Saturday, June 25, 2011

Field Trip to Kenya

I can't take the class, but I will be going to Nairobi, Kenya from June 30-July 14 to help out teachers in schools in the Mathare Valley slum of Nairobi. Over one million people live in the Mathare slum in an area of less than a square mile. Rivers of sewage run through the slum towns, carrying garbage and human waste. Most families crowd as many as 10 people into one-room huts made of scrap wood, corrugated tin, or mud without electricity, running water, or toilets. It should be quite an experience and if you want to see photos, videos, and hear about my trip, you can do so here: Besides working in the schools and with teachers, I will be going on some home visits in the slum.. At the end of the trip I will also be going on a safari to see the African animals.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

5th Grade Cookout

Field Day 2011




Monday, June 13, 2011

Complex sentences with hyperbole: The students wrote.

It was a very hot, humid, and miserable day when we made our second attempt at writing complex sentences with an example of hyperbole. So I decided to have a little fun to brighten the mood. We started with the base sentence “The students wrote” and then I modeled my sentence for the class: While the humid heavy air slowly circulated around the sticky classroom, the despondent fifth grade students cradled their sweaty heads in the palms of their hands and they laboriously wrote busloads of hyperbole containing sentences to please their demanding teacher. I was curious to see what they could come up with and this is what they wrote.

As the moist air invaded the classroom, the scorching kids wrote thousands of essays and the terrible teacher hogged the entire fan. By Dallas

While the afternoon heat settled outside, the blazing wildfire spread into the forest and the fifth graders wrote miles and miles of stories as the temperature rose. By Austin

Since the enthusiastic students wrote sentences as wonderful as a professional writer, the joy-filled Mr. Hansen danced as happily as a bird soaring over the sun on a chilly day and the graceful students joined the fun. By Aaron

While the extremely humid air floated around, the sweaty students sat at their desks and they ate 1,000 ice cream cones per minute to cool down there sticky wet bodies. By Andrew

When the amazing teacher gave the students bus loads of work, they wrote in the humid air that cycled around the room and a little old lady rode on a bull right through the room. By Alison

While the sticky students wrote their amazing sentences, the cool air from the fan did no help whatsoever but they still wrote their truckloads of sentences. By Nick

While the early morning sunshine danced in the month of June, the antsy 3rd grade pupils groaned at the teacher like she told then they had to babysit their little cousin and they practiced writing thousands of cursive sentences. By Heather B.

While the air-conditioned air circled around the smelly sweaty 5th grade classroom, the dehydrated kids hurtled towards the water fountain and drank most of the water and the hydrated kids all sat down in their seats and wrote truckloads of work. By Molly

While the sticky air filled up the entire humid classroom, the depressed students leaned their heads on their arms and they frustratingly wrote school-loads of sentences including a compound complex sentence just like the one you are reading now. By Cameron

While the unfortunate writing scholar began to perish in the humid 95 degree heat wave, the over-heating female Shakespeare wrote her overdue writing sentence practice so her angry teacher would let her resume writing her novel. By Kayla

The hot sweaty 5th grades drank gallons of water and they effortlessly wrote truck loads of paragraphs for their greedy teacher that had a fan blowing on him while the ice cold wind blew from the AC in the 2nd grade wing. By Adam

While the air-conditioned 3rd grade classroom cooled the sticky and sweaty students, the drowsy kids had their heads on the desks sleeping and did a lousy job on their sentences writing milk jugs of simple sentences for their hard core teacher. By Tori

While the dry humid 95 degrees air circulated around the moistened classroom, the tired students silently moaned respectfully as the students wrote mail truck loads of sentences. By Zak

As the humid heavy air stuck to the 6th graders, the sticky sweaty 5thgraders wrote their hyperbole sentences and their aggravated teacher demanded more as much as a kitten drinks 50,000,000,000 gallons of milk! By Campbell
While the annoyed fifth grade students wrote their ten page essays, the lucky kindergarteners hopped around outside and the even luckier third graders went swimming at a lake larger than the moon. By Amanda
OK so they came up with some great sentences on a day that was so hot it was hard to think. Only a few of their brains suffered a meltdown. Well done, class!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learn how to make your own video games

Some of the kids in my class have played around with Stagecast which allows them to make their own video game. I have the software at school from when I used to teach it, but it is not a free program (except for the demo version). If kids want to use a similar free program they can download Scratch. It was designed for kids at MIT. Scratch allows you to make animations, games, and other multi-media interactive creations. Here are some tutorials for learning how to use Scratch. Why play video games when you can make your own? This may take some work, but you will learn a lot!

Learn to play chess

Here is a challenge for the summer that you can start now. Learn to play the great game of chess, or learn to play it even better. If you have never played chess before, here is a short and humorous introduction to the game and its pieces. It comes from a site called that is set up as a safe site for kids, You can learn about the game or play online games against other kids or the computer. Many part of this site are free. You can also find other chess games online or for you ipod touch or similar device.