Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bringing Us Up To Speed

During my absence on-blog the last few days, one thing I knew I would miss is Miss Maddi's birthday. Her birthday is the day right after Christmas--December 26. I can only imagine that with a birthday like that, it's the kind that merges with Christmas to a kind of annoying rate. I'm lucky enough to have a July birthday, which is kind of at the opposite end of holiday madness.

Anyway, I hope your birthday was a good one, Maddi! At least you were lucky enough to not have to go to school on your birthday.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Peace On Earth

One last Christmas video tonight. For the record, I was very young when this came out. I do have a vague recollection of it, though. Hippies everywhere should appreciate it.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas spent, like mine, with an awesome family and loved ones. I'm not sure any of us can ever truly be grateful enough for our families.

The other night, when I got home from school on that last day, I put all my new ornaments on my tree. It gets a little fuller every year.

Thank you, Casey, Regan, Mrs. Loeffler, and Colton (no, not that Colton, it's a kid I tutor).

I'm over and out for a few days now. Hope everyone's break is relaxing and awesome.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Being Generally Positive As a Balance To Everything Else

Here's a mini-marathon of leftover holiday videos. You can watch them tonight (or tomorrow) during the commercials of 24 hours of A Christmas Story.

Merry Christmas, everybody! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Friction Reduction

Hope everyone had a very Merry Tuesday!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Longest Night Ever

I hope everyone is having a great break so far. If your break is anything like mine, it's pretty darn busy.

Evidently, last night was the longest Winter Solstice ever. I thought this was pretty interesting, as a teacher who has to teach things like that, and it was definitely a long night. As my mom always likes to remind me at this time each year, at least now it's going to be lighter a little longer each day for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joyful and Triumphant

Hello, folks!

Hope the beginning of break has treated everybody well so far. Here's a quick update on all things 5-1:
  • I have made a list of all of the thank-you cards I need to get finished before long. I am very grateful to say that I have many to write. I don't send them home with them by the time they go home at the end of the day on Friday; I like to mail them, so please don't feel slighted!
  • Also, I am hard at work getting the kids' pictures finished up. I try to do that before the break for a Christmas present for the kids, but it didn't get done this year for many reasons. However, now I can take my time instead of working on them at 1:30 in the morning during the week before break. 
Try to take half an hour to watch this some time before Christmas. It's so worth it.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Everything Is Cool When You're Part of a Team

Today took a spelling test, a quiz on the states and capitals, drew some pictures and watched a Halloween video in Math, played some games with our fifth grade buddies, and watched the Lego Movie.

It was a great day in 5-1, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we all need a break right about now. I expect everybody to come back in 2015, ready for the second half. If it's anywhere near as good as the first half, then we are all in luck.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Everyday Vigilante

Another great day today. Yes, it was full of recess football drama (which I've put to an end; even if it's only temporary) and dealing with details of tomorrow, but in the end, I love this class so much that I don't even care. I just hope we get a chance to get everything in tomorrow that I want to get in. Also, I hope the tech guy comes in early enough that we get to watch our movie tomorrow.


We're all going to be great this time tomorrow. Keep that in mind. I know I will.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Epic Christmas Split

Okay, this is a bonus video that I just saw and loved. This goes out to all karate folks out there (including one of my newest karate people--Madi from last year, who is a huge Chuck Norris fan!). Epic Christmas splits to you all.

Calm Like a Bomb

This was a good day. Yes, it's just now coming to a close for me, but that's the life of a tutor during finals week. No real news today to speak of, but we are still go for the spelling test and the states and capitals quiz on Friday.

I'll try to snap some pics tomorrow of the kids working on their very cool science projects.

Hope everybody had an awesome Humpday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Learning Targets

Well, today was a better day than yesterday. Not that yesterday was awful, but I could feel the tension rising in the kids yesterday a little bit more than today. I think we can all agree on one thing, though: We are ready for a break!

Math tests went home today, and a few of them have already finished their Whoops Sheets.

We worked on our latest Science project today--a little project called "On Target". Ask your child about it and how they were able to start getting them to work.

We had lessons today on the proper use of quotation marks, we made flashcards for Spelling, we read an article on the Orion rocket, and we are currently being paid a visit from our Scientific friend, Skeleton Steve. In my Math class, we had a lesson on the simplification of algebraic equations, and it went startlingly well.

At least we're not in high school where they are having finals (heck, middle school for that matter...).

Don't forget the six-state states and capitals quiz on Friday!

Hope you are all having a terrific Tuesday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Heart Grew Three Sizes

Okay, guys, I just finished grading the Math tests from last Friday after a long night of tutoring and karate and catching up with an old friend. Much later than I anticipated, but before I turn in, I want to keep up a tradition I started last year--a week full of classic holiday videos.

Here's Monday's: a bit of holiday cheer from the a classic episode of Family Ties. Bless you, Alex P. Keaton!

We Can Do This; We've Got This

Homework tonight includes:
  • 20 minutes of reading
  • my Math class has problems 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 24, and 28 on the page I gave them about adding and subtracting decimals
  • spelling definitions are due tomorrow
  • and last but not least, there is a six-state states and capitals quiz on Friday.
 Let's all have a great final week before the big break. We're almost there--we can make it!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Swiss Time Running Out

I tried my best not to breathe directly on any of your children on Friday before I left school, sick as a dog. At least I wasn't throw-up sick, because then I would have had to leave before the sub came for the second half of the day. Truth be told, I came home at 11:30, went to bed, and pretty much woke up this morning (with the occasional getting up yesterday, but never for long...).

Because of this, I do not have the Math tests graded, as I haven not been in the building since Friday morning. I do have the Spelling tests graded, however. I will do my best to have the Math tests graded by the time Math rolls around tomorrow, but if not, I will have them graded by Tuesday.

Speaking of Math, we finished up our first half of the school year (almost perfectly!) on Friday, so this next week we will spend doing some middle school math! I gave the kiddos the choice a few weeks back between starting the next chapter and waiting until January to start (with the promise of doing middle school math this week), and I shouldn't have been surprised when they wanted to go for the harder material. Don't worry, though. I will balance the new material with some old review stuff, including adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals, adding and subtracting fractions, and dividing decimals.

This week we will have a Spelling list. See the sidebar for this week's list, or, like in ye olden days, just look for the hard copy (olden days translation: the only copy) to come home tomorrow evening.

We will also have a rather short States and Capitals quiz on Friday over the six remaining states: Arkansas (Little Rock), Tennessee (Nashville), Kentucky (Frankfort), Mississippi (Jackson), Alabama (Montgomery), and Louisiana (Baton Rouge).

Lastly, we will have a quiz on Thursday in Science, which will be all about the different kinds of joints we are exploring in our robotics in space unit. But here's the best part: They will be allowed to use their Science journals. We have already copied all of these down in their Science journals, so assuming they have done their part, then they already have the information they will need.

Alright, it's 10:03pm right now, and this is literally the latest I've been up in three days. So I'm going to play it safe and hit the hay right now, so that I will be up and ready to go tomorrow.

We don't have time to slow down this week! By the time Friday hits, it will be like running right into a brick wall.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Monument to Our Own Hubris

Well, we hit a small snag today with the kids' Lunar Rovers. We are going to try for round two tomorrow. I had never done this one before, but I think the answer may be in some sturdier body frames. A good, light, but strong, chassis should do the trick. If anyone wants to send in some corrugated boxes tomorrow, that would be great. Otherwise, we will find some. (I have a little box from Amazon here right now, but that's it...)

There is a Spelling test tomorrow and a Math test.

Hope everyone is having a great week so far--it's almost the weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just a Little Brain Injury, That's All

We read an interesting article in class today. The video above is a promotional video, but I'm not necessarily trying to promote this product. The article was about new mouthguards for athletes that will help tell if a child has had a concussion even when they can't feel it.

I like going around and listening as the kids discuss these articles after our small class discussion. Reactions ranged from "these would be great" to "why don't we just wrap ourselves in protective bubbles".

While I'm at it, let me chime in that I absolutely love how well-read this class of kids is.

We have the materials ready for a good Science class tomorrow. Today we wrote down the materials that will be used (and they wrote them in their Science notebooks), and I gave them their objective: Create a lunar rover that can scramble across the classroom and over small objects, like a sweatshirt on the floor. This should serve as a simulation for the moon's crater-pocked surface. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Today we did some work with a Design Squad challenge for Science. This was in particular dealt with a project for NASA. This, believe it or not, ties in directly with our study of the human skeletal system as it applies to robotics. I love watching these young scientific minds working with real working physics and engineering. Today's task: design a lunar lander that will land softly enough to protect the "human" (marshmallow) inhabitants within the container.

Tomorrow we will move on to Lunar Rovers, and I hope they go as well as today went. This was a lot of fun!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Still Life In the Fast Lane

First off in the news tonight, Mrs. Ohrvall has requested cereal boxes from everyone in the fifth grade--or at least as many as can send them in. These are for Colonial Days, which is on the first Friday of February. We can always use lots of volunteers for Colonial Days as well, so if you missed out on the trip to BizTown, here's your chance to show up for a great day of old-timey activities culminating in the big Square Dance.

We are going to be pretty busy in the coming two weeks. I'm trying to keep everything in balance, but for now, know that we will have a Spelling test on Friday, and my Math class will have a test on Friday as well. I understand that I missed a sliver of the United States for our States and Capitals, but we will have that quiz next week. Then we will finally be finished.

Direct Objects, poems about snow ("snowems"), and the human skeletal system highlighted today's learning topics. Likely all of them will return tomorrow, along with some new stuff thrown in. I hope by this time tomorrow, I will be able to tell you that the kids got to do a really sweet hands-on activity in Science.

Oh, and lastly, during our Daily 5 time today (which was technically Daily 2), we had a nice little tribute to John Lennon on the anniversary of the day he died 34 years ago. We listened to Hey, Jude; Let It Be, Instant Karma, and Happy X-Mas (War Is Over), which then just led into some Christmas music. I was very young when he died, so I don't remember, but his legacy in undeniable.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sweet and Lowdown

The members of 5-1 would like to thank the following parents for helping make BizTown a possibility on Friday: Mr. and Mrs. Bintrim, Mrs. Harrington, Mrs. Hovey, Mr. Ohrvall, Mrs. Pletcher, Mr. and Mrs. Smart, and Mrs. Sveen. This doesn't even mention the various parents from my Math class or the 5-1 folks who truly wanted to go but didn't make the cutoff. We are really lucky to have such dedicated parents!

Here's this week in bullet points:
  • We do have a spelling list this week. It's not an easy one, admittedly, but if the kids actually practice them with each exercise this week, it shouldn't be too hard. Make sure the kids know the meanings of the words; they're every bit as important as being able to spell them.
  • We will have a math test this Friday (sixth grade math). I will hand out the study guide tomorrow, and we will go over it on Wednesday and Thursday to see if anyone has any questions before the big test. 
  • On Wednesday, we will have a reading comprehension quiz, but that's not something for which you can really study, just letting you all know.


On this date in 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces during World War II. Located in Hawaii's capital city of Honolulu (see last week's quiz), this attack led to the United States into involvement in the war. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously called December 7, 1941, "...a date which will live in infamy". More than 2,000 people died that day, with over 1,000 more wounded.  

As the parents know, but I'm not sure about the students, there is a memorial at Pearl Harbor where the U.S.S. Arizona was sunk by Japanese planes. I found this article from last year's government shut-down. It's one of those stories that does your heart some good.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Que Sera Sera

Okay, I think our young executives and city hall managers are all ready for a big day tomorrow. They might need a little help from the parent helpers as they aren't as used to writing checks and deposit slips as we are, but I think most of them have a pretty good grasp on the concepts.

I'm sending home notes on appropriate dress and lunches for tomorrow. Remember: NO DRINKS are to be sent with the students, as that is a part of how Steak n' Shake makes its money.

UPDATE: There was a huge kerfuffle regarding the notes that were put in mailboxes. First there weren't enough, and now we have a surplus. There was much tooth-gnashing involved. Look nice, don't have a snack, bring a completely disposable sack lunch. Everybody take a deep breath and relax. This is a simulation. I repeat: SIMULATION. The real thing will come in about ten to fifteen years. We want to make this as close to a real situation as possible, but keep in mind that these are children, and this is a five hour experience at playing business, and 24 hours from now, it will all be over and time to move on to the next thing in life.

Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wolves of Wall Street

Sorry for the late post, but my class would be pretty happy to report that we didn't have very much homework today. We will have a states and capitals quiz tomorrow, but there was no Math, and the kids had to read for 20 minutes tonight.

We are getting ready for BizTown at a furious rate, which is good considering we're going in about 36 hours. We still have to do a couple of things with their checkbooks tomorrow, but then we will be all set.

If you haven't paid yet, nor turned in your permission slip, I'm going to need that TOMORROW.

Thank you. Hope you have a great Thursday.

Holiday Thursday

Our holiday meal will be served December 4th we will stay have Taco Salad, Garden Salad, PBJ, Hot Ham & Cheese and Yogurt as choices for lunch that day. The holiday meal will consist of the following.

Turkey & Noodles
Mashed Potatoes & gravy
Green beans
Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin pie

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

These Boots Were Made for Walking

We finished up our BizTown time shop prep today. We have written our ads for the kids' shops and businesses, and we should be good to go now. I know that I do have to have some of my students who are CEO's write their speeches to give to the citizens of BizTown.

The kids did an awesome job today with our lessons. A couple of them dealt with some pretty heady ideas. In our reading books (the Crab Books), we read about a documentarian from the Middle East who is shining a light on injustice, especially toward traditional women's roles in that area of the world. The class did really nicely at keeping up with the conversation and man, did they ever have some good insights into that whole area.

We then compared and contrasted this story with one from Scholastic News, which was all about the Women's Lib movement of the 60's and 70's in the United States. (This was a Scholastic News version, so no worries on the content...I read it first!) I was incredibly impressed with how well they responded.

In Math today, we dealt with transformations of shapes in Geometry. Interestingly, they put translations (slides), reflections (flips), and rotations (turns) all in the same lesson. They seemed to get the translations and reflections. The rotations caused some problems.

Here's a video that may help:

Hope everyone has a great evening!

Mind of a Scientist

Happy Birthday to Elijah!

Eli is perhaps the most scientific-minded student we have in class. What always impresses me, though, is his innate ability to speak about science so clearly and concisely. When you think of most "gearheads", you think of someone who is so smart that they have difficulty in actually communicating their ideas to other humans. Not so with Eli. His father is a teacher, and I get the feeling that some of those skills have been inherited. I think Eli will be one sought-after member of the class when it comes to the things we will be doing in science over the next couple of weeks when we are finished with BizTown.

Hope you have an awesome day, Eli! You deserve it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bright Lights Big City

Three things tonight:
  1. Make sure your kids study for their States and Capitals quiz for Thursday. Some kids already know all of them--I told them they may take it any day between now and then, but then they are stuck with the grade they get. 
  2. Read for 20 minutes (bare minimum!).
  3. Study Link 5.4 for my Math class. Your child's homework may vary. 
We're getting all excited for BizTown! We met with our shop groups today and got the first part finished. I'm thinking we may finish everything up tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reduce Reuse Relight

The following message comes via Mrs. Stemnock:

 Are your burned out holiday lights leaving you down in the dumps? Make your spirits bright and help make our planet "green" by keeping those strands out of the dump. The CCS Green Team is proud to sponsor the 3rd Annual Holi-day Lights Recycle Drive Dec.1-12.

A box will be located at the school during this time period to collect any holiday lights that no longer work. All strands will be picked up by Technology Recyclers which will leave our landfill a little lighter!

The Space Between

Hello there! Hopefully you have shopped off all of that holiday turkey and are ready to go full force this week. We are going to need every second, especially with BizTown continuing to carve a chunk out of our mornings. Here are a few bullet points for this week:
  • Contrary to what I said earlier last week, we will not have Spelling this week. Yes, we will have time to get the spelling test in on Friday, but we will spend that time doing something else instead. 
  • We will have a states and capitals quiz on Thursday. I will give the kids their maps tomorrow.
  • Don't forget to pack a completely disposable lunch for Friday's trip to BizTown!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Greyhound Friday

Along with the students of 5-1, I would like to thank Mrs. Smart, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Hadley, and Mrs. Alderman for all coming in to give us a great fall party. A great time was had by all; we made turkeys, we blew on leaves... Best of all, the kids got out of having Math for one precious day. We watched the last little snippet of the movie we've been watching about the moon landing program from NASA, we graded a GCL, we cleaned out the classroom (and the kids' desks--and none too soon), and we took an extra-credit quiz involving the Words of the Day we've had so far this year featuring some very familiar protagonists in the sentences.

I didn't even get any pictures of it, though, unfortunately. Luckily for us, I will have an opportunity very soon at BizTown. I know I will see many of you there next week.

Thanks again, guys. I hope by now you are filled to the brim with turkey and cranberries, and that you have returned from any Black Friday shopping undamaged.

Go Greyhounds tonight!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hope It Was Spent Amongst Loved Ones

“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”

—John R. Wooden (1910-2010)
Basketball Coach, Author

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving !

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Compound Interests

All the kids have for tomorrow is to read 20 minutes and my Math class has pages 145 and 148 in their Math Boxes.

We had a fun discussion today regarding using a debit card, the interest that accumulates on you when you are careless with a credit card, and finally, the ideas of interest and compound interest in a savings account. They seemed pretty put off by the idea of what happens when you only pay back the minimum amount on your credit card statement. Let's hope this lesson sticks with them for a long time to come.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Behind the Wall

It is unlikely that I will be able to after school today, because we have a staff meeting. We don't have a spelling list this week, so that should help things out a little bit on the homework side. Other than reading, I think the only other homework item my class will have will be a study link for Math (I should think the other Math classes will as well).

We read today in class about the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. The kids had a lot of questions about life in East Berlin during that time, and I told them stories I heard from the citizens of Berlin while I was visiting there a couple years ago. It's pretty interesting to imagine what it was like to have lived in a place where your whole life was bugged.

Until later!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Fall of Camelot

Normally, I like to do "This Day in History" with the kids each day. Instead, today I want to do "Yesterday in History", because yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We all know about the conspiracy theories and the Kennedy curse, but I've stopped a few times to wonder how differently history would have been written had Kennedy not been killed in Dallas during a parade in 1963.

Like so many of you, Kennedy was killed long before I was born. I do know that the day Kennedy was shot is equivalent to 9/11 for most of us.

Kennedy's plan to get the United States to the moon factors greatly into the Nova episode we're still working our way through bit by bit during Science/Social Studies. Even though it was his plan to put the moon missions into place, he never got to see Neil Armstrong's crew land on the there in July of 1969.

His legacy still lives on today.

Look For an Opening

First things first: If you are planning on going to BizTown with us on December 5, please make sure you watch the anti-bullying video online before we go. I have been urged by everyone from the office that this is very important, and that if you don't, then you won't be allowed to go with us.

On Friday, we watched a clip from the movie The Hudsucker Proxy, and I had the kids fill out a paper on the meaning of having a market economy. We have been discussing this in class recently, and I was pretty impressed with what the kids are able to explain now. See this clip below.

Congratulations, Casey! The Spell Bowl team tied for first on Thursday night. Amazing job, guys!

Speaking of spelling, there will be no spelling list/test this week, due, of course, to Thanksgiving shortening our week. I think everybody around Woodbrook is ready for a bit of a break before heading in for the final stretch of this semester.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

No Matter How You Spell It

Good luck tonight to 5-1's own Casey Alderman! Casey is representing Woodbrook tonight as a part of our Spell Bowl team. Along with Coach Mr. Vahle, the team will show that we have some of the best spellers in the county right here at the WB. Thanks to this guy, we all know that C-A-S-E-Y spells awesome!

Ordinary Epiphanies

This morning, instead of our usual journal topic, I proposed that the kids write an entry called "The time I realized..." First, I brainstormed my own ideas under the overhead. I modeled this for them and ended up basing it on something to do with karate. I told them I had the middle of my narrative all thought up, and that I could go back and add the beginning and the end later. I fumbled through my opening, crossing through an idea I had at first, before I realized there was a better way to word it. Then I had the kids open up their journals and start writing their own, brainstorming at first but then they had to start writing. I just gave them a fifteen minute "quick write" today, but we will come back to these again and again, editing and altering every few days until we get to a publishable piece.

You should ask your kids what they wrote about today.

Homework tonight is a Study Link (5.1) for my Math class, study for the spelling test tomorrow, and also read for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Money and Decimals

After the kids came in today and thawed out, we actually got quite a bit done. In particular, we talked about bank accounts as a part of our BizTown learning. We learned the differences between banks, credit unions, savings and loans, and internet banks.

We also, for the first time, learned how to fill out a deposit slip, as well as how to fill in the ledger when you're done. The kids are learning all the steps you have to take--writing down the cash received, putting the deposits in the deposit side and the payments on the credit side. I think they're having the most fun, though, writing their signatures.

Homework tonight is your typical Tuesday: 20 minutes for reading plus 3x each on your spelling words. In addition to that, we have the take-home test due tomorrow for Social Studies and we do have a Math test tomorrow.*

Thank you everyone who has turned in their permission slips and money for BizTown. These are due back on Wednesday, November 26th, but there is nothing wrong with getting them turned in early!

*I asked the kids to give me feedback on any questions they had, and we did go over those today in class. I did not, however, have the time to grade their study guides while they were asking questions, but I still wanted them to have the study guides so that they could study. (I hope that made sense.)

It seemed like most of the questions they had came from turning fractions into decimals. I showed them in class again today how to turn it into a division problem, but just in case they need a home tutorial, here is a Khan Academy video that shows just how this is done.

    Converting fractions to decimals: How to express a fraction as a decimal

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cold Comforts

My Math class has a study guide due tomorrow for Wednesday's big test. It's a pretty substantive study guide, but it will be a substantive test.

Wednesday is also the day that the kids' Social Studies chapter 5 tests are due, by the way. I'm so happy that so many people already have this finished, but it's not too late!

For Spelling, the definitions are due tomorrow for their spelling list.

The kids did receive their jobs today for BizTown, and I'm happy to say that I didn't have anyone crying because they didn't get the job they wanted, at least.

As always, more to come!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tomorrow's Leaders

Just about everyone in 5-1 was dressed for success on Friday, and it did my heart so much good to watch them walk in, heads held high with big smiles on their faces that day.

Their interviews seemed to have gone well for the most part, and all of the kiddos have jobs that I know they will love. BizTown is so much fun; can't wait to have this experience with the kids.

Recognized, In Flashes, and With Glory

Welcome to what should be a relatively normal week in the life of 5-1.

Spelling test? Check.

States and Capitals quiz? Check.

Math test? Wednesday. (Study guide goes home tomorrow.)

Social Studies take-home test? Due Wednesday. (Woot! I had three turned in on Friday!)

Here is the big news for this week's normal week:
  • We will start doing a NASA/astronomy tie-in with another unit in our Science curriculum this week. I will divide the kids into some small groups and have them design some probes and rovers based not only on the robotic mechanisms sent out into space presently, but also based around the joints of the human skeleton. Sound confusing? It's not as big a jump as it sounds. In fact, it's an actual part of our curriculum. Luckily NASA's teacher resources has the perfect fit for this conundrum. 
  • Spell Bowl is November 20, and 5-1 will be represented by our very own Casey Alderman! We are all so proud of him and all he's done so far to show his spelling capabilities. I know now to accept nothing but an A+ on his Spelling tests from now on!
  • Picture Retake Day is November 25.
  • Holiday Lights Recycle Drive December 1-12! Let's say you get your lights out and discover, even though you were so careful in putting them away this year, they have gone out over the spring/summer/fall. Send your dead lights in to Woodbrook as you start putting up your decorations--we will recycle them for you. That is, Mrs. Stemnock and the Recycling Club will do it for you. Thanks for making our world a little greener, folks.
  • YEAH! After a start of zilch in terms of 5-1's reading habits for the "Read Between the Aliens" PTO reading program, 5-1 went from zero to second in one month, and now we are in first place! I have some great readers in 5-1, and it's about time they get some recognition for being the types of kids who enjoy picking up a book. I would put almost all of them in this category, and so it's awesome to see some show for it. We'd better watch out, though. Mrs. Loeffler's class is just behind us! We need to keep ahead, guys! Keep reading!
Until tomorrow, folks, I bid you adieu. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Click and Clack

In a week with a couple of other "celebrity" deaths in the Almost Famous sense of the words (Carol Ann Susi of Big Bang Theory died just a couple days ago, for one), the one that got to me the most was that of Tom Magliozzi.

Half of Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, Tom died last week at the age of 77. Along with his little brother Ray, Click and Clack hosted the NPR call-in show Car Talk. People calling in with their automotive problems should have, by all accounts, been incredibly boring call-in talk show programming. Instead, this was relentlessly one of the most entertaining things on radio for many years. The two brothers retired just a couple years ago, presumably because of Tom's illness.

Perhaps the kids would know Tom better as one of Lightning McQueen's sponsors in the movie Cars.

Tom was a graduate of M.I.T., and taught at his own do-it-yourself repair shop called Hacker's Haven. Most folks just know these guys as Click and Clack.

Car Talk actually has a small Woodbrook connection, as one of their callers was Mrs. Shirley Calhoun, who is a former Woodbrook staff member. I heard the episode on which she called in, and they had so much fun with her. I get the feeling if they knew her in person, Tom and Ray would have loved Mrs. Calhoun.

If you never listened to Car Talk, then I apologize for wasting your time. If you have ever listened to Car Talk, then you know this is a much-deserved (however inadequate) tribute. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

These Pictures of You

Here are the pictures I have taken on my phone over the last couple of days. The kids looking patriotic; the kids looking snazzy. They have shown their All-American sides, and then yesterday they showed their artsy sides looking awesome for the symphony.

I overheard, more than once, kids from other classes saying, "Oh my gosh. Mr. Carter's class all looks so nice."

"That's because they're Mr. Carter's class. He makes them."

You know what? I didn't hear my kids complaining. As much as they may not have wanted to get dressed up when they got up in the morning, my kids felt comfortable when they walked into the Palladium not wearing track pants.

Tomorrow, they will have a chance to show their professional sides. Can't wait to see them, and I will take pictures, of course. (In fact, I will try to get a class photo taken.)