Category Archives: LA Skills

Schedules mailed yesterday

Reminder: Open House will take place on Monday, August 19 from 3:00 – 5:00. I look forward to seeing as many students as possible. If you have any questions before then, feel free to contact me. I’ve posted a supply list for students.  Students will have a place in class to store their reading and writing notebooks. They may take them home if they want but are welcome to store them in class.

Get ready to have a great year!


Summer, a new Twitter account, plans for next year…

I hope you are all having a great summer.  I’ve created a new Twitter account just for class information: @WalkerMLCottage (Mobile Learning Cottage was too long). I’ve been spending a lot of time chatting with and learning from other teachers all summer, which has seriously cluttered up my  Twitter feed. Once school starts again, I knew it would be more difficult for parents and students to locate important class information.  I think I followed all of the parents who were already following me on Twitter, so that it would be easy to follow this account as well.

I am very excited for sixth grade. Some of the many things I’m looking forward to:

  • writing workshop
  • writer’s notebooks
  • reading workshop
  • reading journals
  • stems (yay!)
  • genius hour
  • choices for students
  • research project
  • Shakespeare
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Photo poetry project

I look forward to seeing everyone at our Open House, which takes place on August 19 at 3:00 pm. I’ve also updated the calendar on the blog site, which shows some basic  Walker dates – PTO meetings, concerts, etc. As always, dates are subject to change.

Just a reminder: please don’t forget to turn in your TDAP shot reports. If your child will not turn 11 before the start of the school year, you must have a letter on file with the date of the scheduled doctor’s appointment.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer break. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing everyone at Walker on August 19 and then again when school starts on August 21.

The Last Day

Due to the rain, field day was canceled. This gave me an opportunity to have one last class with my students before it was time to say good-bye for the summer.

The extra time gave us the ability to watch some genius hour movies in their entirety. We also wrapped up the year with some starters in some classes – they’ve been bemoaning the lack of starters since we started the genius hour project.

I hope everyone has a great summer. Thank you for a great year. I look forward to seeing everyone next fall!

One important reminder for next year: It is a state law that all sixth grade students must have a T-DAP shot before they can be admitted to school. The only exception is for students who are not yet 11. Those students will need to have the shot as they turn 11. 

Book Recommendations for Summer

We did some last minute things today. Some classes completed their genius hour presentations, some discussed books they’re reading. All classes completed an end of the year survey. On the surveys, I asked for recommendations for what they’d like to learn next year.

I wanted to leave you with some recommendations for reading this summer. Please help your students to continue to read throughout the summer.

In addition to the form I’ve created and the spreadsheet that will show the recommendations being made by students, I know parents are always looking for new books for their children to read. I’ve spent some time Googling and perusing the Internet to find some recommendations being made by others for children this age.

Barnes & Noble: Ages 9-12

Chicago Public Library: For Not-Quite-Teens

American Library Association’s Notable Books for 2013

Audiofile: Books on the Go for Summer 2013

Field Trip: 10 Books That Will Send Kids Exploring

GoodReads: Popular 2013 Kids Books

Reading Rockets: Book Awards

New York Times Children’s Book Reviews

Common Sense Media: Book Recommendations

Horn Book: Summer Reading Recommendations


Genius Hour: Almost done

We had two more presentations today. Only the Blue Devils and the Wolf Pack will still be presenting tomorrow. Today we had a creepy movie trailer that had students asking when the whole movie will come out (after they are rich and famous so they can afford to make it, according to Gabby and Izzy) and then we had the privilege of listening to a variety of songs written and performed (using Garage Band) by Liam, Jack, Garrett and Pablo.

Tomorrow we’ll complete our end of the year survey. I’ll take suggestions for next year and we’ll have fun one last time. Friday is Field Day (unless it rains), so tomorrow will be the last time I see all of my classes.

More Genius Hour presentations

We had another fun and exciting day of genius hour presentations. We learned about puppies, websites, designing dresses. We ate cheesy buns, watched a documentary about genius hour, saw clips from a TV pilot and a wide variety of other fun and interesting things.

We also had Spanish. Students in most classes concluded their lesson on Goya. Students learned about his paintings and the era in which he lived.

Three triads will be on a field trip tomorrow. In the other classes, we’ll be finishing up presentations, cleaning out backpacks and completing a survey.

Genius Hour Presentations

We had a lot of fun today with our first set of genius hour presentations. We saw web sites, books, video games, shoes with springs on them, a foosball table, tessellations, and a wide variety of other projects.

You can find some of the projects at: by Anton by Mary Austin by Parker by Mercedes  by Brice and Alijah by Reid and Autumn

On another note, I told most of my classes today that I will be moving to sixth grade next year. The sixth grade schedule is a little different than the fifth grade schedule. Language arts classes are 90 minutes long so I will have only 3 classes. I will be working closely with any and all sixth grade reading teachers to ensure that gifted students and those reading above grade level continue to be challenged.

Minds in Motion Field Trip

This morning the fifth graders were given the opportunity to see Minds in Motion perform at the MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS. It was a wonderful performance. I know everyone enjoyed it. As a result, I only saw three classes today. The Wolf Pack had their first genius hour presentation this morning. Araceli and Abigail brought in cupcakes for everyone to share. They frosted them bright and early this morning before class. They get extra courage points for going first. All other presentations are due Monday, except for the Blue Devils. Theirs are due on Tuesday. I will take pictures of the genius hour presentations and post them on the blog. I will let your kids know what the password is and when they don’t remember, feel free to send me an email and I’ll tell you.

More Togetherness & Summer Reading

Today we had another 3.5 hour block of time to work on genius hour presentations, reflecting on our learning and doing a little clean up. As part of this block of time, I introduced students to the book recommendation form I created. In an effort to make it easy to access, I’ve created a separate page on the blog in order to access the form and the results. It can be found by looking up at the top and clicking on the words “Summer Reading”. You can also access it by clicking here. Please encourage your children to make recommendations during the summer.  It does not require an email or log-in to fill out or to view.

A Little Reflection

This morning we had a big group. Most of the fifth grade was MAP testing. Since we completed our MAP testing before the SOLs, we had 3 hours of togetherness this morning. I will have 3 hours of togetherness again tomorrow with the two triads who are testing then. A new state requirement is that schools show evidence of student growth for all Quest-identified students. As part of that evidence, I’ve asked students to do a little reflection of their own on what they think they did really well this year, what they could have done better, what they’re proud of and what their goals are for next year. Once they complete their part, I will fill out the other side of the form with (mostly) MAP data in reading and math.  You will receive a copy of that with their report cards.

Students completed their genius hour presentations or will complete them tomorrow.