Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sugar Crash

Well, I answered the door to a whole neighborhood full of witches, goblins, and vampires tonight, but the scariest thing I saw all evening was the grades on the kids' Math Boxes. My lesson plans for tomorrow have changed now, reflecting a need for review on certain parts that were on those Math Boxes.

I realize this is late coming, but I'm going to post the spelling list here now. I had several (SEVEN) students leave their spelling lists out without their names on them. I had Miss Lauren collect them to check them, and those kids had to re-do them last night because that's the new policy for not putting your name on the top of your paper (six years at Woodbrook; still no names...not gonna fly anymore). Well, they went ahead and turned in their re-done papers, with names on them, but they don't have them now. So here goes. Maybe it will at least help you for studying tomorrow night.
  • cheap
  • defeat
  • depend
  • enormous
  • rely
  • victory
  • deplete
  • sadness
  • sorrow
  • expensive
  • troublesome
I'm hoping this is only a reaction to the Halloween-related sugar coursing through the air right now, and that things will calm down as we head into November. November: The month in which we will be doing the Veterans Day Program, the Fifth Grade Musical, starting in on the curriculum for Biztown, our trip to the Palladium to hear the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, and Thanksgiving break...yeah. Things should be calming right down any day now.

I'll keep my thumb down on them on this end! More to come tomorrow. Thanks for your cooperation. Let me know if you have any questions.

Show It to Your Teacher

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Homework tonight consists of three things:
  1. 3 times each for their Spelling words.
  2. Answer the question from the reading book. I would like for all of the sentences to be complete and I want them to form a full paragraph.
  3. Six problems on the front and six on the back of their Math page for practice for tomorrow's exam. 
I was very happy to get a good report from Mrs. Ramsey yesterday. She was the guest teacher while I was out at the doctor's office (and I'm fine, by the way). 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tilting the Axis of the World

Here's everything you'll need to know this week:
  • We are going to be working on the Veteran's Day Program for Woodbrook. This one is going to be a little different than it was in the past, with fourth grade doing the songs and us doing the lines. I have a list of willing kids to do the spoken lines, and I will be meeting with Mrs. Ratner this week to nail down the song list and compare notes. It really crept up on me. The program will be on the morning of November 9. We will also be writing invitations this week to the veterans of the area.
  • I will be gone on Monday afternoon. I have a doctor's appointment, so I'll be leaving at 11 tomorrow morning. 
  • It seems now that the problems with the email and computer networking in Carmel Clay are now over, at least for the meantime.
  • A big shout out to Miss Lauren Pitz, whose team won semi-state yesterday in Huntington, and who goes to the state volleyball championships for the ISHAA. Congratulations, Miss Lauren! 
  • This Friday, we will be having another one of those Theme Tests that everyone loves so much, as well as a Spelling Test. We will be having a Math Exam on Wednesday. Tomorrow the students will receive both a spelling list and a study guide for the Math test. 
  • A recent Math lesson, ironically enough, alerted Miss Hume and me to the fact that students don't know where key cities in the United States are located. Cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, and even Chicago seem to be missing geographically in the kids' minds. This was the first year we hadn't done the States and Capitals lessons at the beginning of the year, so guess what we're going to be doing starting this week? I'll get with Mrs. Jackson (the bearer of the materials for this) and get the kids' first region to them, probably on Thursday or so. We'll be having a quiz on this next week, and every week thereafter until we're done with the whole U.S.of A. We believe that it is important for the boys and girls to know these things even if only for the sake of cultural literacy.
  • We watched the Nova episode called "To the Moon" last week in Science. The kids were really interested in this, and it really did tell a more human side than, in my opinion, even The Right Stuff. They interviewed the astronauts and NASA officials throughout the episode. This week, we will be tracking the path of the sun, and the students will find that the astronomy unit will really run throughout the rest of the school year. We're also going to be discussing some more of the early astronomers from all over the world: Nicholas Copernicus, Hypatia of Alexandria, and Caliph Harun al Rashid. Then it's back to Social Studies for awhile while we wait for our next Science unit to begin.
  • Poetry will be on the docket for this week. The kids will be asked to write poems, some of them probably tying in with the Veteran's Day Program. Also in Language Arts, we'll continue talking about possessive nouns and possessive pronouns, synonyms and antonyms, and we are focusing on monitoring our understanding while we're reading. 
  • And a special thank you goes out to Luke B., who made a new video on YouTube with the lyrics to "Don't Look Back in Anger," the song our class sings last thing each Friday afternoon. Well done, Luke! That took some time and effort--very much appreciated. Plus, I love the fact that he did not put a thousand exclamation points during the guitar solo. Too many exclamation points are my grammatical bane of existence.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Taking It to the Field

Hello, all! Tomorrow we will have a Caesar's English test.

In Math, we've been talking about what to do with our remainders. One of the examples today was this: Let's say you have 110 kids to get to a field trip. Each bus can hold 25 students. How many buses will you need? You'll find that their homework tonight will be similar to that one. We did some of these in class, so they should know what they're doing.

Have a great Thursday night--I like these four day weeks. Tomorrow, by the way, is Jersey Day for Red Ribbon Week. Hopefully I will actually be able to remember this one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We Won't Get Fooled Again

Well, I can tell you one thing. We are going to do some more work on division in Math. Wow.

Anyway, this week we've been learning in Science about outer space, the moon missions, and the placement of the moon and the sun. This is one of my favorite things to teach. Today we watched the first segment of a Nova episode from PBS called "To the Moon," featuring Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, John Hoboult, Alan Shepherd, and more, telling about their trips to the moon and back. The Apollo missions took place within a pretty thin sliver of time, but what an important sliver that was.

Tonight's homework is just to read for 20 minutes and my Math class will have nine division problems--with decimals in them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back in Action

Well, we had a busy first day back. The homework tonight should consist of two Study Links (4.3 and 4.4), a Caesar's English quiz this Friday, a page where they have to capitalize all of the proper nouns, and a question from the reading book with the written response. They may very well have all of their capitalization and their written response done before going home.

Hope everyone had a restful fall break.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You May Be the Match

Dear Woodbrook Families,

We are organizing a “Be the Match” drive for one of our own.  Ron Spencer, husband of 3rd grade teacher, Marcia Spencer is currently being treated for AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia).  He was diagnosed at the beginning of the school year and is in need of a bone marrow transplant.  Ron’s sister was not a match for this process; therefore, we are rallying the troops in search of a match.   Through this “Be the Match” process we will be adding many names to the national registry to be a potential donor for someone else should we not find a match for Ron. 

The process is very simple and only involves completing a short registration form and doing a cheek swab.  Eligible donors must be between  18 and 44 years of age.  Anyone 45-60 may still register but this must be done online and a mandatory fee will be assessed.  The Indiana Blood Center will provide the needed materials for the process.  Although there is no charge for the process, the Blood Center appreciates any monetary contribution to help offset the testing of the swabs. 

Woodbrook Students will also be sponsoring three spirit days that we will pay to participate in to help raise money to offset the testing expenses.

We appreciate anyone who is willing to participate in our “Be The Match” process on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 from 1-4:30 in the community room.  We would love to generate many participants and hopefully find a match.  Feel free to bring a friend along.

For more information, please visit

Thank you for your help and support for Mr. and Mrs. Spencer and the Be the Match Program!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Say No

Red Ribbon Week
Spirit Days
October 23-26

Tuesday:  “Turn your back on drugs”-Wear your shirt backwards day

Wednesday: “I pledge to be drug free”, wear RED day

Thursday: “Sock it to drugs”, wear crazy socks day

Friday: “Stay in the game, say NO to drugs”, wear your favorite sports jersey/shirt

My favorite one is Friday. Wear your favorite sports jersey...or just your favorite shirt. Whatever.

Wise Man Said

"Every human being has value. This is the basis of all healthy relationships. Through living each day as it is given to me, I've learned that. It cannot be 'taught,' but it can be 'caught' from those who live their lives right along with us."

--Fred Rogers

But They Can't Lock Down Our Spirits

It was a good day today as we listened to speeches, learned from a few snafus, and participated in the lock down drill. It is my understanding that my class did a very good job in the lock down drill--they were in the computer lab at the time with Mrs. Melchi.

Homework tonight is to study for their Caesar's English quiz (Thursday), work on their speeches (unless they went today), read for 20 minutes, and my Math class has a page of nine division problems to do for tomorrow. I'm trying to get my Math class to be better about getting their homework turned in, so I've placed an incentive for them to get it done. Ask them about it tonight.

Other than that, a pretty typical day in this neighborhood.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eminence Front

Was it just me, or did anyone else kind of feel the planet tilt a little further back from the sun this weekend, settling totally into the fall? This very phenomenon is one of the things we'll be discussing in Science coming right up. Astronomy will be the topic, and we will be talking about the sun and the moon and the stars. Of course, this amateur historian can't help but inundate the kids with information regarding the earliest astronomers, modern-day astronauts, and even the Old Farmer's Almanac. I wouldn't be Mr. Carter if I didn't have to teach the kids all about the context of their information in its historical sense.

In addition to this, we will be listening to the kids give speeches over the next few days as well as a lesson or three on poetry, trying to spice up their writing some, making invitations for the Veteran's Day program, and plummeting into the world of division (and all of its various and scary faces) in Math class.

Here's looking forward to a great fall break, everyone. Enjoy! You deserve it. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

These Things Happen All the Time

We took this picture on Friday just before recess. Unfortunately, we were missing a kid or two at that time, but that's our first class picture of the school year. And thanks especially to Nurse Angie for taking it for us.

I know that many of you are probably nervously awaiting me to update my grade book online, but I'm still waiting on some assignments and tests from some students who were absent last week. The flu and cold are going around like crazy, but it will have to be done soon. The gigantic pile of papers I just graded were really pretty good--so rest assured.

On another note, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow (Monday) morning, and won't be there at school until 11:30. Not only will there be a guest teacher there, but also Miss Lauren will be there with the kids until 10:30, so all should go on as normal.

Now for some thank yous:
  • Thanks to Mrs. White for coming in on Thursday morning to give me a hand with some photocopies that needed to be made. That made my week much easier. Thank you!
  • Thanks to Bobby C who, on a trip to Vegas for his dad's birthday last weekend, brought me back my first pair of nail clippers (long story) of 2012-2013. They are as beautiful as a pair of nail clippers can be. 
  • Thank you to all of the parents who brought us teachers lunch on Friday. To realize that you don't have to eat the school's lunch as you're walking the kids down to the's a wonderful thing. 
Coming up is not only the fifth grade musical (in early-to-mid November), but also the Veteran's Day Program. As I've told the kids, Mr. Akin assigned me the job of running the Veteran's Day program during my first year of teaching, and since then, it's been my class's job to put this on for not only the school, but also for all veterans who attend. This week, we will be writing and creating invitations to that program and distributing them to the rest of the school to take home. My class (Math class included) will be putting this program on, and more information to follow. The Veterans Day Program will be on Friday, November 9, at 9:00am.

And lastly, speaking of upcoming events, mark Wednesday, December 12 on your calendar. That is the day that the fifth grade will go to Biztown. Biztown is a very cool thing; ask your child about it. The reason I'm posting this here is that we need parent volunteers for that day.  For real. This isn't like SPICE, where it wasn't really necessary that parents went with us. Parents are needed, and trust me, this is a fun field trip. It's an all-day thing, so if you can dedicate a whole day, please plan on joining us for this trip.

Now, lastly, I'm going to give you a picture of my name in chewed-off pretzels, as chewed by the aforementioned Bobby C. After a week and weekend full of monumental failure by the Reds, the Colts, and last but not least, the Boilermakers, it's a nice treat to look through the pictures on your phone and find your name written in pretzels before turning in. Thanks, Bobby! This is one of the most interesting compliments I've ever received.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Keys to Success

Spelling Test tomorrow: STUDY!
Math Test tomorrow: 25 questions: STUDY!
Posters due tomorrow!

It's like I told the kids earlier in the week: time management is key!

Artistic Volunteers Needed

Parent Volunteers Needed!
The 5th grade musical is quickly approaching and Mrs. Ratner is in need of a few volunteers to create the backdrop and to help on the day of the show with costumes.  All volunteers receive 2 reserved seats at the evening performance on Nov. 14.  If you are interested in helping, please e-mail Mrs. Ratner at  She would also love to have someone as the go to person for scheduling get-togethers for the back drop and a list of volunteers for costume help.  If you are interested, please let her know as soon as possible.  Thank you!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Controls and Variables

Today we started Science in 5-1. While I do enjoy teaching Social Studies, it was fun getting to see the kids turn on their scientific brains. I passed out their Science journals and then we got them started by making the table of contents at the front and numbering the pages (well, up to page 20...we didn't have all day). Then I talked to the kids a little bit by discussing the Scientific Method with them. Because we just got started, don't expect to see a Science grade on your child's report card this quarter.

The students wrote friendly letters today to thank Mrs. Pitz for coming in last Friday to share her harp music with us. I was pretty pleased with the writings they did yesterday in class, and these are even better. You won't see the letters come home since they are going to Mrs. Pitz, but I will be sure and send home their rubrics.

Today I'm sending home a study guide for Math. It has a lot of problems on it, but I will give them some time to start on it in class. I will go over it in class with them tomorrow, so it will need to be done by then.

One last thing: Their posters are due on Friday. Congratulations to Luke who got his finished Monday night and has already turned it in.

That's all the news from 5-1 today. E-mail me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Too Heavy a Burden

Upon further reflection regarding this week's expectation timeline, I've decided against having a straight-up test on Friday for Social Studies. I thought about the rest of the schedule of what all is due that day, and I've come to the decision that between the poster and two other tests that day already, that I would just do it that way. Especially with the spelling list being as hard as it is, both in terms of the meanings as well as the spellings.

Here's this week's spelling list:


More to come, but as is normal, I have to run!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Running Behind for the Staff Meeting

Here are some important things to know this week. This week may be a lesson for them in time management. Please email me if you have any questions.
  1. We already did their spelling definitions in class today. This is a difficult test in terms of the definitions. I tried to give them a concise idea of what each word means. 
  2. They have a study guide that is due on Wednesday for Social Studies. They brought this home with them tonight, and they were told to take home their red hardback book as well. If not, then they will have to do it tomorrow night. Test is Friday.
  3. Their posters are due on Friday. I sent home the rubrics for these posters tonight.
  4. We will also have a Math test on Friday. We're studying hard all week on this, as well as the other tests.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Musical Guest in Our Neck of the Woods

We were very lucky today to have Miss Lauren's mom, Mrs. Jill Pitz come in to share her talent with us. Mrs. Pitz is a harpist, and plays often at the Palladium, amongst other gigs all around the area. Her two sons, Jake and Michael, are former 5-1 students as well, but I regret to say this is the first time we've had her in to play for us. She told the students all about the harp, tying it in with our music unit in reading. She played a wide variety of songs, from Irish music to Canon in D to Disney music, and she even played some Beatles (Eleanor Rigby) and Led Zeppelin (Stairway to Heaven). Mrs. Pitz was very courageous and let the students try their hand at strumming the strings. By the end of her time with us, we had teachers from the hallway coming in to the room and standing outside the door. I was told by Mrs. Stemnock and Miss Hume that she even inadvertently provided a nice soothing background for a couple of tests they were giving. She was impressed with the kids' questions, and so was I.

That's not the only visitor we had today. Mrs. Ohrvall also came in to help out in the morning--and she stuck around for the performance as well. Thank you, Mrs. Ohrvall!

The kids also seemed to really enjoy a story I read to them today called Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. It's about a big baby who grows up into a giant woman who is one Tennessee town's last hope against an equally gigantic bear called Thundering Tarnation. And somehow, it all made sense.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Come back Monday for a big week.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mood Music

I really love the way I'm able to just enjoy this class. We just have moments like the one today, when they were working on their writing, and I told them I would play some Duke Ellington music on YouTube. We've been reading about in great poetic beats about The Duke during reading class, so it seemed appropriate. They sat there and worked and you could just hear this nice jazz piano music playing while they were doing exactly what they were supposed to. It was really nice.

Tomorrow we have a spelling test, and that's just about it for the homework. For Math, they have page 74 in their Math Journal (sans #4, we'll do that one together in class tomorrow). 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sliding Down the Ivory 88's

As promised, we had a pop quiz in Math today (the kids deemed it "easy"). We started a unit in Reading on sound today, which mainly focuses in on the musical kinds of sound. We read a story about Duke Ellington that had some very interesting poetic descriptors in it.

Homework tonight includes their meaning exercise, read for 20 minutes, and to find out the steps for their procedural if they don't yet know them.

We're over the hump on another week already. Hope you've had a good one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yeah Sure Okay Monet

As requested, here is this week's spelling list. It's all proper nouns, so yes, it is a little weird:
  1. Chicago
  2. Connecticut
  3. December
  4. Indianapolis
  5. Japanese
  6. Latin
  7. Neptune
  8. Thanksgiving
  9. Caesar
  10. Wednesday
  11. Europe
  12. Fahrenheit
I warned them that a few of them are particularly difficult, like Caesar, Fahrenheit, and Wednesday. I told them that Connecticut is just "connect, I, cut". Remember that 3x each is due tomorrow.

Today in Math, I told the students that there will be a quiz tomorrow over naming and labeling angles, measuring an angle, and the vocabulary on the list that they should have brought home. I told them that it would at least have a word bank. It was a busy day today. We had a lot of ground to cover, so hopefully everyone took a breather after it was over.

I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with some of the young artists we have in this classroom. And no, that's not a euphemism for "your kids draw in class", it just means that anything that requires them to use their artistic skills, such as the Lakota winter counts or their meaning exercises, they really put their best effort into them and create something really wonderful. The other teachers were telling me the other day how they are jealous of my students' drawing abilities after looking at the winter counts posted in the hall. Pretty cool stuff we've been seeing around here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

360 Degrees of Separation

Well I went and messed up the Math homework when I told them all of the answers were either 60 degrees, 120 degrees, or 90 degrees. Hopefully they got it all done in class so that they won't have to do this at home.

Also, I told them that there is nothing of any real substance to do tonight outside of the reading/writing assignment and the spelling definitions. See below for my explanation there.

The kids in math are having a pretty rough go of the conceptual side of geometry. We will take our time on this, and I will pull out some old tricks to help them, hopefully.

Mechanical Inclinations

The kids have more homework than normal tonight. I won't say I loaded it on exactly, because I did give them enough time to finish their Social Studies in class, but here is the entirety of what will have to be on top of their desks completed before they go to computer time tomorrow:
  • Social Studies pages 16-17 in their white pages (most of them have this finished)
  • Spelling definitions: The list this week is weird. It's all proper nouns. I told them that, for instance, for the word Connecticut, I want them to write "a state in the American Northeast", and not just "a state".
  • A writing assignment from the reading book. I want them to complete this according to the rubric on the front, and to write a complete paragraph (5-8 sentences). 
  • Study Link 3.3 for my Math class. 
  • 3-4 ideas for a procedural speech (you and I know this as a "How-To Speech"). These are just ideas. They have not been given a rubric, so please do not start on this assignment yet--just come up with some ideas. Most of them have this finished already as well.
We are having our Theme 3 test tomorrow. I reviewed with the kids today, and I will review with them again tomorrow just before the test. They seem to be ready for it, though, I have to say.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Welcome back to the work week.