Monday, October 31, 2016

October Last

Well, my Halloween is winding down now. At the start of it, I had so much to do that I wasn't sure it would all get finished. Now I am basking in the afterglow of a successful day spent with students and neighbors.

I hope everyone checks this in time to let you know that we might not even use the resumes tomorrow during the interviews, so don't freak out if you didn't get to finish yours the way you wanted during class today. I really just didn't want to pile more homework on top of you this evening. Don't worry about it. It will all be okay in the end, and we will all survive. I'll take the blame if we don't use them.

As usual, I bought too much candy, so it probably won't be hard to bribe it out of me toward the end of the week.

Tomorrow is November, but at least it's going to feel like early September outside. (Wait, is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

What's That It's a Spider

Anyone who grew up in these parts knows of Sammy Terry, and how he used to introduce laughably bad horror movies way back in the day. I remember watching them while I was at sleepovers with friends.

What few people realize is that Bob "Sammy" Carter was not only a local music store owner, but also an active supporter of the Special Olympics.

If that's too spooky for you, here's another old 5-1 favorite...

Michael Hawkins, on the off chance that you will ever look at this blog again someday, this one is for you, man.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


This week we are going to be really really busy, as usual:
  • We have to do some BizTown, and may spend a significant portion of our day tomorrow writing resumes. 
  • Not so significant that we don't have time to get on to our Lucy Caulkins writing about Wild West History.
  • Friday, we will have a test over chapter 4 for Math. 
  • We will have a spelling test on Friday as well.
  • The rest of the time, we will likely be getting caught up on Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts. We have significant ground to cover in all of those subjects.
Don't forget, if you didn't sign off on your child's bookmark by last Friday, it's late, as it was due last Friday. Don't forget to send it in tomorrow if your child forgot a couple days ago.

Next, the kids' book clubs are set to end next Friday. They need to have their books and packets finished by that day. 

Also, if I haven't already contacted you regarding a conference, I will be in the coming weeks. I try to meet with each child's parents at some point during the early-mid-section of the school year. 

Finally--for now--the kids' BizTown interviews are on Tuesday. I am going to ask them to look nice that day. As my dad always said, you should dress like a professional no matter what job you're going for. Don't go out and buy anything, just have your child look a little nicer on Tuesday.

Wisdom From the Long Arm

The Brosmans weren't the only ones to pay us a special visit on Friday. Officer Dewald, our school's police officer, came to tell the kiddos mainly about Halloween Safety. You should ask your little monsters about the things he told them, because it was good stuff, even if it's the information you and I have heard many times before and may take for granted now--stay with your group, leave the houses alone if the lights are off, don't worry about those idiot clowns, and check your candy before you mow down on it.

Kids, remember the things he said, because people our age have been where you are before, believe it or not.

Old Friends In Town

I am so thankful for old friends.

Scott and Sara Brosman are mentors of mine from back when I worked at Camp Tecumseh many moons ago. I don't know how it is they haven't aged a day while I definitely have, but it may be because they are just incredible people.

They came into Area 51 on Friday as our guest readers. I knew they would both pull out all the stops to entertain the students as they have all the showmanship you would expect from "camp people". I've seen Scott do endless campfires, performed alongside him, and still he was always one of the people who could make me crack up in the middle of a skit. Plus he's an awesome leader, and he is now the executive director at the camp.

As for Sara, well, she worked at the local library for years, directed school plays--at least during my tenure way back in the horse and buggy days--and is now the executive director of the Delphi Opera House (and was even featured in the Lafayette newspaper on the very day she came to 5-1, credited with reviving the downtown of the old canal town of Delphi).

They did the voices of the characters in the books that they read together, as if they knew how much my students like that. They interacted in an incredibly relaxed manner with my students--as do all of my special guests, as if I ever had need to doubt it. It's just really cool to see.

Plus, they brought their four-year-old granddaughter, Harper, with them, which helped make our day. 

The thing that stinks, which I've realized over the course of this year's trial run of guest readers, is that I don't get to hang out with these people any longer than I do. I guess that gives me an excuse to visit more often. 

Anyone who knows me knows that my time at Camp Tecumseh was incredibly formative for me. It's what made me realize that I was always meant to be a teacher, for one thing. And that's probably the most important part as far as my students are concerned.

One of my kids said, "You know so many cool people."

It's true. These are two prime examples.

Davey Jones's Locker Never Saw the Like

These little scallywags did a fantastic job Thursday afternoon and evening, as you know. Thanks to all the parents who came in to volunteer, Mrs. Ratner for all of the hours put into her job in directing the show, and of course to the kids who went from mumbling to singing big and loud in the matter of a few days.

Fantastic job to all!

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Happy Birthday to Sammy!

This school year, Sammy may be the greatest appreciator of my sense of humor. He doesn't laugh obnoxiously when I make a joke, but he reflects it back on me by referencing it later on. He loves and follows the ongoing story line in the GCL's. Most kids see those as a nuisance.

He's one of the few people who cracks me up. I've been told by a couple of close personal friends that I can be "hard to impress". I suppose this is probably true. But Sammy somehow cuts right through that--usually. You might think that a kid who makes so many jokes in class would have troubles with his homework or has many missing assignments, but that is far from the truth. His work is always top notch.

Word has it that a student from 5-2 wants to start a morning talk show with Sammy. I would watch every episode. In fact, I would produce the thing.

Hope you had a great birthday, Sammy! You deserve it easily.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Life Is Good

Hoo-kay...well, who knew that by the end of the day today, I would have done a touchdown dance with Blue, Mrs. Larson, and Charlie Mock? I felt better by the end, but for a little while there, life was hitting me pretty fast and furious.

First off, I realize that, in all probability, not everyone went home with both their BizTown books as well as their two copies for their final drafts. I know this because two of my most responsible students let me know after school that they didn't have both of them.

I apologize for this, but please understand that between Blue's visit and our end of the day recess as a result, our life back in the classroom was extremely cramped and I didn't get a chance to make sure everyone had everything before they left. Remember back at the beginning of the school year when I told you to let this be a year full of learning experiences? Well, this is the perfect example. I will give everyone a little chance to get caught up tomorrow if need be.

Yesterday, my sister sent me a picture of her "fifth grade selfie" that she took with 5-1. Love this picture!

I hope the end of the day today was more calm than the kids' day during school was. It's not their fault. Between Blue, the program tomorrow, Halloween on Monday, and preparing for BizTown, things are not normal around Area 51. Sometimes weird things happen out here. As I told the kids today, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and say, "It's all good..."

Young Professionals

The kids should have brought home their rough draft for their job applications as well as their blank ones to do their final drafts. I sent two home with them, so they will have a back-up to use if it's needed. I told them that they should be done in either a blue or a black pen! I also told them that they needed to print, but that their signature should be in cursive if at all possible.

I think that's the only thing that can't really wait for later. What a day! What a week!

One Thing At a Time

Alright, I've decided to make an executive decision and say that we just have too much on our plates right now. I just have to shave it back a little bit to make everything manageable. I'm pulling back the Social Studies project, for which we were doing research (Native American tribes). Right now, we are starting our research writing project as directed by the district (The Wild Wild West), so I'm not going to have two research projects going on simultaneously--every bit for the sake of my sanity as well as that of the students.

I'm just letting you know this in case you are looking at what we've been doing in class and see a shift in what we're working on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

At Least They'll Be Prepared for Multi-Tasking

Man, these days are packed.

Today, we did some research on the Wild West. The kids just did some preliminary searches on what they know already, or think they know. We talked about using print media (not real popular with the Millennial-and-under crowd). Soon, I will put them in their groups for their group research.

We also discussed their possible careers for BizTown. As I told them, 100% of the people go for 10% of the jobs, as frustrating as that is. I also told them, though, that all of the jobs at BizTown are lots of fun.

Tomorrow, Blue from the Colts will be here to talk ("talk"?) to the kids about something. I seriously can't remember what he's going to talk to them about right now. But he is coming tomorrow for some reason. I'm tired.

On Friday, Officer DeWald is coming to the school to talk to our kids about safety before the big trick or treat night.

And last but not least, the Woodbrook Book Fair is the week of November 14. More information to come.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Our Own Election Cycle

Here are the big brush strokes from today:
  • We started our BizTown curriculum--at the very last minute! I found out today that next week are the interviews and elections! Wow! That was an eleventh hour change in my plans for this week, but hey, we're going to do our best to get through everything we need to nonetheless--in addition to our BizTown stuff. 
  • Come to think of it, that was the biggest one. We read a story in our crab books, we did some grammar and stuff like that, and in math we learned about measuring curved lines (like rivers) on a map using a piece of string and a ruler. 
  • More information to come on the BizTown stuff!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Why Not Do It With Some Style

This week we are going to be doing a lot of researching, writing, researching, and then more writing.

We will indeed have spelling this week once again, kids will owe me a reader's response one day this week (depending on their day), so everything is back to normal, more or less.

This Thursday is the fifth grade program, which begins at 7pm. Mrs. Ratner opens the doors, I believe, at 6:30. That's about the earliest I will be able to get there anyway, because I will be teaching karate before that. I do know the kids have been practicing hard for this one, and I look forward to seeing it.

Everybody have a great week!

Red Ribbon Spirit Days

Red Ribbon Week

Monday, October 24th
Pawsitively proud to be drug free
Wear funny socks on your paws

Tuesday, October 25th
Don’t get tied down with drugs and bullies
Wear tye dye

Wednesday, October 26th
Hats off to Being Drug and Bully Free
Wear a hat

Thursday, October 27th
United we stand against drugs and bullying
Wear red, white and blue

Friday, October 28th
We are one school team, bully and drug free
Wear WB spirit wear

Family Ties

First off, I realize that the selfie I took of me and my niece makes me look really sinister. But since my guest reader for Friday, my sister Kim, took a "fifth grade selfie", I told my niece, Paige, that I wanted to do a selfie with her while we sat in the back and listened.

I was really happy when Kim and Paige said they could come on Friday. Kim also works in education--she is the head of the Public Affairs Office at Wabash College. I was lucky that Paige was on fall break on Friday.

Kim read The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. I had never read either one, but some of the kids seemed to be familiar with them.

Normally, while a guest reader is up there in front of everyone and reading, I'm taking it in and trying to think of what "reading strategy" to use to tie into it so that I can ask the kids questions. This time, I have to admit, I just had fun with my niece on my lap and giggling with her at the little jokes throughout the books. The only way I really know my class was even in the room is this photographic evidence.

Thanks for coming, Kim and Paige! We all loved it.

Back To the Future

Well, on Friday, as you probably know, we finally got to have a movie day. We watched a fantastic movie I'd never seen, Meet the Robinsons. Somehow, this movie went completely under my radar when it came out several years ago (probably because I don't have any kids). It was recommended to me by a friend of mine, and it was really great. I was actually on the verge of emotional at the end.

This one is highly recommended if you haven't watched it at home. It gets the highest ratings from Area 51.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ending On a High Note

Alright, we ended our day by working on our Social Studies projects. They are going pretty well. One kid said, "You know, Mr. Carter, this is actually kind of fun." That's about the biggest compliment a teacher can receive.

I hope everyone has had a great week so far. We're almost to the end. Tomorrow the kids have earned a movie day, and then we will end our day with a special guest reader that I'm pretty pumped about.

Talk to you soon!

Using Time Wisely

Your child may have some homework tonight. They have had six days now to get most of these assignments done in class during Daily 5, but not everyone is finished quite yet.

If your child does come home tonight with work to do, you may want to have a conversation with them about how well they are using their time in class. We have quite a few people who have trouble staying on task. You may hear them say something like, "He barely gave us any time to do it in class!", but trust me, they had plenty of time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Holding Out Hope

Well, I had printed off several copies of the Caesar's English and states and capitals study guides, because I had many people say they needed them. The two stacks were still pretty tall on the back table, so I'm posting images of them here for your possible convenience.

The kids are learning how to budget their time. I am working hard at teaching in the way that I give multiple mini-lessons throughout the day with some independent work time given as well. It's not easy for this guy who would be good with me tightly running the show all day every day, but I'm learning just like them.

I hope you all had a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I know this is coming a bit late, but Happy Birthday to Charlie!

Charlie is quite the character, and her personality is a big influence on 5-1 this year. Luckily, she is a force for the good. Charlie is a friend to everyone, always good for a laugh, and she has some of the best stories.

She is a karate girl (formerly, but I'll take what I can get) and a basketball player who is in charge of any situation she finds herself in. Charlie is one of my few students (very few) who has come to me without any brothers or sisters before her. She is the oldest in her family, and luckily she is bringing in a very good family.

I hope you had a fantastic day, Charlie! You deserve it!

Mad Scramble

First off, I'm about to fly right out of here for another staff meeting today, but I did want to touch on a couple things:
  • Charlie Hunter, I didn't forget your birthday! It will be later on tonight, though.
  • Secondly, you may want to take a peek at your child's Social Studies grade right now. We're doing some work in class researching Native American cultures, and some of them are making better use of their time than others. Most of them are really sticking to it, though!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Come On, Puppy Dog

It's not too late to sign up for the Ghosts 'n' Goblins Run! Look into Louie's puppy dog eyes and just try to tell him no.


Geeking out! Can't wait.

Sorry, this has nothing to do with anything school-related, just like any Star Wars movie. Yet, I always have to share here.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Little Taste of Camp

Thank you so much to Mrs. Swallow, Mrs. Sell, and Mrs. Brink for helping make this trip possible. Sorry that my pictures pretty much are the group I was around--I thought they were more well-rounded, but it didn't turn out exactly that way. If any of you took more pictures, I'd be happy to post them.

Thanks again! Hope you're all having a good break.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Phantom Heroes

What an awesome day we had today at Camp Jameson! More on that later (probably tomorrow), but for now, don't forget to sign up for the Ghosts n Goblins Run on October 22! These little spooks want you to, and so do I.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Last Minute Details

Here are the directions I wrote down for the kiddos today for tomorrow's big field trip. Thank you to the parents who are going with us tomorrow--I really appreciate it more than you know.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Don't forget to sign up for the Ghosts and Goblins Run. You can just click here if you're up for a good and haunted time!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Not To Put Too Fine a Point On It

Sorry for the lack of post today. The kids really didn't have any homework today (save reading for 20 minutes). I did load my math class up with notes for the exam on Wednesday.

Also, don't forget your permission slips for the field trip on Thursday. Thank you to the parents who have volunteered to go along with us. I do realize we have a few students who won't be in town that day, but it should be a great time. It always goes way too quickly.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Champions Forever

We had a mini 5-1 reunion yesterday afternoon at the Special Olympics Bocce Tournament at Carmel High School. It was great to see these young men and women (most of whom are literally men and women, age 18--yeesh).

Nick Shaffer (to my right) is president of a group at Carmel High School called Champions Together that held this event. It is a cooperation between the IHSAA and Special Olympics. I told him to let me know anything I could do to help.

Also in the picture are Viva Christy, Reilly Harrington, and Michael Pitz. They were all in my class together back in '09-'10, and now they're all seniors. It was great to see great kids all doing great things. I had no doubt they would, but it's very gratifying to see it in action.

Yo That's Awesome

This is for you, Drew! I expect to see this from you at this year's talent show. :)

A Master Educator and an Expert Reader

On Friday, I was very happy to have the chance to receive a visit from an old friend of mine from Camp Tecumseh, Jamie MacDougall. Jamie came in to read to the class. She read a chapter from a book that comes out this Tuesday, but she had an early copy. I didn't bring it home with me, so I don't even remember the author nor the title, but the chapter was very entertaining. (You can see Rohan reading it shortly after above.)

Jamie (in the middle, above--I completely forgot to get a picture of her reading to the kids!) is the Head Master of the middle school at Indianapolis's Sycamore School. She is also the head cross country coach there. She has an enthusiasm for education that is really inspiring. I knew I had to get her into Area 51 at some point during this school year. My only regret is that her visit was so short.

The kids had fun showing her they were reading, and she was really happy and impressed with (most of) their choices.

You're welcome back any time, Mrs. MacDougall! Thank you for making the time to come in.

Great Caesar's Ghost!

Don't forget that our field trip to Camp Jameson is this Thursday! We could still use a couple more parent volunteers if anyone wants to go along with us. Should be a great time with some great weather.

This week we will begin our book clubs, so each child will have some serious reading assignments in the next few weeks.

We will also have a Caesar's English list, but the quiz won't be this week. It will be either next Thursday or Friday; I'll let you know in a few days.

And finally, sign up for the Ghosts and Goblins Run on October 22!

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Happy Birthday, Kyle!

Kyle is one of those people whose face I have known for years. I had his sister in class a few years ago, and ever since, Kyle has talked to me in the hallway. Then, last year, he was one of the guys who invited me to participate in his skit for the talent show. Out of the four or five guys who were a part of that skit (I told them all I wanted them to be in my class), he is one of two who I actually get to have this year. So we are both lucky.

Kyle is one of my go-to guys. If I need something done and done right, I go to Kyle. He's 100% a guy, and he's a good guy. I have often said this about other students, but Kyle is one of my favorite people. I love to read from the back of his favorite book, The Day My Butt Went Psycho, for him, simply because I love watching his face when I read about this book while I act disgusted by it.

I hope your day is awesome, Kyle. You definitely deserve it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Friday Knowledge

Don't forget that tomorrow is Pajama Day! Did you know "pajamas" is a word that came from India?


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thrown For a Loop

Today we welcomed Anna Palmer to 5-1. I am happy to say that she had some excellent helpers throughout the day, and I just hope it wasn't too chaotic. We started with no math and picture day, so that is usually enough to send everyone into a tizzy for the entire day. Well, today was really not an exception to that rule. But I think the kids did get some work done today, and we even learned about protagonists and antagonists.

I hope everyone has a great evening. I have to run now!

News From the Cafe

Teachers and Staff,

In lieu of our students not liking the Cheesy Chicken Rice Bake we are taking it off the menu, we are also taking off the Chicken Patty Sandwich.
We are replacing these items with Chicken Nuggets and Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Week 3-Monday. If you have any questions please send me an email. Please share this information with your students. We have a new menu update on the website.

Thank you,
Beverley Allen
Cafeteria Manager

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Don't forget that tomorrow is Picture Day!

Today we did quite a bit of note taking for both Math and Language Arts.

I was very happy that my class was able to work independently this afternoon for Social Studies, by the way. In fact, I was so impressed that I did not give them the white pages as homework, but said I would let them work on it tomorrow in class during the afternoon.

Finally, between the last paragraph and this one, I found out that tomorrow we are getting a new student! Her name is Anna, and that's all I know. Well, one more thing I know is that she will be made to feel very welcome here in 5-1.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Your World and Welcome To It

Well, as I sit here looking through the latest Woodbrook World, I am finding a few things that are news to me. I always say I am kind of in my own little fifth grade teaching burrow down in Area 51, but this proves it even more than I had realized.
  • There is a coat drive this week for Coats for Kids. You can send in outgrown coats in or bring them in and donate them at the main entrance. 
  • Again, Picture Day is Wednesday!
  • October 12 is Donuts With Dad
  • Also on October 12 is Arni's Night for Woodbrook--this takes place actually from 11am to 10pm. 
  • October 13 is Camp Jameson! I've heard from a couple parents who want to go already, so it would be great if you want to go too!
  • Fall Break is October 14 and 17.
  • The Ghosts and Goblins Run is on October 22 at CHS. Let's all get out there, dress like barnyard animals, and run for our lives! All money goes to the Carmel Education Foundation.
  • The fifth grade musical is on October 27 (Thursday) at 7pm!
I even made the most important parts in bold for easy skimming.

This just goes to show that the WB PTO is the best. What a bunch of busy folks! Thanks for helping make Woodbrook one of the best communities around. 

Teeny Tiny

Here are some pictures from last week when we were doing experiments with the microscopes. I was really impressed with how well the kids stuck to their experiments for the most part. I was really excited to get this unit going, but it was actually only the first few lessons involved in an overriding biology unit that will go throughout the rest of the school year.

We are going to also treat our Astronomy unit the same way. Next week, I think we are going to try to go outside and measure shadows to show how much higher the sun is now as opposed to the first day after daylight savings time.

Capture the Moment

Well, yesterday I mentioned that this was a pretty regular week. That still holds true mostly, but we do have Picture Day on Wednesday in the morning. Don't forget to look your best that day. So break out the Dapper Dan and the hair curlers to create that photo that will look so adorable when they are graduating from high school.

Tonight's homework is Spelling definitions and Math!

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Well, sorry about the no posts for a few days there, but at least it gave you another day or so to look at Will's bright shining face.

As far as I can tell right now, this week will be a very regular week. I don't think there are any spirit days, field trips, or anything like that at all. To the best of my knowledge, this week will be business as usual! We will have spelling, readers' responses, and study links as normal.

Don't forget that next Thursday (the day before break), we will all go to Camp Jameson. Turn in your permission slips and money as soon as possible, please.

Talk soon!