Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Semester!

Time to start fresh, boys & goyles. Set those goals high, and reach for the stars. Clean slate! At the very least, I know you're all happy about tardies and unprepareds starting over! ;)

Quarter Overview: Here's the very basic skeletal overview of the quarter for all of my classes. Enjoy peeking ahead!

6th GOAL: Invent Iowa (2/17/10) & Oceanography Extension

7th GOAL: History Day (3/16/10) & Census Exploration

8th GOAL: Images of Greatness (3/18/10)

7th Language Arts: Design-An-Ad, Word Collages, Disease Detective Research Papers, and maybe Parts of Speech, depending how far we get.

Before things crank up too far and fast, for 20 (and only 20 this time... no extras for additionals) NUPoints, check out one of the sites in my Idleness Prevention, and comment about it here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm Just Wondering...

20 NUPoints for responding to the following...

Watch the video clip. Why do people bully others? Why are there some people who are never accepted into society? Why are some of the most profoundly gifted people in the history of the planet ridiculed and belittled? Why are differences not embraced? Why are gifts and talents not applauded by peers? What do you think?

Britain's Got Talent Andrew Johnston - Watch more Funny Videos

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Note about NUPoints

If you're not sure how to comment to receive NUPoints, see me in class. I don't mind if you respond anonymously, but write your initials into the post along with your period number, or see me in class to claim your post. I want to make sure everyone gets credit for their effort.

For 20 NUPoints today, write a Haiku about any of the following topics:

ice storms
missing school
plans gone awry

Remember, a Haiku has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line.

(20 points for the first Haiku, 10 for each additional)

Last Week of the Semester, Revised

Who was I kidding? Of course we'd have another snow day! How could I be so silly to plan the week ahead? Let's try this again. We will NOT be moving the last day of the semester, so the new quarter and new semester will start as planned on Monday.

6th GOAL: If we don't have time to present your posters, you'll just be handing them in for me to grade. We'll still read aloud (be sure to respond on the class wiki) and go to the library today.

7th GOAL: If we don't have time to finish presenting your Venn Diagrams, you'll just be handing them in for me to grade. We will still go to the library today.

8th GOAL: Mrs. Flinspach is still coming tomorrow as planned. She juggled some things on her end to make it work, so we appreciate that! We'll be reading aloud (be sure to respond on the class wiki) and going to the library today as planned.

7th Language Arts: Your spelling assignment that was due yesterday is now due today, first thing. I'll give you another day on your Quarter Letters, so those will be due tomorrow (Friday) at the end of class. We'll review for spelling today at the end of the period, and we'll have the posttest tomorrow as planned.

Cast of The Secret School: Just stick to the schedule. I think Section 1 is going to need some additional work, but for now, just follow the schedule as printed.

Hopefully, that makes sense. Comment here if you have any questions or concerns!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Last Week of the Semester

Here's what's happening during this last week of the semester...

6th GOAL: I will continue reading Al Capone Shines my Shoes, and you should continue discussing it on the class wiki. You will be completing your quarter self-evaluation and then presenting the posters on the invention or inventor you've researched. That mini-project will start off our Invent Iowa project. The Invent Iowa competition will be in Burlington on February 17. I need help finding judges, so if you know an adult who could help us out that day, let me know by commenting on this blog! And, of course, we'll have library day on Thursday.

7th GOAL: You will be completing your quarter self-evaluation and then presenting the Venn Diagrams you created comparing the epidemics books you've been reading. From there, we will start brainstorming about and learning about the National History Day competition. And, of course, we'll have library day on Thursday.

8th GOAL: I will continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and you should continue discussing it on the class wiki. You will be completing your quarter self-evaluation on Tuesday. On Wednesday, you will continue solving Venn Perplexor and Deducible puzzles. Thursday will be library day. On Friday, Mrs. Flinspach from the high school will be visiting our classes to talk about taking TAG as a class in high school. This will help you in planning your high school schedules.

7th Language Arts: We'll work on Spelling unit #16 this week. It's a short week, so don't forget that you only have one day to work on your assignment (p. 99, 1-20, + pretest corrections). I'll collect your assignments first thing on Wednesday. Then, you'll have two more class days to work on your end-of-the-quarter letters to me. These are important because they help me fairly figure your Writer's Workshop grades. They also let me see what you've learned during the 2nd quarter of class.

It's a short week but a busy week. Keep on top of your deadlines. Let's make it a great last week of the semester!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Today was Library Day in GOAL. That means more booktalks! Here are the books I discussed with my students today...

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

Blood Red Horse by K. M. Grant

Iowa Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, & Other Offbeat Stuff by Dan Coffey and Eric Jones

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and its sequel, Catching Fire

Have you read any of these books? 40 NUPoints for commenting with a review to these or any of the books I've discussed in class (40 points for the first book review... 20 points for each additional review). Click the "booktalks" label to see the other booktalk posts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

RIP, Miep Gies

We lost one of the many heros of the Holocaust this week. Click the following links to find out more. Comment with your thoughts for 20 NUPoints.

Chicago Tribune

USA Today


Monday, January 11, 2010

Deadline Adjustments... AGAIN

I hope you all enjoyed your two snow days last week. We'll modify the deadlines again to accommodate the changes.

7th Language Arts: Your final drafts are due for Writer's Workshop by the end of the day on Tuesday, January 12. We'll hold over Week 15 spelling for this week, so that posttest will be on Friday, January 15.

Cast of The Secret School: Stay on schedule. We'll skip over the days we missed and try to catch them up later. That means we'll be blocking Section 2 today, Monday, January 11.

GOAL: Be sure to keep up with your independent reading during time off. Some of you have really been slacking when it comes to your reading contracts!

For 20 NU points, tell me about your New Year's resolutions. What are you going to do this year to improve your life? My resolutions are always the same. I need to eat healthier and exercise more. I hope to actually keep them one day! My new one for this year is to accept my life and be happy. Sometimes I get hung up on "what might have been," and I miss the blessings going on in my life right now. I hope to be better about that this year. What are your New Year's resolutions?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Note About the Rehearsal Schedule

I just saw where we're expecting 4-8 more inches of snow this week. If (ugh) we happen to have another snow day, we, of course, will not have rehearsal. However, upon returning to school, we will always STICK TO THE REHEARSAL SCHEDULE. This means we might miss sections along the way, but it's important to stick to the schedule. The show dates won't move, so we have to keep up. If we miss one, we'll try to work in some extra time for it later. Comment here if you have questions. And... BE LEARNING THOSE LINES, FOLKS!

Opportunity for GOAL Students

Here's a cool contest, GOAL students. It's the 2010 SENG Kids' Film Contest. Click here for more information. Make a 2 minute movie telling what it's like to be gifted. There's no entry fee, and winners will have their movies shown on the SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) website.

Your participation is also worth 100 NUPoints.

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's Play Time!

Here is the rehearsal schedule for The Secret School... please refer to it if you can't find your hard copy.

The Secret School Rehearsal Schedule

Section 1
pp. 13-19
pp. 35-36 pp. 39-42
pp. 48-53
pp. 72-75
The Unteachables (Cara, Ian, Seth, Claudia, Lalita,Gareth, Joanna, Dakota, Jaclyn, Paige, Shea, Autumn,Lacee, Hannah, Price, Jackie, Drew, Oba) + Makayla

Section 2
pp. 20-29
pp. 31-34
pp. 42-45
pp. 68-70
The Unteachables (see list above) + Madison

Section 3
p. 19
pp. 31-63 pp. 45-47
pp. 54-58
pp. 66-68
pp. 70-72
The Unteachables (see list above) + Makayla + Duncan + Elaine

Section 4
pp. 36-39
pp. 59-61
pp. 63-66
Makayla + Cara + Dakota + Seth + Rachel + Fallyn

Section 5
pp. 29-31
pp. 75-86
curtain call
Entire Cast

All rehearsals begin at 3:40 and last until 5:15 unless otherwise stated.

1/6 Block Section 1

1/7 Continue Blocking Section 1

1/8 No rehearsal

1/11 Block Section 2

1/12 Drama Club (No Rehearsal)

1/13 Continue Blocking Section 2

1/14 Block Section 3

1/15 Block Section 4

1/18 No School: Teacher Work Day (No Rehearsal)

1/19 Block Section 5

1/20 Block/Work Section 1

1/21 Block/Work Section 2

1/22 Block/Work Section 3

1/25 Block/Work Section 4

1/26 Drama Club (No Rehearsal)

1/27 Block/Work Section 5


1/28 Work Section 1

1/29 Work Section 2

2/1 Work Section 3

2/2 Work Section 4

2/3 Work Section 5

2/4 Run Section 1

2/5 Run Section 2

2/8 Run Section 3

2/9 No Drama Club… Run Section 4

2/10 Run Section 5

2/11 Run Act I (pp. 13-58)

2/12 No Rehearsal

2/15 Run Act II (pp. 59-86)

2/16 Rehearsal 2:30-4:00 due to conferences; Run Act I

2/17 Run Entire Show

2/18 Rehearsal 2:30-4:00 due to conferences; Run Act II

2/19 Dress rehearsal! Run show, add lights and sound (9:00 - 12:00...No School this day due to conferences... we’ll practice in the morning so we can have the rest of the day off!)

2/22 Run Show : Dress rehearsal, lights, and sound (Practice until 5:30)

2/23 No Drama Club… Run Show: Last dress rehearsal, lights, and sound (Practice until 6:00... at least!)

2/24 Run show with lights and sound (No costumes... make sure they’re clean for opening) Practice until 5:15

2/25 SHOW... 6:00 call

2/26 SHOW... 6:00 call... cast party after show, specifics to be announced

3/1 Strike the set and organize costumes and props... everyone needed!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

All right, my darlings, back to the old grind! :) I'm looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow. Even though I could lie around eating bonbons for a few more weeks, I'm actually happier when I'm accomplishing. Here's what lies ahead...

* Play practice will start this week... probably Wednesday. I will get schedules to you in homeroom, and I'll put a reminder on the announcements too. When the schedule is done, I'll scan it and put it on this blog so you can access it from here if you forget.

* 6th grade GOAL: We're going to finish independent projects, we're going to continue reading Al Capone Does my Shirts, and we're going to start our work for the Invent Iowa competition!

* 7th grade GOAL: We're going to continue reading epidemics books (you should be done by Friday), we're going to continue reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, and we're going to start our work for History Day!

* 8th grade GOAL: We're going to finish independent projects, we're going to continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and we're going to... well... we're going to see where we are when that's done. I wanted to do the Classics unit next, but those snow days before Christmas Break messed up that plan. I need to take a good look at the calendar. We're either going to do the Classics unit next, or we're going to head right into Images of Greatness. We'll see how long it takes to finish up your independent projects.

* 7th grade Language Arts: This Friday is the deadline for final drafts of your Writer's Workshop pieces. I'm headed into school this afternoon for a fun-filled day of editing the work you handed in before break. I plan to work like crazy today getting that done, so you should plan on doing the same this week to get those pieces in on time. We'll also have spelling to mix things up a bit. ;)

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break. Mine was full of many peaks and valleys. One peak was spending several days with my very best friend in Council Bluffs. One valley was going in the ditch and having to be towed out before I got there. What were your peaks and valleys? 20 NUPoints for commenting.