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