Sunday, August 9, 2009

Move Along....Nothing to See Here

After nearly 200 post and nearly 10,000 visits at on BlogSpot....I will closing the doors on my Blogger account. However there is good news! Our class blog will be moving to EduBlogs for the 09-10 school year. You can find myself and my class at

I will continue my regular posting and class streaming at this site. I would like to invite everyone to join us at our new website and drop us a line....see you there!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Preparing For The First Day

With July in the rear view mirror and a brand new school year just ahead later this month, today I officially began getting my game face on to prepare for the upcoming year. Due to the fact that I have switched schools over the summer, that means I have to move into another new classroom for the third time in two years....oh joy.

Above is my new classroom at Woodland Junior High before I moved my stuff in. I have really been looking forward to this day for a couple of weeks now and I'm also looking forward to the challenge of a new year and school. This really got me thinking about the excitement that goes along with returning to school. This is an excitement that is shared with teachers and students alike.

My Twitter page is full of comments from teachers that talk about school supplies, preparing classrooms, attending workshops, and preparing curriculum on a daily basis. Seeing this type of positive reaction to school is really refreshing. To me it is really cool hear from professionals, that have basically had two months vacation, become very excited about returning to work....what other profession can boast such a claim?

As I continue to prepare my classroom, blog, and my NEW social network for the upcoming year I can't help but get excited about the all the possibilities that a new school year brings. There is something revitalizing about starting the year with a clean slate....sure it may be the same curriculum and many of the same lessons, but there is a certain excitement that teaching offers. Every year is a new beginning and that helps provide for an enjoyable working, what is YOUR favorite part about a new school year?

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Clippers For Cancer

Earlier this year, Mr. Lamshed and his students held a event called Clippers for Cancer. Clippers for Cancer is a fundraiser event in which students raised money for the Child Cancer Foundation of Australia. To say that this fundraiser was a success would be a understatement, his class raised nearly $2,000 for this worthy cause....and also walked away with bald heads for their troubles.

Mr. Lamshed has decided to reach out to all of his international friends and take Clippers for Cancer worldwide. I am very excited to announce that my class will be participating in the fundraiser in the Spring of 2010 with proceeds going towards the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This will be a fantastic opportunity for both of our students to once again bridge the international gap through technology and do so for some worthy causes. I would also like to invite anyone who is interested in participating to visit the Clippers for Cancer page and get involved.

Mr. McClung

Monday, July 6, 2009

Building a Democratic Society

This past week I have been involved in several discussions about how to build a democratic society and what role education systems should play in this process. During these conversations I was introduced to the work of Deb Meier. Ms. Meier is often often considered the founder of the small school movement and is an advocate of reform in public schools. Above is a video of Deb Meier speaking on what it means to build a democratic society. I believe this is a very important issue that faces us in schools today and she does an outstanding job of addressing it. Please take a moment to watch her video and feel free to leave some feedback.

Mr. McClung

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Constructive Summer

A well known perk of being a teacher is of course the summer breaks. While I have been enjoying my break, and rubbing it in my non-teacher friend's face, I have actually been keeping quite busy. I thought I would take this opportunity to make a quick update of my summer happenings thus far.

Continuing My Education
While I received a break from my teaching duties, my graduate professors unfortunately did not. I am enrolled in two classes this summer term, ethics leadership and foundations of educational history. Both are very interesting courses that provide for very meaningful class discussions. In addition to graduate courses, I thought I would take another step towards better myself as a learner by doing some summer reading.
Now that I have that in the open, let me explain a few things. I have read a total of maybe two books ever that were not required reading for courses, but I do believe promoting literacy is a very important job for educators. So what I have done is I have taken a bit of initiative and I am now practicing what I preach. I am currently reading the classic 1984 by George Orwell (little behind, I know) and looking forward to reading The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. While this may seem like a very small task for someone to do during their summer, it is a giant leap for me. If I expect my student to achieve accelerated reader goals and enjoy reading, I need to be able to share in that activity as well. Being able to model good learning is often more important than lesson you try to deliver.

Throughout my educational career, I have been fortunate to have been taught by some wonderful teachers and professors. However, this semester I have been interacting with two professors that have really shown me that higher education is progressing nicely along side the digital age.

Dr. Pijanowski during our weekly Elluminate Sessions

Dr. John Pijanowski is an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Arkansas. I am currently enrolled in Dr. P's ethical leadership course, now there are a few things that are a bit "different" about his course. For starters it is an online course, but it's not quite like any online course I have ever taken. Dr. P is unique in the fact that he has found way to make technology work for him even in his graduate courses. In my undergraduate and graduate experience, this is a real rarity. Dr. P uses google pages as his main resource and also implements video updates everyday, discussion board discussions, whole class video conferencing, and a variety of resources that he hotlinks from his main page. Another tool that he has used in our class, that has greatly impacted our online class, is using Elluminate Sessions. Elluminate is a collaborative video conferencing tool that allows us to meet every week face to face....despite the fact that we are all in our homes. He has done something that I that was to be impossible, he has taken an online class and made it just as effective as an on-campus. Also, in the spring and fall semesters he still uses this model to a certain extent. He uses what he calls a "hybrid class", this allows us (his students) to attend class on campus every other week. The weeks that we are not on campus, we meet online. This is a wonderful idea that is truly one of a kind, and I know everyone in his classes appreciate the fact that he is cutting down our commute time.

Dr. Strange's Summer Blog

Dr. John Strange is a professor of professional studies at the University of South Alabama. I am not or ever been enrolled in one of Dr. Strange's courses. However, he has influenced me greatly through his work. Dr. Strange is unusually in the fact that he does not conduct his class in a manner that would be considered "traditional" by college standards. John is preparing his students for a career in education in a progressive way that prepares them to be able to incorporate technology in their classroom. He uses Blogger with his students as a reflection tool, a teaching resource, and a way to introduce new and effective tools for learning. While I am proud of the education I received in during my undergraduate program, I am jealous of Dr. Strange's students. Although I have never been in one of Dr. Strange's classes, I feel like I have from his blogging that he does with his education students. Also his students are buying into it. I receive e-mails and comments from his students each semester about how they are excited about the work that teachers like myself, Mr. Chamberlain, and Mr. Lamshed are doing and that they are finding real value that they can take with them.....which is the key in all this. The fact that his students are learning how to network and collaborate with other educators by building their own personal learning network is truly awesome. Very seldom do you see professors in education departments implementing such technology with their students, and the fact that Dr. Strange is preparing his students to be apart of the a progressive technology movement is something that is very, very cool.

Both of these professors are people that educators can really learn from. Their adaptability to the growing technology world around them is something that is rare in itself. It's not the fact that they are able to use computers and technology, it's the fact that they are using them to serve as a positive purpose and resource in education.

You may be thinking.....your a teacher, you've been on vacation for a month now! Now that I am officially finished with my school courses, I am looking forward to enjoying the month of July. Heading up north to Minnesota next week to enjoy the Twin Cities and watch a little baseball (Win Twins!). So in the meantime, have a fantastic & safe Fourth of July holiday everyone!

Mr. McClung

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blog Check: SMS Guys Read

I am really excited to share with everyone a blog check that quite frankly.....should have been done a looooong time ago. SMS Guys Read is a blog that is composed by Mr. Hutchinson, "slightly unhinged teacher", and a group of middle school students. This group of students can easily be identified by their trucker like handles....such as, El Matador, Rowdy Roddy, The Undertaker, and my personal favorite Junkyard Dog.....I love wrestling names.

They met semi-weekly to discuss books that they find interesting. Their goal is to show the world that guys really do read and enjoy it! Their blog is full of great book reviews, humor, literary smackdowns, and writing as well.....check out their March 10th post on creating Zombie Haikus. High quality blog, I recommend everyone check out their blog from this previous school year and look out for them in the coming school year!

Mr. McClung

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iam An Optimist

I've got a problem. In today's climate of education, it can be very easy to focus the short comings of teachers, and students. I feel like many of the educators I know in my life, have a grim outlook on the direction that education is heading. In conversations, I often find myself being the person that is defending the future of education, and thus I become labeled an "optimist". I feel like today's educational system, teachers, and students are not given enough credit. While it's easy to focus on the negatives, I still hold the view that there is a ton positives going on around us today.

Today I heard an educator presenting a case to other teachers that we need to force our students to be more realistic about their future. This person continued to say "not everyone is going to be a doctor....we need to stop letting them think they will be." I really took offense to this statement.
I believe that we should not try to stifle our student's dreams, but rather encourage them to dream.
As educators, we like to believe we are an excellent at assessing talent and ability in our students, but why do we feel the need to tell students what is best for them? While I do believe that teachers serve as a valuable resource for students, I hate to hear teachers try to label how successful or non-successful they will be. Sometimes we see that those students we attach the non-successful labels to, sometimes they turn out to prove us wrong by breaking the mold.
I am one of those students.
Throughout my high school career I was very underachieving, and that's putting it nicely, I did not fit into the mold of the normal student. An appropriate label for me with have been amount to nothing. I come from a single parent house-hold, grew up in poverty, received free and reduced lunch from k-12, did not hold a high value on education, and did not believe in myself. I said that to say this, if I would have bought into the idea that I could only live up to a certain level of potential that was pre-determined by my environment, I would have never received the education that I have now and would not have the quality of life that I now have.

I believe that we tend to sell our students short on their ability. I am reminded of an old saying that was offered to me as advice when I was a department store salesmen in college.
Don't put a price limit on what the customer can buy.
Meaning, don't sale the customer something cheap because you think they can't afford it, always offer them a variety of options. I think this relates to the world of education very well, it is not our job to put a limit on what our students are capable of doing. It is our job to provide them with opportunities to obtain success.

So....what's the point? Not trying to be negative, nor am I looking for a platform to air my disapproval. As I have stated before, I am very much an optimist and I do believe there is a lot of positive progress that is happening all around me. I see college professors that are jumping on education + technology movement (see Dr. Pijanowski & Dr. Strange). I am also seeing that there are TONS of other teachers out there that are striving to become more than just a normal teacher. Lastly, I know that I cannot control the entire world of education but I can control my Sixth Grade World that I teach, and I will choose to stay positive.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mr. McClung's Top Ten

....wait a minute, wrong top ten list....

A few weeks ago, I asked for suggestions on what were the blog post highlights from the 08'-09' school year. I posted this question on my blog and also on my sixth grade social network that several of my students still use over the summer. I received some great feedback, took it into consideration (along with my own basis), and I now have my top ten list from this past school year. Here we go....
Thanks again to everyone that shared their feedback, and here's to looking forward to another great year of blogging!

Mr. McClung

Teaching 21st Century Life Skills?

Way back in May, during our last two weeks of school, I had a particular student that missed about a weeks worth of school due to the fact that her mother was about to have a baby boy. While this student was gone, I figured that she was probably taking it easy with her mother and new brother. To my surprise, when she returned to school she informed me that while she was gone she had created a Google docs slide show of pictures of her baby brother. I was not surprised that she wanted to share the excitement that she experienced, I was surprised that she took an application that we have used numerous times in the classroom and used it for a real life situation outside of the classroom. Below is the slide show she created.

This got me thinking.....
.....what activities and exercises that we use in our classrooms have a real world value attached with them?
When I taught Macy and her classmates how to use Google docs, I could have easily complete whatever the assignment was on paper, but because I didn't she learned how to use a new tool.

The fact of the matter is, in today's communication age it is important to understand how technology works. It is important to learn how to use web based applications, social networking, and how to conduct research using the internet. Technology is a powerful tool, but only if you know how to use it appropriately.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, June 7, 2009

National Science Teachers Association Feature

Last night I stumbled across some hits coming to my blog from an unfamiliar website. Naturally, being a FEEDJIT junkie, I followed the traffic and found the National Science Teachers Association Website. The fine folks behind this wonderful teacher resource tool decided to feature out classblog on their website. Here is what was said:
Missouri teacher Joe McClung’s blog includes his science lessons and labs, descriptions and examples of student work, and links to additional resources and online networking.
I am so thrilled that they thought enough of our work to included us on their website. So, to the people behind NSTA I would like to say Thank You, and to other teachers out there I would like to invite you to visit this wonderful website, it really is a wonderful resource for science teachers.

Mr. McClung

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Little Help From My Friends....

I am currently working on a top ten blog post list from this previous school year. For me, I have a hard time only picking out ten because I am bit partial to the author ;)
So I thought I would ask my friends and guest, if you have a previous blog post that you particularly enjoyed, please just drop me a comment about which blog post you enjoyed the most. Thank you everyone!

Mr. McClung

Summer Time

As of May 22nd, Noel Elementary has dismissed for summer break. Due to summer break, there will be no regular blog post and no video streaming, who wants to watch an empty classroom....honestly. We will return to school in mid August, have a great summer everyone, and I'll see you in the fall!

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What I've Learned This Year

When I arrived in Noel, Missouri last fall I was entering my first year of being a teacher. Being young and inexperienced, I did not fully know what to expect from being an elementary school teacher. Since last August I have grown and matured as a person and a teacher, and in the process I have learned a TON. So, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share with you what it is that I have learned in my first year of teaching.

How to Read the Crowd
Throughout my college education and teaching internship, I developed a mindset that it was all about me the teacher. Meaning that I was so worried about how I was being assessed by my superiors, that I lost touch with my audience when I delivered a lesson. A common theme that I have seen in a lot of teachers is the fact that they do not make their lessons student centered. They become so concerned with the delivery of the content that they are missing the most important aspect of teaching, and that is checking for student comprehension.

I fell like that this year I have developed immensely in regards to this aspect of teaching. In order to be effective you have to be able to let your audience drive your instruction.

Be Flexible
I have a way I want things done.....sound familiar? While we as instructors like to plan "perfect" lessons, we have to remember that we are performing in front of a crowd the struggles remembering what they brought for lunch that day.
At the beginning of the school year I felt like I was trying to control things way too much, and I would beat myself up over lessons and activities that did not go well. I had to get over this. While I always plan to have that elusive perfect lesson, I don't let it get to me and I do not kill myself over my mistakes any more. When things go wrong, simply work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face!

Communication is the best medicine....I know no one has ever experienced workplace drama, but just in case you know someone who knows a friend that does.....they need to talk it out. Communicating is the best way to resolve any issue in the workplace.

In addition, communication is the pathway to building that much desired rapport with fellow teachers. I know that sounds obvious, but communication is one of the hardest skills to develop, so practice all you can and build those strong relationships with teachers and students.

Be Reasonable
As teachers we hold very high expectations for our students....sometimes they live up to those expectations, and sometimes they don't. Often we build our expectations too high for students, and become upset when they do not meet the expectation.
Teachers can sometimes really loose touch and forget that we are dealing with children. They are not perfect and neither are we. While its fine to have lofty goals for our students, we set our students up for disappointment when a goal is not met and we scold them for not coming through. Our job as teachers is to simply pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again.

Don't be Afraid of Technology
Grown adults everywhere are afraid of computers like it's a bad horror film and computers are trying to take over the world. Technology is our friend and is essential to living in our microwave society of today. We should not become overwhelmed by technology and simply give up before we start. We cannot expect to master computer skills the first time we attempt them, so jump in head first....the water feels fine :)

Listen to Your Students
You may be the only person that does. Below is an example of a answer that one of my students listed on their end of the year survey that really spoke to me:
I know my teacher cares about me as a person when he.
- Listens to what I say
While this may seem like a standard issue answer to such a question, it spoke volumes to me. I truly believe that teachers do not know enough about the students they are teaching. In order to build the respect that we all seek in a student teacher relationship, it is important to take interest their the lives of our students. It's that important.

Lastly....Never Stop Learning
It's never too late to change your way of thinking, learning, or style. We do everything short of beg students to learn on a daily basis, but sadly some of us refuse to learn and grow as professional educators. We work in a learning environment, so why not soak up as much as you can? We owe it to our students.

In closing I would like to thank everyone that has made my first year of teaching something truly magical. Teachers, parents, bloggers, and of course students....thank you to everyone.

Mr. McClung

Talent Show

We held our annual talent show of the last day of school. Our talent show consists of students grades 3-8 and features singing, dancing, and much more. Below are some of the videos from last Friday's action.

The Dead Fish performing their "synchronized swimming" act

Fifth grader Devin and his version of the robot.

Fifth grader Mark and his dance performance.

Sixth grader Arota performing a Native Samoan dance, second place winner.

....and of course our first place winner in the 6-8 division, Jeff singing and playing Simple Man.

Last but not least, the Valencia Brothers stop by the school to perform a dance routine.

Part 2 of their performance.

A job well done by everyone, and what an excellent way to close out the year on such a high note.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Last Day of School

Friday, May 22nd marked the end of our 08-09 school year. Below are a view pictures from last Friday.

Fidel and Ryan cleaning out their lockers in preparation for the summer break.

My homeroom students writing goodbye messages on my white board.

Students enjoying their last Throwdown of the year.

Class photo of students that were present on the last day.

I could not have asked for a better situation for my first year of teaching. I have been surrounded by outstanding colleagues, abundance of resources and technology, and of course an excellent group of students. I will truly miss each and everyone of my students from this year and I wish them luck in junior high.

Mr. McClung

Friday, May 22, 2009

Field Day '09

Last Wednesday we held our annual track and field day at school. Field Day consist of several different activities and competitions in which students compete against fellow classmates. Activities for this event consist of the following:
  • 50-Yard Dash
  • Sack Race
  • Three-legged Race
  • Basketball Shoot-out
  • Tug-of-war
  • Team Relay Race
Below are some of the highlights from last week's events.

Omar winning the 50 yard dash

Anahi crossing the finish line in the sack race

Valerie and Naomi finishing first, while everyone else stumbles in the three-legged race

My class getting dominated in the tug-of-war

After the the outside activities were over, my class spent sometime practicing our Speed Stacks

Mr. McClung

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jane Hamm

Jane Hamm is a fellow sixth grade teacher here at Noel Elementary, and has been apart of this school since 1983. Earlier this school year, Jane announced that she would be retiring at school's end. With this being the last week of school, much of this week we have been celebrating Jane's career in a multitude of ways, and I wanted to make my two cents heard as well.

At the beginning of this school year, I was very fortunate to have Jane appointed as my first year teacher mentor. Coming into this year I had very average expectations about what my first year of teaching would hold. However, through her guidance and support she helped prepare me for the challenge ahead and she absolutely blew me away. Jane is not your typical teacher, in fact she is the type of teacher that can really bring out the best in a person. Even though I have doubted myself many times this year, her confidence in me has never faltered one bit. Not only has she taken me and helped me become a good teacher, she also makes you want to better yourself as a person.

I truly feel that genuine people in this world are very hard to come by, and when you do find that type of person you better hold on tight and absorb as much from time from that person. Jane is one of those genuine one in a million type of people that can, and do make impacts others lives. She cannot be replaced, and her leadership and companionship will be greatly missed in Noel Elementary. Here's to a happy retirement, and I wish you all the best.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Honor Roll

As we begin to wrap up our school to prepare for summer break, Tuesday we held our Honor Roll assembly to recognize academic excellence. Below are all the awards for sixth grade.

All A's for second semester: Courtney, Cendy, Carlos, Yolanda, and Wade

All A's for both semesters....and perfect attendance, Yolanda

All A's & B's for second semester: Francisco, Ben, Kirestin, Trystan, Ashley, Yessy, Kiley, Cheyenne, Kyle Tanner, Dillion, Shelby, Ricky, Jeff, and Ryan

All A's & B's both semesters: Ben, Kirestin, Trystan, Ashley, Yessy, Tanner, dillion, Ricky, and Jeff

Congratulations to everyone!

Mr. McClung

Last Tie Tuesday

Pictured above is our resident tie instructor Fidel showing Elio how to tie a half windsor.

All good things must come to an end....and just like that we have had our last Tie Tuesday of '08-'09. Although this was my first go around with Tie Tuesday, it has been a huge success at Noel Elementary. With help for Mr. C and his 'rent-a-tie' campaign, we have had great turn out every Tuesday. Next year I am looking to improve as always, and perhaps our friends from New Zealand and Australia can join in on the activities next school year.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Opposing Points of View

The past two weeks of school we have been spending time reading the book The Outsiders. In the story there are two different social groups, The Greasers and The Socs. The Greasers are characterized by their greasy hair and their lack of social status. The Greasers are also known for having all the bad luck and never catching breaks. The Socs come from wealthy families and affect a haughty and proud demeanor, especially around the greasers who they seek to mock.

The Assignment

We divided our class into Greasers and Socs, The Greasers were asked to post their point of view on a discussion board. It was then the job of the Socs to go behind them and post a counterpoint to their point of view. Each student will be asked to start an argument with a opposing student in our class about the murder that took place in our book. You can view our greaser vs. social argument by clicking here.

Today we will begin to wrap up our discussion of The Outsiders, as we finish our study books and prepare to watch the movie.

Mr. McClung

Monday, May 18, 2009

Razorbacks Invade Australia

Their calling the hogs in Australia! Well maybe not, but we can work on it....

Recently our class received a care package from Mr. Lamshed that included an Aussie Rules Footy and some swag from his favorite team the Adelaide Crows. I decided to return the favor sending some Arkansas Razorback gifts to Mr. Lamshed and his class.

The next step? Possibly a Skype lesson with Mr. Lamshed and his class on how to call the hogs.....maybe we can even get Mr. Lamshed on video performing the hog call! Here's to wishing....

Mr. McClung

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Periodic Table Project

For our final project for the year, students will be investigating the periodic table. Students will be studying the periodic table by focusing on finding the following information about each element:

  • Periodic Table information
  • Number of protons, neutrons, and electrons
  • Discovery information (person and date
  • Important uses
  • Pictures that illustrate one or more uses for the element (on the back)

Each student will place these elements onto a trading card, just like the one pictured above. The idea is to create a card, just like a baseball card, that has a picture on one side and stats about the element on the other. After all our research is done, students will swap cards to retrieve information from one another to fill in their black periodic table that I have given them.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tie Tuesday Instructional Video

Sometime last month, Mr. C began renting ties to students for a quarter so that they could participate in Tie Tuesday. However, a problem started to arise. We had students in fifth and sixth grade running around with ties that were not tied at all or tied incorrectly. So with the help of Fidel from Mrs. Drake's Class, we created a short instructional video on how to tie a simple half windsor knot.

Tie Tuesday, promoting professionalism one tie at a time!

Mr. McClung

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Outsiders

For the remainder of the school year (two weeks), my homeroom class will be focusing on the novel The Outsiders. The book is written by S. E. Hinton, and was published when Hinton was only sixteen. The book is a coming of age tale of two rival groups, the Greasers and the Socs (short for socials). The story follows a 14 year old Greaser named Ponyboy Curtis, his brothers, and everyone in their gang. However, throughout the book Ponyboy and his friends face a constant conflict with the Socs. Throughout the next two weeks, my class will be preparing blog post, reflections (using Vocaroo), and create a novel study book.

Mr. McClung

Calculating Air Density

Today in science class, we continued our discussion of density by calculating the density of air. Students were given a list of procedures and a set of materials. Among those materials included a bottle filled to the brim with water, a rubber valve, a rubber washer, and a hand pump to pull air out of the bottle.

Students were asked to remove the water from the bottle by using a graduated cylinder to measure the volume of the bottle. Once the bottle was emptied, students were asked to find the mass of the bottle, valve, and washer combined.

Once mass was measured, students then used the pump to pull as much air out of the bottle as possible, once majority of the air was removed from the bottle, students reweighed the bottle and calculated the mass of the air.

Lastly, we pulled all of our information together and calculated the density of air. As you can see from our table below, the density of air ranged from .0003 to .0012 centimeters squared.

On Tuesday we will finished our discussion about density, and begin to move forward and focus on heat.

Mr. McClung

Density Lab

In science class this past week, we have been practicing finding the volume and density of blocks, irregular objects, and liquids.. In order to find volume and density we have practiced learning two formulas, below is a short video of how we have been learning the formulas for density and volume.

Volume = Length x Width x Height & Density = Mass / Volume

Among the different activities, students learned how to find the density of wax blocks, plastic blocks, metal screws, copper cylinders, and plastic spacers. Students calculated the density of each object and then compared their densities to water by dropping them in water containers to see if they would sink or float.

In addition, we also created density columns using different types of liquids. Below is a picture of a density column that I created using (from top to bottom) oil, water, and corn syrup. Students were asked to calculate the density of each liquid and then check to see if their calculations were correct by creating a density column.

On Monday, we will revisit our lesson on density as we move forward in our discussions of properties of matter.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sixth Grade Field Trip

Last Thursday our sixth grade took a field trip to the Bluff Dwellers Cavern located here in Noel, Missouri. The cave was first discovered in 1925, the entrances to this cave had been hidden from man for more than 3000 years by a landslide. During excavations after it's discovery, artifacts were discovered that turned out to be substantial. Arrowheads, grinding stones, tools made of bone and skeletal remains that date back to as early as 5000 B.C.

In addition to our tour of this cavern, students spent the remainder of the day eating lunch and playing games. Below is a slideshow from Thursday's trip.

Mr. McClung

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pinata Bash

Due to the rain postponing our Cinco de Mayo celebration on Tuesday, we busted open our class pinatas on Wednesday. The pinata is a staple of celebrations and parties in the Mexican culture. For our pinata bash students were first blind folded, spun around several times, then given a stick to swing at the pinata while anther student lowers and raises the pinata to make it more difficult. Once the pinata is hit, candy falls everywhere and kids go crazy. Below are some highlights from our pinata bash.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday marks the day of the Mexican Holiday Cinco de Mayo. The "fifth of May" is a regional holiday that is celebrated primaryly in the state of Puebla. The holiday mmemorates the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. The date is perhaps best recognized in the United States as a date to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick's Day.

Our sixth grade held a celebration for Cinco de Mayo, however it did rain on our parade. We had planned to do a variety of outside activities, but the nasty weather kept us inside....but that did not stop us. below are some videos and pictures from today's action.

The spread of food that was donated by businesses, parents, and staff members.

Showing off my borrowed poncho.

Cendy and Carmen showing off their dance moves.

My homeroom class performing the limbo.

Although we were not able to participate in all the schedule activities, we still had a great time. Tomorrow we plan on capping off our Cinco de Mayo celebration when we tear into our pinatas (weather permitting), there will be video present!

Mr. McClung

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reading Buddies w/ Mrs. Polzer's Class

On Friday sixth grade students paired up with third grade students from Mrs. Polzer's class during their reading classes. Third graders were asked to read their selected book while the big kids listened and provided correction when appropriate.

This proved to be a fantastic exercise. Not only did the third grade students get the opportunity to practice their reading skills, but this was also beneficial for my students to practice skills they have previously learned and teach it to other children of varying ability.

Did you hear that? That little bit of buzz that is going on throughout the classroom....I absolutely love that sound. That is what great learning and interaction sounds like, and it music to my ears!

I am so proud of the positive attitudes my students displayed throughout this session, and I am ecstatic about their excitement to do it again. We will continue this practice for the remainder of the school year, and I look forward to posting more updates.

Mr. McClung

Friday, May 1, 2009

Care Package From Mr. Lamshed

At last! We received our package we have been expecting from Mr. Lamshed of Australia. After a conversation with Mr. Lamshed last month, our class begin research of the popular sport of Australian Rules Football. Pleased with our efforts, Mr. Lamshed prepared a care package containing team photos, stickers, lanyards, and our own official Aussie Footy

My students were geeked to receive these goodies that Mr. Lamshed was kind enough to send us. Thanks once again to Mr. Lamshed, we look forward to returning the favor!

Mr. McClung

Jersey Friday

No matter if you are 7 or 70, everyone has a "team". You know that team that you have followed since you were a kid, or maybe a team that you remember watching your with your parents on TV growing up. It could be local high school team, the team of your former college, or even a pro team on the other side of the country, we all love being able to cheer for "our team".

With that in mind, earlier this semester with the help of Mr. C, we implemented Jersey Friday on casual Fridays with our fifth and sixth grade classes. Even since this bi-weekly event has really picked up steam, below are a few of the notable jerseys around our school today:

Ariana supporting Club Chivas

Mrs. Angeles supporting her favorite soccer team

Mrs. Greer showing her New Jersey roots by supporting Rutgers Football.

Ms. Owens supporting the orange crush of the Denver Broncos

By far the highlight of the day, Mr. Sovereign going old school with the Dick Butkus #51 of the Chicago Bears

It feels good to experience the highs and lows that come along with following a sports team, and it is a great emotion that everyone can experience. Friday, why not start Jersey Friday at your school/work?

Mr. McClung

Thursday, April 30, 2009

McDonald County Spelling Bee

Yolanda from Mrs. Drake's Class

Yesterday McDonald County held it's district wide spelling bee. Grades 1-8 participated in this spelling bee, below is a list of notable winners from Noel Schools:
1st Grade - Aidan, fifth place
3rd Grade - Kayla, fourth place
4th Grade - Hannah, third place
5th Grade - Parker, fouth place
6th Grade -Yolanda, second place
7th Grade - Nathan, second place
8th Grade - David, third place
Overall, Noel students had a terrific showing at the spelling bee, outstanding performance by all those to participated.

Mr. McClung

Terrific Tiger - April

Today we honored our Terrific Tigers for the month of April. Each one of these student from sixth grade has performed extremely well in both academics and as a citizenship. Each student has proven to be excellent examples of what hard work and determination look like, job well done by everyone!

Devin from Mrs. Drake's Class, Ashely from Mrs. Hamm's Class, and Colby from my homeroom.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Throwdown Thursday

Ahhhh....yes! Another week, another throwdown!

For those not familiar with what with Throwdown Thursday, it is a weekly event that my students and I have developed. Students partner up with a classmate and label themselves as number ones and two. Number one student will then perform a dance or movement and the number two student must replicate the same movement. This will continue on for about ten minutes while students take turns. The whole concept is built about coming to school, hearing some good music, dancing a little bit, and breaking a sweat in the process. Not a bad deal, huh? I prepare my playlist for another Throwdown Thursday, I can't help but to think about some of the great dances in history....let's take a look.

"....more like a full body dry heave set to music...." - Oh yeah, the famous Elaine dance. Characterized by it's "little kicks" and "thumbs". May be best to NOT do this one in public.

Nobody gets down like the Fresh Prince. Carlton and Will show us the importance team work.

Who could forget this internet juggernaut, definitely wins the award for best dance using props.

The great thing about dancing is that you do not have to great at it to have fun, thank goodness....So, no matter if you are a professional, or if you have to depend on "little kicks" to get yourself on the dance floor, add a little rhythm to your day and enjoy yourself on this Throwdown Thursday.

Mythbusters - Double Dip

Earlier this week we put a nice bow on our diversity of life unit. We concluded by watching our favorite science show, Mythbusters. Seeing that we just finished our lesson over bacteria, we decided to watch an episode that dealt with a classic germiphobe myth.....the double dip.

In episode of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie take on this myth (among others) by using very similar materials that we have used in our previous lessons. The task was to take agar petri dishes and swab them with samples from the two dips, cream based (sour cream) and liquid based (salsa). After the samples were collected, they then took samples after double dipping and a sample from spitting dip back into the bowl.

So is double dipping really as bad as putting your whole mouth in the bowl? After a long process Adam and Jamie came to the conclusion that there are far more germs already living in the dips themselves and that double dipping did not produce enough bacteria to make enough of a difference.

So naturally myself and my students decided to test this experiment ourselves. We set up a experiment in which we took samples of my mouth, chips, salsa, and of course my double dip. After letting our petri dishes sit for the weekend, here are our results.

Mouth - Despite the fact that I own the dirtiest water bottle in town, the sample from my mouth did not produce any sufficient colonies of bacteria.

Chip - The sample from the chip did produce several colonies, the most noticeable the one located at the top of the petri dish.

Salsa - As you can see, this dish produced the most bacteria colonies in our experiment, there are about ten colonies that can seen in this photo.

Double Dip - Finally the double dip produced the about the same about of colonies as the regular salsa did, proving that I did not transmit a sufficient amount of bacteria into the salsa.

Just the same as Adam and Jamie, my students and I called this one busted. As you can see from the pictures, a germiphobe should be more concerned about the salsa they are eating instead of the double tell the germiphobe in your life to just relax.

Mr. McClung