Monday, August 31, 2015

The Tiny Car Can Only Hold So Many Clowns

Man, trying to cram everything into one day can be a bit of a magic trick. I'm not much of a magician, unfortunately, so we just have to do what we can.

Today was no different. The students have spelling definitions to do tonight (and yes, students do have to know how to spell the words on a spelling test!), 20 minutes of reading, and a Study Link for my math class.

Hope you're all having a great day and are doing your best not to melt.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Apply Some Pressure

I can barely see my computer right now, because my eyes are glazed over from grading papers. While I was grading, though, I thought of a few things that I wanted to make sure I shared before this week gets underway.
  • For my MATH CLASS, your child should bring home their first Whoops Sheets tomorrow, one for their Math Boxes, one for last Friday's quiz. I will explain these to the students, and they should know how to use them. Just in case your child comes home claiming ignorance, they are pretty cut-and-dry. For each correction your child makes, he or she will receive half credit back for that problem. I will hand out a practice study guide tomorrow for Friday's big chapter 1 test.
  • It's not too late to order Spirit Wear for 2015-2016. Click on this link, then Woodbrook's store password is WB15. But hurry, the store closes after this Tuesday, September 1!
  • Look on the sidebar to the left (web version, in case you're on an iPhone or iPad), and then scroll down down down until you get to "Good Links". Click on "States and Capitals Practice" for a good link for your child to practice for this Friday's big Midwest states and capitals quiz.  
That seems to be all I can think of for now. I had pictured this post being a lot longer when I was thinking of everything I needed to tell you, but I guess the list I made only had three things on it in the first place.

Hopefully everyone out there has had a fantastic weekend and is ready to come back tomorrow. We will be waiting, ready or not. Let me know if you have any questions. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Crowded Skies Above

Aaagggh! I totally forgot to hand out the bookmarks today for this next week. I will hand them out on Monday and they can have them signed retro-actively if they do any reading over the weekend (which they should!).

We began our day with a visit from Mrs. Davis, who read a book to our class that tied in with the 7 Habits. It was all about "sharpening your saw" by spending some time in your favorite place or getting away from your homework and school life. I actually remember Mrs. Davis giving me some similar advice a few years ago, and it's amazing what a difference it made.

This is my class today trying their hardest to look tough. There is also a picture of them smiling, but several of them were blocked out in the process. Anyway, I love that so many of them seem to have a hard time trying to look mean. 

I want to extend a super-huge thank you to Mr. Craig Anderson, who made our video on YouTube so we could sing at the end of today without having to read the words off of a piece of paper. Thanks also to Mrs. Moriarity who has offered to make one in case we ever need a back-up. You guys are lifesavers, and the kids appreciate it as much as I do.

I'll be in touch before Monday to let you know what's up for next week. As for this week, I hope everyone had a good one and will have a great weekend! And be brave, Brooks!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

We Can Be Heroes

Tomorrow is SUPER-HERO DAY! Come in tomorrow dressed as a super-hero! This is a special day to honor a student from Cherry Tree who has been unable to start school because he has a brain tumor. To help show some solidarity with this little man, we are going wear our super-hero garb tomorrow.

This little guy is actually the cousin of former 5-1 student Cameron Lindley ('08-'09), so we all have a special connection with him.

And a special thanks to Eli and Zach who bravely squashed a runaway spider today while we were colonizing in Social Studies.

Homework for tonight is read for 20 minutes, they have a GCL to do, and I want them to study for their spelling test.

I will see everyone tomorrow looking super.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Shifts and Makeshift Playgrounds

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all studying for your states and capitals for next Friday's test (September 4, not two days from now...). In a review today, I found that almost everyone either is well-studied already or has quite a bit of studying to do. It's never a good idea to cram, remember.

Other than the meaning exercise, 20 minutes of reading, and whatever your children had for Math this evening, we didn't have any out-of-the-ordinary homework.

Here are a couple of pictures from our visit to the Makerspace today. I even had the chance to do a little sketching myself while I was there.

Total Win For the Modern Era

This is a video we watched yesterday in class as a part of our 7 Habits discussion. It was supposed to be a part of the chapter called "Put First Things First", but the kids thought it went a little better with the chapter titled "Be Proactive: You're In Charge." I can definitely see that.

After watching this, my class was ready to open up a bike repair shop of their own. 

My favorite part about this video is the way this girl has taken charge of her own life at such a young age. She speaks with authority and conviction, because she has earned it.

As Steve Hartman says here, this is a lesson that many kids haven't learned yet. I would add that I know adults who haven't learned this either, and I'm sure you do too. But not the kids in this video--I think it would be fun to see what kind of adults they will become.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pay It Forward

The kids have a little bit of homework tonight:
  1. 3x each for spelling
  2. Write their reader's response in their writing journals. They have glued their questions in the front and back of their journals. I told them there is no need to answer all of the questions, but I did tell them to answer at least one or two questions, and of course I want a five-to-eight-sentence paragraph journal entry in total. 
  3. Read for 20 minutes.
  4. My math class needs to do Math Boxes 1.7.
In math class, we did a lot of work today--we did Study Link 1.6 in class, we did a Math Box fill-in page to be graded, we reviewed one confusing Math Box from last night's homework, and then last but not least, we did a review on that doggone long division with decimals.

In my homeroom, we were equally busy today. We did some vocabulary work, I explained how I wanted them to do their readers' response in their journals, we did a GCL, worked in their Crab Books, and lastly we did some discussion over a few things that deal with our 7 Habits, mainly Think Win-Win and Synergize. I was incredibly pleased with how well the kids actually did "synergize" (remember when that was called using teamwork?) on some new ideas for new traditions laid down by this class for the present and future of 5-1. Hey, it wasn't my idea, but I thought they were great ideas once they thought of it. We may have to look into some of those ideas in the near future.

Today was a day where I bit off more than I could chew, but at least I can say that we had plenty to do all day.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Down To Business

I am very happy to report that everyone passed their compass rose exit slips with flying colors. No need for those to show up on any tests in the near future.

For spelling, we did our definitions in class today, so there is no need for the kids to do those at home tonight. I did stress to them that their reading log bookmarks are due on Friday, and those should be signed every night that the child reads.

For my Math class, all the kids have for tonight is to make sure their Math Boxes are finished through 1.6. Evidently, I didn't have them do 1.4 in class, which is why I didn't hand out the study link for tonight.

This was a very dry post. My apologies.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

An Entirely New Procedure

On Friday, we started another 5-1 tradition of teaming up with Mrs. Haberfield's first graders for Math Buddies. This is my homeroom, but her Math class. Here they are playing addition top-it. This is one of my favorite things to watch, and one of Mrs. Haberfield's too.

Here are the major things you need to know for this week:
  1. I handed out the kids' bookmarks on Friday. These are to be signed by parents (initials are good) each time your child reads for 20 minutes. I ask that this happen at least five times a week. These are due back to me next Friday. This is a weekly thing--next week, they'll get another one. They are always due on Friday!
  2. We will have spelling as normal this week. This is no change from last week other than that the process is probably still new for your kids. Luckily it won't change throughout this school year. 
  3. Even though we will not have our first states and capitals test until next Friday, I gave the kids two weeks to study for this for a reason. There are twelve states and capitals to learn! I want them to study this, even for just a few minutes every night. While you're driving them to practice, make sure and ask them states in the Midwest. We will study some in class as well, but that won't pull the kids through by itself. 
I hope everybody has had a great weekend--I look forward to seeing all those bright smiling faces tomorrow morning. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cry For Help

Does anyone out there know how to make a YouTube video with the lyrics to a song as it's being played? There are tons of them out there, but unfortunately, our Friday song doesn't have one. I know it can't be that hard, but I'm pretty much Amish when it comes to technology.

I'm sure one of your kids can probably do it too. Let me know! It's so much easier to sing the song when you're looking up and not down.

Things Are Taking Shape

Today in 5-1, we took our quiz on the continents and the oceans, we did our first Daily 5 "Read to Someone" session, and we also finished up this session of our NWEA testing. Don't worry, next week we will take session 2.

I handed out the kids' first region for the states and capitals. We are starting off with the Midwest. They should have that at home with them now. The first test date for this is September 4.

Lastly, to my Math class, don't panic! We will go over division with decimals again and again...but for tomorrow, we will have a quiz over our graphs. Don't worry, it should be pretty darn easy.

Here's a how-to over box and whisker plots, like we learned today:

    Interpreting box plots:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Menlo Park Just Across the Hall

Here are some pictures of the kiddos doing their creation time this morning. It was actually pretty neat.

A Pretty Good Use Of Time

Today we had the first day of our NWEA testing, and the most of the kids found it to be pretty difficult. I told them not to worry about it, and I am happy to say that after last year's testing, most of them really weren't worried about it. As one girl said, "It's not about how much you know already; it's about how much you need to learn." I couldn't think of a better way to put it.

Homework for tomorrow is:
  • study for the continents and oceans quiz
  • meaning exercise for spelling (either a sentence that gives me a sense of the word's meaning or an illustration that shows what the word means) 
  • MY math class has Study Link 1.5
Later on, I will post some pictures from our first time in the Makerspace today. It was pretty cool, and I would say that almost all of my students used their time wisely. We had people drawing and drafting and tinkering and engineering all over the room. For the small fraction that weren't quite as productive, we will have a class conversation before next week's trip across the hall.

It was great to see so many of you out last night for Meet the Teacher Night. Thanks for coming. I can think of a couple things I forgot to say, but I will deal with those things in the next couple days' worth of posts. Nothing that is urgent right now.

Have a good evening, and keep your eyes peeled for some pictures.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Carmel Globetrotters

While we had mixed results on the location of our cities and our coordinates on the globes today, but we all had a good time exploring the globes and the GPS coordinates. It can be a little hard for the kids when they're trying to find the longitude east and they're looking for it in the west, but I would say that all of the kids have a better understanding of how said coordinates work.

You will see more of what the kids did today this evening if you come in the Meet the Teacher Night.

Tonight's homework is 3x each for spelling and my math class has Study Link 1.4.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Changes In Latitude

I'm not exactly what you would call a Parrothead, but I couldn't help using that title. We reviewed latitude and longitude today in Social Studies, and I was pretty impressed by what the kids already knew. Tomorrow, we will do another activity where the students will be trying to locate specific places on the map using coordinates.

In Reading, we read a story about a girl who moved from Mexico to California, and then I read the kids a story about a child who lives next to a retirement home and we discussed character development.

Last but not least, in Math, we studied stem and leaf plots pretty comprehensively. Study Link 1.3 is due tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I really hope to see everyone here tomorrow night for Meet the Teacher Night. See you then!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In Between Now And Then

On Friday, we had the very first session of a grand tradition in the 5-1 classroom--we sang out on the last afternoon of the week. Each year, I play a certain rock song, and everybody sings along. Unfortunately, we don't have a YouTube version of the song with the lyrics in a sing-along fashion, so the kids had to read the lyrics off of a piece of paper while I played the song on the CD player. I did put out an email to former 5-1 student Luke Belcher, who did one up for the year he was in my class. I'm hoping to get a sing-along version up on YouTube before long, so the kids will be able to look up while they sing it. In the meantime, if anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. I don't know enough about computers to know how to do that. I'm sure there's an app or something.

What song, you ask? It's a little ditty called Road Outside Columbus by the band O.A.R:

This week, we will get into a groove, hopefully, for spelling, math, etc. It's a little tricky right now, because honestly, it feels like I've been with these kids forever (a common thing among the other fifth grade teachers, even), and I often forget that they don't exactly know what to do when I tell them simply to line up at the door after lunch or to take a restroom break.

I hope to see everyone at Meet the Teacher Night on Tuesday from 6:30-7:15. Until then, have a great start to your week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Almost Friday

Day three has come and gone. Today's biggest event was probably the start of our Math classes.

By the way, Meet the Teacher Night is next Tuesday, August 18, from 6:30-7:15. I hope to see you all right here!

The only homework for MY math class only is Math Boxes 1.1 on page 5 in their math journal. Take a look in your child's assignment notebook for their assignments if they aren't in my math class--the grand majority of them are in other classes for math.

Have a good evening.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ballplayers and Dancers and Artists and Poets

Here at the end of day two in 5-1, I was just talking with the other fifth grade teachers. We can't believe this is only the second day, in a good way. It feels like we've been with these kids for much longer than just since yesterday. I hope they are coming home excited about learning and what we've been doing in class.

It was great today to see the kids' Bio Bags and learn more about each of them. Yesterday all they did was listen to me talk, and today it was fun for me to listen to them talk for a change.

We continued reading in the Genius Files, we did a GCL (ask your child what that is), we wrote in our journals, and we did our safety rotations with Mrs. Davis, Mr. Hunter, and Mrs. Calvert.

Tomorrow the kids should bring in photographs or magazines or anything that they want to decorate the outside of their journals with in class.

That's just about it for now. I hope everybody has a great evening, and I'll see you all soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Always We Begin Again

We had a great first day in 5-1 today, and it was fun to see so many new faces.

I told the class earlier today that last year I had almost all returning families in 5-1. This year I have very few, but that just means I get to know more and more of you.

Make sure and ask your child about the following:
  • being proactive and making good choices
  • the Genius Files book we read from
  • and one fact that they learned about me today.
Tomorrow I hope to find out a lot more about them. Their one assignment for tomorrow is to bring in their Bio Bag. A Bio Bag is bag that contains three items that will tell the rest of the class something about them. My hope is that they can share these tomorrow with the rest of the class and that we will have good listeners as well.

I look forward to seeing everybody back tomorrow, and to my sixth graders, I hope you had an awesome first day over at Clay. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Pleasure Was All Mine

It was great to meet so many of you tonight at the Ice Cream Social. It was good to finally put some names to some familiar faces from around Woodbrook.

I'm looking forward to a great school year!

To any former students who may be reading this right now, please have fun tomorrow and good luck to you as you head over to Clay. Trust me that any thoughts that are not focused on my own students tomorrow will be with you over at Clay. You are in good hands, my friends.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Deal From an Old Desk

So I've been in the classroom over the last few days, and I will be back in today. Hopefully I will have everything finished up before the kids start coming in on Tuesday morning.

While this summer has seemed fairly long to me--not in terms of time, but in terms of the amount of things I did--it hardly seems like it's already time to get back to the swing of things. I have to admit I'm ready, though. As I've said many times over the past week or so, I think I'm better off when I have a schedule to follow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sparkling and New

I didn't even want to step onto the gym floor today; it was so shiny and new. Look at that reflection! That's just one way Woodbrook is being prepared for another great school year coming right up.

More to come!