What a great first day! I had a wonderful day meeting all of you and seeing how well you worked together. I think we had a great time learning classroom procedures. Who would have ever thought that, huh? And the days will continue to get better as we move toward content and books.
   Please remember a few important things: first, we need five binders with paper in them by Friday. Three for my class and two for Mrs. Lukomski's class. You will also need to have PE clothes with you (or on order) by Friday as well.
  I want to say thank you so much for all of the generous donations made to the classroom! I may never need to buy hand sanitizer again! LOL! You are all so very kind. I have lots of great things planned for the construction paper and the other items you donated. Thank you again.
  I think one fun activity that we did today was the Marshmallow Challenge. It was so very interesting to see how students decided as groups to build a structure out of just 20 pieces of spaghetti, 1 yard of string, 1 yard of masking tape in only 18 minutes that could support the weight of a regular marshmallow. Everyone worked together, exchanging ideas, and testing their prototypes. It's interesting to note that those who perform best on this challenge are kindergarteners, while the worst performers are college graduates of business school. I have some pictures below of student creations.
   Lastly, I would like to apologize for the parent pick up mishaps today. We had a meeting after all parents were through and believe that we have come up with a better solution. You should have received an email at the email address you have on file with the school. Please check that and let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Thank you for your continued patience and I'll see you tomorrow!
   It's time! Monday starts the 2013-14 school year! It was so great to meet all of you last night, as well as your adults! I can tell already that this is going to be a spectacular year! 
   I hope you enjoyed writing on your "tag wall." I loved seeing all of your names and pictures. I think I will leave that board up for a long while.
   How many of you are nervous? (Can you see my hand way up in the air?) This is going to be a great new adventure for all of us, and our nerves will calm down. We will enjoy seeing and working with one another every day, and I will do everything I can to keep things fun and interesting. 
   I have had a lot o questions about PE. It's ok to be a bit shy about that as well. If you feel a bit of butterflies about changing in the restroom, you can always wear your PE shirt under your polo. As long as you still meet dress code, no one will say anything to you. 
   I want to take a second to say Thank You very much to all the great parents and guardians that took time to come and have cookies with me last night. I hope I was able to answer all of your questions, but I am here if you have more. And sorry for any problems that my school supply list caused. Students should come to class (By Friday at least) with:
  • 5- 1" Binders. Any color, it doesn't matter. 2 will go to Mrs. Lukomski's room, 3 will stay in mine.
  • Wide ruled paper for each binder. 
  • A backpack loaded with a few pencils, pens, some colored pencils, a ruler, a small 4-function calculator, some ear buds (or other headphone), scissors, index cards, highlighter(s), and a USB flash drive. These things will be just for your student and not for class consumption. 

  • If you are donating any items, such as a pack of copy paper, tissues, construction paper, AAA batteries, hand sanitizer, or disinfecting wipes, those can be brought and left at your convenience. 

   This first week will be here and gone before we even know what hit us! We will have had such a good time learning the rules that you might not even know you were in school. 
   Don't forget to visit the school's webpage and look around on ours! See you Monday morning bright and early! 
As sixth graders we will be involved in the Accelerated Reader, or AR, program. If you have never been introduced to the AR program, allow me to explain a bit about how it works.

First, at the beginning of the year we will take a quick reading assessment  called the STAR test. It will help to determine what AR level students should read on. This test has a proven algorithm for determining fluency level, vocabulary level, and text complexity to help students further develop their reading skills. Like many people, if left alone, students will stick to a level of text that they find comfortable. AR challenges that comfort level by awarding points for books read and tested on.

Next, after the STAR test has been administered, students will be assigned a reading range. Books have been assessed by the developers of the AR program and placed within the ranges based on the same things students were tested on. As the ranges increase in value, so does the difficulty and complexity of the text. 

Once assigned a reading level, together with the students we will establish a point goal for the grading period. The students will then read AR books within their range, test on the book after completion, and gain points toward their goals. 

At the end of each quarter we will look at how well the student did, in both gaining points and achieving goals, and then decide how much we can raise the goal for the next quarter. Students may also gain extra recognition or small rewards for making gains. 

That's not too bad, right? It's not, and students love to read the wide range of books available to test on as well as compete against each other.  The hurdle we have at the moment is the lack of books for sixth graders to read and test on.

I have taken the time to create a wish list through Classrooms by Walmart of the top books for sixth grade readers over the past few years. If you can donate any of these books to our classroom library, it would be very appreciated. The books will be available for all students to check out, read, and test on. And the books don't need to be bought from Walmart, they can be donated to the classroom from any source you have. If you decide to give a book, just click the Pledge button under the title and that lets me know you will bring it in.

In the meantime, you can use this list to help direct your students summer reading! See you soon!!!!