Friday, August 31, 2012

Test and Battleship

I don't have that much to say...  I let the kids study for a couple minutes, and then we retook the C & O test.  Everyone did better.  Almost everyone earned an 11/11.  If a student still has an INC, they can retake the test whenever they want.

After that, we played Latitude and Longitude Battleship again.  Yesterday I felt like the kids regressed a little bit on finding coordinates, so we reviewed again before playing.  (Once again, if you go to the link, you can download the file.  Somehow it got changed in the download to mediafire - the lines are messed up and so is some of the kerning.  I hope it changes back when you download it... if not, just blame the teacher.)

I don't want to spoil your long weekend, so I'll keep this post short.

If you want credit for reading it and discussing it, write the following quote on a piece of scrap paper: "In the morning in the winter shade, on the first of March, on the holiday..."  Then, have the adult you discussed it with sign the paper.  (Adult, by signing the paper, you're stating that yes, you really did read and discuss the blog... even if that was only asking how they did on the C & O test, and if they won their L & L Battleship game...  It doesn't mean you have to play them, but if you did I bet their skills would improve.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I was really stressing there for a minute.  I couldn't sign into my blog.  There was a technical glitch, but I worked around it.  Go me!

I'm not sure if my students are stressing or not, they have the continents and oceans retake tomorrow.  It would be a good idea to study for it.  Seriously.  I imagine the vast, VAST majority of them will earn 11/11 without having to study much, but it would save us all time if everyone passed.  They wouldn't have to take it anymore.  I wouldn't have to grade it anymore...  You see where I'm going with this...  (*AHEM*)...

We practiced a little bit more today, and then I had the kids draw their second World Memory Map.  They look better than the first.  Yes, this is what we're aiming for.

After that, we played some Latitude and Longitude Battleship.  (Click on the name if you want the directions and a board. *EDIT* I just went to mediafire and noticed that the grid is off... sorry about that.  I think if you download it, the equator should be back to normal... also, some of the kerning.)  I thought it would go a little bit more smoothly than it did.  C'est la vie I guess.  Some classes didn't actually get to play yet.  We'll be trying that out tomorrow after the test.

Friendly students, if you want the extra credit points for the blog tonight, you must read it and discuss it with an adult.  Then, when you've done that, write the following quote on a scrap piece of paper and get them to sign it.  "When Leo Tolstoy was writing War and Peace, his wife Sonya copied for him 7 times."

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If You're Reading This

If you're reading this blog post, chances are you already found out what today's lesson is about.  Today in class we went over the extra credit policy.  This blog is part of that policy, so obviously your son or daughter (or nephew, niece, foster-child, grandson, friend's kid that you're watching for a while, etc...) was paying attention.

Go ahead and give them a pat on the back for that.  Nice job!  Nice job, friend's kid that you're watching for a while!  Way to do what you're supposed to do!

So, I don't have to tell you that you can get extra credit by reading and discussing my teacher blog every night.  They already told you that - which is why you're here.  So, there's not much to discuss.  I guess you could discuss the extra credit policy in general.  Better yet, play THE GEOGRAPHY GAMES - continents and oceans.  Play at least two times, how about it?  Adult who is invested in the education of a young adult, challenge them.  You each get one turn.  They play level one of the Continents and Oceans (World at the bottom of the link) and then you get a chance to beat their score and time...  Then you'll know two of my three extra credit policies AND help them study for the C & O test that they can retake on Friday.

After you've finished discussing the blog, and playing the games, find a scrap piece of paper and write down who won the challenge.  Remember, the adult has to sign the paper if my student wants credit for it.  Also, it'd be a good idea if said student put his or her name on the paper.

If you want to see my online extra credit procedures, you can download it HERE.  Although, chances are you don't need it since you've made it this far...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I think we're getting the hang of this latitude and longitude thing.  Seriously.  I think my students are grasping the concept faster this year than they have any other year.  I don't know why this is...  Either way, I'm happy.

I taught it a little differently this year: the road trip.  Your pencil is the car, your home is 0°N,0°E.  You've got your flaming hot cheetos and your Monster caffinated beverage.  Just start by going North or South.  Once you reach the correct latitude, turn East or West until you arrive at your destination.

We also discussed why we use degrees to measure latitude and longitude.  Bonus points to the student who explains this concept to an adult.

If you want the extra credit points today, students read and discuss this blog with an adult.  Then, adults use the grid below and put your finger on an intersection.  Have the student you're reading the blog with tell you the coordinates.  Do this a total of 5 times.  Then, have them write a set of coordinates on a scrap of paper.  Sign the paper.  He can turn it in for 5 extra credit points.

(You may want to click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

C & O test, Lat/Long Practice

In case you're looking at your childs grade, and in case you think: "Uh oh... he went from a really high grade to a really low grade really fast,"  I've got two words for you: calm down.

We did take the Continents and Oceans Test today.  It is a required 100%.  I'll give students more chances to complete the test after we've studied it for a while.

I'd like to point out that it's a 1st grade standard: SS1.3.2 2007.  I won't complain that students don't know it, as long as you don't complain that I'm forcing them to learn it.

We also worked on latitude and longitude practice again today.  This time, the standard came from 7th grade: SS7.3.2 2007 - although latitude and longitude are in there from 4th grade on up, I believe...

Well, if you'd like to get the extra credit points today  - students, you have to read and discuss this blog with an adult - preferrably an adult that you live with.  Discuss means talk about.  Ask questions about.  Questions like: what did you learn about latitude and longitude?  What do you mean, "Mr. Habecker says they shouldn't be called 'lines' of latitude and longitude?"

Then, when you're done discussing.  (Seriously, don't take too long... a minute or two at the most) go to THIS WEBSITE.  It's the blog of a former Concord student who is currently a peace corps volunteer in China.  Find a picture on his website and describe it in a sentence or two.  Have your parent sign that and bring it in.  It seems like a lot, but it really isn't.  And he has some really sweet pictures on there... Like this one, which you can no longer use:

Friday, August 24, 2012


We started today with observations on a paperclip.  No, not because I was out of ideas.  Not because I'm obsessed with paperclips.  Not because I love giving students boring assignments.

It was a student from 6th hour who had the high score of 42 observations.  42.  That's a lot of observations on a paperclip, you know?

We did this for a number of reasons
  • to practice active observation skills
  • so I could see the skill level of students
  • so they could see their own skill level
  • but mostly to point out that:
If we can make 50 or 60 observations on a paperclip, how many observations can we make on our desk? The person sitting next to us? The classroom?  Indiana? The world?

In some ways social studies is a lot like science.  It deals with observation.  And there's something to be said for zoning out.  We can't possibly actively observe every aspect of the world 24-7.

I can't give you the whole discussion in blog form, but rest assured, it was a good one.  From observation, we went to organization - and started talking about Earth, latitude and longitude, continents and oceans.  We'll probably have a quiz on Monday.  Shhhh... Don't tell anyone.

If you want the extra credit, discuss the blog with an adult.  Then, write a list of the continents and oceans - if you have to look them up go ahead.  Have the adult you read the blog with sign the list.  Turn it in on Monday.  (Don't forget to put your name on it.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mistakes and Personal Historical Solutions

We continued going over procedures today.  I passed out the EXPECTATIONS SHEET that I mentioned a couple days ago.

Something to note that wasn't mentioned on the sheet: if a student is absent, they make up the bellwork points by doing extra credit.  This is most easily accomplished by reading/discussing the blog.  Bellwork is basically participation.  If a student isn't there to participate, they can't earn the points.  The blog (generally) summarizes the entire day rather than just the intro - and as the student missed the entire lesson, it's more fitting to have them make it up that way.

We discussed social studies in general - and how broad it is.  For instance, The University of Notre Dame has a School of Architecture, a College of Business, a College of Engineering, a College of Science, and a Law School.  There is no Department or College of Social Studies.  It falls under the College of Arts and Letters  - which contains everything from Africana Studies to Music to Political Science...  these are all under the heading of social studies.

The bellwork dealt with making mistakes.  I asked students to relay a time they made a mistake in their life - nothing personal, nothing major - just a mistake they learned from.  We then discussed the George Santayana quote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

There was no homework today - other than make sure you're prepared for tomorrow.  ...Binder, pencil, planner.

I said that you could get extra credit by reading this blog and discussing it with an adult you live with.  This is true.  Here is a message for the adult you read it with: Dear Adult, if you read and discussed this with one of my students, have them write the following quote on a piece of scrap paper, then sign that paper.

"I've learned from my mistakes."

If you turn in the signed scrap of paper, you get the extra credit points.  It's as easy as that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Day Down, A Billion To Go

It's the end of the first day, and I'm really impressed with the students.  They were diligent, helpful, and seemingly organized. 

The first week is not focused on the curriculum, it's focused on procedures and getting aquainted with the students.  The students found their seat after seeing it projected on the Smart board.  They started working on their bellwork right away - which bodes well for the year.  I'll be going through them in a couple minutes.


You need: 3 ring binder with 5 tabs, pencil, and one of the following:
  • pack of pencils
  • pack of red pens
  • box of tissues
(If you already turned it in, great.  If not, please bring some in if you are able.  We don't want to have to wipe our noses on crumpled up pieces of paper from the recycle bin.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Get a Good Night's Sleep

Well friends, school starts tomorrow. Get a good night's sleep.

I'm putting the finishing touches on my room and plans, then I'm going home and going to bed early.

Here is a copy of my classroom expectations, in case you wanted to see it early. How you found this site is beyond me. Well done. Well done indeed.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This Very Second

This very second - the one right now. The second and seconds that you took to read this. They. Are. Gone.

Apparently forever.

And I'm sorry about that. I hope that you don't feel as if reading those 6 sentences (or semi-sentences) was a huge waste of your time. Time that you can't get back.

Which brings me to my next point: where the heck did summer go? ...I suppose it's been devoured by the Langoliers by now. Yum.

Today was the first teacher in-service day. (Although, I've been in the building since 8/1... HAVE to remember to vote on the early calendar next year...) Tomorrow we get a little more time to finish getting organized before the students arrive on Wednesday.

Students: see you soon. See you soon.