Thursday, April 09, 2015

Catching Up

It’s been a pleasant week so far, but being away for Break has made it hard to catch up with all the things I need to do … like this blog!

Homework:  (1) Do “Relating Shapes and Solids” and “Minimum Wage.”  (2) Do Decimals and Exponents 3. (3) Do “Drawing a Picture.” Students will have an extra credit opportunity tomorrow or Monday on this advanced material on ratios. (4) Science and History: Fifth graders should finish the vocabulary and the questions on pages 91. Fourth graders should do the cartoon questions and “Free Enterprise.”

Also, finish Measuring Up, chapter 21, in both Language Arts and Mathematics books if needed.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Two Days

First, a couple scenes from Friday’s Walk-a-thon. Room 19 did quite well overall, coming in fourth in total contributions and being the ONLY class to have 100 percent participation. Thank you so much, students and families!

Today was a pretty quiet day. We went to the library, always a highlight of the week.

Homework:  (1) Do the usual Monday spelling assignments, including matching terms and definitions for these words with Latin roots. (2) Do the Charlotte Doyle evaluation. (3) Do the Exponents and Algebra paper. 

Science Fair project should be coming in by Wednesday. Also note the Friday Egg Drop assignment. This is a great little introduction to engineering for our students and it is always a hit. Thank you Mrs. Cha for arranging this for the entire fourth grade!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Today, combining a bit of visual art and math, we began work on double point vanishing perspective. This is initially a difficult concept for the students, but once they grasp it they start seeing the world a little differently. For this reason, it’s a great - if hard - lesson.


During our grade-level blocks, the fifth graders continued their work on their colony PowerPoints. The fourth graders did part two of the “Mock Rocks” experiment.

Here they were taking apart their mock rocks and examining the constituent “minerals”. We’ll be doing more with them tomorrow.

Homework:  (1) Do spelling practice as usual. Also do the spelling word search. (2) Do the math review sheet on fractions and geometry. 

Remember tomorrow is Walk-a-thon! We are almost at 100 percent participation. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Few, the Proud

Our fifth grade students were off at the Reagan Library today on a field trip, and I understand they had a great time. With only the fourth grader the room seemed a bit quiet, but they did excellent work. We started our Earth Science unit by examining “mock rocks.” Rocks and minerals are what we will be studying over the next few weeks.

We are also finally getting our mission posters and reports done. Today the students started on their reports using the Chromebooks, and many finished the posters. They’re done in the style of 1930’s Southern Pacific Railway travel posters. Many are wonderful!

Homework:  (1) Do the spelling jumble. (2) Finish the final draft of the Charlotte Doyle paper. (3) Do the math worksheet.

Friday, March 13, 2015

We Did It!

Our challenged was not only met, but exceeded!

Homework:  None today!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Advanced Work

Quite a productive day! We did all the usual things at the beginning of the day. After recess, the students began writing a five-paragraph essay. I didn’t do this until eleventh grade, and didn’t get good at it until college. How much more advanced our room 19 scholars are than their teacher was! We are doing this by observing the changes in Charlotte Doyle’s personality over the course of the novel. This is also challenging the students to support their assertions with evidence from the text - a key skill in the Common Core State Standards.

Fifth graders are researching a colony they chose yesterday. All the tech resources that have become available to us recently are certainly helpful here.

Fourth graders worked on their history test, and also started on a travel poster for their mission. We will be finishing this before Spring Break. I know we’ve talked about it for a while. 

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words twice in cursive. Write sentences for words 11-15. (2) Do the spelling crossword puzzle. (3) If necessary, finish the three body paragraphs of the essay on Charlotte Doyle. Most students did this in class. (4) Do “Area of Triangles.” (5) Do “Transformations and Congruence” and “Translations in Space”. (6) Do Fractions to Decimals 3. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Quick Post

A very busy day…just the homework for now.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words twice and do sentences for words 6-10. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Finish the prewriting for the Charlotte Doyle paper. Students should have 3-4 words to describe Charlotte at the beginning, the middle, and the of the story. (4) Do the Circles paper. The back of this is challenging, but first convert find the fraction - for instance, Mar’s 2 moons are 2/60 of the total - and then convert that into a percentage. Multiply the percentage by 6, as each of the 60 moons represent 6 degrees of the circle. (5) Do the Area of Parallelograms paper. This should be fairly straightforward. (6) Do the fractions into decimals.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Pushing Ahead

We began by giving students some time to complete Friday’s quiz on decimal division. This is not an altogether easy skill, and we will continue to work on it. I’ll no doubt curve the results so that the average grade becomes a 3. During our recess grade level blocks, we went over Measuring Up as we have lately. While I normally resent the idea of spending time on test prep in class, this series is actually pretty intelligent and does cover a lot of the stuff in the Common Core standards that we might otherwise miss.

We also spent a good bit of time practicing Beauty and the Beast. It was only a short scene, but an important one with LOTS of action in it. Here the students are about to mime using a battering ram to attack the beast’s castle.

Homework:  (1) Do the first five spelling words. The PC with that file on it crashed today, so the words on on the bottom of the matching form. (2) Do spelling matching. (3) Do the Quadrilaterals paper. (4) Do the Area paper. (5) Do Fractions to Decimals 1.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Black History

We had our Black History Month assembly today. The first graders from Mr. McNeela’s room were so cute!

The second and third graders sang for us.

And the fifth graders in both rooms 13 and 15 did a variety of skits and songs to teach us about famous African Americans.

In the rest of the day, we checked, corrected, and discussed homework. We practiced the Prologue scene from Beauty and the Beast. We read and discussed a chapter form Charlotte Doyle. And we reviewed more with fractions and retook a math test. 

Homework:  (1) Do Charlotte Doyle chapter 19 study sheet. (2) Do Describing Words. Be sure to write a sentence on the back using the chosen words. (3) Do More Fraction Practice 4. (4) Do Make and Test Generalizations. (5) Do Test Prep paper. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


A very productive day in every respect…but not enough time to write about it. So here’s the homework:

Homework:  (1) Finish Measuring Up chapter 5. (2) Do “Choosing Correct Meanings.” (3) More Fractions 3. (4) Do Triangles. (5) Do Quadrilaterals.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This and That

As you all know, I was gone on Friday. Mrs. Meldrum wrote me the nicest note to say what great students we have here in room 19. I couldn’t agree more!

Today we did a number of little things. We reviewed for a math test and took it later in the day. We practiced for Beauty and the Beast. We did a mini book report before going to the library.

Homework:  (1) Do “Evaluating What You Read” and “Using Guide Words”. (2) Do “More Fraction Practice 1”. (3) Do the handout from the fifth grade book about lines and points. 

No spelling this week. 

Friday, February 13, 2015


Today was our field trip to the Colburn Music School downtown.

The program started out with a string quartet. But during their playing - which was extraordinary, by the way - there were all these crashing sounds.

Liev showed up claiming that it was his turn to rehearse in the auditorium. He was the world music guy.

Obviously, of course, all this was staged and as the classical performers and the world music guy argued about whose music was better. And naturally they decided that both were good and really kind of the same thing. 

The only bad part of the day was the fact that the buses were all messed up and we had to wait quite a while before getting back to school.

Homework: (1) Finish chapters 3 of both Measuring Up books. (2) Finish the rough draft of the persuasive essay. 




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Practice, Practice, Practice

We were busy today with all the usual reading, writing, and mathematics. But we also had a good bit of time for working on Beauty and the Beast. Here are students rehearsing the scene where Gaston proposes to Belle

and the scene where they have console him because she turned him down flat!

Homework:  (1) Do Charlotte Doyle, chapter 13 study questions. (2) Write the pros and cons of a chosen position. For example, students might write about banning violent video games or requiring vaccination. Only a list is needed here. We will work on the rough drafts in class tomorrow. (3) Do Multiplying Decimals 4. (4) Do Extra Information. (5) Do Multiplying Fractions. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Quick Post

It’s been awfully busy here since AstroCamp, and its been hard to get time to write full blog posts. So, instead of much detail, at least for a while, I’ll just try to get the homework put up.

Homework:  (1) Do Charlotte Doyle chapter 12 questions. (2) Do “Remembering Details” skill sheet for Charlotte Doyle. (3) Do the final draft of the persuasive essay on extending the school year. (4) Do Multiplying Decimals 3. (5) Do the Dividing Fractions paper.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Another whirlwind day, but a really productive one. We started out by focusing on persuasive writing. Students brainstormed the pros and cons of fast food in their journals. They will do more with this tomorrow. We worked on the district writing assessment:  there’s a little more about that in the homework section below. We read and discussed another chapter of Charlotte Doyle. We reviewed a good bit about fractions. They will be retaking the tests on Friday so that students can have a second chance to show their proficiency.

Homework:  (1) Write sentences for spelling words 6-10. The cursive practice is optional today. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do the study sheet for chapter 5 of Charlotte Doyle. (4) Do the “Multiplying Fractions 2” study sheet. (5) Finish outlining the “Animal Survival” or “Photosynthesis” papers. This was mostly done in class. Fourth graders are working on the first topic; fifth graders are working on the second. This is part of the district-mandated writing assignment for their grade level. They will work on the final drafts in class. (6) Fourth graders will also finish “Connect Main Ideas” on page 162 of the spelling book.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Today we started Language Arts with some writing. Students had to pick something that they know how to do well and explain to somebody else exactly how to do it. Our entries ranged from “How to Ice Skate” to “How to Really Annoy Your Seat Partner!” We did manage to get to recess at the correct times, and I worked with the fourth graders during the fifth grade recess time on their diseños, the maps that Californios made to request land from the Mexican government. They drew these last month. Today we aged them with water and a tempura wash.

Fifth graders worked on their outlining and study skills using a not-terribly-interesting passage about cooperation between European settlers and native Americans. We read another chapter in The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle and I think the class is pretty hooked on this find YA novel. We’re reviewing what we’ve learned in fractions getting ready for a test. We are pushing the whole class to master both the fourth and fifth grade skills and to get a pretty solid grasp on the sixth grade ones as well. When there’s a class that’s this smart, why not?

We are starting to work on Beauty and the Beast, this year’s musical. Today I voice tested about half the class. The rest will be tested tomorrow. We have some good singers in room 19!

Homework:  (1) Write all words twice in cursive. Write sentences for words 11-15. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do the study guide for chapter two of Charlotte Doyle. (4) Do the More Fractions 3 paper. (4) Fourth grade history:  Complete the “Mexican California” study sheet. Fifth grade history:  Finish the outline of “Cooperation."

A few students may also need to finish their fraction review packets. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Real First Day Back

So, today was really our first day back at school. And it all went pretty well … except when the teacher completely forgot about sending everybody to recess! Fortunately, second recess was just about to start and students did get a break.

We went to Tech Center. Our usual teacher, Mr. Seagren, was out today so we had a substitute who wanted us to research something. Since we had gone to the museum yesterday, I suggested an artist. I think we will do more with that next week. Of course, we checked, corrected, and discuss homework. We started a new book today, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I think it will be a hit. Fifth graders reviewed our Science unit, and fourth graders learned more about the ranchos. We finished the day, as we usually do on Tuesdays, with reading buddies.

Homework:  (1) Write all spelling words twice in cursive. Compose sentences for words 6-10. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Do the study questions over Charlotte Doyle, Prologue and Chapter 1. (4) Do Adding and Subtracting Fractions 2. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Happy New Year! 

Today was our walking field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After the weekend rain, the weather was cool and perfect for our stroll. We arrived a little early, so the class went to explore Levitated Mass, the massive sculpture by Michael Heizer. 



Some students attempt to lift the 340 ton boulder.


We also took a look at Urban Light, the iconic collection of light posts.



Once inside the museum, we were split into several groups. The group I went with focused on art and personal identity. We looked as and discussed some iconic works including Cliff Dwellers by George Bellows,

Cliff Dwellers

David Hockney’s Mulholland Drive,


and Roberto Matta’s enormous Burn, Baby, Burn.

Burn Baby

One of the favorites, quite predictably, of all the groups was Penetrable by Jesus Soto. How can you not like interactive art?

Homework:  (1) Write all spelling words twice in cursive and write sentences for words 1-5. (2) Match spelling words and definitions. A dictionary will help here. These will be the definitions used on Friday’s test. (3) Do the Addition and Subtraction of Fractions worksheet. (4) Do the Base Words and Syllables worksheet. (5) Make a picture of the favorite work from today’s trip and write a short paragraph about the work and why you like it.