Friday, May 28, 2010

Truman Readers Award - Book List Extension

Before, the summer reading list included books from the Mark Twain Award nominees, but I have extended our summer reading options to include books from the Truman awards as well. Students in grades 6 and up are eligible to vote for the Truman award, but everyone is welcome to read from this list. Happy reading!

Chains by Laurie Anderson - After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Compound by Stephanie Bodeen - After his parents, two sisters, and he have spent six years in a vast underground compound built by his wealthy father to protect them from a nuclear holocaust, fifteen-year-old Eli, whose twin brother and grandmother were left behind, discovers that his father has perpetuated a monstrous hoax on them all.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In a future North America, where the rulers of the Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser - On the way to visit her father in New York City fifteen-year-old Victoria finds an apparently abused child in the train's bathroom and soon finds herself branded a kidnapper and on the run while trying to fulfill her promise to protect the boy at all costs.

Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman - Born in the eighteenth year of Enclosure, ten-year-old Honor lives in a highly regulated colony with her defiant parents, but when they have an illegal second child and are taken away, it is up to Honor and her friend Helix, another "unpredictable," to uncover a terrible secret about their island and the corporation that runs everything.

Gone by Michael Grant - In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have "The Power" and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.

Otherworldlies by Jennifer Kogler - Eccentric and unusual looking, twelve-year-old Fern, secure in her family's love and acceptance has always been able to cope with the taunts and social ostracism of her schoolmates until a series of unnerving events reveal that she possesses supernatural powers that she barely understands and must learn to control if she wants to escape being the pawn of two ancient enemies.

Boost by Kathryn Mackel - Thirteen-year-old Savvy's dreams of starting for her elite basketball team are in danger when she is accused of taking steroids.

Suck it Up by Brian Meehl - After graduating from the International Vampire League, a scrawny, teanaged vampire named Morning is given the chance to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a superhero when he embarks on a League mission to become the first vampire to reveal his identity to humans and to demonstrate how peacefully-evolved, blood-substitute-drinking vampires can use their powers to help humanity.

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson - In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, leans a startling secret about her existence.

White Gates by Bonnie Ratmthun - When his mother becomes the doctor in Snow Park, Colorado, twelve-year-old Tor learns of a curse placed on the town's doctors many years before by an eccentric Ute woman, but suspects that a modern-day villain is hiding behind that curse.

Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail by Michael Spradlin - In 1191, fifteen-year-old Tristan, a youth of unknown origin raised in an English abbey, becomes a Templar Knight's squire during the Third Crusade and soon finds himself on a mission to bring the holy grail to safety.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Project #2 - Travel Guide

Project 2 – State Travel Guide

In addition to the book talk, students will make a travel brochure encouraging their classmates to visit another state. Students either need to visit or write to another state’s visitor’s center and collect information to include in their brochure. The brochure may not be a replica of one the state actually produces, and should include information about any other places your family actually visits in their travel guide. 

Hopefully this can be incorporated into any family vacation you already had planned, but if you are unable to travel this summer, then students are encouraged to call or write to other states, visit websites, and obtain other resources for travel information about another state. Students may not choose Missouri for their travel guide projects.

For a day trip, the Oklahoma visitor’s center in Miami is less than two hours away from Springfield. Harrison, Arkansas visitors center is ninety minutes away, and Kansas’ nearest I could find is the other side of Kansas City in Atchison, KS about four hours away.

The students’ brochures should explain basic facts about the state, major features of the state and key places of historical or cultural significance. Please see the attached example about Missouri. Microsoft Office has many free brochure templates that can be downloaded. Students may also hand-write and draw their own illustrations, but attention to detail, good handwriting, and neatness should be emphasized. I want this to be a fun, student-completed project, and we will share this during the first week of school as well. Students are welcome to bring photographs and other small souvenirs from their state trip along with their brochure to share with the class.

Feel free to email me over the summer with any questions (               

Thanks!  Mrs. Garrett

Summer Reading List

Project 1: 2010-2011 Mark Twain Award Nominees – Students need to read at least four of the following books and write a one page book talk about which book they believe should receive the 2011 Mark Twain award and why. These book talks will be presented during the first week of school in August. Throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to read additional nominees and submit their ballots in March of 2011.

Avi. Seer of Shadows
In New York City in 1872, fourteen-year-old Horace, a photographer’s apprentice, becomes entangled in a plot to create fraudulent spirit photographs but when Horace accidentally frees the real ghost of a dead girl bent on revenge, his life takes a frightening turn.

Barrows, Annie. The Magic Half
Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Found
When thirteen-year-olds Jonah and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies with no adults on board, they realize that they have uncovered a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces, each trying to repair the fabric of time.

Hobbs, Will. Go Big or Go Home
Fourteen-year-old Brady and his cousin Quinn love extreme sports, but nothing could prepare them for the aftermath of Brady's close encounter with a meteorite after it crashes into his Black Hills, South Dakota, bedroom.

Kehret, Peg. Stolen Children
Fourteen-year-old Amy's excitement over her first babysitting job ends when she and her three-year-old charge are kidnapped, but a daily video recording sent to little Kendra's parents allows Amy to send clues, in hopes of being rescued before the kidnappers decide they no longer need her.

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. School Spirit
Like her mother, a professional medium, Kat has been able to see dead people since turning thirteen, and although they would prefer to be normal, Kat and her best friend come to terms with their own talents while helping free the spirit of a girl trapped at their middle school.

Lupica, Mike. Safe at Home
Playing baseball was the one thing that made twelve-year-old Nick Crandall feel at home until he found acceptance with adoptive parents, but he faces a new struggle to fit in when he becomes the first seventh-grader ever to make the varsity baseball team.

Mills, Claudia. The Totally Made Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish
While dealing with her parents' separation and her best friend's distance, Amanda is able to work out some of her anxiety through her fifth-grade project--writing a diary from the point of view of a ten-year-old girl whose brothers fight on opposite sides in the Civil War.

Nelson, N.A. Bringing the Boy Home
As two Takunami youths approach their thirteenth birthdays, Luka reaches the culmination of his mother's training for the tribe's manhood test while Tirio, raised in Miami, Florida, by his adoptive mother, feels called to begin preparations to prove himself during his upcoming visit to the Amazon rain forest where he was born.

Nuzum, K.A. The Leanin’ Dog
In wintry Colorado during the 1930s, eleven-year-old Dessa Dean mourns the death of her beloved mother, but the arrival of an injured dog and the friendship they form is just what they need to change their lives forever.

Stanley, Diane. The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Acadamy
Eighth-grader Franny and her friends investigate why most of the students at their exclusive boarding school are brilliant, beautiful, and perfectly behaved.

Feel free to leave comments with questions about this project, the titles of the books you are reading, and any recommendations you have for your classmates.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Civil War in Four Minutes

Watch the video about the Civil War and choose one or two battles to research online. List a few facts about one of the battles below in the comments section. Remember punctuation, capitalization, and your name are required for the comment to be published.
- Mrs. G.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Fun Theory

This week's blog is from Katie. She would like for everyone to watch this video. Your assignment for the week is to visit The Fun Theory website and watch more videos, then explain what The Fun Theory is in your comment below. Please remember to use correct punctuation and capitalization in your responses. Have a great week!

~ Mrs. Garrett and Katie

Monday, April 19, 2010

Environmental News

In honor of earth month, this week's task is to visit National Geographic's website here. Visit several of the news links and leave a comment about something you learned! My favorites were the "Hard to See Sea Creatures" and "Hidden National Park Gems." What were yours? Have a great week!
Mrs. Garrett

Friday, April 2, 2010


Hi Students,
This month's character education word is Trustworthy. Please watch the video and leave a comment that explains what trust means to you. If you have any books that you would like to share with the class related to trustworthiness, feel free to bring those during the week. Please leave a comment by Friday.
- Mrs. Garrett

Friday, March 19, 2010

Richard Peck Author Study

Our next author study is Richard Peck. We will be reading one of his books in class, but you will need to choose a different one to read at home. We will be reading A Long Way From Chicago in class. We have several of his books in class that you may borrow. You can also find all of those titles at the Springfield Public Library.

You will then need to do some kind of project to share with the class about your book. We have discussed some ideas in class, and those include writing a song about the book and performing it for the class, write a newsletter with articles related to the book, dress up as your main character to tell us about your book, act out your favorite part of the book, or just about anything else you can think of that will be a way of sharing your book with the class. Keep in mind, all of this project will be completed at home, but you can bring your book to school to read during free choice reading time. Please choose a different type of project than what you have done for past author studies.

Follow these links for even more ideas:
List of 200 ideas

Your assignment:

I need you to post a comment telling me which book you are going to read and what your project will be. You don't have to include the details, but I would like for you to have a general idea of what you would like to do.

The actual projects are due April 23rd. We will all share our projects with our classmates that day. I can't wait to see what creative ways you decide to share your reading with our class!

- Mrs. Garrett

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Area and Perimeter

Hi Students,

Your task is to watch the video, complete the activity at the following link, and leave a comment.

Activity Link

Bonus Link HERE - Pi song and video to celebrate Pi day!

Have a great week!

Mrs. Garrett

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lewis and Clark Expedition

Hello Students!

I am noticing fewer and fewer students are keeping up with the blog. Help me remember to remind everyone in class this week.

As each of you are working on your own PowerPoint presentations about the westward expansion, as a class, we are studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition in greater detail. Wonders of Wildlife will be visiting our class this week to share about the pair, and their work with animals as the traveled to the Pacific and Back.

Your task for the week is to find and share two facts about Lewis and Clark and their expedition below. Remember - I'm only accepting comments that are complete sentences and include appropriate punctuation and capitalization.

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Garrrett

Friday, February 26, 2010

Typer Shark

I found another typing game to add to our list.
Typer Shark
I think it's the most fun of any free typing game I've come across. You may need to download a plug-in for the game to work on your home computer. Let me know if you can't get it to work.

Your task for the week is to practice typing each day and post your highest score or words per minute along with your name. Try different levels to see what is not too hard or too easy for you. Good luck!
- Mrs. Garrett

Friday, February 19, 2010

Holes Presentations!

I finally got the videos to load, so here are the two skits related to the book Holes.

Our public speaking skills have improved so much from the beginning of the year! Great job, students!
Mrs. Garrett

Friday, February 12, 2010

Catch Up Week

With the many snow days and all of your hard work on the science fair, I have decided to give you a week off. Please look back at your past blog assignments and get caught up on any you may have missed.
Have a good long weekend!
Mrs. G.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Careers in Science

We recently finished our eight week science program with The Discovery Center, and I would like for all of you to start thinking about how science is important to so many jobs. The Discovery Center has a link here that provides plenty of information about careers in science.

Your assignment this week is to research careers in science and choose one science career that you think is interesting. Write a comment that explains what the career is and why you think it is interesting. Be sure to write in complete sentences.

You have until Friday to leave your comment!

Mrs. Garrett

Friday, January 29, 2010


Our character education word for the month of January is ATTITUDE. The definition of attitude is: To be positive when dealing with others, to believe in yourself, and to approach challenges with optimism.  Please read the story and quotes below and leave a comment about what having a good attitude means to you, and any advice you may have for your classmates about keeping a positive attitude. Make sure you use complete sentences in your blog response and include your capitalized name.

The House of 1,000 Mirrors

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as the House of 1,000 Mirrors. One inhabitant of this village was a happy little dog, and when he learned of this house, he decided to visit. When he arrived, the little dog bounced happily up the stairs to the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1,000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1,000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In the same village, another little dog, who was not as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1,000  friendly
looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1,000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "This is a horrible place. I will never come back here  in."

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the people you meet?

Adapted from Japanese folktale

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” Martha Washington, Presidential First Lady (1732-1802)

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.” Helen Keller, memoirist and lecturer (1880-1968)

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein, scientist and philosopher (1875-1955)

Always give people a chance
Today is the start of a new day
Think with a positive outlook
In every problem there is a solution
That which hurts us only makes us stronger
Understand there is dark, but focus on the light
Don’t think you can’t, but know you can
Each day’s success is determined by our mindset

Attitude is…Making a conscious choice every day about how you will embrace life.
Understanding how you look at the outside world is determined by how you feel on the inside.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kids Against Hunger

During your time at school, you will participate in many community service projects. One hope of our school is that this will encourage you to continue serving our community throughout your life. One of our classmates did just that a couple of weeks ago. Here is the link to the news story and video showing Blake packing boxes of food to send to children in Haiti.

Blake's effort inspired me to call Kids Against Hunger, and we will be going there as a class to volunteer in February! All of the food we box will be sent to kids in Haiti.

This week, I would like for you to leave a comment answering at least two of the following questions. Please use complete sentences, proper capitalization and punctuation.

1. What community service have you done outside of what we do at school?
2. What other community service ideas do you have for our class?
3. Why is community service important?

I will have more information about our community service project in the class newsletter. I hope you have a great weekend!

Mrs. Garrett

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Do You Spell That?

Hello students!

As we have discussed in class, on January 27th we will have a spelling bee in our class. I do not want you to feel stressed or worried. This is just for fun and to practice what we have learned so far this year. Some of the words will be former spelling words and others will be from the practice lists I sent home yesterday. Your task for the week is to practice at this link. You should post by the end of the week and tell us what some of the trickier words were that you encountered. You are welcome to try at a harder grade level as long as you continue to spell most of the words correctly. If you find any other fun spelling games online, feel free to add the links to your post so we can try those too.

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Garrett

Friday, January 8, 2010

Simple Machines

Check out the following activities that go with this week's Discovery Center visit and post which two links you visited along with something you learned.

Invention Playhouse: Tinker Ball - In this interactive, you will use an assortment of objects and simple machines to create a path for a ball to move around the screen and reach its goal. You'll learn about pushing materials to their limits and problem solving

Simple Machines: A WebQuest - In this WebQuest, you will explore the different kinds of simple machines, locate examples of each simple machine in the real world, demonstrate basic relationships between force and motion, use vocabulary words related to this topic to answer and ask questions, identify inventors that have used simple machines to contribute to our society, calculate work and power, and use simple machines to solve a problem.

Edheads Simple Machines – Look around the house and barn to find simple machines. Identify what these items are used for and how they work to achieve the high score!

COSI Simple Machines - Learn about simple machines and the forces that make them work by exploring this online activity.

Have a great weekend!

Mrs. Garrett

Monday, January 4, 2010

Louis Sachar Author Study

This month's author study is on Louis Sachar. He has written almost two dozen books and has won many writing awards including the National Book Award and the Newberry Medal for Holes. Each of you have already chosen a book by Louis Sachar and this week's blog assignment is to post which book you are reading and your idea for your book project. You have until January 8th to post your idea, and we will be sharing our book projects on January 22nd, so now is the time to start thinking about your project!

Mrs. Garrett