Friday, October 20, 2017

Super Bark

Well, it was a great day! We watched Bolt, had a pajama day, the kids practiced their musical, and it was just a nice chill day.

But Monday, it's back to work! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Area 51 Film Festival

Tomorrow is the kids' earned movie day! It felt so good when they capped it off after their day at Camp Jameson last week.

Don't worry--next Monday, we are back to our regularly scheduled workload. Hope everyone has enjoyed this abnormally light week.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It Takes a Felon

FYI: I never explained to you that my report card comments are going to be hand-written, for at least this first quarter. Therefore, when you receive the report cards, you will not see any comments on them. I will send them home with the kids on Friday. If they don't bring them home that day, please ask them why they didn't clean out their mailboxes. And if they bring you an opened envelope, ask them why they opened an envelope that wasn't addressed to them.

I used to try all of those things. That's how I'm so good at it.

Run For Your Life!

Ashley, Sam, and Taiylor want to remind you to sign up for the Ghosts and Goblins Run on October 28! If you've never done this before, it's definitely a cool experience. And if you do, don't forget to dress up as your favorite sports team/mascot/player. Word has it that Mrs. Davis will be dressed up as a referee for Team Woodbrook!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

We Hit the Ground Running

Today we had a day full of American mythology, some conclusions were drawn, we did some science about the human muscular/skeletal system (which actually grossed a few people out), and in math we talked ratios this morning.

My math class has a math-box fill-in today, but that's all the homework where I'm coming from.

This should be a pretty light week as far as homework goes!

Everyone have a great evening. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Couldn't Have Done It

Before the extended weekend ends, I really want to thank Mrs. Bailey, Mrs. Alderman, and Mr. Schmid for coming with us on our field trip on Thursday. This was the first year where it was my turn to split my class up among two other classes, and it is because of these fine folks that I was able to do so and not feel like I had to go completely crazy. Still, it was kind of a wake-up call for how controlling I actually am.

If you have pictures from that day, please send them to me. I was able to get a lot of photos throughout the day, but unfortunately I have some gaps in there.

It was an extremely successful day. All of the kids learned how to work as a group, conquered their fears, and we just had a fantastic day outdoors, followed up by repeated games of Silent Ball, capped off by the topping off of our shape bottle, ensuring a movie day this Friday. It's a good time to be a part of Area 51.

Everyone have a great week!

Outside Time Without Extension

Well, I hope everyone has had a good break over the past few days. The best part of having fall break split up the way it is, on a Friday and Monday, is that we get two short weeks in a row.

This week, we are going to have a few days before we have our Unit 2 test for reading. There really isn't a way to study for this one, but the kids will be allowed to use their notes. It's all about the application of those notes and their reading comprehension. This test is going to be on Thursday.

On Friday, 5-1 will have its movie day! The kids have earned it. Yes, they may wear their pajamas and bring in stuffed animals. They talked me into it, because I have never done that before! By the way, this isn't Hidden Figures. This one won't be quite as educational, because they deserve it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Battling the Epidemic

On Tuesday, I will be sending home a permission slip for your kids to be allowed to watch a movie called Hidden Figures on Tuesday, November 21--the day before Thanksgiving. I have to send home a permission slip because it is rated PG instead of G. Still, I want to show this on the day before Thanksgiving for a few reasons.

The first is that we have studied space and the space program pretty extensively during the first quarter of the school year. This movie is about the women who were swept under the rug during the early days of NASA due to the fact that they were not only African American, but they were (and are) African American women.

I assure you that, while this movie doesn't go beyond the "D-word" or the "H-word", it does go a long way toward showing the inequality shown toward people in the 1960's. What's more is that it really shows that it is not only okay, but awesome for girls and women to be good at Math.

These women proved their place among Hypatia of Alexandria, Mary Cartwright, Grace Hopper, and Madame Marie Curie in the world of female mathematicians. Actually, they proved their place among all mathematicians of both genders. It's a shame they haven't been recognized until now, but thank goodness they now have.

On September 22, NASA opened the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, named after one of the real-life people in this movie.

We should all be thankful for not only the fact that we live in a world where everyone is important, but where everyone can be recognized for their contributions. And we live in a world where it is no longer uncool to be intelligent and to make use of that intelligence in making the world a better place, or at least a more educated place. It wasn't always that way.

Thank goodness for that.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Happy Birthday to Dalila!

Dalila is one of 5-1's lifeskills students who is with us at the beginning of the day and during silent reading. The best thing about he during silent reading is that her reading isn't quite silent, but the room is punctuated by extremely happy discoveries marked by her laughter and her words. Her favorite book by far is Glamourpuss by Sarah Weeks.

It's hard to believe that Dalila is already a fifth grader. I've been saying hi to her for what only seems like a few years, but now she's in my class.

The only bad part about her birthday is that I didn't get her picture in time for the blog. I was going to take it during the field trip on Thursday, but she ended up not coming to school that day. I will insert her picture as soon as I have it.

Happy Birthday, Dalila! You definitely deserve it!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Blocked At Every Turn

Well, I was looking at the upcoming schedule today (I know, exciting way to spend my fall break!) and I realized that we have Officer DeWald coming to talk to the kids with his yearly visit regarding Halloween safety tips on October 27--they day I had planned the second part of our chapter 2 test (quest) for Math. I'm going to just move it up to October 26, because I don't want to prolong chapter 2 any more than I feel like we already have.

Probably not a huge deal for any of you out there, but I just wanted to let you all know.

Hope everyone's having a great break.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Something In the Way

Well, I will talk about the awesome trip to Camp Jameson before the end of the weekend, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share this with the kids who weren't at school at the end of the day. You know what it means! Next Friday will be a movie day! Good job, guys!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Backwoods Survival

For tomorrow:

  • have a completely disposable sack lunch! We're not bringing home any leftovers. 
  • I have all of the permission slips! Wooohoooo!
  • dress appropriately for the weather!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

All You Have To Do Is Win

If there's one word that would best describe today, I would have to say "accomplishment". We were really pretty productive today. The kids are wrapping up their projects for Social Studies involving the explorers, we did some work with conjunctions in writing, and in Math, we reviewed for our quiz tomorrow.

By the way, for Math, I told the kids that all you have to do is win. In other words, I don't care which method you use to solve a problem, just as long as you are able to solve it. I think this alleviated many of them. They do have one piece of homework tonight for Math.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Prepare for Takeoff

Wow! I found a lot of upcoming events between now and Thanksgiving in a tweet from Woodbrook. Here they are in case you've missed them:
  • Oct. 12: 1st Quarter End of Grading Period
  • Oct. 13-16: Fall Break 
  • Oct. 17-20: Bus Driver Appreciation Week
  • Oct. 20: Morning With Dad
  • Oct. 23-27: Red Ribbon Week
  • Oct. 25: Family Food Night (this is at Mellow Mushroom, I believe...)
  • Oct. 26: 5th Grade Musical @7pm
  • Oct. 27: Scrip Orders Due (no idea what that means)
  • Oct. 28: Ghosts and Goblins Run
  • Nov. 3: Family Movie Night
  • Nov. 10: Veterans' Day Program 4th Grade (this used to be my class...ah, well!)
  • Nov. 13-17: Book Fair
  • Nov. 21: Fall Classroom Parties

The Need to Breathe

After what happened last week in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Tom Petty dying, it wasn't a great week overall. I'm personally hoping this week is going to be better. Luckily, things look like they should be shaping up, fingers crossed.

First off, I have put down a temporary ordinance in my classroom restricting fidgets. I have long been a champion of fidgets. That said, they have gone from being something that keeps a student's hands busy so that they can focus on learning to being something that distracts kids through clicking, trading, fighting over, and looking at other kids' toys instead of looking at what is being taught. It has gotten to the point of being ridiculous. I think I am going to have to have an OT expert come in and talk to the kids about the proper use of fidgets, because what the kids have been doing is not using them in the proper way by any stretch.

Secondly, there is one thing that I meant to tell you all at Meet the Teacher Night way back in August, and that is never let me be the cause of a knock-down, drag-out fight between you and your children over homework. The other day in Math class (because this is normally where these fights come down), I asked how many students have ever been in an argument with their parents while they are doing their homework, saying, "That's not how Mr. Carter wants us to do it!" All the hands went up.

I tell them time and time again in math class, quoting my dear old Math teacher, Mrs. Hobbs, "There's more than one way to skin a cat." (She grew up during the Depression...I don't even want to know why they were skinning cats.) If your child swears up and down that I told them, for instance, that to multiply two fractions, you have to get the same number on the bottom first (which I would never do), you have my permission to tell them that's fine, and then send them back to ask me about it. I am more than willing to settle the argument for you and save you the headache.

Thirdly, I am still taking any and all parents who want to go to Camp Jameson with us on Thursday! So far, I only have one. It seriously is a fun time, and it gives you an opportunity to watch your child interact with their classmates in problem-solving group tasks. Regardless, your child will need to bring their lunch with them on the trip, and make sure it is completely disposable.

I hope everyone has a great week. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Twisted Up and Tied

Well, we have come skidding to the end of another week in 5-1. Vocabulary packets were completed, spelling tests were given, and we just got things done today. We had guest-reader Mrs. Bowman come today, so that was a nice cap to our Friday afternoon. 

In Math, we went on Khan Academy and tried to figure some things out. Your kids should all have their Khan Academy usernames and passwords in their Mathcabulary books now, so hopefully we will get that figured out before long.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Icarus & Daedalus

Ahhh... Today was much more orderly than yesterday! Sometimes, chaos reigns. (Or is it "chaos rains"? I can see arguments for either...)

Today, we worked on ratios for math (no homework in math, by the way).

We learned about as we discussed the myths of Pandora's Box, Daedalus and Icarus, and we started to watch the one on Perseus, but I figured the kids would rather go to recess, so it was cut short.

We also learned about the use of commas between adjectives--when to put them and when not to put them. Ask your kids and see if they remember the simple rule for deciding.

We read a blog about energy (well, one that was in our reading books), and then this afternoon the kids continued to work on their research and presentations about their explorers.

It was a very productive day! I hope you all have a great evening.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bad Moon Rising

Oh, man. What a day.

We started off this morning being skipped over by the office and whoever was in charge of picture day for taking our school pictures, which threw our math class off course, which meant I had several kids sitting in the hallway outside my room while we waited for my class to get back (eventually) so that my homeroom could get to their math classes (hey, a little less than half of math was saved today, at least). We were lined up to go to the computer lab so that I could show them how to get onto Khan Academy to do some exercises online from home, but because of the mess-up, those plans were ruined.

Then, things started going downhill.

But, I have to say that, despite everything, your kids remained upbeat and rolled with the punches throughout the day. I was so grateful for the cooperativeness that almost everyone showed throughout the day. It wasn't an easy one, but that makes it so much easier.

Just as a reminder, the kids have their take-home test due on Friday, as well as a Reader's Response due that same day.

I hope everyone has had a good evening! By the way, as I type these lines, I am looking out the window at a full moon.

Yep, that makes sense!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Happy Birthday, Alex!

True story: Today, I took the kids out to the bus. That's when I remembered I needed to get his picture for the blog. After he walked off, I told another teacher that it was for the blog because it's his birthday. She said, "I love that kid." That started a gush-fest between the two of us about what a great kid Alex is.

Alex is one of those kids I had last year for Math already, along with some others. I was so happy that I got him in my homeroom this year. Not that he was immature last year, but he has matured so much in the last 52 weeks. He is one of those kids I can always depend on. If I want something done correctly (and who can read my mind and knows the unspoken parts), Alex is my man.

You should watch him work with the Life Skills kids. Seriously, he has the patience, heart, and empathy of a saint. The teachers of those students are always coming to me and asking if I can clone him. The specials teachers would like to clone him as well. Okay, I would like to clone him too.

As I told his mom earlier today, I looked at him yesterday and saw his dad. He is growing up not only in maturity, but physically as well. At the beginning of the year, it was hard for me not to think of Alex as the kid who--in Math, last year--always had his knees up in his shirt and would raise his hand through the neck-hole of it. Now, I look and see a kid who is more than the typical kid. He's grown into something really awesome.

I hope you had a happy birthday, Alex! You absolutely deserve it.

Well-Earned Rest Tonight

Whew, what a day! While we were learning today, we played some Tom Petty a couple times. We did some grammar, some Social Studies history theater, and we just had an all-around good day today. 

Don't forget that the take-home test for Social Studies is due on Friday. Also, the students have a Reader's Response that is due on Friday. 

Alex, your birthday blog post is coming, but it's going to be a late-ish one for me tonight, but I will make sure it gets done before I got to bed. 

Don't forget that tomorrow is picture day too!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Learning To Fly

Man, what a gut punch it was after the news about what happened in Las Vegas last night to get home and find out that Tom Petty died.

I saw him in concert twice. This seems way too early for him to go.

The Name We Give Our Mistakes

I'm not sure what your kids have seen on the news or heard from other people, but this is what Mr. Fred Rogers had to say shortly after 9/11 all those years ago. This was just about a year or so before he passed away.

The Snowball Effect

I need permission slips ASAP if your child hasn't handed it in yet! Don't forget, I need the permission slip, the money, and the waiver. Plus, if you are interested in going with us, please let me know! We can use anyone who wants to go with us. Plus, it's a really fun day that flies right by!

For Social Studies this week, I sent home a take-home test that is not due until Friday. I told the kids to take their book home with them tonight. It's okay if it stays at home, because we will not use it in class this week. This is due when the kids walk in the door on Friday, so it doesn't count as on time if the kids are frantically trying to get it done in the morning. I told them they are going to want to do a little bit each day, to avoid trying to get it all done on Thursday night.

We are focusing on comma usage this week. This isn't the most interesting topic for many kids, but it is a necessary part of life for sure.

More later. Hope everyone has a great Monday. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Cool Cats

School picture day is this Wednesday, October 4! Make sure to bring your brightest smiles and your perfectly-done hair.

But please, leave your cats at home.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Hike & Bike

Here are a few words about Hike and Bike to School Day on October 3:
  • Families choosing to participate in Hike and Bike take responsibility for their own safety
  • ALL students must be accompanied by an ADULT.
  • Please be sure to fill out the School Dismissal, before 1:30 pm, for your child with specific dismissal instruction for this day.
  • Watch your e-mail that morning, for a school messenger, in case of any weather related changes. 
This is a pretty cool day at Woodbrook. I love seeing everyone coming in to school on a brisk autumn day that way. If you are able, think about bringing your child in to school by either walking or biking to school in that way. 

When September Ends

I apologize for the lack of post yesterday, but time got away from me and to be totally honest, I forgot.

This week we have learned about adverbs, homophones, commas, Lakota Indians; and the sun, moon and stars.

We had a lockdown drill this morning while the kids were in the library, and Mrs. Vahle said it all went very smoothly. I had no doubt it would.

We've had our spelling test and are in the middle of grading our GCL's, but we took a break so the kids could go out to recess (my day off!).

Check your kid's grades. We had quite a few people not turn in their bookmarks and their reader's responses today. When those go from being simply a missing assignment to being a zero in the grade book, it's going to really do some damage. I'll be speaking with some of them this afternoon about this, but I wanted to make sure that is reiterated at home as well.

Everyone have a great weekend and enjoy this weather!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


I'm anxious to tell you all about what we've been doing in class lately, but I hope your kids are coming home and talking about it too.

I have to admit, the things we have been learning about in language arts may seem a little dry--namely comma usage and adverbs this week--but it is no less important to help the students to become educationally literate.

As for Science and Social Studies...well, the kids have been studying for their Science test all week (right?), and for Social Studies, we have been making their Lakota Winter Counts just like the Lakota tribe used to way back in the day. Wow, I just realized that for all I know, there could be Lakota who still do this. I should research. In the meantime, ask your child what exactly this is, and have them try to explain it to you.

More soon! Hope you're all having a great week.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Alma Mater

It's College Go Week across the state of Indiana, and we are celebrating by having a college day tomorrow--wear your college gear and look awesome!

And Now, a Word From Mrs. Ratner

Dear Parents,
                We are in need of more volunteers for the fifth grade musical.  All volunteers receive two front row seats for the evening performance.  Please follow the links below if you are available to help.

Costume Help:
Backdrop Help:

Thank you!

Lindsey Ratner
Music Teacher
Woodbrook Elementary

Carmel Clay Schools

Monday, September 25, 2017

Growing Out Sideways

Today in Science, we will filled out a study guide for our exam on Friday. It is all about everything we've learned in Science this school year so far. The format of the test will be mostly multiple choice, but there will be some fill in the blank and a long answer in there as well.

We also learned about the use of commas in direct address ("Brice, could you give me a hand?"). I read the kids another Chinese myth called The Five Chinese Brothers. The kids clued me in on the message of the book, which had escaped me from the time I was a little kid.

I hope everyone has had a great Monday evening. Talk soon!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Before the Day Even Begins



It was an absolute honor to be the "Mystery Staff Person" on the morning announcements on Friday. The best part for me was watching the behind-the-scenes action going on. It was just like a real newsroom--all kinds of running around and little panics that never comes across on screen. Watching Connor and Maisy receive directions from Mrs. Dunlap on the fly, and seeing Wyatt give directions to Dylan and Arden, who will be taking over next week, and seeing the nervous first graders holding the flag was all a fun part of my morning.

Well done, Mrs. Vahle, Mrs. Davis, and Mrs. Dunlap! Also, great job to all of the members of the team. I never knew how hard you work every morning before the academic day even begins. Bravo!

Truth In Parables

  • Anyone interested in going on the trip to Camp Jameson with us on the day before fall break? We're looking for some folks, so let me know. It's a fun time. 
  • We were treated to guest reader Mrs. Davis on Friday afternoon. She came in and read us one of our books for the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students. This book is called The Three Questions, and it is written and beautifully illustrated by John J. Muth. It goes to prove that not everyone has the same responsibilities for our time on Earth, but that together we all play a part to make the world work. Thanks so much for being our guest reader, Mrs. Davis!

Familiar Faces On a Friday Night

I wasn't very good at getting lots of pictures at the Woodbrook Carnival two weeks ago now, and what's worse, is that I've been remiss in posting about it. I was only there for the first shift, but it was fun to see so many familiar faces, both recent and from the past as well.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible! It's a great tradition.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sad Farewell

Yesterday we said good-bye to Perla. It was way too soon for her to go--only six weeks in to school--but her family moved and therefore she will now be going just a few miles away to Orchard Park.

I didn't find out until yesterday morning, so most of our day was spent going through all of the normal Friday stuff, but we did play a game of Silent Ball where she got to be the ref for one last time.

Whichever teacher gets her at Orchard Park is lucky.

Come back and visit us, Perla! We will miss you and you will always have a home in Area 51. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Stars My Destination

The kids are in the computer lab right now doing a lesson on digital citizenship, so I'm taking advantage of this time to get a post out to you all.

We went to the CHS Planetarium today, and it was a really valuable trip. We learned about the tilt of the earth, the way the earth rotates as it orbits the sun, the way the moon goes through various phases as it orbits the earth, and so on and so forth. (And personally, I wonder what Hope is looking at in the picture...seems pretty mesmerizing, like she saw a UFO.)

Tomorrow we will have a spelling test and a states and capitals quiz. Don't forget bookmarks are due too!

Last but not least, the permission slips for our trip to Camp Jameson are going home today. The trip is on October 12--the day before fall break. Should be a good time! Let's just hope the weather cools off before then. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Busy Days

Meaning Exercise for Spelling tonight!
My Math class: a page for 2.2!
Read 20 minutes for reading!

Those are the main things you need to know for tonight. We had a pretty good day, covering a Chinese myth of the sun, studied the sun in Science (with the assistance of Bill Nye), and wrote some dialog into our stories. 

More to come, but I have to get out of here pretty quickly today and wanted to make sure I let you in on the homework before I took off. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Happy Birthday to Connor!

Connor is one of those kids that I've been waiting for a long time to have in my class, ever since I had his older brother a few years back. That said, Connor is his own man. He's a football player and a runner. He's a sharp kid and he's well-liked by everyone in the class.

For the last several years, Connor has treated all of Woodbrook to an epic drum performance at the talent show. Last year, when he picked "Left Hand Free" by alt-J, a song I had played all year long on a classroom CD, I knew this kid was one I wanted in my class. It's not one of those songs that just anybody knows. Luckily I got lucky! I got the music snob.

Connor is also an anchorman for our morning announcements at Woodbrook. With his killer smile and perfectly-gelled hair, he just may have a future in the broadcast world. Plus, he speaks clearly, which sounds pretty basic, it is a skill that is pretty rare at this age.

He has a great heart, and is always willing to help when it is needed. He is a natural leader. This footballer, drummer, and spokesman is one who I am proud to call mine as a member of the Area 51 family.

I hope you had a fantastic birthday, kiddo. You deserve it!

I'm Not the Only One Staring At the Sun

Homework for tomorrow is 3x each and read for 20 minutes.

For my math class, you have the 2.1 Home Link.

Today we learned about the changing of the seasons (and how the sun affects them), the proximity of the earth to the sun, and how you can tell the seasons just by looking at the shadows (more or less) in the middle of the day.

In language arts, we had discussions about adjectives; the homophones their, there, and they're; and once again, subject nouns.

Don't worry, Connor, I will get your birthday post up tonight, but it will be kind of late (relatively speaking) by the time I get home tonight. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Making Ends Meet

Today, we spent some time reviewing the subject and the predicate. As I told the kids, they didn't all do very well on that part on the test last Friday, despite being allowed to use their notes. I did give them another page today after reviewing that will help out their test grade by adding more potential points onto a greater outcome. For instance, if the test was out of 50 points before, I will change it so that it is out of 60, including whatever they earned on this additional assignment.

Their reading comprehension was great, though!

My Math class did pretty well on their test last Friday, I have to say. But then again, I also have to say that only a small handful of people have turned in their homework from last Thursday (the math box fill-in) and even fewer of those people wrote their names on their papers. Yikes.

Alright, that's about all that's urgent for now before I sign off. I hope everyone's Monday evening is a good one. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Predicated Things

Alright, well, this week we are going to be going over complete subject and complete predicates again! Plus, we are going to review simple subjects and simple predicates.

In addition to that, we will have a spelling list, we will have a trip to the Planetarium on Thursday, and my math class (as well as Mrs. Loeffler's and Mrs. Stemnock's math classes) will be starting a new unit.

We will also be starting a new unit in reading (even though--as I said--we will be reviewing as well) a new unit in Reading this week.

More to come! I hope everyone has had a restful weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Road Ahead Is Blue

We learned a ton over the last couple of days. We have talked about predicate nouns and predicate adjectives. We have talked the reason we have different constellations in different seasons. We have talked about why different groups of Native Americans lived in different parts of what is now the United States. We have reviewed capitals of some of those states. We have written conflict into our personal narratives.

Your kids have been working their brains like crazy over the past few weeks. They deserve some big praises, and a nice, relaxing weekend.

Everyone wear your Blue and Gold tomorrow--or your Colts blue! (You could just wear some blue tomorrow and be in a good place.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What Is Thy Bidding, Master?

Wednesday as usual in 5-1 today!

No new homework tonight. Just a meaning exercise, math homework, and the Reader's Response is due on Friday.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Wide Cast Net

Don't forget that Wednesday is Disney Day! Wear your Mickey wear, or if you're like me and you don't have any real Disney stuff, don't forget that Disney now owns both Star Wars and Marvel Comics, have options.

To the Point

Today we covered a lot of ground, but here are the basics you will need to know for this evening:

  • 3x each is due tomorrow for spelling.
  • My math class (6th grade math) has homework tonight.
  • Read 20 minutes!
Lastly, we do have a quiz over States and Capitals on Friday! Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois are all on it. 

More to come. Hope you all have a fantastic evening. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Stuff Of History

I have to admit it was more than a little disheartening today to hear the kids coming into the classroom making jokes about 9/11. With grins on their faces, they made light of the firefighters who rushed in, the people on the planes, or the people who jumped out of the towers on that horrific day.

I had to remind myself that--to these kids--this isn't even real. No wonder it's easy to make fun of the people who suffered through that day. It's the stuff of history books to them.

For me, it was the first year I was a teacher. From the back of the Woodbrook library, I watched the smoke pouring from the first tower, wondering what could have caused that plane to fly into it. Then, in sheer terror, I watched the second plane hit.

I'm sure you all have your own stories of what happened on that day. I hope you have taken the time--or will take the time--to share them with your kids sometime soon, because I'm sure none of you were laughing or joking around about it on that day.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hero Up!

Don't forget that tomorrow is Super-Hero Day! This is a spirit week (well, 3/5 of it is) to celebrate the Carmel High School Homecoming this Friday evening. So everyone break out your fantastic, amazing, and uncanniest duds for a better-than-usual Monday.

Laughter And Nostalgia

The first thing that made Friday so special is that it was Special Friends Day at Woodbrook. Special Friends Day started out as Grandparents' Day, but then we quickly learned that not everyone has grandparents still with us, or not all of them live nearby. In a place like Carmel, which is suburb to a metropolitan city, you get people from all over the nation--in fact, all over the world.

I was so thankful to have so many parents and grandparents make it in for this event. They had so much fun telling the kids all about what school used to be like back in "ye olden days" (I was the same age as some of these parents). They told stories of such unheard-of relics as chalkboards, slide-rules, Mac II's, floppy disks, homemade lunches in schools, and carousel projectors.

Thanks again to everyone who was able to come that day.

Friday, September 8, 2017


Happy Birthday to Wyatt!

Wyatt had quite the day at Woodbrook--he was nearly overshadowed today by the Carnival and Grandparents' Day, but I think it's fair to say that he still had a pretty good one.

Wyatt is a hockey player, playing for the Indianapolis Racers travel team. He is also a gymnast, and does backflips on the playground (on the mulch) to prove it.

One of the best things about Mr. Wyatt is that he has such a big heart for the lifeskills students. He is great at working with Liam in particular. He walks the lifeskills students down to the buses every day, and does work in their classroom as well. He just has a very special friendship with them which is neat to see.

I hope you have had a great day so far, Wyatt. You deserve it! And I also hope to see you this evening at the carnival.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

But the Clouds Got In the Way

Well, today we had just a few snafus, but luckily the kids and their behavior had nothing to do with it at all. Mostly, it was my fault. Because of Grandparents/Special Person's Day tomorrow, we aren't going to have math, which I should have known. Had I known that, I would not have spent all of math today preparing for a cumulative quiz tomorrow.

The second part was not my fault (honest!). We were supposed to go out to do our sundials this afternoon, but the sun did not cooperate. Okay, technically the sun was still doing its job, so I guess it was the clouds that did not cooperate. We started watching a video on the space program--an old Nova episode about the birth of the space program.

I reminded the kids that they have a quiz for both Caesar's English as well as States and Capitals tomorrow. I am so happy that it seems like they have been studying.

Busy day tomorrow around the WB with Grandparents' Day and the Carnival. I hope to see everyone at either one or the other or both. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Base-Twelve In One, a Dozen In the Other

Even though we have a very base-10 understanding of most numerical things. Think of the metric system, money, etc.

Then we have the Standard English system, which of course uses a set of twelve inches creating one foot. And then we have twelve hours in one set of the clock (two sets of twelve for AM and PM). I never knew why this was until today. I love it when I learn new stuff.

It turns out that at least one ancient civilization (the Egyptians) used their thumbs to count the rest of the segments on their other fingers. There are three segments on each of four fingers, and that's where they get twelve. It's as natural to them as our base-10 is to us, because of our ten fingers.

We started making sundials today in class. Having done this before, I thought I knew all of it. Turns out I didn't, and I love it.

Ask your kids to demonstrate this method of counting, and see if they can remember it.

The Walk Of Life

We started off our day with a double-loop around the school. It was Wellness Wednesday here at Woodbrook, so we took a hike along with the rest of the school. When we came back in, we also discussed eating healthy snacks and not candy during school!

In Math, we did some reviewing of the different types of numbers we learned about yesterday. Math was a little abbreviated this morning because of the Wellness Walk.

I showed the kids how to do a proper reader's response, and I have changed the due date on that one to FRIDAY now instead of tomorrow.

We took also reviewed our states and capitals, our Caesar's English, and we did an exit slip on the simple subjects of a sentence.

This afternoon we finished off The Genius Files book one! The we began constructing some sundials. Hopefully tomorrow we will get those finished up.

It was really a packed day today. I was very happy with how well the kids did it today.

Now I'm sitting here breathing a big sigh or relief. Good day today. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

It Looks Like a Lot, But It's Mostly For the Week

Folks: Sorry for the fast update (while the kids are playing silent ball), but I'm going to have a really busy after-school that will then extend well into the evening, so I wanted to tell you the homework right now (even though it should be in your kids' assignment notebooks):

  • States and Capitals quiz on FRIDAY
  • Caesar's English quiz on FRIDAY (ask your kids about this...they have lists for both of the quizzes to study from)
  • Read 20 minutes
  • Math homework
  • Reader's Response is due Thursday (we also discussed this in class, they received notebooks and rubrics and expectations and questions and more...)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Face Palm!

I was so good on Friday, I made sure the kids had their next states and capitals list for next Friday, I had all the papers I had graded in their mailboxes and ready to go home. What I forgot, however, was to hand out the next round of bookmarks.

When I hand them out on Tuesday, just add whatever you've read already. Bookmarks will once again be due on Friday this week.

Sorry about the confusion. I hope you are all having a great long weekend right now.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What a Way To End the Month

Okay, admittedly, I have gotten on a few of the kids recently for writing on post-it notes over the past week, because I thought they were writing notes to each other.

Little did I realize that they were writing notes like this.

After school today, a few of these caught my eye as I was walking by the cubbies on my way to a meeting after school.

I love that my class has a couple of kids (at least) that leave notes like this. Not the conniving kind of notes that are usually shared among fifth graders, but the kind of notes that kids ought to receive. And they are coming from each other.

It's official. I got the good class.


Generation Exit

To the parents of the kids in my math class: I am floored by how well your kids have done with some of the recent material. Today, we did our first open response lesson. An open response lesson asks the kids to reply to a real-world problem. So far, this seems to be the fifth (sixth) grade equivalent to finite math.

If your students are keeping up with things (and I have yet to believe that any of them have not), then their brains are incredibly awesome.

Today's open response question had to do with contract negotiations and persuasive graphs to help win people over to each side of the problem--the employers and the employees. We did today's open response lesson together, and we will continue it tomorrow, to help them get used to these response questions and problems.

This is new ground for me. I can only imagine what it's like for them.


Great Minds; Positive Impact

This morning we heard a very good message from a presenter known as Grandma Rose. Grandma Rose teaches kids how to deal with bullies the best way, if you ask me. She teaches that it's all up to you. You can either do extremely little to react, as if the insult or person is not significant. You can agree with them ("Yes, I am bald.") You can just distract them (thereby ignoring them) or laugh with them (they hate that). You can also just stay away from them if that's what works best in your situation. She likens the bullies to people who are fishing. You don't have to bite the hook, because once you do, they are in control. It's way better when you just swim free.

I talked to the kids about how it often takes people a long time to figure this out, and many people never do. Yet, once you can learn to ignore, smile, or just give them an incredulous look and shake them off.

Then, we came back to the room and we learned about George Washington Carver, who, in my opinion, is the smartest man ever to have lived. I did this as a part of our Seven Habits series, because of how he lived his life. I showed the video above in class. I told the kids that the fact that he was able to save the farming community in Alabama, which had come to plant copious amounts of peanuts and sweet potatoes. He did this by simply coming up with hundreds of inventions using those two ingredients. I told the kids that if they'd had too many carrots and too much cabbage down there to sell, he would have simply come up with many inventions using those.

I love this because it shows that there is just so much untapped potential out there still. Hopefully one day your kids might be the inventors who develop those ideas.

We reviewed our spelling meanings and our states and capitals, and now they are out at recess (and I do not have duty, so here I am).

This afternoon we will have the remainder of our NWEA testing time at the very end of the day.

Have a great Thursday evening. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Sun Also Rises

We were able to get a couple of interesting things in today--one was a Math lesson based on the Bell Curve, and the other was that we did a pretty neat activity in science.

At first, I thought the Bell Curve would be over the kids' heads, so I told them I would never ask them a question about it on a test or quiz, but they really seemed to get it pretty well. I was really happy.

You'll have to ask your kids about the science activity--it was a good one, and we are working on becoming more attentive scientists still. Hopefully they will get that one under control before long, but for the most part, it was a good afternoon.

Homework tonight was:
  • Meaning exercise for spelling
  • Math Boxes 1.8 for my math class
  • 20 minutes of reading
  • Lastly, don't forget to bring in your pictures for the front of your writer journal
  • And last but not least, bookmarks are due on FRIDAY!