Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Singing for the Noel UMC Daycare Center

Our fourth and sixth grade students (minus the band members) walked to the local daycare center to sing to the kids.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ukulele Club's First Performance

Here is the first public performance of our new ukulele club. We are playing Mele Kalikimaka at our annual Christmas program. The students have only been playing for a month and I am very pleased with their progress. 

If you are interested they are playing the Kala LU-21 soprano ukulele and I am playing a Boulder Creek spruce top tenor.

Digital Snowflakes? Yes, Please!

This is a site I have used with my class for several years. In fact, I used it to teach myself how to fold paper to create paper snowflakes. When you are finished your snowflake is set adrift throughout the digital world and you can watch them fall or even capture one from someone else.  I hope you all have a great Holiday break!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Elf Yourself is Now an App!

I used to make these videos every year, and now it is much easier. With the Elf Yourself app you can take pictures and immediately insert them. I hope you enjoy the show!

Monday, December 03, 2012

We Have Been Nominated!: Edublog Award Nominations

I am pleased to announce that our class blog has been chosen as a finalist for the 2012 Edublog Awards in the category Best Class Blog. This is a great honor and the fourth year for being nominated for this award. 

I am also really pleased to announce that the Twitter hash tag #Comments4Kids was nominated as Best Twitter Hashtag. You can learn more about Comments4Kids on the Comments4Kids blog.

If you would like to vote for these just click on the respective links above. If you don't want to vote, I still suggest you go and check out the nominees. There are a lot of great people represented and you and I can learn a lot from them.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hayley's Book

One of my future students, Hayley wrote a book. Here is a video of her reading the book. Please watch the video and help her make her goal of 2,000 views. She would also like you to leave a comment. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This Made My Day

Here is Brayden and Mohamed reading together today during Reading Day. This was a spontaneous thing, they just sat down and started reading a book together. Good things happen when you give students opportunities and time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WOOT! Blogging

We finally started our blog this year! We are using my favorite student blogging platform KidBlog for our writing activities this year. We would love for you to drop by and read what we are writing. All you have to do is click here:

When you leave a comment, it won't show up immediately until I approve it. So don't worry about it being lost. We would love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Please Help Fund Our Ukulele Club

I just received the news that my project has been accepted by Donors Choose. If it is funded it will allow me to start a small after school ukulele club for some of my students. I am hoping to start the new year with this new learning opportunity. That is where you come in.

I am asking you to support this small endeavor by donating some money. Simply go to this link:

and give a couple dollars. I also received word that if you use the code:


when you donate, the organization will match the donation (how about that!) for up to $100 dollars a donation. Thank you.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Drop Everything and....

Today we spent some of our time doing different activities. We used the Drop Everything and ______ to start the activities. Among these activities were write, draw, tell a story, listen, sing, dance, paint, and write a thank you note.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fear Factor 2012

Fear Factor was something I started in fifth grade well before I started blogging. Fortunately I did catpure 2008 and 2009 on the blog. Now that I am back in a 6h grade classroom I started up the tradition again.

This year we included all six classrooms in my hallway. We had three fifth grade representatives and three sixth grade representatives.

The first round of the contest was to have students wear diapers all day on the outside of their clothes. Next we ramped up the fear a little with a dance contest. Here is a video of the students learning the dance.

After practicing they had to put their new moves into practice during the 7th and 8th grade dance.

The crowd selected the final three to compete in the food eating contest.

Corbin was the winner, finishing his baby food off ffirst!

Hidden Spirits

Welcome to Hidden Spirits. Can you lead a scientific investigation to debunk a haunted hotel? Hidden Spirits

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Assembly

During our assembly today we had a mock Presidential debate. 

The fourth grade made the monthly presentation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


My reading class started the book Matilda by Roald Dahl last week. Matilda is a great book for elementary kids because of fantastic plot (Matilda has super powers!), the great English language (Roald Dahl was from England), and the silly pranks that Matilda plays.

There are a lot of chances to discuss vocabulary, plot, characters, and relationships. There are also a lot of great writing opportunities presented. For example, my students wrote about the best practical joke they have played on someone. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Visual Sequence of Peter and Wendy

We have finished the book Peter and Wendy and now we are making a visual sequence of events. These will be put up in the hallway. Come and take a look.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What I did and Saw at the Prairie Days at the George W. Carver Museum

What I did at Prairie Days was I weaved a scarf on a loom and hand crocheted. I also spinned yarn on a spinning wheel.

What I saw was soap making, old style laundry, churning butter, candle making, sewing blankest, basket weaving, banjo making, arts and crafts, and wagon rides. I also had hot coffee and donuts.

The loom I made a scarf on was made from pieces from a shipwreck from a ship yard. I let kids help me make the scarf also. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another Busy Day 9/11

 The students took over Tie Tuesday today. They were waiting at the door to hand out the ties to the students from the other classes.

In math a few students finished their assignment early so they were able to work on some logic puzzles on the iPad. You can see it mirrored on the television.

We had counseling class today. We went to Mrs. Kilby's room. 

Digital United States History Games

Mission-US is a site that has a couple immersive American History games on it. One is on the American Revolution, the other on Escaping Slavery. Which one do you like best? Click the link to play.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Another Great September Day in Class

In our social sciences class we watched a really good video on the Mesopotamian city state of Sumer. We learned about scribes writing in cuneiform as well as the Saga of Gilgamesh. Discovery Streaming has some great videos and we are grateful we have access to them!

In the junior high hallway we saw a lot of posters advertising for the people running for student government. I talked to a teacher in that hallway and asked if we could set up a town hall meeting where the candidates could answer questions for us.

In science lab Mr. Howerton had a really neat learning opportunity set up for us. First we made hand lenses using safety pins and water. The adhesiveness of the water allowed it to stick in the circle created by the wire on the safety pin and the water's cohesiveness kept it from falling apart. It actually magnified!

Then we got to look at some animal cells through the microscopes. They look very big when they are magnified. We managed to make it through the class without breaking a slide too.

Here is Adrian explaining the safety pin hand lens.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Finally, a Face to Face Visitor!

I finally figured out what was wrong with my Discovery Streaming subscription. We celebrated by watching a video that showed a couple 'real world' examples of variables and expressions.

After the video we got back to work on variables and expressions. I am really hopeful that the students are catching on. I am looking forward to seeing how well they did tomorrow.

This afternoon we had a special visitor, Miss Winchester. She has spent the last three years in Niger (which is on the African continent.) She spent an hour talking to us about what life is like there. In social studies we have been studying about Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. While Niger is not real close, it was still good to have someone talk about an area that is not too dissimilar.

Here are a couple students putting on clothes that are typically worn by women and girls in Niger. The need for light, loose fitting cloth became apparent when Miss Winchester told us that the temperature fluctuates from as high as 140 degrees in the 'hot season' to a low of 90 degrees at night in the 'cool season'. That sure doesn't sound that cool to me!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Stephanie Works With Variables

Here is Stephanie working through an expression using a variable. 

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. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer School

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Summer Learning

I am teaching the novel The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton in summer school this year with sixth through eighth grade students. I have started a lesson planning and reflection blog where I will be posting both what we are doing in class and what I am learning from it. Here is the link if you would like to read through my thought process. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Mobile Blog to For a Mobile Blogger

I have started a mobile blog at The blog will be used to record my trip to Walt DisneyWorld, but if it is as easy as it seems, I will probably continue to use it. If you want to follow my trip, here is the link:

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Do I Have a Right? Learn Your Constitutional Rights

Do I Have a Right? is a game where you get to pretend to be a lawyer. The game helps you learn about Constitutional law (which is pretty important!) I would love to see what you think after you are done playing, so leave a comment letting me know.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Samorost 1 is a crazy cool game. The idea is to get the character, Samorost, to explore the space ship that he finds flying towards his planet. To play this game you simply point and click until you find out how to progress. You will have to collaborate on this one, don't be selfish when you figure out the puzzles!

Now for your assignment: I want you to write Samorost's story. Why ishe scared when he sees the spaceship? Why does he decide to explore it? What does he find along the way? You will need to take notes as you travel with Samorost.

I will leave you this picture as a clue for the first puzzle. Can you see what has changed?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Secret Builders

 Secret Builders brings something new, the opportunity to converse with other people outside of the classroom. Use common sense and the online safety practices we have talked about in class. I am not saying you cannot have a conversation, just remember that you are looking at an avatar and not the person. You really don't know anything about them, so don't let them know anything about you!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Library Media Survey

Here is the link to the annual Library Media Survey Please fill it out to the best of your ability.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rube Goldberg Machines

Here is a GIF of 8th graders working on their Rube Goldberg machine. The GIF was created using Gifture with my iPhone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Halloween in April?

Because I won't have you next October for Halloween, I thought you might like to check out the fun today. The first site is online pumpkin carving. What kind of face does your pumpkin need? The second site is Zap-A-Ghost. How many ghosts can you click on? The last site is Hidden Spirits. Can you lead a scientific investigation to debunk a haunted hotel?

Online Pumpkin Carving


Hidden Spirits

You will need headphones to play Hidden Spirits so I hope you brought yours :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Can You Survive Jamestown?

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.

Leave a comment about what you learned.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Web Sudoku

Following this weeks theme of working with math. Today and tomorrow you will be doing online sudoku puzzles via See if you can get a puzzle done in under 50 minutes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Create a Comic Starring The Avengers

Here is the opportunity you have been waiting for, creating your own comic books. Since the Avengers movie is coming out this summer, I thought you might like the opportunity to create your own story line.

Click here to create your comic.