Thursday, January 31, 2013

25 Silver Acts of Kindness

As part of our Silver Jubilee, several classrooms at Charles Ellis are taking the "25 Silver Acts of Kindness" Challenge!  Throughout the month of February, students are encouraged to do 25 kind acts. A personal journal will be kept to keep track of all the positive influences they accomplish.  At the end of the month, the students will have a great record of behavior to reflect upon and a unique souvenir of the Silver Jubilee.  Are YOU up for this grace and courtesy challenge?!

Let the Good Times Roll!

Yesterday, we played a game with number cubes and coordinate planes to get some practice plotting ordered pairs. Thursday, we will be adding the challenge of negative numbers to the mix. How does a negative number alter the placement of a point on a plane?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

We are a Certified Mobile Learning Classroom!

Feel free to bring in your iPads, Nooks, Kindles and other tablet computers and devices because we are a mobile learning certified classroom!  With teacher permission, students are free to use such devices for research purposes.  Mobile devices are only allowed to be used in the classroom under direct teacher supervision (They are not permitted anywhere else in the building or on the playground).  Mr. Trent can provide a wifi password for you to use.  If students are not using the technology appropriately, they will no longer be allowed to enjoy this privilege.  Students are required to keep tabs on their devices and we are not responsible for lost, stolen, or broken equipment.  More information about the SCCPSS technology policies can be found HERE

Our Classroom Mobile Learning Procedures

1.  Personal technology can only be used in room 18.  It is not permitted in the hallway, restrooms, or on the playground.
2.  You must get permission to use your device from Mr. Trent before you use it.
3.  Acceptable uses include:  research, reading, educational software
4.  Unacceptable uses include:  phone calls, texts, social networks, taking pictures of classmates
5.  YOU are responsible for your property.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The CERES S'COOL Project

The S'COOL Project involves students (ages 5-20+) in real science, making and reporting ground truth observations of clouds to assist in the validation of NASA's CERES satellite instruments. 

Clouds are an important part of our atmosphere, and scientists are studying how they affect our weather and climate. S'COOL observations provide one more piece of the puzzle (description taken from S'COOL Project website).

Our classroom will be participating in the program by making daily observations using the following form.

After the data is collected, it will be sent to NASA's scientists.  Click below to be taken to the data reporting website.

The data will then be used to help calibrate the CERES weather instrument!  

The Week of January 28, 2013

This week is shaping up to be a great one!  Let's see what's in store for us at Ellis this last week of January:

In math, we will continue our work with properties of multiplication.

You will have some classwork and a homework assignment to complete to get your ready for your quiz on the topic on Tuesday.  To be ready for you quiz review your notes and homework, complete the Compass Learning activity associated with it (activity code: MA6241), play this property basketball game, or check out this new game below:

After that, we will begin to talk about geometry by drawing simple figures on a four-quadrant coordinate plane.  Remember, always plot on your x-axis before you plot your y-axis.

Do you need some help reviewing plotting points on a coordinate plane?  Well, you're in luck because I found another fun game for you to check out.  It's Game Over Gopher, and if you like tower defense-type games, you will really enjoy playing this!

Here is an example of the types of items we will be talking about the latter half of the week:

Finally, don't forget to complete your Compass Learning requirement for the week.

In science, we will continue our work with weather.  I'm seeing some amazing choice work going on...keep it up!  Use your worktime to become experts in all things weather!  You will have a test on Friday.  You can use the Study Guide I gave you last week to prepare.  Don't forget to look on the back of your study guide for the information about fronts, too.  Your "Cloudy With a Chance of Learning" choice sheet is also due Friday.

We will also be starting our partnership with the NASA S'COOL Program!  For the remainder of the year, we will be making cloud observations and sending them to scientists at NASA. They will use the data we collect to help calibrate the CERES weather instrument that is traveling high above us in a satellite!  I'm really excited for our classroom to participate in this program; I hope you are, too!

Ms. Lynn is coordinating another "Charitable Friday" dress-down day!  Donate a dollar on Friday to dress down and feel good about contributing to "Dollars for Disasters".

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll see you in the morning,

Mr. Trent

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weather Research

It's a storm of weather research today in class! Students are discovering many awesome facts about tornados, hurricanes, thunderstorms, clouds, and air masses.

Report Cards

Report cards have been printed and will be sent home today.  You DO NOT need to sign and return the report card.  On your card, you should have a grade for each subject (Language arts, math, science, and social studies).  Please ignore any rows that do not contain a grade.  If there seems to be a discrepancy between the grades on the report card and what we spoke about in conferences, please let me know as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fronts in Action

We donned our blue and red goggles and acted out the four fronts we've been studying in class. The first person to comment on this entry with the names of the four fronts and the weather associated with each will get a prize!

A Few Reminders about Friday.

Don't forget that we will be having a quiz on our science vocabulary words tomorrow (Friday).  In addition, it's a free dress-down day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Week of January 21, 2013

It's a short week this week!  When I see you on Wednesday, get ready to hit the ground running!

In math, we will be studying some tricks to help you better understand algebraic equations that include multiplication.  These properties of multiplication can really save you time when trying to decipher complicated equations.  You must focus on the following properties:

Commutative property: When two numbers are multiplied together, the product is the same regardless of the order of the multiplicands. For example 4 * 2 = 2 * 4

Associative Property: When three or more numbers are multiplied, the product is the same regardless of the grouping of the factors. For example (2 * 3) * 4 = 2 * (3 * 4)

Distributive property: The sum of two numbers times a third number is equal to the sum of each addend times the third number. For example 4 * (6 + 3) = 4*6 + 4*3

Be expecting some classwork and homework to help you practice this skill, a Compass Learning requirement, and a quiz on this topic sometime in the near future (Tuesday, January 29).  If you would like some more practice with the properties, check out the fun basketball game found below.

In science, we will continue our study of the Earth's atmosphere by focusing on the weather that happens in the Troposphere.  I will present the following lesson Wednesday:

There are some important vocabulary words that must be understood as you delve into this topic.  Please study the following words and be prepared for a quiz on them THIS friday (January 25).

Over the next two weeks, you will be free to explore all you can about weather and climate.  To guide your studies, please complete the following choice sheet.  The date printed on the sheet is will be due Friday, February 1.

Cloudy With a Chance of Learning.

You will also have a test on February 1st.  You can use this handy-dandy study guide to help you prepare.

Climate and Weather Study Guide

Please keep the following in mind as we go through the week:
1.  Conference will take place this week.  Please let me know if you need to change your conference date or time.  I look forward to meeting with everyone!
2.  This Friday is a dress down day.  It's a free one because it is the last day of the month.

Finally, as you may already know, President Obama is having his inauguration this weekend!  Check out this site that tells you all about the exciting ceremony.

Have a wonderful MLK Day holiday!
Mr. Trent

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Enjoy Your Long Weekend!

Don't forget that there will be no school Monday or Tuesday of next week!

I will be at Ellis on Tuesday for parent/teacher conferences.  I've finished grading all work for the past term and you can log onto PowerSchool Parent Access to see your final grades for the term.  Your report card will be printed next week and given to you to post on your refrigerator :)   Classes will resume Wednesday (the first day of Term 3).

Happy MLK Day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Playground Number Lines

The beautiful weather lately has provided a perfect opportunity to get out of the classroom and do some learning outside!  We used some "found number lines" on our playground to practice graphing inequalities.  Remember, when solving inequalities be sure to isolate the variable by doing the inverse operation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Earth's Atmosphere Sort

The sort we completed in class would be a GREAT study guide for Friday's science test! Hint, hint!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Week of January 14, 2013

It's the last week of the second term!  This Friday, we will officially be half-way through the school year...this year is FLYING by!

In math, we will be spending a lot of time talking about inequalities and one-step equations.  We will start out by showing inequalities on a number line.  We will then move on to solving real-world problems involving equalities in one-step equations.  You will have plenty of classwork and homework for practice.  Be sure you are ready for a test on one-step equations and inequalities this Thursday.  This test will be your last grade of the term in math. In addition, please keep the following items in mind:

1.  You must complete a Compass Leaning activity by Friday.  This can be done at school or at home.
2.  Your journal will have a math theme this week.  Please complete it by Thursday.
3.  The second MAP testing will begin this week.  Please work quietly during worktime as your classmates are taking the exam.  It is not graded, but I will use the information from the MAP test to plan upcoming lessons.  In addition, the results will be shared with your family at parent/teacher conferences.

Check out the following videos from for more information.

In science, we will continue to study Earth's atmosphere.  Be sure to complete your Extreme Skydiving choice sheet by this Friday.  This Friday you will also have a chapter test.  Use the "Earth's Atmosphere" booklet, vocabulary sheet, and your completed choice sheet work to help you study for the exam.  This will be the last test grade in science for the term.  Check out this awesome National Geographic webpage on Earth's atmosphere!

Since this is the last week of the term, please turn in any unfinished assignments.  I will not take off points for them being late, but I cannot accept them after Friday.

Parent/Teacher conferences start next week.  I'm looking forward to talking to you and your family about what has been going on here at Ellis.  If you forget your conference time and date or you need to change it, please let me know ASAP.

Our new drop-off / pick-up procedures start Monday.  Please make sure you are aware of the changes being made.  A list of the changes can be found HERE.

Finally, this Friday is a dress down day.  It will cost you a dollar to do so, and all the proceeds will go towards our Peer Mediation Program.

Have a wonderful Sunday evening,

Mr. Trent

Friday, January 11, 2013

WSAV News Reports on Today's Playground Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Charles Ellis Montessori Academy held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new playground today.  While the equipment isn't new, the students now have daily access to the grounds, which were previously plagued with problems.  The old playground faced drainage issues and sandstorms which didn’t allow students to use it daily.
Teacher Trent Kissinger said keeping students indoors all day is rough.
"We had to make a lot of accommodations, we spent a lot of time in the classroom trying to be as active as we could in the classroom but it doesn't necessarily work out when you have 30 sixth graders,” said Kissinger.
Letting students take a play break outside can bring a big benefit when they head back inside.
"There is a lot of research out there that talks about the attention spans of children, and it's a lot shorter than what you would expect, so when they are able to come out here and get that energy out they can go back in and be focused on how we want them during lessons,” said Kissinger.
Eight-year-old Lillian Banks said she can feel the difference after she gets done playing outside. 
"When you have all your energy out and you're okay and you calm down, it's easier to focus and get on track with your work,” said Banks.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

There's Something in the Atmosphere....

Student are making some great choices when it comes to showing what they know while researching Earth's atmosphere.  Some students are creating drawings and 3-D models, other are writing weather reports, and others are creating accrostic poems! 

Important Updated Arrival & Dismissal Procedures

Please be our partners in the plan to keep our children safe by following these procedures that begin Monday, January 14. 
·         Parents are encouraged to tell students goodbye at the front door.
·         If you are going to walk your child to class, SIGN IN and fill out the information on the visitor’s sticker. 
·         Wear the sticker while in the building.  Please sign out as you leave.
·         SIGN IN and fill out the information on the visitor’s sticker.
·         Wear the sticker while in the building.  Please sign out as you leave.
·         Dismissal begins at 3:00PM.
·         Car-rider pick up will remain the same.
·         Walking students will be dismissed through the McGillucuddy Lane gate.  All Parents are asked to remain outside the gate.
·         If you are going to pick your child up from their class, please follow the SIGN IN procedure in the foyer.  If possible, do not request early dismissal after 2:30. 

·         Help us keep doors shut and locked, and do not prop a door open for any reason.
·         If you see someone in the halls or a classroom without a Visitor’s sticker, please remind them to sign-in.  We are all in this together.
·         Car-rider pick up remains the same. 
·         Walking students will be dismissed through the door on McGillicuddy Lane.
We appreciate your cooperation and diligence with these changes.

Compass Learning

Compass Learning is an important weekly math requirement.  Don't forget to complete at least ONE Compass Learning choice by Friday of each week.  This can be done in class during your worktime or at home for homework.  The Compass Learning program is linked to your MAP assessment results, so it knows your strengths and needs and will give you appropriate assignments to complete.  It is also a great way to keep brushed-up on topics we haven't discussed in a while.  Please see me if you forget your username or password.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Enjoy Breakfast With Dad!

Ellis PTA is sponsoring a special breakfast this Friday at 8:00 in the Multi-purpose room. The guests of honor are dads or other male role models in your life! There's no need to RSVP, just come on in with your guest and an appetite!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Week of January 7, 2013

It's our first full week back from the holiday, and I hope you're ready to hit the ground running!

In math we will be taking a look at one-step equations.  I'll give you a nice little booklet that will show you the secrets of solving these sometime tricky problems.  Be on the lookout for both classwork and homework assignments to help you practice this skill.  We will have a quiz on the information sometime next week.  In the meantime, check out this video to help you understand the concept:

In science we will have be focusing on Earth's atmosphere!  After a whole-class lesson on Monday, I will set you free to do your own research using the following choice sheet to guide your way.  It will be due next Friday.

Extreme Skydiving Choice Sheet

You will have a vocabulary quiz this Friday on the following words:

Atmosphere Vocabulary

These words are TRICKY!  Be sure you are practicing them nightly so you are ready for your quiz on Friday.

UPDATE:  Here's a video of Felix Baumgartner's death-defying extreme sky dive we talked about today!

Ms. Carol and I will be giving you your progress report on Monday.  In addition to your grades so far this term, it will include a conference sign-up form.  Please, sign, and return this to your homeroom teacher Tuesday.

Speaking of Tuesday, I will be at an important meeting all day.  I am expecting exemplary behavior while the substitute is in our classroom.

Finally, we will be celebrating out new playground on Friday when we attend the official ribbon cutting ceremony!

See you tomorrow,
Mr. Trent

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Help Us Celebrate Our New Playground!

Come join us for the official unveiling of the new playground at Ellis! A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place Friday, January 11 at 10:30 am. There's no need to RSVP, just come and help us celebrate!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Week of January 3, 2013

Welcome to the first week of 2013!  As you know, we only have school Thursday and Friday this week.  To ease us back into our school routines, we will simply be working on an essay in class.  In your essay you will be able to highlight some items you learned in science so far this year!   It will be due before you leave school this Friday.  Below is a copy of the planning packet I will give you in class on Thursday.  It will guide you through everything you need to know about the assignment.  While it will be a combination of classwork and homework, the finished piece will be considered a test grade.  This is the only requirement for the week, so i'm expecting exemplary work.

See you Thursday,
Mr. Trent