Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Celebration and a Great Big Thank You

Once again, our class parents outdid themselves with a fun and creative class holiday party. I would to thank you all so much for the very generous Christmas gifts!  I can't wait to shop at Sparta Books, I already have my list ready to go.  After shopping, I'll relax in Greene's Beans and enjoy my very favorite Chicken Salad sandwhich!  I am blessed. <3

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Explorer's Sunken Ship Dive

Much fun was had deep sea diving as the students of Room 37 collected artifacts from our sunken ship, analyzed what they were, and their importance to exploration.  Ask your child what they discovered!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Literary Analysis

I'm always surprised when students tell me they have never seen the 1964 version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which makes it that more exciting to share it with them!  Again, another opportunity to marry pop culture and New Jersey Student Standards presents itself.  They're always there if you just pay attention!

Students watched the movie interactively as they took notes on characterization, plot line elements, and conflicts. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Room 37 is proud to announce we are hosting a fundraiser collecting gently used hats, coats, scarves, and gloves in support of Sparta Ecumencal.  We've filled the box twice already and the collection will be going on until March.  Use this as a time to enjoy cleaning out those closets and "Share the Warmth"!  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Teen Idols

Along with my 50th birthday, November 21st brought the death of one of my very favorite teen idols, David Cassidy.  Seizing the opportunity to educate the kids on his legacy, I married our lesson of Literary Elements for the day with a Partridge Family episode narrated by Shirley Jones, which fabulously demonstrated the idea of point of view.  I'd be lying if I didn't confess my favorite part was the chance to expose to the kids to the number one Billboard hit: "I Think I Love You! 
RIP David Cassidy.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wonder Stones

The "Wonder Committee" at HMS has created many wonderful activities for the school community, and painting rocks was one of them! With a truckload of rocks donated by a very generous member of our community, students and teachers had a ball coloring rocks with their favorite colors.  

Written on each rock is a word that represents an aspect of Wonder. Take a look at our class creations.  Soon they will line the outdoor walkways of the school grounds, as well as the nature trails!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Kaitlyn's Care Boxes - Asking for Donations

Kaitlyn Healey, a student on our team with Type 1 Diabetes, gave a wonderful presentation to the 5th-grade class this past Monday.  She talked about the disease and how it affects her and others who suffer from it.

Kaitlyn has created her own organization called Kaitlyn's Care Boxes.  The boxes are beautifully wrapped, and filled with things to occupy kids in the hospital who have recently been diagnosed. 

Kaitlyn is looking for donations of shoe boxes, wrapping paper, and bits of fun that can fit in a shoe box to help take a new diagnosis off the minds of boys and girls ages 3-14.  Donations are due December 20th and can be brought into homerooms for Kaitlyn to collect.

Thank you for anything you can do to help Kaitlyn see her mission through.  You can also donate money to her cause, which helps purchase supplies to create boxes.

Thank you!


Parent Visitation

It was a fun Thursday as we trolled through garbage as this nosy neighbor seized an opportunity to teach inferencing to the class.  We took our schema and added in our evidence (neighbor's trash) and made inferences to guess who my neighbors are that we never see:
  • I infer...
  • Perhaps...
  • Maybe...
  • I could be that...
  • I predict...
  • My guess is...
  • This could mean... 

We concluded that perhaps they are busy people who travel a lot, and as a result, eat out a lot and spend a lot of time in their cars, and as a result, are not very healthy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Reviewing and Updating

We took a day last week to cleanse and organize our space.  Reading logs were updated, Reading notebooks were looked over and checked for titled notes and proper dates, Writing binders were cleaned out and papers were put in the sections where they belong.  Who would have guessed an act so simple would create such calm and clarity among the class.  I received many thanks from students for allowing them the time to stop and regroup. 

Playing "Slap Jack" and Sort battling with Sort 4 spelling words was a fun time had by all.  There are many more games to come that support each Words Their Way Sort.

Here's to staying organized.....

Saturday, November 4, 2017


Our study in Mesoamerica is in full swing.  Ask you child about some wild Mayan customs.  This upcoming week we'll be wrapping up our Aztec study and move into learning about the Inca civilization. 

Our study of the Aztec civilization is timely as it falls in line with our celebration of Halloween and we delve into the celebration of Dia de los Muertos- the result of customs mashing up after the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Flag Duty

Mrs. Church came to visit Room 37 this week and gave a fabulous lesson on the rules of flag folding and hanging.  I even learned some new things!  Did you know hanging a flag upside down means you are in distress; and though is to be discouraged at all costs, it is a myth that a flag is to be burned if it touches the ground?

Our class has been on flag duty for the last few weeks.  There is lots of excitement in the air and I have not had to remind a student once to let them know they are on duty.  They have all been prepared and responsible to get the job done.  They are taking their duty very seriously. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Genre Study


Genre Study is in full swing as students learn the differences between realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, informational, biography/autobiography, traditional literature, and non-fiction. Ask them to tell you the difference between them all; there will be a test soon!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wonder Crazy

We're all Wonder crazy as we anxiously await our November trip to the movies to see the beloved novel, Wonder by  R.J. Palacio, transformed into a major motion picture! Many thanks to Mr. Layman for entering AND WINNING a contest to allow 35 students and ELA teachers attend an early preview.  

Students had fun creating "Wonder Selfies" during FIFA, and lots of excitement was created as a beautiful blue box of goodies was sent to our room to share many "Wonders" to come during the school year!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Reading With Think Marks

Ask you child what different think marks mean.  Ask them to show you the novel they're reading and share some of their notes with you.  They are working on partner reading and sharing what they're reading in conversation.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Philanthropy FIFA-Fridays

The kids have many ideas about how they would like to lend a hand to those in need in not just the community, but globally as well.  Zach from shared his experience of building the safest schools in Nepal with the latest technology.  Ask you child about it, they had a blast.  He was happy to stay and play a little basketball with everyone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I like to teach Social Studies as an experiential curriculum as we walk across the land bridge, Beringia, from Siberia to Alaska as Mammoths, Mastodons, and hunter-gatherers.  On our way across the land bridge, it was necessary to stop, settle, and rest before we packed up and moved on.  So, with only the resources available around us, we set up camp for the night, making sure the settlement was able to withstand the harsh climate and predators.  They all passed!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What is FIFA

FIFA = Focused Instruction For All

FIFA is not a period where kids do their homework.  Homework is for home.  FIFA is a period where students can complete any classwork that was not able to be completed during class time.  The following schedule is out focus during the week:

Monday - ELA
Tuesday - Math
Wednesday - Genius Hour (Band and Orchestra)
Thursday - MakerSpaces
Friday - Philanthropy

I have created a website for FIFA which explains each day's focus, as well as more enrichment activities for them to engage with. There is also a FIFA Google Classroom that your child has the code to: yk6n89.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

MakerSpaces - FIFA Thursday

Here's to toys without batteries!

  • Kinetic Sand 
  • Jigsaw Puzzles 
  • Legos
  • Play-Doh
  • crafts
  • circuitry
  • clay
  • Sky Treks

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Absent Buddies

Don't fret if you're child is not feeling well.  Let them stay home, rest up, and we'll look forward to seeing him/her when he/she is feeling better.  Absent Buddies have been self-assigned to help with missed work while your child is out. Lessons, STEP, and Speech, are a few other reasons why your child may miss class.  Your child know he/she is responsible for the work they've missed.  Their buddy is in place to help note what happened in class and to collect any assignments handed out and discussed in their absence.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Our Brain Learns

Learning how our brains store information in to long-term memory proves to be quite helpful in the learning process.  Students know the difference between the left and right brain and their functions, and why we learn and study the way we do in Room 37. Ask them about it.

Big Al - the 4C's of 21st Century Learning

Big Al is an activity which promotes  the 4C's of 21st century learning: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity.  Ask you child about the assignment and see the displays hanging in the hallway at Back to School Night!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Team Mascots

Once community building is complete, and new teams are formed, team building is necessary in order to create trust within the group.  This helps to foster risk taking during the learning process. The class loved collaboratively creating their team mascots: Uncle Stu, Jimmy Chilly, Mr. Awesome Man, Pedromin, and ??? I have to check when I return to school :0

Monday, September 11, 2017

Organization and Supplies

Each group of desks in Room 37 is equipped with its own filing cabinet filled with supplies:
Drawer 1- stapler, staples, tape, tissues, pencil sharper, words to our national anthem
Drawer 2- crayons, colored pencils, markers, rulers
Drawer 3- scissors, glue, hand sanitizer wipes
Drawer 4- clipboards
Drawer 5- whiteboards and portfolios

Now.....can they remain this organized throughout the year?  Only time will tell. 

How Things Run in Room 37

Everyone has a job to do in Room 37 in order for our days to run smoothly and efficiently.  Students are paid with tickets for a job well done.  Didn't do your job? You don't get paid. Tickets can be traded in for a raffle to win all sorts of treats from bubbles to class DJ.  Students may also choose to put tickets in jars to collectively earn a class movie, dance party, audiobook, recess, or PJ Day!