Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 8:32 pm


  1. Vocabulary – Sentences
  2. Math – Complete area of triangle worksheet
  3. Reading –  read for 25 minutes and fill out clarification trip of the series.



March 4, 2010

Thursday, March 4

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 9:55 pm


  1. Language Arts: Finish Sign of the Beaver Ch. 11 and 12 worksheet (if not completed in class)
  2. Mathematics: Subtracting Negative numbers worksheet
  3. Vocabulary: Sentences and study words for the week
  4. Reading: Read for 25 minutes, complete the summary section in reading log, and have parent sign the log

Mr. Weis

March 3, 2010

Wednesday, March 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 7:52 pm


  1. Language Arts:  Book report due tomorrow.   Make sure to follow the guidelines on the handout and complete all sections of the report
  2. Mathematics: Addition with negative and positive numbers worksheet
  3. Vocabulary: Crossword and Word Search
  4. Reading: Read for 25 minutes and complete the clarification section in reading log
  5. Other: Return LBNL field trip permission slip

January 19, 2010

A Torrential Tuesday

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 7:47 pm

What a storm we have moving through our state this week!  I’ve been reading some meteorologist reports that have been painting the scenario as potentially pretty dire.  On my way riding home today I passed two downed power lines due to the heavy winds.  Let’s all hope for the best. I often take a look at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s website for my weather forecast and find some of their images and animations to be pretty fascinating.  If you follow this link, you will be lead to a page with lots of different options for viewing satellite imagery across the western United States.  You can click on and follow the image below to get an animation of what’s going on up there with the clouds right now.

Today in class we had another practice with Opera Piccola, and the 4 different pieces the students will be performing are coming along.  Some students went home with small lists of potential props to look for.  If you send in any props, we will be sure to mark them and ensure you get them back.

This week in vocabulary, we are using words from a list that the students developed of terms that they had learned or used while at camp in the Marin Headlands.  All together we collaborated to form a list of 60 potential words and phrases!  I couldn’t believe how many different types of sciences the students had been exposed to in just a few short days.  The words of the week are nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, zooplankton, phytoplankton, bioluminescence, bioaccumulation, and noctiluca. Take a moment to ask your kids about some of these words to hear about some of their experiences at the camp.  Additionally, each student will add to more words to their list of their own choice.

In Social Studies today we finished up the video “At the River I Stand.” The video chronicles the Memphis sanitation worker strike up through Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.  For some more information on the Memphis sanitation worker strike and King’s involvement, check out this video.  On Friday we watched half the video and discussed some connections between King’s vision of civil rights, labor movements, and worker’s rights.  As we finished the video, we also reflected briefly on the meaning of King’s Mountaintop speech.  It’s really quite a remarkable speech.  Check out the full text and video of it here.


  1. Vocabulary: CLOZE and choice of either crossword or word searches
  2. Math:  Fraction Equalities – Study Links page 99
  3. Reading: read for 25 minutes and fill out the prediction reading log entry

Mr. Weis

June 3, 2009

“The key to being a comic book artist…

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 10:29 pm

is to be fearless.”  Quite a profound statement, I thought, especially coming from a high school student.  Yesterday, as part of the events leading up to the BAM Summer Book Jam, our class was visited by Adele Moss and Leslie Bloomfield, Berkeley High students, and writers, illustrators, and publishers of their own comic book.  They explained to the students how, starting in 6th Grade, they began to create and self-publish their own comics and how they were able to get their comic called Hector the Collector carried at Berkeley’s own Comic Relief comic book store.  The two young authors/ artists then led the students through a brief activity about unleashing the creative process to create their own super heroes and super villains.

hector 4

You can check out their website here for biographies and more information about their work.

Coming back to the initial quote for a moment, I think it is an important statement about taking risks, especially in our creative endeavors.  As children grow up, risk-taking in the arts and writing is far too often squelched by fears of peer rejection.  It would serve us well as adults to model the daring creativity that we so often encourage our children to apply to their writing, art, acting and dancing.  So here is my challenge for everyone reading my blog (potentially a couple hundred a day now, although I’m not sure who they all are).  On one of those warm, lazy summer afternoons or evenings in the coming months, instead of clicking that remote over and over, instead of putting headphones on, and instead of hiding out in a movie theater, take a moment to be fearless and create something together with your child.  Over the summer I’m going to do my best to update the blog every once in a while with crafty and imaginative activity ideas.  I’m hoping to hear back from some of you through comments or email, to let me know what you are doing.  Maybe you could even send me a picture, scan or video, that I could help you share.  Just a thought, but one that I hope works out.


  1. Language Arts:  Finish final draft of first persuasive essay.
  2. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and turn in pink reading log.

May 31, 2009

Field Trip Reminder

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 10:25 am

I apologize for not updating the blog much over the past couple weeks.  I have been swamped with end of the year preparations, assessments, and meetings, and I just haven’t had the time.  I wanted to post this weekend as a reminder about our bike field trip tomorrow through Cycles of Change.

On Monday, Cycles of Change with be visiting our school to lead a fun day of bicycle safety education for our class.  They will provide a bicycle for every child to ride to help all students get some experience.  We will be involved in the program for the entire day and will be taking a short ride to have a picnic lunch.  Here are a few things to remember:

  • All students will need to ride geared bikes with handbrakes that have passed a safety inspection.   If your child decides to bring a bike, but it does not meet the requirements, they will be provided with another one for the day.
  • Please bring a bag lunch for our picnic.
  • Wear close-toed shoes and comfortable clothing.

If you have any questions, just send me an email.  Thanks!

Mr. Weis

May 11, 2009

Polyhedra and Politically Poignant Pictures

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 7:09 pm
Tags: , ,

In looking at the calendar today I was amazed by the fact that this is the very last week of the year that is a compeltely ordinary Monday through Friday week.  We have Monday off for the next two weeks and are then down to the final two weeks in which will have field trips and promotion activities.  Wow, we really have to make each second count!

For vocabulary this week, our roots all have to do with the elements.  They are terra, aer, astr/aster, and hydra/hydro.  Students are invited to try to find the meanings of the roots tonight by deducing a meaning from the words in the word list.  If they are having difficulty, they can check this website from Michigan State University which has a pretty good list of Latin and Greek Roots, their meanings, and some sample words with the roots. There is an option for a printer friendly version that students could print out and put in their binder, or students could go to this website and get an even more concise list that could easily keep as a reference page.

In Mathematics, we mixed in a little bit of art in the form of both drawing and sculpture.  First we did some step by step drawings of geometric solids in 3d.  While we drew, we focused on using foreshortening techniques to make the drawn objects look 3d.  After that, students were given one of 5 different patterns for a 3-dimensional geometric solid.  Upon completing their objects, we learned about the vocabulary terms prism, pyramid, and polyhedron.  You can learn about those terms as well as many others at a Maths Dictionary. (For those unfamiliar with the term Maths with an S, most English-speaking countries outside of North America use the word to refer to Mathematics.)  This is possibly my favourite (get it?) dictionary that I have found this year.  It has an easy to use interface, lots of pictures and graphical examples, nd plenty of little interactive activities.  I highly encourage you to use it for not only students in my class, but for other kids as well.


In Social Studies today we looked at some political cartoons from the time period right before the civil war.  We identified symbols and connected the images with historical people, events, and opinions of the time.  I will go into more detail and provide some links tomorrow, but for today, students are encouraged to explore the archives at the Library of Congress website.  Follow this link and take a gander.  This is a great resource for projects for students of all ages, so I encourage you to bookmark it.  Sometimes it can take a bit of searching to find exactly what you are looking for, but persistence can really pay off.

prints and photographs


  1. Social Studies: Join or Die worksheet.  Also, please sketch or brainstorm an idea for your own historically accurate political cartoon from the time period of the Revolutionary War on the back.
  2. Mathematics: Page 245 First try to guess if the shapes will make rectangular prisms, then try cutting them out second.
  3. Other: Finish Vocabulary Sort
  4. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and fill out pink reading log.

Mr. Weis

May 4, 2009

Nine Men, Morris, and Monday

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 8:15 pm

Welcome to a new 5 day week.  We’ve only got a few of these left, so I’m trying to squeeze in as much as possible.  Hopefully we will end the year in a strong sprint and not run out of steam when June comes around.  Today we began our puberty education classes, and I’m happy to report that the students were mature, inquisitive, positive, and respectful.  We will have 3 more classes: one on Tuesday, one on Thursday, and one of Friday.  If you have any specific questions about the content of the program you may ask your children directly about what they learned, you may ask me any specific questions about what material is covered, or you may check in with Ms. Collins to see the materials and outline of the program.

We are going to be combining subjects together for the rest of the year to try to get through them a little quicker.  One way we will do this is by integrating social studies, and specifically our work with the Revolutionary War, along with writing and reading.  I’ve got some books, plays, and writing activities that will all fit together.  Today we began researching the causes of the Revolutionary War, and we organized the information we found into a cause and effect chart.  We identified key words to let us know a cause and effect is being discussed such as because, as a result, and subsequently.  For homework tonight, students will read a short article about what colonial life was like for children and then make a chart of similarities and differences between their lives and colonial kids’ lives.  

In the article, there is a short description of a commonly played came from colonial times called Nine Man Morris.  The directions didn’t come out well on the copy, so here are a couple links to play the game online.

Here is a 2-player version:

no man morris 2

And here is a 1-player version with a computer opponent:

no man morris 1

Both versions are complete with instructions.  Enjoy!

In Mathematics, we continued our work with area and volume.  Students did some work finding the volume of different kinds of geometric solids, and then created posters with area formulas and examples of area for triangles, rectangles, and parallelograms. 

In vocabulary we began work with the roots leg, mod, biblio,  and jud.  The focus words of the week are prejudice, bibliography, legislate, allegiance, moderate, legally, delegate, and judgment.  I encourage students to look the words up on the online etymology dictionary to get a better idea of the roots.  


  1. Mathematics: Page 215 – Calculating the volume of 3-dimensional prisms.
  2. Social Studies: Colonial Kids – Read article and complete chart.
  3. Other: Vocabulary Packet – Begin work on packet.
  4. Reading: read for 20 minutes and fill out pink reading log.

Mr. Weis


April 27, 2009

Anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 6:47 pm


My emotions are swirling about right now, so much so that I don’t know what to think.  This afternoon my personal laptop was stolen from the classroom.  It is a silver 15 inch MacBookPro and was taken without a case or power supply.   There are currently 2 possibilities.

  1. While the students were in Science down the hall, I left the room for 5 minutes to make some copies and then walk down the hall to pick them up.  During these 5 minutes I left my doors unlocked and it is possible that someone wandering the upstairs hall could have stepped in and stolen it then.
  2. During the last hour and fifteen minutes of the day, the students were in my class finishing up math and then watching a video for Social Studies and taking notes.  The laptop could also have been taken by one of the students during these activities or during clean-up.

It saddens me greatly that someone would take my computer from me, and that it most likely is someone from the BAM community, possibly one of my own students.  I have given my life to this job this year, poured myself entirely into it, and worked countless late nights and weekends.  All of the work I have done is only on the computer, as I unfortunately do not have a recent backup.  I cannot begin to express the frustration that I feel about this. Not only is it a sizable monetary investment, but I also have all my work from graduate school, years of things I developed while student teaching, all the work I have done this year, my own personal creative and fiction writing and poetry, pictures of my family and friends, videos, and recordings of songs.  I’ve also lost a piece of trust I had with my students and the BAM community.

I have called all the families in my class, and a phone blast went out to all the families in the school, but if anyone hears or sees anything, please let me know.  Someone has to have seen something, or if it was a student, I’m sure someone will hear something.  You can email me at adamweis @ (just delete the spaces around the @ when you copy the email into your email program.)

If someone did make a mistake and took the laptop, I am a forgiving person.  Please just turn it back into the office and say you found it, no questions asked.  I just desperately want it back so I can get my files back.  I am also filing a police report and meeting with police, so if the perpetrator is not one to be swayed by guilt, but instead fear, please also know that if I do not get it given back to me, I will be bringing in the force of the law.

There’s not much more to say now, except that I’m feeling pretty down.  I’ll keep doing my best to keep giving my all every day to all the kids.  It’s really all I can do.


April 25, 2009

It’s a beautiful day outside…

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrweis @ 11:30 am

why not go buy some plants?

cal plant sale

Or, why not start getting a garden bed ready for this?

Mark your calendars. (Thanks Frieda for the flier!)


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