Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Little Bit of Kickball

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Somebody Loves Our Prezis!

Imagine my surprise when I got the following email:

I am Zoli Radnai, manager of Prezi U Prezi's educational community page. I have found your prezi recordings on YouTube, and think they are great!

I have added 3 of them to our growing video library:

and I would be happy to add more, and set up a school category for you on Prezi U. Also I would love to do an interview with you about how you use oprezi in the classroom and upload it to Prezi U. Please see some example interviews here:

Best Regards
Zoli Radnai
Senior Community Manager,

So some of the students are now featured by Prezi, which I think is another wonderful feather to put in their hats.  I will keep you posted on what else I hear.

We Had a Guest Teacher

Brandon, my husband, came in to teach the students more tips and tricks for Google Sketch Up.  The students had so many great questions and what was even better for me was seeing some of them become experts and teaching others.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Next Big Social Studies and Reading Project

After the break, I am excited to have the students focus on the life of a person of their choice.  With this unit dedicated to biographies, the students will get to choose one person to study, create a written report detailing their life as well as create a multi-media project of their choice to go with it.

The requirement for the person they choose is that:
  •  It has to be a real person
  • Lived between the years of 1300 and 1800.  
  • The person has to have had some part in American history whether as an explorer, or as someone living here.
Over break the students have to decide who they want to study and read about.  If they can, they should also pick up a proper biography about them  to read in class (not picture book format).   We have some limited biographies here but we can order home from other libraries.  Otherwise the public library is a fantastic resource as well.  

More information will be forthcoming after break as to the requirements and process.

*Got Gift Cards for the Bowl-A-Rama?*

Please support the WM Bowl-A-Rama by being a Family Sponsor or by donating
gift cards to the Bowl-A-Rama raffle, auction and prizes. This is a
"replacement" fundraiser for the silent auctions held at previous Winter
Carnivals. Your donations will help us update the playground equipment and
create a new school art gallery.

The lanes are filling up fast! Please return your registration form NOW! If
space is still available in April, we will accept registrations until April

See the West Middleton school website for more details about this year's
fabulous Bowl-A-Rama.

It's a Read-In Afternoon

Hooray, It’s a Read-In Party!
What better way to kick off spring break than by reading for 2 hours?  This Friday starting at 1:00 PM the students will get to spread out and just read until the end of the day. This means they can bring in a blanket and/or a pillow to get comfortable, and they may also wear comfortable clothes (please no pajamas). 

We will be reading all afternoon until 2:52 pm and hopefully read more than 1,000 pages combined! 

We are looking for whole class party snack donations if anyone is interested just let me know.

I am excited we get to share our love of reading for an afternoon!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ant Photography - Another Cool Website

We discussed how you must be very patient to have this as your passion.  So cool.

Click the link to see the images

Draw A Stickman

The students thought this was a lot of fun, even if I drew a very awful stickman.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Super Hero Book Final Product

Due date:  March 23rd typed or handwritten or a combination.

Cover:  Your book should be placed/stapled/secured  into a cover front and back.  The cover should have:  Name, Title and some form of art on it.  The pages of your project should be in the cover (like a mini book or brochure).  The cover can be made out of paper, cardboard, tin foil, whatever you want to use as a material.

Inside the book:
  • A biography of your a Superhero, not in list form!  F.ex:  Superman was born on August 7th, 1934 on the planet Kryptonite to two loving parents.  Tragedy struck early when the whole planet exploded but Superman managed to be saved....
  • Small or large drawing of your super hero.
  • A biography of your super villain - don't forget to explain why they hate your super hero.
  • Small or large drawing of your super villain.
  • Setting - the story takes place.... again not in list form
  • Small or large drawing of your setting
  • If you want to add other things, please do, but it is not a requirement.

Newsletter March 16, 2012

MathThis unit is perfect for the students as we near spring break; lots of review and creativity.  In fact, I have been really impressed with how hard they are working and how into coordinate grids they are.  The test will take place on Tuesday, April 3rd with the new unit starting the next day.
Social Studies – The students started presenting their Prezi’s this week; what a wonderful display of knowledge and dedication to their topic.  It has been wonderful to see them embrace this presentation tools and become teachers in how to use it with each other.  We continue to get closer to the Revolutionary War and will finish this lesson the week after spring break.
Reading We have been working on social studies and language arts during reading time and many students have already read several books for book talks.  Over the break, I hope all students will take some time to read.
Writing In Superheroes we worked on our setting today, creating the backdrop to our characters.  Next week will be focused on creating the final dossier of our creations and presenting them to the class.  Blogging challenges took a break as the students gave me new ideas for future challenges.
Science The Grand Canyon challenge introduced us to Google Sketch Up this week.  The students rarely say “Wow” out loud but with this sketch tool they did.  I told them they are also able to download the free version on their home computers, which some students had already done.  Of course, they need your permission to do so.  My husband is hoping to come in to be a guest teacher for Sketch Up next week; he knows a lot of tricks!  After break we start our final Foss unit; Environments.
Special Notes
* Thank you all for the wonderful discussion held during conferences.  I am fortunate to be part of your child’s journey and really enjoy discussing their challenges and strengths with you. 
*Report cards go home today.  Some have already received their report card from me during conferences, but either way the white envelope needs to be signed and returned to me. 
* Thank you for an incredible birthday.  From homemade cards, bracelets and treats, I was spoiled.  Even the weather cooperated and we played kickball since the sledding party hopefully will never happen.
* Remember to send in donations for the PTO Bowling if you have gift cards to donate. 
* The students really stepped up to the blogging challenge last week detailing ideas of how to “pay it forward.”  Please take a moment to read their posts and leave us a comment, this was a tougher one for them and they really pulled through.
* Middle school is sneaking into our minds so after spring break the guidance counselors will come speak to us.  We will also be taking a bus tour to Glacier and get to spend some time there.  Today an orange selection sheet was sent home; please note that students can only select one thing in 6th grade from the 4 choices.  All other classes are not up for choice.
*   Thea and I loved the choral performance; who knew that so many of the kids are so coordinated.  Thea did throw a mini tantrum when she found out that she was not allowed to be on stage, she saw her friends and wanted to dance with them.
* I will be out of the room Thursday and Friday next week due to a massive flight disturbance; our flights were cancelled this week and we have since re-booked.  The fabulous Mrs. Johnston will be the sub both days and she will accompany the students on the field trip, which she did last year as well.  I have full faith in the students to represent us well.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars:, Stuart Little Thursday, March 22nd 9:15 AM to 12:15 PM, Mrs. Johnston is subbing for me all day March 22nd and 23rd, Spring Break starts after Friday March 23rd and goes to April 1st,   Sub from 1 PM on Tuesday, April 3rd, No school Friday, April 6th, PTO Bowling Saturday, April 14th.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Newsletter, March 9th 2012

MathWe wrapped up all about fractions this week and I was very pleased to see the hard work had paid off for many students.  Next unit starts on Monday with a focus on area, perimeter and coordinate grids; the test for this unit is scheduled for April 3rd.  Then only 3 more units to go after that.
Social Studies – The students are working on the presentations of their Prezis.  I am thrilled to see all of their effort and how invested they have become in their topics.  These presentations will be filmed and shared on our website for your viewing pleasure.  We have also started switching again 3 days a week.  This allows us to cover the material through a reading lens and also do individual class projects.  
Reading We finished Jump Ship to Freedom and what an ending it was.  The students have really become invested in the book and it was a thrill to see their interest and enthusiasm for it.  Up until spring break we will just get to do a lot of reading during this time and start a new project after break.
Writing  Superheroes need to have a super-villain to have a story to be a part of and that is where our focus shifted today.  I cannot wait to share all of the superheroes with you; what imaginations!  
Science The Grand Canyon Challenge was unveiled but we did not get a lot of time to work on it with our assessments taking longer than expected.  It was wonderful to see the thorough explanations students provided in their answers and how much science vocabulary was used.  After break we start our final Foss unit; Environments.
Special Notes
* Conferences have started and I so love the conversations coming from them.  It is wonderful to see how the students present their own evaluations as well.  If something comes up with your conference time just let me know so we can reschedule.
*Report cards go home next week; all students have discussed their grades with me so there should be no surprises.
*  PTO Bowling is coming up on April 14th and more information goes home today on it.  Brandon and I will be bowling with Mr. Nichols and his partner, we cannot wait!
* Thank you for your well wishes to Thea, she is doing much better and will be back to her stubborn self in no time I am sure.
*  It is a bit of a thinking blogging challenge this week; the students have been asked to “Pay it Forward.”  I love the ingenuity of the few ideas I have seen so far.
*  Nouns are done for now and we move into verbs.  Some of these grammar packets turned out to be challenging for the students which I think is a great thing.
*   I will be attempting a Danish lagkage for my birthday celebration and then maybe some free time for the kids as well.  
*  Thea and I will be at the choral performance on Monday, I love seeing the students on stage!  Remember to let Ms. Bodell know if you will not be able to attend.
*  The energy in the room is contagious; I love how dedicated the students are to our room and the projects we have going.  It really makes the day fly by fast.
 * I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: PAC Choral Performance Monday, March 12th at 6:30 PM,  Stuart Little Thursday, March 22nd 9:15 AM to 12:15 PM,  Mrs. Johnston is subbing for me all day March 23rd, Spring Break starts after Friday March 23rd and goes to April 1st,   Sub from 1 PM on Tuesday, April 3rd, No school Friday, April 6th, PTO Bowling Saturday, April 14th.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Grand Canyon Challenge

So you can see what was unveiled in our classroom today, this is what I presented the students with:

The Grand Canyon Challenge

Congratulations, you have just earned a degree in structural engineering and you are ready for your first real world challenge!

Goal:  To move one 12 feet by 12 feet crate from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other every day of the year.  

Challenge:  Design a device to handle the move of the crate every day, no matter the weather, without damaging the crate.

  • Your device may not fly.
  • Your device may not be a permanent fixture spanning the gap because it will harm the view for the tourists.
  • Your device must work in any kind of weather.
  • Your crate cannot float.
  • You may not damage the Grand Canyon so you can not roll it down the sides every day.
  • The crate only has to go to one side every day, not back and forth.

Extra Information:
  • Your device must be able to bridge a 2 mile gap.
  • You have to be able to sketch it using Google Sketch Up (to be taught).
  • You have to use “real world” materials, not anything invented by you.
  • Keep cost in mind, you cannot strap rockets to your crate every day because it would damage the crate and also be too expensive.

  • Challenge discussion and group brainstorm.
  • Conceptual sketch and idea exploration.
  • Peer discussion.
  • Further sketching, more detailed.
  • Peer discussion.
  • Teacher approval.
  • Final sketch.
  • Intro to Google Sketch Up and exploration.
  • Initial sketch.
  • Kinks and Quirks with modifications.
  • Teacher meeting.
  • Final sketch.
  • Presentation to the class.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Newsletter March 2, 2012

MathWe are almost done with unit 8 with only a couple of more lessons to go before the test which now has landed on Thursday, March 8th.  The next unit is back to area, perimeter and such.
Social Studies – Starting next week we will be switching classes again but this time only 3 times a week.  We are doing very well with what needs to be covered and I know I would love to get that extra time to dig in with the students on the projects we have going.  To say that I am impressed with the work they have been doing on their slavery projects is an understatement.  Next week we will rehearse our presentations and then we start presenting toward the end of the week.
Reading The authors of Jump Ship have us hooked with their cliffhanger endings and we have discovered tools of writing they have used to weave in the historical context of the period.  We will be exploring the Constitutional Convention in social studies as well after spring break. 
Writing We have started our superhero unit and have discussed the origin story of superheroes – always involve tragedy – as well as what superpowers can be.  Students are developing their superheroes right now and next up is the supervillian!  You know you are on to something with the students when they don’t want to go at the end of the day.
Science We started our assessment with the kids understanding why we had worked all that time on flashcards.  They told me it was much easier to do the assessment with the help of their notes and cards.  We start our challenge on Monday.

Special Notes
*Just a reminder that conferences are student led, so please bring your child!  They are all very excited to share their successes and goals with you.  Conferences will be 15 minutes long but if you need more time we can schedule a follow up. 
*  What a great literacy week!  We read a lot of books and it was great to see all of the kids dressed up for book character day, pictures of all of them can be found on our website.  
*  Report cards will be going home some time in the week of conferences.  Grades are determined through conversation and review of work/progress.  
*  We will be headed to a performance of Stuart Little at the Overture Center on March 22nd.  Our very own Sophia Ba is performing in the play and we cannot wait to show our support.  Our amazing PTO is covering the cost of the field trip so just send back the permission slip.
*  I run the West Middleton talent show along with Ms. Bodell and auditions will be coming up sooner than you  think, so if your child is thinking of participating please have them start practicing and figuring out their talent. 
* Monday is absolute last day for either Read to Succeed (free Six Flags ticket) or Doodle for Google submissions.
*  Thank you for all of the book orders placed, they will be submitted later today.
*  We didn’t place in the Box Tops contest but I still am owed a pie in the face from last time; I am sure it will happen soon.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: 2nd Trimester ends March 6th,  Third Trimester begins March 7th, PAC Choral Performance Monday, March 12th at 6:30 PM,  Stuart Little Thursday, March 22nd 9:15 AM to 12:15 PM,  Mrs. Johnston is subbing for me all day March 23rd, Spring Break starts after Friday March 23rd and goes to April 1st,   Sub from 1 PM on Tuesday, April 3rd, No school Friday, April 6th, PTO Bowling Saturday, April 14th.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book Character Day

Almost all of the students dressed up for book character day and we had a wonderful parade.  I couldn't believe how much time some students had dedicated to their character.