Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

October 30, 2008

Angles away!

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 7:08 pm

Today we began our study of angles and explored relationships between right angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, other polygons and circles.  We will continue working with angles for the next couple weeks.  Today students also got a chance to give themselves a self-evaluation on their Social Studies projects.  We will be working extensively this year with providing increased opportunities for self-assessment, both during the process of working on projects and after completing them.  Please encourage your children to always check their work, evaluate it, and make appropriate changes both during and after completion of tasks.

Tomorrow we will have a normal academic morning up until recess.  Students are expected to have their costumes put away until the afternoon and to be focused on spending the first half of the day with an academic focus, so please make sure they come to school dressed in their regular clothing.  Also, make sure to leave the weapons and scary masks at home.  We will continue crossing our fingers for no rain so that the parade can go on.  In the afternoon we will have a small Fall Harvest/ Halloween celebration in the classroom.


  1. Finish and return completed green homework logs and pink reading logs.

Mr. Weis


October 29, 2008

Once upon a schoolday dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, two words have passed, so lachrymose and teary, I gazed downward upon the floor. I did not fret nor did I frown, for when those words were done and gone, we still shall have so many more.

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 5:22 pm

First of all, apologies for not getting the blog updated Monday or Tuesday. I had meetings that ran late both days and just did not get a chance to do it. The blog should resume with regularity starting today.

Secondly, it with great sadness that I must pass on the rather unfortunate news of two melancholy and morose events. (Can you tell I’m in the mood for relatively dreary Halloween vocabulary?) So far this week two of our most favorite words have unfortunately kicked the bucket. We bid a fond adieu to the words said and good after the both of them expired from growing symptoms of overuse. To celebrate in their honor, students have been creating word banks of alternate vocabulary to use instead of the words said and good. We will be creating a word graveyard for the classroom and will also be collecting together the words students have come up with and putting them together in a collection to use during writing.

In Mathematics this week we have been working with charts and tables and spending some time learning how to use the data in those resources to make comparisons and draw inferences. We will be moving into some geometry later this week and into next week, and will be working with protractors, compasses and other tools as we delve into the world of angles and degrees.

We are all crossing our fingers that the rain disappears from the forecast, but we have alternative activities if the precipitation comes. On Friday we will be having some festivities in celebration of the Fall Harvest and Halloween. Students are encouraged to bring some kind of healthy treat to share. We will pass around a sign up sheet tomorrow. Also, as students put the final touches on costumes, make sure to remind them that there are no weapons or prop weapons aloud as part of any costumes.

Also, if you have not yet returned a request for a time slot for a parent/teacher conference this week please do so by sending back the orange form or emailing me.


  1. Language Arts: Good is Gone worksheet
  2. Mathematics: Page 74 – Interpreting patterns from data (if you need a reminder on minimum, maximum, range and median, follow the links)
  3. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and write in your pink reading log. (Some students are exempt from the reading log this week, although they are still expected to put in the time to read.)

Mr. Weis

October 23, 2008

Whew, another busy day in a very busy week.

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 5:59 pm

What a busy time of the year this is. I know some of us are quite tired and are looking forward to the weekend. Thanks to all the students for putting some great effort into the assessments we have had so far. It’s been a marathon getting all the work done this week, but we are nearing the end of a big crunch time. The math assessments will be tomorrow morning, so make sure students arrive on time and well rested. Today in class we had a big math review session and all students received study guides with info on each concept we have covered and example problems. Students are encouraged to practice those problems and also develop and practice their own problems based on the different concepts covered in the guide.

In other news, the blog got a new first yesterday. I got my first comment. Feel free to click on the comment button and make a comment you have any questions, comments, links or anything else to share. I check the comments on a daily basis, so it is a good way to get in touch regarding a specific concept we are covering in class or an assignment that students are working on.


  1. Mathematics: Study using study guide and practice problems.
  2. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and complete pink reading log.

Mr. Weis

October 22, 2008


Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 5:14 pm

Greetings to everyone on this blustery fall day.  Today we were quite fortunate to get some time in the school vegetable garden.  Our class got to harvest some delicious lettuce and some delectable tomatoes to use to make a big salad.  Kate, the garden instructor, graciously provided the croutons and some pumpkin bread as a side and we all got to sit down and have a tasty meal together.  Luckily the wind had died down a bit at that point in the day and aside from a few stray pieces of lettuce that caught a gust, it was a very pleasant meal.

In Language Arts students got a chance to do a peer review of each other’s memoirs.  I’ll be doing a teacher edit and then they will get to work on their final drafts.  Tomorrow we will be administering the district writing assessment which will have a memoir prompt.  Make sure all the students get a good rest tonight.  On Friday we will be administering the district math assessment.  We are definitely in crunch time as the first grading period is coming to an end.

Students have been working on Social Studies projects as they research different Native American Tribes.  The final projects will be due on Monday and students will get some time tomorrow and on Friday to continue research and start on their project of choice.


  1. Language Arts:  Read Medusa story and fill out 4 panel reciprocal teaching worksheet.
  2. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and write in pink reading log.

Mr. Weis

October 21, 2008

A rosey red spaceship, a time traveling machine, a sonic wave emitter or something else…?

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 5:22 pm
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Ask your students what this strange red object is and how we have been using it in class to increase participation and instantaneously create opportunities for sharing and interactively editing our work.  If you have never seen one of these before, it is a document camera and is a pretty neat tool to use in the classroom.

Students are busily working on their final memoir writing and some of them completed their second draft in class today.  Students chose one memoir draft and performed a self edit on it yesterday.  Today they wrote an expanded second draft and tomorrow they will be doing a peer edit followed by a teacher edit.  Their final drafts will be collected together in a book of Room 202 memoirs.  It should be a great collection when it is all completed.


  1. Language Arts: Finish 2nd draft of memoir writing.
  2. Mathematics: Create Your Own Number Puzzle worksheet.  (Good luck to the parents on trying to solve some of the students’ puzzles.  Some of them came up with some very clever clues for the puzzles we did in class and had me dusting off the old thinking cap to figure them out.)
  3. Reading:  Read for 20 minutes and fill out pink reading log. (Make sure to fill out each day’s section completely.)

Mr. Weis

October 20, 2008

The crowd watched in disbelief at the indescribable and unbelievable stunt, hoping there had been no miscaclulations when the trick was designed.

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 4:54 pm
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The prefixes in the title are the ones we are working with this week.  Students worked with six specific vocabulary words today.  Although the six words that have been chosen are unknown to you right now, you can find them in the blog post in italics.

We had an informal math quiz today, and will be having the district assessment at the end of the week.  I’d like to encourage and not discourage students from brushing up and practicing on some concepts including factoring, place value, computation with decimals, and working with unknown variables in number sentences.

Some of the reading logs that I looked over on the weekend are still being filled out incorrectly, incompletely or in some cases I have even caught students being dishonest about what they are reading.  Please make sure that all students do their independent reading at home each night and fill out their log completely.  Reading and filling out logs should be an everyday thing and not an infrequent activity that takes place only at the end of the week.  This week we will be filling out an additional log everyday in class during the read aloud of Maniac Magee.

Today we also began reading an article about Evel Knieval and practiced Recirprocal Teaching strategies of predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing.  Being such a daredevil, I wonder if Evel Knieval got into much mischief as a kid.  Ask your children about how many bones Evel broke over the course of his career.  The answer is quite incredible.


  1. Language Arts:  Vocabulary story using in-, un-, dis- and mis- words.
  2. Mathematics: Page 45: Place value puzzles.  As enrichment, try making your own place value puzzle.
  3. Reading:  Read for 20 minutes and fill out reading logs completely.

Mr. Weis

October 16, 2008

Lettuce or Lattice? Well, actually neither one of those.

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 4:14 pm
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Today in Math we learned a new algorithm for doing multiplication. The word sounds like lettuce, but it is actually lattice. The algorithm is a little like a lattice in a garden in that it involves straight diagonal lines, but it is quite different in that it is used to multiply numbers and not support vines. The algorithm involves lining up the factors around boxes, multiplying each digit, and then adding up totals along a diagonal axis for each place value. For an example, follow this link. Written publication of the lattice algorithm actually dates all the way back to the 13th century (1202) when Leonardo Fibonacci wrote Liber Abaci and explained the lattice algorithm for multiplication that he had learned based on Arabic numerals. Tomorrow we will be delving more into why and how the lattice algorithm works and how place value factors into it.

In Language Arts, Ms. Isreal came in to do an activity using short segments of a newspaper article and connecting lines of text with strong sensory details. Students used their imagination and clues in the given text to produce their own connecting sentences and fill in the gaps of the story.

For homework tonight, student’s will work on planning their final memoir to begin a rough draft on tomorrow. We have talked and written about different memoir topics from our childhood imagination to learning how to do something to food, parties and important family members. This will be their chance to pick their own memory to write about. Encourage them to think about memories that stand out to them. If they get stuck it might be a great opportunity to break out the family photo album or some home video to spur some ideas. Students will be filling out a graphic organizer of their choice. I made several choices available and also left it open for students to create their own graphic organizer to help plan. For some links to some other kinds of graphic organizers, click here or here.

One quick note about the Sally Foster fundraiser. Thanks to all the students who brought in orders. If there are any more orders out there, send them in tomorrow. It’s your last chance to get it in before they are sent out!


  1. Language Arts: Graphic Organizer Planning for a Memoir.
  2. Mathematics: Study Link Book Page 43: The Lattice Multiplication Algorithm.
  3. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and write in pink reading log.

Mr. Weis

October 15, 2008

Rolling and Rounding

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 5:42 pm
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Today we rolled a ball when we played kickball in PE and rounded numbers in Math when we created magnitude estimates.  We had our short Wednesday in the classroom due to P.E. and Science, but we still managed to work a bit with reciprocal teaching and to get some reading in.

Welcome to any new visitors to the site today.  I’ve sent out a couple notifications about the blog, but I had students write the address on their homework log today so perhaps their will be some new people checking out the blog.  If you are new, check back over the past couple weeks to learn more about what we have been up to in class.

For Math homework tonight, students will be finding magnitude estimates of large multiplication problems.  Rounding numbers can help us to estimate answers to problems that are a little tricky to do in our heads.  For a quick review on rounding numbers, follow this link.  If you would like to quiz yourself with some extra practice on rounding or working with place value, follow this link.   On the homework, make sure to round the numbers first to create a math problem that you can easily do in your head.

We took some time today to review procedures for filling out Reading Logs.  Students will only be responsible for filling our the pink reading logs for Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Make sure that students have their logs and a writing implement ready when they are reading so they can fill out all sections of their log as they read.


  1. Mathematics: Page 39: Magnitude estimates.
  2. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and write in the pink reading log.

Mr. Weis

October 14, 2008

Gamelan Guests

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 5:31 pm
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Today in school we had a remarkable group of musicians and dancers come to visit. The group, known as Gamelan Sekar Jaya introduced Gamelan music to all the students at BAM. Gamelan originates from Indonesia, and the group that visited today has members from Bali. You can check them out and see and hear them on their website.

Our schedule was a little off today because of the assembly, but we were still able to make it to the Library and had some time for Math and Langauge Arts. In math we worked with modeling story problems with open number sentences. An open number sentence is a math problem with one part missing that is expressed by a variable. For example, for the question “If a Gamelan group had 3 kenong, 4 bonang and 2 kendang, how many instruments do they have in total?” the open number sentence would be 3 + 4 + 2 = N where N is a variable that stands for the total number. If the question were instead, “A Gamelan group has 12 instruments including 6 kempul, 2 gongagend and some gambang. How many gambangs do they have if the only types of instruments the group has are kempul, gongagends and gambangs?” the open number sentence would be 6 + 2 + G = 12 where G is a variable that stands for the number of gambangs. While this all may bring terrifying flashbacks to algebra, try to keep a positive attitude about it as you work with or talk to your children. A positive attitude can go a long way in promoting confidence and comfort with an academic subject.


  1. Language Arts: Vocabulary Word Match (The prefixes at the top include a typo and are the prefixes for the next set of vocabulary. Replace the prefix in- with re- if you would like to.)
  2. Mathematics: Page 33 Study Link Worksheet: Addition and Subtraction open number sentences.
  3. Reading: Read for 20 minutes. (No reading log entry tonight.) I kept the reading logs in class until tomorrow so that we can go over how to fill them out together. Many students have been incorrectly recording parts of the log, so I wanted to spend a moment to review procedures before the logs are sent out again.

Mr. Weis

October 9, 2008

Reciprocal Review, Rethinking Regions in Research, and Rechecking Writing

Filed under: Homework — mrweis @ 5:20 pm
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What do all, well, most of the words (region comes from the root regere- to rule, and writing is just alliteration,) in the title have in common? The prefix re-. Today we spent some more time with prefixes and did a sort of words with the prefixes dis-, un-, re- and mis-. Students sorted the words, we discussed common elements of the words meanings, and we came up with a definition for the prefix. We also took a look in the dictionary and discovered voluminous lists of words with common prefixes.

Students received Reciprocal Teaching bookmarks today and we began our discussion about what Reciprocal Teaching is. Follow the link to read a short overview of Reciprocal Teaching. Reciprocal Teaching will be one model that is used in the class with small groups. All the work on Summarizing, Predicting, Questioning and Clarifying will be put into action as students are given increased responsibility to put these strategies in effect to increase comprehension.

We also continued with some research on Native Americans as students researched Native American Tribes from different regions of North America. Students guided their research with a specific goal and worked to increase their understanding of how natural resources contributed to the development of different Native American cultures.


  1. Language Arts: Word Sort Short Story. This must be read to you and signed as part of a post writing checklist.
  2. Mathematics: Study Link Page 31.
  3. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and write in your reading log. Signed reading logs are due tomorrow.
  4. Homework log. Students are to return a signed copy of the green homework log tomorrow.

Mr. Weis

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