Friday, October 30, 2009

October 30 "Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight make me a child again just for to-night!" ~Elizabeth Akers Allen


It's Halloween! It's Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can't be seen
On any other night.

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls,
Grinning goblins fighting duels,
Werewolves rising from their tombs,
Witches on their magic brooms.

In masks and gowns we haunt the street
And knock on doors for trick or treat.
Tonight we are the king and queen,
For tonight it's Halloween!

Jack Prelutsky

Be safe, everybody! And don't forget to set your clocks back before you go to bed on Saturday night....


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 28 - "“Not everything that counts can be measured, and not everything that can be measured, counts.” ~Albert Einstein

By now you are probably aware that Iwas not in school today. I have spent the day pumping Vitamin C in hopes of warding off a cold. I'm feeling no worse, perhaps a little better, so I'll be in tomorrow. So many of us have not been feeling well... I disinfect the tables every night when the kids leave, and pour boiling water over the water fountain in our classroom a couple of times each day to keep it as germ-free as I can. I encourage everyone to wash their hands often and use that gooey antibacterial stuff after using computers or going to the bathroom. We'll continue taking good care of each other.

Today was a continuation of yesterday's work. My class had Social Studies today and worked on their American Indian information. In Language Arts, they completed (or brought home to finish) a sensory writing assignment about the sense of touch. They also worked on DOL, Spelling, and Vocabulary.

Grade 5 finished up their illustrated poetry, "Want To Know What Scares Me Most?" and today's DOL.

I hope your child had a good day; I hate being away from those guys!

Sorry this is so late tonight. Stay well, everybody-

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27 "They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel." -- Anonymous

You just wait; this is going to be US soon!

Another busy day! Your child should have in their possession October's book project. (How do you like that?? I just learned how to transfer a document to "Google Docs". Well, well...) Because I did not get it to them yesterday as I had planned, they can have until Monday to complete it. These guys are creative and like to incorporate art into their learning, so hopefully it'll be fun AND meaningful.

Today is Tuesday, so 6th graders had Science instead of Social Studies. Still, I hope they're plugging away on their American Indian information. I gave a completion date of Thursday, November 5th, but since we're going to be gone that day, we'll move it to the 6th.

We worked on Spelling, Vocabulary, DOL, and Grammar today, with enough time left over (hopefully) to finish the "Scares Me Most" poems. I didn't collect their Sensory Writing packet, but will do so tomorrow.

For grade 5--We're also doing "Want to Know What Scares Me Most?" poems. They're fun! These poems are couplets and have a decided rhythm to them, so those used to free verse are having to think a little about the words they choose. In Social Studies, they began their American Indian project--a bit scaled down--and will probably be asking for your guidance, too. Class time will be provided to find and write their information, although many will probably need some additional home time to complete it. Check over their packets; they outline the expectations.

That's about it for now. I hope you have a good evening. As I tell the kids, don't forget to eat your vegetables and get to bed early.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21- "Don't set your wit against a child." -- Jonathan Swift

It's supposed to rain on Saturday. I kind of like those "stay inside" days, warm by the fire....

Well everybody, assessments in their many forms have been completed at long last, and we can finally settle into a comfortable, predictable routine. Beginning on Monday, October 26, grades 5 and 6 will have Science and Social Studies twice a week for 70 minutes instead of daily for 30 minutes. On Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:15-11:25, Grade 6 will have Social Studies. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at that time, they will have Science. (Allowances will be made for snow days or holidays.) This will eliminate the choppiness of frequent transitions and shorter lessons, and provide the necessary time to work on projects and labs. Also, Reading groups start on Monday from 12:30 to 1:05. Math resumes in all its glory, too, from 1:45 to 2:45. Of course, Writing remains in the 9:10-10:10 time slot.

Hopefully your child brought home their American Indian information to continue working on this weekend. We went over a variety of strategies for taking notes and documenting sources. Next week, we'll put the written part of our project together ("Presentation Quality"). We'll also create live podcasts to post on the blog. These podcasts will be a brief (1-2 minute) summary of our information, complete with music and other special effects. What an excellent way to build fluency and technology savy, and make the blog more exciting to boot! Part of the project involves creating a replica/diorama of a shelter (
tipi, wigwam, longhouse, etc) used by each tribe set in the appropriate habitat for that tribe. I'm hearing wonderful stories about what some families are working on together. Other ideas to make the project more fun (food, clothing???) are in the information packet. I'd like to have everything done and ready to present on November 5th.

On Monday, October 26th, I'll give an independent book project for everyone's second book of the month; it'll be due on Friday. Ask your child how many books they've read so far this year--pretty amazing!

Well, it's time to go home. I hope you'll all have the opportunity to unwind and enjoy a little peace and quiet this weekend.

Talk to you later-

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20 "Learn not only to find what you like, learn to like what you find." Anthony J. D'Angelo

Whew! What happened to Monday?? This week our 6th grade continues to be self-contained as the 5th grade finishes up NECAPS and PPPs. It's OK; we have lots of things to do.

Hopefully your child has shared with you their American Indian project, which is due on Thursday, November 5. Before NECAPS I gave each of them a detailed description of the information they'd need as well as a Check-Off Sheet (to keep them on track) and a Rubric (identical to the Check-Off Sheet). Everyone already chose an American Indian tribe to research, and I've given them lots of class time, so by now they should have much of the work done. Please ask to see their information packet; together we can keep them on track. (Part of their assignment is to create a replica of the type of house --in a realistic habitat--used by their tribe)

This week is so short, we're not doing DOL or Spelling/Vocabulary. We ARE doing Grammar, though. We finished it today, so hopefully everyone put theirs in the assignment drawer. We also illustrated a found poem and started our own thematic poem for October--kind of fun--titled "Want to know what scares me most?" We'll work on these again tomorrow.

For such a short week, things sure are humming around here!

Be well,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14 "What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers."

Day 2 of Math NECAPS... and your kids are hard at work. You can be proud of their efforts; to remain silent and unmoving for so long is an accomplishment in itself! One more day!!

Just so you know, this week we are working on Spelling and Vocabulary (weekly packet--it's all being done here). We're also doing a story map of our first book of the month (remember, we're responsible for 2 books per month). I started a great read-aloud; it's a ghost story titled Wait Till Helen Comes. We're doing some Chippewa/Ojibwa "picture writing" stories (American Indians had no written language, but they drew pictures to convey important information). We're also creating silhouette collages--VERY cool!
Basically, we're keeping busy and having fun.

Your kids are wonderful, just so you know...


Friday, October 9, 2009

October 9 While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. Angela Schwindt

ENOUGH SAID! (NECAPS resume on Monday.) Have a restful weekend everybody...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8 -- Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.-- George Evans

Hi everybody. This is a late blog; I just got home from class. I just wanted to remind you that it's NECAP time! Just in case you need another schedule, I've included it here:

Thursday, October 8 --
8:20 – 9:50 (Reading #1)
Friday, October 9 --
8:20 – 9:50 (Reading #2)

Monday, October 12 --
8:20 – 9:50 (Reading #3)
Tuesday, October 13 --
8:20 – 9:50 (Math #1)
Wednesday, October 14 --
8:20 – 9:50 (Math #2)
Thursday, October 15 --
8:20 – 9:50 (Math #3)

Hopefully, any appointments your child may have during this time can be rescheduled. I'm sure you're already aware of the importance of getting sufficient sleep before testing, and eating a good breakfast each morning... Feel free to send in additional (healthy) snacks to be eaten during or after tests. I will also allow sugar-free gum at this time. (May I suggest peppermint? Studies show it helps keep you alert. No bubble gum, please.)

Just a reminder--there will be no major assignments given during testing.

Oh, one more thing: We just finished reading Freak the Mighty in class. It was a powerful story about friendship, acceptance, and overcoming physical and emotional hardship. The class loved the book--ask them to tell you about it. It was made into a movie that the everyone would like to see, but because it is PG13, I can't show it without written permission from you. Please let me know--or call me for more details. Thanks.

Time to close; it's getting late. Goodnight everybody.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 6 "I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei

That reminds me--we start NECAPS on Thursday. Please please make sure your child gets a good night's rest and a healthy breakfast (not that Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs don't have a certain allure...). If you misplaced the schedule, let me know and I'll send another one home. Also, if you get a chance, check out these two sites. The first one is called "Brain Food for Kids". The second is an article from Prevention that lists "11 edibles that boost brain function, enhance memory, and improve concentration".

We're trying not to get too carried away with homework this week, so if anyone noticed an "American Indian Project" packet stuffed into a backpack, you heard it from me that we're not going crazy on these yet. Choosing a topic and beginning to gather information is as much as I want anyone to do at this point. Presently, we're watching some interesting videos in class and taking notes about Indians from different regions of North America. (For some, note-taking is still challenging, but we're working on it!)

Here's a rundown of today's lessons for Grade 6:

DOL, Grammar, Spelling, and Vocabulary--Day 2

Reading: Literary Elements, 2-page handout to complete on Setting, Plot, or Character (to go with short booklet of stories and poems.

For both groups:

Social Studies:
We finished watching a short video on the Woodland Indians. Students were required to take notes, which will either be typed or handwritten in complete sentences. When we have finished watching the video series, we will use our notes to create a visual display.

: We have finished (or need to finish for tomorrow) a short sensory paragraph. Our task is to describe something focusing on the sense of SIGHT. Really LOOKING at something takes some effort! We're sharing our writing, and I must say, their work is pretty darn good. You'll see.

Well, time to go home and figure out what we're having for dinner. I hope you all have a good evening. I'll check in tomorrow.


Friday, October 2, 2009

10-2-09 People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results. ~Albert Einstein

Guess what I'm doing this weekend?? The wood guy left three cords of wood in my driveway and I'm thinking it looks like a hundred. We've started stacking some of it already, but the pile still looms large. (I think it might have something to do with approaching the task at the end of a long day.) Still, I keep thinking about the prospect of curling up by the fire with a good book one day soon... Colder days are coming!

Today the fifth grade was gone on a field trip to Walden; that left time for us to enjoy our latest "read-aloud" and finish up a lot of projects. It was a good day. Fifth graders need to turn in their sensory piece on Monday-by virtue of their field trip today, they have a little extra time to tweak it and make it amazing!

I hope you find a little time for yourselves this weekend. If you get bored, I live in Charlotte and I have this huge pile of wood to get in... Just kidding...

Take care everyone-

Thursday, October 1, 2009

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. Angela Schwindt

This will be a quick one since I have class on Thursdays...

Reading: Always always always read at least 20 minutes a night. Two books per month are required.

Language Arts: DOL and Grammar packets for this week are due tomorrow. We've begun working on sensory writing this week. The assessment paragraph for "SOUND" is due tomorrow also. (What I've read so far is pretty darn good! Check out what your child is writing!)

Spelling: Test tomorrow. Also, spelling/vocabulary packets are due.

Social Studies: Those wampum belts are taking a long time to complete. Really and truly, they're due tomorrow (or it's homework for the weekend...). I'm anxious to share our stories.

Science: I'm told they did rock packets--check Mrs. DaBica's web page for her assignments.

Math: NECAP prep

Sure is chilly; I hope you all stay warm tonight! I'll be in touch tomorrow.

Till then--