Monthly Archives: March 2010

New Seventh Grader?

What in the world am I going to do with 37 seventh graders in one classrooom?! Especially if one of them is not yet potty-trained! I mean, I’ve already planned on playing Find The Smell with seventh graders tomorrow…I can’t imagine what would happen if this one were to join us:

Come to think of it, I can’t imagine that the smell could get any worse. So, why not! He’s just too darn cute to say “no” to, anyway!



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And The World Goes Dark

For Earth Hour, that is.

It’s 9:00 p.m. on the West Coast; we are about half-way through our Great Switch Off. I’ve been following the progress of the event throughout the day via Twitter and Facebook, but I’ll be anxious to hear the overall numbers when it’s all said and done.

I’ve also been following their posts on the Earth Hour blog which includes some amazing pictures from around the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing the pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge going dark!

Earth Hour Blog

A number of landmarks that didn’t participate in Earth Hour last year chose to go dark for Earth Hour 2010, including Mount Rushmore, the Great Pyramids, and Niagara Falls. You can read more about the number of countries who chose to participate this year in this National Geographic article, Earth Hour 2010: Record 121 Countries to Go Dark.

One last comment…using a flashlight to torment the cat is even more entertaining in the dark!


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Earth Hour 2010

This Saturday, March 27th, the entire world will come together to fight climate change one darkened light bulb at a time. What started in Sydney in 2007 as one city making a statement against global warming has become a world-wide phenomenon. Last year more than 4,000 cities around the world, including San Francisco, turned out their lights for one hour demonstrating the idea that anyone and everyone can make a difference. Will you join us this Saturday?

To learn more, watch the following video and then visit


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Caritas Post-Visit

I hope everyone enjoyed Marie’s visit today. I know I certainly did…love that infectious laugh of hers! I loved how open and honest my students were with her and with each other;  I especially loved how respectful you all were of each other, always listening and waiting until your classmates were done speaking. That was awesome!

Just as a little reminder of what everyone agreed to today, I took a picture of what Marie wrote on the board. What else can we do to move forward as a family and finish this seventh grade year strong?

Our Goals

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Civil War Sallie’s Visit

What A Group!

Civil War Sallie joined us at CTK this morning and is hoping to visit with each of the classes. Her goal is to encourage the study of the American Civil War as well as the use of technology in education. While we don’t study American history in seventh grade, the eighth graders are working on a project that will help everyone learn more about the War Between the States.

Sallie Visits the Computer Lab

Of course, one thing we do pretty well in seventh grade is use technology. So we invited Sallie Ann to join us in the computer lab to help answer any questions the fourth graders might have. Fourth grade has recently started using Google Sites, but they’re still learning how to use them. With our tech teacher, Mrs. Massi, out for a few weeks after knee surgery, I volunteered a few of my seventh grade experts to help Mrs. Hunziger and her fourth grade bloggers. Sallie Ann and I joined them for a little while to see if we could be of any assistance.  I think she liked some of our “toys.”

Later in the morning it was time to sit in on the eighth grade social studies class. They’ve just started studying the Civil War, so Sallie got to listen to us talk about slavery. We talked about how slaveholders viewed slaves as property, not human beings with the same “unalienable rights” that Thomas Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence. It is a concept that is unfathomable to my students. As it should be.

Sallie Learns About Kenya

In the afternoon, Sallie and I enjoyed a few more of our seventh grade presentations about Africa. Each student researched a different African country, created a powerpoint, and will be teaching all of us about the history, culture, and current political climate of the country they studied.  So far, we’ve both been quite impressed with the work our amazing seventh graders have done!

Sallie will be with us Monday and Tuesday of next week, so we will have to pack a lot of learning into those two days. I’m sure Sallie will also want to visit that third grade classroom. I’ve told her all about our resident Southern belle, Mrs. Sihler. I’m sure Civil War Sallie would love to have a chat with her!

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She’s Here!!

Civil War Sallie

Civil War Sallie finally arrived at CTK this afternoon! Just in time for our faculty meeting after school. She was most happy to get out of her traveling compartment (aka, big, brown box) even if it meant sitting around listening to teachers talk about budgets and test scores.

Sallie is looking forward to meeting all of the wonderful CTK students and staff. I know she’s particularly anxious to hear what we know and what we want to know about the Civil War. I bet she’d love to sit in on some of the seventh grade Africa presentations, especially if they’re all as fabulous as the ones we saw today! She’ll probably have lots of questions for us. She had one or two for the faculty today.

Sallie Asks A Question


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Happy Pi Day!

Google Celebrates Pi Day

While I may not have any pie to help us celebrate Pi Day, I have the next best thing. Screencasts!! What? You don’t think that’s the next best thing?! After all the screencasts YOU made??? Sheesh.

I can’t seem to get the screencasts to load here in WordPress, so I’ve added them to my assignment blog on a new page called McTeach Screencasts. Now you’ll be able to find your favorite screencasts all in one place! So, follow the trail to…

McTeach Screencasts

There seem to be some sound issues for some students. I’m not sure yet what’s going on, but I’m investigating. It sounds great on my PC, so I’m not sure where to start. But I’ll keep looking.


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I don’t have my list with me for our seventh grade Africa project, but if anyone has Mauritania for their country you should love this! One of the astronauts currently orbiting our planet in the International Space Station took a picture of western Africa this morning.

Mauritania, Africa. on Twitpic

If you click on the photo you’ll be taken to a larger and clearer view of the image.

For those who have other countries to research, or if you’re interested in viewing any images taken from space, be sure to visit the Nasa Images site. They have some absolutely amazing photographs on their site!


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Classrooms Care

Classrooms Care

Get your bookmarks ready, seventh graders! I have signed us up to participate in Scholastic’s Classrooms Care project for Spring 2010. If we read 50 books by May 14th, we can help donate up to 250,000 books to kids who live on military bases with their parents. Now, having a seventh grade class read 50 books in two months seems rather easy to me, so I think we should make it a bit more challenging! Here are the three options I’ve come up with:

  1. We double the required number of books and challenge ourselves to read 100 books as a class by May 14th;
  2. We challenge our class to read 50 different books by May 14th. By that I mean we only count a book toward our goal if no one else in the class has read it for this project;
  3. We really challenge ourselves and read our 50 books by March 14th instead of May 14th!

What are your thoughts?


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National Grammar Day

“Tis National Grammar Day!”

McTeach announced with a flourish.

Your puny young brains

I feel I must nourish.

So dot every ‘i’

Unless it’s a pronoun.

You know what to do then

So your teacher won’t frown!

Now let us review

Just one time more

All those nouns and pronouns

And prepositions galore.

A noun is a person, a place or a thing.

Unless it’s a gerund,

A verb with an -ing.

And don’t forget pronouns,

Those poor little dears.

They do the heavy lifting,

Have done so for years.

I still have to wonder

With an “Oh ME” and “Oh MY”,

If it’s always an adverb

When it has an -ly.

And where would we be

Without descriptions aplenty?

Adjectives tell us which one,

What kind or how many.

I’d like to continue,

Like, I totally would.

But this one word “like”

Is up to no good.

I hear it so frequently

Throughout all my days,

It’s lost all its meaning

So this thought I must raise.

Be kind to your grammar teach,

She works so darn hard,

That they created this holiday

So you might send her a card.

Just remember when it’s returned to you,

All covered in ink that is red,

That “me and you”

Seriously hurts my head!

Well, that’s my weak attempt at a little grammar poetry for National Grammar Day. So I thought I should also add a little grammar lesson for my seventh graders. I think you’ll particularly enjoy the parenthetical remark!

Often we see commas misplaced in sentences with a complex predicate and a modifying phrase:

Wrong: The dog barked at the cat, and for no apparent reason, ate a cantaloupe.

Correct: The dog barked at the cat and, for no apparent reason, ate a cantaloupe.

(The reason is abundantly clear, of course; the dog is a melon collie.)

from “Comma Chameleon: How It Changes the Color of Your Meaning”
By Rob Reinalda


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