Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The show must go on!!  Grades 3-5 put on an awesome show recently.  During the evening performance of Alice in Wonderland Jr., there was an audio glitch but everyone kept right on going like nothing happened.  

Cast and Crew of Alice in Wonderland, Jr.

Before the Christmas break, we gathered to read through the musical and discuss favorite parts.  Each student chose their top three roles and parts were distributed.  Although not everyone got their top choice, we were able to give most everyone a role they were pleased to perform.  When we returned in January, it was full force rehearsals.  We started by reading/singing in the room using scripts.  Soon after we were able to get on stage and rehearse without scripts.  Three and a half weeks later, the show went on!  The whole school, family, and friends joined us for an afternoon performance that was flawless!  Even though there was a minor audio glitch during the evening performance, we were able to pull off an amazing show!!  So many compliments were heard throughout the gym.  All their hard work paid off!

The White Rabbit and Tall Alice
The King and Queen of Hearts "playing" Simon Says with Alice.
Medium Alice and the Tweedles
Small, Medium, & Tall Alices...United!!

Thanks to our wonderful PTO we were able to purchase supplies to create costumes and a beautiful set.  Students who chose not to perform were vital to helping with creating scenery, props, and dealing with lighting and the sound system.  Everyone was able to work together to pull off an excellent performance.

We recently finished reading Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt as a class read aloud.  I absolutely love this book!  It is powerful in so many ways.  Schmidt has a talent for writing which pulled us right into the story and made us feel what the characters felt and saw.  The craft of writing is incredible in this book.  However, the characters and messages in this book are also very powerful.  We commiserated with Turner, disliked Willis, discovered...eventually...Mrs. Cobb was a pretty nice person, and adored Lizzie.  Our discussions centered on the growth of the characters, the injustices delivered to some, and how "power" can be so incredibly misused.  It was so awesome to see how the students defended, rallied for, mourned, and cheered on the characters as they came alive for us.  

The interesting piece to this incredible book is the connection to Maine.  The setting is Malaga Island near Phippsburg in 1912.  After we finished the book, we watched some clips from MBPN with an archeologist and museum curator who actually worked on and with the history of Malaga Island.  We were able to connect with some of the families we were introduced to in the book.  We also were able to put faces to names we'd read about and felt the horror of their treatment.  We saw the graveyard where descendants were reburied after being disturbed from their original site.  We saw and heard of the methodical method used to wipe out an entire population.  I dare say this book will always be a favorite for a number of my students.   

How says fifth graders are too old for Valentine's Day?  Not here!!  They were just as excited as when we were in kindergarten together.  They decorated bags, "delivered" their valentines, and yelled across the room to thank a classmate the exact same way they did a few years ago.  It is really cool to have taught these kids at both levels...some things never change. :)
Delivering treats

Silly boys :) 

Fun times sharing!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

   We did it!!  Mid October and the first side of the door had been covered with book spines. The other side of the door has another tower started.  From the looks of it, we should be able to fill that side by early December.  This group bought many books for themselves from the book fair, in addition to adding a number of new books to our classroom bookshelves.  I was waiting to buy the sequel of Serafina and The Black Cloak and was very pleasantly surprised when one of my students handed it to me as a class donation!  He knew I was coveting that book.  :)  If you have a chance to read the first book, you will definitely want to read Serafina and The Twisted Staff.  A student read the first book and couldn't wait for the class copy of the sequel.  She asked her parents to buy a personal copy for her and read it before I had the classroom copy.  I ended up reading the sequel in a weekend.  Now another student is hooked on the series.  Yes, we think there will be a third book!

Fourth and Fifth grade were fortunate enough to be invited to join the seventh graders on a field trip to the Maine Outdoor Education Center.  What an awesome day!!  It was a beautiful fall day with clear blue skies, warm temperatures, and gorgeous leaves on the trees.  After arriving at the center, the classes were split into two groups.  The younger students went on a cool canoeing adventure of simulating a camping trip.  The older group was able to kayak the stream.  As you can see from the gorgeous pictures, we had a fabulous time.  We learned about "rafting up" by grabbing hold of kayaks next to us to create a large "raft".  Students were then able to actually stand up in a kayak without tipping over.  Strength in numbers!

Brave girls first ones to demonstrate safety while rafting up!

Learning the basics before hitting the water

Sisters enjoying the outdoors.

Absolutely glorious day on the water!!

Third, fourth, and fifth graders work so well together, they teamed up to write an incredible story for a wordless book.  We "read" Journey together, discussed the story we discovered in the illustrations, and collaborated to write the story.  Each team had a page.  After the individual teams wrote their passage, we gathered again to hear the story and how it flowed from page to page.  It was so good, we had very little editing to make it a seamless story.  After we were all satisfied with the story, I typed it up, backed the passages, and hung everything in the hall.  The next day after specials, we all sat in the hall and listened to the story from beginning to end with the colored illustrations hung above their passages.  It was done in time for parent/teacher conference nights and was a hit!!  We have some incredible writers here.  We discovered Journeys is the first in a trilogy...guess what we'll be doing in the near future! :)

We've had some fun learning about matter in science.  We discovered air takes up space when we tried to sink an upside down cup in water, sucked the air out, and watched the cup sink a bit.  We also filled plastic baggies with air and "felt" the air inside.  The best experiment was adding BTB solution to water, blowing bubbles, and watching the water turn from blueish to yellowish.  We discovered the carbon dioxide in our breath caused the color change.  It was a really fun, cool experiment.

We are on our second Social Studies project.  After learning about and researching Native Americans, they were given a choice of creating a presentation.  We had many dioramas, some posters, and even a slide show to present all the information they learned about the Native Americans from different regions of the United States.  Now we are researching the original Thirteen Colonies and creating "Colony Balloons".  After sketching the shape of their colony on a large sheet of paper, adding details, and coloring, they cut them out, stuff them with newspaper, and staple around the edges, thereby creating a "balloon".  They have choices of adding the writing on the back or breaking it up into snippets to add around the illustrations. 

To help celebrate Veteran's Day and support the veterans who  joined us in an assembly and lunch, each team created poems or cards to attach to posters created with striking silhouettes of military icons.  They turned out amazing!  One group wrote a poem and introduction from all of the intermediate teams to read aloud during the assembly to welcome and thank the veterans for their duty and sacrifices.  It was so heartwarming to see the pride the students put into their work.  The icing on the cake was how everyone wore red, white, and blue to honor the veterans and the United States.  Such patriotic pride in Veazie Community School!!

All military branches represented

Thank you Veterans!! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fifth Grade is the place for readers!!

This group loves to read so much they beg for Read to Self time.  I told them I was jealous of their time and how I used to hide my reading book in my math book when I was their age.  They told me they felt sorry for the younger me. :)

I'm sure they would find a place to read no matter what the situation but the flexible seating has really helped them find the perfect spot to stretch out, get comfy, and immerse themselves in a good book.

This seems to be Nick's favorite spot...2 days in a row!

The coveted table!!

Ah, let's kick back and read.

Making a "book spine" to add to our book tower.

Oh to have young knees...

The new stools make great foot rests.

Best buds sharing a bean bag!

The crew deep in their books!!

We started an awesome reading activity this year!  We are creating a book tower and will see if the tower will fill both sides of our door in addition to both walls to the side of the door.  Twelve day in and we have 18 book spines already!  Fifth Grade Readers are a force to reckon with!!
Just the beginning...I'm sure they will fill both doors and both walls in no time.

In addition to reading, we have been very busy over the last 12 days.  We have started reading Woods Runner during ELA class. It is a really good book set during the American Revolution.  It is historical fiction but includes a page of non-fiction at the beginning of each chapter.  It is a perfect match for our SS unit, which includes the American Revolution.  This group loves to share and discuss their thoughts and predictions.

In science we started our Matter and Molecules unit.  This is a fun unit with some pretty cool experiments.  This week each team was given an ice cube in a baggie and asked to melt it as quickly as possible.  There were some really neat brainstorms going on as they tried different methods of melting.  

We have an awesome group of fourth and fifth graders creating an intermediate band.  The few students choosing not to participate in band have become helpers for PreK and K students.  They love mentoring and showing the younger ones the Veazie way!!

This is going to be another great year in 
Fifth Grade and the Intermediate Wing!!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What a great beginning to the new school year!  We are settling into new routines as we learn our schedule.  We are finding the days fly by as we go from the classroom to recess to lunch to specials.  We are keeping very busy but it makes for a fun day.

Fifth graders took their first NWEA test this morning. Hopefully we can fit in another one tomorrow.  There is a total of 4 tests this year: Math, Reading, Language, and Science.  The good thing this year is we are able to test right in the classroom on their Chromebooks.

Speaking of Chromebooks, they have been a hit!!  We have successfully begun using them for practicing IXL, keyboarding in the Typesy program, and responding to Hatchet questions during reading.    

This week I learned how to use a piece of Google Classroom so we can do response journals online.  There have been a few hiccups however. At one point, we thought all their long, beautiful responses to a question "disappeared".  But we know nothing truly disappears in the computer world. Thankfully Ms. Glunt performed her magic and found the "missing" work.  Phew...we had some happy children then!!

I keep telling them we all will need to be a bit flexible this fall as we learn new routines and methods.  We'll get the "bugs" worked out soon and everything will become old hat to us.  They've been awesome about being patient as we work through some of the glitches. 

We had a visit from The Box top Lady and Box top Baby this morning.  It was absolutely adorable!!  Mrs. Sheranian is Veazie's new Box top Lady. She will be coordinating the box top drive for our school.  The goal for the school is 10,000 tops for the year.  Please remember to cut them out and send them in with your child.  Ask friends and relatives to do the same.  There will be classroom/wing incentives for gathering the most tops.  Be sure to check out the flyer sent home this week.  Another great spot to boost our count is through Sam' Club.  They are running a special program to help schools earn more box tops.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 15 for our Open House.  There will be a lot of information shared with everyone about the school, programs, and sports. There also will be a delicious spaghetti supper, along with Mr. St.Peter's band performing for everyone.  The new school song will also be debuted by some Veazie students. It was written by the Sheranians just for us!!  It's sure to be an awesome night of food and fun for everyone!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Our first day is fast approaching!  I hope you've enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to the new school year.  I am definitely looking forward to an awesome year with you!!  We have some new teachers you will meet, along with the rest of us who have been here for many years.  

I have spent quite a bit of time this summer reading books I can't wait to share with you, looking over the curriculum, and finding new fun ways to teach.  I love finding new activities to share with you.  Mrs. Hileman, Mrs. Humphrey and I have also been discussing ideas for group activities.  We had so much fun with the projects last year, we decided we're going to continue it this year.

Fifth Graders will be able to join Student Council this year as long as the scheduling works out.  Please think about joining!!  We had a lot of fun last year and I'm sure we'll have even more activities this year.  I do know our first big activity will be hosting the Halloween Hullabaloo.  It was an absolute blast last year!! 

I sent out a supply list last week.  I still love school supply shopping and hope you do as well.  You will have lockers in the middle school hall, as well as cubbies in the classroom.  In addition, there will be a bit of storage room in your desks. However, I would highly suggest having a pencil box or some type of container to corral your writing utensils.  It is very important to be prepared with a pencil.  

While you enjoy the last few days of break, remember to read, read, read!!  I know you all are great readers and writers.  We will be hitting the ground running with writing activities, book club reading, science activities, social studies fun, and Everyday Math lessons.  I'm positive we are going to have an awesome year!!  See you soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A few winter activities!!

Happy Birthday Ms. Glunt!!
Birthdays are a great reason to have a popcorn party.  Ms. Glunt was nice enough to have a birthday so we could celebrate! What a great reason to use the awesome popcorn machine donated by the town. Thank you Town of Veazie!

Community Reader Day

As part of Read Across American, we had a number of people come into school to be a Community Reader.  We were lucky enough to have sportscaster Wayne Harvey visit 5th grade.  He read an awesome book detailing the real life beginning of Winnie the Pooh stories.  This tied in to the writing project we were working on at the time.  They were writing mysteries by creating the back stories that correspond to black and white pictures from the wordless book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  Their mystery writings turned out so well. They've had many compliments on their stories.  Many teachers have stopped to read them on our hall bulletin board.

Checking temperatures

Stirring the concoction
Mixing up a science concoction!!  The oohs and aahs were heard throughout the room as teams mixed yeast with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda with vinegar.  It was fun to see reactions as the combinations bubbled. An interesting fact discovered was the temperature of the yeast/peroxide mixture rose significantly while the baking soda/vinegar mixture temperature fell a number of degrees.  
Discussing the procedure
Recording results

The Adventure Club for 4th and 5th graders had a strong season. Even though Mother Nature didn't cooperate with snow for snowshoeing this winter, that didn't stop us.  We have hiked a few different trails throughout Veazie this winter.  One hike was to the hay bales, which proved once again this year, to be a favorite hike.

Super heroes on the hay bales!

Another really fun hike was to Mt. Hope Cemetery.  We discovered the Hannibal Hamlin tombstone.  How surprised some were to have a social studies lesson while on an adventure.  We all were surprised to discover that hike was 4 miles long!  It was a really fun hike and not one person complained about the length.

What an awesome crew!!

The lack of snow did not stop the Adventure Club.  
So zen!

Love the poses!

A new route this year!  Last week we decided to travel the road by the power plant, through a neighborhood, and down to the Salmon clubhouse. While the boys contemplated the flowing river, the girls climbed up the hill and struck a pose.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The New Year Begins!!

After an extended, relaxing holiday break, it was nice to be back with everyone and return to a routine.  An activity to reflect on the past year and anticipate the coming year, we created a cute bulletin board.  The kids had to draw and write about Looking Back in the Rear View Mirror and Looking Forward out the Front Windshield. They did a very nice job, both writing and illustrating.  

During our literacy block, we have started using Write Source books. Right now we are focusing on how to organize research using the 5W's format.  Actually we added an /H/ to our format to include "how".  Even though this is part of our literacy block, we are incorporating Social Studies to research the 13 colonies.  Each student was assigned a colony to research.  Eventually they will create a flip book to share with the class.

Wow!  Look how much water was absorbed!
Gummy Bears soaked overnight
Science time has been filled with adding to our Interactive Notebooks.  Learning about the scientific method led to an experiment with gummy bears to use the documentation process.  We used the scientific method format to record how we soaked a gummy bear in water overnight and observed the results the next day.  Of course, the highlight of the experiment, after seeing the gooey results, was eating a piece of the control variable.  Food trumps everything in 5th grade!
Making observations

Check it out!

Recording data

Check out the cool hide-out

The Adventure Club started this week for fourth and fifth graders.  Mother Nature did not cooperate with us.  We ended up "mud" shoeing rather than snowshoeing.  It was kind of cool to see the difference from last year with SO much snow and just patchy snow this week.  In fact, we ran across lots of mud and water.  Three spots had so much water, we had to jump across the "stream".  One spot was way too much to get across so we "bushwhacked" back to the original trail. Always an adventure!

Cheering on Ms. Glunt as she readies for the jump

Thank you to parents for supplying drinks and snacks for the club members.  They work up quite a thirst after hiking for an hour.  It was a nice way to end the adventure.