We are Fifth Grade Happy!

I love to celebrate the end of a remarkable school year with music and dance!  This year one of our favorite Jibjabs featured the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  After viewing several videos of people dancing to this wonderful song, we decided to make our own version.  I think it reflects the joy we feel today and leaves us knowing that the time we’ve spent together  in scholarly pursuits, imaginative thinking, and just enjoying each other is truly something to celebrate!


Call for Auditions! All Parts of Speech Welcome!

One last scripted video to end a rather remarkable school year!  This one is “The Casting Call”.  Enter a humble yet ambitious director who is longing to unveil a spectacular sentence at the upcoming “Seriously Sensational Sentence Festival”!  The sentence that is identified as the most stupendous will win the Golden Grammar Goblet at the Golden Grammar Gala on the final night of the Festival.

In order to deserve such a prestigious honor, the director is calling for auditions.  If he wants a truly amazing sentence, he needs to find out what each part of speech is and how a combination of those parts could indeed build a sentence beyond imagination!  What he finds out is that each part of speech totally rocks, and that he has some interesting and difficult choices to make in the days ahead.

Jazzing Up the Hallway With Latin!

Amid lots of year-end projects and activities, we’ve continued to share our Latin verb investigations with each other.  To keep the conversations regarding these findings going, we have then posted them in the hallway!  Every day we walk by these posters at least six times … and so do a lot of other people!  When reviewing the Latin bases on the posters, students continually  suggest words that might be added to the webs of these word families.  What a great thing it is for all of us to realize just how big some of these word families are!  Common and familiar words become the object of examination in the same wondrously curious and joyful manner as unfamiliar yet intriguing words.

We have also developed a great habit of doing some “so far” sharing.  Instead of always waiting until the presentation preparations are completed, we have been asking people to share their half finished posters so they can talk about what they have discovered “so far”.  In this way, the rich discussion and questions of classmates has often given the presenters the opportunity to reflect on their work, and in some cases make changes before they finalize their posters.

DSCN4278 DSCN4279 DSCN4280 DSCN4281 DSCN4282 DSCN4283Investigating in this manner (beginning with Latin verbs), the students have enjoyed finding out for themselves if the infinitive and the supine reveal a unitary base or a twin base.  Prior to the spellinar I’m taking on Latin for Orthographers, we often wondered about whether or not a base had a twin.  Now it feels so exhilarating to have a deeper understanding of what we are looking at when we read entries in dictionaries  or on Etymonline.


We Are in Orthographic Orbit!

What an exciting week in orthography!  I am participating in the spellinar called “Latin for Orthographers” (See Real Spelling for more information).  After the second session, I was bursting and couldn’t wait to discuss what I was learning with my students.  They were as “on fire” as I was!  By Tuesday I had given each group of two students a Latin verb to investigate.  I had them go first to Latdict and find out a definition for the verb.  They also examined the infinitive and supine form of the verb to determine whether they were looking at a unitary base or twin bases.  Then they went to Etymonline and typed the infinitive form of the verb they were given into the search bar.  From there they started a collection of words that shared that Latin root.

After two days of digging, they are preparing posters that will hang in the hallway.  Today I asked two groups about the work they have done.  Can you feel the enthusiasm?


It’s All About Fido … This Sentence That Is!

Today we analyzed a simple sentence.  That is not to say that the sentence was short.  It had two phrases and looked every bit as long as some of the complex sentences we have looked at.   I loved seeing how comfortable the students have become with making logical decisions and using resources.  When I ask, “How do you know that?” students can point to evidence in either a dictionary or their Grammar Examiner (interactive notebook).  Armed with that evidence, they look at how the words behave in the sentence and use reasoning to make their final decisions.

Just in case you are wondering who Fido and Sumo are, here’s a picture.

Fido is on the floor, and Sumo is on the couch.


Civil War Wax Museum – 2014


Today was the day.  The count down began last week.  Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  Finish writing reports.  Finish maps.  Then there are the little things like the Table of Contents, the dedication page  and the About the Author page.  Measure out the cover.  Cut.  Put the pages inside.  Pound a nail to create holes for sewing.  Sew the pages to the cover.  Cover the cover.  What to use?  Wallpaper? Colored paper?  Measure out, cut and glue to cover.  Fold over edges and glue.  Measure, cut and paste  the end pages.  Decorate the cover.  Number the pages.  Admire.  Feel proud.

Decorate the Little Theater.  Student-made posters created and saved over the last 19 years need to be taped to the walls.  Hang  stars and sparkly strips.  Set up tables.  Cover the tables and book shelves with colored paper.  Hang flags.  Display artifacts.  Display resource books.  Display handmade hardcover books.  Practice the Gettysburg Address.  Get costumes on.  Get in place.  Welcome visitors.  Every 20 minutes or so, stop to recite the Gettysburg Address.

Here are some pictures of our event … our cast of characters.