Thursday, December 20, 2012

When There is a Blizzard

Thea insisted on wearing her swim goggles outside.

Newsletter December 20, 2012


What a way to start the break.  I am actually bummed that we will not have school Friday; we had such a great day planned.  However, the weather definitely had its own plans.  Thank you so much for the incredible 2 months back I have had.  I am thoroughly enjoying the students and all the great learning that is happening.  I am excited for 2013 and all of the great adventures we will have.
Math – We will take the test either Wednesday or Thursday when we get back, I have to finalize a plan with Mr. Getz and Mr. Wichser and will let you know.  We will still have a fraction celebration with a pizza lunch, that will probably happen Friday the 4th. 
Science – We did not get to do the super tube challenge so we will find the time when we get back. We have started investigating planes and the students are getting a great grasp of what it means to have a system in a controlled experiment. 
Social Studies – We finished the Explorers and now move into Plymouth and the first colony.  We will be furthering our knowledge through readers theatre and also start to practice note taking - a great skill needed in life.
Reading – We wrapped up fairy tales with the sad story of The Little Mermaid; you could have heard a pin drop in the classroom on those last few pages.  My mother regaled us with many stories of Hans Christian Andersen and I was so proud of how great the questions were that the students asked.  they were definitely into the presentation.  After break we will focus on tearing apart vocabulary and different vocabulary tricks writers use.  I have signed us up for Biblionasium.com which I cannot wait to use with the students to see what they are reading and share great books with them.  I will also be starting literacy assessments soon.
Writing – The essay unit finished this week with students needing to share their essays with me via Google docs.  Our next unit will focus on writing big stories, so back into fiction.  I cannot wait to see my students' imagination at play.  There is no blogging challenge over break, although we just got 130 comments today, i do hope the students feel like sharing stories if they have them.
Special Notes –
* What an incredibly special moment it was to have Joel Stave in our classroom last Friday.  I wish you could have seen the faces of the kids.  Joel was a very gracious and kind presenter, and he even wrote us a very heartfelt thank you email.  We sent him a very arge envelope filled to the brim with thank you cards yesterday.  
* Geography bee will start when we get back, we did not get to it this week. I keep track of the scores and pass them onto Ms. Weber who will let me know after the 4th whether any kids made it in.
* There will be no homework over break, I hope the students will blog and read but that is it.  This is their chance to gear up for the second half of 5th grade.
* How to presentations have been informative so far.  It is great to see the diversity in what the students choose to do and how proud they are.  We have had really great live and videotaped ones.  I do apologize if the media component became bothersome for you as parents, that was not my intention.
*  Thank you so much for the much too generous Christmas presents, I always tell the kids that they are my best presents and it is true.
* MAP testing starts after break on the afternoons of January 7th and January 8th.
* Thea is actively pointing at every single toy she sees and asking Santa to get it for her, particular anything pink and sparkly.  We love the holidays and cannot wait to see her face on Christmas. 
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd, new math groups Friday, January 4th, Yahara final versions are due to me Friday, January 4th,   MAP testing January 7th and 8th at 1:00 PM, No school Monday, January 21st and Monday, January 28th.

Yahara Cover Contest

If you would like to enter the Yahara River Cover Contest, here are the details:

  • Must say Yahara River Writers 2013
  • Only on white paper 
  • Only in black pen/marker
  • You can also enter for the inside covers: poetry, short story, editorial, and cartoon - then the cover has to have that name on it.
  • All submissions due to Mrs. Ripp by Friday, January 4th.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

And Then We Played Football












Friday, December 14, 2012

Joel Stave Visited Us Today

And he even played football with the kids, what a wonderful role model for the kids.

Some Pictures From Our Room Today

All of the wonderful holiday greetings we have received from around the country


A sea of Wisconsin shirts as students do science

Newsletter December 14, 2012


MathWe are almost done with unit 5, my favorite unit, and will have the test on Friday.  If your child will be absent please let me know so that they can take the test before the break.  We will also celebrate the end of the unit with a pizza lunch on Friday.  Please send in $3 with your child to cover lunch.  The next unit is about collecting and processing data.
Science We are trying to figure out lifeboat capacities and will be inspecting each other’s boats today.  Next week, we will have our first challenge of the year; the super tube challenge.  Thank you for sending in all of the paper tubes.
Social Studies – I continue to push the students in their expectations for work and projects.  We have started presenting our mini-explorer projects and have discussed how we could make them better.  Students are evaluating their peers along with me, which leads them to think about what makes a great product.
Reading fairy tales are wrapping up with a final focus on Hans Christian Andersen.  Being Danish, we were raised with his fairytales so I am thrilled to share them with the students.  My mother, Nete, happens to be a professor at UW who teaches a very popular class on Hans Christian Andersen, so she will be coming out to do a guest presentation for us on Wednesday.
Writing The essay unit is winding down and we are looking forward to starting our next big unit; writing fiction!  I love how quickly the students have become adept at using Google Docs as this will certainly serve them well in the future.  This week’s blogging challenge has been a great read, please do take a moment to read them and leave us a comment.
Special Notes
* We are working hard in 5th grade and I love seeing how the kids are banding together to form their community.  I have the best job in the world and it is because of these kids!
* Winter party will take place Friday, December 21st at 1:00 PM.  It does not look like there will be any snow for sledding so we will figure out other choices for the kids. 
* Geography bee starts next week during resource time, I keep track of the scores and pass them onto Ms. Weber who will let me know after break whether any kids made it in.
* There will be no homework over break, I hope the students will blog and read but that is it.  This is their chance to gear up for the second half of 5th grade.
*  We are reading so many great books in 5th, I have been passing on all books I am reading to students and will update reviews on our website as well.
* Congratulations to all of our students in the spelling bee.  3 of our students made it in to the district spelling!
* We have our mystery guest coming today, I hope the kids like his story.
* MAP testing starts after break on the afternoons of January 7th and January 8th.
* There will be a sub in the afternoon on Tuesday as I meet with Mr. Getz and Mr. Wichser to plan literacy.
* Thea is actively pointing at every single toy she sees and asking Santa to get it for her, particular anything pink and sparkly.  We love the holidays and cannot wait to see her face on Christmas. 
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Sub in the afternoon Tuesday, December 18th, Guest lecturer Wednesday, December 19th at 1 PM, Winter Party is December 21st at 1:00 PM, winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd, new math groups Wednesday, January 2nd, Yahara final versions are due to me Friday, January 4th,   MAP testing January 7th and 8th at 1:00 PM, No school Monday, January 21st and Monday, January 28th.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Project on Magellan


Friday, December 7, 2012

How To Presentations


One of the goals in 5th grade is to get students ready to present on topics, which definitely counts as a lifelong needed skill.  We have therefore decided that the students need to teach each other something through their presentation.


Here are some guidelines:
  • The presentations can be either filmed and shown to the class or done live in class.
  • All of the presentations will start Wednesday Dec. 19th
  • Presentations do not have to be longer than 2 to 3 minutes
  • Students will be evaluated on how loud and clear they spoke to their audience, how they presented, and whether they kept it interesting (rubrics will be provided).  This will be a combination of peer evaluation and teacher evaluation.
  • Topic is student's choice, as long as we learn how to do something.
  • Past presentations have been on how to score a hockey goal, how to ice a cupcake, how to fold origami etc.
Here is the rubric we will use to evaluate.



4
3
2
1
Enthusiasm
Facial expressions and body language generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.
Facial expressions and body language sometimes generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.
Facial expressions and body language are used to try to generate enthusiasm, but seem somewhat faked.
Very little use of facial expressions or body language. Did not generate much interest in topic being presented.
Preparedness
Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.
Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.


The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.
Student does not seem at all prepared to present.
Speaks Clearly
Speaks clearly and distinctly all (100-95%) the time, and mispronounces no words.
Speaks clearly and distinctly all (100-95%) the time, but mispronounces some words.
Speaks clearly and distinctly most (94-85%) of the time. Mispronounces several words
Often mumbles or can not be understood.
Body Language
Stands up straight, looks relaxed and confident. Establishes eye contact with everyone in the room during the presentation.
Stands up straight and establishes eye contact with everyone in the room during the presentation.
Sometimes stands up straight and establishes eye contact.
Slouches, fidgets, and/or does not look at  people during the presentation.


Volume
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members throughout the presentation.
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members at least 90% of the time.
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members at least 80% of the time.
Volume often too soft to be heard by all audience members.
Topic
Shows a full understanding of the topic.
Shows a good understanding of the topic.
Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.
Does not seem to understand the topic very well.
Content
Successfully taught the class a skill or showed them how to do something
Mostly successful at teaching or showing the skill to the class.
Somewhat successful at teaching or showing the skill to the class.
Limited success in teaching or showing the class the skill.




Yahara River Writers Contest


December is the month students can work on their submissions to the Yahara River Writers Contest.  We have gone over the details in class and the deadline for submission is the day we come back from winterbreak, january 2nd.

Formatting Requirements for short story:
Maximum 850 words
Font is Times New Roman, 12 point size
Margins:  1 inch on all sides
Double-spaced
Title:  Times New Roman, boldface; 14 point
NO NAME should appear on the final version

Formatting Requirements for editorial:
Maximum 475 words
Font is Times New Roman, 12 point size for body
Margins:  1 inch on all sides
Double-spaced
Title:  Times New Roman, boldface; 14 point
NO NAME should appear on the final version


This is a county-wide contest where 33 school districts in the area send submissions. All entries will be judged and the top ten in each category, per grade level, will be selected.  From each top ten group, a first and second place entry will be identified.  All top ten entries will be published in the Yahara River Writers Anthology. and all authors of top ten entries will be invited to attend a workshop on the UW Campus.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Newsletter December 7, 2012


MathWe are working our way through fractions and boy are there a lot of pages to this unit.  We have also restarted fact tests with many students testing out on their first attempt.  To celebrate the end of the fraction unit, we will have pizzas for lunch on December 21st.  Please send in $3 with your child to cover pizza and juice.
Science Students have been discussing variables in their swingers as we try to figure out what it means to control our experiments.  Next week we get to work with lifeboats and fake passengers as we discover capacity and environment in variables.
Social Studies – Students are finishing their self-led explorer inquiries.  I love the moments in my room where I am not needed because all of the students are so engaged in their project.  Students will present their projects starting Tuesday and will also have to have a way to assess their peers’ learning.
Reading We learned about cause and effect through Hansel & Gretel, Determining Importance with the Story of the Three Bears and also Little Red Riding Hood and I am loving our small groups as well.  Students cannot wait for read aloud; Harry just got sorted into Gryffindor, and many have volunteered to read all the new books in our library.  Students have to vouch for them for them to be placed in the library.  I love the enthusiasm there is with reading.       
Writing We are conferring, adding honesty to our writing, and also slowly getting ready to type our essays.  We have discovered more tools that great writers use such as honest word choices and repeating certain phrases.  We have also blogged about the one thing we would do this holiday to make someone happy; these are definitely worth a read as many of the blogs involve our families.
Special Notes
* We have been hard at work on our greeting card; I continue to be amazed at the artistry of some of the students in here.  Wow, what creativity!  We cannot wait to start receiving some of our own.    
* We have access to Google apps!  All students can now access their Google Drive from home, all they have to do is go to the district web page, click “For Students” and then click “Google Apps.”  Students are already sharing presentations and working on them simultaneously, as well as sharing their finished products with me.  No more losing unsaved work or not being able to work on something at home if you want to.
* Our holiday party will be a joint effort by all 5th grades.  We will do treats in here at 1 PM and at 1:30 PM if there is snow we will go sledding, if there is no snow there will be choices like board games or crafts for the students to do.
* Something amazing to see is when the kids teach each other how to do certain things in the classroom.  With Voki.com, Animoto.com, and Google Apps being introduced this week there has been quite a bit of sharing and “Hey, check this out!”  This is my absolute favorite thing to see in the classroom – curiosity!
* Our cameras, video cameras, and even a Livescribe pen are on their way and should be ready for us to use after the holiday break.  This is all due to the grant I received earlier this year from the Meemic Foundation; we are thrilled to get these tools in our hands to support and show off our learning.
* Thea cannot make up her mind when it comes to what Santa should bring her so she has decided to also put in requests from the babies.  So far Oskar really wants a sparkly Barbie doll and Ida wants Polly Pockets according to Thea.
* It was great to see so many of you at the Winter Tea, what a great event put on by the PTO!
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Spelling Bee Monday, December 10th at 8:30 AM, Sub in the morning December 11th, Winter Party is December 21st at 1:30 PM (we are hoping it will be a sledding party) and winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Newsletter November 30th, 2012


MathWe finished unit 4 and this so far this is the most laborious test with plenty of opportunities for the students to have silly mistakes.  We were thrilled to see how many kids felt more secure in division and know that we will continue to keep an eye on all the skills.  So far the test will be December 21st.   Since the trimester ends today, all students have to test out of fact tests again.  We will start these on Monday.
Science We have started variables, however, with the extreme loss of my voice we couldn’t do more experiments this week.  So next week, we are back on it with more swinger experiments based on student predictions.
Social Studies – We debated whether Columbus was a hero or a villain to much success and excitement.  We also then started our student created project exploring particular explorers and did our very first mystery Skype.   I love hearing kids say that they love social studies! 
Reading We started our blood dripping gruesome fairytales unit this week to discuss moral, themes, story elements and just have a great time in reading.  My favorite part is tearing the original fairytale apart and having the kids think about the lesson it teaches kids,, such as that the prince married Cinderella solely based on her looks and that mothers only have two parts in the fairytales; either they are dead or greedy and evil. 
Writing We have been working on creating thesis statements and coming up with reasons to support them.  We have started writing our mini stories today to support our reasons and have also done our first blogging challenge, in which I asked the kids to be very honest about the first trimester.  Blogging challenges are posted every Friday and always due the following Friday at 8 PM.
Special Notes
*  Swimming continues next week Tuesday and Thursday.
*  Thank you for box tops brought in, the contest ended this week.
*  We are almost at 50 Pride paws for our walking in the hallways, finally!
*  Snow gear is a necessity at this time of the year.  Please help your child bring in everything they need to stay warm.  If students need help acquiring gear please let mw know or contact Mrs. Simms-Mormino.
*  Our winter break celebration is scheduled for the 21st of December so far.  We are hoping to have pizza lunch and then go sledding after recess.  It will, of course, be snow-dependent.  Mrs. Johnson will be contacting those who signed up to volunteer/donate food.
*  Winter tea is this Wednesday; do join us if you can!
*  Spelling bee is December 10th.  Graham, Buddy, Noah E, and Billy will be representing our class at 8:30 AM in the multipurpose room, parents are welcome. 
*  Report cards will be sent home the week of December 10th.  It will be the new report cards with the new rubrics.  Please contact me with any questions.
*  We started creating our holiday cards today, can’t wait to get them in the mail.
*  Thank you for all of the scholastic book orders, they have all been submitted and should be here soon.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Swimming  December, 4 and 6th,   Winter Tea Wednesday, December 5th at 9:35 AM, Spelling Bee Monday, December 10th at 8:30 AM, Sub in the morning December 11th, Winter Party is December 21st at 1:30 PM (we are hoping it will be a sledding party) and winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Best of Today


The students loved these things:
  • Reading the original Rapunzel
  • The extra 10 minutes of read aloud while I rested my voice
  • Doing well on the math review
  • And continuing our independent social studies projects  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Very First Mystery Skype

The students got to show off their geography skills today as we did our very first Mystery Skype with mrs. Young's class.  We guessed correctly with California and then discussed how to get even better at our questioning skills.  I was very proud of how well the students ran the call and the thoughtful discussion that resulted of how we can be even better at it.

I am hoping to set up another call next week.






The Best of Today


  • We did our first mystery skype
  • We also started a new student-led social studies project
  • Extra read a loud time
  • The math problems were fun
  • Getting to make holiday cards

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Best of the Day

 Here are what we liked best about today:
  • The debate over whether Columbus is a hero a or a villain
  • Our blogging challenge and getting to go to the computer lab
  • Listening to Harry Potter
  • Hearing Rumplestiltskin - he was torn in half in the end!
  • And here are the students preparing for the debate....


Monday, November 19, 2012

The School Spelling Bee is Coming

The school spelling bee will be December 10th at 8:30 AM in the multipurpose room.  We are very excited to have Buddy, Graham, Noah E, and Billy represent our class and will be there to cheer them on!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A little slice of my family

And Ida pretty much looked like that on every single picture.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Newsletter November 15, 2012


November 15, 2012
As Thanksgiving approaches, I have much to be thankful for.  The incredible students that are so eager to share their learning, the support of parents for all of our adventures, a team that meets every day and puts the kids first, and a school where we feel like a family.  Thank you for everything that you do for me and for us.
MathWe are working our way through unit 4 with the test now on Thursday November 29th.  This unit is all about division and those math facts are important.  The next unit is my favorite topic; fractions!
Social Studies – The students have been busy in the explorer simulation.  Several students have died in the simulation from dysentery and typhoid.  I love the background knowledge we are building through this activity and how excited the students are to learn about the explorers.
Reading Harry just got his letter from Hogwarts and the kids are disappointed every time I turn it off. We have discussed how to listen to our inner voice, how to ask better questions of our text and just started with inferring this week.  I am thrilled to see the students using their strategies in their reading books, as well as seeing them build stamina.  We are currently at 12 minutes!
Writing Writing has been all about what we are passionate about as we create our big ideas.  I am seeing lots of great thoughts being put down on paper in literacy block.  Have you visited our Kidblog yet?  More than 10,000 people have this week!  Aimee’s post on her ninja cat has more than 30 comments as we speak and we are excited to start mapping all of our connections.  Please leave a comment on our blog but make sure not to leave your last name if you identify yourself as someone’s parent.
Special Notes
* Please make sure you get our website updates or check the website regularly.  This is where I post extra directions, information, and videos for the classroom.  If a new project is introduced it often has a post attached to it on the website. 
* Spelling bee will be next week in class so get practicing!   
*Thank you for all of the box tops and donations to Hurricane Sandy.
* The students are creating snowglobes holiday cards to send around the world.  We have 29 cards we have to make and send to other classrooms before December 9th
*  The students did amazing at the STEP presentation.  Way to go Aimee for leading the Pledge of Allegiance in front of everyone.
*  Conferences continue on Tuesday.  Connie and I look forward to sharing your child’s success with you.
* I encourage students to bring in their swimming gear before Thanksgiving since swimming is that first Monday right after the break.  They can just leave it in the classroom.
* Thea thinks Santa is coming every day and is waiting eagerly for the snow to come since that means her birthday is next.  With the recent snow fall we have had one disappointed little girl when the next day is not her birthday (she is a New Year’s Eve baby).
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: , Parent Teacher Conferences tonight and November 20th, No school Friday, November 16th, Harvest Party Wednesday, November 21st at 9 AM AM, Early Release Wednesday, November 21st at 11 AM, No school Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23rd – Happy Thanksgiving!  Vision screening Thursday, November 29th, Swimming November 26, 28, 30 and December 4 and 6th,   Winter Tea Wednesday, December 5th at 9:35 AM, Winter Party is December 21st at 1:30 PM (we are hoping it will be a sledding party) and winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Newsletter November 9, 2012


MathWe finished unit 3 today and will be pre-testing unit 4 on Monday.  The next unit is all about division, math fact tests are vital for success in this unit so please keep encouraging practicing of these.  The test for unit 4 is so far scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th.
Science We did not do any science this week as we stole the time instead to prepare us for blogging and do some community building.  Our next unit will be variables.
Social Studies – Next week we build background knowledge as we do a simulation on the Explorers.  Which leads us into chapter 3 that is indeed all about the explorers of the Americas
Reading We started Harry Potter this week and have so far discussed the importance of picking just the right names for our characters.  Did you Know J.K. Rowling meticulously picked almost every single name in her book to convey a hidden meaning?  We have also discussed activating our prior knowledge to further comprehension in reading, as well as worked on our reading stamina.  We have 6 minutes on the clock so far!  
Writing I love seeing the excitement the students have for blogging and am excited to have them write their first blog post today.  Please check out our classroom blog www.kidblog.org/mrsrippsclass/ to read their introductions as well as leave them a comment.  We have also started really living like writers in our units of study where we are working on learning how to write essays.  It was wonderful to hear one student exclaim how much fun this was!


Special Notes
*  What an incredible week it has been with these students.  I know Mrs. Johnston kept telling me just how great they were and she was right; I already love coming into class to see what we can do next.
*  In-class spelling bee starts the week of Thanksgiving with the top 4 going on to the school spelling bee.
*  We are will be part of an Emergency Preparedness preparation featuring our lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch on Wednesday at 10:30 AM.
*  We got a new student this week; Marquez.  We are thrilled to have him join our class.
*  Congratulations to Buddy, Graham, and Noah E. for representing us at the Quiz Bowl.  We wish them all luck when they compete on Wednesday.
*Box Tops are still happening, I don’t think we got any this week, so if you have any do send them in.
*  Swimming permission slips go home today, please send them in.  Also, I encourage students to bring in their swimming gear before Thanksgiving since swimming is that first Monday right after the break.  They can just leave it in the classroom.
*  We can be found on the district Facebook page with news of our mock election.  I was incredibly proud of how energetic and efficient the students were.  We guided more than 300 students through our room that day!
*  As part of our global awareness, I play holiday music from around the world in my classroom starting after Thanksgiving.  If this concerns you, please let me know.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Human Growth and Development Tuesday’s November 13 and 20th 9:20 – 10:05 AM, I SPY art event Monday, November 12th 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Parent Teacher Conferences November 15th and 20th, No school Friday, November 16th, Harvest Party Wednesday, November 21st at 10:15 AM, Early Release Wednesday, November 21st at 11 AM, No school Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23rd – Happy Thanksgiving!  Swimming November 26, 28, 30 and December 4 and 6th.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Some Pictures from #KidVote

I was so proud of the students as they helped 309 students vote in today's mock election.  Every class took less than 10 minutes to get through, all because of how effectively the students worked.  Way to go 5th graders!






















Saturday, November 3, 2012

Newsletter November 2, 2012


Math  As we continue to expand our math brains we are gearing up for unit 3 test this coming Friday.  The students in my group have also been introduced to our tessellation art project, a wonderful extension that they work on whenever they are done with their math.  Fact tests will also return every morning, they are vital for math success in the coming years.
Science  Science takes a break next week as we will use the time for some community building.  However, once science starts it will be my favorite unit; variables, that we get into it.  This is where we really see the students feel like scientists and it is amazing how the concepts of variables bleeds into the other subject areas.  The unit will wrap up with our bubble gum research paper which previews a skill needed for 6th grade, while working with bubble gum. 
Social Studies – The explorers are coming!  We start the next ss unit with a simulation to expand the students’ background knowledge.  I love this unit because it allows us to use our debate skills when we discuss Columbus as well as tying it into our current immigration debate.
Reading  Mrs. Johnston sure has been bragging about these students and their reading.  I cannot wait to see what they have been reading, start book talks and also start our next read aloud.  We have a lot to explore in literacy.
Writing  Just from the snippets of writing I have seen, we have some wonderful creativity in the room.  The next unit we start is opinion essays, a brand new genre for the kids.  We will also discuss Yahara Writers contest more and re-do our spelling assessment.
Special Notes:
*Human Growth and Development starts this Tuesday at 9:20 AM to 10:05.  It will run three Tuesday’s in a row.  Please send n the signed permission slip this Monday, I know many students are nervous about this so I have encouraged them to speak to you about any nervousness they may have.
* We sent off Mrs. Johnston is style but it is actually not goodbye yet.  She slips into the role as a special education substitute teacher on Monday and will still be part of our room, albeit in a different capacity.
 We run the mock election this Tuesday with many classrooms signed up for their students to vote.  Each student has picked their job and we will do a dry run on Monday.  I am excited to get the students invested in the election since we cover government at the end of the year.  We have also discussed the possibility of running an election for class president later in the year, we shall see.
*  We have won a grant this year from the Meemic Foundation providing us with our very own digital cameras and video cameras.  Although we do not know when these will arrive, we are very excited to start using them.
*  The harvest party will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  More details to come closer to the date.
*  The Harvest Meal is this Thursday at 12:20.  We hope to see you then, but if you cannot make it, I always invite students whose parents could not come (and who want) to come back and have lunch in the room.
*  I am continuously updating our calendar that can be found on our website www.mrsripp.blogspot.com
 I am thrilled to be back.  I love my job, which I hope is apparent, and I have heard nothing but great things from Mrs. Johnston.  I have a feeling this will be a very special year.
 I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Mock election all day Tuesday, November 6th, Human Growth and Development Tuesday’s November 6, 13, and 20th 9:20 – 10:05 AM, Harvest Meal Thursday, November 8th 12:20 PM, Math test unit 3 Friday, November 9, I SPY art event Monday, November 12th 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Parent Teacher Conferences November 15th and 20th, No school Friday, November 16th, Harvest Party Wednesday, November 21st at 10:15 AM, Early Release Wednesday, November 21st at 11 AM, No school Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23rd – Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mrs. Ripp Reviews Out of My Mind

This book by Sharon M. Draper has an incredibly interesting concept; an 11 year old girl with cerebral palsy is the narrator telling us the story of her life.  The kicker to the story is that through her disability she is not able to speak amongst many things, so the outside world does not know just how smart she really is.  Although labeled as mentally incompetent her parents believe in her smarts and this book follows her mainly through 5th grade and her mission to show the world her thoughts.

I loved the concept of this book but soon found the story got a little too caught up in 5th grade drama and lost some of its heart.  I want to root for this girl, but after a while, the writing became repetitive, but still; the story is worthwhile and definitely makes you think about how we see people who are differently abled and how quickly we can judge.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to think about the book they are reading.

Excerpt from the book from Amazon:
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.

Mrs. Ripp Reviews Trackers


This book had a lot of promise for me and I was eager to start reading it and hopefully recommend it to my students for easy winter reading.  The premise is great; 4 kids who work as a tracking team solving a major internet crime, and yet it just fell flat.  There was hardly any character development, a lot of loose terminology and random names thrown at you.  As we will discuss in 5th grade a lot; you have to develop the characters and create a lot of interest for them so that your reader feels invested.  I could not wait to finish the book and not because I cared, but because I wanted to finish reading it.  The series has potential but you can tell that the author is trying to so hard to be vague that it just gets annoying.  I give it one 5th grade cheer.
Here is the synopsis from Amazon. com
In the 21st century landscape of bits and bytes, everyone leaves a digital footprint … even the most advanced cyber criminals. And that’s where the Trackers come in. Four tech-savvy kids armed with high-tech video cameras and esoteric coding skills, the Trackers can find almost anyone, anywhere. Told through a collage of videos, text, and websites, Trackers #1 follows Adam, Finn, Lewis, and Emily as they become entangled in a high-tech, high-stakes game of cat and mouse with Shantorian, the world’s most dangerous hacker. At least, that’s who they think they’re tracking….
As the four dig deeper into the shadowy world of online crime, they soon learn that things aren’t always as they seem.

Mrs. Ripp Reviews The Red Pyramid


So I promised the students that I would review the new book from the master behind the Lightning Thief series, Rick Riordan.  His first book The Red Pyramid, in what he is calling the Kane Chronicles starts out exciting and really does not slow down for more than a couple of pages.  In fact, my mother finally had to ask me which book I was reading since I was not hanging out with my family like I was supposed to.
For those people disappointed that the Lightning Thief series ended (which I certainly was) this is a new series to get into.  It is historically interesting, fun characters, and it once again invites its readers to participate.  This is an easy book to read even though it is long, but trust me it does not seem long once you start reading.  I highly recommend all of my 5th graders read this book if they love history mixed with a great story.
Here is Mr. Riordan’s synopsis of the book (copied from his website):
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled
the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.
One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.
Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings
embark on a dangerous journey across the globe—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has
existed since the time of the pharaohs.