What a week! We had a long week of baseline testing (fun stuff!) and full day visits in class. In social studies we learned about ancient Sumer and how to write in cuneiform. (I thought that was pretty cool!) In math we reviewed dividing decimals by decimals and learned about multiplying and dividing by the powers of 10. (Don't forget to do you homework, pages 66-67 1-42 odd problems only for Monday.) Students also did a wonderful job in predicting our class novel's, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, direction through skits, songs, and poems. I was so impressed, so was Mrs. Lukomski. 
   Next week will be even better! We have only four days of school (yes, we are out Friday!) and it's spirit week. Monday is hat day, Tuesday is super hero day, Wednesday is class color day. We are yellow, so wear it proud! Thursday is pajama day. Don't forget your rules when choosing what to wear. Those who violate the guidelines will have parents called for a change of clothing. Don't test the rules or we may not have another week like this. 
   In class we will finish up Chapter 3 and learn about Gilgamesh. We will explore Hammurabi's code and write a paper. Thursday will be a Chapter 3 quiz. In math we will learn to divide by powers of 10, explore some word problems, and finish up Thursday with a test as well. What else finishes on Thursday? The grading period!!!! 
   If you are missing any assignments they must be to me by Wednesday. If you have been absent you need to make sure that you make arrangements with me to make up any tests that you may have missed. If you missed any in class assignments you can not make those up, sorry. 
   As we click right along here in the sixth grade we get comfortable and start to branch into extra after school activities. We also find that we might be missing days due to colds. While we miss you dearly while you are gone, the class still must move forward. It is for that reason that it is important that students come to class. More importantly however, is that students make up what they missed within the number of days absent plus 1 (student handbook). If a student misses an in class quiz, a unit test, or any other type of assessment, it is important that they make arrangements to make that work up before or after school. Those can not be done from home. In class activities that are graded can not be made up. An absence accompanied by a doctors note will get and excused grade. Unexcused absences on the other hand will not. It is vital that students attend school unless they are sick.

   I am working on transferring grades from the original online grade book to the new, district approved one, and I am noticing a number of students missing major items from their grades. Please communicate and ask your student about any missing assignments they may have. 

   Next week we have postponed spirit week due to a number of mandatory benchmark assessments that we must administer. These are almost impossible to make up and the exact schedule has still not been shared. While these tests can not be studied for, students should get plenty of rest, have breakfast, and be at school on time.

  Let's get ready for Friday! Have a great weekend and be refreshed!
Dear Parents and Guardians (as well as students),
   I would like to talk about two things in particular that I would like to address as a team before they become a larger problem.
1. The making of the loop bracelets. while I like the bracelets and I applaud those that can make them, they can not be made during instructional time in the class. Nor can they be sold at school or orders collected for them. They are quickly becoming a distraction and I do not want to ban them from coming to school as a whole.

2. The drawing of comics. I love comics! I have read them for years and I enjoy seeing what the students can do, however, they too are becoming a distraction during the instructional day. Students are putting a tremendous amount of effort into them, but they are passing them around during class and working on them instead of paying attention. I know there will be a few times that students will be asked to draw comics to represent content area material, but the comics they are drawing are not school or class related and must not come out during class time. I really don't want to take them or tear them up. 

I would greatly appreciate your support on these matters with your student. 
The end of September is upon us. Can you believe that? We enter October this week and excitement is in the air! We have a lot of things going on or about to happen at GCCAS and in the sixth grade!

First, let's recap last week.
  • In math we finished up multiplying with decimal numbers. If you see that your student is struggling with this skill you may encourage them to use graph paper when doing their homework. I have most likely talked with them about this. You can purchase it at the store, print of just what you need off the internet, here's a great site: http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com/ , but please do not let them use graph paper composition books. These pages will not fit into their binders. 
  • In social studies we finished learning about early humans and the dawn of agriculture. 
  • In reading we read the first two chapters of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH together as classes. Students have been asked not to read ahead as we are working through the book in class. 

Now for the week ahead:
  • In math we will move into dividing with decimals. (A lot of the same principals of multiplying with decimals apply, as well as basic rules of division.) 
  • In social studies we will learn more about farming and how civilizations used technologies to produce more. We will also have a Unit one review session and Unit test.
  • In reading we will learn more about what is happening with Mrs. Frisbee and I have some fun activities planned.
In the school as a whole:
  • We have many visitors that will be here over the course of the week. They will be in our school observing and checking out what we are doing. I encourage all students to make sure that they are on their best behavior (I know you will be because we talked about this during the first week of school). 
  • Teachers will also be getting initial evaluations, so there will be visitors coming in and out of the classrooms. We should follow procedures for that as well. Students should also remember that adults working for the school are addressed Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. and last name. Not by their first names. Even if you know that adult outside of school, inside school you must follow the expected rules. 

After school next week:
  • The milk carton building club will meet on Wednesday, only if some building materials are brought in (ask your student if they are a member what those supplies are), in the Radio Road side of the building. This is so we can construct our plane with little interference and safety. This will be good for all parties. After the construction is complete we will move it (if possible) to the front of the main building. When time is almost over for the meeting, students will be walked back to the main building under adult supervision.
  • The yearbook club is meeting on Thursdays after car line (4:00 I believe). Students interested in helping with the yearbook should stay with after school until the sponsor comes to get you. 

The week after this:
  • The week of October 7th is Spirit Week. The schedule of events is on the calendar in the What's Going On tab of the website. Each day has a different theme. I do not have a full set of rules yet, so please be patient (reading vocab word!) as I will pass them along as soon as I have them. I do know that our class color is yellow. I saw plain t-shirts on sale at AC Moore crafts 3 for $10 and they had lots of yellow... 

Hope you all enjoy your weekend and I will see you bright and early Monday morning!
As always, feel free to contact me if I can be of service! 
Hi everyone! I hope you have come over to the blog to vote on Reading class. However, this post is to let you all know that we will finally have a meeting about the building of a milk cartoon transportation model on Wednesday, 9/11, right after car line is finished (think 4) in my room (12) until 5. If you stay you MUST BE PICKED UP AT 5! Unless you are after school. We will talk about the specifics and come up with a game plan. Only those serious about the project should attend. 
See you then!!!
   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! 
     I am so excited! This week things at the school have really started to come together. I have bee volunteering for a kindergarten reading readiness boot camp in the morning and working on my classroom of the afternoons, and I must admit the anticipation is building! We are still waiting on some furniture (should be in very very soon) and text books, but things are coming in every day! I am really looking forward to meeting you all as time draws near for the first day of school. I hope you are as excited as I am. I bet you are! 
     Remember, as you gather school supplies there are no particular colors of binders needed, nothing needs to come from Walmart (buy it where the price is the best), and some things may not even need to be new (think USB Flash drives, ear buds, etc...). If you have items that are in good repair, use those. 
     Soon I will have items posted here like the syllabus, students handbook, and other important information that you may want to refer to in the future. 
    Speaking of the future, I'd better go to bed, 7:30 comes real early in the morning! See you soon!!!! 
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!!!!

   You know they say it's always calmest before the storm? The summer may be calm, but I'm not! I am so excited to be a part of this brand new charter school. To be proactive I decided to get this class website up and running, even if I may be the only one looking at it. :^) 
   Gulf Coast Charter Academy South is a STEM focused charter school opening brand new this upcoming school year. There's so much to getting a new school started, I had no idea! There are accounts to get set up so that teachers can get great deals on classroom supplies. There is furniture to get, technology to purchase, and... there was something else... oh yeah, books to buy! 
   Luckily we have a great group of professional educators, administration, and management company all pitching in together to get things done. I'm sure we will discover things that are missing as we move forward, but I'm sure we will get those things as well. 
   We are all busy little bees. Many of the teachers, myself included, are attending workshops to keep familiar skills sharp and discover new ones, especially the focus on STEM.
   Do you know what STEM is? That's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Many people think that those subjects are exclusive or aren't part of other subjects, but that's not right. As part of these workshops, we will discover how all of the areas of STEM work into the subjects of art, social studies, and even music! 
   Well, as things keep moving and shaking around here during the warmest part of the summer, I hope you are keeping cool and keeping your skills sharp by reading! Wonder why reading is important, even when school is out? Check out this page on our website.    
   That's about it for now. Check back throughout the summer and I'll post more about the going-ons as the school takes shape. I look forward to seeing you all in August!