Friday, November 30, 2012

Tail Between My Legs

I want to apologize profusely for sending home a permission slip earlier in the month that said no money was due for Biztown. The cost of Biztown is indeed $26. That permission slip was put in my mailbox for my approval, and instead of sending everyone an email saying, "Looks fine!", I made copies of it and put it into the kids' mailboxes. My bad. So that's why you received a new one today. Sorry for any inconvenience. To your credit, no one has yet emailed me regarding this. Thank you! Please do let me know, however, if the cost is prohibitive to your child's participation. We don't want that to happen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sweet and Lowdown

This one has to be quick:

Tomorrow there is a States and Capitals test over the Southeast. Here are the states and capitals that will be on it, because I was missing the extras from the forms I handed out at the start of the week:

  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Charleston, West Virginia
  • Richmond, Virginia
There is also a Spelling test (scroll down a couple days to find that list), and for my Math class, the kids were assigned pages 157 and 159 in their Math Journals.

More later tonight. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One segment of our day today was spent listening to the speeches of 5-1 candidates for Woodbrook Student Council. I am proud to say that 5-1 will be represented by all three: Ainsley, Colin, and Mark. And thanks to Mark, November 28 was declared Candy Cane Day in 5-1 as well.

Meaning exercise and study links due tomorrow!

That's about it. I'm out until later.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Here's what's due tomorrow:

Math: Page 154 in the Math Journal.
Reading: Biography needs to be read by tomorrow.
English: Subject/Verb Agreement sheet. (This was handed out at the very end of the day.)
Spelling: 3 times each is due tomorrow. See list below.
Writing: I had the kids do a writing to create colorful, sensory images in the reader's mind. This was in their journal and is due tomorrow.
Social Studies: Finish pages 22 and 23.

Most of the kids probably have a lot of this done already. The Math homework and the English assignment were both given at the very end of the day, so if they have these things done already, they did them on the bus. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to give them a look-over.

Spelling List: 
  1. author
  2. frontier
  3. greedy
  4. liberty
  5. permanent
  6. service
  7. slogan
  8. wherever
  9. tornado
  10. volcano
  11. hurricane
  12. thunder

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thunderbird Rides the Lightning

Holy Toledo, did we ever hit it hard today. Here's the rundown:
  • Math: Review sheet due tomorrow. Twelve problems, no study link.
  • Science: Draw a quick sketch of the moon on page 28 in the Solar System workbook. If it's too cloudy, they can look online here and draw what they see.
  • Social Studies: There is a states and capitals quiz on Friday. We haven't gone over the states yet, but I did send home a study guide tonight.
  • Reading: 20 minutes of reading tonight. Their biography needs to be finished by Wednesday, and two reading groups (Small Steps and Bridge to Terebithia) have reading assignments that are also due Wednesday. I told them that some of them may need to read more than 20 minutes one or both of those nights. 
  • Spelling: Definitions are due tomorrow. Easy words; they can use their own words for the descriptions.
  • Language Arts: Helping verbs sheet is due tomorrow. This should be easy.
Today we didn't even get to the Study Link for Math, nor anything for Biztown. That's what we'll be trying to catch up to tomorrow, in addition to all the other stuff that's planned.

Tomorrow the kids do need to have a speech written if they are trying out for Student Council. This is a spill-over from last week. Sorry, we're also trying to get caught up from illness week last week also.

Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. Now it's full steam ahead until our next break. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

But Not Forgotten

Just realized that once again I failed as a teacher--I forgot to have the class sing "Happy Birthday" to Nick today, who always supplies me with a "today in music history" as he walks in each day.

Nick, I hope this makes up for it, at least a little bit. It seems appropriate.


A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Katsis, Mrs. White, and Mrs. Berman for coming in and doing the party for us this afternoon. Best one yet, ladies! Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take That Look from Off Your Face

A huge thanks goes out to Luke B., who made this for us several weeks back. We had been using a rather inferior version of this same lyric video for our Friday sing-along, but one young man, Luke, decided to make our own 5-1 version of it for us. It couldn't have been an easy task. Well done.

Ever since about three or four years ago, my class has had a tradition that, no matter what, we will all sing together on Fridays before going home. I promised that class that this new tradition would carry over to the following years. I have found this to be an invaluable tool for many reasons.

I think we'll be using this tomorrow, even though it's not Friday. I think we'll all be feeling thankful for the break and the holiday.

We Are All Outliers to Some Extent

Due to the spreading illness pervading Woodbrook, we are not going to have the Student Council elections tomorrow. Speaking of the sickness, the flu, the bug, or whatever you want to call it, I know that tomorrow is the fall party. But please, if your child is sick, assure them that we will have a fun time soon and to stay at home. A party where everyone is getting sick is no fun at all.

Also, no Caesar's English this week. Not because of the illness, just because we didn't have enough time to squeeze in one more thing. We've been really busy playing catch-up from the past couple weeks. Tomorrow we are going to have the Theme Test for chapter 6 (at last), but if your child has been absent, no big deal. They can take it next week if they want.

We've been reading Roanoke by Lee Miller lately. I love this book so much. It's also really good about letting the kids synthesize their own answer to the historical question of what happened on that island. I highly recommend this book to even adults; it's that good.

Another highlight from today were that the kids were given their jobs for Biztown. I've told the kids many times over the last few days that, much like with life, you normally don't end up doing what you thought you would do. But somehow it turns out just right. I told them that everyone's job ends up being a lot of fun at Biztown. Otherwise, no one would ever take their classes there. The kids have learned quite a bit already. Today we learned to fill out deposit slips and put them on a bank register.

We also took the opportunity to clean out the kids' desks. Some needed it far more than others.

Monday, November 19, 2012

We All Fall Down

Today we've been doing a whole lot of synthesizing. This is not an easy thing to learn, but your kids have done a pretty good job of this so far. The kids read through an article and did their best to answer the who, what, where, when, and why of it. We also tried this with a story from the reading book as well as the book that I'm reading out loud to them. Our theme test on this will be this Wednesday.

A flu epidemic is going around Woodbrook! Our class was only missing two today (which is, itself, a sign of epidemic, as I have a rather hearty crew), but the classroom across the hall is missing ten, the one right next door to me is missing four or five at last count. Wash hands, push fluids, and if your child is showing any signs of the flu, please keep them at home. I don't say that very often, but it's bad around here, and there are a lot of Thanksgivings at stake.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Good Class

Well, to say this past week has been crazy would be a big understatement. I would say that Monday will be a return to normal, but if you've ever been a teacher during a short week like this one, you know that it won't be normal. But our daily schedule should remain untouched save the fall parties on Wednesday, and who doesn't love those?

Anyway, now here I am, trying to make up for some lost time. Let's start with the symphony. Yesterday we went to the Palladium to hear the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. It was really cool. We had gone to the high school for this show ever since I've been here, but now we go to the Palladium. The kids all looked great, by the way. And I was very happy to receive compliments for the whole class from Mrs. Bowman, Mrs. Loeffler, and Mrs. Hastings, all of whom went along with our class for the special needs students. I was really proud of their behavior as well--despite some more talkative classes around us, mine remained quiet and appropriately facing the stage the whole time.

As anyone who went to the fifth grade musical on Wednesday can tell you, the kids did a fantastic job on the musical. This is always one of my favorite things from the fifth grade year. My class has had a lot of time up on stage recently, and never once have they disappointed. I am so proud of them all.

Today's interviews for Biztown went incredibly well. I was so impressed with the results I had, going by the sheets filled out be the interviewers. And the kids looked fantastic when they came in today. As it was a Friday, I was in jeans, and the kids were all in skirts, sweaters, khakis, and ties. Walking down the hall, I once again had a lot of nice words sent my way (starting to see a trend here?) about my class. The other fifth grade teachers were so flabbergasted by how great my class looked. Now, come to think of it, I wish I would have gotten their picture. Doggone it.

Well, that catches us up to today. Later on in the weekend, I will try to throw a few things on here about the biographies and such, but please know that here, at the end of this crazy week, I'm really appreciative and thankful.

I have the good class.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Monday has come and gone. Recently, the kids have started to say, "Today has gone by really quickly." I agree completely. But as the days whip by, it's more important than ever that we keep on top of things like school work and staying on task. Luckily we've been able to thus far.

Tomorrow night is the book fair family night. It is in Woodbrook's library, and it will last from 5pm-8pm. We did go down and look around today and a few kids bought some things. We will also be in the library on Wednesday morning for our normal time, and then the kids are also allowed to go back with passes for the rest of the week as well.

Here's this week's spelling list:


In reading, we discussed the idea of synthesizing today. This is probably the trickiest of the over-arching learning targets in the Rigby program. This is where you take the parts or information given in a story and use those parts to create something new. Like I said, not super-easy, but they can do it.

Tomorrow they have 135-136 in their Math Journals and Study Link 5.5. Also, their spelling definitions are due as well as their sloppy copy for their Biztown resume.

Have a great Monday night.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Full Court Press

This post is best told in the form of bullet points:
  • Was I ever impressed with the results on the Math quiz from Thursday. This week we will only be having math four times again because of the fifth grade program. We're in the midst of a chapter on fractions right now, which can cause a little trepidation. This week it may get a little shaky with the introduction of decimals into the game, but I'll do my best to make it work for them. 
  • The Book Fair is tomorrow. Well, that's when we're going, anyway. But then, I found out later on that we will still be going in for our regular library time on Wednesday, so now they will have at least two chances to go to the book fair. This is a PTO fundraiser, so come if you can. I don't know right now when Family Night is (Tuesday? Must be, because Wednesday is the program). I'll let your child know for sure as soon as I know.
  • The interviews for Biztown will be on Friday. I talked to the kids the other day about the importance of a good, firm handshake, eye contact, and speaking so that you can be heard. This week, we'll be filling out job applications and discussing how to look on the day of the interview.
  • On Thursday morning, we're doing to the Palladium to hear the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. You should have seen permission slips come home for this already. I'm going to say that I want the kids to look nice for this--at the VERY least, polo shirts for the boys. It was one thing when this program was at the high school auditorium, but now it's at the Palladium. Come on.
  • After Thanksgiving, we're doing to start doing literature circles instead of the guided reading groups. This way, we will be able to finish a novel in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
  • Coming up this Wednesday during their library time, I'm going to tell the kids that they have to pick out a biography to read for a project we have coming up after Thanksgiving as well. 
  • The fifth grade play, Harmony High, is set for Wednesday evening. Should be a pretty cool show; I know the kids have been working hard on it. The show begins at 7pm on Wednesday in the Woodbrook gym.

Last Friday in America

Thank you to everyone, parents and especially veterans, who came out to the Veterans Day program on Friday. I was so happy with how well the kids did with their lines and how well they honored the veterans that morning. Thank you to friend of 5-1 and Woodbrook Lieutenant Colonel Todd Spencer for greeting the veterans and reprising his role as our featured speaker. Thank you to Mrs. Ratner and the entire fourth grade, who performed all of the songs in the program. On 5-1's end, the kids got up there and spoke clearly into the microphone for all of Woodbrook and the extended community of Carmel and its veterans to hear. These speakers were Bobby C., Zavion R., Colin F., Luke B., Hannah C., Ainsley W., Paige O., Isabella W., Cody P., Kate K., Kavya H., Marta W., Ruby S., and Mark M. A big thank you goes out to Amaya K. for being the sound producer for the vocal performances. You all made me so proud, and better yet, the veterans felt honored by your words. Thanks also to our flag holders: Harry Z., Zach B., Gressa C., Griffin E., Abbey F., Nick K., Blake M., Jake P., Will P., Matthew P., Guinee R., Thomas R., Angie S., Caden W., and Grant M. Thank you to Mr. Jay Vahle, who sang us out with America. Last but not least, thank you to the holder of the giant flag, Evan N., a fourth grader from Mrs. Shearman's class and Nurse Barb's son. I'm hoping he'll be able to reprise that role next year. Colonel Spencer came back to the classroom and answered question for close to an hour, and I was pretty impressed with most of the questions they asked.

All in all, it was a great way to start our Friday off--a Friday that was pretty unusual in many ways, but none of them bad. Hope everyone has had a great weekend.

I'll post pictures here if anyone took any from the other day. E-mail them to me and I'll stick them on here. I was kind of stuck in my little corner and would have had the same shot from my phone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Electoral College Dropout

Election Day came a day late at Woodbrook, because today was the day for our Biztown elections. I was really proud of our two class members who ran for mayor: Bobby and Ruby. They have both earned extra credit in Social Studies as a result, and I couldn't be more proud of them both. Tomorrow at the end of the day, I will reveal who won. While I'm sure we will have "early polls" and "predictions" like we had last night, it is still very much in Schrodinger's Box until then.

We did practice through the Veterans Day Program twice today, and I just now got our schedule okayed by Mrs. Ratner. Tomorrow we'll be practicing in the gym with the fourth graders, so we should be good to go by 9am on Friday for the big ceremony. I'm going to be awfully relieved when this whole thing is over.

In Math today, we talked about comparing fractions. I felt like about 60-65% of the kids got what we were saying, but I do believe the homework is easy enough that everyone should be alright.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

States and Their Capitals

Thanks for sharing this, Paige. Now all you have to do is memorize this entire song. Shouldn't be a problem.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hereby Electing

Tomorrow during the morning, our class will take some time manning the kids election voting precinct. Our district's precinct (for the kids election, not the grown-up one) is in the Woodbrook library. Each of the students has been assigned a position, from sheriff to bean counter to judges who will help the voters find their voting booth. Should give the kids a pretty good idea of how it actually does work. I told them today that I stood in line for three hours on Saturday to vote and saw all of these positions in action.

We also discussed a little bit about a market economy today, but we couldn't get too far into the fine details. I did give them the lesson of responsibility: only buy what you can pay for.  As I told them, this is not a political statement. It's just a common sense one. This is a part of our BizTown curriculum, as we begin preparations already for our trip in December.

There will also be a States and Capitals quiz on Friday over the western states, including Alaska and Hawaii. They should have a page with them tonight that has all eleven states on it, where they are, and what the capitals are. See the side bar on this very blog (under "Good Links") for a handy studying game for this very topic.

Well, the kids are pouring in from recess. I'd better sign off. Have a fantastic week.

Rosetta Stone

This week's spelling list is a little odd. It consists of six pairs of homonyms. We've already gone over all of the different definitions, and I told the kids that, while the words are relatively easy to spell, knowing the two different spellings and their distinct meanings is vital. They won't have this as homework tonight, because we've already done it in class, but here it is for when you need it later in the week.







We've had a busy day today, and I told the kids that we have a really busy couple weeks ahead of us.  Please send me an email if you have any questions. I'll do my best to get back with you pronto.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yes It's Time to Rock This Show

This Friday: The Veterans Day program! It's at 9am. I'm still trying to talk some kids into doing speaking parts. I'm still trying to work out with Mrs. Ratner who is doing what, what the fourth graders are doing, and how it's all going to work. To say that I'm having some anxiety right now would be a mild understatement. Anyway, tomorrow we're writing invitations for this thing, so hopefully we'll have some veterans out there coming in to see our program in honor of them.

I tell the kids that this is not for their own glory; this is all about the vets. This is to show our respect for everything they've done.

This week, we'll also begin our lessons for Biztown, including having our Biztown elections. I didn't give the kids their "intent to run" forms on Friday, but tomorrow I will be giving them these forms. These are if they intend to run for office of Biztown mayor, lawyer, and deejay.

Yes, you read that last one correctly. As much as it has always humiliated me that we have an election for the two deejays of Biztown, it is such a popular thing to go for that we need to have it be chosen by the students. The music always comes from Radio Disney anyway, so it's not like we can have a student who is knowledgeable in the ways of early 90's grunge who can turn the students onto a whole new level of music than what they listen to, who will be able to enlighten the Bieber/Gaga masses anyway. So we might as well go with the ones who prefer "Call Me Maybe" over anything with any actual substance. (Sorry. Can you tell I'm a music snob?)

This Friday we will, in addition to our Vet's Day Program, have a spelling test (sorry, if I had the words right now I'd go ahead and post them) and the States and Capitals quiz.

We will also be doing things like writing letters to thank our veterans and writing poems on America this week. It's that kind of season right now. Okay, at least this week.

I will be contacting some of you this week to try to get some parent/teacher conferences in. Remember back at Meet the Teacher Night when I said that I would start that in October? 

And can you believe that in less than three weeks it's Thanksgiving? Let's make it an amazing (albeit busy) November, people!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Young Einsteins

We received some exciting news yesterday at Woodbrook that your children were recognized as a school in which more than 66% of the students scored above a Pass+ on their ISTEP last spring. This is really good news, and hardly surprising now that I know what a bright group they are.

Congratulations to all Woodbrook fifth graders. You all deserve to feel proud of yourselves.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Exponential Growth Models

Theme Test tomorrow, Spelling test tomorrow. See the post below for the list.

The kids received their lines for the Veterans Day program, which is next week. Next week is crazy. We also have the Indiana Kids' Election on Tuesday, and my class will be helping run that, along with everyone else in the fifth grade. This is in addition to all of the other things I listed below.

I gave the Math students their Whoops Sheets today and a make-up for their Math Boxes from last chapter, focusing on exponents, decimals, and prime factorization.