Thursday, February 26, 2009

Science Fair Awards

Here we go....

Biology Winners:
1) Trisha Dowd
2) Wade Schmidt - 6th Grade
3) Yessy Dominguez - 6th Grade
Honorable Mention- Daniel Vaca
Honorable Mention- Felicia Davidson

Chemistry Winners:
1) Macy Swink - 6th Grade
2) Shelby Woodward
3) Shelby Tweedy
Honorable Mention- Jose Rocha
Honorable Mention- Mikayla Fiorito

Earth Science Winners:
1) Irving Ceron
2) Trystan Faulkner - 6th Grade
3) Ana Hernandez
Honorable Mention- Karla Gonzalez
Honorable Mention- Jacob Porterfield

Physical Science Winners:
1) Katy Brisco
2) Grant Strickland
3) Kaylen Lang
Honorable Mention- Leanna Taylor
Honorable Mention- Alex Richmond

Best Presenter:
Biology- Garry Martinez
Earth- Blanca Dulito
Chemistry- Macy Swink - 6th Grade
Physical- Tristen Sumner - 6th Grade

The science fair consisted of grades 6th-8th, and I could not be more proud of our 6th graders. This was their first year to enter a science fair, and they were up against students that have had 1 and 2 years of experience. Outstanding job by all, and I am so glad to see that our 6th graders were able to pick up some awards along the way. Below are other notable winners. Congratulations everyone.

Best in Show - Trevyn Faulkner

Best in Grade:
6th- Trystan Faulkner
7th- Nariah Wilson
8th- Kyler Finley

Mr. McClung

Classroom Without Walls

Today we performed our normal microscope lab, except we did something a little bit different. Today marked our first test run of using chat as a discussion tool in class. Students were given instruction in our classroom as normal, but when they entered the lab room, they had to depend on my written instruction on Ning. Today we used Ning Chat to aide in our discussion. Students were given lab directions on Ning, and I would also use the chat to start discussions between all the students.

With this being our first test run, I am pleasantly surprised. The thing I was most impressed with was classroom discipline. I was fully excepting classroom disruptions, but students were glued to the screen. Students did not have enough time to be disruptive because I was constantly posting information on the chat. I found this to be an effective tool for directions and Q & A.

Below is a round table discussion that I had with 5 of my homeroom students (recorded on Vocaroo), please take a minute and listen to some of the great input from my students.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Live Lab Chat

On Thursday we are going to take our first official test run at using chat as a classroom discussion tool. We will be continuing our lab work by looking at Paramecium (riveting, I know). Visitors, feel free to stop by and check out our lab discussion by clicking here.
Discussion times (central standard):
9:30am - 10:10am
10:25am - 11:05
12:40pm - 1:25pm

Mr. McClung

Discovering Cells

With science fair behind us now, yesterday our classes were finally able to get back into our science lessons. We picked up right where we left off with microscopes. Yesterday we took time to examine Elodea Leafs. Above is a picture that I took of a leaf at a total magnification of 400x. Students were asked to not only draw their observations but also verbally describe what exactly they saw. As you can imagine, many described it as bricks or snake skin.

Our set up of the Elodea Leaf

Elodea at 100x total magnification

Our students were able to figure out what we have found were cells. Students were able to identify that there was definite boundaries (cell wall) between all the cells and that each one contained something between its four walls (cytoplasm). Below is a diagram of what exactly makes up an Elodea.

We will continue our conversations about the make up of a cell on Thursday, as I am out today for a Root Canal....yikes. On Thursday we are also going to conduct our first live lab discussion via Ning Chat. This will be our official test run and I will post more information about where and when you can check out our lab chat tomorrow.

Mr. McClung

Science Fair - "Judgement Day"

Ok, so maybe the title of this post is a little intense....but, nevertheless, yesterday was judging day of our science fair projects. In addition to their display boards, students were asked to provide an abstract of what your project was about, and perform a short interview with a judge. Below are the photos from yesterday, including majority of the display boards submitted by my sixth graders.

The science fair included all Noel students from grades 6-8, and were separated into categories: biology, chemistry, environmental, and physical science. Overall I thought it was a great showing for all students involved, and awards will be announced tomorrow during our Terrific Tiger assembly.

Mr. McClung

Monday, February 23, 2009


Today my class and I explored a website called Vocaroo, a bit of technology that was shared with us by Mr. C. This is a website that can be used to record voice messages and post/embed them on to the Internet. I am very excited about his technology, this finally allows for a quick and easy way for my students to have their voices heard on our blog and social network. I decided to use a small sample group today to work out any kinks there may be and gauge their initial reaction to this technology. I asked these students to give a brief explanation of their science fair project that they will display tomorrow. You can listen to their responses by clicking here.

Mr. McClung

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Medieval Studies

As a part of our student's ongoing study of Medieval Studies in their social studies class, this past week classes began learning a form of an old Medieval dance called the Minuet. You can view the steps to this dance by clicking on the Minuet link. Below is a video of a practice session that the students have been involved in as a part of their studies.

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Our students are working on some outstanding projects dealing with this particular time period, which will be displayed during our sixth grade parent's night. More information and practices will be posted as we move closer to parent's night.

Mr. McClung

Last Day of Science Fair

Night so long....just arrived home from a weekend away in Dallas, TX and thought I would make an update before I am off to sleep. Friday marked the last school day of our preparation before our projects are due on Monday. Of course we were scrambling like crazy to finish our projects. Students only took breaks for math as we spent majority of the day testing and preparing our display boards. I thought I would share the a little bit of the madness from our last day of science fair. As stated before, display boards are due on Monday (for my grading), then they will be judged on Tuesday for the science fair. Here are a few snapshots from Friday.

Myself and Yessy testing the blood pressure of a fellow student. This is one of the many experiments we have been conducting the past two weeks.

Ben's electrical box experiment.

Aaron's compass in a cup experiment.

Austin's potato clock experiment.

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

A video from Alex's experiment on air pressure

As you can see a ton of work have gone into these experiments, and it will pay off for these students as this will be 1/3 of their semester grade for the year. As I stated before, judging will be on Tuesday and many more updates, videos, and photos will be on their way soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alternative to Bell Work

In my graduate classes we use discussion boards on a regular basis as a complement to our normal classes. I have decided to test the waters of using discussion boards as bell work for my homeroom class. These discussions will consist of conversations that we begin in class and then continue our topic discussions on our Ning Network. Students, there are a few rules to remember when posting on our morning discussion boards:
* Contribute interesting and thoughtful comments
* Present examples that support your discussion
* Raise good questions about our topics
* Listen (or read) and respond appropriately to others
For today's assignment, students were asked to continue on our conversation that we begin the other day. The question that was posed to them was, "is it fair to play on a person's emotions to sell a product?"
Visitors, you can check out their responses to this topic by clicking on the link below. For our morning discussion tomorrow, students will continue the conversation by replying to another student's response.
Morning Discussion

Mr. McClung

Emotional Persuasion

As apart of our communication arts lesson this week, we are studying the different types of emotional persuasion. The other day in class we created a list of different types of emotional persuasion strategies used in advertisements: better your health, better your self-image, make your friends jealous, give you energy, etc.....

Today, we will continue the conversation by looking at different types of videos commercials. With the Super Bowl having taken place earlier this month, I figured what better way to aid teaching this subject than showing the best of the best emotional persuasion used all year long. The Super Bowl is notorious for it over the top advertisements, and today we are going to take a closer look at the four following advertisements to better understand what strategies they are using to sell their products.

"Need a Better Job?" - CareerBuilder.Com

"Ugly Part of Town" - Cheetos

"I'm Good" - Pepsi

"G" - Gatorade

It is very clear that these four commercials all contain emotional persuasion, but is this fair to play on a person's emotions to sell a product? Does your opinion change depending on what they are selling? Or does it change depending on what emotion they are playing on?

Class, today we will discuss this question and these different videos and how they are being used to sell their products. Following our discussion, we will start our brain storming process of creating our own commercial using the before discussed strategies.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Science Fair Break

We have been hitting our science fair topics very hard for the past two weeks. I don't know about my students but I personally need a bit of a break. What a better way to break from class than to do some blogging? Students, your job for today is to read a blog post from two different class blogs. Use the links below. You and a partner will leave a comment TWO different class blogs. Make sure that you sign your name as:
Both Student's Name
Noel, Missouri
Mr. McClung's Class

Melville Intermediate

Morrinsville Intermediate
Little Voices, Little Scholars
Mr. C's Class Blog
Team 2 Tells Tales
Year Two Blog
Room 9
Hafford Grade 6

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Science Fair Progress

Today we continue to work on our science fair projects as we come closer and closer to our upcoming deadline. Everyday we are continually working on our science fair projects daily. Above is a picture of of Jeffrey displaying his "leak-proof bag"as apart of his science experiment.

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Above is a video of Fidel's explanation of the one wire, one battery, and one light bulb experiment.

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Above is a video of Sasha's experiment of the affects of cold and hot surfaces on the air above them. Notice how the yellow balloon (hot pot) fills up with air and the orange (cold pot) is slowly drawn inside of the bottle. There will be more updates as we move closer to the 23rd. ONLY 3 CLASS DAYS LEFT UNTIL SCIENCE FAIR!

Mr. McClung

Blog Check: The Trucker's Wife

This week I am very excited about my blog check. For this week I choose to feature a blog from a parent of one of my students. Ms. Driver started her first blog at the beginning of this month and has already began to build an online community. She primarily uses this to keep up with friends and family. The reason I am very excited about this is because this is a family that has really became involve in the blogging community. Her daughter Courtney (my homeroom student), has also started her own blog, and she has been posting since last semester. Because of these blogs I have been able to stay connected to both my student and her parents outside the classroom. You can check both their blogs by clicking on the links below.
Courtney's Blog
The Trucker's Wife

Mr. McClung

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Charlie Brown Reflections

After we watched Will You be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, I asked my students to post their reflection questions on Ning. You can check out their reflections on Charlie Brown by clicking here.

Mr. McClung

Valentine's Day Madness

Being my first year teaching I did not fully know what to expect from my students on Valentine's Day. Of all the classroom parties, it was like Halloween and Christmas on steroids. Something about one month romances and chocolate make 6th graders freak out. Today we had many activities throughout the day, but of course we started out the day with exchanging gifts.

Fidel showing off his flowers and candy that he gave to Ariana.

Ismael with his gift that he gave Carmen.

Students made Valentine Bags in their art class earlier this week, and used them today. Students went around the room exchanging Valentine cards, candy and gifts, and used the bags to carry their loot.

Above is Trystan and her brother (former student of Mrs. Hamm)

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Above is a video of a small class party that took place in Mrs. Hamm's room today.

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love Is In the Air......

With tomorrow being Valentine's Day, I thought it would be a great idea to start our school day off with a Valentine' Day classic. That's right.....Will You be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. This is a short 25 minute TV show that we will watch in class on Thursday as a part of our Valentine's Day Party. We will also be participating in several other activities throughout the day, updates forth-coming tomorrow. Below are the three segments of the TV show that we will be watching on Thursday. Enjoy!

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Science Fair

Science fair is almost upon us, and we have been working tirelessly in both science and communication arts classes to prepare for this event. The science fair is on February 23rd, and because of our district calendar we only have 5 class days left until our projects are due, so needless to say we are scrambling.

Their project is composed of three different parts:
1) An abstract about their science fair project
2) A display board including the scientific method they used on their project
3) A short question and answer session with a judge

We have been practicing all three categories for the past several weeks. Below are two videos of interviews that I conducted with my students. I asked the students simple questions including "explain your experiment", "why is this experiment important?" and "how can people use this information?"

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

We have also been creating mock display board. We are making these boards by creating a downscale version of our big display boards on a piece of construction paper.

For the third phase of their fair projects, students are currently working on preparing a rough draft of their abstract for their project. We will post these as soon as they are done.

Mr. McClung

Tie Tuesday

Another Tuesday...another tie....
This thing is really starting to get out of control. Tie Tuesday © is continuing to catch on here in Noel and has really brought a lot of attention to my Innocent collection of ties. Many teachers (even Mr. C!) are getting the memo and wearing ties every week. Crazy huh? Thanks to all the faithful teachers and students that have been supporting this silly tradition of mine.

New business: After last week, Mr. Webb inspired me to step my game up and change Tie Tuesday up a little bit. Starting this week I will randomly start posting my Tie Tuesday Awards.

Above is the Driver Family. Not only did Courtney and her little sister Hanna wear ties, but their Cat Henry also participated in Tie Tuesday. The Drivers win the Tie Tuesday Family of the Week.

Lastly in this weeks Tie Tuesday addition, we have a student that is being inducted into the Tie Tuesday Hall of Fame. Jeffery, has been wearing his tie every Tuesday since we started back in December. Great job Jeff!

Mr. McClung

Academic Accolades, Valentines Addition

...not shown above, David from Mrs. Drake's Class. Congratulations everyone!

Mr. McClung

Monday, February 9, 2009

Middle Web Mention

A couple of weeks ago our blog was featured on a website call MiddleWeb. Middle Web is a site that describes itself as a site that
"provides a wealth of resources for schools, districts, educators, parents, and public school advocates working to raise achievement for all students in the middle grades."
Last night I was contacted by John Norton, the editor or Middle Web to inform me that he was including our classblog in his weekly e-newsletter. This newsletter reaches about 16,000 people every week. Below is a a excerpt from the weekly newsletter.
Subtitled, simply, "the Sixth Grade Blog of Noel Elementary," this intriguing chronicle of life in Joe McClung's Noel Missouri classroom is notable for its graphics, lively mix of topics, and engaging style. Aimed primarily at helping parents and community members peep into sixth grade life, McClung's blog can serve as a model for other teachers to consider. But there's also visual documentation of science lessons and labs, music, writing, online networking and video. Did I mention history and civics? Check out the Jan. 19 lesson for MLK Day, exploring Jim Crow Laws with help from Dr. Seuss's book The Sneetches. Excellent work, Joe!
Because of this one newsletter our blog has been hit about 300 times in the past 24 hours. To put that in perspective, we average about 30 hits a day. Whoa...My students and I are very honored and pleased that Mr. Norton would think enough of our work to include us on his newsletter and share what we are doing here in Noel with the rest of the world.
Thank you Mr. Norton.

Mr. McClung

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Extending the Classroom

Here is my Sunday rant.
Today I was reading a post from Mr. Webb's Blog about different ways that he using technology to extend his classroom and collaborate with other classrooms across the world. In his post he mentioned that
"Technology can be a powerful tool for students"
and I believe that he is dead on with this statement. He is currently using technology to help his students explore different cultures, and also share the cultures from his country with other classrooms. I believe that this is such a worthy activity for the students to perform. I know for myself personally, reading about different cultures in books never helped me understand them. I did not truly understand and have an appreciation for other cultures until I had the opportunity to interact with them. Think about how far ahead of the curve his students are by doing this activity. These intermediate students are taking place in something that I was not exposed to until I was 18 years old.

At the top of the page is a quick screen shot from a conversation that I had with one of my students via Ning. For those that are not aware of what Ning is, it is a website that provides safe and secure social networks. I have used this to place all of my students in social networks where they can share pictures, videos, blog post, and even chat with each other. As you can see from the picture I was communicating with one of my students via chat, and I was able to remind her about he science fair project, and also share a blog post from Mr. Webb. Can you imagine what it would be like it you could connect all of your students using this technology? Meaningful and worthwhile discussions could continue outside the classroom as well as inside the classroom.

For myself, I am a personal believer in a "no walls classroom". Meaning that a classroom should not simply be contained within four walls, but we can share so many more worthwhile experiences with our students by extending the classroom past the normal 50 minutes a class session that we traditional use.

This is also worthwhile, because this is technology student will continue to use as they continue their education. I am currently pursuing my masters of education and I am currently using educational social networks on a daily basis. I have been using such technology since I began my undergraduate work.

At what point is the educational world going to catch up with the technology world? Thoughts?

Mr. McClung

Saturday, February 7, 2009

1,000 Hits

Came home from Tulsa today to a pleasant surprise. Our blog officially had its 1,000th hit of the year. We hit our 1.000 overall mark some time ago, but it is unknown when because of the fact that I did not start using a counter until December. Nevertheless, this is an outstanding accomplishment for our class blog. It is outstanding because it goes to show that my class and I are surrounded by a fantastic support staff. Students, parents, teachers, administration, and visitors, thank you so much for your continued interest in our classroom.
We've come a long way since last November

Mr. McClung

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tulsa Update

Hello from Tulsa, and thank you to everyone that has been commenting since my absence. The clinic has been great; I have had the opportunity to listen to some great football minds from the high school, college, and even pro ranks.

I have been in contact with some of my students since I have been gone, via Ning, and also have been watching from our live stream from time to time. Also the picture above is from a comment that my sub left (Mr. Landers). So far it looks like my students have behaved well in my absence (as if there was any doubt!)

This comment also makes me think, wouldn't sites like Blogger and Ning be a great way to leave instructions for substitute teachers? Also a possible way to answer any questions they may have? I know for myself I felt a lot better knowing that my substitute was handling my classroom well and was comfortable enough to communicate with me via our class blog. Any thoughts?

Mr. McClung

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Short Week

I am making a early exit this week as I head to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the Frank Glazier Coaching Clinic. I will be absent from school Thursday and Friday this week, which means no normal blogging for these days, but I should be updating from Tulsa. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this short break and hope my students treat my sub well (keep your fingers crossed).

Mr. McClung

Penny Year Book

Due to wacky weather and other events at school, this week we are finally concluding our penny year books
. Students have been putting a lot of work into these books, and below is a sample of one of our student's work. It is a short slide show of his last three years in his penny year book.

Mr. McClung

Pep Rally

Yesterday we concluded the day by having a pep rally for our 5th & 6th grade and Jr. High basketball teams. They played Southwest City (another elementary school in our district) last night at home. Unfortunately, our 5th & 6th grade team lost by a score of 31-22. Below are a couple of videos from the pep rally yesterday.

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Noel Jr. High Cheerleaders

Find more videos like this on Mr. McClung's Class

Free throw contest between both basketball teams and Coach Kilby.

Mr. McClung

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tie Tuesday

Tuesday tend to be my busiest days of blogging, and today was no exception. Despite the break from snow and ice, we still had quite a few students and teachers wear ties today. Above is a picture of myself and Mr. C showing off our ties. You better enjoy it, because it doesn't happen often, but for today our own Mr. C is now a Tie Tuesday participate. Congratulations Mr. C.

Above we have some of the usually suspects and one new face. Levi and Jeff from Mrs. Drake's Class, Trystan from Mrs. Hamm's Class, Macy, and Courtney both from my classroom.

Lastly, above is a picture of Mrs. Anderson and her fourth grade students. Thanks to all that wore ties today!

Mr. McClung

Academic Accolades

This weeks Academic Accolades go to....

Mr. McClung

Microscope Lab, Continued

Yesterday we continued our lesson with microscopes. We discovered how to use the fine focus nob. Our students discovered that they can use this focus nob to look at different layers of a material.

This demonstration was performed using small pieces of ribbon. Students were asked to make a wet mount using two slides, three pieces of ribbon (red, white, and blue), and three drops of water.

Above is a picture of the second layer of ribbons. Students were asked to pay attention to how many layers could be brought into focus at a time. In this slide it was the red ribbon, or the second layer of ribbons.

Last picture here is of the top layer of someones wet mount. In this picture you can see the blue ribbon, the top layer. We will be leaving microscopes for a little bit and turning our focus towards science fair projects.

Mr. McClung

Monday, February 2, 2009

Don't Forget......

....tomorrow is Tie Tuesday.

The picture above is of Mr. Howerton/Ms. Anderson's 4th grade class. As you can see they did not have a "traditional ties", so they made their own out of construction paper.

Mr. McClung

Blog Check: Mr. Sloan's Year Two Blog

Its been a loooong week, but we are finally back in school today after last weeks ice storms. Glad to be back and after last week I am sure my students would agree. There is a science post forthcoming later today but for now I have a quick blog check.

Mr. Sloan is a primary level communication arts teacher in Manchester, UK. Currently featured on his blog is his class study of the story Hansel and Gretel. You can check out his blog by clicking here, and make sure to leave him and his class a positive comment.

Mr. McClung