Synergy Street & Wigs

20140226_151335In our journey to become a Leader in Me Lighthouse School, all of our halls have been named for a habit. Each grade level painted their “street sign” to proudly display their “street” name. The 5th grade hall is named Synergy Street. The 5th grade teachers and students have synergized to transform the hall into Wonderland.  Teachers are putting the finishing touches on the decorations, while students have decorated top hats and tea cups. Each top hat or tea cup has a writing assignment about the 7 Habits attached to the back.

Students have set new “WIGs” too.  A WIG is a Wildly Important Goal. Students have these goals written down and placed in their Leadership Binder. Many WIGs are based on improving Classworks scores, increasing AR points, or bringing up a certain grade average. The 5th grade students have learned a lot about tracking data by tracking their own progress on Classworks. This data is displayed in the hall as both a sense of pride and a reminder to work toward our grade level goals!

Mr. McKelvey has set a DES WIG for Friday, February 28th. Our WIG is to take 500 AR tests on this day. The students are reading, reading, reading. They can synergize by each student taking at least one AR test. If every student does their part, it will be a Win-Win for DES!











Mad as a Hatter about the Habits

20140224_104301The transformation began today. Our 5th grade hall is becoming Wonderland!

Students began bringing in their Wonderland projects today. The boys decorated top hats and the girls decorated tea cups. On the back of each project the students completed a writing project about the 7 Habits. Each student chose one of the habits to write about and described how they put the habit to use in their own life. The projects are due Wednesday, February 26th. I can’t wait to see them all hanging in the hall!

My reading classes read “Jabberwocky” today. This is a poem by Lewis Carroll. In the poem, he uses a lot of nonsense and portmanteau words. Portmanteau are words made up from parts of two different words (Ex: breakfast + lunch + brunch). Small groups were given two words that they used to form a common portmanteau.

Students also determined the nonsense word “vorpal” to be an adjective in the poem. They determined this because it describes the blade or sword used by the boy to slay the Jabberwock. Small groups brainstormed other “real” adjectives that could be used to describe a sword.

As an exit slip, students had to provide text evidence that explains why the Jabberwock is so dangerous. This is a sample response:

The Jabberwock was dangerous. I know this because in the text the father warns the boy that it has “jaws that bite” and “claws that catch”.

What a fun day of learning!






The “Wonderland” of 5th Grade

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

As we head into March, the 5th grade will be transformed into Wonderland. Our reading will focus on the works of Lewis Carroll. We will read “Jabberwocky”, the author’s biography, passages from Alice in Wonderland, and passages from Through the Looking Glass.

The 5th grade students will be designing tea cups and top hats to “snazz up” our hall. I will post pictures of these later in the week.

This is a video clip from Tim Burton’s production of Alice in Wonderland. In this scene the Mad Hatter recites “Jabberwocky”.



Monday – Grammar & Reading Page in Learning Log

Tuesday – Grammar & Reading Page in Learning Log

Wednesday – Expository Writing Project

Thursday – Read for AR & Study Vocabulary

Friday – Read for AR & Study Vocabulary

Cooperative Learning Project with Katy Perry? / Free Lesson Resources

20140210_112759Yes, that is right. I used Katy Perry’s music to review figurative language with my 5th graders. Why? I have used music lyric-based lessons several times in my reading and language class this year because my students respond with enthusiasm. They make true connections with the lesson. They learn because they are truly engaged with the lesson. I do it because it is fun!

The lesson started with a whole group review of various types of figurative language and poetic devices. Students then independently read the lyrics of the song. After the independent reading, I played the song while students read the lyrics again. Students identified examples of figurative language / poetic devices while listening. In whole group, the class analyzed portions of the lyrics, identified more examples, and discussed the overall theme of the lyrics. In cooperative learning groups, students responded through writing. Their responses formed a “Language through Lyrics” display for the 5th grade hall.

Good job class. . . ROAR on!







Free Lesson Resources below:





The Worst Day Ever! by Zoe V. / This week’s HW Information

ZVA few weeks ago, the 5th grade started a new narrative writing project. The class discussed the elements of a narrative, read a play adapted from “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst, and brainstormed things that could happen on their worst or best day ever. Students developed their own writing plans, wrote a sloppy copy, edited / revised, and then published their narratives.

I am in the process of publishing a few of these through the online site, StoryBird. Here is one example of the writing being created by the 5th grade at DES.


(Both links above will allow you to view the story. One is online. The other is in PDF format.)

This week the 5th grade will start an expository writing project. The class will write an essay about a recent invention that has dramatically changed the way we all live. Can you guess what it is?

This week’s homework:

Monday / Tuesday – Complete the Grammar & Reading Pages in the Learning Log

Wednesday – Expository Writing Project (Plan & Sloppy Copy)

Thursday / Friday – Read for AR Points (finish any uncompleted work)

Write it Down / This Week’s HW Information

1546079_10201805769040929_1851490811_nI am the mother of three boys. We are an adventurous little family. Often times we will ride back country roads in search of lost treasures. By “lost treasures” I mean tiny, meandering creeks or abandoned structures that display a craftsmanship that is simply hard to find in today’s modern buildings. Today I noticed a building that I have not before. It is in the middle of a small town near our home.  The building is an old railroad depot. Although it is falling apart, it is still an exquisite example of creativity and craftsmanship. I began to imagine all of the “stories” that passed through this depot. Can you imagine if those walls could talk?

This all led me to think about the importance of writing. In 5th grade we do focus  a lot on writing. We never stop to talk about how important it is though. Imagine all of the wonderful stories and bits of knowledge that we would not have today if someone had not taken the time to write those things down. If there is an important story that has been passed down in your family, take the time to write it down. Don’t lose those precious memories to time.  Writing is important. After all, what are you reading right now? You are reading my writing!


HW Information for this week:

Monday – Bobsled Reading Passage

Tuesday – Luge & Skeleton Reading Passage

Wednesday – Begin FINAL Copy (from the narrative we started before the snow storm)

Thursday – Read for AR & Finish FINAL Copy

Friday – Read for AR

This is a video I posted for you last Thursday. It includes a challenge!