Blobfish Vocabulary

Here are the vocabulary words for this week. In addition to knowing these ten, students also must be prepared to spell two random review words from our last test. The bonus word this week is sesquipedality. Students should have this list and the definitions in their homework folders. The test is likely to be Wednesday or Thursday.

Report Cards & Summer Break

Report cards went home today, Tuesday, June 9th. If you have any questions regarding your child’s performance, please feel free to email me at We can arrange a phone conversation as well.

This summer, all students need to review and practice their multiplication and division facts, read regularly, and stay active (we have a rigorous outdoor-oriented curriculum planned for next year). I’m also encouraging students to keep a daily journal. In this way they’ll improve their writing skills and handwriting. Students who would like to share a paragraph and photo from a vacation activity can get it posted on The Daily Platypus simply by sending an email (with pic attached) to Finally, online math practice via Moby Max and IXL are both accessible from home all summer. Students took home their log-in info today. Visit The Platy ( regularly for updates about 5th grade, especially before buying school supplies.

I’m looking forward to having this class for 5th grade. Until then, enjoy your summer!

Room 15 Update for Memorial Day

P1060521Special thanks to all the parents who joined us for our Heritage Fair and Table Rock field trips! See the next post below to see a short GoPro video from Table Rock. In class, we continue to rush toward the finish line. State testing is almost done, we’ll be completing our final drafts of our Endangered Species Project this week, and with any luck, we’ll get to practice our classroom plays a bit. Yuri, Aiden, and Braydan all still have a shot at winning the Fact Car Rally Race. This will likely be our final week of regular homework and reading logs, though kids are encouraged to continue reading and practicing their multiplication facts. Kids will also have a special homework assignment using their Lewis & Clark Journals over these next two weeks. At Friday morning’s 8:45 a.m. assembly we’ll be announcing our Students-of-the-Month for April and May. Here’s the math homework for this week: Tuesday, May 26; Wednesday, May 27; Thursday, May 28.

Room 15 Update for May 17

Congrats to our 750 Club members for this month: Mya, Haylee B., Josiah, Vanessa, J.J., Jonathan J., Alyssa, Sidney, and Sophie Q.! Each of these students recorded at least 750 minutes on their homework reading logs over the previous five weeks. That’s 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per night, the minimum expectation for 5th grade readers. Good job, kids. They’ll celebrate with a lunch time 750 Club party on Monday.

In class this week we have a variety of special events including The Heritage Fair at Hanley Farms on Tuesday, our Table Rock hike with our first grade reading buddies on Friday, and Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Aqua Smart water safety program on Thursday. The kids are also heavily engaged in the Smarter Balanced standardized tests. Please take the time to ask them their opinion about it.

We’re also continuing our Endangered Species research writing project. Students were to have their first two paragraphs completed by Monday and will write the remaining two paragraphs this week. Students are also creating Lewis & Clark Journals. They’ll soon have an assignment of recording in their journals each evening, just like Captains Lewis and Clark did in 1804. Here’s the math homework for this week: Monday. May 18; Tuesday, May 19; Wednesday, May 20; Thursday, May 21st.

Where Has the Year Gone?

Mid-May already? It seems like we just got this school year started and yet here we are in our last few weeks. We’ll be wrapping up the school year with a ton of standardized testing (yuck), our last set of plays (The Daring Escape of Henry Box Brown, Freedom for the First Time, and Tom Sawyer), and our Endangered Species research project.We also have three remaining field trips: Wednesday’s Adopt-a-Street Clean-up of Hopkins Street, the Hanley Farms Heritage Fair on May 19th, and Table Rock on May 22nd. We need chaperones for all three. In math, the kids have been doing a great job on fractions, but this week we’ll be swinging back to geometry. Here’s the homework: Monday, May 11th; Tuesday, May12th; Wednesday, May 13th; Thursday, May 14th.

Finally, special thanks to everyone who sent in a gift or note for Teacher Appreciation Week. I do feel appreciated! (And this week, as I’ve been battling a particularly nasty cold, I’ve needed the uplift!)

Room 15 Update for May 3

Upcoming events in Room 15 include the 750 Club Doughnut Fest tomorrow (Monday) at lunch time, an Adopt-a-Street Clean-up of Hopkins Street on Wednesday, May 13th (chaperones desperately needed), our field trip to the Hanley Farm Heritage Fair on Tuesday, May 19th (a few chaperones helpful), and our Table Rock Hike with our Book Buddies on Friday, May 22nd (the more the merrier). There’s no school on Monday, May 25th for Memorial Day, and this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Yes, it’s true, I told the kids the best gift they can give is to stay home…but I was just kidding. Really.

In class we’re continuing our back-and-forth study of fractions and geometry, and this week I’ll be sending home new plays for them to practice. All homework reading is from a book of choice. In history we’ve finally made it to the 1800’s and content around western expansion (Lewis & Clark, etc.). We’ll be wrapping up our mealworm science unit and moving on to the last big project of the year: Endangered Species research and expository writing. Stay tuned. Here’s the math homework for this week: Monday, May 4th; Tuesday, May 5th; Wednesday, May 6th; Thursday, May 7th. Students can make use of the student-created tutorial videos when completing their homework.

Kudos and Thanks

Kudos to our 750 Club: Aiden, Josiah, Brayden, JJ, Rayden, Jazmine, Kara, Jonathan J., Alyssa, Sidney, and Sophie Q.! They each read and recorded 750 minutes or more on their reading log over the last five week span. They’ll be participating is a doughnut-fest next week. Meanwhile, numerous students have fallen well-short at logging their homework reading. They’ll be receiving a written deficiency notice in class requiring a parent’s signature.

Thanks to all the excellent chaperones who braved the winter weather at Crater Lake: Mr. Liles, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Grant, Mr. Hackworth, Mrs. Bugarin, Mrs. Elias, Mr. Qualls, Mr. Tufts, Mr. Wills, and Davin. Your help was essential in making it a great trip. I hope to have a short video up soon.

Special recognition to Yuri G. Yuri spent the last couple of months working hard to portray Jane, one of the leads in theCrater performance of Mary Poppins.  This wasn’t a simple classroom play. Instead, it was a fully-staged two and a half hour Broadway-style musical. Yuri had to act, sing, and dance in nearly every scene. Her performance was amazing, but even more impressive was that despite staying up until 10 or 11 at night on to perform, she never wavered on her classroom work or attendance. Great job, Yuri!

In class this week we’re working on our persuasive writing, learning about surviving in the woods, attending DARE graduation, and tackling more fractions. Here’s the homework for this week: Monday, April 27; Tuesday, April 28; Wednesday, April 29; Thursday, April 30.

Room 15 Update for 4/19

snowshoesThe big event this week is the Crater Lake trip on Friday. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-50s with a slight chance of rain. There’s no reason to go out and buy new clothes for this trip, but being dressed appropriately for the conditions is very important. Students need to come dressed in layers (snow-shoeing can be hard work). A tee-shirt/hoodie/windbreaker trio is ideal, along with snowpants and waterproof shoes or boots (hiker, snow boots, galoshes). Wearing two layers of non-cotton sweat pants is acceptable, while wearing shorts or jeans is not. Regardless, students should bring a change of pants (shorts okay) and extra socks to change into after sledding. If waterproof boots are not available, students can wear sneakers, but they should wear two layers of socks and bring bread bags (or similar) to wear over their socks and inside the shoes. Students should also pack a hardy lunch, snacks, and a bottle of water…lots of it. It’s also particularly important that kids wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Last year we had several kids with severe sunburns and sun-burned eyes. Finally, they may bring electronics for the bus. If you have any questions, please contact me. Thanks!

Aside from preparing for the trip, in class this week we’ll be working on our persuasive writing skills, learning more about life cycles, applying our measurement skills to some geometry, and more. Here’s the math homework for this week: Monday, April 20; Tuesday, April 21; Wednesday, April 22; Thursday, April 23.

Upcoming Crater Lake Trip

crater lake in winterOur return trip to Crater Lake is scheduled for Friday, April 24th. This is a great trip in which hands-on environmental science activities are sandwiched between snowshoeing and sledding (yes, there is snow at Crater Lake!). We need at least six adult volunteers to join us and we need a few sleds like this, or this, but NOT this (sorry, no snowboards either). If you you’d like to chaperone or have a sled you can loan us, please contact me at We’ll need at least one chaperones to drive their own vehicle and carry the sleds. Snowshoes will be provided by the Park Service. This is an extended-day trip. Permissions slips will go home this week. The cost of this trip is $4, which covers transportation expenses. To view a video segment about last year’s trip, click here and fast forward to the 11:20 mark.

Students have started the new Common Core “Smarter Balanced” state test. It will take several weeks to complete and unlike previous state tests, the students have only one opportunity to pass it. Consequently, it’s very important that students maintain excellent attendance and come to school prepared to do their very best.

In class this week we’ll be continuing our science activities dealing with mealworms, taking our Book Clubs in a new direction (homework reading will be from a book of choice), and learning how to write opinion paragraphs. In math we’ll be comparing and ordering fractions. Here’s the math homework: Monday, April 13thTuesday, April 14th; Wednesday, April 15th; Thursday, April 16th.

Finally, our Checkbook Project creates a real economy within our classrooms. Many students have created businesses in which they sell products. Please check with your child to make sure he or she isn’t raiding your cupboards without permission. If you’re letting you child bring items from home to sell, note that a classroom dollar is about one-tenth the value of a real dollar. Therefore, if a student buys something at The Dollar Store for a buck, he or she should be selling it for at least $10 in class (and that’s merely covering the cost; a profitable business would expect at least $20). We discuss this at great length in class, but it’s worth further discussion at home. You may even want to consider “charging” your son or daughter some checkbook funds for items taken from home. That way the kids recognize the cost of their raw materials. Thanks.


A Mealworm Ate My Homework!

mealwormNope, that excuse won’t fly, though it is true we’re studying the life cycle of insects by handling real mealworms. The kids will be performing a variety of harmless scientific experiments on their worms over the next couple of weeks, and they seem to be pretty jazzed up about it. Our Checkbook Project is also evolving. Students are free to apply for business licenses and operate their enterprises during certain times each day. Most kids open stores, but a few creative thinkers come up with service businesses that tend to do better and have less overhead. In reading we’re reading from our book clubs, both in class and at home, and in math, we’re alternating between fractions and geometry. This week, we’ll mostly be looking at measurement and basic geometry. Here’s the homework: Monday, April 6th; Tuesday, April 7th; Wednesday, April 8th; Thursday, April 9th.