Monday, June 29, 2015


Happy Birthday, Miss Lydia!

What can I say about Lydia other than she is never ever in a bad mood. She is always incredibly helpful and energetic, and she is just a very cool girl. Whenever I had a substitute teacher, Lydia's name was always on the short list of people who could help them out. She had the biggest smile in 5-1, and she is also one of the few (the number was bigger by the end of the year than it was at the beginning, I'll admit) people whom I could always count on to say "Hello" back to me at the beginning of the day while I was standing at the door. In fact, she'd say, "Good morning, Mr. Carter!" Man, I can still hear it.

Lydia, it was great to see you at your brother's open house earlier this month. I hope you are having a great birthday and that the remainder of your summer will be awesome as well.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane

Well, I just wrote the other day about a fear of getting political on this board when it came to the racially-fueled killings in South Carolina, and that was before things in the world got even more political. What a couple of weeks we've had! All I can say is that the tumultuous and nation-changing days of the late 1960's have nothing on 2015. Racism, marriage, Confederate flags, and affordable health care--all pretty incendiary topics, aren't they?

So...umm....yeah... Hey, guys! Let's talk about the weather!

With the amount of rain that we've had this past week, and the amount of rain we're supposed to have again starting Monday, I thought it would be fun to revisit a link I shared last summer. It's right here. It's called Blitzortung, which translates from the German to "lightning location". It's a live representation of all of the lightning strikes in the continental United States. It can be addictive to watch, especially during this time of year.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Happy Birthday to Chase!

Chase is a great kid who loves to read--actually, loves isn't nearly strong enough a word. He really gets into his books about dragons and magic and trolls and stuff. You would think that this would make him a bookworm with no outside connection to the world, but to the contrary. He is also a fisherman, a lacrosse player, football player, and a great big brother to his younger brothers (usually, I'm told). His friendships are strong and important to him, making him a very well-rounded guy.

Bonus birthday: Also, Happy Birthday to Brannick, Chase's twin brother, who was not in my homeroom this year, but I did tutor him, and he's swell also.

Bonus bonus birthday: Happy Birthday to my mom! Love you, Mom!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Strong Beat To Step To

Just a few minutes ago, I finished an online course for coaching as a part of the AAU. It's called Positive Coaching Alliance, and I was so impressed with it. It calls for everything I love--character development along with improving athletes. I think I got more out of this to carry into my classroom than I've had in all of the inservices I've ever had as a teacher. It was also fun to see videos by Phil Jackson, Dusty Baker (former GM for the Reds), and a Purdue professor named Joan Duda.

I heard from one faithful reader who mentioned that I had taken down last night's post. I had written about the South Carolina murders from last week, and I was afraid I had gotten a little too political, which is something I make an effort not to do here. I'll write another one at some point soon, but for now, just know that I'm really glad that none of your kids have been raised up like that guy was. Don't think I'm blaming his parents; he was 21 years old, and responsible for his own actions no matter what his upbringing was. But I'm confident that your kids will be a force in the world that will be for the positive rather than the negative.

Like the Positive Coaching Alliance asserts, we have to reinforce the positive behaviors, and it helps when you're starting off with people who are pretty positive in the first place, thanks to parents like you.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers' Day

Happy Father's Day to not only my dad, but all you 5-1 dads, past and present. Hope it was fantastic and relaxing and awesome.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Birthday, You Fat Cat

Happy belated birthday to my old friend, Garfield. This Hoosier Legend sent my 8-year-old self to the arms of Morpheus until I was probably about 12. I would read and re-read his books until the spines were spent and falling apart. His first comic strip was published on June 19, 1978. Ever since, he has amused readers daily. I read that Garfield is literally the most read comic strip in the world. Who would have thought that a lazy, lasagna-loving cat would hold the world in his grip? Well, he did. Well done, old boy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Strike Where It Hurts

Well, today it was Ella's turn to get her karate lesson. Turns out she can punch and kick pretty hard. It was fun working with Ella, her sisters, and her friend Kylie (no idea if that's spelled correctly). I would think twice before trying to cross any of these ladies--I taught them everything I could in an hour's time, but what I did teach them would be painful!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cold Hard Science

Look here, Mr. Tony Smart!

Honestly, I have no idea whether or not you're still reading my blog, Mr. Smart (or whether you ever did, actually), but I hope you're taking notes here as the grand poo-bah of the Crossroads of America District of the Boy Scouts. Actually, I hope PJ is paying even closer attention here, and also James Sproull, Will W., and Erik, and whoever else is a part of Troop 202.

I found this fascinating. When I was in fourth (?) grade, I came in third place in my county's Pinewood Derby. That was as high as I ever soared in terms of Pinewood Derby racing. But I'm still proud of myself, and I'm sure I still have that trophy around somewhere. I know I have the car. It's in my guest room on a shelf.

And with Father's Day just around the corner, let me note here and now that Mr. Rusty Carter probably had a little something to do with that. I seem to remember something about him being there in the garage with me while we drilled holes in the bottom and inserted fishing sinkers into the undercarriage of car 114 (accurate; I just went back to my guest room and checked it).

Had I known about the bent axle thing at the time, I think I would have taken out those two jerks who took places one and two.

You people are lucky.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Better Life

Every day, I receive an email from the Foundation for a Better Life with an inspirational quote. I signed on for it years ago, and to be honest, I normally just delete them. But every so often--and actually quite recently; I put one up on track and field day--I will put them here on the blog to share.

I know too many people who do not heed these words. It's true that we are definitely not in control of everything, but we are in charge of enough of it that it certainly makes a difference. I hope you are all making the most of your summer.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I don't know about you guys, but I had a pretty busy weekend. To start if off, on Friday afternoon, I finally gave Jakob the karate lesson he bought with his hard-earned tickets during the school year. Yes, I know that I owe these to multiple people, and I will pay you all back what you have coming! I also owe one of these to Erik, who won his karate lesson in the auction last fall. In fact, all of these karate lessons have been owed since last fall, since I realized then that I would never be able to squeeze them in before the end of the year. Anyway, I am holding to my word, and it feels good to finally be relieving my debts. Here's a picture of Jakob and his buddy Josh. We had a fun afternoon of learning so kung fu hustle while a violent thunderstorm took place right outside our windows.

Saturday afternoon, I ran around visiting more open houses for recent graduates. At one of them, I had the pleasure of running into Miss Annie. Annie's brother, Harrison, graduated this year and is headed for Ball State this fall. It was great to see both of them that day.

I realized this afternoon that today is Flag Day. This is the anniversary of the date that the United States flag was adopted in 1777. I hope everybody had a good one!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Breaking From the Stupor

Hey, everybody. I'm here tonight to give everyone bit or two to work on this summer to gear up your Science minds. I started looking at my future blogging points, and realized that most of them were reading or language arts-related. Because the fifth grade Science standards are pretty basic compared to our Social Studies standards, I want to make sure everyone keeps their minds on the scientific principles that make up our entire universe.

So here you go. Click right here, and you will be led to PBS online, where you can find some awesome science experiments to keep you busy if you ever get bored.

And I'm not just talking to Eli here! I'm talking to all of you. Try some of these things. Heck, I'm growing some stuff for the first time this year. Imagine my surprise to find out that they're actually growing.

Report back with your results!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Bat

Last winter, I started reading a thick slab of a book that I had planned to finish over Winter Break. It's called The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I only got seven chapters in before life got in my way and I put it down, school started back up, and while I did indeed read other things in the meantime, somehow The Art of Fielding still had my receipt bookmarking chapter seven.

I picked it up again last night and started again from the beginning, and remembered a passage that really paints a picture. But first, I want to say that the book is about a kid who goes to a small liberal arts college to play baseball. This passage comes from chapter one. The way Harbach describes the game with words is nothing short of excellent.

The kid glided in front of the first grounder, accepted the ball into his glove with a lazy grace, pivoted, and threw to first. Though his motion was languid, the ball seemed to explode off his fingertips, to gather speed as it crossed the diamond. It smacked the pocket of the first baseman's glove with the sound of a gun going off. The coach hit another, a bit harder: same easy grace, same gunshot report. 

I'd like to say that all of my students could write that way by the end of fifth grade (although Olivia and Maddi weren't too far off...), but I like to hope that I put my piece of the building block into place.

I hope you all take some time this lazy summer to read something awesome. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Familiar Phrases; Familiar Faces

Feel free to skip ahead to 5:31 or so if you have a shorter attention span. But please, watch this, everyone. I realize telling readers of this blog to look at this is preaching to the choir, but I really like Veritasium, and this just makes me love this series more.

Last night I had the pleasure of running into Miss Lydia at a graduation party (her brother's actually), which was shared with Mr. Dylan Grimm, who I taught all those years ago and then tutored for five or six years after that. It was great to see them both. Dylan is getting ready to go to Indiana State to study Exercise Science.

Well, more to come as always. Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Continuing Education

Today at school, we had a meeting for a new program we're starting next year. As a part of this meeting, we were split into three teams and had to create our own putt putt golf courses. My team was comprised of Mr. Hunter, Mrs. Larson, Mrs. Hewitt, Mrs. Shearman, Mr. Z, and myself. This is what we came up with for ours. The ball had to travel right through the front door of the dollhouse and out the back and into the hole.

I gleaned a lot of good ideas from this meeting, and I have to say I'm pretty excited about the new program. (We are still working on a name for this mysterious "program" I keep talking about.)

Basically, we are bringing "leadership education" back to Woodbrook. I welcome this with open arms, and I'm proud to have been in on this from the ground floor a couple months ago. I know for a fact that Clay is big on this as well, so it's good to know that we will now be preparing students from the first day of kindergarten for something that will hopefully continue through not only middle school, but through the rest of their educational experience.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Snapping Into Place

Here is a brain break that I shared with the class one day during the past year. I thought it was pretty keen. I hope everyone has a fantastic June! I'll try to post something that is actually meaningful sometime this week. I guess maybe my brain is still tired from the school year!