic" would pretty well describe our day thus far. No one's fault in particular, but it was a near-perfect storm this morning, and I am proud to say that your kids handled it wonderfully. Smooth sailing for all of them! As we sat outside the door of the community room, just outside the cafeteria, while kids were walking in and out to do a reading test with the aids, I said, "Isn't this just like life?" Sometimes all you can do is throw up your hands and laugh.

Just because ISTEP is over (HALLELUJAH, BABY!), that doesn't mean testing is over. We're in the midst of doing lots of end-the-year check-ups, as with the testing today.

Once again this year, we had many comic books given to my class by the owner of a comic book store in Castleton, who happens to be one of my karate students. So those were a dangling carrot for the kids throughout the day today, and so they got those just before recess. They were reading things like Mega Man, Spongebob, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Transformers. Not high-art reading like I normally require, but every kid deserves a break every so often. And don't worry--tomorrow we will be tying this into a lesson where the kids will write letters of appreciation in which they will have to summarize (Rigby style!) the story that they read.

Speaking of which, look for another writing assignment for this evening from the Rigby reading book. They will have to answer one of two questions. I'm not going to say which one they have to choose, but I would recommend they do #2, because #1 looks kind of hard to answer. Plus, we just read the story in #2 today aloud in class, so it should be fresh in their minds even though it's by far the longer piece.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Briefly Surfacing to Gasp for Air

Here are a few more things I wanted to mention before I had to run off this afternoon:
  • I started reading a new book to the kids today called Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. This could very well be the last book I am able to read to the students this school year. It is about a group of fifth grade students of all different personality types--told from their individual perspectives--who thus far seem pretty excited because they have a male teacher, especially a first year male teacher. It follows them throughout the entire school year. I already received one "He's pretty much you", and I expect to get some more. This book comes highly recommended by Mrs. Stemnock, who is reading it out loud to hear class as well.
  • The fifth grade end of year party will be on Wednesday, May 23rd, beginning at 1:00pm. Should be a lot of fun. Hopefully everyone has gotten their pictures to Mrs. Deam. If not, please let me know ASAP.
  • The Woodbrook Choir/Orff Show will be May 16th. The student performance begins at 1:00pm, but I'm not sure about the evening performance just yet. If your child is in that show, let me know if they don't receive something with the evening show's time and I will find it for you!
  • Woodbrook Literacy Night is on Thursday, May 17th, from 6:45-7:45pm. Plan to be there to hear some good storytelling, campfire songs, and to celebrate reading throughout the summer months.
  • The night of the Choir/Orff Show is also Pizza Night at Cool River Pizza at Hazel Dell and 146th St. Come on in and get some good pizza as well as sending some dough toward the Woodbrook PTO. Maybe you can stop in on your way home from the Choir and Orff show and grab some grub.
  • That's all for now. Hope you have had a terrific Tuesday and are going to be ready for a wonderful Wednesday.

A Wall Both Wider and More Porous

I'm sure you all received the email from Mrs. Davis today with these tips for keeping your good readers throughout the summer, but I wanted to post them here because I love them. They are from articles written by Beverly B. Swanson and Ellen Schwartz:

Continue being a good role model: Let your child see you read.

Keep a variety of reading materials in the house: Make sure to have reading materials for enjoyment as well as for reference.

Encourage your child to practice reading aloud: Frequently listen to your child read out loud and praise her often as she does so. Offer to read every other page or even every other chapter to your child. Have conversations and discussions about the book with your child.

Write short notes for your child to read: Write down his weekly household responsibilities for him to keep track of put your child in charge of reading the grocery list.

Encourage activities that require reading: Cooking (reading a recipe), constructing a kite (reading directions), or identifying a bird's nest or a shell at the beach (reading a reference book) are some examples.

Establish a reading time, even if it's only 10 minutes each day: Make sure there is a good reading light in your child's room and stock his/her bookshelves with books and magazines that are easy to both read and reach.

Talk with your child: Talking makes children think about their experiences more and helps them expand their vocabularies. Ask your child to give detailed descriptions of events and to tell complete stories.

Link books to summer activities: If you are traveling, put your child in charge of reading about the area/activity and sharing with the rest of the family!

Many children enjoy non-fiction: Match your child’s individual interests with a non-fiction book or magazine.

Pair books with movies: Read a book-rent the related movie-pop the popcorn and make it a family event.

Give your child writing materials: Reading and writing go hand in hand. Children want to learn to write and to practice writing. If you make pencils, crayons, and paper available at all times, your child will be more inclined to initiate writing activities on his own.

Restrict television time: The less time your child spends watching television, the more time he will have for reading-related activities.

Visit the library often: Have your child apply for her own library card so she can check out books on her own for schoolwork and for pleasure reading. Ask your child to bring home a library book to read to a younger sibling and encourage her to check out books on tape that she can listen to on long car trips.

Next week is Literacy Week (okay, so maybe that's just as far as I'm concerned, since we have Literacy Night on Thursday evening from 6:45-7:45 at Woodbrook). Expect to see some summer reading lists here on The Dojo next week for some strong suggestions for books to read for the eleven weeks of summer before they kiddos go to the middle school.

Have a great week, and remember to build people with a love of reading--even if it means you have to become one yourself. Seriously, it just makes you smarter.

Counting to None

THANK YOU so much for the outpouring of very kind letters and helping hands that I received today. That was so thoughtful. I don't know how they get that information home to you, because it kind of takes me by surprise every year. Very thoughtful cards and letters from some very special people.

I know that one of these days of Teacher Appreciation Week is normally flower day. I greatly appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness, but please know that I am allergic to flowers. So unless you want your child being taught by someone who has a splitting headache all day, please, refrain from participating in that day for me! It would be the nicest way to appreciate me.

Next Tuesday is Track and Field Day for the fifth grade. Our color is blue.

Stay tuned for more information for end-of-year stuff. It's going to be a roller coaster, to use a metaphor.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When the Moon Hits Your Eyes

Continuing tradition, we are looking for graduating 5th graders to help clear tables at our last Pizza Night fundraiser for the year.

Please sign up if you are interested. Names will be drawn randomly, and there will be one-5th grader chosen per class.

Any time you can be there between 5 -7 pm on Wednesday, May 16, is appreciated. It is suggested to do a 1 hour shift.

Sign-up will be available in my classroom. I've done this before. It's a lot of fun, plus you get to just shmooze with whoever is there.


Track and Field Day is on Tuesday, May 15. My class's color is usually blue, so that's pretty easy.

Life will return to normal next week once ISTEP is over. I'm planning on having a Caesar's English list next week instead of spelling. Only one spelling list left for the rest of the year!

In Science right now, we are germinating seeds to grow some grass for our chameleons (supposedly they're supposed to come next week--they don't have long to get here!).

Hope everyone is having a great week and is keeping cool.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Linear Thought

Three down, three to go! Testing is a little tedious, but at least it doesn't last long.

In Math, the kids have been working on their review packet for the end of year test. There are a couple things we need to go back and take another look at, and tomorrow we're going to do just that. I'm pretty darn pleased with their progress over this year, though.

We are speeding toward the end of the school year! If you have any questions or anything, please e-mail and let me know. I don't want to let anything slip through the cracks. Can't believe how close we are.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mayday! Mayday!

The second day of the computerized ISTEP testing was just fine today. No glitches like I've heard about on the news, I'm knocking on wood.

I think tomorrow we're going to need to get back into a somewhat more normal schedule with the reading book as well as the science stuff. Math is pretty much as per usual anyway, but this week's off-kilter schedule has everyone a little bit antsy.

And today, one little odd thing the kids did learn about is the bizarre ritual of May Day, complete with the floral wreaths worn on the head and the ribbons and the Maypole. They thought I was making it up at first, but then thanks to google images, I was proven correct.