Class Notes for Oct. 20-24, 2014

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What a busy week we had! With Run for the Arts, the Drama residency,  a very cool Reed College College Science lesson on motion, and starting up our blogs, the kids and I have been busy.

We are gearing up for our trip to Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery on Monday, Oct. 27. Thank you to those who have volunteered to go with us on the trip. It’s touch and go on how much room we will have on the bus, so please be prepared to carpool or go on our own if the bus is overcrowded. I’ll get more information to volunteers as we get closer to the field trip day.

Room 24 will soon be using KidBlog, a free platform that enables students to post and comment (with everything getting my approval before going public) on topics that they are interested in and some that I will assign. We made paper versions of our blogs last week and got started with entering the first post. Students will practice commenting on others’ blogs this week using appropriate safety, thoughtfulness, and respectfulness guidelines.

I am looking forward to getting together with parents next week during conferences. If you need a reminder on when your conference is, check on or drop me an email.

Homework is due this Friday the 24th, but because of conferences next week, the next packets will be due on Nov. 7.

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Class Notes for Oct. 13-17, 2014

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There is a lot of drama going on in Room 24 these days. Specifically, Michael Wehrli’s Drama class has the kids excited about practicing theater skills and gearing up for an evening performance on Nov. 13. The class will continue to meet every Monday through Thursday with Michael up to the day of the performance.

Our trip to Bonneville on Monday, October 27 is quickly approaching. Thank you to those parents who have volunteered to join us on this fun field trip. It is possible that the bus will be too full and some parents might have to carpool to Bonneville.

We are reading a new book called One for the Murphys that is part of the Global Read Aloud project. I plan on having the students do lots of reflections on this realistic fiction book and at some point we will be doing at least one Skype session with another school somewhere in the United States. A one-stop spot for most of the information needed for this assignment is

Students are working on a home project about a state of their choice. Information was sent home on Thursday of last week. If your son or daughter doesn’t have the information, please let me know and I’ll send home a duplicate. The project is due on Monday, October 27. If it is finished early, it can be brought in anytime. These will be displayed in the hallway. I can’t wait to see what our creative students come up with!



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Class Notes for Oct. 6-9, 2014

October is upon us already! It seems impossible that five weeks have gone by already. The class has been busy finishing and presenting our robot stories and planet presentations.

We add a new element to the mix this week with the start of a Drama residency with Michael Wehrli. Similar to last year’s residency, half the class will go with Michael and his assistant to the stage for a half-hour session while the other half works with me on math or literacy, depending on the day of the week. When the first group comes back, we trade places. The residency runs Monday through Thursday until the first week of November. A performance for family will take place the evening of Thursday, Nov. 13. Mark your calendar.

Shortly after the Drama residency ends, the class starts up Bike Safety class. This is a great opportunity for students to learn safe cycling habits and have fun while they’re doing it. Warm clothing is a must on cycling days (I will get a detailed schedule out as we get closer to that time). Bicycles and helmets are provided.

I am looking forward to our Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery field trip on Monday, Oct. 27. Please return permission slips no later than Thursday, Oct. 9. Thanks to those parents who have volunteered to come along with us. It should be a great day of learning.

If you have not filled out the Spring Science Camp questionnaire, please go to It’s one of the world’s shortest questionnaires and should only take a couple of minutes to complete. This will really help the organizers of the Science Camp fundraisers. Thanks!

For more information on our Reed College Science lesson on Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, go to

We are focusing on states and capitals of the Pacific Northwest. There will be a quiz on Thursday, so it’s time to start brushing up on them. Homework this week went home on Friday and I will continue with that. Having the option of working on the weekend appeals to many of the students.

On Monday we will finish our first full-length read aloud novel, Rump. It told the “true” story of Rumpelstiltskin and the kids loved it. I have to admit I had fun reading it aloud also. Have your child retell a favorite part of the story to you.

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Posted in Field Trips, Weekly Classroom Notes

Class Notes for Sep. 29- Oct. 3, 2014

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Thanks to everybody who has signed up for conferences on Signup Genius. I am looking forward to meeting to share (both directions) information about your child.

Please fill out the short Science Camp questionnaire at if you haven’t already done so. The fifth-grade team needs to know how much fundraising is necessary. You can help by filling out the form.

In math we focused on the using the correct order of operations, a step on the road to algebra. Have your child explain what PEMDAS stands for. We also spent time on identifying prime and composite numbers.

Most students finished their US maps with all 50 states. Those who finished early were able to add capitals, too. We will focus on memorizing the states and capitals of the Pacific Northwest this week. In Science, each student has chosen a planet to do a report on. We will continue working on those this week and share them next week.

We have a long-delayed field trip coming up near the end of October! Last year, all fourth-grade classes were scheduled to go to Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery, but the trip was cancelled due to the government shutdown in October. Well, the Government is up and running again and we’re going to take the 40-mile trip up the Columbia River to see where we get most of our electricity from. The field trip is on Monday, Oct. 27. Information is going home on Monday. We need five parent volunteers to go with us, leaving at 9:00 and returning about 2:30. There is a chance that some chaperones might need to carpool, depending on how crowded the buses are.



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Class Notes for Sep. 22-26, 2014

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It was great seeing such a great turnout at Back-to-School Night last Tuesday! I enjoyed chatting with new and former parents.

We start two new units of study this week; one on U.S. geography and another on the solar system. I will introduce the units on Monday and Tuesday and we’ll be off and running with projects for the next couple of weeks.

Spelling and math homework went home on Friday afternoon again. I’ve heard from more than a few parents that this is a good system that gives families the option of doing the homework over the weekend or waiting until Monday. The only drawbacks are that occasionally the math homework relies on a lesson I have not taught yet and that the spelling words might not be fresh by the following Friday. A practice test or review at home on Thursday night might help with that.

In math we will be reviewing, and in some cases, relearning, multiplication tables. If they were not mastered last year in 4th grade, this is the year to do it. Middle school math teachers expect fluency in basic facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It’s not exciting, but it’s got to be done.

If you have not signed up for conferences on SignUp Genius, please do that as soon as you are able. If you have trouble getting onto the system, let me know and I can help. So far it’s working pretty well.

Science Camp is in May, but the fifth-grade team is planning ahead. We need to get a little bit of information about tuition from parents at the link above.

A minimum of a half hour of reading a day at home will really add up, so keep it up. Turn off the screens (unless you’re reading on a device), take out the earbuds (unless you’re listening to a book-on-tape version), and enjoy the power of the printed word. Many of the students in our class are voracious readers who think nothing of reading three and four times that amount.


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Camp Magruder Science Camp Information and Survey

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The fifth graders will be going to camp from May 11-13; we will be at camp for three days and two nights this year.  The camp fee for Camp Magruder will be $161 per student.  We are hoping that a lot of fundraising will help lower the overall camp fee.

Camp Magruder is organized by Northwest Outdoor Science School so the students will have a focus of science in an outdoor setting.  Camp Magruder is located near Rockaway Beach, on the Oregon coast.  The cabins have heat and electricity. We will provide you with a preliminary supply list at October conferences. The camp employs high school and college chaperones so we will not need parents to come to camp this year.

At this time we need to know if you are able to pay the full tuition.  Please fill out the survey form via this link by September 26th.  Thank you for all of your support and please remember that we will send home detailed information and registration packets after winter break.

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Sign Up for Fall Conferences Here

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Please sign up for conferences using SignUp Genius at or click on the screenshot. Looking forward to getting together!

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