Thursday, September 29, 2016

Where There's a Will

For a couple years now, I've hoped I would get Will in my class one day.

I've known Will's family for two-plus years now, so pretty much ever since they moved here from Kettering, Ohio, I have wanted to have Will in my class.

Will is a great kid with an easy smile and a sharp mind. I love talking to Will in Math class, where he is a natural leader. He is always with the program, and is one or two steps ahead of everyone else. He isn't boastful about it, though. Far from it; he plays the part of "just another face in the crowd", but just another face I can always count on for the right answer.

Will is what we call a "man's man". He knows football, he's a Reds fan, he can talk all of it and plays all of it at recess, and yes, even though he's an Ohio State Buckeye at heart, he's still one of the good ones.

I hope you had a fantastic birthday, Will. I told you it would be a late one tonight, so I hope you're reading this in the morning.

At least now it's Friday, man. Enjoy your weekend. You deserve a good one!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Life In Miniature

The students' assignment for Science tonight is to find one to four tiny or intricate objects, either plant-based, animal-based, or other, to look at under the microscope tomorrow. Today we made some observations of plant-based items: a red pepper and celery. For tomorrow, I suggested items such as a dollar bill (which has extremely intricate line work), a hair, fabric from an old t-shirt or something like that. Even a piece of paper or cardboard that has been torn can reveal a whole world of destruction in that tear.

Today, thanks to the watchful eye of Mr. Will K., I found out that I had mistakenly put "Newark, New Jersey" on this week's study guide instead of Trenton. I handed out amended study guides today. I told the kids that I would not put Newark in the word bank on Friday.

Other homework for tomorrow:
  •  My Math class has a Math Box fill-in page. They have already done all of the problems; all they have to do tonight is copy down the answers and hand it in tomorrow.
  • Spelling assignment, of course, is 3x each.
  • ...and last but not least, read for 20 minutes. I still don't have those bookmarks back from the Copy Center! 
I hope everybody has a fantastic rest of your Tuesday!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday As Usual

I hope everyone had a good Monday.

All the kids had for homework today was 20 minutes of reading, spelling definitions, a study link for math, and study for their states and capitals for Friday.

Today during school, I was able to update at least most of the grades. I have not updated a few of them, so if your child has a blank score without anything in it (including an L for "late" or an M for "missing"), then chances are I just haven't finished grading this assignment for everyone quite yet.

That's all for now. Drifting off...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

We Have No Time To Waste

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to receive a new laptop to use for school. It's one of those like doctors use, where you can flip it inside out and use it like a tablet, you know? One reason I was extremely happy was that I would finally be able to update the kids' grades from home, like at about 11pm, instead of while the kids are in music and I have about 4,972 other things to do also.

Today, I stopped in at school and grabbed it, thinking that, in addition to grading 4,972 papers, I would also be able to update all of the grades as well. I got (most of) the papers graded, but alas, whatever software update needed to be done on said laptop, wasn't done during the ten minutes that I picked it up on Thursday. I will try to get that updated as soon as possible, because it is much more handy to do it here than it is at school.

Anyway, expect grades to be updated tomorrow if I'm fortunate, and Tuesday if I'm not.

Here's what we have coming up this week:
  1. In addition to the Spirit Week this week, it is also College Go Week. We are all supposed to give a talk about where we went to college, which means my students will all get to hear about how awesome Purdue is (with a bit of how awesome IU is too...grad school and all). I'll try to have the various aids who come in and out of our classroom during the day give their spiels too. 
  2. On Thursday, the kids are assigned to type up their personal narratives. This is one project that is a long time coming! These writing units are really long.
  3. We will have Spelling this week as well, and we are also starting a new chapter in Math. Not everyone was able to finish their math tests on Friday, so a few will need to finish those up tomorrow. I will hand them back as soon as I have everybody's test turned in and graded. 
  4. We will have a Science quiz on Friday over material given for cellular life this week. The kids will be allowed to use their notes, so they will want to make sure to keep good notes throughout the week in class. I will not send home a study guide on this since they are going to be able to use their in-class notes. 
Speaking of Science, here is Grant with his take on a "mad scientist" for the cover of his Science notebook.

Have a great week, everyone!

Hodge and Podge

Here are a few odds and ends from last week before we move on to this one:
  • On Monday, students were addressed by Mrs. Shearman about running for student council. They were to have had a speech written up and to her by Wednesday if they were interested in running. While we only had one person do this, I'm really happy to announce that it was Miss Charlotte Andrews. Thank you for playing a part in the outcome of this school year, Charlotte! 
  • Fliers went home this week for Carmel Dad's Club Winter Sports registration. You can sign up at
  • Less than a month away is the Ghosts & Goblins 5K/2K. This event takes place on Saturday, October 22. I've tried to look up a start time for it, but all I know is that it is in the morning. It all starts at Carmel High School. You can sign up for it at, and all money for this event goes to the Carmel Education Foundation. 
  • Last but not least, this week is Homecoming Week, and therefore is also a Spirit Week! Here are the daily themes next week:
Monday: Favorite college and jeans
Tuesday: Career Day (dress as your future job)
Wednesday: Old MacDonald's Farm Day
Thursday: Team USA
Friday: Blue and Gold

There Was No Joy In Mudville

Our guest reader on Friday was Mr. Hunter. Mr. Hunter read the kids one of my favorite books, Casey At the Bat. It's a very stylistic interpretation of the old poem by Ernest Thayer. I thought it might be in order considering we are narrowing in on the end of the baseball season.

While it's fun for me to get my good friends and family in as guest readers, some of the best ones come internally from Woodbrook. Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for coming and allowing me and a few other baseball fans to espouse some baseball knowledge on the rest of the crowd that day.

Nights Like This

Friday night was a fantastic, although hot, time at Woodbrook.

I had a great time announcing alongside Mr. Vahle and Gish. I saw many more old familiar faces than these, but I made sure to get pictures of everyone if I thought of it at the time.

Thanks to everyone who came, to Mrs. Goodburn for handling everything in getting the Mane Event ready for another year, and especially to everybody who gave to my crowd-funding idea. As of right now, I know we get at least one beanbag chair for the classroom.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day and Night

Yes, I know it's late, but for some reason, I am still up. Which means it's not too late to post this in appreciation of the Autumnal Equinox.

You should ask your child in the morning if they know what the Autumnal Equinox is. They really should! It has been discussed in class ad nauseum.

You Will Always Look Lovely

I ran across this yesterday. It was written by master writer for children (and a sarcastic writer if you're an adult) Roald Dahl.

This has been printed off and is going up in my classroom. I hope all of my students end up looking at least somewhat like the bottom picture.

If you're a student, make sure you read the text. It will all make sense.

Face Paint and Rainbow Wigs

Okay, everyone, just an FYI before we hit the weekend. Next week is College Go week as well as the CHS Homecoming. Therefore, next week, we are going to have Spirit Week here at Woodbrook.

Here are the daily themes next week:
  • Favorite college and jeans
  • Career Day (dress as your future job)
  • Old MacDonald's Farm Day
  • Team USA
  • Blue and Gold
Have a great afternoon and evening!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Hello, everyone!

This week, we have started truly doing Daily 5. It has gone much better than I had thought it would, to be honest. I have found that these kids are really capable even at this point of getting the work done when they know the deadline is fast-approaching. Your child may have some homework tomorrow evening, but if so, you may want to ask them what they were doing with all their work time while I was with guided reading groups this week. Hopefully they will get more finished next week, but I don't think this will be an issue for most of these kiddos.

More to come later in the week. We've had a good, solid one so far.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Falling In Place

I just about have to run for now, but just know that the only homework the kids have tonight is:
  • a study guide for Math which is due on Thursday. 
  • 3 times each for their spelling.
  • read 20 minutes.
Some of the kids did get books today for reading groups, so they may bring those home and read them for their 20 minutes for this evening.

Talk soon!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Be the Change

One thing I forgot to put on yesterday's update for the week ahead is that if you want to run for Student Council, the speeches are due on Wednesday. That's two days from now.

Don't forget, you cannot make promises that you can't keep, but you are always welcome to give realistic ideas (and even push the envelope a little bit) in order to improve Woodbrook as a school.

I am very pleased that it is starting this early--about six weeks before it has in the past. This will give the kids a better chunk of the school year to work toward making Woodbrook an even better community than it is already.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

This Busy Week Ahead

I've spent quite a bit of time today preparing for this week--here are the highlights as they stand right now:
  • We are starting out a new chapter and a new subject matter this week. Instead of Social Studies, we are doing Science this week. We are doing the first part of our unit called Food Chains and Webs this week. This chapter is usually lumped in with our Animal Adaptations unit, but this year we are going to do things a little bit differently and touch on this throughout the year. One of the primary reasons I want to do this right now is that I just got a new microscope last week (woohoo!) that will let me show what's under it on the big projector. Thank you to the Delabys for this awesome donation, and I wanted to use it while it's still warm enough outside to wade into the creek or pond to get the samples, quite frankly. I'm really looking forward to it. 
  • That said, we will still be doing our continued States and Capitals quizzes every Friday until we are finished with all 50 states of the Union! This Friday's list went home a couple days ago.
  • I told you back on Meet the Teacher Night that we are going to be writing writing writing this year, and this will be our last solid week of working daily on our personal narratives in class. The plan right now is to have the kids type up their final drafts in the computer lab next Thursday, September 29. 
  • We are starting our Daily 5 in earnest tomorrow. This will give the kids some time to get some work finished, with specific work assigned to individuals each day. When they finish with that, they will have the opportunity to get anything else finished that they didn't finish yet in class. As they know, anything they don't finish in class will become homework on Thursday night. I will make sure they are given time in class to get it all done, but some may have things left to finish on Thursday night. 
  • Spelling test and regular schedule will continue as normal this week.
  • My Math class will have a test this Friday. A study guide will go home on Tuesday, including what all I am planning to put on the test. 
  • I hope to see everyone at the Mane Event Woodbrook Carnival this Friday! I am working as the announcer for a chunk of the evening. I look forward to seeing lots of you as well as many old friends at this event. Be there!

Navy Man, Karate Fighter, Guest Reader

A big thank you goes out to my good friend Mr. Jim Ruiz, who came in as last Friday's guest reader.

I have done karate with Mr. Ruiz for years, and I know him well from coaching and doing karate camp together for a long time. I knew he had to be one of my guest-readers this year when I was thinking about people I know are good with kids and would be great for the task. I wasn't disappointed, and neither were the kids. Although they would have liked to see me and Jim fight, we both agreed that this could have been pretty dangerous--for us!

Normally, when we have a guest-reader, I just expect to do most of the heavy lifting on discussing the book. This was not an issue on Friday. He read the book Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young, and he pulled a lot out of it and the kids responded really well. I couldn't have been more pleased with how well it went.

Thanks so much for coming in and making our Friday extra-special, Mr. Ruiz!

Friday, September 16, 2016


Happy Birthday, Louie!

What can I say about Louie? He's what I would call a good ol' boy. He knows much about sports, history, and he's great at math. He would be great to just hang out and watch a game with, but during the commercials, you could debate history with him. He would talk about both with equal interest.

He has a strong interest in science, which really became manifest over the last couple weeks when his family made a very nice donation to the class.

I really and truly look forward to watching Louie get even smarter and more knowledgeable throughout the year (and no, those are not synonyms; look it up). Even more, I see him as one of those kids who is going to be a strong, strong leader as he goes through middle school and high school. He is going to go far. He's a natural at it.

Have I mentioned his sense of humor? Of course, I know his parents and he comes by it honestly. He is often one of the few that gets a joke I've slipped in here or there. Plus, he is a fan of Jim Gaffigan, which tells me pretty much everything I need to know in order to love this kid.

I hope you are having a great birthday, Louie. I think I speak for everyone when I say 5-1 would be a different place if you weren't here. I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Thank you to the Woodbrook Wellness Committee who was pretty quick when it came to coming up with a solution to our Hike and Bike to School Day being canceled so that we could have traffic problems. (Can you tell I'm a little tired of having to go the long way to school?) They got the Colts and and the NFL Play 60 program involved and gave us a great pep rally yesterday morning followed by a hike around the school.

Let me add in that I thought Leo seemed to have a lot more energy than normal, and seemed extra-awesome for some reason. Way to get everyone going, Leo!

East and Mane

Don't forget! Be there! Volunteer by clicking here!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fueled Up

Tonight's homework consists of:
  • meaning exercise for spelling
  • keep working at that Social Studies take-home test which is due Friday (Already received one! Way to go, Charlie Mock!)
  • read 20 minutes
It's only 10am and already we've had fun down in the gym with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Pictures will come later this evening, hopefully. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Keep Making Strides

A belated "Good Luck!" goes out to 5-1's Pups Runners this afternoon/evening! They went out for their first meet tonight, and I have much respect for them for wanting to run at all, let alone want to run for a long distance. Keep making us proud, guys!

Oh, and don't forget to wear Colts blue tomorrow for Colts Day! We are doing a Play 60 activity during the morning complete with all kinds of Colts activities--but I've been pretty busy trying to keep my head above water, so I really don't know just what quite yet.

I guess we're all in for a surprise tomorrow. Today yellow, tomorrow blue!

As Always, the Introductory Elements

Once again, after school I have a quick training and then a committee meeting, so I'm going to try to cram in a post right now regarding our day and our homework.

The only homework the kids should have today is:
  1. Spelling words 3x each
  2. Study Link 2.6
  3. Work on their Social Studies take-home test
  4. Read 20 minutes
We have been studying introductory elements in sentences, adding in commas where they belong. I think they ought to be pretty good at this, even after only a couple days.

I'll try to get some pictures of the kids working on their winter counts for Social Studies this afternoon. I've always done this in the past as an at-home project, but this year I'm trying it in school because of the take-home test they're working on at home this week.

Have an awesome Tuesday. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Manic Monday

Just so you know, today I have a staff meeting after school, then I have tutoring, karate, etc. until 9:00, at which time I will finally drive home. That would be why I'm just shooting off a message for you right now. Here's tonight's homework:
  • Study Link 2.5, complete with the kids' Grabber Gauge. You will see what I mean. 
  • Take-home test for Social Studies! This is due on Friday when the kids walk in the door. Of course, they may always turn it in early if they get finished early. They should have their book with them this evening if they were paying attention during school!
  • Spelling definitions
  • Read 20 minutes

Sunday, September 11, 2016

We Were All Together

Hard to believe it was fifteen years ago.

I just remember it was such a beautiful day outside, and how strange it was to go home, get out of my car, and look up in the sky. You would never have known anything had happened that day. Birds were just singing as usual. They didn't know everything had changed.

I had just moved to Carmel to start my first school year of teaching, so I was staying with a friend's parents at the time. That night, I remember being in the backyard and sitting in a lawn chair talking with them and looking at the stars. There were no planes up there for the first time in decades. We were all just on the ground together.

And while I can't be sure, I'm pretty sure we were all sitting outside that night too, looking at the sky.

Just Ahead of Yesterday

Whew, I just finished planning out a jam-packed week. Actually, I have planned out a jam-packed two weeks, so buckle in! There isn't much wiggle room.

Here's what you at home will want to know for this week:
  • Tomorrow I will hand out a take-home test for Social Studies. This is due on Friday of this week. Of course, students may use their text books, so you should see those come home tomorrow afternoon as well. 
  • Because of the work that will have to be done at home for the Social Studies test, we only have five states on this Friday's states and capitals quiz, and one of them is Indiana! The map, states, and capitals were handed out on Friday, just in case your child's backpack hasn't been touched since.
  • Of course, because this is a five-day week, I am giving a spelling test on Friday, and the typical schedule will follow for that.
  • For the next two weeks, we are going to be writing up a storm as we narrow in on what we want our personal narratives to be and how we are going to tell them. 
Here are a couple of leftover news items from last week:
  • The hourglass ran out on us Friday and we were unable to get to anything about 9/11. Tomorrow we are going to cover that in Social Studies. 
  • Last Thursday, the students expertly executed a bus evacuation drill. In the past, teachers have been asked to take a much more hands-on role in this process, but at least I was able to get a snapshot of a couple of Area 51 guys setting up the scene for their evacuees. 


A Different Viewpoint

Here is Nathan's photography work from Friday morning. Looking good! I guess iPhones and iPads have turned us all into photographers.

Generation Gap

As I've already stated, Friday was a busy day. It started off with perhaps the biggest bang it delivered, Grandparents' Day. I always love talking with the grandparents of my students, because it always takes them back to when they were in school. Needless to say, some great stories are shared about what life was like in schools back then, far different from the Woodbrook we all know and love.

Thanks to everyone who was able to come out the other day.

I do have more pictures to upload later, taken by student photographer Nathan Rodgers. I haven't even looked at them yet, to be honest, but he did take some good ones from what he showed me.