Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Sorry But....No Streaming Over Christmas Break!

If you have come from Dean Sharski's blog, I apologize for the class stream being down. I simply couldn't justify the use of electricity for two weeks for streaming a room with nothing going on. I promise that the stream will be back up January 5 (weather permitting).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Day of School 2008

Here are a few snapshots from our last day of school in 2008. The first is a picture of our student council with the canned food they collected from the annual food drive. Here is a video I took of one of the sixth grade classes "caroling". It pays to have a pocket video camera handy!

This picture shows what we had for our annual fifth grade breakfast. Muffins, Krispy Kreme donutes, and various juices were on the menu.
Gavin is enjoying candy I gave to the students for Christmas.
Teachers are trying to get the grades in the online gradebook. The end of the semester is almost nigh!
Traditional Christmas stories for the students to enjoy. Can you compare the movie to the original Dr. Seuss story?
Spongebob Christmaspants wishes the students Happy Hollidays!
Here the students are creating snowflakes. Every snowflake they create is different, just like the snowflakes we find floating through the skies.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Triangular Trade Routes Explained

Here is Alec explaining the Triangular Trade Route. This was an important way for people to import and export during the United States colonial period. Here are some pictures of students working on their poster projects.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thank You Mr. Webb and Tamaki Today!

A package came today from New Zealand. A package that I have been waiting for. Mr. Webb from Tamaki Today had sent me a message saying he had sent a thank you package for our work on one of his video projects.
As the students looked on, I slowly took out the items that had been sent. First was a stuffed kiwi. Next, two magnets, one that showed a picture of a kiwi. Then I pulled out a very neat lanyard (which I am now wearing). I then pulled out a huge textile map that had the country of New Zealand with some interesting information on it. At the bottom of the package was a paper weight that has New Zealand etched in it. The last thing I pulled out was a card from Mr. Webb thanking the class for our support.
As soon as my students had time, they were up and looking (rather loudly) at the items. They really enjoyed the map. The information on it was very interesting to them. One of my students noticed there were opossums in New Zealand and he asked me if they were the same kind that we have. Obviously, they will be looking that up when they have a few minutes. They also thought it was neat that there are penguins on the map. We have to go to a zoo to see penguins!

Finally, the students started asking me if we were goinng to send some items back to Mr. Webb. I told them I was planning on it, but the problem with that is the Tamaki school will be out for their "summer break" next week. Now, we have already studied about the seasons and their relationship to the tilt of the Earth. They knew that when we had winter, they southern hemisphere was having summer, but they didn't internalize it. The light bulb of understanding shone as they began to really realize that it soon will be summer in New Zealand.

My point is this: Learning takes place when learning is meaningful!

The Power of Negative Thinking

Can the power of negative thinking really cause someone to shrink? My class decided to imagine Gavin getting shorter. Before we went to PE I marked his height on the door jam with a permanent marker. The class concentrated on him shrinking the entire time they were at PE and when we came back, Gavin stood against the door jam again. As you can see it looks like he shrunk an inch!

We (really me) felt bad about his losing so much height. This was a bad time for him to get shorter, with basketball tryouts going on. I decided we needed to think positive and imagine Gavin getting taller. We will measure him again tomorrow and see if our positive thinking worked.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winterscapes Winter Art from 5th Grade

Here are some winterscapes created by my class. Using both cut paper for the landscape and white tempera paint for the snowflakes give the picture the impression of dimension. (When cut paper pictures are made digital, it also adds depth.) I am trying to bring more art and music to my blog; comment if you would like to see (or hear) more.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Find great Clip Art Images.

Creating a Model of Erosion

For the first experiment on weathering and eroding we took a look at what kind of erosion can take place when water runs off the Earth's surface. To record the video I set up a tripod above the glass aquarium to get a good top-down view of the action. I placed my web cam on the tripod connected to my laptop. I streamed the video from my laptop to Ustream. When I was ready to do the investigate, I hit the record button on Ustream to record it. Because of of the size of the aquarium, I used a 2 gallon bucket of water to simulate water run-off. I used my digital camera to take pictures to record what the web cam could not.

Here is a picture from the top down taken before I poured the water on the model. The soil was created using four substances: humus, sand, gravel, and clay. I added water to make the soil more realistic. The water I mixed in also helped keep all the water I poured on the model from being absorbed into the soil. Although you may not be able to see from this angle, I also slightly sloped the soil so the water would be able to run-off.
Here is the video of the water being poured on the soil. Notice the path the water takes. When the water is done moving, can you tell where the water was?

Here is a top down view. Compare it to the original picture taken before the water was poured onto the model. Can you see a difference? How is it different?
This is a side view of the model. Notice the water under the surface of the soil. How did that water get there? What is that water called? Do you think the water stayed there, or did it move later?
Here is a picture of the bottom of the model where the soil ended. Describe what you see. How is it different than before the water ran over it? In the top part of the picture is where the water ran off. Why is it so dirty? What do you think is in the water that makes it so dirty? Does this help illustrate the watershed concept?

This is a close-up picture of the soil after the water ran off it. What do you see? Is the soil still mixed up or has it separated? Does this look like a stream bed?
Now that the experiment has been completed, what could we change to create a new experiment? Does this model help you with the part of the water cycle that takes place on the surface of the Earth?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Water Conservation Wordle

My students posted on the Compendium on the topic "What can I do to conserve water?" This is a wordle created from their posts. A wordle is a word cloud created using words from a blog, a post, or any text entered. The more often a word is used, the larger the word appears. This is an excellent way to examine your writing.

What words do you think the students emphasized the most?

This picture was created at: Wordle.net

Monday, December 08, 2008

Art and Math

Whenever there is an opportunity to combine two of our disciplines together, the fifth grade teachers jump at the chance. While art is easily combined with both science and social studies, it is often harder to integrate into math. Here is an excellent activity that can be used to tie the two together. Each picture is created by polygons. The student identifies the correct polygon, then they use the polygons to create a piece of art.

I believe that they could be considered part of the Dada movement. What art movement would you consider these pieces to be part of?

Water Conservation: What can I do to conserve water?

After a few days of discussion and watching a good video from Missouri Botanical Gardens, "The Case of the Mysterious Neighbor", I asked you to create a list of ways you could help conserve water. From your list pick the three best and post them on the Compendium with an explanation for each one.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Congratulations TamakiToday!

I am so pleased that TamakiToday was picked to be a finalist in the Best Use of Video/Visual category for the Edublog Awards! Click this link to vote for Tamaki Intermediate School!

Mahalia Jackson

Our story in reading this week is about Mahalia Jackson and the music genre known as the blues. If you would like to listen to some of Ms. Jackson's singing and some other gospel and blues music go to Pandora.com and create a station with the name Mahalia Jackson.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mr. McClung's Sixth Grade Blog

Mr. McClung is the sixth grade science teacher at Noel Elementary. He just started a class blog a few weeks ago. Check out his site and leave an encouraging comment for his class. http://mcclungsblog.blogspot.com/

MCHS Drama Class- Anti-Drug Assembly

The McDonald County High School Advanced Drama Class came to Noel Elementary to perform various skits and speeches advising students to not do drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. I recorded a view short video pieces for you to enjoy.

Letters to Santa

My students have written the traditional "Letters to Santa". Read the comments to see what they would like for Christmas, then leave your own letter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Colonial House by PBS

The Colonial House times were difficult.Some reasons why they they were difficult was because they came at the wrong time of year.The women had to stay on the ship 1 month after the men went to set up the houses for the village.The women had break downs from time to time because they suffered.

The women had to deal with more things than the men.They had to make food, milk the goats,make the bread,take care of the garden,and clean the house.But some men had almost the same job as the women because they were indentured servants.They had to work for other family's for a certain amount of time like two or more years.

The Colonial House people had to work together in order to survive this hard time.There were children who were in risk to death because they got very sick sometimes.The governor had a death in the family so he had to go back.But he came back to the village.The things that they did were stressful but they made it .

by Slendy

Blogging Tiger Winner for Writing

Just Dessert
by Nathan

Once there was a little girl named July. She was picky and spoiled.Her and her mom went to a store to get a pumpkin to make a pie. When they got to the store July said there`s a ton of pumpkins to pick from! after 30 minutes they had picked a pumpkin and went home. were making the pie. as July`s mom lowered the knife and the pumpkin started to glow but when she lowered the knife lowered the knife more the pumpkin just kept getting brighter but as the knife punchered the pumpkin it stopped glowing.
The next day they woke up to glass breaking, it was their neighbors. They had went to the same store as July and her mom. They were screaming.
July had found out that they were pranks the store had put out.

Congratulations, Nathan for winning the Blogging Tiger Award for Writing. This story was based on The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jamestown Resettled

The colonists at Jamestown lived (and died) through a variety of choices, both good and bad. Now is your chance to see if you could do better. History Globe's The Jamestown Online Adventure is your chance to pit your intelligence against the intelligence of the original settlers. Can you do a better job? Click this link to try.

After you have tried to out-think the original colonists, print out your conclusion and put it in your folder.

Leave a comment about what you learned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Playing Music in Fifth Grade

Here is my class playing their recorders. I am curious, is this music jazz or blues?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Evaporation in the Water Cycle

In class we had a demonstration of evaporation. The problem was to determine what happens to something that is mixed with water when the water evaporates. Does the stuff mixed in the water evaporate too?

I took water and added food coloring in one container and salt in the other. I heated the water and evaporated it out of the container. The students looked at the containers and noticed something was left behind. What does this mean? What was left behind?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

International Sasa

Here is TamakiToday's video "International Sasa". Do you recognize anyone in this video?

Mr. Webb. thank you for sharing this video with us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Edublog Nominee: Tamaki Today

I am nominating for an Edublog Award Tamaki Today for Best Educational Use of Video/Visual.

Although I just discovered this blog in the last couple months, I am amazed by the volume and quality of videos created by the students of Room Six from Tamaki Intermediate School in Auckland, New Zealand. The students use this blog to not only inform the community about what is taking place, but also as a way to educate others about the culture, customs, and language of New Zealand.

My class was very fortunate to learn from the blog how to Sasa, a Samoan Slap Dance. We created our own Sasa for them to use in a video they are presenting. This is the first international project my class has been involved in.

I would really like for Tamaki Today to receive the attention they deserve and that is why I am nominating them.

Mr. C

Celebrating the End of "The War to End All Wars"

Veteran's Day is held on the anniversary of Armistice Day, the day World War I came to an end. There was hope that the brutality of this war would persuade people to no longer use military might to solve a country's problems. Unfortunately, this proved to not be the case. Read the poem below written in the spring of 1915, two years before the United States actually entered the war. War is such a waste.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD This is a picture of him.

BTW the orginazation Veterans of Foreign Wars uses the poppy as their symbol. Here is a link to the page that explains the history of their use of the poppy.

Water Cycle Cut Paper Project

Explorer's Maps

Here are some examples of maps made in Social Studies that show the routes of explorers the students studied.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Free Rice Revisited

Free Rice, the website that uses vocabulary to donate rice now has subjects that can be chosen that make the site even better to use. Below are the different categories that can be selected. The picture above shows the Famous Paintings category where you have to identify the artist of the art. Obviously, this really expands the usefulness of this site for education purposes. Here is the link to the subjects page.


Famous Paintings


Chemical Symbols (Basic)

Chemical Symbols (Full List)


English Grammar

English Vocabulary


Identify Countries on the Map

World Capitals







Multiplication Table

FreePoverty Geography Game

FreePoverty.com is a geography game site that allows students to test geography skills while
raising funds to donate water. The actual donation mechanism seems to be spotty. Here is a post explaining why. Here is a link to the about page to get more information.

If the donations never go through, it is still a fun geography game to have students play.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

This year the fifth grade participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. UNICEF uses the money to help children around the world get immunizations and education. We live in a country where we are blessed and we decided we should try to help out children who aren't.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Is Fear a Factor for You?

We held our sixth annual Fear Factor contest on Halloween.

The second contest was singing karaoke during lunch period. We had one student drop out when he couldn't keep up with MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This".

Our last contest was to see who could eat a jar of frozen broccoli and chicken baby food. Yengshi was declared the winner! Congratulations!

Our Sasa

Here is our Sasa contribution for Tamaki Today's video. We chose the tiger because it is our class mascot and the chicken because McDonald County is the poultry capitol of Missouri.

Here is a Sasa made by Rubecca, Slendy, and Megan. They used the Macarena for inspiration.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is Why Halloween is so Scary!

These are the students that dressed for Halloween in my class. As you can see, there is some improvement in looks. Too bad we don't have them do this more often!

Noel School Hallowen Parade

Our school has a tradition of parading the kids around with their Halloween costumes. Here are a couple clips of this years parade.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Too Cool to Miss!

Follow this link to The History Channel's Hidden Spirits Site. Follow the instructions to play the game. Since this is science class, make sure to read the directions carefully so that you can use the instruments to record and collect data. If it is fun, keep it to yourself, 'cause school isn't supposed to be fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can You Sasa?

We have been asked to create a Sasa, Samoan slap dance, and video it for our friends at Tamaki Today. They would like us to give it a little of our "flavor". Get ready and we will video it on Friday! (Halloween just got a little scarier!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

AR Day

AR day was last Wednesday. We planned to spend all day reading books. The students were allowed to bring snacks, wear pajamas, and bring pillows and blankets to get comfortable with. We had a great morning with students reading like crazy. It was awesome to see them reading so intently. Unfortunately, the afternoon was interrupted by an anti-drug assembly. We didn't get to read all day long like we planned.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogging Tiger Award for Writing:The House on Maple Street

Congratulations Emily on winning the Blogging Tiger Award for Writing! Here is the story Emily wrote. You can also find it on the Creative Writing Blog.
The House on Maple Street

"Oh no!" Bell says, "Stay away!" she was very scared as a robber is in Bell's house. The robber grabbed Bell and ran to the creepiest house on Maple Street.

"Ms. Bell? Ms. Bell?"

"Huh?" Bell says yawning, waking up in math class.

"What does h equal in 4 times h equals 16?" she looked at Bell doubtfully

"4 times h equals 16 oh, um h equals 3?" she said trying to remember. She heard giggling from the class mates behind her.

"Incorrect. To be correct h=4. Were you sleeping again? If you weren't you would know that I just told you what h equals." Mrs. Patron asked already knowing the answer. Bell heard some whispers across the room. Great Isabella she thought

"Yes, Mrs. Patron…….."

They heard the bell ring that cut off Bell.

She walked down the hallway; Bell heard some snoring, then giggling. She felt miserable. She got out the door realizing there was some snow on the ground. She passed the house she was dreaming about, which were 2 houses away from hers. When she got home she heard some screaming upstairs. She threw my bag on the couch and ran upstairs to find her little brother Simon's hand stuck in a mouse trap.

"What are you doing?" Bell said yelling. Simon's face was wet from tears. He was still whimpering. She carefully took the mouse trap, untangling his fingers.

"Don't ever touch this again ok? I thought you broke a leg or something!" she exclaimed.

6 hours later it was time to go to bed. she have to share a bunk bed with Simon. Luckily she gets top bunk.

"No put me down!" she screamed the bandit got to the house and the house shot from the ground like a rocket ship. It was a perfect lift-off. "I'm in space oh, no." The robber put some rope around her face so she could not talk. She hummed something trying to get something out. He just pulled more tightly. A tear fell from my eye. I cannot believe I am crying. She thought to herself. I need to get home before mom thinks I'm off wondering somewhere.

She saw all the planets. But she did not even try to look at the sun, although it might hurt her eyes anyway. How am I breathing? She thought again.

"Just another dream phew." She said under her breath.

In the morning she woke up and ran downstairs. She turned on the TV, It said there was no school due to snow.

"Yes!" I yelled so loudly that I woke up my brother and he came downstairs. He went over to the window, looked out and gave me a smile.

"Sissy, can we go play in the snow?" Simon asked

"Sure go get your winter clothes on and I will too." As soon as they got downstairs they went outside and had lots of fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogging Tiger Award for Social Studies

Congratulations, Vanessa on your Blog Action Day post on poverty. You receive the coveted, and rarely awarded Blogging Tiger Award for Social Studies. Here is the link to her post. Go there and congratulate Vanessa on her award.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Why We Participate

Today thousands of bloggers are writing about poverty. Why are we participating? With this year's emphasis on the global community, it is important for us to look outside ourselves and our immediate community to see what is going on in the world. You will be having a lesson today on poverty in social studies. What does poverty mean? The United States has a scale that determines the poverty level. According to Wikipedia last year, for example, the poverty line for a family of four was $21,200. Does that reflect poverty in the rest of the world? What differences do you see between poverty in the United States and other countries?

Update: Check out the students' posts on poverty at Compendium.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Blog Action Day 08- Raising Poverty Awareness

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

We are preparing for this day in both Math and Social Sciences. Will you join us?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Would You Like to Write With Us?

Chris Van Allsburg's excellent children's book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick has been a source of writing inspiration for my students for years. I honestly have never had more success getting my students to write than using this book as a story starter.

So, my question to you is, "Will you join us?" I want you to write a story based on one of Van Allsburg's pictures from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. There are two rules to this assignment:

1. You must use the line that goes with the picture somewhere in your story.
2. The story must have something to do with the picture.

If you don't have a copy this link will take you to Google Book Search of the story.

Write your story on your blog, or use Google docs, or some other on-line publishing and send me the link so my class can read it and so I can link to it. If you can't publish it on-line, email it to me at wmchamberlain@gmail.com and I will post it here on the blog. You can even record audio or video of you reading your story!

There is no reward except for the joy of writing and sharing with others and perhaps the coveted Blogging Tiger Award for Writing to place on your blog or website.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

30,000 Hits and Counting

Today my website collected its 30,000 hit. We had a small celebration and I bought a cake for the fifth grade to eat at lunch. I am really pleased with the response this blog has had.