Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

February 2, 2010

Prognosticating with Punxsutawney

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 10:02 pm
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Happy Groundhog Day everyone!  Unfortunately, if you are the kind of person who takes meteorological advice from large rodents, we are in for 6 more weeks of winter.  Today, the most famous, and supposedly immortal (there’s a vocab word from last week!), groundhog around made his weather predictions.  The students did a quickwrite this morning and then read an article in class about the tradition of Groundhog Day.  We learned about several old Roman and Celtic  holidays that were blended together and eventually brought over and modified by some German immigrants in the late 19th century.  If you’re interested in learning a little more about the holiday, you can check out the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club here, or you can read the article we read in class on the National Geographic website.

In vocabulary this week, the focus is on the roots mis/mit, flex/flect, fract, and ject.  Today in class we did our usual sort and then had a discussion about the roots, their meanings, and how the meanings come across in words with those roots.

In writing, we are fully exploring the Response to Literature genre, and we began writing a collaborative essay today.  We focused primarily on the introduction paragraph and on how a thesis statement captures the argument that the writer is making to answer the prompt and convince the reader of a point of view throughout the essay.  We read a folk tale and the students gathered together some ideas on a possible thesis.  By the end of the week, we will try to complete the entire essay so that next week each student can begin work on their own essay.

In mathematics this week, our goals are to be able to find percent, decimal, and fraction equivalents and to be able to find the percent of a number.  Students practiced making conversions back and forth between these three ways of representing a part of a whole.  Here are a couple games and a modeling app involving percent, fraction, decimal equivalence.

Mission Magnetite

Compare All Three

And here is a tool to visually model the connection between fracitons, decimals, and percents

If you didn’t send in your slip letting us know whether or not you will be able to attend the drama performance at 6:30pm on Thursday, please send it in as soon as possible.  Thanks.


  1. Vocabulary: Sort
  2. Mathematics: It All Makes Cents worksheet
  3. Reading: Read for 25 minutes and fill out questioning section in reading log
  4. Other:  Tell a family member one thing you learned about Groundhog Day and its history

Mr. Weis


April 21, 2009


Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 10:55 pm

Today we introduced the new vocabulary focus words for the week.  The words are: capital, capitol, corpse, corps, orthodontist, corporation, pedestrian, and indent. I also passed out the challenge vocab for the week, which are all foreign words and phrases, but I’ll discuss it more in depth on the blog tomorrow.

In Reading we discussed the concept of consensus and reviewed procedures for consensus making.  We then split into groups and worked through some of the test prep material.  We are making some headway on the packets, and I think the students are doing a good job of identifying types of questions and applying different types of solution strategies.  We had our CAL volunteers in the class today helping, so it was great to have an extra hand at each group.  In my group we discussed symbols, themes, synonyms, and clarifying a word by using its root.

In Writing we got back to work on the puppet plays.  Our goal is to have some quality drafts completed and have students working on the computer by the end of the week.  We will start our persuasive writing unit soon.

In Mathematics we did a quick review of decimal and fraction computation.  Students gave brief presentations on different concepts, highlighting strategies and steps used to solve actual test release problems.  Students also graded their second prep packet to identify particular areas where they need a little more help.  I’ll be using the assessment data to lead some small groups for specific groups of students.

Here are a few tutorial videos on some decimal computation.


Adding Decimals

Subtracting Decimals

Subtraction by Decimals

decimal rap

Here is a sorta hokey, but fun, decimal rap.

Multiplying Decimals

Multiplying by Decimals

dividing decimals

Division by Decimals

All of the above videos are brought to you courtesy of Although embedding them into the blog isn’t easily done, as can be with youtube,  you are able to access the videos from school and through many content filters.  Both and are both good websites to check out if you are behind a filter and are looking for either teacher or student made videos.


  1. Language Arts: Test Prep Packet 3
  2. Mathematics: Test Prep Packet 3
  3. Other: Work on Vocabulary Packet (due Friday)
  4. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and fill out pink reading log
  5. Green Folder:  Check Green Folder, sign and return (Vocab Packet, Vocab Test, 3 announcement fliers -BAM Jam Prizes, Camp Galileo, Harlem Renaissance)

One other thing I’d like to mention is that there is a group of BAM Parents meeting outside of school by the Library tomorrow evening at 5:30.  This is an informal meeting and is not being put on by the PTA or any official school groups.  I’m not going to make any specific comments on the issues the parents are concerned about, but I think it is important that if there is a discussion that is going to happen, that the word is spread throughout the school community.  I’d like all parents who want to weigh in on the issues to get a chance to listen and also make their opinions heard, whether they are supporting or not supporting the particular concerns.  The basic premise of the discussion is to talk about several concerns regarding retention of a specific teacher, communication with the district regarding complaints, and some concerns about administrative decisions at the school.  To get more of an idea what the concerns are and get involved in a discussion with other parents, I also encourage you to head over to the Yahoo group Bamnet.

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