Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blot Out the Sun

We had a good day today in getting used to our daily schedule--what a relief it was to actually have one, for one thing.

In Science today, we did a study on how the moon is able to block out the sun (and of course I forgot to take pictures of it). As your kids why the tiny moon is able to block out something that is so much bigger than it.

That is the very short version of what happened today, so I will try to post more later. In the meantime, let's make sure we get those permission slips in pronto for the eclipse viewing!

More to come.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Happy Birthday to Mr. Carson!

I really wish I had had more time to get to know Carson before doing his birthday post (after all, my last birthday post of last year was less than two weeks ago), but I am happy that I get to do one this soon in the school year. Also, I am happy that at least I got to see his Bio Bag today so that I can say a few words about him.

Here are a couple things about him that I learned today (and realized that we are kindred spirits in many ways)...
  • He loves horror. I don't enjoy horror movies at all (in fact, I avoid them at all costs). But I do love scary stories and horror books and especially comic books. I get why he finds this so enjoyable. This makes him very cool in my eyes. 
  • He is a martial artist! Little did I know that he would know so much about martial arts. He brought his foam nunchucks today (or should I say nunchaku) to share this fact with the class. I love that we have this in common. I told the kids today that they are in the safest room in the building in case of an intruder alert. 
  • He also loves riddles. So do I. 
Carson is brand new to Woodbrook this year, having come to us from nearby Forest Dale. He has come in with a smile and seems to be getting along really well with everyone else in the class. He's only had two days with us! I can't wait to see where you go from here, Carson.

Happy birthday, man! You deserve it!

Don't Be Left In the Dark

The biggest news for tonight is to make sure you turn in--either electronically or on paper--your child's permission slip for next Monday's eclipse viewing. They are due back tomorrow, so if you did not receive an email from Carmel Clay Schools, check your junk folder. If it's still not in there, call the school tomorrow.

Follow this link to see how the eclipse will look next Monday! Pretty neat. We looked at this as well as a power point from Carmel Clay Schools. They (and we) are really drilling into the kids' heads about eye safety during the eclipse!

Today we discussed expectations on the playground, our class expectations for becoming organized and independent throughout the school year, and the activities and field trips we will be taking throughout the school year.

Homework tonight is to bring in a book tomorrow for reading time, as well as reading 20 minutes at home.

More to come, but I hope your kids all had a great second day of school today. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ready Steady Go

What a great first day we had today! I did a whole lot of talking, and I told them that tomorrow it's their turn. I want them to bring in their Bio Bags--a bag of any kind with three objects that they can share with the class that tell us more about who they are.

We are off to a good start. I'm tired!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Chomping At the Bit

Okay, everyone!

This afternoon/evening is the Ice Cream Social. We will be in our pod areas for this. I have spent the morning doing copious amounts of labeling, putting name stickers in their proper places, having meetings, doing last minute check-ins and trying to work out my technology.

I'm just about ready to get this year under way. In fact, it was in late July that I really got the itch to start teaching again, so you could say I've been mentally prepared for a long time.

I hope to see everyone this evening. If not, I'll see you all tomorrow.

Let's do this!

The Purdue Mortar Board quote of the week is, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."  --Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, August 13, 2017


I never thought this image would ever be considered controversial. The fact that it would now be considered questionable in any way in the United States is horrifying; I'm sorry. 

Will teachers ever be asked to teach World War II from "all sides"? It makes me shudder to think about. 

Let me say this: Nope. No, no, no, no, no, not in Area 51.

Yes, everyone deserves the right to free speech. Not everyone deserves the right to be thought of as the victim or the good guy.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

From the Lion's Mouth

Well, here's some progress! I've got quite a bit more work to do, but this made me feel accomplished today.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Our Neighborhood

As a teacher who, only within the past year--has taught students who are Korean, African-American, Italian, Jewish, Christian, Caucasian, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Indian, Irish, German, Muslim, Russian, Serbian, from single-parent families, from gay married families, and from traditionally-married families*--teaches all kinds of kids from all kinds of backgrounds, I loved seeing this sign tonight. This also includes students who were adopted, are step-kids, and who have both biological parents in their lives still. We had all kinds, and we will continue to do so in Area 51.

It was right across the street from the library in downtown Indy where I took my last-minute CPR class so that I could teach for the next five years. After it was over, I was taken by the urge to just walk around the neighborhood for awhile.

I found myself hoping that this "neighbor" thing extended all the way up into the north side of Hamilton County, because I felt pretty great about the possibility of being a part of this little community.

*This is from the 2016-2017 year alone...I could go on and on given all my years...

Monday, August 7, 2017


Normally by this point in the summer, I have decided what song is going to be my classroom song for 5-1. For those who aren't yet in the know, every Friday, we sing the same song before going home for the weekend. I hadn't actually thought about it much until just in the past couple days.

Within the past ten minutes, this year's song hit me. I can't wait to share it with the kids on that first Friday of school.

This tradition started back in 2010, by the way. Here is the list of past selections:
  • Journey: Don't Stop Believin'
  • The Foundations: Build Me Up, Buttercup
  • The Rolling Stones: Good-bye, Ruby Tuesday
  • Oasis: Don't Look Back In Anger
  • Whitesnake: Here I Go Again
  • The Eagles: Already Gone
  • OAR: Road Outside Columbus
  • The Traveling Wilburys: End of the Line
 Here's to another great year, and another awesome Area 51 anthem!

From Some Other Beginning's End

Well, here I am again.

Yesterday, while I was at the store, I was going through all of the school supplies and making sure I had everything (I assure you I didn't), and I saw all of the college dorm supplies. This got me thinking about the start of the school year from their standpoint.

As much as we enjoy summer and a small part of us laments starting school next week, we all at least know we are waking up and going to bed in the place where we've always done so. This includes the kids who are going off to Clay and to the high school. For the most part, our lives will continue on the way they always have.

I have stayed pretty tight with some of the families from the class that is starting college this year, more so than in years past. I've heard from some of my old students who are a bit nervous about the big changes in their lives. I remember them, and while they were scary, they were really pretty exciting.

Wherever you are, and whatever school you are going to this year, I know that this school year has awesome things in store for you.

As the wise storyteller says: Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. 

Friday, August 4, 2017


Happy Birthday to Nathan.

One reason Nathan holds a special spot in my heart is that I can remember this little blonde speck of a kid knowing my name from the time he was in kindergarten. He would yell, "Hi, Mr. Carter!" and I would say back, "Hey there, Mr. Rodgers!" At that time, I didn't know exactly what his name was, but I did know that he was the little brother of a student of mine. I felt so old this year when I had him in class at last, and especially so now that he is going off to Clay.

Nathan is passionate, spirited, and has a great heart. On my refrigerator, I still have a note that he sent me in the mail to my house last fall. It says:
Dear Mr. Carter,
Thank you for being my teacher and helping me. Thanks for reading T.G.F. and 2MM* because they are funny and interesting. Thanks for getting me motivated for tests and answering my questions. 
He would not have wanted me to put that on the blog during the school year, but now that he's been out for more than two months, I get to brag on him all I want.

I loved watching how excited he would get when the Word of the Day from a month ago would pop up in something he was reading. He remembered the stuff I taught in such a way that it gave me hope that someone out there was listening. This tendency is going to serve him incredibly well as he goes throughout the rest of his schooling. He has the heart of a boy while having the brain of a graduate student, and you can't ask for more than that.

Nathan and I both got the shaft this year when it came to our birthdays being on the morning announcements. Neither of us were mentioned in the summer birthdays. Well, kiddo, I hope this does a little bit to make you feel better. I'm pretty sure you have received the longest birthday post out of all of them.

Nathan marks the last of the 2016-2017 birthdays, which is a little sad for me. But what is sad for me is very happy for all of you, so I'm not going to be a downer.

Happy Birthday, Nathan! You definitely have it coming, buddy.

*Two-Minute Mysteries...those didn't last all that long this past year, actually.