Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best Explained in Robot

"Your children are unruly, disrespectful, volatile, and highly unpredictable. I am quite fond of them."

--Isaac, The Orville
Over the past couple days, I've been binging The Orville. This quote stood out to me as profoundly hilarious and true. I hope everyone is having a great break, is staying warm and snug, and enjoying being the most "snowed-in" we've been in a few years now.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Lines On Paper

I do want to let everyone know that I ended up not sending out the pictures, because I didn't want them to become damaged. I have spent a lot of time at my drawing board in my office, and I'm just about done. I appreciate all the kids' patience, but last week ended up being something different than it was supposed to be.

Hopefully everyone continues to enjoy their break.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Citizen's Alerts

I must admit that I am at the school right now, getting a few things done, but not quite planning for next semester yet. On Friday, the room was left in tatters at the end of the day. I had to come back in to gather up some writing assignments and spelling tests and stuff like that to take home with me. 

While I am at it, I thought I'd give you a couple reminders of things coming up pretty much when we return to school on January 9:
  • Family Bingo Night is on January 12 at 6:30. I'd like to volunteer for this, but I'm not sure if it's by invitation only or what. 
  • We don't have school on January 15 because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 
  • January 29 is the day for Instrument Try-Ons for Clay Middle. 
  • February 2 is not only Groundhog's Day, but it's also Colonial Days for the fifth grade! This is a lot of fun if you've never had the chance to be a part of it.
  • February 9 is the Father/Daughter Dance at Woodbrook. 
I'll try to keep you updated throughout, but I thought you'd want to mark your calendars for some or all of those things. 

I hope you all are enjoying your time off! Get some well-deserved rest and stay warm.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Bless Us Every One

I hope everyone has had a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Sunday, December 24, 2017


This Christmas Eve, let's all remember to be happy and appreciate any moment we get with our families.

I'm not sure about you, but right now, my living room looks like I'm a hoarder--tons of gifts waiting to be wrapped, empty boxes that will not go to waste, and boxes full of student gifts that are slowly being taken out. I've got thank you cards to write, pictures to finish up, and the other "business" of the season to attend to.

Yes, I have papers to grade too, but that's not going to happen until Tuesday at the earliest. Come on, it's Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Where the Tree Tops Glisten

This is my mom's favorite Christmas movie. And for a little while today I thought this is what we were going to have around here, but alas, it looks right now like that's probably not going to be the case. Boo-hoo, huh? At least we're supposed to get a little more tomorrow.

Not much to say today other than love your family this Christmas. I'll try to be a little more substantial tomorrow, but today has left me pretty drained. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

That's a Wrap

Well, today we got through a lot of stuff, but some of it only halfway.
  • We didn't finish reading the Genius Files series--we still have about a quarter of the last book to go. 
  • We watched the first...half?...maybe slightly more? of Cars 3
  • We made Christmas ornaments in Math, and those turned out pretty cool.
  • We also finished up our snowflake ornaments in homeroom. These were awesome because they actually taught a science lesson. 
  • The kids turned their papers in, or at least what they had finished. Luckily, many people had them finished. I'm only going to grade what they have, since almost everyone is done. 
I did have a lot of fun watching the kids give their how-to speeches this week. I learned a few things form some of them!
 I will see you all on the other side, but stay tuned here, because I will continue to update. Have a great break!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Such Weird Times

Here are some bullet points for tomorrow:
  • Bookmarks are due!
  • Film day! 
  • Special guests!
  • Good times.
It has been a pretty poop-tastic week around Woodbrook. Let's finish with smiles on our faces! (I'll hold up my end of the bargain, or do my darnedest!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Words Fail

Back when their boys were in fifth grade, I told Mr. and Mrs. Vahle that I pictured their twins one day at different colleges, and that Jacob would be studying science. Josh, I told them, would probably be studying English lit and would definitely spend a lot of time playing his guitar. I also told them that they would both end up being teachers.

While I honestly am not sure if Josh took up the guitar (although I can't imagine that he didn't, taking after his dad), I was definitely right about them both being teachers.

The Vahles--all six of them, really--have been the heart and soul of Woodbrook since before I was there. I think that's the hardest part of this for all of us. It's like we were all punched in the heart, and we are instinctively grasping for someone or something to hold onto, and the people who would normally hold us all afloat are the Vahles themselves.

Today, as the kids came flooding in, it was helpful that I had to go through the ritual of getting kids checked in, keeping them quiet during the announcements, off to math, and then the rest of the day was pretty much on autopilot. I'm not saying that I didn't have moments (especially at the end of the day), but having to attend to the kids' questions and needs did help in ways that cannot be expressed in words. 

Today's advent video is one that Josh definitely would have appreciated. I hope you will all hold your kids a little extra tightly tonight.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Ouch! As a huge Star Wars fan who saw the new movie on Saturday, this really makes me cringe. Who knew that Jefferson Starship was a part of Star Wars lore? I certainly did not until I googled this.

Anyway, we are in the middle of doing our speeches (fantastic presentations so far!), and we have a whole plethora of other activities going on throughout the rest of the week.

I hope everyone is having a great week so far. Today was a bit of a wake-up call for me, personally. I hope everyone is loving on their kids this evening.

Talk soon.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Holiday Madness Is Here

Spelling definitions are due tomorrow! We are four speeches down, fifteen more to go (and today's were great).

The kids have a study guide due tomorrow if they are in my math class. Hope everyone is having fun running around and finishing up their holiday shopping. More to come!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Objects In Motion

This week, we will be wrapping up all loose ends: math test Thursday, finishing up our papers, spelling test on Friday, how-to speeches Monday through Thursday (hopefully all of my Monday people are good to go!), and we will also have a reading comprehension test probably on Wednesday. (As I told the kids, there's no way to study for that one, and it's not a big deal.)

More to come. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Win Lose or Draw

Okay, guys. I hope you are having a great weekend. I hope you are all working hard on your Social Studies test which is due back on Monday. I hope those of you who have to give your how-to speech on Monday are good to go for that day's presentation as well.

Have a great Sunday, and be prepared for a crazy-hectic week. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

One Quarter School-Year Ago


As I posted way back in October, I had my class split in two groups for the Camp Jameson trip. It was kind of hard, but at least it afforded me the chance to see my students interact with other kids.

It was a really fun day as far as things go. It's weird now, honestly, to think that back when these pictures were taken, I knew these kids half as well as I do now. That may not seem all that substantial to someone who isn't a classroom teacher, but man, it really is.

Thanks again to everyone who went with us. I love seeing the kids in problem-solving situations, watching them conquer their goals, and supporting their classmates. What's crazy-awesome is seeing each of those things from the opposite kids that their classroom personalities would predict.

It went a long way toward letting me get to know these kids. It's so weird (incredibly so) to think that our year is quite nearly half over at this point.

Hope all is well!

Counting To None

Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday and (almost) today. I am a little under the weather right now, but hopefully that will get turned around soon.

This is a reminder that next week are the demonstration speeches. I have given the kids their rubrics, we've watched some on the web and they have graded them and they have a really good idea of what I'm looking for.

Everybody have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Light It Up

We watched some demonstration speeches this morning and I had the kids rate them. We've got some pretty harsh critics in here, I have to say! Luckily I'll be a little bit more lenient with them than they were with the speeches we watched.

I just want to remind everyone that the Social Studies test is due NEXT MONDAY. I told the kids that if they are the type who are likely to forget about this on Sunday, they need to have it turned in on Friday. It's up to them, and they are responsible for their work.

If you have any non-functional strands of Christmas lights, Mrs. Stemnock and the Green Team are collecting those to be recycled safely and properly. Just send them in, there are big boxes near the office where they are being collected.

For Math, we have a quiz on Friday--I have been reviewing with the kids, but it's going to cover order of operations (including exponents), inequalities, algebraic expressions, and the distributive property.

Have a great Hump-Day!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Eight Crazy Nights

On this first night of Hanukkah, I want to wish everyone who celebrates a happy one!

Double Down

Not much news today, but I told the kids to make sure they are chipping away at their Social Studies take-home test nightly.

Also, next week are our demo speeches! I gave the kids their day this afternoon, and I got ideas of what they want to do from most of them.

Have a great Tuesday and there will be more tomorrow. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Greater Than Less Than

Today we have been plugging away already at our research papers, and it's great to see so many of them making so much progress.

In Math, we talked inequalities. This is a pretty big concept, and it was a little slow-going at first. Honestly, I found myself having a hard time wrapping my brain around the wording on some of those problems that were in the Math Journal. I told the kids that, as a rule (for now), they should always put the variable first, i.e. t < 10 for "t is less than ten", instead of the reverse. We also talked about the difference between greater than and greater than or equal to. Again, this is some pretty hard stuff for ten and eleven year olds. I told them not to freak out if they don't have it quite yet. We're doing to spend some time with this concept.

Secondly, I am planning to hand out the rubrics today for a project for next week. It is a procedural (or "how-to") speech. I am going to tell the kids no slime-related projects, please. I would suggest they check out these sites if they are having a hard time coming up with something:

I'd like to see a lot more non-food projects than food projects, simply because I like to see them be a bit more creative with what they choose to do. 

Also, I am sending home the Social Studies take-home test tonight, and it is due back by next Monday

Hope you all have a great evening and a fantastic week. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How to Succeed in Business

A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Zimmer, Mrs. Reasoner, Mrs. Holtz, Mrs. Elshire, Mrs. Douglas, Mrs. Dorman, Mrs. Chandler, and Mrs. Alderman for helping make our trip to BizTown on Friday possible. I cannot thank you enough, personally. I hope you had fun that day, and enjoyed getting to see your kids in action!


By the way, they didn't have enough merchandise this year! That was my biggest disappointment. So many lessons thrown down the drain.

Nonetheless, it was a great day full of fun and real-world lessons.