Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball, was born on this date in 1919. Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and played for the team for nine years. He was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1949, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Robinson died October 24, 1972.


(Image source:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Challenger Explodes - 1986

In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, 74 seconds after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All seven astronauts on board were killed, including teacher Christa MacAuliffe, who was to have been the first U.S. civilian in space. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched the explosion on television.

You know how there are those events in your life that you will always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when it happened? Well, the Challenger explosion was one of those moments for me. I was a junior in High School in Los Angeles, California and I was home sick from school. The launch was a huge deal because of the fact that it was going to be the first time a civilian would go into space, and I was watching it live in my family room. I couldn't believe what I was seeing as the shuttle exploded and broke into pieces. You could still hear radio transmissions coming from people at mission control with status reports as the pieces were falling to earth.

Leave a comment if there is an event you'll never forget.

Mr. C.

(Image courtesy of

Happy Birthday Legos!

It is Lego's 50th anniversary! Here is a link to everything lego!


Have More Heart - by Evan

I found some links for the blog about the heart.

First, go to this web address and you should be in the video section. Then go to the search bar that is next to Top Stories and type in heart. Now you should find a video that says Rebuilding A Baby’s Heart and that’s the video.

Next, perform open heart surgery at this site!

Finally, take this heart quiz. It covers everything we've learned so far in class!

Lewis Carroll's Birthday

Lewis Carroll is the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is best known as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which he wrote to entertain Alice Liddell, the daughter of a friend. Carroll wrote other children’s books, nonsense poems (including “Jabberwocky”), and a book on mathematics. He died on January 14, 1898.

Explore tons of Alice-inspired activities at this interactive site!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Alliteration - by April

Fetch my filthy

The Dog - by Andrew

You see a dog
He sees you
He looks nice
Bark bark bark
His tail is wagging
He runs after you
You run away
He shows his teeth
Now he looks mad
You look at him
He looks sad but you look mad
He sad
I see a big cut on his back
I could put him in a sack
But he is too fat
I take him back to my home
I get a leash
We take him to the vet
They give him stitches
We walk out of the vet
He yanks out of my hands
He is in the street
We see a speeding blue car
The dog does not see it
The dog is dead
You have to love that dog.


(inspired by Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech)

A.C.E.S. WWII Aircraft - by Matt

A.C.E.S. is a place in the Mall of America where there are aircraft simulators. My favorite plane is the P-40 Tiger, like the picture to the left. They have all the air craft of WW2 and some jets. The simulators there are like big video games where you are in the cockpit. A cockpit is the places were the person sits. The cockpit is also were the controls are, like the weaponry and the control stick. The control stick is where the trigger for the guns, canons, and bombs are. The control stick is also were your flight is controlled. The flaps on the bottom of the cockpit that make the aircraft turn. This maneuver is called YAW. You press on the flaps to make the aircraft turn. This might sound a little difficult, but don’t feel scared. Only 10% of your aircraft is controlled by making YAWS.

Deploying your Weapons: To deploy your weapons the red trigger fires the 50 caliber machine guns. The gray button at the top of the stick fires the 50 caliber cannons. To hit the aircraft you are shooting at you need to deflection shoot. Deflection shooting is shooting where the target WILL be, not were it IS. This is because your target has moved perhaps 25-50 yards after your ammunition comes out of your gun.
A fun fact is that most WW2 aces were horrible defection shooters. They went up so close to their target that they could not possibly miss. Now do me a favor. GO TO ACES!!!!!!!!!!!
If you are interested in learning more about this, click here to visit the A.C.E.S. website.

Happy Valentine's Day - What's in a Heart?

I am excited to be a participant in the Valentine's Day event at CV. An in depth exploration of the symbol of the day - the heart. In my search for more information on this topic, I've been researching the topic and have found some interesting information on a pig's heart. It is quite similar to the human heart, and as such is an excellent way for us to learn more about our heart and how it works. For those interested in preparing and learning more about this heart-felt event, please go to:

Happy Valentines Day!

Mr. Nelson (Lucy's Dad)

Star Wars Exhibit Coming! by Jay

There will be a Star Wars exhibit coming to the Science Museum on June 14th! It will be the largest gathering of costumes and props in the world! It will end August 24th.


Robert Burns' Birthday - 1759

Considered Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns was born to poor tenant farmers in 1759. The author of “Auld Lang Syne,” Burns became famous after he published his first volume of poetry, written in the Ayrshire dialect of Lowland Scots. When he died at age 37, 10,000 people turned out for the funeral of their beloved “Rabbie” Burns. Every year on this day, many Scots celebrate his honor with a ritual dinner of haggis and scotch whisky.

One of Burns' most popular ballads is called Auld Lang Syne, which means "Old long ago". Many people sing this at midnight on New Year's Eve to celebrate the end of another year gone by. Click here to see it. Click here to hear it.

Here is an entire pate devoted to the life and work of Robert Burns.


Book Recommendation - by Katie

A favorite book recommendation would be, The Wedding Planner's Daughter By: Coleen Murtagh Paratore.

It is about a girl named Willa, who hates her name. Her Mom is a wedding planner. If anyone comes up to Willa they always ask: "What is it like to be a Wedding Planner's Daughter?" One day Willa is tying the 3rd secret ingredient to the wedding dress of Soap Opera couples, when she has an idea... I would rate this book a 8.5. Good Luck reading the book!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gold Discovered in 1848!

James Marshall discovered gold on January 24, 1848, at Sutter’s Mill, beginning the California Gold Rush. The New Jersey carpenter was working at John Sutter’s Sacramento River settlement when he found the nugget. The discovery lured more than 90,000 people to California in the two years following his find and more than 300,000 people by 1854. James Marshall died penniless in 1885.

Check out this site to learn more about the gold rush.


Book Review - by Jake

The Year My Mom Won the Pennant is about a boy named Nick and his baseball team. The Thunderballs are without a coach but Nick bribes his mom into coaching. Nick starts realizing that people doubt that his mom can coach. Nick and his team are very big rivals with the Tornado’s and have to play them four times. The Thunderball’s record ended up 3-1 against them. If you like baseball you have to read this book.

Jake E.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

First Female to Graduate from Med School Born Today

Elizabeth Blackwell was not only the first woman to graduate from medical school, earning an MD degree, she also graduated first in her class. Blackwell served as a doctor for the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, she founded the Women’s Medical College in New York with her sister Emily Blackwell, who had also become a doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell died May 31, 1910.

Click here for tons of biographical information on Elizabeth Blackwell.

Image courtesy of Clip Art

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Survey Says...

In class we have been learning about surveys and sample size. Now I've got a survey for you to take. Please click on the link below and answer the two questions you are asked. You may only choose one answer for each question so think carefully before you respond.

Click here to take the survey.

Mac World

The “1984” commercial launched Apple’s Macintosh personal computer in the United States in January, 1984. The 45-second ad, which aired during a break in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, was declared the best ad of the last 50 years in 1995. Directed by Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, the advertisement cost $1.6 million to produce and was aired only once.

Click here to visit a site to learn how to recognize tactics advertiser's use to influence how you spend your money.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Save the Animals

Naturalist Joy Adamson’s novel Born Free made people aware of the dreadful loss of habitat and wildlife in Kenya, where she and her husband George lived. She pledged all the money earned by her books to wildlife preservation.

Check out this creature feature on lions at National Geographic for Kids. Then try your hand at raising your very own cyber tiger at this site.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Haiku - by Andrew

He flies through Fu Land
Beating everyone he sees
Who will defeat him?


Nobel Peace Prize - by Evan

Nobel Peace Prize

Speaking of Martin Luther King Jr., he won the Nobel Prize in 1964. The prize is given on December 10th, which is Alfred Nobel’s death anniversary. The prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway (Oslo is Norway’s capitol). The ceremony is held in the Oslo City Hall. Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was the 2007 winner. The first prize was awarded in 1901 to Jean Henri Dunant and Frédéric Passy. There was no award in: 1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1934, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1967, and 1972. Adolf Hitler was nominated in1939 by Erik Brandt, but Brandt took back the nomination after a couple of days. Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the prize in 1906. In 2005, the Nobel Peace Center opened to present the winners and what they did to make the world more peaceful.


Here are some cool facts on the Nobel Peace Prize
Here are more facts on the prize.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Benjamin Franklin's birthday

Statesman Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, and is well known as one of the leading founders and important early political figures of the United States. Franklin is also known for his writings and achievements in a wide variety of areas—including his famous experiments with electricity. Among his many accomplishments, from 1775 to 1776, Franklin served as Postmaster General under the Continental Congress.

Check out this cool website for more information about Ben Franklin's life and work and about how our government works (hosted by a cartoon Ben Franklin!).


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Caldecott goes to Hugo Cabret!

On of our class' favorite read aloud books, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, has been selected as the 2008 Caldecott Award winner. Not only is the artwork great, but the story itself is captivating as well (I'd be interested to know how many votes it got for the Newbery Award). Author Brian Selznick, known primarily as an illustrator, uses images (both illustrations and film stills) and words to tell the spellbinding tale of a young orphan, Hugo Cabret, who finds a partially completed automaton, in a pile of rubble.

When we reached the end of the book in class, we discovered that the title has a second meaning! Read the book to discover it for yourself...

Here is a link to a video interview with Brian Selznick in which he reveals his inspiration for the book.

Here is an article about plans to turn the book into a movie.

You can also get to these links, as well as other cool stuff, at the official website for the book.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday - 1929

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929. Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, he was ordained as a minister in 1948. Dr. King became one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement in the U.S., advocating a nonviolent approach to fighting for equal rights. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Click here to hear a recording of Dr. King's famous "I have a dream" speech.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Awards Announced!

Each year, the American Library Association recognizes a multitude of books and authors for their quality and impact. Ranging from awards for young children’s books such as the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, to the Belpré award for books celebrating Latino culture, to the Sibert Medal for distinguished informational books, the ALA recognizes a wide range of outstanding material for children, young adults, and adults.

Among other awards, the 2008 Newbery and Caldecott Award winners will be announced today. Here is a link to a site with some opinions on who WILL win and who SHOULD win.

I really want everyone in our class to visit the link above and read all the predictions Elizabeth Bird makes AND the comments that people left in response to her post. That is the type of conversation I'm hoping our blog can lead to - not only about books, but about whatever's on your mind!

Below are two other sites which are great references for finding fantastic books to read. Check them out!

Notable Children's Books (from
The Association for Library Service to Children)

100 Best Books for Children (from the National Education Association)

Happy reading!

(Images Courtesy of ALA)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhardt, Garden City, LI, 1936
Originally uploaded by QBPL-LID.

On this day in 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person—male OR female—to fly solo (all by herself) from Hawaii to California. This was a monumental achievement in the history of aviation, and it helped make Earhart a national hero by showing that a woman could do things men hadn't been able to.

What's your definition of a hero? Is it someone with superhuman strength or the ability to fly, like Superman or other comic book characters? Is it a firefighter who rushes into a burning building when everyone else is rushing out? Is it a father or mother who works multiple jobs to ensure a better future for their kids? The fact is, anyone can be a hero, and a hero to one person is not necessarily a hero to another.

For your assignment, due next Thursday, I'd like you to ask three different people these questions:

1. Who is someone you think of as a hero?
2. Why do you think that person is a hero?

If possible, ask someone who is younger than you, someone who is your age and someone who is older than you to see what kind of different answers they give. If you'd like, have them read and respond to this post themselves by leaving a comment (click link at bottom of post). Have them include their name, their age (optional), their responses, and your name (so you can get credit). Remember, first names only.

Other options for completing this assignment could include:

Writing down the responses and typing them as a comment to this post

Writing or typing the responses and bringing them in to school/emailing them to school

Recording the responses (audio, video or both) and bringing/emailing

Presenting the responses orally for the class

Or come up with your own way (check with Mr. C. or Mrs. C. first to make sure it's o.k.)!

Click here for more info on Amelia Earhart.


Elvis trivia - by Lucy

I have a question for everyone. How many films did Elvis star in? To find the answer, click here. Leave a comment with your answer when you find it!


The Story of Cheese - Chapter 1: The Rise of Cheddar, by Garth

Since the moment he was born, Cheddar knew he would be nothing special. Since the moment he was born, Cheddar knew he would be a normal cheese. He once had his fortune told by a fortune teller, who said, “You shall do nothing special... now give me my money!!” Cheddar quickly paid the lady and left. His entire life, Cheddar knew he wouldn’t do anything special.
Then one day Cheddar’s life was changed forever. That one day determined his entire life. That one day changed his future. That one day he went into the forest and never came out. When he went into the forest he was attacked by the CHEESE BANDITS. They were dressed in black robes and pointy hats. Cheddar was frightened like a mouse with a hawk in pursuit. The CHEESE BANDITS thrust their blades of cheese at Cheddar, but Cheddar was fast. He quickly picked up a stick, parried and reposed so fast the CHEESE BANDITS couldn’t even begin to lunge towards Cheddar. He had the feeling he would be victorious in this battle until he was attacked from behind. A rather large cheese stood looming over him like all of the trees in the forest.
Cheddar was surprised at how big the cheese was. He was broad, with rough skin and big eyes that looked down at him in fury. His mouth was shaped in a menacing grin, and his hair was sleeked back into a mullet. The large cheese thrust a fist at Cheddar. Cheddar shifted to the side and aimed a blow and the giant cheese. To his surprise, the giant cheese caught the fist and twisted. Cheddar could hear a crack, and winced as the giant cheese pushed him to the forest floor. “I HOPE IT HURT!!” boomed the giant cheese. Cheddar was too scared to speak. He tried to hide how much pain he was in, but he couldn’t help but produce a few tears. The giant cheese picked him up by his collar and slammed him to the ground like a rag doll. Cheddar felt as if his spine had just been broken. He looked at where the giant cheese slammed him into and there was a small crater where he hit.
The cheese must have been at least 5000 pounds, and at that instant Cheddar knew the cheese had to be Bobby Cheese-It’s. He had heard tales about Bobby Cheese-It’s and he knew he was said to be the greatest cheese in the world. Cheddar scrambled up to his feet and dashed towards an opening where some leaves parted to make a space where he could escape. But right when he was about to leap to freedom he was grabbed around the ankle and yanked to the floor. He climbed to his feet just to get knocked down again by a giant fist full of cheese. Cheddar lay on the ground in pain with several bruises and a black eye.
“Wwwwhat dddoo yyyou wwant?” He managed to sputter out. This time the CHEESE BANDITS spoke. “We want all of your cheese.”
“Why,” Cheddar responded.
“Because were hungry.”
Cheddar noticed that they looked very skinny. But he wouldn’t give up. He lunged towards the CHEESE BANDITS, but Bobby Cheese-it’s was too fast. He dashed in the way of the CHEESE BANDITS and knocked him away. Cheddar quickly regained balance and landed with like nothing ever happened. Bobby Cheese-it’s shot towards him, but Cheddar shifted out of the way. Bobby Cheese-it’s whirled around and raced towards him again, this time knocking him off balance. He stumbled and fell to the ground. Bobby Cheese-it’s laughed an evil, cruel, mad laugh. Then shot towards Cheddar. He braced himself for impact, but didn’t feel anything. He peeked to see what happened and saw something amazing. It’s not really what he did see, but what he didn’t see. Bobby Cheese-it’s and the CHEESE BANDITS were gone. Then Cheddar spotted a hole in the ground. It looked as if someone had dug the hole and covered it with twigs and leaves. He started towards the pit then stopped. What if it was a trap? What if the Bobby Cheese-it’s or the CHEESE BANDITS where waiting for him in the pit? What if they were going to pull him down and eat him? But Cheddar’s curiosity got the better of him. He wanted to know what was in the pit. He raced towards the pit, and gazed inside. It was just a deep hole. He backed away from the hole. Cheddar let out a sigh of disappointment. He had hoped there would be spikes or venomous snakes in the pit. He went up to the hole to take a closer look. But when he was just five inches away from the pit he felt like he was shoved into the hole. Who shoved him he doesn’t know, all he knows is that he was pushed, and he will never get out not even if there was a miracle. He would never get out.
Coming soon....Chapter 2: A Message in Melted Cheese

Nothing but a Hounddog - by Evan

I think this is a cool song. My brother used to always sing it, so now it sometimes gets stuck in my head. I used to hear it a lot in Kids Club also. Here is the website for the video. I also found some pictures and info of Elvis and Graceland by clicking here. I think Graceland is really cool because it’s huge and it kind of looks like the white house in front.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Elvis - by Katie

I really like the Elvis Presley Jail House Rock song. I really like the dancing. Have you ever been to his house? It is just amazing. I really like his jungle room. It has a chimney, but instead it is a mini waterfall. But most of all I love his downstairs room. It is all blue and yellow just like lightning bolts. That is what it was ment to be. I would like to go back there some day.


Here is a link where you can see what Graceland looks like.

Click here to see a video of the song Jail House Rock!

Books into Movies - by Graham

Speaking of Books becoming movies, there are going to be three more Chronicles of Narnia movies! Prince Caspian, which comes out in May of 2008; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which comes out in May of 2010; and The Silver Chair, which has not been oficially filmed yet.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Concav(e)? - By Mr. Nelson

The word concave means curving in or hollowed inward. The term is most commonly used to refer to:

In addition, the term concave upwards is used for convex functions, and concave downwards for concave functions.

Just thought I may get a mention on the blog. Have a great evening!

Paul Nelson

Alliteration - By Lucy (and her brother)

Franky Flin Felly fried fifty-five french fries in fifteen days!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Calling Elvis..."

"Calling Elvis..."
Originally uploaded by Tapio Hurme.

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great winter break and that you are excited to get back to school!

Seeing as how our last day of school in 2007 was marked by our fantastic 50's party, I thought it was a pretty interesting coincidence that today, your second day of school in 2008, is Elvis Presley's birthday. He would have been 72 years old today - that's almost as old as me! ;-)

Did you know that more than one billion (that's billion with a 'B'!) of his records have been sold. Not only that, but Elvis also acted in 31 movies and played more than one thousand concerts. His former residence, which is named 'Graceland', still gets more than 600,000 visitors every year! No wonder Elvis is still called the "King of Rock n' Roll"!

Click here to view Elvis' biographical page on the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame website.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Funky Forest

I found this while surfing the net this morning. It's an art installation that was created for the 2007 Cinekid Festival in the Netherlands by a woman named Emily Gobeille. She has her own website that you should also check out!

'Funky Forest' is an interactive ecosystem where children create trees with their body and then divert the water flowing from the waterfall to the trees to keep them alive. The health of the trees contributes to the overall health of the forest and the types of creatures that inhabit it.

Click here to see a cool video of kids interacting with 'Funky Forest'.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Two famous Smiths share this birthday

Two famous Americans, John Smith and Jedediah Smith, were born on this day, January 6. Both these famous men were known for their exploration of different parts of North America. John Smith, famous for his presidency of Jamestown and interactions with the Algonquin, explored and mapped the Chesapeake Bay. Jedediah Smith, an explorer in the west, used the “South Pass” through the Rocky Mountains to lead some of the first white settlers to new lands. Born over 200 years apart, both shared a love of exploration, experience with Native American relations, and—a common last name.

Learn more about Captain John Smith here

Learn more about Jedediah Smith here.

Did you know the surname (last name) Smith is the most common in the United States (
more than 3 million people, or 1% of the U.S. population)? The name Smith means “a worker at the smith—a metal-worker, blacksmith or farrier.” Visit this site to see what your last name means. Once you've done that, check out this site to see where your name ranks among the most popular in the U.S.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Book Review - Peter and the Starcatchers

Over winter break I had the chance to read Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry. What a great idea for a book! You all know the story of Peter Pan and his adventures in Neverland. Well, this book is meant to be a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. If you always wondered how Peter learned to fly, where Captain Hook lost his hand or where mermaids came from, this is the book for you.

The story starts with Peter and four other orphans being sent away on a decrepit ship to be servants for the evil King Zarboff. Peter soon finds out that the ship also carries the most precious treasure ever known to man. He also finds out that the feared pirate Black Stache is following the ship in hopes of stealing the treasure for himself. With some help from his friends, Peter manages to foil the pirate's plans, but in the process they get marooned on an island. Unfortunately, Black Stache doesn't give up easily and tracks Peter and the treasure there.

Although this is a long book, the chapters are short making it a pretty quick and easy read. Dave Barry has a humorous writing style and includes so much adventure and detail that I found it hard to put down.

Friday, January 4, 2008