November’s Weird and Wonderful Weather

Emily and Johnny from Mrs Perez’s class and Augie and Mary from my class went outside a half hour apart to see, smell, hear, and feel the great outdoors.

saw – blue skies, sun, colored trees, grass, hay bales, flowers, leaves, children, and clouds
smelled – fresh air
heard – the vent, birds, kids, wind, and cars
felt – wind, sun, cement, shade, and grass
Conditions: sunny sunny
Temperature: 73′ F 74’F
Feels like temperature: 73′ F 74’F
Precipitation: 0% 0%
Wind direction: SE SE
Wind Speed: 7 mph 7 mph
Humidity: 38% 38%
Dew point: 46′ 46′
Pressure: 30.08″ and falling 30.08″ and falling
Visibility: 10 miles 10 miles
Sunrise: 6:30AM 6:30AM
Sunset: 4:43PM 4:43PM









Weird and Wonderful Weather

Jack and Anna from Mrs Perez’s class and Kim and Tommy from my class went  outside a half hour apart to see, smell, hear, and feel the great outdoors.


saw – blue skies, grass, trees, flowers, leaves, children, clouds, lamp posts, and sunlight

smelled – flowers, fresh air, grass, and flowers

heard – the vent, wind, kids, and cars

felt – wind, hot sun, concrete, clothes, shoes, grass, wood, wood chips, and bricks

Conditions: mostly cloudy

Temperature: 70′ F 71’F

Feels like temperature: 68′ F 71’F

Precipitation: 15% 0%

Wind direction: SW SW

Wind Speed: 19 mph 21 mph

Humidity: 27% 25%

Dew point: 34′ 34′

Pressure: 29.96″ and falling 29.96″ and falling

Visibility: 8 miles 10 miles

Sunrise: 7:10AM 7:10AM

Sunset: 6:04PM 6:04PM




We Took Part in the 2015 World Education Games

Once again our fourth graders participated with over six million other students from 20,000 schools in the 2015 World Education Games hosted by UNICEF.  We visited the computer lab twice, once each for literacy and math, to compete globally with other nine and ten year olds from tons of different countries.  Students earn points for each correct answer and can play as often as they want during the three day event.  We answered 14,238 questions which earned 19,940 points for UNICEF.  At the end of the competition, UNICEF will turn all these points into cash and purchase educational equipment and resources for areas of the world ravaged by war, political instability, and natural disasters.  Our students earn participation awards based on the number of correct answers they achieved during the competition.  Further bragging rights come from connecting with the most countries during the competition.  Andrea won first place for our class with a total of 1,347 points, Keegan came in second with 1,310 points, and Caitlin was third with 1,296 points.  Andrea was our top Math scorer with 172 points, Joe was second with 142 points, and Keegan came in third with 135 points.  Andrea was also our top Literacy scorer with 1,175 points, Keegan was second with 1,175 points, and Ellie came in third with 1,174 points.  I am so very proud of all of my students.  The 2015 World Education Games generated a worldwide total of 169,474,201 UNICEF points which amounts to a contribution of over $100,000.00!




2015 Field Trip to Old World Wisconsin

We visited Old World Wisconsin for our annual field trip and once again experienced absolutely beautiful weather!!  The kids learned how families who immigrated here during the mid-1800s lived and farmed. We learned about, and met some of, the animals they had.  Next we moved into the town and explored the change from individual craftsmanship to industrialization by visiting the wheel wright, blacksmith, and general store.


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2015 Oreo Project

Once again our fourth graders have participated in a collaborative project hosted by Projects by JenLast year over 500 classrooms, and over 14,000 students, from around the world stacked Oreo cookies during the same period averaging 18 cookies stacked.  This year, in addition to stacking the Oreos, we used balance scales to find the mass of items in our classrooms.  Students found a light object and added Oreos until the scale balanced.  We used math we’ll learn more about later this year to evaluate our results: mean, median, mode, and range.   Classes are able to post information about and pictures from their experience on a Google slideshow so we can all share in this event.  The results from Mrs Perez’s class are on slide #50 and Mrs Daemmrich’s class’ results are on slide #54.  A Smilebox slideshow was created using the photos we took in our classrooms.


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International Day of Peace with the School Sisters of Notre Dame

Again this year grades three through eight joined the School Sisters of Notre Dame and students from the Notre Dame Middle School in a prayer service for the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.  We sang and prayed for peace in the countries of the world as well as for the refugees and stateless people who have to move from their homes because they couldn’t find peace.  Each student received a bookmark from the We Are One World Foundation with tips for how they personally can make the world a better and more peaceful place to live.


The Butterflies

When this school year began, Mrs Perez and I read the Butterfly story to our students.  We explained to them that we are here to help and support them but we won’t do the work for them.  The only way they can truly learn and be prepared for their future educational journey is to practice and sometimes struggle on their own.  Below is the story and the butterflies they made to go along with it.

The Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly and brought it home.  One day a small opening appeared.  He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.  Then it seemed to stop making any progress.  It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.  He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.  The butterfly then emerged easily but it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings.  The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which he thought would contract in time.  Neither happened!  In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.  It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening was nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.  If we went through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us.  We would not be as strong as what we could have been.  We could never fly.

– Author Unknown


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Weird and Wonderful Weather

We left our roasting hot classroom and ventured outside to use our senses to describe the weather.  We wrote down what we saw, felt, smelled, and heard before going back inside.  Students saw a white and grey cloudy sky, felt the breeze on their skin, smelled fresh air, and heard crickets.  Back in the classroom, we logged on to to find our current weather statistics.  We posted these, our sensory findings, and class pictures on our Weird and Wonderful Weather wikipage.  Now that we all know how to do the activity and what my expectations are, small groups of students will go outside at the beginning of each month to do the activity then post their results on the wikipage.




Our First Week of School

The students and I have been very busy this first week back.  We’ve been working on team building activities with just our class and with Mrs Perez’s class.  My students shared something about themselves on a poster then we drew lines from our box to the box of everyone we had a connection to.  We found we have lots in common. 2015-09-04 07.31.43

Next, each student colored a square with crayons.  Each square represented one of twenty-four pieces that, when put together, completed a picture.  We learned we can each be individuals but we fit together as a whole.

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A new school-wide initiative we have this year is Bucket Filling.  We read How Full is Your Bucket for Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer.  Each student decorated a face for their bucket.  We’ll use pom-poms to fill our buckets whenever we do something to fill someone’s bucket.  We’ll also lose pom-poms if we do something that dips into someone’s bucket.  We end each day sharing things that filled up or dipped into our buckets that day to celebrate what went well and sympathize and empathize with what didn’t go well.

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Together with Mrs Perez’s class we spent time down in the cool cafeteria after lunch.  Monday, students used teamwork and their bodies to recreate buildings and monuments from around the world.


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Tuesday, groups of two or three students used items to build the tallest tower they could.  The winning group’s tower was 51 inches tall!!

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Field Trip to Old World Wisconsin

The fourth graders had terrific weather for their annual field trip to Old World Wisconsin in October.  They toured the blacksmith and wheelwright shops before visiting the country store to learn how industrialization changed the lives of the people who worked in those shops.  Next, they visited the German homestead to learn about farming with oxen and how flax gets turned into linen cloth.  They were able to participate in hands-on activities at each stop and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the two new oxen, Charlie and Pete.  Many thanks to the parent chaperones who learned just as much as the kids did.














It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!! Arrrr!!!

To celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, my fourth graders made eye patches and answered pirate jokes in pirate voices.  We wore our pirate eye patches when we went to pilfer both third grade classrooms of their booty.  The third graders were at specials classes and we pilfered their chairs or art boxes.  After writing pirate jokes on their classroom whiteboards, we made a pile of the loot, labeled with a poster identifying the pile as ill gotten booty.  They had to come to our class and answer the jokes before we would give them back our ill gotten booty.  A huge thanks to both third grade teachers for their patience and cooperation.

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Why couldn’t the pirate play cards?          Because he was standing on the deck!!     Arrr!!!

What has eight legs and eight eyes?          Eight pirates!!     Arrr!!!

What do you call a pirate with two eyes and two legs?          A rookie!!     Arrr!!!

What are pirates afraid of?          The daarrrrrrrk!     Arrr!!!

Why can’t you take a picture of a pirate with a wooden leg?          Because a wooden leg doesn’t take pictures!!     Arrr!!!




QR Codes and the Qrafter App in Math Class

Today the fourth graders learned to use the Qrafter app on their iPads to read QR codes on an addition worksheet I found for them on the SuperTeacherWorksheet website.  Interest was high as they learned to use the iPad’s camera to capture an image of the QR codes.  The Qrafter app translated the coded information into word form and students read the word puzzles then wrote the numbers on their papers.  They quickly solved each puzzle, eager to repeat the steps and use the Qrafter app again.

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