Sunday, March 29, 2015

"The beautiful spring came, and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also." ~Harriet Ann Jacobs

"Vernal Equinox" by Marcia Hirschy

Spring has officially arrived, and already thoughts of Summer are percolating in the minds of students.  It's like Spring is the harbinger of Summer rather than a season unto itself.  Look outside, I say.  Watch the snow bid a hasty retreat as tree buds swell and birdsong returns to the north country. Listen at twilight as the woodland air is imbued with the amorous call of Spring peepers. Observe how hillsides turn a deep burgundy just before exploding into brilliant shades of emerald green. Wait for it. . . Then there's the infamous mud season (oh, dear), and pussy willows, wispy spring grasses, baseball practice. . . Spring is a multi-sensory extravaganza! 
Speaking of Spring, look HERE to see what March 31 looked like on Mount Washington! (Notice the moon in the upper right.) I took this photograph with my iphone; not bad, huh?
Spring also brings with it a certain energy. It's palpable, and this dynamism can be felt in the classroom, too, providing the perfect momentum for students to tap into their unique potential and explore new ways to demonstrate their learning. I really, really look forward to this final phase of our journey together.
Late work is now officially a thing of the past! (which is a euphemistic way of saying that what is not completed during the week will be accepted no later than the following Monday).




  • Introduction to the Endocrine System (Scenario) 
  • Shared experiences               
  • Pretest
  • Video
  • "Glands on Strike!" & word search activities

Tuesday:  (Gotta know this stuff!)

Wednesday:  Prepare to be awesome! We're writing a song about the Endocrine System--it's a group endeavor!
Thursday: Off to the Arts Festival! Keep studying your Vocabulary and labeled Endocrine System model (Tuesday's assignment)
Friday:  Complete our song (We'll include it on next week's blog!) 
Endocrine System
kicking in!
ALWAYS more to learn. . .

  • THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM  Lots of stuff to read or listen to HERE!
  • F.Y.I.: we have different kinds of glands that serve different purposes; check out this brief explanation: What Are Glands? 
Great resources: KidsHealthThe Endocrine System


Yea, but don't stop there. . .
Practically speaking, you don't have it easy.  English is probably the most difficult language to learn; its rules are forever being broken, and pronunciations are just plain weird lots of the time.  Still, it is a language used by people all over the world, particularly in business, so knowing how to speak it, write it, and read it well is huge!  

As a writer you must always remember that readers have to interpret everything you write! They can't see your facial expressions or hear your voice inflections; they rely on you to structure your sentences in a way that can convey the scene, action, or emotion. The cool thing is that words can be shuffled around in all kinds of ways to help your reader understand what you're trying to say. Just remember, punctuation is key to understanding sentence structure; without it, text is nonsense.

Monday:  Part of last week's good work on Mindset ~
Writing Prompt: Think about a time you were successful at something, and then think back to how you got that way.  Did you suddenly wake as a brilliant skier? An amazing artist? A super reader? What did the journey look like from not knowing to being successful?

Tuesday: Writer's Notebooks!  Let's write a monologue based on the book, My Brother Dan's Delicious. Try to convince some heinous creature (one of your own choosing) not to turn you into an adolescent shish-kebab. Remember to include a good intro, 3 life-saving justifications, and a conclusion (5 paragraphs). Oh, and throw in an alliterative phrase somewhere, OK? An enticing title will conclude your piece just fine! 

Wednesday: Punctuation -- The Comma: MASTERING THE ART OF THE PAUSE  
Fix the Comma Error worksheet HERE
Thursday: M,o,r,e, c,o,m,m,a,s!

Friday: OK, I've got another one for you; I challenge you to THE COMMA CHAMELEON GAME
Want to try a test that's not for the faint-of-heart?  HERE it is!

Writers' Notebooks & Writing Prompt due today.


WEDNESDAY:  Create a chart showing the difference between Greek and Roman gods. Provide name and brief description for each of the 12 major gods—the Olympians:  Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hera, Hermes, Hephaestus, Poseidon, Zeus.

FRIDAY:  Choose a god or goddess from the list you created and write a short (typed) description.  Then design a shield (four inches in diameter) with a symbol that exemplifies that god or goddess.

  • Click on your god or goddess of choice HERE to read about their characteristics.


Chapter 15
Test on Friday


Monday: "A little more practice with conversions" worksheet (the ole' "Drill & Kill") Calculators permitted.
Tuesday:  Converting Units of Weight & Mass -- pages 29-230 & 6.3
Wednesday:  How are we doing?  Mid-Chapter Checkpoint
Thursday: Correct and Repair

Some of us are  having trouble with CONVERSIONS (how many ounces in a pound, etc.). Look HERE for conversion charts. (Click on "measurements," then "US conversions.") Make it a point to learn these! Yikes!


March's book report is due.  We will create the template for the book report on Tuesday, then you'll have the rest of the week to finish.  We'll use THIS template. Look at borders and page numbers and include them on your own project, then (Numbers indicate sides--follow directions!):
1. Summary
2. Author's Name
3. Characters
4. Picture of Main Character (put name beneath   picture.)
5. Setting
6. Favorite quote from the book. (Put it toward the top so that the flap covers it.)
7. Recommendation -- why you liked the book. (Be specific!)
8. CENTER SQUARE:Illustration of favorite scene from the book.  Be sure to include a caption! 
9. Top flap: Title of the book, written neatly. 

Use borders and illustrations. Print NEATLY.
Due Friday!

Now on to. . .
. . .which is. . .
Wednesday:  Create planning sheet for April book.  Begin using it DAILY.
Thursday & Friday: In-school reading related to Science and Social Studies.

Long feathers of rime on the Mt. Washington Summit sign
This was sent to me; it sounds cool!

Virtual Field Trips to the Mount Washington Observatory just got easier!
This school year Meteorologists at the Mount Washington Observatory have been connecting with students and teachers throughout the country and the world (as far as Australia!) through a cloud-based program called ZOOM. It’s extremely easy to use. All you need to do is sign up for a program and we send you a link via email to join our virtual field trip. Then you click on the link and your connected!

Don’t let this school year slip away without bringing your students to one of the most extreme locations on earth! Although, we have a menu of programs we’re eager to work with you and design a program specifically for your students.

For more information about our programs visit us online. You can go to followed by Educational Programs. Then click on Distance Learning.  You may also contact Outreach Coordinator Will Broussard at or (603) 356-2137 ext. 211.

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Thirst drove me to the water where I drank the moon's reflection." ~Rami

Midnight Moon

Ahhh, that crazy moon. It is the thing of poems. . .and eclipses.

On March 20, 2015, people from all over the world flocked to Svalbard, Norway, an archipelago about 500 miles north of the mainland, and the remote Faroe Islands, about 186 miles north of Scotland and 370 miles west of Norway, to witness something extraordinary -- a "supermoon total eclipse," which coincided with the spring equinox -- a rare occurrence that won't happen again until 2034. 

If you read last week's blog, you probably knew I'd want to share this, right?
Just do me a favor--
Check this out before viewing the eclipse video so that you'll understand what you're seeing. . . 
  1. As the moon's irregular shape nearly covers the sun, look for something called the "The 'Baily's Beads Effect' at positions of around 9 and 11 o'clock. These look like dots of light around the disc of the moon's shadow.  They are simply  "beads" of brilliant sunlight shining through in some places and not in others
A really spectacular visual phenomenon that occurs during a total solar eclipse is called "The 'Diamond Ring Effect'.  It's part of Baily's Beads. When only one “bead” is visible, you'll briefly see something that resembles a diamond ring. This is caused by the sun's corona layer (creating the ring part) and a dazzling dot of its photoshpere shining at the edge.

Now, this will amaze you! Out of the total blackness of the eclipse, the sun's Corona -- the outer atmosphere of the Sun -- will become visible. Normally we can't  see the corona because of the brilliance of the sun. A total eclipse, when the moon's shadow completely covers the sun's surface, provides us with a brief, rare glimpse of the solar atmosphere.  Watch for an amazing display once the eclipse is total (around 1.24).

Now that you know what to look for,
Be Ready to be Amazed!


MARCH 23-27

Oh, and by the way,


This week we're going to continue our discussion (See the March 9-13) about the value of MISTAKES in learning. Let's start with a brief video; do you recognize this guy? Listen to what he has to say.

The Real Work 
by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Monday:  20-word GIST  of above poem. (Another great GIST resource can be found  HERE)

Tuesday:  Question of the day:  Do you think everyone is born with a certain amount of intelligence -- you're either smart or you're not -- and that's the way it is? Let's begin our inquiry by gathering some information. Today, you'll complete a "Mindset" Survey. You'll create your own Mindset Profile and reflect a bit by answering Question 4 at the bottom of page 12.Resources found HERE.

Wednesday:  Using THIS handout, you'll continue writing summaries of sorts, utilizing both sides of your wonderful brains. 

Are you "growing" like grass, or can
you only hold so much, like the glass?

Thursday:  What is the difference between "literal" and "figurative" language?

Take a piece of 9" X 12" art paper and fold it down the middle. Title the LEFT side, "This Is Your Brain When It's Not Learning." Title the RIGHT side, "This Is Your Brain When It's Learning." Now be your wonderful, creative selves draw figurative interpretations of these statements. (Remember to use borders for your work.)

Friday:  No class.  We're stimulating our dendrites at VUHS this morning.


Check HERE for some fascinating facts about your brain!

Has your BRAIN made the connection, yet?  If you have a growth mindset and understand that you possess the ability to learn and improve, you are more apt to welcome challenges.  If you have a fixed mindset, on the other hand, you will likely have an aversion to challenges simply because of the potential for failure they may create.   

Carol Dewck, a Stanford University Professor has devoted her life to researching "the power of believing that you can improve." She gave an example of students who made vast improvements on their test scores once they learned about growth mindset: “This happened because the meaning of effort and difficulty were transformed. Before, effort and difficulty made them feel dumb, made them feel like giving up, but now, effort and difficulty, that’s when their neurons are making new connections, stronger connections. That’s when they’re getting smarter.”


Monday, Tuesday, Thurday (2:00 to 2:50) 

(Patience, please: a work in progress. . .) 
  • Monday:  3-Part Assignment: Ancient Greece:Geographic Setting (4 constructed responses); "Where in Ancient Greece?" map activity; label & color a map  Due Thursday. 
  • Tuesday:  Click on THIS link to complete an Ancient Greece Webquest.
  • Wednesday:  No school this afternoon (1/2 day inservice)
  • Thursday: Life in Ancient Greece (It's all Greek to me!)
  • Friday: Finish up Webquest and other Greece activities.


Monday:  Review and Redo Chapter 5 Test
Tuesday:  Converting Units of Length - SUCH a good lesson/discussion/practice time using the 2 videos. No assignment.
Wednesday: Converting Units of Length -  pages 221-222 & 6.1
Thursday: Converting Units of Capacity - pages 225-226 & 6.2
Friday: Going to the Thee-ah-tah.  Shall not have Math today.

A Really Simple Way To Do Unit Conversions

Different Approach, Same Result! 
(Great lesson/practice)


Why can't you skip your 20 minutes of reading tonight?  Look HERE to find out!

important:  Reading is going to look much different now as we move into the 3rd trimester and increased classes in both Science and Social Studies. Expect that your independent Reading requirements will continue and that occasional work will be sent home for homework. 

 UNIT 14 


On Friday, March 20.  I attended another in a series of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Conferences.

UDL is a framework  for providing flexible curricula and instruction that is engaging and accessible for all learners. I was reminded of these interesting statistics and wanted to share them with you. 

Language Arts Lessons derived from &
If You're Here...  Hunters. . . Punctuation Saves Lives  Egyptian grammar  Grow Your Intelligence Worksheet  Calvin & Hobbs  Writing image