Tuesday, March 31, 2009

HOMEWORK, Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Study Vocabulary!
Test: April 8

Read Ch. 1, Section 2
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1

Social Studies:
Read "Roman Towns" packet (6 pages)
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1

Extra Milers:
Bring in a poem (either written down, typed up or copied)
Know who the author is/what style or type of poem it is (i.e. haiku, sonnet, etc.)
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1

Photo Op

I thought I'd take today's post as an opportunity to show off some photos from our Finally it's Friday final "catwalk" when we experienced ancient Rome meets Project Runway a couple of weeks ago.

Our "models" were dressed by our Finally it's Friday Groups: the Golden Gods, the Hunter Girls, the Iron Spartans and the Mezo-Warriors.

Our first AIMS test went well today, BTW. For a first go-around, and for a two-hour stint (the other tests are only in one-hour increments), the students in Room 503 did incredibly well - sitting still and quiet for an extended period. Big kudos to all of them!

Tomorrow we have one hour of AIMS reading and one hour of Math.

Ms. Pitman

Monday, March 30, 2009

HOMEWORK, Monday, March 30, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary: portmanteau hand out
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31

Read Adam of the Road, Ch. 5
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31

Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31

*Vocab. Test: April 8
*Test: Apr. 9
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31

Social Studies:
Continue working on Ancient Rome project

*Complete or re-do whatever was noted on your Rome Project assignment today (if needed)
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31

Read Ch. 1/Section 1, p. 2-9: Weather & Climate text
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31

*If you did not turn it in today, turn in your weather journal BY TOMORROW!

Room 503 AIMS High

...or at least we will be for a few days this week and a few days next.

That's right: the AIMS tests are getting underway, beginning tomorrow. This Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday AIMS testing will take place for one to two hours every day during our regular school day.

Neither Mrs. Veenstra nor myself brought this up to the students prior to today, as we do not teach to the test and talking about the test ahead of time only seems to lead to needless anxiety.

Tomorrow's testing includes two hours of writing. We will be giving the test in the morning when students are more apt to be bright and alert, and the students will have their usual morning break following the test.

Regular assignments will be given during these two weeks of testing as there will be no extra studying for the AIMS tests.

Ms. Pitman

Friday, March 27, 2009

HOMEWORK, Friday, March 27, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary Hand-Out: "Architecture" & "Minstrel"
Due: Monday, March 30

Read: Adam of the Road ( A of R), Ch. 3 & 4
Due: Monday, March 30

P. 76 (1-4) (6-7)
Due: Monday, March 30

Social Studies:
Ancient Rome Project, Assignment #1:
~ Preliminary research: fill out form; one photograph of structure; one paragraph to a page of research on the type of structure you are researching
Due: Monday, March 30

Explain project to your parents, show them the packet and have them sign the acknowledgement form. Bring signed form back to school.
Due: Monday, March 30

Complete weather journal.
Due: Monday, March 30

Skip To M' Blog

Goodness - I am really slipping up on my blog posting lately! I apologize profusely.

I was absent from school Wednesday and Thursday the evening just got away from me! Now it's nearly 7:00 PM on Friday evening...YIKES! I better get my act together as we are getting down to our final two months of the school year!

Today the students received full-direction packets for their ancient Rome Project: "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day." Each student will be researching and writing about a specific structure as well as constructing a model of it. We went over the complete packet yesterday and today. This weekend, each student is to explain to their parents what their specific structure is and give them the packet of directions to read. On Monday, each student must return to school with a form signed by their parents stating that they read and understand what the project entails. They also have their first assignment (to get them started in the research process) to do over the weekend.

The students will have one month and one week to complete the project. Papers and structures are due Thursday, April 30 and we will be hosting an exhibit and an open house for family and friends on May 1. More details about the exhibit will be provided in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow is the TPA annual Renaissance Faire. I hope to see many of you out there as I have heard it is a really terrific event (and a great fun and fundraiser for our school).

Ms. Pitman

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

HOMEWORK, Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary Hand-Out: Atmosphere; Barometer
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25

Complete Personal Weather Forecast
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25

Bring in your copy of Adam of the Road
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25

Study!!! *May be a quiz tomorrow...

Weather Journal: check on temps. for your regions;
Mark the forecast for Phoenix/Tempe tomorrow
Write out your personal temp. for today
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25

Social Studies:
Read Ch. 11, Sec. 1, p. 322-328
Answer Assess. Ques. 1-5 (complete sentences)
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25

Mood Forecasts

In an attempt to merge Language and Fine Arts with Science, today in class we began a project where each student had to create a thoughtful and imaginative forecast for his/her mood this week.

Students had the opportunity to interpret what their mood might appear to be in the form of weather (i.e. sunny with a patch of clouds) over the next five days. I explained to the students that yesterday I was experiencing some "weather" of my own: hazy (I felt very out of sorts yesterday) with a hint of light hail (I was quite irritated by the end of the day).

For those who did not finish the project in class today, they will complete it at home this evening.

The past two days, I have given two "pop" quizzes (the one yesterday was simply a "quasi" pop quiz, as the students were told that they'd be having one) - one on a packet on ancient Rome, the other a spelling test on our first thirteen vocabulary words. These quizzes were not given for grades, but for the opportunity for each student to self-assess what he/she needs to be working on: whether they need to slow down while they read, take notes on the text, re-read their assignments, etc.

My hope is that the students in Room 503 will begin to take a more proactive and independent approach to how they study, how they learn and what areas they need to give more of their focus to.

Ms. Pitman

Monday, March 23, 2009

HOMEWORK, Monday, March 23, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary Hand-Out: Congregate; Congregation
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24

Memorize formulas, p. 64 (11-12, 17-19
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24

Weather Journal:
Check on tomorrow's Phoenix forecast
Look up the weather on two other regions of your choice and mark down the weather and conditions for today.
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24

Weathering the Weather

...Not that there is much to "weather" in Phoenix (excepting summer, of course)! However, today is World Meterology Day and a great kick off to exploring weather - whether it's here in Phoenix or elsewhere.

This week, along with learning about weather in the classroom, students will be keeping tabs on the weather outside. They will be comparing the weather forecast (by way of t.v., radio and/or internet) to what is actually taking place over the next five days.

They will also compare our weather in Phoenix to some other spot on the globe and see if there are any patterns to the weather differences in two regions.

Experiments, discussions and readings in class are sure to shed some light on what is going on with current weather patterns (or maybe not...we'll find that out as well).

We will also be exploring our individual, emotional "weather conditions," seeing if we can make any "predictions," and compare those to our actual moods of the coming days.

Ms. Pitman

Friday, March 20, 2009

HOMEWORK, Friday, March 20, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary: Hand-out
Due: Monday, March 23

Social Studies:
Read packet on ancient Rome
Due: Monday, March 23

*There is no math homework this weekend.
*The work load is light, but (hint, hint) - read your S.S. packet THOROUGHLY!

When in Rome...

This afternoon the students had the opportunity to work in their Finally it's Friday groups. The first half of group time the students had to work together to create a game - board, card or physical - based on the group's choice of idiom ("idiom" was our vocabulary word for last night's homework, and students also had to look up different idioms and have them prepared for class today).

The second half of the afternoon, each group had to work together to create a Roman fashion "ensemble." It was a sort of "Project Runway" meets ancient Rome. First, as a class, we read about clothing in ancient Rome. Next, the students had to choose one person from their group to be "traced" and one person to be the "tracer."

Students cut long pieces of butcher paper, set one of their group members horizontally on the paper, and outlined their body. Next the body shape was cut ouit and each of the group members was designated to work on a particular item of clothing, a hairstyle, or to draw the face.

The aim was to complete the whole ensemble in a thoughful, thorough and creative way...quickly! It was interesting to see which groups really worked as a team and which ones missed the mark a bit.

All-in-all, I'd say it was a very good afternoon and a very good way to end our first week back into the fourth and final quarter.

Have a great weekend!

Ms. Pitman

Thursday, March 19, 2009

HOMEWORK, Thursday, March 19, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary: "Idiom" hand out
Due: Tomorrow, Friday, March 20

Complete Latin Roots Sentence Illustration
Due: Tomorrow, Friday, March 20

P. 63, 3-9, 15
Due: Tomorrow, Friday, March 20

Social Studies:
History Text, p. 315-316
Answer Ch. Reveiw Questions, 1-17
On ques. 13-17, write in complete sentences
Due: Tomorrow, Friday, March 20

Getting Back to Our Roots

...Our Latin roots, that is.

Since we have just begun our study of ancient Rome and since we are working on increasing our vocabulary, it seemed only fitting to combine the two and investigate the English language a bit deeper by learning some of its Latin roots.

Today the students were given a list of nine Latin roots and asked to come up/find three words for each root - for a total of twenty-seven words. Next, they had to define each word. Finally, they chose their favorite word from their list and had to use it in a sentence. Based on their sentence they were asked to create a picture illustraing the sentence. For those who didn't complete their picture in class, they were asked to finish it for homework this evening.

Perhaps you have noticed that the students began their week with little homework and that their load has been increasing each night as the week has gone by. I, myself, needed to ease back into the TPJA grind, so I figured that the students did as well.

On Monday, each of the students wrote contracts and created mobiles dedicating themselves to "step up to the plate" for the remainder of the semester. Homework is a definite part of stepping up. If, for some reason, your student has something going on that interferes with his/her studies, please send Mrs. Veenstra or myself an email or send a note to school with your child explaining why he/she was unable to complete his/her homework. We understand when something comes up and are happy to accomodate when necessary. Thanks.

Ms. Pitman

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

HOMEWORK, Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary: "Assimilate" hand-out
Due: Thursday, March 19

Choose A or B
A: p. 46 (23, 24, 29, 34, 35)
B: p. 50 (42-44)
#41 = bonus
Due: Thursday, March 19

Social Studies:
Section 3: The Late Republic
P. 308-313
Answer Questions 1-3 (Assessment, p. 313)
Answer Ques. 5 (tweaked): Research; Write:
1 paragraph. Include topic sentence, supporting sentences
and concluding sentence.
*In your own words (NO WIKIPEDIA).
Due: Thursday, March 19

When is a Verb Not a Verb?

...Why, when it's a noun, of course!

Yesterday we began some exercises on "parts of speech,:" and today in class we went over them.
The English language - being as complex as it is - offers us words that we can't only categorize as nouns or verbs - or even adverbs, but a cross between one or all.

Take the word "surf," for instance. It can function as a noun, as in "We sat on the beach, our eyes closed, listening to the surf," and it can function as a verb: "Boy, can Logan surf!"

Then there are hononyms and synonyms, and boy-oh-boy, can English get any more complicated or fun, depending on how you look at it?! And then there's the word "look," which can also be a verb or a noun...

...Ahh - the grammar lessons continue!

Ms. Pitman

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

HOMEWORK, Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Language Arts:
Vocabulary Handout "Ensemble"
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18

Problem 2.5 (A, B, C)
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18

Read Roman Theatre & Drama Packet
Due: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18

Accepting donations:
Sports balls (new or used) - footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, rubber hand/wall balls
*Room 503 keeps losing sports balls and we need them for recess time. Any donation you can make would be great!

Thank you's:
To the Orchinik-Desonie's for their football donation today

To the Bush family for taking care of our geckos over spring break, supplying our growing pets with a bigger and better "home" (new terrarium) and big, fresh crickets to eat!

Ms. Pitman Went Missing

Oh, dear! I completely forgot to post yesterday. My apologies.

Yesterday's homework - for those who were/are wondering - was:

Math: Finish 2.4; Get test signed and return to school
*No other homework was given.

We have now entered our fourth quarter and we have 52 school days left to go. To get the second half of our spring semester off to a good start, we began yesterday's class taking stock of the first half of the semester. Each student was given his/her progress/grade report (these will be sent out via snail mail to you later in the week) and asked to reflect on it...if they thought it was fair, what they felt they did well and what they wanted to work on in the final quarter.

In the afternoon, we read through a series of quotes about "stepping up to the plate" and each student filled out a "contract" explaining how they were going to "step up" for the next two and a half months. Then, each student was given a paper plate, a pair of ready-made "feet" and a buffet of art supplies, from which they were to make "Step Up to the Plate" mobiles (much like the aspiration flags we made at the beginning of the school year.

The mobiles are currently hanging in our classroom and will hopefully serve as reminders to help us keep stepping up throughout the remainder of the school year.

Here are a few of the quotes the students read (and some used in their mobiles):

You can't hit a home run unless you step up to the plate. You can't catch fish unless you put your line in the water. You can't reach your goals if you don't try. – Anonymous

It's always hard to recover after a loss. . . . I have to know when it's time to step up, not to revert back to bad habits but to keep ahead with the good ones. – Venus Williams (Tennis Pro)

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. – Dale Carnegie (American lecturer)

The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult. – Madame Marie du Deffand

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Anthony Robbins (American Advisor to Leaders)

Ms. Pitman

Thursday, March 5, 2009

HOMEWORK, Thursday, March 5, 2009


Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

Tea on Three

Today we concluded our unit on The Book of Three. Our ritual-end-of-the-book tea went quite well, with less food (hence, less chaos) and a new question-discussion format.

Eilonwy, one of the characters in the book is constantly making analogies (mostly funny, some beautifully poignant), and each of the students were asked to create their own analogies in regards to how they feel when a good book ends. Because I am writing this post from home, I have no example to post from here, but I will be creating a special post that will include them (as well as some terrific photos of the students with both their mythology and science projects).

Tomorrow is Athletic Field Day and, therefore, tonight, there is no homework (getting into gear for Spring Break). There are a couple of students who have not yet turned in their signed Vocabulary/Spelling Test grade form and that must be in tomorrow or students will begin losing points off their test score. Also, if there are still students who want to sign up for the next round of the Extra Miler and BFF Clubs, those forms need to be turned in tomorrow as well.

Please be sure to pack a water bottle, sunscreen, a sweatshirt or long-sleeved T-shirt and a good snack for mid-morning for tomorrow's big day.

Just a reminder that tomorrow is an Early Dismissal day (12:25 PM) and that will lead us directly into Spring Break. School will resume Monday, March 16.

Ms. Pitman

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

HOMEWORK, Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Language Arts:
B.O.T. - complete all insert questions, complete illustrations.
Answer questions for our tea thoughtfully & thoroughly: Dig Deep!
Due: Tomorrow, Thursday, March 5

**Have vocabulary/spelling test grade sheet signed & return to school.
Due: Tomorrow, Thursday, March 5 *(Friday, at the latest)

ACE 2, p.40 (2, 4, 16, 40)
Due: Tomorrow, Thursday, March 5

Room 503 Presents!

Today the students finished the presentation portion of their science projects. And tonight they will be graded. Which is what Mrs. Veenstra and I are off to do right now!

A few reminders:

Both tomorrow and Friday we are on early dismissal (12:25 PM).

Tomorrow morning we will have our Book of Three tea. The following students are bringing treats:
Thanks, in advance, for your help and support.

Friday is athletic field day. Athletic attire, water bottles, sunscreen and a good snack are encouraged.

Ms. Pitman

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

HOMEWORK, Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Homework Tonight!

Enjoy some R & R. You all deserve it!!!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 4 - Friday, March 6:
EARLY RELEASE DAYS: School ends at 12:25 PM

SPRING BREAK: Monday, March 9-Friday March 13

SCHOOL RESUMES: Monday, March 16

A Science Affair to Remember

Tonight Room 503 hosted the very first TPJA Science Fair.

For those of you in attendance, I think you will agree that our Sixth Graders provided a terrific showcase of the wide range of creativity, depth of inquiry, sense of wonder, and honest-to-goodness hard work that goes on within our classroom.

Big kudos and many thanks to Dana Desonie who kick-started this whole shebang. She was instrumental in encouraging Mrs. Veenstra and I to implement the science projects into our curriculum and she put in a great deal of time and effort into working with our students as well. Dana also arranged for our guest astronomers to come be a part of tonight's Science Fair (unfortunately, our sky was not quite so cooperative).

Thank you to all who attended in support of your own student and Room 503 as a whole. It was wonderful to hear so many of you asking the students questions and discussing their projects with them.

Big appreciation to all who brought treats and drinks for the event, and many thanks as well to those who gave constructive feedback. This will help greatly next year.

If anyone has any further thoughts or comments on the Science Fair/Projects, please email me. Mrs. Veenstra and I value your opinion, and since TPJA and Room 503are works in progress, the more feedback we get, the better!

Ms. Pitman

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ready Your Raiments (Student Science Fair Attire)

Thought I'd find a way to sneak a vocabulary word in the night before the big test!

Sorry for the late post...

TPJA students may wear "civilian" clothing of their choice tomorrow evening to the Science Fair...so long as it is approprite (i.e. girls: no spaghetti straps or really short skirts; boys: no baggy athletic shorts or T-Shirts with rap logos or words, etc.).

In other words: "Let your own discretion be your tutor." Suit the clothing to the evening's event.

Again, parents:

Students at school between 5:45 - 5:50 PM
Science Fair 6:00 - 8:30 PM

Looking forward,

HOMEWORK, Monday, March 2, 2009

Language Arts:
Read ch'.s 18-19, B.O.T.
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3

STUDY! Vocab/Spelling Test
Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3

Complete Science Project
Project (including lab work & presentation) -
Due tomorrow morning, Tuesday, March 3

Science Fair
Tomorrow Night 6-8:30 PM, Student Union
Tuesday, March 3
*Students be at school between 5:45-5:50 PM

*Social Studies:
Greek Mythology Project Grade/Parent Signature Sheet
Due: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3
*5 points deducted from original project grade, each day sheet is late

March-ing Forward

In January we began kicking off each new month with the orgins of that particular month's name and some fun facts about it...

Introducing March:

March was originally the first month on the early Roman calendar. In Rome, where the climate is Mediterranean, March is the first month of spring, a logical point for the beginning of the year as well as the start of the military campaign season. Its name honors Mars, the Roman god of war. March is also the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, and one of the seven months which are 31 days long.

March is also:

Music in our Schools Month
International Ideas Month
International Listening Awareness Month
International Mirth Month
National Collision Awareness Month
National Women’s History Month
Optimism Month
Youth Art Month

March, 3, 2009 is also the date of the TPJA first annual Science Fair!
We will look forward to seeing all of you here tomorrow evening to join in the festivities.

Ms. Pitman