Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hail to the Victors!

Thursday at 9:00 we'll be heading to Ann Arbor to tour the University of Michigan. This is one of my favorite parts of the college project. U of M is an amazing place and I think it's almost impossible not to be awed by both the beauty and size of the campus and by the throngs of students making their way to and from classes.

Our class will get a first-hand look at classrooms, lecture halls, computer labs, football and basketball stadiums, the student union, the recreation center, a dormitory, and a cafeteria, where we'll be eating lunch. Our walking tour will be a lot of fun and I'm hoping for some good weather. Be sure to send your child in comfortable shoes and proper outerwear.

I have fond memories of being on the U-M campus as a child. I had an uncle who lived in Ann Arbor and we would visit and walk around. I found it to be such a cool place and I think on Thursday the class will, too.

Cost of the trip is $3, so please send that in by Wednesday. Thanks!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Full Plates

The students have quite a bit on their plates. We are back into the swing of things now that Exhibition Week is over.

Our daily math lessons have resumed, with students beginning to explore negative numbers (a concept I think I was first exposed to in EIGHTH grade!) and they'll have a unit test on Thursday or Friday of this coming week.

Regular Reading Workshop work has re-started as well. All students are in reading groups and have daily and weekly reading assignments. Sometimes this requires them reading at home. And don't forget about their weekly reading letters, now due every Monday. Please help by reminding them to take care of these responsibilities.

In Writing Workshop, we're working on essay writing (another skill I don't think I was exposed to until HIGH SCHOOL!). Students wrote an essay this week about why UPA is a good school. This will help them write an essay about the college they are choosing for their college project. We'll start that essay next week. It has a due date of March 31.

In addition to all that, there's their Interest Project and the Author Study. Please make sure your child is keeping up with their Author Study reading. I'd like them to have their 3 books read by the end of Spring Break in April.

Like usual, there is ALWAYS something to be working on. Keeping up with the reading is usually the most challenging for students. They have all improved a great deal when it comes to being independent and self-motivated, but any help you can give, any reminders you can provide will help them and me a great deal. In other words, please stay "on their case" so that all their reading gets done on time. :) THANK YOU!

Friday, March 19, 2010

POW Reminder

Please remember, Problem of the Week and Reading Letters are due Monday. Here is a copy of the POW if you need it:

Also, Milestone 1 for the Interest Project is March 31. Students must turn in the names of at least five books and/or websites or other resources that they will use for their interest project.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Newest Gateway Project Launch

Wednesday, we started the math project that will be presented at the Gateway Exhibition: "Exploring the Stock Market."

Here's the PowerPoint we showed the kids to give them some background knowledge:

Each student will have 10,000 "dollars" to invest in 10 different stocks. Today students "spent" that money and chose their stocks. They will track this portfolio over the next 6 weeks and then will present all their work at their Exhibition in June.

The first parts of this project will be done mainly at school. Students that don't finish during class time may have to do so at home. The final parts of the project (in May) will probably be started at school and completed at home.

Luckily, Mrs. Middleton stopped by when we were picking stocks today and encouraged me to participate myself and then reward the student that earns the most (compared to me) with a free Subway lunch!

Here's the portfolio I created, using exactly the same form as the students:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Problem of the Week due Monday

Just in case the POW doesn't make it home or gets lost, here's where you can get another copy:

If you need a copy of the write-up form, click the link on the right side of the blog for "Problem of the Week."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gateway Homework Requirements

We kicked off our third trimester this week and so I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone about the homework requirements that are a part of the Gateway Exhibition.

Every student must have completed and turned in:

  • 80 percent of all Problems of the Week
  • 80 percent of all math Study Link worksheets
  • At least 4 reading letters
  • Both (2) Academic Goal Packets

The first two study links were due today. The first POW of the trimester will be passed out tomorrow and be due MONDAY. The first reading letter of the trimester is due MONDAY as well (look for a note to come home that re-explains the requirements tomorrow). Finally, one academic goal packet will come home in April and one in May.

You knew a lot of this already, but I wanted to be sure to remind you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

College Facts and Figures

Our goal is to have THREE of the "College Facts and Figures" sheets filled out by Monday, March 15. Students have been working on this at school, but will probably need to continue over the long weekend in order to get it all done.

The best site for gathering this information quickly is Petersons. Here's a video I made about how to search for the info you need:

The parts Petersons won't really help with are "homepage", which can be found with a Google search (e.g. and mascot, which can usually be found through the school's Athletics Department webpage.

The only way to move forward with this project is if they have a completed sheet for EACH of the three colleges they selected. If students want to fill out more than three, of course, that's okay, too.

Here is the document they have to fill out:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gateway Update #1 of (probably) 1000

This is a bit of a repeat of the note I sent home today, but I wanted to make sure everyone saw it...

We are tackling three Gateway projects this week:

*We'll be working on the Facts & Figures portion of the college project. Students will be using either the computer or the brochures they got in the mail to fill out a form for each of their three schools. All three forms should be filled out by the beginning of next week. This might be something that has to be worked on at home between now and next Monday!

*Today we organized our poetry collection for our Poetry Books. I gave students a checklist so they could examine which poems they have done and which they didn't get turned in. It's their responsibility to get caught up if they are missing poems. All books must be complete and typed by their third Exhibition! Here's the form I gave them today:

Poetry Book Project

*I'll be reminding students every day about the Author Study. I handed out the paperwork for this at your Learning Team Meeting. Please help them choose an author and get ahold of the books they need. (Several authors have books for sale in this month's Book Order, which went home today). My recommendation is that they have all three of their books read by the end of Spring Break. Later this week, they'll get a packet that will help them keep notes as they read. We'll also be teaching several lessons during Reading Workshop that will help them compare and contrast the books they are reading.

From now until June, there are no nights with "nothing to do." There's always something. If you are unclear on what your child COULD and SHOULD be working on at home, please let me know. Thanks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gateway Exhibition Requirements

I know I spoke to all of you about the requirements for the Gateway Exhibition in June, but I wanted to post this copy of the checklist in case you need another one:

Gateway Requirements Third Trimester

A Bit of Fun

  • I seem to have a number of students that are both highly interested and highly talented when it comes to the arts. I talked to students about a drawing contest I came across called "Doodle 4 Google." It's a contest sponsored by Google in which students are invited to redesign the Google logo in response to a theme. Entries are due March 30. I can only submit the best 6, but I'm encouraging everybody that is interested to give it a try. Check out the link to the Doodle 4 Google page for tips, examples, answers to FAQ and more!
  • I hardly ever get to see new movies. But I got a chance to go see Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief last night. This film is based upon the best selling children's novel by Rick Riordan. The movie is filled with references to Greek Mythology, which is one of our upcoming Gateway Exhibition topics. I definitely recommend the movie, but I DEFINITELY recommend students read the book, too. I haven't read it, yet, but I'm going to give it a go this weekend. I hear it's even better than the movie.

  • Speaking of movies, the amazingly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been turned into a movie that's being released this spring. It's sure to be a hit. Here's a sneak peak:

I'm all for books that get kids interested in reading, which is something the Diary books have done, for sure. And I definitely support movies made from children's books. A number of them are very entertaining and they're a good starting point for getting kids interested in the books upon which they were based. Every year there seem to be more and more of them, even classics, like the newly released Alice in Wonderland.

  • Speaking of Wimpy Kid, have some fun and check out Wimp Yourself, where you can create a "Wimpy Kid" version of yourself. Does this look like me?

Have a great weekend!