May 31, 2010

We Reached our Reading Goal!

At the beginning of the school year, I challenged my reading class to read 40 books during the 2009-2010 school year. A difficult, but not impossible goal.

I challenge myself to read 75 books starting January 1st, 2010 to the end of the school year.

20 minutes a day was reserved to use as S.S.R. (sustained silent reading)
Students were encouraged to read from a number of different genres.
All this was kept track in a reading notebook. I also tracked mine on our class blog, listing books that may interest other readers. Additional reading time was needed to reach our goals.

This weekend was tally time... after checking notebooks, I found many students had reached either my 40 book goal or a personal goal of their own.
The most read this year was 51-way to go!
I reached my 75 book goal on May 25th! It wasn't easy
but was a lot of fun and entertaining.

May 28, 2010

5th Graders visit OMS

Welcome 5th graders!
The halls were deserted before 1st period Friday-the 6th graders had a day off to give the 5th graders a chance to visit their classrooms and learn about life as a 6th grader.
After a meet and greet in the auditorium, students met with a sixth grade teacher.
"These desks are big!"
"Do you know my brother?"
"Do we get recess?"
Between testing, tours of the building, meeting teachers, and lunch (recess too), students and teachers both were able to learn a little about each other.
Next school year is looking promising.
Thanks for visiting OMS-we will see you soon!

May 19, 2010

Speak Like Yoda Day

"have fun in reading, want to...hmmmm?"
"believe we can do this, I can't...yes"
"easier then it looks, it is"

Thanks to our new read aloud, Speak like Yoda Day at OMS was officially launched. After a quick music video featuring Weird Al and "YODA" students were writing and talking like Yoda. It was hard to believe that the very day we started "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda' by Tom Angleberger,
it was Speak like Yoda Day across the nation. The force was with us!

Tom sent us a signed origami Yoda hand puppet, and we are looking forward to making our own origami Yoda finger puppets as soon as we finish the book.

For a fun laugh out loud read, we highly recommend this book to anyone that has lived through 6th grade or hope to in the future.

"not to speak like Yoda, we dare you"

May 18, 2010

Mississippi River Aquarium & Museum Trip

What a day! The sun was shining, the lunches were packed, and two yellow school buses headed to the Mississippi River via Dubuque.

This trip completed an environmental unit taught in all subject areas concentrating on oceans and rivers. Groups were shown the different aquatic animals and plants that make up our amazing water habitat along the Mississippi River. The environmental impact pollution and erosion has on all of us was shared. Students and chaperons enjoyed the picnic lunch and time to just relax in the river breeze.

Special thanks goes out to Northeast Iowa Charitable Foundation for making this trip possible!

May 12, 2010

Outdoor Clean-up Day

OMS students got their hands (feet, knees,...) dirty while making a difference in their community.
All 6th through 8th graders dug deep to pick up, drag out, and sweep up the left over winter coat of debris. Groups walked the ditches, mulched and weeded the school grounds, sweep the curbs, and raked the grass throughout the Oelwein area.

Thanks goes out to Mrs. Leo for coordinating the green sweep!
Students and staff @ OMS working together = HUSKY PRIDE

May 10, 2010

Magickeepers: The Pyramid of Souls

I can't think of a cooler way to learn history then gazing in a crystal ball and seeing it first hand. Erica Kirov, author of the Magickeepers series has you believing in magic from page one! Imagine finding out you not only could see the past, present, and future, but you held the key to every magic trick imaginable...what would you do?
After the Pyramid of Souls is stolen, Nick needs all of these powers and more to set things right.
With the help of his new found family and many great figures from the past, Nick sets out to protect the world from evil.
This is a great sequel to the amazing Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass -I wish I could see into the future and read the next Magickeepers adventure! Where did I leave my crystal ball...

May 8, 2010 THANKS!

Wow! Our classroom was gifted with an Aspire netbook through an online organization
A goal of placing enough computers in my classroom to allow easy access to our networking sites during lessons is one computer closer. The donors ranged from my fantastic family members to generous anonymous givers. We haven't had much time to test drive the netbook yet, but we will soon be networking without hesitation.

THANK You donors!

If you would like to continue our quest to have 1:1 computers in our spot to read and reach, checkout our page @

May 7, 2010

Hailey Twitch Is Not a Snitch

Lauren Barnholdt’s new series featuring Hailey Twitch is an amusing adventure of a seven year old and her new found fairy friend. Hailey finds it hard to make everyone happy especially herself throughout her busy school day and life at home. When her new fairy friend, Maybelle, tries to help create fun during a class project, chaos brings chuckles to all.
Recommended for readers 9-12, the publisher Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky released this sparkly book on May 1, 2010.
Find it at your favorite book store or in our classroom library.

May 6, 2010

DARE Graduation

2010 DARE Graduation was held today with many parents, friends, and community members attending.
Stg. Chet Reagon, our DARE Officer and Mayor Larry Murphy shared their vision of Oelwein's future.
Drug free and positive actions made by the 6th grade students is not only the right choice for the individual, but right for Oelwein.
The students themselves shared the same message in award winning essays. The winners were: Bryce Allwood, Ian Bamford, Kaylee Becker,Jade Bunn, Tanner Reising, and Ashley Tuecke.
Mrs. Baumgartner and the 6th grade chorus sang before certifactes were presented.

OMS students and staff would like to thank Officer Reagan for his five years of dedicated instruction in the DARE decision making model!

May 5, 2010

Spilling Ink Contest Winners

Who can resist a chance to win a gift certificate to a book store, a book, and a guest author blog post by a published author? Oelwein 6th graders jumped at this chance. Clara Gillow Clark, author Hill Hawk Hattie and other childrens historical fiction sponsored this unique contest to celebrate the release of Spilling Ink. Written by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer, Spilling Ink is an amazing "how to" book for all young writers. This is a must have for all middle school students and teachers. Spilling Ink is full of writing prompts, ideas, and help.

The contest was posted on-line and OMS sixth graders wrote with power! Marissa S. was awarded with first place and Sam M. received third place. You can see their stories and author guest blogs at

Thank you to all the authors and students involved in this writing opportunity.

May 4, 2010

Skype with Kaleb Nation!!!

The much anticipated day arrived! Author, Kaleb Nation, entered our classroom via Skype. The 6th graders surprised him wearing red gnome hats in honor of Polland, a character in Bran Hambric and the Fairfield Curse.
English Enrichment (E2) students had created questions ranging from pets to publishing.
E2 has been following Kaleb through his website, Twitter, uTube, email and blogtv.
Kaleb has inspired podcast radio shows, creative newspapers, and wild tv broadcasting during the 2009-2010 school year. Concluding the year with a Skype was a highlight for us all!
Thank you Kaleb! We can't wait until your sequel is released this fall.

May 3, 2010

Old Creamery Theater Visits Oelwein

Once again, the great performers from the Old Creamery Theater entertained students from Oelwein with their skits centered around this year's theme: The Right Stuff. All the skits are written by students and then molded into a show that teaches important life lessons.
Oelwein 6th graders had two peers that had the right stuff to earn recognition in the writing contest-
Third Place went to Be A Brave Bug by Natalie B. and Special Recognition and performed on stage was Doing the Right Thing by Andrew P.
The actors had lunch with the winners and students from E2 sharing information about acting, writing, and enjoying life.

May 2, 2010

"Poetry Speaks Who I Am"

April is National Poetry Month! Middle school students this year have Poetry Speaks: Who I Am, an anthology of poetry chosen for the middle school student to enjoy. This book has contemporary and traditional poetry side by side sharing the struggles and successes that tweens & teens live every day.
This book hasn't been on my school desk long enough for me to read all the way through the powerful pages. Students are checking it out faster than I canrecord. The CD is a great compliment to a book that shares a common voice with the listener and their lives.

This is a book that should be available to all middle school students!

Poetry Speaks: Who I Am edited by Elise Paschen

May 1, 2010

April...What happened?

It was just April Fool's Day and then I realized the joke is on me-May is here and I hadn't blogged all month!
Why???? What kept me from my spot to blog for so many days? Let me see...
  1. Iowa Tests of Basic Skills- Students were amazing and the hard work everyone showed made our results shine! Oelwein Students can do it whenever they set a goal!
  2. Spring Break- a much needed rest for all of us. I spent most of my time reading and relaxing.
  3. DARE instruction- Sgt. Reagan from the OPD does an awesome job teaching us real-life scenarios to help us make the right choices. The student essays proved how much they learned.
  4. Earth Day- Going paperless sounded easy...even with computers available all day, it was hard not to reach for our pencils and paper!
  5. Turkey Vulture visit-yes, you read that right! OMS adopted the turkey vulture from Fontana Park. Not cute and cuddly but very informative and fun to see up close.
  6. Writing contest winners announced almost weekly! I'll post winners soon. I knew this year we had amazing writers. I am so proud of all the 6th graders that entered and placed in these state and national contests!
So why didn't I blog in April? I guess I was just having such a great time in the classroom I forgot my on-line audience...I'll try to share the fun in May with you all. So, to keep the vultures from circling, let the blogging marathon begin!