Thursday, December 18, 2008

Northern Lights over Yellow Knife, Yukon, Canada

Check out these cool photos of the Northern Lights sent in by Kyle - awesome! Don't forget to scroll through the following posts to see the rarest of all atmospheric phenomena - the Fire Rainbow! Thanks, Kyle!

Northern Lights #2

Northern Lights #3

Fire Rainbow - Yukon, Canada

This is the rarest of all naturally occurring atmospheric phenomena. Clouds have to be cirrus, at least 20,000 feet high, with just the right amount of ice crystals, THEN the sun has to hit the crystals at PRECISELY 58 degrees!

This event occurred on the Idaho/Washington border and lasted about 1 hour.

Northern Lights #6

Northern Lights #5

Northern Lights #7

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Farewell Old Friend!

The big tree in this picture was 300 years old when it finally had to be cut down. I wonder if the seeds and sprouts we planted down by the soccer fields will still be there in 2308! Josie, I hope you plant another that will last just as long. Thanks for the picture!

Red Fern Illustrations

Monday, December 15, 2008

Banana Hunt Record Tied!

We finally have confirmation that Josie ALSO scored 90 on banana hunt! Well done, Josie!

New Banana Hunt Record!

Congrats to Grace for setting the high score!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something You Need to Know

One of the main skills in this math unit is being able to name missing angle measurements without a protractor using what you know about adjacent and vertical angles.

Click here to view a sample from class. Then leave a comment with your answers to the questions at the bottom of the page.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Angles Among Us

What kind of angles do you see?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Walt!

Today would have been Walt Disney's 107th birthday. You can learn all about him and his extensive empire by clicking here.

My best Disney experience was getting to have my 10th birthday party at Disneyland in California. I invited my three best friends and we stayed overnight at the Disneyland Hotel. I had my birthday dinner at the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which was located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride! I still remember what I ordered - a plate of spaghetti with tons of butter! Afterward, my dad arranged for us to have desert at the exclusive Club "33". Needless to say it was a memory that has lasted a lifetime (78 years, to be exact! ;-).

Leave a comment with your favorite Disney memory!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Clean Out Your Fridge Day

November 14 is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Check the nooks and crannies of your fridge - waaaaaaay in the back. Is anything growing there that shouldn't be? How about a container of left over grapes or apple slices that have shriveled past the point of recognition? Find the grossest thing you can and post it in the comments below - then throw it out already!

Once you've got the fridge cleaned out, remember Saturday happens to be National Pack Your Mom Lunch Day. Give her a nice surprise by fixing her up a sandwich for her lunch on Monday morning. She'll appreciate it!

Here's a good article on how to best organize your fridge. Read it here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Book Lists for Families

Here is a good, comprehensive site where families can find books for all ages and reading levels. It's a site I use frequently to help me decide what books to recommend to students and what books to choose as class read alouds. Check it out here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Top 20 Skill - Total Commitment

Motor Cross rider Travis Pastrana shows he's definitely a "Top 20", pulling off the first ever double back flip in competition. The announcer says it all when he exclaims, "Total commitment!" Thanks to Carl for the idea for this post - amazing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Royal Pooch

Here's a site that can help you pick the perfect British Labrador puppy. Click here to view it.

Image from

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dog Days

A student asked for a post on dogs, so I decided to do one about my favorite type of dog, the Australian Shepherd.

I have an eight-year-old "Aussie" named Luka. She's the best dog I've ever owned, and I've owned a few. She came to us from a breeder in Buffalo, MN. When we went to pick her out, the breeders introduced us to Luka's parents. The dogs proceeded to put on quite an impressive display of herding, moving a bunch of horses from the stables out to the driveway, around some trees and back into the barn.

While we've never trained Luka specifically, she shows signs of this herding instinct with our three kids, walking behind and around them as if to keep them all in one place!

Luka's two biggest loves in life are playing "catch" and chasing squirrels. When she was a puppy we would take her outside and roll frisbees to her. Before long she was leaping and catching like an NFL wide receiver! Each morning, still, the first thing she does when we let her outside is to 'secure the perimeter' of the yard by sending any squirrels scurrying to the nearest tree.

Aussies are known for their loyalty, intelligence and trainability. I would highly recommend one to anyone looking for a great family pet!

Learn more about Australian Shepherds here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Are You Going to Be...

...for Halloween? Click on the comments below and let us know! Unless you have a Google account of your own, just click on "Anonymous" as your identity. If you sign your post, please remember - first names only.

Friday, October 3, 2008

World record - the fastest car

The SSC Ultimate Aero - 256 MPH! (from Brain Stuff)

More info on Shelby Supercars

Thanks to Matt for inspiring this post!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Largest Volcanic Eruption in the Solar System

photo source:

Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanically active object in the solar system because of tidal interaction with Jupiter. It is covered with volcanoes that erupt sulfur, sulfur dioxide and silicate rock, and as a result, Io is constantly being resurfaced. Its lavas are the hottest known anywhere in the solar system, with temperatures exceeding 1,800 K (1,500 °C). In February 2001, the largest recorded volcanic eruptions in the solar system occurred on Io.
entry borrowed from Wikipedia

Thanks to Nate for suggesting this post!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cool Lego Model

I know there are a couple of Lego aficionados in the class. I came across this and thought it might interest some of you. Click here for the photos.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Do you UYN?

Last week you learned a bit about internet safety in class. In today's paper I came across this Ask Amy segment in the comic section. You can also check out to see what was discussed last week in more detail.

Knowing how to stay safe online is an important skill for all kids to learn. It's easy for people to pretend to be someone who they're not while surfing the Web. Some people online may try to steal your information or even personally harm you. That's why it's so important to know how to stay safe.

Learning Web safety can actually be lots of fun. You can have fun watching a cartoon and playing games with Faux Paw at iKeepSafe,

Think U Know,, is another cool place for games and great tips to keep you "in control" while you surf.

For a quick course in Web safety, visit You can print out your very own 4Kids Surftificate to hang next to your computer. Have fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Citizenship Quiz

I came across this today browsing through the Sunday comics. It is reprinted in part below.

Do you have what it takes to pass the citizenship test? The exam has over 100 questions covering American history, civics and government.

You can try taking History's citizenship quiz at to see if you make the grade.

Challenge yourself with the full test, or if you're short on time, give the shorter version a go. It's OK if you don't know all the answers, because taking the quiz is a great opportunity to earn something new!

Flag image from

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Solar Eclipse

On Friday, August 1st there will be a total solar eclipse. Check out the video to learn how you can safely watch it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moon Day (A.K.A. the day after my birthday!)

My mother tells the story of how, when I was born, she had the only t.v. in the delivery ward of the hospital. All of the doctors and nurses were constantly in her room to catch the updates of this historic event. Finally, on July 20, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon, uttering the now famous quote, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." President Kennedy had challenged the nation to do something great, and the "moon shot" was a result of this. My mom likes to say she did her part by having me! :)

p.s. my mother's story goes on to contend that a woman who was pregnant with twins in the room next door ultimately named her two sons Neil and Buzz, after astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin!

In tribute to this great achievement, here's a video by my all-time favorite band, The Police, singing "Walking on the Moon".

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day!

The French national holiday celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution

Click on the title for more information...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cool New Site

See if you can solve this Rebus Puzzle. Be creative in converting the pictures into words, then into a familiar old saying... Good luck!

Friday, April 11, 2008

U-Boat 306 - Chapter 2: Control the enemy. Or not!! - By Matt

“Ship deployment, load ammunition!” Matt yelled. “Get those Swastikas on. Were pretending to be friendly Nazis,” Included Nick. So the brave bold boys went out looking for the sub. They took a radio with them so they could hear them when they got close. Then the men herd music that sounded German. They followed the signal until Garth out the Moris code. Then, a huge black shape emerged in the waves. It was the Nazi U boat. 6 men walked out on to the deck of the Nazi U boat. Garth knew how to speck German. “Mashoy!” Yelled the Nazi. Witch means Ahoy. Garth replied. “Mashoy. Gootentawk.” The Nazis trough the rope of to let them on board. Matt brought machine guns and stink bombs to take out the Germans. Then, Matt said. “It’s Show time!” The boys took their machine guns out and yelled. The Germans went for the fuselage door and went down the rail. Nick threw one of the stink bombs down the ladder and yelled. “Mark one.” There was a big boom. After that the sub started to shake. Last was the most horrible smell you could ever imagine. Evan opened the door and went in with a gas mask. He opened the door to the bunks and yelled as he shot countless rounds into the floor. The Nazis were UN prepared for it so they put their hands up. Then Matt came in and looked at Evan, then the Nazis. Matt hollered at the Nazis and pointed his gun at them. The Nazis put their hands up and started to cry.

Later on the S.S Concav the Nazis were prisoners of war. “This is the first time you’ve seen an American isn’t it. Well get used to it.” Garth said. “Wick is burning” Said Nick. Abandon the boat. Get to the concave! Matt said. Mr. C was on the boat and was getting the ladder ready. Then there was a bubbling sound and when Mr. C looked over the edge, a 7ft torpedo streaked trough the water and impacted the hull. Mr. C went flying of the boat. The Concav lit up like a roman candle. As soon as they saw it happen, they rushed to help Mr. C. “Were not leaving you!” Nick said. “What do we do?” Replied Evan.” “Get to the U Boat.” Yelled Mr. C. The Wick was gust about ready to blow. “Ah Oh!” Garth said. Garth licked the wick to stop it. “Garth, we can’t read any of this! It’s German!” Evan said. “That’s the dive control.” Added Garth. “What about this?” Asked Nick. “That’s The Rudder.” Garth replied. “Dive, Dive!” Hollered Matt. “Get ready to fire an explosive fish.” “We’ve been fired on, torpedo in the water repeat torpedo in the water!” Nick said. Why aren’t we firing yet?” Matt Asked. “I can’t read this. It’s German!” Evan said “Garth! Get to the firing station!” Matt said. “There is the trigger and that’s the torpedo.” Garth said. “FIRE TWO” Matt yelled. And then a loud screech. “What was that?” Asked Matt. “The fish is still in the tube.” Evan Said. “Well you better get those fish out of the tube before it blows.” Said Matt. But then, the torpedo fired and approached the target on the radar. “MISS!” Said Evan. Then Nick herd the sound of a bow of a U boat bending. “HIT!” Nick said.

When the sub surfaced in the morning, every one steeled down for a cup of O-J. Then Nick Said “Aircraft Coming from the north!” Every one got up quickly to the deck to see! “Yep, it’s a Meshersmit.” Matt said. “But how can it be out this far.” “What if he knows who we are?” Asked Evan. “He doesn’t know that. Every buddy Wave.” “This is ridiculous; he’s going to strafe us,” Evan said. Then, The ME Turned around and came at the sub. “Nick do something with the gun, shoot him or something.” If we shot and missed he would report us in.” Matt said. Pull the trigger Nick!” Said Evan. Get your hand of that trigger.” Matt said. Were all going to die!” Evan said. “Don’t Pull it. Pull it! Don’t Pull it and in the last seconds, the ME was getting closer and closer and closer.

To Be Continued

Do you want the ME to be shot down? Do you want Nick to pull the trigger?
Comment below and tell me what YOU want!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cool Aircraft

I immediately thought of Matt's recent posts/stories about aircraft when I ran across this story on the How Stuff Works blog about the F-117 stealth plane. Here's the article. It's got a cool video and some other interesting information about stealth technology. Thanks for the inspiration, Matt!

U boat 306 - by Matt

Chapter one: Learn to Adapt

“Ship all packed and ready to go,” said Mr. Converse. A small group of people gathered. There was Garth the electrician, Nick the deck gunner, Evan the engine man, Mr. Converse a confident WWI Sub Pilot, and Matt B., the sub captain. The new top secret mission: Destroy Nazi sub and get the new advanced way to communicate to other friendly air craft carriers and battleships. The German machine is aboard the Nazi sub and there is only one way to get it. INVADE THE NAZI SUB!!! So Matt, Nick, Garth, Evan and Mr. C . dressed up like Nazis and went out looking for the German submarine in their S.S. Concav.

“Chow time!” said Evan. And then a sound like thunder came from the ladder. Matt came rushing down the ladder, but then he slipped and fell to the wood floor. Then Garth fell on Matt. Then Nick fell on Garth.

“Get off me, Nick!" said Garth.

"No you get off!" replied Matt. "This is your fault. I'm getting crushed!” But then Mr. C came and looked at the pile of kicking and punching guys.

“THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!! This is ridiculous! You guys are a team - you should start acting like one starting now.”

The sub started to submerge. When it did the crew started to eat their meal. If they could catch it. And since the sub was not balanced it was almost impossible to eat.

“I can't eat!” said Nick.

“It’s pretty easy compared to the hostile seas of WWI,” said Mr. C. “And there is a bit of a story with it. Long ago in the unforgiving seas of the north Atlantic, my sub surfaced. It was about 3:00 in the morning and we were looking for any dangers. And I saw one,” said Mr. Converse.

“Was it a Destroyer?” asked Nick.

“Was it a battleship?" asked Garth.

“Was it another sub?" asked Evan.

“No," answered Mr. C. "It was red sky at morning, sailors take warning. So they set the alarms off and said, 'Dive Dive'. It was a rough day but dinner was the worst. Mr. S, my best buddy, got it in the head by a flying apple. Mr. W., my other buddy and my bunk mate, cut his leg from a knife falling off the table. And that night Mr. W. was whimpering and crying. And then Mr. S. said , 'at least we're not at the depth that this would happen to the sub.' He had an egg from the dinner and he squeezed it until it cracked. I watched the yellow yolk mix with the clear until it started to drizzle to the bottom and made a small puddle on the wood floor. Mr. W. gulped and rubbed his cut. I said, 'I’m going to get you to the doctor first thing in the morning.' Then Mr. W. whimpered, 'Mr. J. won’t believe you. And he won’t be happy to see me with a huge cut in my leg.'"

At that moment, a greenish small blimp appeared on the radar.

To be continued

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Women's History Month

Today marks the beginning of National Women’s History Month. The theme for 2008 is “Women’s Art: Women’s Vision,” which highlights amazing women artists whose accomplishments were celebrated during their lifetimes but lost to history.

Check out this website to learn more about five amazing women who changed history. Are any of you doing your Famous American report on any of these heroes?


Friday, February 29, 2008

Peanut Allergies - by Courtney

Do you have a peanut Allergy? I do, and last month, on January 17, my mom came home with a peanut butter smoothie. I thought that it was just a little something from Caribou, but it wasn’t. As soon as I tasted it my mom yelled, “No, that has peanuts in it!” I spit it back out. I could feel the blood rushing to my head, and my lips were swelling up my throat was swelling too. I never want to feel that feeling ever again.
Peanuts are the most common allergy and they often find their way into things you wouldn't imagine. If you’re eating at a restaurant ask the waitress if the food you’re having has anything to do with nuts. Don’t go to Big Bowl if you have a peanut allergy because most of their things have peanut oil in them. Even if the waitress says it’s ok, they could still have a splash of peanut oil.
People allergic to peanuts can also be allergic to tree nuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, and cashews. Stay away from all those nuts!

Today is Leap Day!

Our solar year is 365.24219 days. Since our calendar does not deal in partial days, every four years, we add an additional day to February. Therefore, our calendar year is either 365 days in nonleap years or 366 days in leap years. A leap year every four years gives us 365.25 days, sending our seasons off course and eventually in the wrong months. To change .25 days to .24219, we skip a few Leap Days every one hundred years or so.

Do you know anyone who was born on February 29th? If so, they're a "Leaper". Here is a website devoted to Leapers! This is an interesting article if you want to learn more about how February 29th was added to the calendar.


(image © 2003 )

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Book Review - by Josh (and mom)

We finished "Ulysses Moore and the Door to Time". Our family read this book together at bedtime. It features three kids (Jason, Julia and Rick) who work together to solve riddles and puzzles and, ultimately, a mystery! This book is the first in a series and we are looking forward to reading more!

In this book, Jason and Julia move into a house on a cliff. They meet Rick and then discover a door that has 4 locks in it. So they set out to find the keys. Every step along the way there are things that have to be figured out. They find the keys, open the door and find themselves in a grotto where they find a very strange looking boat. There are no exits and they wonder how the boat ever goes anywhere. Once they figure out the mystery of how to make the boat move, they find themselves in ancient Egypt!


We have just started book 2. It is called "The Long-Lost Map". The writing is exciting and well done. The author has kept our interest and used clues to keep us guessing what will happen next - or how to solve the next puzzle. We'll keep you updated on the journey of these three friends!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hockey - by April

I play hockey for the U-10 Richfield Girls team. This is my first year on the team. Many of the girls are from my old school. The picture looks just like the goalie on my team. Her name is Masey. She is really good. At our last game, she only let in one goal against the best team and we won. I am lucky my team is really good. We won first place in our Bloomington Tournament this season.

We all have matching jackets with hockey stick patches on them.

When we got first place this was our medal.

This is me doing a slap shot.
I hope my team wins first place again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hellcat - By Matt

Watch out for the Hellcat!

The Hellcat was built for three reasons. To destroy, outrun, and show dominance over the Japanese air force during World War II. This little blue plane had its fist step toward wining the Pacific War on June 26 1942, the day it first flew. Before the Hellcat, the Japanese made very good planes, but one plane was the Japanese’s Top Gun. That plane was the zero. The zero’s weapon system was light so it could speed up higher than the lumbering P-40 that was heavily armed. And with its aerodynamic fetchers the Zero could outrun any plane it faced. After Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Marianas raged. Both Japanese and American air craft carriers were there. The Hellcat and the zero both met in battle, and the Hellcat did so well that the battle soon came to be known as the great Mariana’s Turkey Shoot. From the 200 Hellcats that flew, only 25 were shot down. It surely proved the Hellcat's dominance. The Japanese never recovered. The Hellcat was not just the average day fighter, but it was also the navy's preferred night fighter. The young aviators got their wings to the night fighting squad over Okinawa. But after that something happened that would change the war. The last zero was shot down. Then the next morning on the carrier Yorktown there was a speech that said, “Today we are all gathered to the end of war in the Pacific”. After the war in the Pacific, the Hellcat was tested for other reasons, like the first remote controlled flight. After that came the F4U4 Corsair that was much bigger, faster, and more maneuverable than the Hellcat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Egypt - by Saheel

Egypt is an amazing country, and I will tell you every thing about Egypt. In Egypt when a person dies they don’t bury him, they just put the body in their basement. And another thing about Egypt is they don’t put the Mummy in the pyramids. They put the bodies in the museum. Second thing about Egypt if you go out in the night after 10 pm you will get arrested even if you are Americans. And now I will tell you about Egyptian Mosque. Egyptians Mosques are the best. A Mosque is a holy place for Muslims. And an Egyptian person thinks that the best religion in the world is Muslim. And that’s their opinion. The final thing about the Egypt is the queen she was the most beautiful lady in the universe.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Edge Chronicles - by Atom and Josh

We all (Atom, Josh, Jay, Jacob and Garth) have been reading The Edge Chronicles and have really liked it even though we’re two chapters into the book. The main character, named Twig, fought a giant hover worm! Even though that may sound a little weird, the book is great! Click here to see a website for it.