Thursday, August 30, 2012

Juan Teaches Division

I hope this comes out well. I recorded one of my students teaching how to do division to my class. Thanks Juan for helping me out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

World Map Practice

We are going to review the countries of the world and where they are located.

KidsGeo Map Game

TriviaPlaza Map Game

How many countries can you correctly identify?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tied in Knots

We had a visit from the University of Arkansas Talent Search team. They are encouraging students to think about college or careers when they graduate from high school. I hope a lot of our sixth grade students take advantage of this program or the one from Crowder College.


We created world maps and labeled the oceans. We had to create a map key that showed each continent using a different color. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Mr. Bones joined us for Tie Tuesday. As you can see from the picture below a lot more students participated. There may be some interest to make Tie Tuesday international! Maybe by next week there will be schools all over the world participating!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

Rainy Days and Mondays may get the Carpenters down, but I sure appreciate both the precipitation and the chance to start off a new week of learning.
 Today we spent our science class time creating aquatic food webs. The idea was for students to identify an animal they wanted in the classroom aquarium and identify plants and other animals that fit in their food web. Hopefully we will haves some pictures of them up tomorrow.
Today we finally broke into our reading and math groups. While there will be some growing pains for me, I am looking forward to finally getting into a rhythm with the day. It was great having my students all day, but it was also hard because we knew it wouldn't last long. Now that things are finally 'ironed' out, we can really start getting to work.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What's Happening This Week 8/27

Here is the link to this week's lesson plans. This will be an interesting week since it is the first week we will start leveling and switching with our new students.

I created a newsletter to send home with the students. If you don't receive yours, you can find it here.

Students should be starting Accelerated Reader this week so expect to hear something from your child about it. If you are interested in how it will be incorporated in the class, contact your child's reading teacher.

Don't forget Black Folders go home on Mondays with grade reports and selected work. This week look for a copy of the 'Thank You" letter sent to our friend Jerry Blumengarten. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stuff We Did Friday

The day started off quickly with a Skype interview with Dr. Luann Lee, a former marine biologist, who now teaches high school science. Dr. Lee helped answer questions about what types of plants and animals were appropriate for the classroom aquarium. Apparently squids and sharks would not be a good match, sorry Julian and Jesse. :( I think her most important piece of advice was to ask a lot of questions from the pet store we choose our fish from. 

We reviewed our division work from Thursday and learned our problem solving model KQPS. We will discuss this model later.

We also spent some time today discussing ways to learn. We talked briefly about how some people seem to learn better visually, aurally, or through movement. It seems that there are a lot of us that learn best either visually or through movement. This is great information for us to know so we can learn how we can adapt our learning to better suit our needs.

We also spent some time doing Sustained Silent Reading. Some of us had trouble staying on task. Reading, like any skill takes practice. It is vital that we spend some time every day reading silently, typically when we need answers to questions we will have to find them through reading whether it be a book, magazine, or internet site. We cannot not practice this very valuable skill.

Monday is a sad day for me, we will be splitting our 6th grade into different groups for reading and math. While I am excited to be meeting a bunch of new students, I am sorry to be losing (for a few hours) the ones that I have.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What Happened Today? 8/23/12

This morning we were visited by our librarian, Mrs. Owens. She spoke about the MASL award books that students can check out from the library. If students read enough books they get to vote for their favorite. If they read all of the books this year, their name will be placed on a special plaque in the library!
We conducted an experiment to see if the water temperature in the aquarium changed throughout the day. As you can see by the data table, it stayed at a rock solid 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you tell me what temperature that is in Celsius?
In the science lab we classified tennis shoes and buttons.  What a great way to introduce plant and animal classification. I can't wait to see what we do next week in Mr. Howerton's class.
We worked on division today. We identified the divisor, dividend and quotient. Then we used the division algorithm to work some practice problems. I love watching them work together using white board markers on their desks. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taking Our Aquarium's Temperature

Here is what we are doing tomorrow in science. We are experimenting with the water temperature in our aquarium. Here is how we are going to proceed.

  • Problem- What is the temperature of the aquarium's water throughout the day?
  • Background Knowledge- oxygen in water, carbon dioxide in water, it is fresh water
  • Hypothesis- Students created their own hypothesis.
  • Research- None for this experiment
  • Materials- thermometer, aquarium with water
  • Method  
  1. Put thermometer in water.
  2. Velcro the thermometer inside the aquarium.
  3. Wait ten minutes before reading the thermometer.
  4. Read the temperature on the thermometer.
  5. Record the time and the temperature on the table on the white board.
  6. Turn on the aquarium light.
  7. Read the temperature on the thermometer.
  8. Record the time and temperature.
  9. Repeat until the end of school.
  • Conclusion- Done after the experiment.
  • Extensions- Done after the experiment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Skype With Jerry Blumengarten

Jerry Blumengarten, aka Cybraryman1 on Twitter, joined us via Skype on Monday to talk to us about book publishing. He used a Mixbook he created to show students how he worked with artists and publishers to go from idea to finished product.

Although we had some technical difficulties with trying to use my iPad with airplay onto our class television, Jerry persevered.  We are very lucky to have friends like him to help us learn. Thank you, Jerry.

Tie Tuesday Returns!

Here we are showing our swag at our first Tie Tuesday of the year. The purpose of tie Tuesday is to have a special day where we dress up and look fine. Every day we have together is special, but when we dress up and look nice it can be extra special!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lesson Plans for August 20-24

Here is a link to the lesson plans for the week. We are looking forward to Skyping in Jerry Blumengartern on Monday who will be speaking to us about the writing process. He has written a MixBook titled How to Write a Cartoon Booklet which he will share with us.

I am also hoping that I can arrange a Skype session with Dr. Luann Lee, a former marine biologist and an amazing teacher. If the stars align, she will be joining us to discuss our aquarium ecosystem and how to make it sustainable.

Notice our first ever Tie Tuesday, a practice started by my former colleague and friend Joe McClung. It is simply a day to dress up and show some swag.

Let's Do Work!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Taking Notes in Science

One of the fun things I have incorporated into our classroom this year is using our desks and tables as dry erase boards. The students are having fun writing with markers on items they are usually not allowed to. They have more enthusiasm to write the notes and I can easily see what they are writing. The notes taken here are from a video they were watching on water. The students learned about biotic and abiotic factors and were trying to identify as many as possible from the video.

This lesson is part of our ecosystem unit. The students are working toward designing a viable ecosystem in our class aquarium. Here is a link to the lesson plans. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Creating Norms for Our Classroom Community

Today we spent almost all day working on classroom norms. Norms are basically expectations of the community. We looked at rules from school board policy to my own classroom rules. The norms they came up with deal directly with with how a learning community should look. We spent a lot of time trying to come up with positive statements about what we should do.

Here is a link to the 10 norms the students identified.

 At the end of the day the students identified two they support and had to write why they should be norms. Tomorrow the students will debate the norms (using what they wrote today) and will then vote. A simple majority is all that is necessary to accept them. The students will also devise a mechanism to revisit the norms so they can add to them or get rid of ones they no longer want.