Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Exhibition Sign Ups

Reminder at Exhibition, student will be presenting ONLY their interest project. Afterward, we will meet as a learning team. Use the form below to select a time:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Taking Control of Learning in Science Class

Students are in charge of the learning for the next few weeks in science class. Each group has a topic to explore (they got to choose) and then they'll demonstrate their learning. In education circles this is called "Student Directed Learning." I call it a great way to teach and learn in the 21st century.

So here's what I did...

The Michigan state standards for 5th grade that have to do with the topic of our unit, "Objects in the Sky," include the following big ideas:

  • Revolution and Rotation of the Earth
  • The Sun
  • The size of objects in the solar system
  • Gravity's effects on planets and the moon
  • Phases of the moon
  • Constellations & stars
  • Lunar and Solar Eclipses
  • Tides
  • Planets and the Solar System

Here's the search engine they're using to help their research. Using this will help narrow down the results. It only searches sites that I've picked out.

I can't wait to see what the students do with this. I think it will be tremendous.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two November 30 Items to Remember

The fall music concert will be held November 30. Students should report at 5:30. The concert will start in the gym at 6:00. I can't wait to hear what the students have to share and I look forward to seeing you there.

Also November 30, we are kicking off what I hope will be an annual event from now on...a holiday food drive. Please send in non-perishable food items so that UPA-Ellen Thompson can donate them to families in need this holiday season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Come on in!

You should definitely stop by to visit any time you want. But if you come in soon, you'll be able to see our two new bulletin boards.

It's a lot more exciting than it sounds...

One board has each student's pledge about how they're going to help keep our classroom and school bully free. The other is our Great Team board. Students will use the GT board to recognize acts of kindness and positivism that they observe. It's starting out empty, but it will fill up soon.

I'll post some pictures when I get the chance!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Onward with Learning!

Lots of new stuff is coming up in all subjects. Here's an update..

There has been so much improvement in math this year! Couldn't be more proud of all the hard work so many students have been putting in. We continue to press forward with word problems. These are so enormously important--that's why we're giving them so much attention. We'll continue to do so and continue to find new ways to help students "dominate" these problems as we move forward. We'll also be moving into fraction territory coming up in the second quarter.

This will depend somewhat on your child's reading teacher, so stay tuned for updates on that. I can tell you that (as I blogged about before) I'm sponsoring a new "Book of the Month" club featuring the theme Books from a Series. All students are invited (not required) to participate. Our first meeting will be Wednesday during lunch. There will be a small assignment to complete Wednesday morning that will serve as their "ticket."

We're going to get around to writing fantasy stories sooner or later. The 5th grade teachers and I have been looking for a good model to base this off of and it's proving a challenge. But I think we're close, so hopefully those will start soon. Also starting up soon will be this year's version of the "10 Things" project, which is titled "10 Places." Stay tuned for details and a complete handout. This will be something we work on in December and January.

Social Studies has wrapped up, with students covering the early history of North America. Now we're back into a science unit--Objects in the Sky. We'll be exploring the solar system and other fun and interstellar places.

Will be held in December! Details and sign-ups to come. But ONLY their interest project will be presented.

Poetry on Twitter

We are sharing lines from our latest poem on twitter today. The poem that inspired ours is an amazing one and I want to share it with you here:

Where I'm From by George Ella Lyons

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
          from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
          and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
          with a cottonball lamb
          and ten verses I can say myself.
I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee. 

From the finger my grandfather lost
          to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.

Pretty awesome, huh? The kids are doing a great job writing, too. Check out some of the lines from our poems on our twitter page!

Problem of the Week Vodcast #3

This week's Problem of the Week is a toughie. Hopefully this vodcast will help.

Here's the problem if you haven't seen it yet:

Find digits A and B in the number below so that the following conditions are true: The 5 digit number must be divisible by 4, it must be divisible by 9, and digit A cannot be the same as B...


Student have to write the number they came up with, show their work, and explain in writing the steps they took to solve the problem.

Here's the vodcast:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No POW This Week!

I mistakenly posted a due date of TODAY for Milestone Two. It's actually not due until next week! Whoopsie.

Couple of things on this...

  1. Sorry!
  2. Anyone that didn't turn it in today (there weren't many) can turn it in by next Thursday.
  3. To make up for this, I've cancelled POW.
Everyone makes mistakes, right? :-)

Subscribe Today!

Is your child in my reading class? If so, have you subscribed to my reading workshop blog yet? If not, please do so today!

That's where I've been posting assignments and work samples and all other sorts of great reading workshop information.

Just go to that blog: 20 Kinds of Awesome and enter your email address in the subscription box. I'm having a drawing for a free book on Monday...only kids whose parents have subscribed will be entered in the drawing!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

As you know, our first "book club of the month" (well, it was actually about 2 months, but that's okay) theme was "Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover." Participating students selected a book with an unattractive cover and then read it completely.

Along the way we had some lunch-time book club meetings where we talked about our books and completed a project. The project involved redesigning the cover using flickrCC and Picnik, an online photo editor. Check out the results:

Pretty cool. I'm actually going to print them out and glue them over the old covers so that future students will find the books more appealing. I think it was a great way for students to "Leave Their Mark."

Stay tuned for the next book club of the (two) month category: Series Books. AND coming in January, an exciting experiment, the Parent/Child book club.

(If you're viewing this in an email and the pictures aren't showing up, you may need to go directly to the blog to see them.)

Milestone 2

Milestone 2 is due tomorrow!

Milestone 2 requirements include:

  • 25 facts about the interest project
  • Facts must be written in own words
  • Can be written or typed
I think some students have been working on finding facts during technology class. Please just know that the facts need to be in their own words. No copying and pasting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Book Club Category!

The last book of the month (that lasted 2 months) category turned out amazingly well. I think we had about 13 out of 17 kids participate. So, for November and December, I'm announcing a new category: Books That are a Part of a Series.

Anyone that wants to participate should choose a book that's part of a series--it does NOT have to be the first book in the series--and start reading. We'll have some lunch-time meetings to discuss as we go along. Students will have to complete assignments in order to get invited to these meetings. Then, at the end, we'll complete a fun project. The book covers we made for the Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover looked really good. And the kids had fun thinking about how to better represent their books so that other kids might read them. I'm in the process of uploading all of those so I can share them with you and so I can print them out and recover the old covers with them.

So why am I doing all this? Don't they read in their reading classes? Well, of course they do, but I'm just trying this out to do a little extra to boost interest in reading and to give them more chances to talk about books and to just have fun while reading. I want them to be lifelong readers. One of the things I like to do most often when I have free time (not as often as I would like, of course) is to read. Books have made a difference in my life and I want to help instill that.

So encourage your child to pick out a series book to borrow from me or the library. There's soo many of them out there.

And stay tuned for my idea for the January Book of the Month club...a Parent/Child Book Group!!!! Details soon.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Camp Fundraiser Begins!

A letter and fundraising brochure should have come home today. Everything in the brochure is $5. Cash and Bridge Card only. (If you have someone who wants to pay with the Bridge Card, please contact me and I'll tell you what you need to do).

50 percent of whatever your child sells goes DIRECTLY toward their camp bill. Camp this year costs $150, so if you sell 60 items ($300 worth), the trip to camp is free!!!

Order forms are due December 7 and the candy will arrive before Christmas break. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Week's POW

This week's problem is pretty straightforward, so I don't think a vodcast is necessary. Staying neat and organized IS necessary, though. The problem is coming home tonight and is due Friday. Here it is, in case you need a copy:

A huge movie multiplex is divided into 12 theaters. There are 270 seats in Theaters 1-5, and there are 150 more seats in each of Theaters 6-10 than in each of Theaters 1-5.  Theaters 11-12 combined have 6 times as many seats as Theater 4.
Question 1: How many seats in all?
Question 2: If the theater sells a ticket for every seat and each ticket is $9, how much will they make?