Monday, August 31, 2015

"Let's raise up a hearty welcome, big and warm enough to hold you all ..."

Welcome, families, to the 2015-2016 school year and to NEXUS. This blog is written each week to provide a way for us all to stay connected.  For parents, assignments and other interesting topics are listed here so that you always know what your student is learning. 

For students, it's our place to meet every day. So-o much stuff to look at and do! You're going to like it here--

Lots of great new ways to enhance your learning through technology 
are on the way! 
Here's to a great year!

Hey Parents,
Scroll to the end of this post fo
some important information!
Also. . .

Tuesday, September 1:

There Is [Scientific] Method 
To Our Madness

The Scientific Method is integral to Science.  That
being said, I have news for you!; scientists don't always follow the sequential "Scientific Method" that is most often taught in schools.  They might skip a step, start in the middle and work outward, repeat steps. . .  They use their imagination, intuition, and problem-solving skills to discover scientific truths. That's what I want you to do. Don't just perform experiments step-by-step; problem solve. Figure them out. Got it?  Good! This is going to be fun!

Your basic information:  Interactive Scientific Method

Scientists rely heavily on their powers of observation.  How good are yours?  I challenge you to go HERE to find out! 

Here's something to really test your powers of observation!  How many people can you "see" in this picture? I'll even tell you: there are 9. Can you find them all?  If you can, your powers of observation, your intuition, and your creative problem-solving capabilities are exceptional!

I have to say, the last ones were a challenge.

This is driving me crazy!

Can YOU figure it out???

How about these never-ending stairs?
You have to feel sorry for this guy!

Thursday, September 3:  Let's discuss THIS first. 

FINALLY. . .  Our first Lab! (Does anybody have change for a penny?) 


Here's a cool fact for you:  Scientists believe the earth is about 4.6 billion (that's 4,600,000,000) years old.  If every year was represented as an inch, 4.6 billion years would be equivalent to  383,333,333 1/3 feet-- or 72,601 miles. If you had that much string (just sayin'. . .), it would encircle the earth at the equator three times!  Long string = long time!

Scientists believe man has been on earth for about 200,000 years, which, using the same analogy, would be equivalent to about 3 miles, or half the distance to Vergennes.  (That's only .00004 of the time the earth has been in existance.) Puts things in perspective, huh?

The study of human history is fascinating, much debated, and overflowing with intriguing stuff to discover/analyze/challenge and learn! Get ready, everybody; we're about explore the physical and cultural characteristics of ancient people.

Wednesday, September 2:  View "The First Humans" PowerPoint and respond to the questions located at the end. (I will also provide a hard copy).  

Thursday, September 3: Let's watch this and be thankful we didn't live back then!

Friday, September 4


Get on your camouflage animal skins, you pretend-prehistoric fifth and sixth graders; you're going hunting. This is no job for wusses. The animals you'll encounter are a bagillion times weirder than anything you've hunted before. They've got giant horns and spikes and teeth and claws and, well, let's just say your skills are going to be challenged.  You've heard of the Woolly Mammoth and the Smilodon (Sabre Tooth Tiger)? Get ready to meet the Glyptodon, the Arsinotherium, the Uintatherium, and the Coelodonta just to name a few.

Oh yea, I forgot to mention that you'll be traveling without weapons.  You work for Prehistoric Geographic Magazine and  your job is to come back with detailed descriptions of these animals -- what they look like, act like, eat.  Feel free to take pictures if you dare. Good luck, noble hunters, and best wishes for a safe return.

Check out this list of Prehistoric animals. Look here for more animals and  here for more ideas and some helpful descriptions. Guess where you can go to find information on specific animals?  What do you mean you don't know?  OK, I'l give you a hint. It's spelled G-O-O-G-L-E. I won't say another word.

As you wander, feel free to sing along to this timeless little ditty:

Lyrics with explanations:  

Reading/Independent Work

The following [really interesting and informative] short articles are from, a great educational resource for learning about history. I like that you can listen as he reads the article to you.  Be sure to follow along so that you can better complete the assignments that follow. 

Type your answers right online below the article, then "Share" with me. (Type in my email address and mail it to me using your name and the name of the article in the subject bar.) Do the same for the following short articles. I look forward to all your emails! Get them done by Friday, September 4.

I LOVE read-alouds and make this time of day integral to my program. You're never too old to be read to, and the time of relaxation and sharing builds community as much as it enhances comprehension.  A child's reading level doesn't catch up to his/her listening level until about 8th grade! There's great power in these shared experiences.

Read more about the value of reading to older children HERE.


Right now we're reading 
Dead-End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos.

This has been a week of testing.  Lots and lots of information-gathering. . . sigh.

HOWEVER: Friday, September 4:

Multi-Digit Division (CC.6.NS.2) Compute fluently with multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples.


  • Show What You Know, pages 3 & 4 
  • Share and Show, pages 6 @ 7

Here's a little help with Long Division in case you need it:

Here's another--good review of steps:


Thursday, September 3 

"I Can't Write a Poem" poems (So-o funny; wait until you read them!)

Friday, September 4

ABC Autobiography


Welcome, welcome, welcome! I'm so glad you're here!  
I'm planning a really exciting year for your student--and it will all be here for you to access as well.  Expect to see videos and links to support student learning as well as assignments and displays of their work.

We are "going Google" and creating a learning environment that utilizes Google Classroom, Docs, Drive, and Gmail.  Students will be able to access, organize, complete, turn in their work, collaborate and communicate paperlessly. Writing is saved on Google Docs automatically, so it will be accessible to them wherever they have internet access.


Today's students are preparing to enter a world more literate and demanding than ever before; we must ensure that they develop the knowledge, skills, and disposition necessary to succeed.  The Common Core provides students, teachers, and parents with a set of clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at every grade level.  The goal is for them to become self-directed learners, perceptive thinkers, effective communicators, collaborative team players, quality producers, and contributing citizens. (From Common Core GPS)

It's important to note that the Common Core is not an academic curriculum. What it does is set common standards for allstudents regardless of zip code, and it provides a common definition of what college and career ready education looks like.
  • It provides articulated, ubiquitous, and highly ambitious goals and objectives for all students.
  • It has rigorous curricula and methods for measuring and assessing growth.
  • It has developed the technological infrastructure to deliver the assessments (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium A.K.A. "Smarter Balanced") aimed at providing meaningful feedback to ensure students are progressing toward attaining the skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life.
Just as teachers work to align instructional materials and curricula with the Standards, students, too, must adjust--not only to increased expectations, but also to the new technology-based Standards-aligned assessments.  It is a time of seismic adjustment, and they may well appear weaker than on previous assessments.  Fear not; this will be temporary.




Each child's success depends in large part on parents' understanding and support of the tenets of CCSS: 
  • Focus on increased text complexity of Informational/Technical texts.
  • Increased rigor and relevance
  • Problem-based learning
  • College/career readiness (from Common Core GPS)

Anyway. . .
Please visit often!


Back to school clipart:

Prehistoric history image:
Animated Chrome image
Start here image
Parents image #2 
It's all about me image
Early Humans Powerpoint from