Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I love celebrating New Year because it's a perfect time to concentrate on changes we can make to improve our own and other's lives.  Do you have a New Year's resolution or wish? Check out this awesome site where you can submit your wish to be written on confetti that will rain down on the lucky people celebrating at Times Square in New York City tonight!

I hope your New Year brings you happiness, prosperity, and excitement for a promising future!

Mr. Trent

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I'm out playing in the Pennsylvania snow and trying my best to send some down to Savannah for you to play in, too! Merry Christmas, Charles Ellis Bobcats!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tessellation Fun for the Holiday Break!

If you have some down-time or are (gasp) bored over the holiday break, check out the following information about making tessellations.  There are some good instructions on making some more advanced patterns than what we had time to discuss in my homeroom class today.

Winter Break is Here!

Today, we eased into winter break by completing a few holiday-themed lessons.  First, we learned how to create tessellations and then we used them to create wrapping paper!

After that, we used wrapping paper to explore surface area of geometric solids.  Be on the lookout for more work with surface area after we return from winter break.

 We ened our day with the annual Charles Ellis Holiday Sing-Along on our BRAND NEW playground!  Great songs and beautiful weather...perfect!

 I would personally like to thank everyone for the cards, gifts, and kind words shared with me today.  I really enjoy working with the students and parents of Ellis!  It's like a gift everyday!

Please have a safe, enjoyable, restful holiday break.  I'll see you in 2013!

Mr. Trent

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Have the World in Our Hands!

Ms. Cathy showed us a great way to discover the amount of water on the Earth's surface.  We tossed an inflatable globe around the room and counted the number of fingers that landed on land and on water.  We then found the average and discovered that about 70% of the Earth is covered with water. 

Mathnasium Holiday Math Camp

Mathnasium Holiday Math Camp

Library Books Due Tomorrow!

Please remember to return all your library books to the media center by tomorrow (Dec. 19). 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Week of December 17, 2012

Welcome to the last school week of 2012!  I can't believe we are just about ready to enter 2013.  Looking back over the past 12 months, I can think of many joys and happy times associated with Charles Ellis.  I can't wait to see what happiness comes in 2013!

Remember that this week is truncated (we only have school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday).  In math, we will have one more lesson on writing equations and then we will have a quiz on it on Tuesday.  Do the following to prepare:  look over your classwork and homework, log onto TenMarks and do some online practicing, refer to our math text for some independent study, and check out previous blog entries for more study suggestions.  

Tuesday is also the day that your science work on Earth's water will come to a close.  Please have your "Drop in the Bucket" choices completed by then.  You will NOT have a journal or Compass Learning assignment due this week (although, you are always welcome to sign into Compass Learning anytime you wish to do extra work). 

Get excited for Wednesday!  I have some fun holiday-inspired activities planned, and we will have our annual Ellis sing-along under the front portico in the afternoon!  I've been practicing my part all weekend....FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!

See you tomorrow,
Mr. Trent

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Practice Your Equation-Making Skills!

Practice makes perfect!  Do you need some more practice writing equations?  Click below for some practice problems from 

Discover Water! is a really fun website to investigate!  It's filled with interesting facts, games, and activities all about H2O!  If you complete enough of the activities, you will be able to create an online water conservation poster.  If you make one, show it to me and I'll post it on this blog!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Aquifer Profiles

Students used data from a number of holes dug for wells to create a horizon profile of the water table for a fictional area. You see the zone of aeration, zone of saturation, and the impermeable layer? This lesson is part of the Project Wet curriculum.

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Resources for This Week's Lessons

Are you looking for more resources to guide your studies this week? Click on the Math Goodies picture below to be taken to a website that will give you some more explination and practice with converting word problems to equations.

What about some more information about how water is distributed on our Earth?  Well, look no further!  The following document contains a "flood" of information on the topic!

Water Distribution Text

Getting in the spirit!

Our classroom's geolo-tree is casting a warm glow! It's decorated with rocks, minerals, and fossils! Check out the starfish on top!

UPDATE:  The first person to comment below with three items found on our tree will get a prize!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Week of December 10, 2012

Can you believe this amazing weather?  How lucky are we to live in such a place where you can wear shorts in December?!  I'm just taking a quick break to update the blog with your items for the week, then I am headed outside to enjoy the day!

In math this week, we will be continuing our investigation about algebraic equations.  Instead of simply solving equations, we are going to try our hand at writing our own!  We will start by taking a look at key words that will help us choose which operations to use in our equations.  Here is a list of common operations:

Addition- add, plus, sum, total, increased by, more than
Multiplication- product, times, multiply of
Subtract- minus, difference, subtract, less than, decreased by
Division- divide, quotient

We will use these words to create our own equations when reading word-problems.  This can be a bit tricky, but we will work through this together.  I'm going to need you to be on task at all times to get this complex skill.  Here is a video that is a good overview of the process:

You will have homework Monday and Tuesday night.  Be ready for some graded classwork during the day, also.  We will check your understanding with a quiz next Tuesday (December 18).   In addition to this work please be sure to complete you weekly Compass Learning choice.

In science, we've recently been spending a lot of time focusing on the world's oceans.  This week we will start looking at other sources of water on Earth.  I'll present the following lesson on Monday:

Please study these vocabulary words for a test on Friday (December 14).
Earth's Water Vocabulary

To guide you along with your research, please complete at least 3 choices on the "Drop in the Bucket" sheet.  It is due on WEDNESDAY, December 18th!

Drop in the Bucket Choice Sheet

There are a lot of other exciting things happening at Ellis this week, too!

Monday, Dec. 10- Holiday Book Fair opens in the Media Center!
Thursday, Dec. 13- PTA Meeting and Holiday Concert (6:30 in MPR)
Friday, Dec. 14- Dress down day (last Friday of the month) & Middle School Dance (Be sure you have your permission form signed and returned if you plan on attending).

Enjoy the rest of your beautiful weekend!

Mr. Trent

Thank You Career Day Speakers!

A special thank-you to those volunteers who came to our room last week to share the ins-and-outs of their careers with us!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Special Guest Career Speakers

Tomorrow, we will welcome three guest speakers into our classroom.  They will share with us inside information about thier careers!

Larry Carlile-wildlife biologist
Jack Simmons- philosophy professor
Greg Keyes-author

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Field Trip

We had an awesome time today at the Mighty 8th Museum. Check out these great pics from the day!

Pictures or Money Due Friday

Please return all unwanted school pictures by this Friday, Dec. 7.  If you wish to purchase some or all of the package, please submit payment by Friday, also.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Progress Reports (UPDATED)

Progress reports will be issued Monday, December 3.  Please review them with your child, sign, and return them on Tuesday, December 4.  If you have any questions or concerns, please write them on the coversheet and Ms. Carol and myself will get back to you ASAP.  As always, your child's grades are available for your review using the PowerSchool online program. We are having some problems with the gradebook software, so we will be sending progress reports home Tuesday, December 4th.  Please sign and return them Wednesday, December 5th.

Student Health Survey

This week, your child is invited to take a Student Health Survey being conducted by the GA Department of Education.  Results from the survey will be used to better plan health curriculums across the state.  You can preview the survey HERE.  If you would not like your child to participate in this survey, please complete the following opt-out form and return it to your child's homeroom teacher.

Health Survey Opt-Out Form

The Week of December 3, 2012

Welcome to the first full week of December!  In math we will be continuing our work with exponents, but will be adding the challenge of using order of operations to solve equations!  Don't worry, we'll have plenty of practice doing so this week!  You will have homework due Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Thursday, you will have a quiz.  On Friday, your one Compass Learning choice is  due.  Here is an explanation of what we will be doing:

Order of Operations

Would you like some more practice with order of operations?  Check out the following sheets...the answers are on the last pages.

Order of Operations Practice

In science, we will continue our work with currents, waves, and tides.  It is very important that you use your worktime this week of discover the following:

1.  What are waves, currents, and tides?
2.  How do waves, currents, and tides form?
3.  How are waves, currents, and tides similar and different?

Your "Seafood Feast" choice sheet should guide you as you discover these questions.  It will be due this Friday.  In addition to these choices, please prepare for your test on waves, currents, and tides this Friday.  You can use your notes we took last Monday as your study guide.  Finally, please complete your science journal by Thursday.

I'm sure you are looking forward to our field trip to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum on Wednesday!  Please remember to pack a lunch (or you can grab one from the cafeteria before we leave).  If you have not returned your permission slip or money ($5), please do so by tomorrow.  Check out this great video introducing you to this amazing place:

In addition to our field trip, there are a number of other things going on this week:

Tuesday, Dec. 4- "Eat Our for Ellis" at Barberitos and Sweet Frogs @ 5:00
Thursday, Dec. 6 - "MESS Holiday Party" @ 6:00, 202 Washington Ave.
Friday, Dec. 7- "Out of Uniform Day" $1.00 to benefit Toys for Tots

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and i'll see you bright and early tomorrow morning,
Mr. Trent

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mighty 8th Air force Museum Field trip Reminder

Don't forget:  All permission forms and payment ($5.00) for the field trip to the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum are due Monday.  The field trip will take place next Wednesday.  Please pack a lunch or purchase a school lunch before we leave for the trip.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Butterfly has Arrived!

The butterfly on our science shelf has emerged from its chrysalis!  We will release it at recess tomorrow!

Deep Ocean Currents

Today, Ms. Cathy helped us better understand deep ocean currents with an awesome lab.  Using a combination of hot, cold, and salty water we were able to create visual "layers" based on water density.  These differences in density are also found in our world's oceans and can cause deep ocean currents.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Exponent Practice

In class today, we played a game where we used a number cube to generate numbers in exponential form.  Don't forget: 5 squared is NOT the same at 5 x 2!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Week of November 26, 2012

Welcome back!  I hope you had an enjoyable and restful Thanksgiving break!  We are entering my favorite part of the year; the time between Thanksgiving and winter break.  I'm looking forward to spending this fun tim of year with you...I hope you are, too!

In math, we will be talking about exponents.  We will start out by reviewing what you know about exponents and then play a fun game to get some practice.  You will have some homework assignments to complete on Monday and Tuesday night.  We will finish up on Thursday with an exponent quiz.   Here is a great guide you can use for some more practice with exponents:

In science, we will continue our studies of the ocean.  Over the next two weeks we will be talking about waves, currents, and tides.  At the end of your research I would like you to be able to explain what forces cause waves, currents, and tides.  I will present the following lesson on Monday:

Here is a copy of the notes we will take.  This note sheet will also serve as your study guide (you will have a test on this content next Friday).

THIS Friday, you will have a vocabulary quiz on the following terms:

To guide you along in your studies of waves, currents, and tides please complete three choices from this sheet.  It will be due next Friday.

This Friday is the last Friday of the month, so it is a FREE dress-down day!  What a great way to end the week!

Finally, I would like to emphasize that this week's grace and courtesy focus will be on PEACE.  You can show and spread peace in the classroom by:

- Acting appropriately during work time.
- Being aware of others' needs and being respectful.
- Managing your frustrations and disappointments appropriately.  

Please challenge yourself this week to make a conscious effort to spread peace at Ellis.

It's going to be a GREAT week!

Mr. Trent

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Progress Reports are Coming Your Way!

Progress reports have been sent home today, and there is a lot to review in them:

1.  Read the coversheet and sign it.
2.  Sign the Mighty 8th Airforce Museum permission slip.  The money ($5.00) isn't due until Dec. 2.
3.  Review the SRI report and sign it.  The fieldtrip will take place on December 5.
4.  Read the Montessori Education Society of Savannah holiday party invite.  RSVP by calling the number listed if you are planning on attending.  It should be a really good time!
5.  Peruse the grade reports for each subject.  The average (as of this morning) is printed at the top.  Individual grades for each assignment are printed next.  If there are any missing assignments  I've made another copy and attached it to the packet.  Please be sure to complete these assignments tonight and turn them in tomorrow to be graded.   
6.  Review the attached workplans taking note of what we've been studying.  Remember, homework should be written on the back daily.
7.  If you have any questions or concerns, please write them on the cover sheet of the report.

Please keep the entire packet stapled together.  We will keep them on file here at school and you are more than welcome to come in and review them at any time.

All progress reports must be returned to school tomorrow (Tuesday, November 20)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Week of November 19, 2012

Are you ready for a quick, two-day week?  We only have a few things to take care of this week before we start our Thanksgiving break on Wednesday.

On Monday, we will have our measurement quiz.  You will need to know how to convert measurements of both the metric and customary units.  You will NOT have to have the conversions memorized, I will give you a conversion sheet to use during the quiz.  Be sure to review all of your homework and classwork to prepare for it.

I will also give you your first progress report of the term on Monday.  Please share it with your family, sign, and return it.  Your family can write any questions they may have right on the coversheet of the report and I will get back to them ASAP.  Return the report to your homeroom teacher Tuesday.

On Tuesday, we will be taking our ocean topography vocabulary quiz.  Here are the words you will need to know:

abyssal plain- a large, flat, almost level area of the deep-ocean basin

continental rise- the gently sloping section of the continental margin located between the continental slope and the abyssal plain

continental shelf- the gently sloping section of the continental margin located between the shoreline and the continental slope.

continental slope- the steeply inclined section of the continental margin located between the continental rise and the continental shelf.

mid-ocean ridge- a long, undersea mountain chain that forms along the floor of the major oceans

ocean trench- a long, narrow, and steep depression in the ocean floor that forms when one tectonic plate subducts beneath another plate; trenches run parallel to volcanic island chains or to the coastlines of continents; also called a trench or a deep-ocean trench

rift valley- a long, narrow valley that forms as tectonic plates separate 

In addition to your quiz, your "Go Fish" sheet choice sheet is also due on Tuesday.  We will work on the required lab this week, so must pick two other assignments to complete.  Tuesday is also a dress down day for $1.00.  All proceeds will go towards charity.  Finally, if you are in my homeroom and you wish to order anything from the Scholastic holiday catalog, please submit all orders and payment to me Tuesday morning.  

I enjoy Thanksgiving because it gives us a chance to stop and think about what in our lives brings us joy and happiness.  I am thankful for being able to spend my days at Charles Ellis!  I hope you are, too!

Mr. Trent

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fun Times at the Burton 4-H Center

We had a wonderful time today at the Burton 4-H Center in Tybee! We got up close and personal with many sea creatures and reptiles. The highlight of the day was our time in the lab dissecting sharks! Can you remember the name of the two fins closest to the head of the shark? The first person to respond in the comments section below with the correct answer will get a prize!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Measurement Stations

We've been busy exploring the metric and customary system of measurements. Tomorrow, we will be taking a look at using ratios to convert between units.

Burton 4-H Trip Reminder

Don't forget, tomorrow we are headed to Tybee Island to work at the Burton 4-H Center!  We will be taking a look at crabs and other critters found in the coast GA ecosystem.  We will also be disecting sharks!  Be sure to wear your uniform and some comfortable shoes.  If you are bringing a home lunch, make sure that you can eat it without the need of a microwave.  School lunchers will buy a bagged lunch before we leave in the morning.  I'm looking forward to an awesome trip tomorrow!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Week of November 12, 2012

Happy Veterans' Day!  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!  I spent my weekend attending Savannah's Geek End conference.  It was a lot of fun, and I learned some really neat things I would like to share with you throughout this year.

This week is promising to be great!  In math, we will use what we've discussed concerning ratios to help us convert between different units of measurement.  We will talk about both the customary and metric units of weight, capacity, and length.  I think you'll find that, by using ratios, doing measurement  conversions is a snap!  You will have some homework to complete Tuesday and Thursday  Wednesday and Thursday evening.  In addition, you will need to complete a Compass Learning activity of your choice by Friday.  This, and other class activities, will get us ready for a measurement quiz on Monday, November 19.  This LearnZillion site has a wonderful explanation of conversions of measurements.  Check out this great document for more practice with measurement:

In science, we will be diving under the surface of the ocean to investigate the many landforms found there!  Please study the following words for a test on Tuesday, November 20th.  Note:  This will be the last day before Thanksgiving break.

This picture may help you when you are studying your vocabulary words:

Click the picture to make it larger.

I will present the following PowerPoint as part of my introductory lesson on ocean topography early this week.

To help guide you in your studies, please refer to this "Go Fish" choice sheet.  You will need to complete THREE of the choices by Tuesday, November 20 (the last day before spring break).

In addition to this science work, you will also have to complete a journal (at least 5 thoughtful sentences) by this Friday based on under-sea landforms.

There are some other exciting activities going on this week, too:
1.  Our fieldtrip to the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee is this Wednesday.  Get ready to learn all about coastal ecology and shark anatomy!
2.  The cafeteria is hosting a Thanksgiving meal this Thursday.  You family is more than welcome to attend.
3.  Friday is school picture make-up day.  If you were absent for pictures, please come to school Friday prepared to have your picture taken.

I'll see you tomorrow,
Mr. Trent

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Week of November 5, 2012

I am back from the NSTA conference in Atlanta and ready to begin another fun-filled week at Ellis!  First, don't forget that Tuesday is election day and you do not have school.  Although, I will be at Ellis having parent/teacher conferences.  I look forward to finishing up conferences this week.

In math, we will be talking about converting between fractions, decimals and percents.  Use the following notes to help you convert between the three.

I found an awesome game to help you practice HERE.  We will be using the following sheets to help us:

You will have homework to complete that will be due on Wednesday.  In addition, be ready to complete some fraction, decimal, percent classwork that will be graded on Thursday.  Remember, this week we will be making a transition from using TenMarks to using Compass Learning.  You will need to complete one math Compass Learning assignment of your choice by Friday.  Don't forget that we put your username on the inside of your journal (your password is "password).  Speaking of your journal, since we have one less day of worktime this week, i've excused you from completing a journal this week.

In science, we will be finishing up our research on landforms.  Your "Watch your Steppe" choice sheet is due on THURSDAY (Remember, it is NOT due Friday).  You will have your final test on landforms this Friday.  It will be based upon your landforms booklet you've completed and your vocabulary sheet.

I will not be at Ellis Wednesday morning so I can attend a workshop on Compass Learning.  I will also be out all day Friday to attend the Geek-End conference held here in Savannah.  I plan to share with you some interesting things I learn from attending these conferences.

I'll finish with some exciting news:  the playground renovation is complete!  We will get to check it out Monday at recess!

I'll see you tomorrow,
Mr. Trent