Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Vacation Update: Williamsburg, VA

Welcome to Colonial Williamsburg! recently I took a short trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. I apologize in advance for not having photos available at the time, due to the fact that I do not have a card reader for my camera handy.....however, I will move forward!

The area we visited was apart of the Colonial are of the town. This town is dedicated to keeping is history and culture alive. The area is a constant reminder of how life was during the Colonial time period (1600-1799) in the United States. This town consist of a cast of characters dressed in traditional uniforms dated back to English settlers from this time. Many of the buildings in this area are still standing that date back to the 1600's. I was also lucky enough to eat lunch at a traditional English pub and watch a reenactment of the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

There is also a interesting blog that I found that is used in conjunction with Colonial Williamsburg. Check out Jefferson's Blog if you get a chance. Once again I will have photos following my return home, I will also have photos from my trip to Washington D.C.....Arkansas bound in two days, ready to get back home, see everyone next year!

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Vacation Update: Hampton, VA

Me, my wife, two dogs, one car loaded down like the Clampetts, and 18 short hours later we arrived in Hampton, Virgina for the Christmas with my wife's family. Been in town since Sunday "morning", and has been pretty uneventful thus far. However, there is so much history in this entire area. While there is so much history in this area, so much of it has been destroyed due to conflicts during the American Civil War.

The city of Hampton was founded in 1607 by English settlers, and is the oldest English speaking city in America, and largely serves as a port town with the nearby ocean and James River. Also of note, Hampton suffered misfortune during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, as it was burned to the ground during both of these wars. Hampton is also the home of Langley Airforce Base, NASA Langley Resource Center, and Virgina Air and Space Center.

Things are going great thus far, enjoying my break and I hope all my students are as well. Very short entire for today, more post to come.....on tap for the next few days, heading to Williamsburg and Yorktown after Christmas, and planning a trip to Washington D.C. before the New Year.

One day left, I hope everyone has a great Christmas, best wishes.

Mr. McClung

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Day of The Year/House Cleaning

Today was the last day of the fall semester for us at Noel....this means means several things. First off is our sixth grade Christmas parties, each class is having their own individual parties in the morning and a whole class party at the end of the day.

Our party today included a gift exchange, watching the movie A Christmas Story (best Christmas movie of all time!) and of course some traditional snow flake carving.

As I said before, this is the last day of the semester before our Christmas break. We will return to class on Jan. for me, I am off to Virgina to visit my wife's family, and there will be a forth coming trip to Washington D.C....plenty of photos to follow my return!

In the meantime, I would like to thank all of my classroom parents for your support online and in the classroom, followers and supporters of this blog, and everyone that has supported me in this being my first year of teaching, I could not do any of this without you all. Thank you, and I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Mr. McClung

Terrific Tiger

Another month has come and gone....and three more terrific tigers have been named!
This months awards go to Cendy from Mrs. Drake's Class....Serenity from Mrs. Hamm's Class....and Dillion from Mr. McClung's Class

Congratulations everyone!

Mr. McClung

Monday, December 15, 2008

Making Headlines

Back in October, I took a visit to Harp Elementary School in Springdale Arkansas. This was a part of my educational leadership course at the University of Arkansas. Click here to check out the article about our visit to Harp Elementary.

Mr. McClung

Snow.....I mean Ice Day

No school today due to icey conditions....and maybe not tomorrow with more snow and ice on its way. Have a great snow day!

Mr. McClung

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Concert

Another long night in Noel....but well worth it. This past Friday, Noel held its winter concert. The concert featured music classes from grades 3-6, and also the jr. high band, grades 6-8. All of the music students played a recorder during the performances. In the videos below, the sixth grade is performing what is called recorder karate. This is a program that provides practice for the students while rewarding them with karate belts for their recorders. The belts are pieces of string that the students tie to their recorders. These belts are given out to students that are able to play selected music on their recorder.

As I said before, the jr. high band was involved as well. Here some video from their performance.

All those that participated did an outstanding job, and provided a great show!

Mr. McClung

Friday, December 12, 2008

Loose Soil vs. Compact Soil

As our unit on earthquakes comes to a conclusion, on Thursday we performed our first investigation of how different types of soil can effect the buildings they are built on. In our investigation we used two beakers full of sand, one was full of sand only, the other contained soil with glue to harden the sand. The sand with glue represented compact soil and the beaker of sand only represented loose soil. We used three pennies in each beaker to simulate buildings/houses.

The task for the students was to measure out their sand and glue in the given beakers, then place the pennies into each soil type and simulate p-waves and s-waves. By doing this the students are investigating which soil type is more hazardous to build upon. Also the question was posed to the students, what could your government do to help people in these areas? If you would like to share feel free, I will post some of my student's responses later this week.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


During our class on Thursday, we will conclude our study of Hanukkah by eating some traditional Jewish food. Homemade Latkes and applesauce.....just like muter use to make! My wife and I spent sometime this evening preparing latkes for my class tomorrow. This is a simple food to make, and requires minimal ingredients

1. Shredded potatoes
2. Beaten eggs
3. One onion
4. Salt
5. Oil

Very easy to prepare, takes about 25 minutes for one batch, very tasty, and they go great with applesauce. Applesauce???? YES! These are traditional prepared with applesauce. Try to make your own batch! My class will be enjoying these on Thursday!

Mr. McClung

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.....

Ahhhh, the classic game of gambling.... as a part of our study of Hanukkah today our class split into small groups and played a Jewish children's game, Dreidel. This game is played with a wooden top that has four Jewish letters on each side. Nun, gimmel, hay, and shin, each one of these letters has a meaning as shown above, and all of these letters combined means "a great miracle happened there."

Above is a short video of some of our boys playing Dreidel. This is a game with simple rules. Each player has ten coins/tokens, and each player places one coin in the center (pot) before anyone begins a turn. Once everyone's coins are in each player takes turns spinning the Dreidel, when the Dreidel stops on a letter the player then must follow what that letter says. Example: nun = no coins received, gimmel = take all the coins in the pot, hay = take half of the coins in the pot, shin = place one coin in the pot.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Convection in the Earth's Mantle

Convection occurs when there is an upwelling in the earth's mantle caused by heat. This upwelling then causes parts of the earth's mantle to cool as it rises to the top, as it cools the mantle then pushes the oceanic plates towards the coastline. At this point subducion occurs. From this process new ocean floor is created daily at these oceanic ridges, due to the continually moving mantle.

Today in our science class we preformed a lab experiment to help in our understanding of how convection occurs in the earth's mantle, and how this causes movement of the earth's tectonic plates.

Our students reproduced this event by using blocks of wood, a tea candle, flashlight, and a bottle of rheoscopic fluid. The students used the blocks to rest the bottle of fluid and lit the candle under the bottle. The heat from the candle caused a convection cells to form inside of the bottle. We were able to see these cells due to the rheoscopic material that is inside of the bottle.

If you look closely you can see the formation of the convection cells starting to form (kinda) on both sides of the bottle.

Mr. McClung

Academic Accolades

This week's Academic Accolades go to.....

Jeffery (supporting tie tuesday) from Mrs. Drake's Clss, Kirsten from Mrs. Hamm's Class, and Ben from Mr. McClung's Class. Great job everyone!

Mr. McClung

Monday, December 8, 2008

Its Time for Hanukkah....

Today we continued our celebration of Christmas around the world by studying the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah. Hanukkah (the festival of lights) is a celebration of when Judah and his men defeated the Syrians and reclaimed their temple after a fighting for three long years. Once the Jewish soldiers reclaimed their temple they relit the Lamp of Eternal Light. They had only enough oil for one day and it would take eight days to get more oil. Incredibly, the oil lasted for eight days!

Today we spent the day studying the story of Hanukkah and reading the book Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel. Throughout this week we will be studying Hanukkah and participating in traditions by playing games, eating traditional food, lighting the Menorah, and making Dreidls.
....Also Mrs. Drake's Class is studying The 12 Days of Christmas and Mrs. Hamm's Class is studying The Red Ranger Came Calling.

Mr. McClung

Team Building

This fall I have read two books that I feel have influenced my way of viewing education greatly. The first book being Accountability for Learning by Douglas Reeves. In the first few chapters of this book he speaks about how important it is to talk about what you are doing in your classroom and be able to express your ideas in a healthy manner with other instructors. That is my favorite part about using this blog. I get so excited about what we are doing here in the sixth grade and I feel like this is such a healthy way to express and share ideas with instructors and parents about what we are doing here in the sixth grade.

Now with that lengthy introduction out of the way, I would like to share a new positive behavior strategy in our classroom. This strategy is based off of the second book I have read this semester, Classroom Instruction That Works by Robert Marzano. In chapter seven he speaks of five expectations that are vital for every student in order to be successful. These expectations are: accountability, attitude, helping others, trust, and communication.

In my science classes I introduced this new team approach to education. We have three teams in our sixth grade, Team McClung, Team Hamm, and Team Drake. Each team is evaluated by me (in science class) on a daily basis based upon the listed expectations. Students can receive positive or negative marks based on how they work together in small groups, whole groups, or one-on-one in class. At the end of the week we total up all of the positive and negative checks and update our progress wall. Our progress wall consists of all five expectations listed and we use tiger paws to track our progress in all these areas. We will continue to do this every week until the end of the month. The leading class will receive a class party for their homeroom.

The whole idea behind this program is to promote a team atmosphere. Everyday we are looking to make our teams stronger by reinforcing positive behavior through team work, while also using a little friendly competition to help get us their.

With Christmas break around the corner, I felt this would be a prefect time to introduce this team approach. We will use the next two weeks as a trial run for this program. As always I will keep everyone updated as I test out his new system.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Spirit

On Friday, our sixth graders kicked off what is going to be our celebration of Christmas around the world. In the next two weeks in social studies, our students will be studying how Christmas is celebrated in different countries by different cultures (feel free to comment about how YOU celebrate).

Our students part of Friday afternoon building reindeer out of construction paper and other materials....and as you see from the picture they enjoyed eating candy canes as well. More pictures and post to come in the next week in regards to Christmas around the world.

This week in science class, we are looking to finish with our study of earthquakes. Before we do so though we will be studying convection in the earth's mantle and how this can affect the shifting of Tectonic Plates....experiment, pictures and post coming Tuesday...ish. Only 18 days left until Christmas!

Mr. McClung

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Discovery Education + The Earth's Interior

Now that we have learned information about waves from an earthquake and locations at which they occur; today we started to dig deeper. We started a lesson focusing on the earth's interior and the parts that make it up.

To help aide in our learning we used Discovery Education (DE) to help guide us through this process. The DE Science Edition has proved to be of great help to us in our classroom. Today we used an interactive application to help us label and obtain information concerning the multiple layers of the Earth. With the help of our Smart Board our students were able to match the different terms to their location on a diagram.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plotting Earthquakes

Today we spent sometime plotting earthquakes. Each group of students were given 8 different earthquakes to plot on an transparency sheet (40 earthquakes total in the class). We used five groups plotting these points to help us develop a picture of where the majority of earthquakes occur.

The red on several of the maps indicates the areas where majority of earthquakes happen. We discovered that these red areas run along plate boundaries, most notably the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Friends from New Zealand, since you live in the Pacific Ring of Fire, our class was wondering if you can help us understand the amount of earthquakes that occur in your area every year? Also what it is like to be in an earthquake? Many thanks!

Mr. McClung

Academic Accolades

Academic Accolades this week go to....
Naomi from Mr. McClung's Class

Cendy from Mrs. Drake's Class
...and Kyle from Mrs. Hamm's Class (absent today)

Mr. McClung

Monday, December 1, 2008


As of today, Mr. McClung's class is officially streaming live all day. After a bit of a process and a little help from Mr. C, we are finally wired for video. If you'll notice, our streaming video is located at the top right hand corner of the page. The feed will be coming from my classroom all throughout the day, enjoy and as always, feel free to comment!

Mr. McClung

Blog Check: Blog It! with Birgit

Blog it with Birgit is a blog that has taken notice to our classroom's blog and Tamaki Today and thought enough of what we are doing to include us on her own blog. So I thought I would take a moment to return the favor. Blog It is ran by Birgit Laskowski, she is studying Education at the University of Northern British Columbia in Terrace. Her blog consists of many different topics, including technology resources to teachers, assignment for her classes, and pictures and stories from her own personal travels. Check out her blog, it is worth a good look.

Mr. McClung