Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Day

Somewhere underneath all that blue and pink stuff on the map is Arkansas and Missouri. No school today as we continue to receive more freezing rain, sleet, and even a little snow. Looking like we will not continue back to school until Thursday or so. In the meantime, since I can't leave the house, I will be spending a lot of time with my Xbox.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Scientific Method Explored

Now that we have selected our topics for science fair, on Monday we will explore the scientific method and the role it will play in our experiments. We are going to use one of my favorite TV shows, Myth Busters, to preform this task. We are going to use this show to study the different steps of the scientific method.

Every episode of Myth Busters uses this method, and we are going to break down a video that asks the question, can a person's voice can break glass? This will help aide use in our future investigations of our science experiments. Above is the video that we will be watching in class.

Mr. McClung

Friday, January 23, 2009

Student Composed Ballads

This past week our students have been studying ballads. Ballads are poems that tell a story. They date back to medieval times and were told by singers called Minstrels. We have focused on two famous ballads in particular, Lord Randall and Barbra Allen. These are two classic stories of love, heartbreak, and death. Aspects to all good relationship, right???

Our students have enjoyed reading both ballads and have even started preparing their own ballads. Click on the link below to check out our class ballads written thus far.

Mr. McClung

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Home for Class Videos

Created using Obamicon

Using our Ning website has become my new hobby. Everyday I use our online classroom I discover something new about the program. The newest feature that I have found, that is making my life a whole lot easier, is our new video section. With this feature I can now load videos in large bulk and also use it to host my videos so that I can embed them wherever I please. This is a vast improvement from the lighting quick loading speed of Blogger....Feel free to check it out, I do not have all of our videos loaded, but the majority of them are there.
Video Library

Mr. McClung

Microcsope Scope Lab 2

We continued our use of microscopes today as I introduced two new objects to my students. Along with the observations from the clipping of the newspaper "e" they made yesterday, students were asked to draw their observations of a feather and a picture from a magazine that they viewed using a microscope.

The top picture is of the setup we used to view the feather, using a 4x objective. I was able to manipulate my camera to get a picture of what the field of view looked like. Students were impressed with the fact that all of these pictures were made up of such little dots.

Once again, the top picture is our standard dry mount setup with two slides and a feather. In the bottom field of view picture, you can see the stem of the feather with all of the vane extending from it. Most students compared this picture to fish bones, and also commented on the small hair like objects extending from the stem. Tomorrow we will continue our use of the microscopes, examining different objects and using different objectives.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Introduction to Microscopes

After the craziness that was inauguration day yesterday, we were able to return to some normalcy today. We started our science lesson by giving a general introduction to microscopes.

Students were given two slides and a small clipping of a letter from a newspaper, and asked to make a dry mount using these materials. Students were then asked to make observations based upon their findings.

We will continue using the microscopes tomorrow, looking at different materials. We are working our way up to looking at aquatic life forms, which we should start in a week or so.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2009

Wow, America can really put on a show....
Today we were able to witness a new chapter in American History. Today brings a great time of hope and change. It also means a lot of different things to many different people.

Students, your assignment for communication arts is to reply to the question, "what does this day mean to you?" Be as descriptive as possible, feel free to explain any feelings or thoughts about the speech and the inauguration. Visitors, feel free to add your thoughts as well.

Mr. McClung

Inauguration Webcast

Below is a link to CBS News Webcast coverage of the 2008 inauguration.

Tie Tuesday: Obama Addition

How about that....even President Bush and President-elect Obama have heard about Tie Tuesday. Below are some photos of others that joined us in Tie Tuesday.

Fourth grader, Hanna

Third grade teacher, Mrs. Greer

Levi (Mrs. Drake's Class), Macy (Mr. McClung's Class), Courtney (Mr. McClung's Class), and Jeff (Mrs. Drake's Class)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.....

.....with a little help from our friend Dr. Seuss.

With today being MLK Day, the sixth grade teachers decided that we would use Jim Crow Laws to help us with the explanation of the civil rights movement, and how important MLK actually was. We used Dr. Seuss' book The Sneetches to help us do this. In the story The Sneetches, there are two types of Sneetches, those with stars on their bellies and those with none on thars.

So we separated our students into star bellies and non-stars. These students were labeled with little red stars that they wore on their face or hand. The non-star group was not allowed to use the same textbooks, water fountains, bathrooms, or desk as the star students. They were even split up at lunch; star students were allowed to sit anywhere, and non-stars were made to sit at one cramped table. Also, students without stars were not given the same amount of help on classwork that the students without stars were given. This activity was very frustrating to many of the students, and it helped them catch a glimpse of what education was like during theJim Crow era.

McKoy explaining the connection between the Sneetches and civil rights

Levy explaining what he learned from doing the stars vs. non-stars activity

Colby comparing the Sneetches to Jim Crow Laws

Cendy Explaining what she learned from reading the Sneetches

My homeroom class was also asked to compare and contrast the videos we watched about civil rights and education to The Sneetches on Ning. Click on the link below to view their responses.

Mr. McClung

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Pure Unadulterated Joy of Paper....

Ahhhhh......paper, paper, paper....
On Friday we were able to get our hands on a some soon to be recycled paper. How much you ask? Enough paper to make Dunder Mifflin jealous. You may also ask, "what did we do with this paper", well we threw it at each other......DUH!

My favorite part is Francisco pegging Cendy with the whole stack of papers...very nice!

On Fridays we reward our students with activity time. Students earn this time through their work, effort, and behavior during the week. This week we used a team building activity that included paper. Students were put into groups and asked to build a tower as high as possible using only paper.

After we finished with the towers students were given 30 seconds to release all their rage towards homework on this poor unsuspecting pile of paper. As you can see, they had an "OK" time.

Mr. McClung

Class Notes - Ning

Another advantage that Ning provides for us is the ability feature class notes. This will serve a couple of purposes for us. Number one, if a students is absent a day, they can log on to our online classroom and review what was missed for that day. Also, students can access these notes anytime from home to help with studying or homework. Below is a link to our class notes page, feel free to check them out.
Class Notes

Mr. McClung

Is Anything Alive: Day 3

Today we made our final observations with our vials and discovered there was a lot more going on than we thought.

One of the biggest discoveries we made was that substance E (shrimp eggs), started moving. Its very hard to see but if you look closely you can see the eggs move a little in the video above.

Also our radish seeds started to sprout more and more today.

Throughout the past three days, we have been able to discover the identities of these materials and we have also found out which at living and which are not. More important we have found out that certain materials have to be in the appropriate environment to grow. Here are our final conclusions:
A. Red Sand - Nonliving in all liquids
B. Yeast - Only living in sugar water, sugar provides food for yeast to live
C. Poly Crystals - Nonliving in all substances, they do not consume, they absorb
D. Radish Seeds - Living in all liquids
E. Brine Shrimp Eggs - Living only in salt water

Mr. McClung

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is Anything Alive: Day 2

Today is the second day of our lab observations with the secret materials we introduced yesterday. It has paid off because today we are starting to see some signs of life.
One of the materials we used yesterday was radish seeds. Above is a picture of one of our radish seeds starting to split and grow, a characteristic of living thing.The most dramatic change we saw in comparison from today and yesterday was the polyacrylate crystals. These crystals are able to absorb up to 300 times their own size in water. Above is a picture of these crystals in salt water and one in sugar water. The crystals in the salt water did not absorb near as much as the other.
Lastly we were able to see evidence of life in a third material, yeast. The vial on the left contains yeast and sugar water, the one on the right contains yeast and regular water. As you can see, the yeast in the sugar water is reacting to the sugar water and starting to emit a gas (look at the bubbles). We will continue with our final day of observations tomorrow.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


This week our students have been working on limericks in communication arts. Limericks is a humorous poem of five lines. The first, second, and last lines all rhyme with each other, as do the third and fourth. Also the first, second, and last lines have three accented syllables. the third and fourth have two.

My class has posted their limericks on Ning, our online classroom. You can read their limericks by clicking here.

Mr. McClung

Is Anything Alive in Here????

Today we switched gears as we left the science fair behind for a few days and continued our work in diversity of life. Previously we had set guidelines for what makes something living or non-living. Some of these guidelines or characteristics featured movement, breathing, consuming energy, etc...

Students were asked to conduct a investigation involving secret materials (not that big of a secret). Students set up vials that contained these materials and a solution (either water, water+salt, or water+sugar). Then they made observations to help us decided whether the materials were living or non-living.

This will be a three day lab for us, we will continue observing for the next two days until we make our final conclusion.

Mr. McClung

Be the Backseat Boss

On Tuesday we held an assembly for seat belt safety. In this assembly our students learned a variety of ways to to be safe in the car in different situations and have a little bit of fun while as well.
The video below is a demonstration of how a seat belt should always be worn in the car. The lap belt is meant to fit across a person's hips and the chest belt is needs to fit across a persons chest and over their shoulder.

This is a powerful demonstrate of how powerful a airbag blast can be. Students were asked to guess at what miles per hour a airbag is deployed. Answers were all over the place, but the answer was over 200 MPH. Check out the video, and listen to how loud the blast is.

Lastly, one of the presenters displayed his beatboxing ability. He used this deliver a worth while message. "Be the Backseat Boss", this means to be the boss of the car and make sure you and everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt correctly.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tie Tuesday ©

What started out as a excuse for me to put some of the ties that have been in my closet for the past year to good use, has now created a buzz around the school. No one really knows when Tie Tuesday began, but it was sometime last semester. I would simply just wear a tie on Tuesday. No big deal, right?

After awhile students started to catch on, and so did Mrs. Hamm. Then one morning Mrs. Hamm decided to present Tie Tuesday to everyone during Rise and Shine. Ever since, people know me for Tie Tuesday. At that point it was on, the word of Tie Tuesday spread like wild fire through the streets of Noel. Even people that I had never spoken to in the building before were reminding me on Monday to wear a tie on Tuesday. Crazy I know....

After putting some thought into, and with some input from my students, we need to take this Tie Tuesday thing nationally. Think about it! With everyone asking for bailouts these days, the tie market is sure to be the next cooperate juggernaut to ask for a bailout. If we installed a national Tie Tuesday every week, we can single handily save an American trademark a.k.a. the tie. Tie sales would be out the roof, and who knows maybe we this is what we need to end this silly recession.....ok, maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

The point is, why not wear a tie on Tuesday? Lets all face, ties make us look better.....and you never know, the American economy could depend on it! In the meanwhile, check out some pictures from some faithful Tie Tuesday © followers....oh yeah, I am going to copyright it....

Mrs. Polzer (our favorite 3rd grade teacher)

Jeff from Mrs. Drake's class

Mr. McClung

Academic Accolades

Our first Academic Accolades of the new semester! What a way to start the year out for these young ladies.
First off we have Jasmin from Mrs. Drake's class, Sasha from Mr. McClung's class....doesn't she look excited? Lastly we have Kirsten from Mrs. Hamm's class
Congratulations girls.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blog Check: Jenny B. Jones

I wanted to start the week off right with a blog check from Jenny B. Jones. Not only does Jenny have a blog that is well worth reading, but she is also a author of a Christian book series for teens.
You can check out her books by clicking here. Or click here to check out her blog. Enjoy!

Mr. McClung

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Power of Negative Thinking

In our classroom we have a little motto that I use quite frequently. This motto is "stay positive", it is a simple motto that I adopted from one of my favorite songs by The Hold Steady. Despite this being the motto of our class, negative thinking still rears its ugly head from time to time.

After reading Mr. C's post about the power of negative thinking I decided to conduct my own negative thinking experiment.

This is Omar. He is well known in class for his negative thinking. In fact his favorite phrase is "Mr....I am so bored..." I used Omar as an example hoping we could fix this way of thinking....but it was too late. We measured him before and after lunch, and unfortunately he shrunk 2 inches in height. Mrs. Hamm and myself were shocked. Omar did not take this news well either, as this could drastically effect his basketball career.

There is hope though, our entire class is dedicated to helping Omar change his way of thinking and become a more positive person. Hopefully with a little help from his friends, he can gain those precious inches back.

Mr. McClung

Penny Yearbook

Our communication arts project for this week was our penny yearbook. Students have been researching very hard at school as well as at home. With more information about this yearbook here is Fidel (Mrs. Drake's Class), Harson and Sasha (both from my class).

As stated in the video, students have been researching everything from movies, to music, to old family stories to complete this yearbook. Our students have really put a lot of effort into this yearbook thus far and have also learned a great deal along the way.

All of this talk about reliving past family memories started many "campfire" style story telling amongst my students. I have been very proud of how positive our students have been towards this project, and their willingness to step up and really make it their own.

We will continue to work into next week, and I will update everyone on the finish project once we are done.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

High Traffic Area

Lab experiments do not always go off without a hitch.....today was a perfect example. While trying to collect samples for our minipods today, I found myself directing traffic between my students and the tractor that was cleaning up from the mobile classrooms that were recently removed. Don't worry, we managed.....somehow.

Mr. McClung

Aquatic Organism Minipods

We began our study of life forms today by preparing mini-pods to study aquatic organisms. Our students collected samples of soil, grass/leafs, and water.
In this experiment we did have a control and a variable. In two of the classes we used regular water from the sink, and in Mrs. Drake's Class we used water from a koi pond from outside.

They used these materials to create a habitat for aquatic organisms to grow. This will help us when we begin our lesson on aquatic life forms.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

....and we're back....

Today was the first day for students to return. We kicked off the new semester by starting a new unit in science class. We are switching our focus from catastrophic events to diversity of life. In this unit we will be studying various life forms and their characteristics.

To start our lesson, today we focused on what it means for something to be living or non-living. The video above is of a substance called camphor. We placed this substance in a petri dish on an overhead projector to observe how reacts to water. As you can see from the video, the substance moved in a various patterns and directions. The question the students had to answer was "is this substance alive?" In addition we took sometime to categorize objects as either living, non-living, and undecided.

Tomorrow we will continue our discussion about what defines a living thing, and we will also create mini-pods as well.

Mr. McClung

Monday, January 5, 2009


It seems that my blog roll has been deleted....not sure how but it has. If you would like to be included on our classrooom's blogroll, please speak up and give us a comment! I will try my best to restore it as it was. Thanks!

Mr. McClung

Science Fair

Flow Chart for The Scientific Method

Students, I have re-posted this entry so that we can ready ourselfs for the new semester and our science fair. Due to the snow days we had at the end of last month we were not able to follow this assignment through. Later this week we will use the resources in this post to start our science fair process!

We are also starting to use new technology in our classroom that will help us with our science fair projects as well. As of Monday, our class will have its own social network provided by Ning. We are very excited about the opportunities this will provide our classroom and we'll provide more information as we further develop our network.

A second use of technology we will be using this week is Discovery Education's Science Fair Central. This is a great resource for science fair goers, and provides many reliable resources.

Mr. McClung

Friday, January 2, 2009

Williamsburg, VA

To the stocks! Thank goodness I didn't have to stay long.....
Below are a few pictures from Colonial Williamsburg, VA. Majority of the pictures are of a reenactment of the beginning of the Revolutionary war, a marching band, and an reenactment of slavery issues. Enjoy!

Mr. McClung