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.