Monday, February 29, 2016

You Are Now Entering a Flat Spin

Yikes! That practice test was way longer than anyone thought it was going to be. Originally, it was only supposed to take a half hour, but it turns out someone misinformed our powers that be, and it was actually five long sections! We managed to get it all finished in two hours, but that was with almost all of the practice tests being shortened somewhat. Don't worry, though, this was only the practice test.

I had planned on starting a lesson on research for the research papers, but that went by the wayside. We did get to have Math today, and that wasn't bad at all. We reviewed PEMDAS and learned about multiple step chances.

Ugh! Because testing ended up taking so long, we didn't even get a chance to celebrate Leap Day. Well, I guess everyone will have to celebrate it in their own way...

Wheels Within Wheels

Well, the walls are covered up with large brown pieces of paper. The kids' electronic devices are boxed up and in the cabinet and out of sight for the day.* The teachers have been warned about the ISTEP police; the kids have been told that these men in black are actually real. I am locking my room any time I use the restroom or run to make copies, even though the kids aren't here.

Yes, it's ISTEP time.

As much as I would love to have a photo of the class while they are taking the test to share with you here, my phone is also contraband. Actually, I don't even want to know what would happen if I were to take a picture of anyone taking the ISTEP test in the first place. I think I would probably have to seek asylum in the Soviet Union.

I'm trying hard to let the kids just take this as stress-free as possible, while stressing that they also need to do their best. It's like walking a tightrope.

Anyway, please just make sure the kids get plenty of sleep. I'm personally recommending they sleep about fifteen hours or so per night. That should be enough.

Happy ISTEP! (He said through gritted teeth.)

*A special thank you goes out to everyone who just kept them at home--that actually helps greatly. Please don't take this as an indictment of anyone who sent them in, it's just less of a hassle.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

From the Woodbrook Mathletic Department

I fear that I am long overdue in posting a congratulations to the Math Bowl team members of 5-1. I had meant to take a picture of them to post before Thursday evening before the competition, and when I forgot to do that, I had also intended to take one on Friday. Neither of those actually happened, as you well know, but still, I want to give a hearty slap on the back to 5-1's Miles Andrews, Parisa Shirani, and Gavin Fleming! Also, I firm handshake goes out to Jacob Bailey, who is in my Math class. The team for 2nd place, with only our dreaded foes at Prairie Trace beating out Team WB. (Just kidding; I know folks at PT, and they're pretty swell. And they're also really good at math.)

I'm posting this from my iPad, and I copied the picture of the team from Twitter, but I can't figure out how to get it from there to here right now. I could probably get one of our first grade buddies to show me how it's done...

Thursday, February 25, 2016


We got some response from the class service project already today, but we're looking for a few more! See if you can do it as soon as possible so I can get it to Dr. Fleming.

We did an experiment to test the density of water, canola oil, and vinegar. It was a little smelly, but at least it worked.

We took the commas quiz and we did a practice test for ISTEP. All in a day's work!

Don't forget about tomorrow's spelling test, and I also want more bookmarks this week than I got last week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

But Tough People Do

In Math today, we started a unit on probability. Here they are doing an activity involving rolling a dice and marking the results. The intention was to show that the more you roll a dice, the more even the outcome, but I'm not sure how well it really sunk in given their results.

This morning the kids did their push-up and sit-up tests in gym. I didn't hear much about the results, but I'm pretty sure their guns looked a little bit bigger when they came back than when they left.

We also divvied up the kids' research report topics. Every year I do this, and everyone seems totally satisfied with their topic (even if it wasn't their first, second, or third), but then every year I will receive emails from parents saying their child came home crying because they didn't get their first choice. So if this is the case with your child, or even if they were just sticking their bottom lips out, let me know and I will work with them. It's not worth tantrums and tears!

Have a great day.

Many Hands

To all parents and students from 5-1:

Be on the lookout TODAY for your child to bring home a paper regarding our class's service project for Gleaner's Food Bank in Indianapolis. Dr. Fleming has put together a service day for us on March 12, and we would like to have as many people from the 5-1 family as we can.

I spoke with the kids about this today, and I'm excited about it. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Have You Seen the Little Pieces?

What a day today was. I'm not talking behavior-wise; I'm just talking about about a million little minor emergencies and interruptions and mild panics that dotted the day. All's well that ends well, and I have to admit that all of those little discrepancies--none of which were actually education-related--have been resolved to satisfaction, and they were all very minor.

Life in 5-1 continues apace. We are starting research projects right now by just generating ideas and getting everything ready for that.

In Math today we had a test. In fact, I think every Math class had a test today.

I hope everything in your lives at home is going well.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Stretching Reality

This is a super-fast post because I have to get to the staff meeting soon.

For tomorrow, the kids have a spelling list to write definitions for. The kids were given a list to bring home right before they left, so no excuses! Make sure the kids understand the difference between "council" and "counsel"--that might be the hardest part of the whole list.

Okay, I'm off now. Talk soon.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Awesome

Your kids earned perhaps the biggest shape I've ever given them today. (You can ask them what that means.) We just had a fantastic day all around. I'm so glad I'm their teacher.

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Falling Over

Here's the kids' homework for tomorrow, February 19:
  • Study! (For the Caesar's English quiz...)
  • Study! (For the Math vocab quiz my math class only].)
  • Study! (For the Science quiz...)
None of these should be too hard, but it's still important to go over it before tomorrow.

Have an enjoyable evening.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Weights and Measures

Hello, folks.

Today I would encourage you to ask your children the following questions:
  • What is the Oxford comma? If you know what it is, please know that for consistency's sake, I do ask all of my students to use it. 
  • Ask them if clay weighs different on a scale when molded into different shapes. 
  • Knowing their nutritional value, do you think you could eat insects?
  • What does the word hirsute mean?
And if your child is in my Math class, have them explain why it is important to show all of their steps on their algebra problems. Yes, we did algebra today! And I have to say that this class was able to do it very well.

I hope you have a great evening. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Unlucky Charms

In Math we learned all about number sentences today.

Here are some examples of number sentences:
  • 3 + 9 = 12
  • 4 * 19 > 20
  • 45/9 < 23
These are not number sentences:
  • 59 - 36
  • 6 * 73
  • 8b
As I told them, the equals, less than, greater than, and signs like that act as a linking verb to the predicate nominative. It's actually pretty interesting to think of it that way.

The trickiest part of this is remembering that you have to start using PEMDAS on every problem from not and for the rest of their lives, so...
  • 5 + 3 * 6 = 23 is true, and 5 + 3 * 6 = 48 is not true. 
I handed out a vocabulary list for a quiz on Friday. There are only eight words!

From Shakespeare To Science Labs

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get in to some experiments with the Science unit. It's all about matter in its different forms and the characteristics of liquids, solids, and gases. I told the kids that this is a unit that they will also have next year, but I'm going to try to make it as different as humanly possible.

We will have a quiz this Friday over the material I presented today. The kids did take notes in their Science Notebooks, but I will send home a copy of my notes today. It should be pretty easy. I want to take as many grades as I can for Science since we only have a unit occasionally.

We will also have a quiz over Caesar's English on Friday. The kids will not need to know how to spell the words, but they will need to now their meanings. A packet is going home today that needs to be turned in completed on Thursday.

Today in class we also learned about the life of a vaquero, or cowboy, in our Crab Books. Our Word of the Day today was sodden.

Things you can ask your child today:
  • In what situation might you speak William Shakespeare's quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream, "O long and tedious night! Abate thy hours!"?
  • What do water molecules do when they are in the form of ice, what do they do when they are water, and what do they do when they are in gas form?
Have a great Tuesday evening, folks!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Why Hello There, Mr. President

Happy Presidents Day! In all of the mess of trying to get papers graded and entered, and otherwise trying to use the day off to get caught up, I nearly forgot the "reason for the season", if you will.

On CNN Student News the other day, Mr. Carl Azuz was talking about the crazy history behind the holiday and its controversial origins. It's really quite interesting. Anyway, let's try to think of where this country might be without the likes of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.

Kind of makes me wish I was at the Lincoln Memorial right now. I could stand in front of that thing all day.

Boy, You're Gonna Carry That Weight

Coming this week:
  • Caesar's English, but not the way you might think...
  • We are getting ready to write research papers on the Wild West, going along with our current reading chapter...
  • Commas, commas, commas!
  • My Math class will be prepping for a test which will be given next Monday
  • We are starting a unit in Science! (Yes, it's true!)
  • But that doesn't mean we can stop studying Social Studies! (Woohooo!)
  • ...and much, much more! (Although nothing comes to mind right now...I'm sure there's much, much more, though. There always is.)

Fantastic Distraction

Right now at Woodbrook, the students are working on something called "Hour of Code" during computer lab. This is an exciting thing for the kids. I went to a program at the Sycamore School back in October that was hosted by coder and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang (seen in the video), and while I know absolutely nothing about anything code-like, I did at least learn how binary numbers work from it.

That's why I'm happy that WB is participating in this. I have no idea what I'm doing around a computer, but the kids will need to know much more than me when they are my age. It's an exciting thing to see the U.S. education system (even Indiana' that's saying something) doing its best to ready our kids to be able to compete and cooperate with the rest of the world.

Check it out. It will get you excited for what the future could bring.

Now That's Dedication

Thanks to Mrs. Maniaci, who sent me this picture of Jacob and me as colonial twins. Jacob clearly has excellent taste in his choice of colonial attire.

While I'm on the topic, I would like to thank everyone who helped with Colonial Days. The list of parents from 5-1 is, as normal, a long one. Thank you to Mrs. Egger, Mrs. Maniaci, Mrs. Carlton, Mrs. Fleming, Mr. and Mrs. Moriarity, Mrs. Croner, Mrs. Cercone, Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Hostrawser, Mrs. Fuertges, Mrs. Reasoner, Mr. Dashiell, and Mrs. Andrews for helping out. Also, I want to recognize our own Dr. Fleming for being a co-coordinator of the event along with Mrs. Fisher. This is a fun day for everyone involved, and I cannot thank these parents enough. This is a volunteer-heavy event, and I grateful that Woodbrook has such dedicated parents as you all.

Thanks again. The kids didn't even seem to mind the square dancing by the end--and if you go by their attitudes going into it, that's saying something!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

House Party U.S.A.

First of all, I really want to thank Mrs. Hostrawser, Mrs. Fuertges, Mrs. Moriarity, and then also Mrs. Croner, Mrs. Wood, and Mrs. Maniaci for all stepping in to help with yesterday's party. It was a fun time. All potential problems that could have come as a result of the balloons stayed at bay, and life was good. The kids always look forward to events like this, and it's fun for me too.

I realized yesterday that what the people in charge of the over-arcing fifth grade party plan were going for was a big "Prom-posal" moment with the announcement being read out loud. While I'm sorry the kids didn't provide that magical moment, but I hope you understand that they are just fifth graders right now. They will be really excited by it as the day of the end-of-year party approaches. I don't think they all knew that we've had so many years of just having something at the school and not being able to go anywhere else, and that this is a pretty sizable shift. Plus, the kids were mainly looking forward to the immediate reward--diving into their candy!

Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in not only this, but in all of the PTO programming. Woodbrook is incredibly lucky to have such supportive parents. (More to come on that front!) And PLEASE, somebody, tell me if I have forgotten a mom who volunteered yesterday--I kept thinking there was another one, but no matter how many times I looked at my class photo, I couldn't come up with who it was.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I'm here at the dojo right now updating after being gone this afternoon at the dentist (again; yes, I'm sorry!). I wanted to let you all know that I have roughly 5,739,218 papers to grade over the weekend, but it is my hope to have all grades fully up to date by next week.

By the way, we still have some openings for tomorrow afternoon's "spring" party! (It must be bad to say "Valentine's" for some reason for a party where everybody is asked to bring Valentines!) To entice you even more, I understand that it will involve the popping of balloons. So...yeah...don't everybody volunteer all at once. This was clearly no teacher's idea, but after being gone the last two afternoons, I guess I deserve it.

We Need You Just For an Hour

Hello, parents!

I was just contacted because my class only has one or two room mom volunteers for the parties tomorrow afternoon. Ideally, we'd have a few more. Is there anyone out there who is willing and able? Contact me at if you can help us out. I have a really good class!

Thanks so much.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My Turn At Clay

Sorry for the lack of post today; I was at Clay this afternoon collaborating with the teachers there about our math curriculum and the way we teach, format our math classes, and things like that. It was really pretty interesting and I was able to glean many good things from it. I was also able to put some faces and names together.

Thank you to Mr. Waybright for being the guest teacher this afternoon. It's great to have a trusted sub--I am pretty picky when possible of who I let take my class.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Well In Hand

Just in case you didn't get the email, Mrs. Davis sent this out to everyone this afternoon. I am very happy to report that, despite everything I have heard about the noise level of the fifth grade over all, I have been assured that 5-1 was incredibly well-behaved and quiet. I am proud as always! 


This afternoon, a fire alarm was unintentionally activated.  Our students and staff did a wonderful job evacuating the building quickly and smoothly.  The fire department responded and confirmed there was no fire and the building was safe to re-enter.  The students were outside for about 5 minutes during this time.

I wanted to make you aware of this event and give a huge shout out to our students and staff for a job well done.

Have a great afternoon,
Mrs. Davis


We're having indoor recess again for some reason.

Anyway, I wanted to tell everyone that the homework tonight is three times each, read for 20 minutes, and it wouldn't hurt them to study for their spelling. Today in class, we read a story about the initial dangers that have plagued the sales of Hoverboards, we are starting off our reading unit on the Wild Wild West, and we wrote a journal entry that asked, "What would you do if you came home alone and found your front door wide open?"

Update: We had some fire alarm action today, so if your child comes home still needing to thaw out a little bit, that will explain why.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Another Quick Turn Around

We do have a staff meeting today, so this is going to have to be quick.

The only homework for tonight really is to read for 20 minutes, although my Math class also has a Study Link.

Sorry I haven't given proper thank-yous to those who helped out with Colonial Days yet, but my home computer is being wonky right now.

I have to run now for the staff meeting.

And a Great Colonial Day Was Had By All