November 20, 2012

Our New Additions!

Three beautiful painted lady butterflies were waiting for us in the classroom this morning...

"Not quite birds, as they were not quite flowers, mysterious and fascinating as are all indeterminate creatures." -Elizabeth Goudge

October 14, 2012


What do these two pictures have in common? We found out this week when our favorite scientist stopped by for a visit...

If cheers suddenly erupt from my students, I don't need to look up to see who is entering the room. It must be Mr. Bailey, district science specialist. Within moments of Mr. Bailey wheeling his cart into the room, students' desks are cleared, pencils are poised, heads are at attention and we are ready for science!

During his visit this week Mr. Bailey taught us all about electromagnets. Electromagnets are a type of magnet in which the magnetic flow is produced by an electrical current. The magnet can by turned on or off by controlling the flow of electricity to the magnet. Electromagnets are used in many devices, from wrecking yard machines to toasters to speakers to doorbells.

Students watched Mr. Bailey demonstrate building an electromagnet with a battery, some copper wire and a nail (observing phenomena).

After discussing in their groups, students chose a variable to test with their own electromagnet (developing a question).

After making a scientific guess based on watching Mr. Bailey's electromagnet (hypothesis), students created their electromagnet following directions from Mr. Bailey (procedure) and tested their variable by counting the number of paper clips their electromagnets could pick up (collecting data).


After running the tests, students made a conclusion about what happened using the information on electromagnets and how they work (analyzing and interpreting the results). Before we knew it we had gone through the scientific inquiry process!

September 25, 2012

Geography, It's A World Thing...

Geography brings us all down to Earth. It gives other subjects a sense of place. We create our geography, and yet we are affected by geography.
Geography, it's a world thing.

-Terry Portch

This year our school is participating in Passport Club, a geography program run by volunteers to help students learn some or all of the world's countries. This coincides perfectly with our first social studies unit: Geography! We will be studying and creating maps, interpreting geographic information, distinguishing physical and human features of places and regions, evaluating global population growth and the opportunities and challenges it presents, and finding the connections between people and the environment. 

Our study will culminate in the Fantasy Island project. We will each be designing our own fantasy island based on the Five Themes of Geography. We will determine the location of our island, the regions within it, we will compare it to other places, we will create a unique culture for the people of our island and determine how our population interacts with the environment. Look for the criteria sheet in about a week.  

In the meantime, study those continents and oceans! 
Google Earth Tour 

Memorize the Five Themes of Geography!
Five Themes of Geography Rap

Know the difference between latitude and longitude!
Latitude and Longitude Song

Be able to divide the globe into hemispheres!
Hemispheres Animation

Be able to define geography!
What is Geography?

Be able to identify different landforms!
Landforms Part 1
Landforms Part 2

Understand how fast the world is growing!
7 Billion

Be able to name careers that utilize the study of geography!
What Can You Do With Geography?

September 16, 2012

Meet our Class Pets!

Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.
— John Muir

This year we are sharing our classroom with three additional creatures. Please allow me to introduce:

Blueberry is a Siamese Fighting Fish, also known as a beta fish. Blueberry is a male beta and prefers to live alone. This is Blueberry's third year as a classroom fish. He has been through fourth grade and fifth grade once already. This will be his second year of fifth grade. Blueberry's two favorite activities are hiding in his treasure chest or gently bobbing amongst the many varieties of plant flora found in his tank. Blueberry is a beautiful blue shade, hence the name, and sometimes scares Mrs. Tanksley by playing dead.


 Louise and Skid are Bearded Dragons. This is a breed of lizard originally from Australia, named so because of the spiky beard both male and females dragons have. Louise and Skid came to our classroom from Mrs. Tanksley's youngest sister, Taylor, who has more animals than any one person should have. Louise and Skid are previously uneducated and have shown a big interest so far in fifth grade curriculum. Mrs. Tanksley appreciates Skid's head bobbing while she is explaining things because even though the reseach says male head bobbing is way of showing dominance, Mrs. Tanksley believes it is because of Skid's agreement with her great instruction. While Skid is busy learning and displaying dominance, Louise tends to be more relaxed. Louise is blind but has excellent hearing. Our classroom is really enjoying caring for Louise and Skid and besides the incident which occurred on Thursday (evidence of which is still stained onto the carpet) Mrs. Tanksley is also very happy to have them.


September 2, 2012

What KIND of Smart Are You?

Did you know your brain is like your fingerprint, totally unique?!? 

Howard Gardener, a psychologist and professor of neuroscience at Harvard, developed a theory to explain how different brains work. It is called Multiple Intelligence Theory. It says that there are eight (technically nine, but we're only going to focus on eight) different kinds of intelligence and that we each use the eight intelligences in different ways.

To read about each of the intelligences click here: What Are Multiple Intelligences?

During the first week of school, your job is to find out what KIND of smart you are. To take the survey click here: Take a Survey

The survey will graph your intelligences for you. What is your strength? What is your weakness? Please bring in your graph the first week of school. We will graph our results as a class. You may be surprised how many different smarts we have. (If you can't print the graph at home, don't worry, I'll give you some time during class).

Tip: My secret code is: vb46f99904. If you go to the "Results" tab and type that in, you will see my smarts.


August 24, 2012

Welcome to Fifth Grade!

Hello Fifth Graders and Fifth Grade Parents! Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year! Here is what I know for sure: we are going to have an amazing year together, we are going to accomplish some tremendous goals and you will be well prepared for middle school by the time the school year is over. 

Our classroom blog is a place for you to come for communication, daily homework, important calendar dates, things to explore and web sites to practice on. We have many, many different topics and targets to cover, if you search through our classroom blog you may be able to figure out what a few of those are. Spend time exploring and feel free to join using the link on bottom right hand side.  

You should have received four important pieces of information in the mail: the welcome letter, a supply list, a homework assignment for you and a homework assignment for your parents. Your homework assignment is due the first day of school and remember to bring an empty cereal box. Your parents' homework is due by the end of the second week of school. It can be emailed or sent in with students. 

I hope to see you at the Ice Cream Social this coming Thursday. Please stop by our classroom any time between 4:00 to 5:30 to meet me and drop off your supplies. 

I'm looking forward to meeting you. Rest up and I'll see you soon! 

Welcome Letter

Fifth Grade Supply List

Student Homework