Monday, September 30, 2013

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I was pretty happy when I picked up the kids from lunch today and Mrs. Helgeland thanked my class for being so courteous and quiet and told them to line up first. It's the little things that make me happy. I was gone for a small chunk of the morning over at Clay, and it was great to receive such a positive report--once again from Mrs. Helgeland, who taught my class in my absence.

Remember the kids have a States and Capitals quiz tomorrow over the Western States. They can practice whole hog at the link on the left sidebar on this blog.

We also have a vocabulary quiz for Math scheduled for Wednesday--this includes acute, right, obtuse, and reflex angles; vertical and adjacent angles; and then the kids should also know that a straight line is 180 degrees as well as the sum of the angles on a triangle (also 180 degrees).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Season of Mists

Okay. Wow. I've just planned out this week in full and next week in most. Here are the broad strokes of what will matter on your end as a parent:
  • Camp Jameson: The kids will need a completely disposable sack lunch for Friday. Be at school at 5:30pm on Friday, October 4. That's when we are supposed to get back. Please don't be late! Thus far, we have the following volunteers: Mr. Neukam, Mrs. Mallon, Mr. Lundy, Mrs. King, Mrs. Hurdle, Mrs. Detamore, Mr. Cobas, Mrs. Beutler, and Mr. Anderson. If you notice that I've left your name off this list, let me know ASAP. Thanks so much, guys. It makes me happy that 5-1 has such involved parents. 
  • States and Capitals: We will have a quiz over the Western States on Tuesday. That same day, I will give the kids their next list of states and capitals for a quiz the next Tuesday.
  • Science: We've been in the midst of a unit called Matter since last week. The kids have been recording information on the differing states of matter and we're learning all about the way different states of materials react and exist. We will continue this throughout this week and into about three or four days into next week. On Thursday of this week, we will have a vocabulary quiz (so be on the lookout for the kids' Science notebooks to come home to study), and then either Wednesday or Thursday of next week, we will have our unit test.
  • Language Arts: This week, we will learn about proper nouns (again), we will begin our guided reading (uh...again), we will be reading about the science of sound (hey, that's new!), and we will also be brainstorming ideas for our procedural projects. We will watch a few procedurals throughout the week as well. For this project (which is still a couple weeks away), the kids will be creating posters that provide understanding and the steps for their how-to exercise, and they will also be writing a speech to give to the class. This will be a lot of fun in the end.
  • Math: In my Math class, we've been learning the basics of Geometry. Don't worry; we're not doing proofs with theorems or postulates or anything like that. We are, however, laying down the ideas for their future by having the kids learn about things like opposite angles (a.k.a. vertical angles), perpendicular angles, lines, segments, parallel lines, and even skew lines. 
  • Spelling: Because of our field trip on Friday, we will not have spelling this week. We will, however, have our Latin root still. And on Friday morning before we leave, we will have another Quick Quiz on that Latin root. Should be pretty easy with a little nightly review.
I've learned from past experience that if we don't keep moving ahead like a runaway train, we will not get everything in by the end of the year that we need to get done by the end of the year. Let me know if you have any questions. But if your child has a question, make sure they let me know. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Speed of Life

Good week here. It went really quickly. That's always a good sign.

Look for updates on Sunday about Camp Jameson and more.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Infinity For the Finite

The winds of change are a-blowin' in the 5-1 classroom. New units in Math (in Math today, I tried to explain to the class the idea of a line which goes on for infinity in both directions, not in actuality, but according to the Platonic ideal...that threw some of them, but some did get it--as well as a story told to me by my hippie teacher in high school about infinity) and Science (we talked atoms and molecules at the introductory level--as well as all matter) took place today.

Happy Birthday to Katelyn C today! I hope your favorite boy band comes and sings you happy birthday sometime today. Sorry, all I remember is that they're not called One Direction. 

I sent home release forms to four kids today who didn't have them in yet for next week's field trip. Should be an awesome time.

Homework tonight is Math Boxes 3.3, a Math Box fill-out sheet, Meaning Exercise for Spelling, and reading for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


We took the Social Studies test today. Some people were a little disappointed in their grade, so I said I would give them a second chance to add an additional grade onto their final scorecard on Thursday.

Tomorrow their Spelling 3x each is due as well as twenty minutes of reading plus their Math Boxes 3.2 for Math.

That's all for today--just a quickie.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's Cooler Than Bein' Cool?

I would feel old that this song is ten years old today, but this gave me such a laugh I'm willing to forgive it.

Happy Birthday, Hey Ya!

The Everyday Miracle of Business as Usual

Hope you all had a great weekend and loved the weather as much as I did.

Here's the schedule for this week:
  • We do have a spelling list this week (next week we won't, because of the field trip on Friday), and I'll post that below. We did write the definitions in class today, as the words were acted out in very short skits by the kids. This week's list is all nouns, so for their meaning exercise, it would
  • Tomorrow we will have a Social Studies test. I gave them the "study guide" (which is actually the test from the book series) today, they completed it during class, and I told them to take them home and study tonight. I will not ask them to know the individual names of the tribes and where they lived, but I will have questions about the different regions as a part of the test. 
  • I am planning to start a Science unit on Wednesday. This Science unit will be about the different states of matter. This will replace Social Studies for the most part* for the duration of the matter unit.
  • *The one exception is that we will be having states and capitals quizzes beginning next Tuesday. I will hand out the study guide for that one tomorrow, so they will have plenty of time to memorize their first ten-or-so states. It wouldn't be fifth grade without having to memorize the states and capitals. (The jury is out, though, on whether or not to give them a comprehensive test at the end of all the quizzes... I'll see how they do.)
Here's the Spelling List for this week: 
  1. envelope
  2. insect
  3. kitchen
  4. laundry
  5. novel
  6. orchard
  7. pollution
  8. raccoon
  9. village
  10. voyage
  11. plateau
  12. rhythm
The last two words will likely cause the most frustration in learning their proper spellings this week. We discussed the "eau" making the long o sound, and many students want to put a vowel of some sort between the h and the m in rhythm

Thanks for getting your permission slips to me. All I have left are some waiver forms that were not returned yet. I'll try to track down a few more of those to send home with the people who are missing them.

Have a great week, everyone.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Kind of Homecoming

Great to be back today. The full moon, however, does seem to be in full effect today as the kids are bouncing off the walls. Spirit week is in full force around here.

However, we have gotten quite a bit done today, and I'm getting caught back up with the kids. It feels as if I've been away for a month.

If you don't have your child's permission slip in yet, make sure we get that in on Monday. It's due today, but I will grant everyone an extension.

I hope everyone has a fantastic homecoming weekend.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fractions of Fractions

The meeting this morning went really well. At first I was admittedly a little put off by the fact that I had to go, but it turned out very worthwhile. Luckily I had Mrs. Hynes at the helm of the 5-1 ship while I was away. She is one of the kids' favorite subs, and something of a Woodbrook institution.

Before I go, we will have a Math test on Thursday over chapter 2. This is over arithmetic--the simple plugging and chugging of addition, subtraction, and multiplication, including ones with decimals.

Remember I will be gone tomorrow and most likely Thursday as well. Let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Spirited Away

Here are our theme days for Spirit Week for this Friday's homecoming. Sorry I was so late in getting this information to you.

Monday (today): Career Day
Tuesday: Red, White, and Blue Day
Wednesday: Pink Day
Thursday: Preppy Day
Friday: Blue & Gold Day

Spelling List IV

Spelling List 4
A List for the Week of September 16-20, 2013

  1. athlete

  1. awhile

  1. complete

  1. compose

  1. decide

  1. escape

  1. parade

  1. produce

   9. refuse

  10. remote (adj., not n.)

  11. dilute

  12. microscope

Latin Root: sub: meaning “under”
examples: submarine, submerge, subterranean, subordinate, subway, subtropical, subatomic, sublime

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Time Grabs You By the Wrist

Hope you all enjoyed the incredible weather this weekend. I also hope your kids are ready for this week. I have my lesson plans maxed out in preparation for a busy week.

One thing you should know this week: I will not be in school for a good chunk of this week. At the very minimum, I will be gone exactly half of it. On Tuesday, I have a half day training in the morning. I will be back by 11:30, though. On Wednesday, I have a totally different training at another school, and this one will last the entire day. On Thursday, I have jury duty. That's why I said "minimum", because who knows how long the court case will last. If you are the parent of a girl, I imagine you've heard about this by now. If you're the parent of a boy, I imagine this is news. That just seems to be the way it works in my twelve previous years of teaching.

Now more than ever, please call or email the front office if you need me during that time.

Here are a few other notes for this week:
  • A huge thank you to Mrs. Anderson, who came in and stapled up the kids' buffalo winter counts from last week. She even cut out letters to put above them. They're in the hallway right across from the library. If you're in the building, make sure you walk by and see them. It looks great. Thanks again, Mrs. Anderson.
  • We still need volunteers to go with us to Camp Jameson on October 4, 2013. We only have two so far, and we will need at least three or four.
  • Permissions slips and waivers for that trip are both due this Friday. Get them in!
  • I will update this blog tomorrow with this week's Spelling list along with the Latin stem tomorrow morning.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Tomorrow we have Theme Test 2 and Spelling Test 3. The Social Studies test is due tomorrow.

We began a new book today. After finishing Number the Stars yesterday, we are taking a more lighthearted approach to our read-aloud with The Genius Files. As good as the previous one was, this one is, I must admit, much more of a fun read.

Math has been a bit tedious of late, but never worry. We'll get through this arithmetic stuff soon and then be on our way down the path of the more engaging stuff. I gave them time to work in class today on their homework, so they may not have any math homework tonight.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sunrise, Earthquake, Airplane, and Other Math Probabilities

Today I gave the kids their take-home test for Social Studies. I am actually pretty confident that they would do well on this if it was an in-class test, but I am already giving a spelling test as well as Theme Test 2 on Friday, and I think Miss Moss would string me up if I gave three tests in one day!

Remember the writing is due tomorrow. (Meaning exercise and study link also...)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In Case You're Curious

The parent preview night for the Life Begins movie is at the Educational Services Center for Carmel (right next to Badger Field) at 7pm on November 7, 2013. Life Begins is the program the kids will watch way out at the end of May about their body systems, in particular the reproductive system. I've done this for the past twelve years, and I assure you it's nothing to freak out about, but go ahead and check it out if you want to see what your kids will see at the end of the school year.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mostly Invisible Things

Happy Birthday, Billy K! Sorry I didn't even realize it was your birthday until the end of the day today. By the way, you share a birthday with Adam Sandler and Star Trek made its television premier in 1966 on your birthday.

Today, especially during the first part of the day, there was so much coughing in my classroom that it sounded like a meeting for people who want to quit smoking. Make sure everyone is taking their vitamin C and scrubbing your hands and drinking orange juice. You may even try washing your hands in orange juice. Okay, maybe not.

And by the way, Mrs. Ratner emailed me asking for more people to audition for the Fall Musical. I told her I would get my class on the task. Auditions this week are after school on Wednesday and Thursday. I went down their to check out the times, and it looks like we do have a few ladies and at least on gentleman on the list. It sounds like we could use a few more, though.

Something that made me extremely happy was receiving last year's ISTEP scores this afternoon. Not only did I shed a manly tear (not literally) looking over those old names again, but doggone it, you guys ended up smarter than when you came in. I realize that is obviously the goal for coming into a school year, but it's awesome to see the growth supported in measurable data. While I'm not supportive of measuring 100% of student growth that way, it's good that at least the stats do support what we did last year.

Make sure you stop in at Cool River Pizza Wednesday night, in particular between 5:30-7:30, where you will find Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Larson, or Mrs. Bintrim serving pizza. Don't worry, I'm signed up to be a server, but not until the pizza nights for April and May. 

Looking for a quick volunteer helper opportunity? I need someone to come in any time this week and help staple up the kids' buffalo winter counts. Tomorrow the absentees from Friday should be showing theirs off, so any time after that would be great.

Also, don't forget to let me know if you can go to the field trip to Jameson Camp on October 4. Should be a ton of fun, and by then the weather will be nice and cooled off.

Lastly, seeing as how this blog is dedicated to the furthering of education, I want to recognize my sister, Kim Johnson, who was promoted today to Director of Communications and Marketing for Wabash College. To get a job that high up as a female in an all-male college is an impressive feat. I am really proud of her. 

Spelling List III

1.) blender:

2.) liquid:

3.) captive:

4.) category:

5.) figure:

6.) fatigue:

7.) magnet:

8.) permit:

9.) popular:

10.) smuggle:

11.) stunt:

12.) matinee:

Latin Root: cent (meaning “100”)
examples: century, cent, centimeter, centurion, centipede, bicentennial

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Use It Or Lose It

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

For our field trip to Jameson Camp on October 4, we have two chaperones so far. I'm hoping to get a few more, so if you're interested in the least, please let me know.

I found early on that in order to get everything done in the school year, we have to stay on task and only rarely stray. This is a completely uninterrupted week, so we need to make the most of it. I'm planning to give a take-home test for Social Studies on Wednesday, which will be due on Friday. On Tuesday, I'm going to give the kids a writing assignment that will be due on Thursday. These assignments are in addition to the regular Spelling and Math homework assignments.

Next week, we will get into our regular guided reading, which means this week we will be hitting our twentieth day of school. We work hard during those first twenty days to prepare the kids for their morning routine. Does it feel to anyone else like we've been back in school for far longer than that?

I'll post the spelling list tomorrow. Hope you all have a fantastic week.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Things We'll Need; People We'll Need

It hit me like a side kick to the solar plexus when I realized just this morning that our trip to Camp Jameson is now less than a month away. On Friday, October 4, we will be traveling to the camp. The kids will ride the bus to school, but will we will not get home until 5:00pm that afternoon/evening.

Here's a link.

Looks like it should be pretty fun.

We will need chaperones. If you think you would like to join us that day, please send me an email. We would love to have you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Great Reward of Delayed Gratification

Saw this and thought of you, Mitch...


I showed my math class today (but this applies to Mr. Vahle's math class as well) how to use the newly-added Everyday Math link on the sidebar of the blog. It's under "Good Links". If they ever EVER forget to grab their study link, I showed them exactly how to go online and extract it. Printer broken? No problem! Just copy down the problems.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday.

Just Now

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. The good news is that the beginning of the year testing season is now over. Other than the passage of Labor Day, I can't think of a better way to tell us that the beginning of the year is officially over. That's what I'm going to tell myself, anyway.

It's such a great feeling when the kids come in and know right away how we do our attendance, where to turn things in, and all the little details that we work so hard to pound into their little skulls early on. (Heh.) Right now they're in the library helping the first graders learn how to check out a library book.

There is no spelling this week. However, we do have a Latin root this week: pend. This means "to hang or weigh". Words that use pend include pendant, suspenders, suspend, pendulum, impending, independent, and depend. While I won't give an outright quiz or test over this, I will probably give them an exit slip at the end of the week just to make sure they can give me a couple examples.

Best thing about coming off a three-day weekend is that it's the second day of the week and it's already hump day. Hope you're having a good one.