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.)

Behind Yesterday

I'm sorry I didn't post anything yesterday, and maybe later on I will get some of the pictures posted from the last few days. For now, however, I want to tell everyone that TOMORROW is the day we will have BizTown interviews. We had a little practice today, so tomorrow should go pretty well.

We also have a Spelling test tomorrow. Words are to your left.

More to come, as always.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Morning in America

I have had so many people come to me since earlier today, telling me what a great program we had this morning. I always give all credit to the kids. My job is to pretty much see who wants to do what part, revising the script again and again until everyone is happy, and then practicing with the kids a few times before the big performance. We talk about how all honor and respect goes toward the veterans.

That said, I want to thank those who were up front doing the speaking and singing today. First off, all of the beautiful music came from the Woodbrook fourth grade. The soloists and such all did such an awesome job, led by Mrs. Lindsey Ratner. Thank you, Mrs. Ratner! Also, I want to thank my longtime colleague Mr. Jay Vahle for singing everyone out at the end. He always does such a fantastic job, and has everyone in tears by the end.

The speakers today were Lydia Jones, Jennifer Karakash, Jordyn Callahan, Olivia Belcher, Annie Thompson, Elijah Lane, Charlie Williams, Regan Hadley, P.J. Smart, Colton Brown, Ella Ohrvall, Erik Sveen, Michael Hawkins, Emily Pletcher, Izzy Herider, Ty Harrington, Irene Liang, Jake Reasoner, Meg Shaffer, Chase Arbuckle, Brannick Arbuckle, Emily Garnes, Nicolas Zimmowitch, Will Woodhouse, Maddi Acton, Drew Shea, Luke Harvey, and Andrew Dalton. Thank you all for either volunteering or succumbing to my arm-twisting!

My flag-holders today were Yoshi Yanagida, James Sproull, Turner Stephenson, Kayley Allen, Joe Strines, Aidan Neher, Matthew Pletcher, Sophia Brink, Charlie Gans, Casey Alderman, and Grant Vossler.

These kids and adults all make up my homeroom class, my math class, and a few special friends of ours. I am so thankful to have people like this in my professional life.

Thanks again, everyone. You helped make today very special for so many people who deserve it.

American Pride

How proud I was of our group today! I will post pictures later on this evening, along with the full list of thank yous. I love these kids, and they did a fantastic job of honoring the veterans who have served our country.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Star-Spangled Students

Just a quick note before I head to the staff meeting:

TOMORROW at 9am is the Veterans' Day program! I was excited to see so many kids who said their grandparents, parents, uncles, and aunts who have served our country in the past will be with us tomorrow. I hope to see you all there, but I also understand that work schedules won't allow everyone to be with us. Kids are expected to look nice!

Other than that, tomorrow evening is also our parents' night for the Book Fair. Come to the Woodbrook library from 5-7:30 and experience the Scholastic Book Fair in all its glory.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Mean Season

Well, as I indicated on Friday, this week will be pretty hectic. Here's the rundown:
  • Monday: We will be largely practicing in the gym for Tuesday morning's Veterans' Day program. Not the whole day, but we will have a practice during the fourth graders' specials time (which is right after ours), and then again later in the morning. 
  • Tuesday: The actual Veterans' Day Program. Kids should look nice. 
  • Wednesday: We go to the Palladium early on in the day, but then we will come back and have the rest of our day as normal. The kids should look nice this day also. Permission slips are due Monday morning. 
  • Thursday: This day is pretty much normal, actually. 
  • Friday: This is the day of the BizTown interviews. The kids will be trained (on Thursday) how to do a job interview. 
Throughout the week, you can expect to see homework coming home regarding at least one of the following: reading/writing, Social Studies (we will have a take-home test), economics (okay, this is also Social Studies, but it is the main part of our trip to BizTown). This is in addition to their normal spelling, math, and reading 20 minutes a night.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I want to apologize for the lack of post last night. I was pretty exhausted when I got home from teaching karate last night, and I didn't last long at that point.

When I woke up this morning, the following thoughts of panic went through went through my head:
  • Don't forget to have Mr. Evanson meet with the people who didn't do well on yesterday's exit slip in Math. 
  • 11:15-11:45, the gym is open then, and you have a very small window to get down there to practice the Veterans' Day Program.
  • Shoot, you never did ask the kids' teachers from your Math class if you could have them from 11:15-11:45. Remember to ask them before the kids come in this morning.
  • Spelling test. You never made the Spelling test. Guess what you're doing during specials?
  • Oh, shoot. We were supposed to make pictures of Mr. Hunter's beard. (Long story.) If we have time, we really need to get that done today. (Spoilers: We didn't.)
  • First Grade Buddies! Oh, no. Wait. Dog crumbs. We're practicing for the Veterans' Day Program during that time. I need to tell Mrs. Haberfield that her first graders are going to be really sad that they don't get to see their Fifth Grade Buddies because Mr. Carter is a forgetful idiot. 
  • Oh, jeez. Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Stemnock are both gone this afternoon. You will be doing recess duty with two subs. Translation: You have recess duty all by yourself. You have to somehow he the front, middle, and end of the taking-the-kids-in line all by yourself. Somehow, taking the kids out, you have to be both the front of the line as well as the end of the line. (This is where I felt the headache coming on...) 
  • No! Hold on. You're practicing for the Veterans' Day Program from 11:15-11:45. First Grade Buddies are from 11:45-12:15. Whew. One minor problem solved all by itself.
  • Wait...have you checked with Mr. Vahle to see if he's okay with singing America at the end of the Veterans' Day program? (More spoilers: I still haven't.) 
I am really happy to say that we did get almost all of those things done today. (With the minor exception of Mr. Hunter's pudding ring, which we were assigned.)

In the meantime, in the in-between time, ask your kids for me if they know when the possessive form is shown by -'s, and when it's shown by -s'. I didn't have time to give them an exit slip today.

At least next week will be normal.

No, wait.

Next week we have:
  1. The Veterans' Day Program on Tuesday.
  2. Trip to the Palladium on Wednesday.
  3. Interviews for BizTown on Friday. 
That's three days where the kids have to look nice. They were hating on me today for that. Here are my three arguments for countering:
  1. It's the veterans. Come on. Show some respect, children. They fought in gruesome battles and ate and slept in horrible conditions. You can suck it up for one morning (face it, you're going to ask me if you can change back into your basketball shorts and hideously expensive basketball shoes as soon as we go back to the classroom. I think you can make it, "big guy".). 
  2.  It's the Palladium. Not a tractor pull. 
  3. If you dress in shorts (even though it's November) and a t-shirt (even though it's November), and the next person is dressed professionally, guess who's getting the job?
Okay, I'm done. It was a big day. Your kids did well and so did I.

Next week will be a big week. We will be practicing in the gym for a bit on Monday also. Actually, it's more than a bit. It's quite a lot of practice time. We need it.

It's all going to work out great. It has never not worked out great. I just hate the fact that the kids have so much going on next week once again. And I have to admit, I don't like the fact that they have to look nice three out of five days next week. (Heck, I only have to look nice four out of five days.)

I'll chime back in before the weekend is over. I hope it's a good one for you all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Childcare Providers and Household Sanitation Engineers

We got so much done this morning. I was really happy with how hard the kids worked, and watching them really read a passage and pull the information out on their own without any help was just plain awesome.

Tomorrow we are going to be writing rough drafts of our resumes as a part of BizTown. I had fun today showing the kids how to turn their regular old chores sound better by talking "mowing the lawn", for instance, and calling themselves a "landscape specialist".

I have to run right now. More later!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Welcome To the Work Week

In class today, we...
  • Learned more about ocean life--plankton, in particular. 
  • The kids listened for (and wrote down) the nine things that went wrong because of Simon Fernandez's seemingly underhanded ways in the book The Mystery of the Lost Colony, which is all about the lost colony of Roanoke.
  • We went over the BizTown jobs really quickly, but we will continue to go through them tomorrow. Soon, we will be writing resumes and interviewing for our jobs!
I told the class yesterday that next Wednesday, November 12, we will be going to the Palladium to hear the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. I told them that I expect them to dress nicely--I know they all have nice clothes. This is the symphony, not a monster truck show. Look for permission slips to go out very fact, I'm not sure why they haven't been sent home yet. I will look into that.

Until then...

Monday, November 3, 2014


  • Today we made invitations to the Veterans' Day Program during Math (don't worry, we also did the math lesson!). We will make more tomorrow in homeroom.
  • I introduced the big field trip coming in December to BizTown. I handed out the Intent to Run forms for anyone who wants to run for Mayor of BizTown or to be a DJ. (eye roll...) Tomorrow we will take a look at all of the other jobs the kids can do at BizTown. In coming weeks, your kids will learn to write checks, how an economy works, and all about their personal finances.
  • We finally finished reading about the sunfish and its changing part in our oceans' ecosystem.
  • We reviewed apostrophes today. We have had some problems getting this lesson down, and admittedly it can be a little difficult. If you think about it, ask your kids how to 1.) show that any singular noun is possessive, 2.) show that any plural noun ending with an s is possessive, and 3.) how to show that a plural noun that doesn't end with an s is shown to be possessive.
  • Lastly, we learned more about Cristoforo Colombo, Giovanni Cabotto, Juan Ponce de Leon, and other people whose names have been butchered throughout history. Why did they come to America? What did they do? Who sent them? We will ask these same questions as we continue to explore right along with them throughout chapter 5.
Homework for tomorrow:
  • 20 Minutes of reading.
  • Spelling definitions
  • Math Study Link 4.2
  • Possessives worksheet

Write Like a Bulldog

This Saturday is the Second Saturday of November! 

Join Us This Weekend, Saturday, November 8th for Writing Club!

We meet from 1:00-3:00 with an Open Mic at 2:35 for students to share their day's work. All parents, guardians, and friends are invited to attend!
Last month we had over 40 students attend the October Second Saturday Writing Club at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing. We'd love to have you join us this month!
Mr. Carter here: I can attest that this really his a great program, otherwise I would have just deleted it when I received this email like I do other junk mail. I've had students go through this program and it's really great--makes them even better writers. I think I need to attend sometime just to see what it is they do.

Click here to register.