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Thursday Snow Day HOT Work
Jan 27th, 2011 by jonmoss

Good morning, and happy snow day #5, I believe!  I originally put the snow effect on our class website because we were disappointed to see so very little snow in December, as you may remember.  Well I think we’ve made up for that!  The meteorologists on Channel 3 report that January 2011 has now topped the record and is the snowiest month in the recorded history of Connecticut’s weather.  Ever.  Wow.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to practice responding to HOT (higher order thinking) questions.  Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Read the story Achoo!, which you can download here.  Don’t worry about completing the worksheets that come after the story.  Just read and enjoy the story.  Consider printing the story so you can easily refer to it as you complete your HOT questions.
  2. Log onto Study Island.  (www.studyisland.com)  If you don’t remember your password, email me.
  3. There are five writing assignments for you to complete.  They’re all titled “Jan 27 Snow Day HOT Question #” and should be completed today.  Yes, this is more than last week, but you also DON’T need to score anything.  Plus, some of the questions should have pretty brief answers.  Remember, SAR stands for SHORT answer response.  (Just remember, you still need to be detailed and thorough.)  Consider referring to the ice cream rubric as you work.
  4. I’ll log onto Study Island periodically during the day today and will send you feedback on your work.  Feel free to log back in to see what feedback I sent you!
  5. Enjoy the snow!  Stay safe!

Don’t forget to play the division math game that I assigned for homework last night.  (You can find it one post down.)

Finally, here’s an interesting video that you might enjoy.  It shows dots represening airplanes that are flying all over the world.  It’s so interesting to see the patterns as the time changes!  (Kids need permission from their parents before watching any YouTube videos that I post since it can recommend other videos at the end that I haven’t approved.)

Division Homework
Jan 26th, 2011 by jonmoss

For as long as you love math so, let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!

Since it’s a short day today, we did not get through all our material.  In lieu of a math worksheet tonight, students should spend some time playing this fun division fact game.  It has a very relevant snowy fun theme! :-)

http://www.fun4thebrain.com/Division/snowydiv.html

I’m not predicting a snow day for tomorrow, but ANYTHING is possible!  If there is a snow day, PLEASE check the website to see what activities I have for you.  This is an ASSIGNMENT, kids, and can not be skipped with a homework pass.

Items of (Possible) Interest
Jan 22nd, 2011 by jonmoss

Good morning!  Any predictions about how many days of school we’ll have next week? :-)

  • If you’re here to find the snow day work, scroll down one post.  I’d really like kids to complete this assignment.
  • For all the Star Trek fans in our class (I know of several), I thought you’d be interested in this performance at the Bushnell.  It seems really neat!
  • For all the budding linguists in our class, I stumbled upon this interesting article on NPR’s website about the debate over what actually qualifies as the longest word in the English language.
  • For all the aspiring graphic designers in our class, I found this free site that allows users to upload and edit photos.  It’s pretty powerful as far as web-based photo editing sites go!  It’s perfect for kids who want to adjust some images for movies, presentations, or print materials (such as book reports).
Snowday HOT Work
Jan 21st, 2011 by jonmoss

Good morning, and happy snow day!  (Is this number four for us?!)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to practice responding to HOT (higher order thinking) questions.  Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Read the story Funny Faces, which you can download here.  Don’t worry about completing the worksheets that come after the story.  Just read and enjoy the story.
  2. Download the ice cream rubric we used in class yesterday.  Consider printing it out – it’s worth having a copy at home!
  3. Log onto Study Island.  (www.studyisland.com)  If you don’t remember your password, email me.
  4. There are several writing activities for you.  They’re called “Snow Day Choice 1” and “Snow Day Choice 2”.  Complete both.  Follow the directions carefully.
  5. I’ll log onto Study Island periodically during the day today and will send you feedback on your work.  Feel free to log back in to see what feedback I sent you!
  6. Enjoy the snow!  I just drove my wife to work, and while it’s not fun to drive through, it’s perfect for playing! :-)
PJ Read-In Day
Jan 19th, 2011 by jonmoss

As a reward for a job well done in class over the past few weeks, the students have earned a special day of school.  On FRIDAY, JANUARY 28th, students in our class are invited to come to school wearing their PJs, and they may bring a pillow and a stuffed animal to keep them company during our read-in.  Our read-in won’t be all day, but it will be a nice break from all the hard work the kids are putting in!  Some things to consider:

  • PJs need to be warn with appropriate layers underneath.
  • Please, no giant stuffed animals that will take over our classroom! :-)
  • As always, students are responsible for the safe keeping of their belongings.
  • Students must wear appropriate shoes for outdoor recess and should bring appropriate layers so they stay warm.

Feel free to email me with questions.

Technology in 2010
Jan 18th, 2011 by jonmoss

Another snow day? Don’t think of this as a five day weekend for the kids… Think of this as a seven day vacation for the kids, interrupted only by one little, shortened day of school last Thursday. Did you see that another storm is predicted for Friday? At this rate, we’ll be in school until August! :-)

For all of you interested in technology, here are some interesting tidbits you might find interesting. (All from engadget.)

  • 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010.
  • Only 10.9% of those emails were legitimate.  The rest were spam (junk mail).
  • There are 1.88 billion email users in the world.
  • Of the 255 million websites on the Internet, 21.4 of them were added in 2010.
  • Facebook added 250 million users last year, and the collection of users share an average of 30 billion pieces of content (status updates, messages, links, photos, etc.) every month.

This French video (with English captions) shows what happens when kids get their hands on old technology that adults may find familiar but might be totally foreign to kids.  Very funny!  Kids must get their parents permission before watching YouTube videos.  Parents:  YouTube includes comments that can be modified after I post this link.  Please preview the video to ensure that you find it acceptable before allowing kids to watch it.

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/15/world-sends-107-trillion-emails-in-2010-most-of-them-about-enla/

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/15/children-checking-out-vintage-gadgets-continues-to-be-an-enthral/

Something to enjoy on this snowy day!
Jan 12th, 2011 by jonmoss

What could be better than a heinous amount of snowfall?  Watching paint fall, of course!  I just stumbled on this video on Gizmodo.  It shows what impressive high-speed camera work can accomplish.  Enjoy watching the paint!

Season of Intensity!
Jan 7th, 2011 by jonmoss

Happy early-release day!  This week marks the start of the season of particularly intense work.  To be clear, I don’t necessarily mean that there is more WORK for the kids to do, rather that our schedule is more packed and that there’s more for me to get through with the kids.  Only part of that can be attributed to preparation for CMTs.  The increased “to-do” list is also the result of more advanced instruction that takes more time, us working on new projects, the required administration of mid-year universal screenings, and so forth.  What this means for the kids is that we’ll have less flexibility in timing, and I will be pushing them that much more to be on-task and focused during lessons and activities.

This was a particularly busy week, but I do want to take a moment to compliment the kids for their fine work yesterday  More on this in a moment.  This week, we focused on three kinds of short-answer responses:

  • Journal writing: “Write an entry that could have appeared in (character)’s journal.”
  • Comparing and Contrasting: “How are ___ and ___ similar to and different from each other?  Give evidence to support your answer.”
  • Humor: “How did the author use humor in this passage?  Explain your answer.”

We started working on journal writing on Tuesday by developing a list of the characteristics of a quality journal entry, as demonstrated by a (content-appropriate) passage from Anne Frank’s diary.  We’ll continue to work on this in the coming week as we develop a journal entry for a character from our recent story about a person’s trip to Vietnam.

Yesterday, the busiest day of the week, we worked on two skills: examining humor and comparing and contrasting.  You should be familiar with our C&C work after looking at last night’s homework assignment.  In our humor lesson, we discussed how authors use humor in ways beyond telling jokes to make the readers laugh.  The kids learned about irony, satire, hyperbole, changes from the norm, and more.  (This gave a foundation of an activity the kids will start in about two minutes. :-) )  In both lessons, however, the kids demonstrated a superior amount of attention and focus, and while these lessons took quite a bit longer than I’d planned, it was due to the great discussions we had – a great reason for lessons running past schedule!

So often we talk to kids about problems: “You didn’t get your homework done.” or “Why did you lose recess?” or “How come you did so poorly on your spelling test?”  So please consider taking a moment to compliment your son or daughter for a job well done in school yesterday!

Today, because of early closing, we had to work very hard to complete a few tasks that HAD to be done today.  As a result, the spelling test has been pushed back and will be given next week.

Comparing and Contrasting SAR Homework
Jan 6th, 2011 by jonmoss

For homework last night, you compared and contrasted four sets of “things” to practice using different graphic organizers.  Today, we learned how to turn a list of similarities and differences into a SPECTACULAR short-answer response.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to explain the similarities and differences between two of your things in paragraph form.  You may use two of the things from last night, or you can come up with a new set of things to compare and contrast.  In class today, we developed a set of guidelines for how to write a successful SAR for comparing and contrasting.

I’ve typed up our list, and you can download it here: TRAITS OF A WELL-WRITTEN COMPARE AND CONTRAST SHORT ANSWER RESPONSE.  It would be a VERY good idea for you to use this resource to help you!

You can write your response on paper, or, if you’re daring, you can type it and print it.  (I do want a hard copy, however.  No email submissions, please.)

Ok, are you ready?!  Here’s your prompt.  Replace “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” with the things you are comparing.

Explain how thing 1 and thing 2 are similar and different.

Use examples to support your answer.

Bringing In Electronics
Jan 3rd, 2011 by jonmoss

With the holidays now behind us, many students may have some new electronics that they may want to bring into school. Please consider the following guidelines:

  • PSP, Nintendo DS, etc:  Not permitted in class.
  • iPods and other MP3 players:  Not permitted in class.
  • Cell phones:  Must be turned off and left in lockers.
  • Cameras:  Students should discuss this with the classroom teacher.  Usually not permitted.
  • Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers:  These are the responsibility of the student, not the school.  Before sending them in, understand that they may be lost and/or damaged and that the school cannot provide special storage or technical support.  Students do not have WiFi access.
  • iPads:  Like the e-readers, these are the responsibility of the student.  Student use must be limited to academic activities, not gaming or web browsing.  There is no WiFi access for students.
  • Math fact practice quiz games:  Permitted for use in class, but again, the school is not responsible for loss or theft.  The sound should be muted.
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