Sunday, April 24, 2011

End of Spring Break Reminders

Happy Easter to all! I hope the holiday and the break has been enjoyable. It has been for me!

In my experience, these last eight weeks of school are almost busier than the previous 28 combined! Be sure to read the blog often, as I'll be trying to post as much as possible about our goings-on. Just a couple of reminders about what's coming up this week:

  • Newbery books should be done. And both sides of the note-taking sheet should be completed. We'll get started on the moviemaking process very soon.
  • Internet Safety Workshop and Family Math Night will be held Wednesday. The workshop starts at 5:00 in my classroom. I'll be talking about ways you can help your child be safe on the 'net. I strongly encourage all to attend. For Math Night we'll be sharing some math games with you and even giving some away!
  • Milestone 2 kind of snuck up on me. It's due Thursday and consists of notes for the Interest Project. Notes should be about 25-30 facts written in the student's own words.
  • DIA Field trip is Friday! A bag lunch will be required. I have two parent chaperones already, but if you're still interested and available, let me know. The more the merrier!
More to come for the week's ahead. See you Tuesday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh No! Wrong Date!

The Joe Reilly concert is Wednesday at 6:15 NOT Thursday! Sorry!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Joe Reilly Concert

Joe Reilly, local musician and environmental activist, is performing at a free concert this Thursday at 6:15 at the Ferndale Public Library.

Joe has performed at UPA a few times in the past. His music is terrific and the kids love him. We kicked off an environmental science project earlier this month and used a Joe Reilly song, "The Michigan Song," as our inspiration. Here's a video of Joe singing it:

I think it's been at least 2 years since Joe Reilly visited our school...and many students still remember the words!

I'll be there with my family. I hope you can make it, too. Oh, and it's FREE! Here's a map to the's on 9 Mile Rd, just east of Woodward:

View Larger Map

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saving Water Search Engine


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Enrichment Project Last Call

Didn't get much of a response to my Enrichment Project idea, so I thought I'd put it out there one more time before moving forward...if you are interested in a extra project opportunity--a challenging social studies, research, and writing project--please click this link to fill out a form:

I'll be sending instruction sheets and details home tomorrow. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Enrichment Project Opportunity

One of my personal goals is that all students in my class feel challenged. There are a number of students in my classroom that could use an extra "push" in this area. However, I don't want them just doing extra worksheets or busy work or anything like that. I want them engaged in meaningful learning that challenges them and builds important skills.

So, starting this month and continuing on into fifth grade every other month or so, I'd like to offer an Enrichment Project.

This month's project will involve extra research about the state of Michigan, followed by practice writing notes in the student's own words, and the creation of a movie that we'll send to a classroom in Oregon to teach them about our state. It will involve a commitment to complete extra work at home (particularly during Spring Break) and maybe even during some lunch periods.

If you would like your child to receive a little more of a challenge and would like me to include them in this extra project, please fill out this form below. I will get them instruction sheets and familiarize them with what to do before the break so they can work on the first stages of the project during our week off.

I understand that all families are busy (I know my own is!) so if you aren't able to commit to this project, there will be more to participate in in the future.

Thanks and be sure to contact me with any questions you have.

Milestone One due Thursday

Milestone One is due for the third trimester on Thursday morning.

Milestone One is a list of resources. Try for 5-6. Any combination of books and/or websites is acceptable. If using websites, please submit the complete web address.

No form was sent home for this. It can be submitted on a simple piece of paper or as a document on Google Docs.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More Poetry Month Fun

One website the kids enjoy using is Wordle. It's a fun site that let's you make word clouds. I wanted to make some more signs to celebrate the second week of National Poetry Month, so students made Wordle creations.

I gave them three choices: make a word cloud of an entire poem, make a word cloud with poets' names, or make a word cloud with words from titles of poems we've read. Many students made 2 or 3. When you're in the building this week, hopefully you'll see them decorating the halls and stairwells.

Here's a sample of just some that were made:

New Podcasts Available & More News

Either we have so much going on in the classroom that I'm forgetting to tell you it all or I'm just a lazy blogger...I'm going to vote for the first one.

Our newest podcasts from Social Studies class are available here: . The groups each reported about an article they had to read about a specific place or even in America. Sounds like the group learned some interesting facts to me. And they're getting pretty good at laying down music for their podcasts, too!

Also, we've started our Water project. We are learning about water issues in our community and region. We started by brainstorming what we know about water and why water is important to our state and region. This group of kids is really smart. When we have class discussions like the ones we've had to start this project, they continually amaze me with their thoughts and ideas and knowledge. It makes teaching fun. Stay tuned for more updates as we progress. We'll continue gathering information and will be deciding how to put together a final product to share with the other two classes we're working with. (One in California and one in KUWAIT!)

Okay, I think you're up to date. For now. I think.

Publication Celebration Report

Friday's Publication Celebration was, in my humble opinion, a huge success. Hopefully you saw the "chapbook" of their stories. Everyone got one to take home. And hopefully you heard about how fun it was to eat a bunch of deliciously healthy fruit. (Except cantaloupe. I did not know they aren't big on cantaloupe.)

Special thanks to all who sent in donations (especially first grade teacher Mr. Kefgen, who donated an entire fruit tray as a way of thanking us for helping his students with their reading project in March--read more and see photos HERE) and to Keturah's family who stopped by to enjoy the food and the tall tale readings given by many of the students. 

My camera battery died early on, so I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of everyone. But here are the shots I did take--mostly of the children acting silly while stuffing their faces:

More Comments Needed

We have continued onto the next round with our persuasive writing project. The National Inventions Tournament is down to the last 8!

Please visit the blog where students have posted their writing and leave a comment on as many posts as possible with your votes:

There are complete instructions there about how to do it. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Please Help Us Win

There is a blog out there called "From the Mixed-Up Files...of Middle Grade Authors." It's written by several published children's authors and it's pretty cool. I follow it closely.

Well, they are having a contest. They're giving away a free Skype author visit in a random drawing next month. Here's where you come in. The more people that leave a comment on their blog that says: "I want Mr. Curran's in Detroit, MI class to win" the more entries we get in the drawing.

So here's what to do:

  1. Go to
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom down underneath all the comments. 
  3. Type your name and email in the boxes (you can leave the website blank or you can put this blog (
  4. In the comment box type something along the lines of "I want Mr. Curran's class in Detroit, MI to win!"
  5. Enter the little spam-blocker code and click SUBMIT COMMENT.
Each one of you that comments increases our chances of winning. So, please pass this along to friends and family members and maybe, just maybe we'll have an author visiting us via Skype! THANKS!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Celebrating National Poetry Month

April is one of my favorite months. The start of baseball season, the hockey playoffs, spring (finally...I think!), and National Poetry Month.

As you already know, we pretty much celebrate poetry month year round in Room 302. But in April I like to work on spreading the joy. This week we made signs to post all over the school. Students chose lines from poems that they really liked as the centerpieces for their signs.

Here's a video I put together that shows off their work. And if you're visiting the school, take a minute to stop, read, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Publication Celebration!

We'll be holding a Publication Celebration this Friday to celebrate the publication of our latest fiction writing project, tall tales. Just like we did with mysteries, we'll celebrate with some treats and share our stories. This will take place at 11:30 and parents are welcome to join in the fun.

In an effort to have a healthier type of party, I have chosen (to many students' chagrin) the theme to be: FRUIT. I'll be bringing in some chopped fruit. And maybe some other form of fruit treat. If you're able to send in anything fruit related (juice, fruit salad, some of that tasty fruit dip stuff, etc.) please fill out the form below.

New Field Trip

Friday, April 29 at 10:00 we will be walking to the Detroit Institute of Arts for a field trip. We're taking this trip to celebrate the end of National Poetry Month. We'll be searching for works of art that can inspire our poems. The poems we write for this project will be put together as a project that will have to be presented at the third Exhibition in June.

I'll need parent chaperones for this trip, so please let me know via phone or email if you're available to come with us.

 Oh, I forgot the best part...the cost of the trip will be zero! Yay Mr. Curran!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mark Your Calendars

April is National Poetry Month so, of course, we'll be celebrating that at school. But it also holds several other events that I want to post now so you can get them on your calendars:

  • Grades K-2-4 Spring Music Concert -- April 13
  • Spring Break -- No School April 18-25
  • Internet Safety Workshop (followed by Family Math Night) -- April 27
I'm sure there's more to be added, but that's a start.