Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. With the holidays coming up it has been busy and my wife and I have both been sick. (As of this writing, we are both on the road to recovery). I wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a happy holidays. I hope that everyone has a chance to spend time with family and have a nice, relaxing holiday. Eric Langhorst, a teacher at South Valley Middle School – and the Missouri Teacher of the Year, recently put a podcast up about sharing and recording family histories. I think this is a great idea, and one that I have been trying to get my dad to do. My dad has a ton of great stories and I am trying to get him to record them. I am hoping to get more of his stories on tape over the break. I encourage you to listen to Eric’s podcast about how to accomplish this. While you are there, you should listen to some of his others, they are absolutely amazing. You can get to Eric’s web site, Speaking of History, by clicking on the link below.

Also I wanted to put up a few more pictures of some of the science expereiments that we have been working on. Have a great break!

Reading Buddies

Here are some pictures that I promised the kids that I would post last week and just didn’t get a chance to put up. Every student got a brand new reading buddy. This is a friend that loves to listen to student writing. I really want the kids to get into the habit of reading what they write out loud. It is amazing how many mistakes you catch when you do this. Enjoy these pictures or Room 42 with their reading buddies.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Two Weeks Left

We have two full weeks left until the holiday break. I know that I am looking forward to the break but I am also looking forward to the next two full weeks. We have a ton to get accomplished. Today we took a math test and I have a feeling that this group is going to do really well in Unit 6 which deals with data and probability. We are also jumping into colonies with a giant poster project. Not only do I mean that this will be a large project but also, the finished posters will be huge. We had a great discussion today about some of the errors the kids made in the science work that we did this week and the kid have an opportunity to re-do one of those assignments. Next week we will continue our work on forces and begin to look at simple machines. Enjoy the weekend, and hopefully the weather will be nice. I’m heading north to Des Moines, Iowa to meet Brooks Robinson, Baseball Hall of Famer. I’m hoping for nice traveling weather tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snowball Fight

Today we had a giant snowball fight in Room 42. We did this to practice calculating speed. We did not go out side and get snowballs (no matter how tempting that would have been) instead, we made due with indoor snowballs. We also went through our Newton’s Third Law sing along again. Ask your child to sing you the song about Newton’s Third law, they would love to sing it for you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Quick Notes

I just want to mention quickly that there are some changes on the horizon for collecting homework and makeup work procedures. We had discussed this earlier and it looks like we will be trying out the new system either next week, or the week before break. I am excited about this system and I think that it will work well and shouldn’t impact grade at all, especially if the kids are turning assignments in on time. More to come on this topic later.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Multiple Topics

Where do I begin? I have a bunch of different topics to talk about today.

Adopt a Soldier
First, we are going to adopt a soldier for the holidays (our package won’t get there until after Christmas). I am collecting different items to send over. There is a whole list on the newsletter for last week. Mainly we are looking for non perishable stuff that we can send over. Beef jerky, crystal light packets, granola bars, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. What I told the kids is to think of what would put a smile on someone face. I am wanting to send the package sometime at the end of next week. Also, anyone that wants to contribute a dollar to the postage fund, it would be greatly appreciated.

Roller Coasters
Below are some of the pictures of the Roller Coasters that the kids turned in today. I have not graded them yet but I can’t wait and I wanted to post some pictures. Newton’s Laws

Newton's Laws
Today was our first day of studying Newton’s Laws. We did this by completing a series of observations including yanking a tablecloth out from under some dishes. I did tell the kids not to attempt this at home (we had plastic dishes). Here are some pictures also of the kids working on these centers today.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Roller Coaster Mania

My wife and I in front of our favorite roller coaster from our honeymoon, Expedition Everest!

I have a room full of roller coaster engineers. Today we learned how to calculate speed, velocity, and acceleration. I decided that instead of just giving them a bunch of problems to do I would have them create their own. The students had to design a roller coaster. Let me tell you, I will need a vomit bag and a helmet to ride some of them. Then they had to decide how long their track was and how long it would take the coaster to travel the track. From this information they then have to work out the speed, acceleration, and velocity. I can’t wait to see the finished products on Monday. I plan to post pictures on here of their work.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I did a horrendous thing today. I made the kids think. The fifth grade team of teachers recently planned out our new science unit. We planned several activities and experiments and one of the things that we planned was reading from the science book. I know that this reading can get complicated and a little dry at times so I try to spice it up a little. For example, tomorrow the kids are designing roller coasters. Today, however, I created an activity guide (fancy name for a worksheet) that guided them through the reading. It had a series of questions on it that were not directly in the text, they required the kids to actually read and understand what they had read in order to answer the questions. We went over part of it in class and the kids did great on the first question and everyone missed the second one we went over. The reason they missed the second one was because they didn’t go back and use what they had learned in the first question to answer the second. I was really happy with the effort the kids put in and I can’t wait to see their finished work tomorrow. I also can’t wait to see their roller coasters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Eggsilerating Day

Okay, I will spare you the egg jokes today. We did finish up our Eggsperament (not a joke, the actual name of the lesson). The biggest thing that we worked on today was graphing. Remember when you were in school, or for your job, when you make a graph you color in the little bars. Apparently the people that wrote the MAP test didn’t like that part of graphing so the kids will actually be counted off if they color in the bars and go even slightly outside the lines. So to eliminate any chance of a kid loosing a point for something silly like shading we are practicing drawing graphs without the shading. This makes for odd looking graphs but if it helps us on the MAP test, I’m all for it.

Today we also finished taking notes on our second explorer. The kids are choosing two explorers and eventually will write a compare and contrast essay about them. The last two days we have been taking notes. Tomorrow we will begin to work on the compare and contrast part and if time allows we will even begin writing our introductory paragraphs. Be watching for drafts of this essay to be coming home soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An Eggstra Eggciting Day in Room 42!

You guessed it. Today we did an eggsperament involving eggs. We had to be eggstremely careful not to break them. The students eggsuded confidence as we eggstended our science knowledge. I started the lesson by eggsplaining the rules and safety reggulations for the day. I didn’t want anyone to eggsploit their opportunity to use the eggs. I also didn’t want anyone to drop an egg, say an eggspletive, and get sent into eggsile (safe spot) for not following direggtions. There was no eggscuse for not handling the eggs properly. I know that the kids were eggsausted from the holiday break but we all need to just eggshale and get ready for our eggscursion into the wonderful world of science. The actual eggsperament involved the kids using their eggstremeties to take a hard boiled egg and spin it. They then had to eggsamine what happened when they stopped the egg. After that, they eggschanged the hard boiled egg for a raw egg. They then repeated the process being sure to be eggsact in their measurements. The entire process today was absolutely eggsilerating, and that’s no yolk!

Monday, November 26, 2007

What did you do over the break?

I hope that everyone had a great break. I know I was able to get caught up on some stuff here at school, plan some new lessons, spend some time with family and even go on a camp out. Yes, that is right, I camped out Thanksgiving night at Nebraska Furniture Mart. I didn’t even really have anything big on my list. My best friend wanted two of the big TV’s that were on sale so I camped overnight to help him get one. There is just one word that sums up the opening of the store. ZOO! It was absolutely crazy. After that, I don’t care if I ever go shopping again. Not for groceries, clothes, anything.

Today I stressed with the class that we have four full weeks of school left and that we have to be productive every day. No taking time off because we are tired, the room is hot, it is a Monday, or the day after a break. Also, just a hint about tomorrow, it will be a very Egg-citing day in Room 42.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weather Changes

With a big weather change heading in and a break coming up, things have been a little kooky here at school. We have been going on business as usual but some of the behaviors have been a little off. We had a discussion today that just because Turkey Day is coming up that is no reason to quit early. These are two valuable days of school that we will be using this week.

Today we continued our focus on note taking in social studies as well as kept working our way through fractions in math. I am dead serious when I say that this group is picking up on fractions faster than any group I have had before. A great example was today. Instead of me teaching the class how to convert between fractions and mixed numbers, most of them figured it out on their own. I then had a student review it with the class. I think we have fractions down.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Math Party Day

What an awesome day of math games! Thanks to all of the parents who came in today to play math games with us. I think it is awesome that as a school we had over 150 parents show up to play math games with their kids. What a great message to kids that math is important enough for my parents to come to school during the day. Below are some pictures of the day!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day and the Chiefs

As everyone knows, I am a Broncos fan. I have been since I was in kindergarten. My best friend moved to Denver and brought me back a Broncos shirt and ever since then I have been a fan. I had an opportunity to go to the game yesterday. I have included a few pictures I took. The reason I mention this is actually to complement the Chiefs. Not on their play (the Broncos pretty much beat them up) but for what they did at halftime. Yesterday was Veterans Day and they had several really cool things going on. First, there were a ton of soldiers that watched the game from the sideline which I thought was cool. There was a fly over by the Stealth Bomber. Way cool! The biggest cheer of the day was for a WWII veteran that had been shot down over Germany, captured and was a prisoner of war. Everyone stood up even though they made no announcement asking everyone to stand. It was by far the loudest cheer of the day. At half time they unfurled a big flag on the field and had a tribute to fallen soldiers. It was really moving. As the players came back onto the field, almost all of the Chiefs stopped at the sideline and watched, rather than warming up. I was really impressed by this. Like I told the kids today in class, take a minute to thank a veteran for what they have done, give them a hug, buy a buddy poppy. They didn’t do what they did for recognition but what they did was a huge sacrifice and should be honored. Happy Veterans Day.
My wife and I at the game. Notice, she didn't wear Broncos gear. She is a Chiefs fan.

Giant flag unfurled at half time.

Hat I got signed before the game. Two coolest autographs John Lynch (Big J toward the right side) and Pat Bowlen the owner of the Broncos (upper left part of the bill)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Photo Update

Here are some pictures of things that have happened in Room 42 in the last couple of weeks!

Mayor Steinkamp with KMH

Dan Mears AKA: KC Wolf with KMH

KMH preparing to interview KC Wolf

Interviewing the Mayor of Liberty

Happy Halloween - no, this is not our normal school atire.

Mummy in the making

Little Red Goldie Hood

Our Udderly-Amazing room mother who put together our Halloween Party

Mr. Cool Guy hanging out at the St. Louis Arch two weeks ago.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Slacker Part 2

Wow, I did so good for so long and the last two weeks have not been good for updating the blog and a lot of stuff has been going on. I will work backward starting today with a quick run down of events.

Thursday – Today we had the Mayor of Liberty come in to do an interview with KMH. He was incredibly nice and was great with the kids. I always think it is amazing when people take the time out of their busy schedule to come in and talk to the kids. Today we also finally finished our oil and water experiment. I found the video online of oil and water in microgravity. Drum roll please . . . They MIX! They do not separate in zero gravity. That really surprised the kids today. We watched the video and finished up our experiment pages.

Wednesday – I was gone for a meeting in the afternoon and in the morning we worked in the computer lab and the library learning about our visiting author, Roland Smith.

Tuesday – We held small meetings to discuss writing. We also worked on classifying monsters in a dichotomous key.

Monday – My birthday and I had a meeting in the afternoon. The meetings I was in this week were to evaluate companies for a new attendance and grade book programs for the district.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Okay so I have been slacking this week and have not updated the blog. Not to make excuses (but here they are) Monday I was worn slick after CHAMPS, Tuesday I was sick, Wednesday was Halloween and I forgot, so here is the post on Thursday. It has been a busy week. First, let me say that we had an outstanding day of CHAMPS, one of my all-time favorites. The kids followed directions, we had a great drug awareness assembly at the end and in general I think the kids got a lot out of the day. Second, I want to thank Mrs. Callstrom for hosting the Halloween party. Parties are always hectic but this one ran really smoothly. I will post pictures later. Today I was gone half a day for a meeting, and I missed half a day on Tuesday because I was sick. The kids did a great job for both subs. That is always a great sign of how good a class is, by how well they do for a sub. So far we haven’t had any problems. Keep up the good work. I also finally found the oil and water video that I have been looking for. I am planning on finishing editing it tomorrow and bringing it in so we can finish our experiment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Student Reference Book

This is just a quick reminder that the Student Reference Books need to be taken home every single night (except for most Fridays). The reason behind this is that almost every single night the kids will have homework in math. It will either be math boxes, or journal pages. Either way, we want them to have this great resource right at their finger tips if it is needed. 98% of what is in the math journal is covered in the Student Reference Book. The reason I mention this today is because right now there are four student reference books setting on student’s desks that didn’t take them home. There was even a notebook left here at school. I can’t even begin to imagine how this student will do their homework without their notebook. Also, remember that if your child ever forgets something feel free to bring them back up to school. There are janitors here until 9:00. You may have to knock on a door to get their attention and they might grumble a little bit but the bottom line is they will let you into the classroom.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Pictures

Here are a few more pictures. The first group is of the kids riding a rolling chair to simulate what it was like to be in zero gravity. It works as a very basic simulation because the kids were able to see how hard it was to control yourself in two directions. It also worked on showing the kids what it was like to try to catch the mass of someone else when they were flying-rolling toward you. The last picture is my attemp to recreate our tennis ball experiment with snowballs. When I woke up Saturday morning to an inch of snow on the ground.