Friday, September 30, 2011

A Hello from Seoul, South Korea

Today we were lucky enough to get a video from our buddies in South Korea

Thea helps out Mumford and Sons

Newsletter September 30, 2011

MathWe are in the middle of the second unit which is all about numbers.  We have worked with adding and subtracting whole numbers with decimals and will soon start to work with multiplication of such numbers.  Students need to know their math facts so please have them practice if they are not secure in the.
Social Studies – We started our new social studies curriculum this week with projects, discussion of reading strategies, particularly compare and contrast, as well as projects for some.  We love how we are getting to work with smaller groups, really focusing in on the comprehension strategies as well as all of the great information for them to explore.  Groups will be reshuffled every chapter depending on how a child needs to be challenged.
Reading – The second week of the Global Read Aloud has been great.  We skyped with three 4th grade classrooms in Ohio, who had wonderful questions for us and we did a lot of predicting and summarizing in here.  Our buddies in South Korea also created a video for us, which can be seen on our website.  We are currently working on the strategy of asking questions, which the students are very good at.
Writing We are still blogging, the students know that they can ask to blog during recess and many are taking me up on that opportunity to not have to do it at home.  We are also journaling, where I encourage the students to use more difficult words and simply circle them if they are unsure of the spelling.  Most kids are finding enough time in the morning to get their spelling work done, however, some are handing it in late.  They all have the option of bringing it home and work on it there if they feel they need more time.  Spelling is an essential skill for all people and it is something they have to practice.    
Science – We are halfway through variables and had a lot of fun with our lifeboats this week.  Students created hypotheses, tested them and then graphed their results to make predictions.  We are working on using our science language to show our understanding as well.
Special Notes
* Our video goes live on Monday and I will send the link for you to vote on it (if you want to vote for us).  It was incredible for me to hear what the kids would spend the $10,000 on if we won.  They had ideas from fun stuff like tree houses, carpet, more computers to things like more books for the library or fixing the gym floor.
* Blogging is going really well and we now have gotten more than 400 comments on the blogs.  I am in touch with several teachers across the world that are watching our blog for ideas and to see how the kids are developing in their writing.  We had a 3rd grade classroom constructively critique our blog posts this week, which was a wonderful learning opportunity for all of the kids.  We will be doing the same for them.
* We are having some issues with filling out assignment notebooks in the switching of the rooms so for the month of October all students have to have their assignment notebook checked by their math and social studies/reading teacher.  This is to secure the habit of writing down your homework in the room you are in but after October the responsibility falls back on the student.
* The students were great with the sub and I am finally feeling better.  I am so looking forward to a full week with the kids next week with no sub in our room.
* Dates for your calendar:  PTO Back to School Hawaiian Party Night is Friday, September 30th 6 PM,  Scholastic Book Fair runs October 10th through  the 13th with family night on the 11th, Picture Re-Take day is October 21st , CRT is Wednesday, October 27th and No School Thursday October 28th and Friday, October 29th.

A Land Region Report - One Group's Project in Social Studies

Chapter 1 Writing Activity Guideline
Write a Report

Writing Prompt:  Choose two land regions you have read about in this chapter.  Then write a report that compares and contrasts the two regions discussing climate, geography, landforms, and lifestyles.  Tell about the history of the land regions, as well as what makes them a region.  Provide facts, details, and examples in your report.

Step 1.        Compare and contrast your two chosen land regions by recording their similarities and differences in a chart.  Include differences in climate and geography.
-         Look at the region map on page 16 and 17 for clues.  Use other illustrations to gather more information.
-         In your textbook, find descriptions of what makes a region its own and what sets it apart. 
Step 2.       Use your chart to make an outline for your report.  Think about how to organize the information.  Include an introductory and a closing section.

Step 3.       Use your outline and chart to write a draft of your report.  Make sure you are highlighting similarities and differences between the two regions (compare and contrast).
Step 4.       Review your work to make sure you have divided the information into paragraphs by topic.  Also, check to make sure that used correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

Step 5.        Make all necessary changes and prepare your final report

A Land Region Book - One Groups Project in Social Studies

Chapter 1 Writing Activity Guideline
A Land Region Book

Write and also illustrate a book comparing and contrasting the Land Regions discussed in the chapter.

Step 1.        Decide how you want to organize your book.  For
example, you could discuss each region in a section by itself, or you could do a section on climate, one on geography and so on. 

Step 2.       Use information you learned from your textbook. 
-         Make a list of all of the regions you will include in your book.
-         Use maps and descriptions from your textbook to find out where each region is and what makes them special.  Write notes to yourself about the landforms and the climate.
-         Study pictures and descriptions from your textbook to find and list details about each region. 

Step 3.       Use your lists to prepare the pages of your land regions book.  Remember that this is an illustrated book, so you should include drawings with captions.  You should also include charts, maps, and other types of pictures. 

Step 4.       Review your work.  Does your book illustrate how the land regions are similar and different?  Are your text and artwork historically correct?

Step 5.        Make any necessary changes or additions to prepare your final land regions book.  Put the pages in the correct order.

Step 6.       Follow the directions to make your land regions books cover.  Remember to include a book title on the cover.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adventures on September 28th

Highlights of the Day
1 Finding out what our social studies project is
2 Skyping with a class in Ohio
3 NOT running the mile
4 Having oranges for a snack
5 Finishing the technology project
6 Eating some apple crumble for lunch

Chapters 1-10 Predictions and Thoughts

Here are some of our thoughts on chapters 1 - 10 for the Global Read Aloud

Mae Tuck says, "Things just are, and fussing don't bring changes."

We feel she is talking about that even if you do complain, nothing is going to ever change.  So it is what is and you can't change it.  Maybe after living so long, she has gotten wiser, so she just lives with it.

The Toad
Is he sort of the man in the yellow suit?  Or is he just a magical creature that was created by a witch?  Karina
Maybe the toad drank from the spring too? Anna K
I think the toad can hear what the people are saying so maybe he can do some stuff for the man in the yellow suit, so he is like a spy.  Abby
The toad is a spy for the yellow suit guy and he has a secret camera on him to spy on the Foster's and the Tuck's.  Sophia Bo

The toad drank the water from the spring.  Sarah
The man in the yellow suit and the Toad are working together as spies.  Keller
The Toad was sent to keep an eye on Winnie by the man in the yellow suit, so he was trained.  Emily

The man in the yellow suit will expose the secret and then they will blame it on Winnie.  So something bad may happen to her but in the end they will find out it is not her.  Jordan 
Winnie is going to go back to her family.  Alex
Winnie is going to find the toad somewhere.  Kyra
The toad is going to speak to Winnie and tell her to leave.  Sean
When Winnie goes back home, she is going to stand up for herself and tell them that she does not like being bossed around.  Emily
A tornado is going to come and bring them back into time to when the spring was first there.  Sophia Bo

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The New and Improved NorthEast


Zooming into the MidWest

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Amazing West

SouthEast Region

The kids created Animoto's for the different regions in the USA as part of social studies

Newsletter September 23, 2011

Math – We had our first math test and the kids did well, the results will be sent home next week with a breakdown checklist for your child’s progress. The next unit and shuffling of the kids takes place on Monday where we go into estimation and computation. Kids are quickly realizing that if they do not know their math facts they are a massive disadvantage; please have them practice when you can.
Social Studies – We are finishing our Animoto project today for the US land regions and then getting ready to start switching rooms on Tuesday for social studies. We are incredible excited to also teach literacy skills through social studies and cannot wait to get our students started on projects and deeper learning.
Science – We are working on variables; what they are and how we control them. We changed variables in pendulums and discovered that so far the only thing that made a difference was when we changed the length of the string. Now we are looking at lifeboats and capacity.
Reading – Literacy assessments went well and I am wrapping them up in the classroom as well. The Global Read Aloud started and the kids are very engaged with Tuck Everlasting. We even get to Skype with a 4th grade class in Virginia today. We have also worked on visualization, connections, and discussed whether we would want to live forever – most of the kids said no. We made a video for our blogging buddies in South Korea too and are excited to hear back from them.
Writing – Most kids have finished their blogging challenges for the week, they are posted Friday night and then due the following Friday. I always allow kids to stay in during recess to get it done if they want. While I do check for spelling on the blogs, they are not graded; the students use them as a way to connect with the world and do receive feedback on them. I will often leave a private comment to the student if they have major changes to make but otherwise the blog works as an electronic trail for me to see their growth as writers as well.
Special Notes –
* Thank you so much for all of the kind words sent my way on the news of my nomination. The kids have been involved in some videos but we also have a lot of curriculum to work on, so there is a fine balance there.
* Thank you so much everyone for the book orders, they are slowly trickling in and I cannot wait to have the kids decide which books to add to our library.
* The back to school dance is next Friday and Thea and I cannot wait to get our groove on. We are incredibly thankful for all of the support we get from the PTO and can’t wait to see all of you there.
* If your child is involved in any after school activities and have a big game, performance or something like that coming up – let me know. I like to come and see and so do other kids in the classroom.
* My door is always open so if you are wondering what goes on in our room, feel free to stop by.
* This classroom is really buzzing with excitement over what we are doing. I am thrilled to see the kids come together as a community and really representing us well wherever they go. I have gotten countless compliments on how well they are behaved from the specials teachers as well.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Sub for 5th grade planning time on Monday September 26th 11:45 to end of day, New math unit starts Monday September 26th, and new social studies starts Tuesday, September 27th, All of the videos for the Teach Off are due the 28th, PTO Back to School Hawaiian Party Night is Friday, September 30th 6 PM, Scholastic Book Fair runs October 10th through the 13th with family night on the 11th, Picture Re-Take day is October 21st.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Would You Want To Live Forever?

Adventures on September 22

We've had a lot of fun today. Today, in the morning,we found out that Mrs.Ripp has a chance with nine other teachers to win 10,000 dollars for our school/classroom. She made some video clips with us today for that contest. ( I hope we win!) We read more of Tuck Everlasting for the Global read aloud and were all asked : If you could live forever, would you? Most of us said no. We also had a writing assignment, on how to make a PB and J sandwich. It was very fun!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some $10,000 News

Just thought I would share some incredible news I received today.  I was told today that I have been picked as one of 10 national finalists in the Great American Teach Off.

I have no idea why I was picked out of thousands of nominees but I was and the classroom is now in the running for a $10,000 classroom grant to spend however we like.

While I am humbled, flabbergasted and very excited I need your help.  I have a week to create 5 videos, all 90 seconds long, answering these 5 questions (one video each)
 -How am I an innovative teacher -
What I'm doing to make a difference -
Best teaching tops for teachers across America
-Endorsement from a parent or peer
-What I would do with $10,000 for my classroom  

The videos will then be posted on the website and the American public get to vote for their favorite over the course of 5 weeks.  Each week 2 people get voted off from the least amount of votes and so on until one winner stands.  (voting doesn't start until October 3rd and I will be sending you the link to vote no worries).  I am hoping to feature the kids in these videos since I am not sure I am innovative but the kids certainly are.  

I need your help with the fourth video, I have already contacted Mindy Sabol to hopefully get you guys involved in making that 4th video about the parents.  So if you would be willing to say something about me and the classroom, I am would be honored.  Also if you know of other parents that have anything to say let me know.  I am going to have to get these videos together by the 28th and would love any help I can get.

Adventures of Sept 21

  • Today we get out of school at 11:00 am.                                                                                                 
  • In science we built life boats 
  • We are are listen to a book called Tuck Everlasting
  • We went on to a kid science website and did some science stuff
  • We were playing with weights                                                                                                                

Sweet Science Simulations

We played around with an awesome science site today.

Here is the link

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello Team Justice in Seoul, South Korea!

We are so excited to have blogging buddies in Seoul, South Korea!

Adventures on September 20th

  • after math I got to blog
  • we got to work on our social studies project
  • we started the global read aloud today
  • we didn't have to run the mile today
  • my dad is coming home from Chicago tonight
                                                                                                 written by,


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thea Plays a Song for Daddy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Newsletter September 16th

September 16 2011
Math – We have our first math test on Thursday and then the students get reshuffled for the new unit starting on Monday the 26th. Math fact scores are continuing to improve by leaps and bounds, keep practicing!
Social Studies – We have big news in social studies as it will be flipped to the end of the day, an hour each day. Our new curriculum is a fantastic way to teach reading strategies, as well as to do guided reading and we are excited to use this as a vehicle to tech the students to be better readers. Students will be in small groups and they may have any of us as their teachers. The grouping will start on the 26th as well. Until then we are working on US geography with a scavenger hunt as well as an Animoto project on the US Regions.
Science – We are working on variables; what they are and how we control them. So far we have been swinging pendulums and will change their variables today.
Reading – We start the Global Read Aloud project on Monday and we shared our predictions yesterday for the book. David wrote a wonderful blog post on our class website highlighting our predictions. We have also been inferring in our classroom looking at pictures and trying to build the story as well as writing an article to the headline “Teacher Throws Student Out of School!” I do literacy assessments on Monday so Mrs. Johnston will be in the room all day subbing for me. We are up to 6 minutes of stamina, we will get to 30 soon.
Writing – We are blogging like crazy. And the kids got 98 comments on the first day of blogging! We have already connected with people from Canada, Guatemala, and New Zealand. We are also journaling almost every day and it is wonderful for me to see the students work on their spelling in their journal.
Special Notes –
* I am still experiencing that some parents are not receiving my emails so for any group emails I will be trying to switch to the Infinite Campus messenger instead. This means you will get something that looks a little strange from school message.
* Please consider leaving your child a comment on our blog, they get so excited to see questions and comments. Thank you so much to those of you who already have.
* Did you see us in the Middleton Times Tribune yesterday? There was a little write up about us starting the Global read Aloud. The journalist will also be coming out to take a picture of us at some point for the paper. The article can also be found on our website.
*Please make sure you read the CRT slip coming home today, they are very different this year!
* The classroom calendar is continually updated, please view it on our website to see when there is a sub, parties, early release or anything else going on. Also, if your child has a cool event you would like to invite others to, let me know and I will put it on the classroom calendar. I try to go to these things as well whenever Thea allows it.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Sub for literacy assessment on Monday, September 19th. The first CRT is September 21st so there will be early release that day at 11:00, PTO Back to School Hawaiian Party Night is September 30th, Scholastic Book fair is October 10th through the 13th, , Family night is Tuesday, October 11th 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM.

A Message from GT

Please plan on attending this meeting if you would like to hear about our district-wide gifted and talented programming, as well as a variety of community opportunities available in our area. We plan to hold breakout sessions about the following:

The Value of Games - ages 3 to adult
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Outreach – grades 6th -9th
Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY) – elementary-high school
Young Shakespeare Players – ages 7 and Up
BadgerBots and Lego League – elementary-middle grades
Destination Imagination – kindergarten-12th grade
Middleton-Cross Plains Math Programming – kindergarten-5th grade
MadCAP – Creative Performing Arts Center – elementary-high school
Enrichment Activities for Young Children – kindergarden-2nd grade

Evening’s Agenda
6:30-6:50 General Overview of the District’s Gifted & Talented Program
6:53-7:13 Breakout Session 1
7:16-7:36 Breakout Session 2
7:40-8:00 Breakout Session 3

We Are in the Paper

Yesterday, the Middleton Times Tribune had an article about us and the Global Read Aloud.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mrs. Ripp's class' predictions about Tuck Everlasting

We are going to read Tuck Everlasting and here are some predictions by our class.

1. Someone who lives forever but then doesn't want to live forever. Sophia Ba
2. A guy that doesn't have any friends so he doesn't want to live forever. Sarah
3. A turtle that wants to live forever. Kyra
4. It's about a girl who's grandparents die and she hopes they will live forever. Keller
5. It's about a girl who can stay young. Anna
6. A boy that doesn't think he has a future so he doesn't want to live forever but then he meets a girl and they learn that they can live forever together. Jordan
7.A girl who has a toad and he wants the toad to live forever, and the toad's name is Tuck. Michael
8. A boy to which a bad storm happens and his whole family dies but he survives and lives forever. Anna K
9. The girl's mom or dad try to find the secret to eternal life so maybe one of them dies and she is going to carry on their work. Sophia B
10. A girl who can live forever but sometimes she doesn't want to. Alysha

I am really exited about the Global Read Aloud. It sounds really fun and I am really anxious to find out!

Prime and Composite Numbers

My math group kids created a video to show prime and composite numbers around the school

Thea is ready to drive

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Classroom Vision

The students came together today and created their classroom vision for the year. It was a lot of fun to hear what they hold important and how they chose to illustrate it.

Newsletter September 9, 2011

Welcome to our first weekly newsletter! This should give you an idea of where we have been and where we are going in our classroom. What a journey we are on!

Math – In 5th grade math we started with our regular Everyday Math curriculum Tuesday and also with daily fact tests. This unit is about number theory and we have dabbled with factors and arrays so far. The students have been going to their groups for math and they are reporting that they are really liking the shuffling of teachers. We have also decided to extend our math block into resource time to offer the students a chance to meet with teachers and get help if they need it. 6th grade math kids are working super hard with Ms. Weber since they keep telling me they have no homework, way to go!

Science – Science starts on Monday with some liquid experiments and then we start variables, which is a great unit that allows us a peak into controlling experiments as well as how to write a research paper.
Social Studies – Social studies start next week with our first unit on US geography. This ties in perfectly with the start of blogging as well as we need those math skills to map our connections. I will be out for social studies training on Wednesday afternoon.

Reading – We have slowly started building stamina for reading. It is quite a sight seeing 23 students all sitting quietly and reading and often I get protests when I ask them to return to their seats. We are working on the first reading strategy; monitoring comprehension with class discussion and practice. We will work through all 6 strategies before we start guided reading with flex groups and shuffling. Literacy assessments also start next week so we will have a sub all day on Monday the 19th.

Writing - We did paper blogs this week to get us ready to start blogging on Monday. We had our first discussion on internet safety – the results can be seen on our website. We have also started our daily journals, I asked the students what color 5th grade is and they had very creative answers. The Global Read Aloud starts on the 19th, and we have more than 3,000 kids signed up.

Special Notes –
* You can reach me by calling my voicemail at 829.9374. Please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions and/or concerns. Communication between us is REALLY important to the success of your child. Please don’t hesitate to call or email me!

* We have had an amazing first week and a half together and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am over being this class’ teacher. They are working hard as a group and are already creating a welcoming and exciting learning environment. We have spent some time on procedures and getting to know each other, and I am confident that this is going to be an incredible year filled with growth for all of these students.

* Check out our website for great videos from the classroom as well as other information. From now on the newsletter will be posted there every Friday.

* If you have not received an email from me, something is not working. I have sent group emails almost every day and am getting some error messages. Please contact me if you are not getting the emails.

* The PTO is having their first meeting in the library on September 15th at 7 PM. The back to school dance will be September 30th and Thea and I will be there for sure getting our groove on.

* The classroom calendar is continually updated, please view it on our website to see when there is a sub, parties, early release or anything else going on. Also, if your child has a cool event you would like to invite others to, let me know and I will put it on the classroom calendar. I try to go to these things as well whenever Thea allows it.

* Orchestra will be Friday mornings at 9:30 AM – notes went home this week. Band starts on the 19th and I have all of the schedules here. Let me know if you would like to see the schedule, I can email it to you.
We welcome a new student on Monday. Alysha will be joining us and she hails from North Carolina, we are excited to meet her!

* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Sub on Wednesday September 14th PM only, Picture day is September 16th this year, Sub for literacy assessment on Monday, September 19th. The first CRT is September 21st so there will be early release that day at 11:19, PTO Back to School Hawaiian Party Night is September 30th.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We Are Working on Paper Blogs

We are getting ready to blog and have to do our paper blogs to learn how to write and comment on blogs.  The kids really do a great job personalizing and taking care with their blogs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Students Share Why the Internet is Like the Mall

The students decided to share their conversation on why they feel the internet is like the mall and how we can set safety rules to follow:
At the mall,
  • We don't talk to strangers because we don't know them.
  • Don't go to random places because you don't know what will happen there, it may be inappropriate, a virus, or dangerous.
  • Don't follow strangers even if they promise you candy. This means don't click on pop up links.
  • Don't agree to meet strangers outside of the mall.
  • Go where you are supposed to go.
  • Don't be fooled by how nice something looks.
  • If you end up somewhere you shouldn't, just leave. On the internet close out the window or hit the back button.Check out where you are going before you go there and make sure your teacher/parent approves.
  • Don't give out personal information, first name only and no address.
  • Ask for permission before you go somewhere new.
  • Don't believe someone is a friend of a friend.
  • Don't share your password.
This was published on my professional blog as well to help other teachers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A First Day Challenge

The kids were given their very first challenge today

A Couple of Notes

Hello everyone,
Just a couple of things that I may or may not have mentioned during yesterday's orientation.
  • Snack:  students are encouraged to bring in their own snacks every day following the district snack policy.  Snack will be whenever they are hungry, except for not during science or working with computers.
  • Water bottle:  The kids get thirsty from all the discussions we have.  I encourage every child to bring in a water bottle.
  • Take Home Envelopes:  Every Friday (except for today) the students will bring home their take home envelope with their number on it.  All communication from the office will be placed in these.  Please empty them and sen them back to school no later than Tuesday.
  • Bus notes:  All students need to have a note for the bus driver if they are going on a different bus or getting off at a different stop.  Please send these in with your child so the office can sign them.
  • If you did not get my test email it means I don't have your email address or I entered it wrong.  Please send me an email so I can put you in my system.
We are having a terrific day!  I am putting together a video of a chair challenge we did earlier today.  The kids are just working so well together.  I have the best job in the world.  Have a great weekend!