January 29-31

Monday- Tuesday: No school these days due to the weather

Wednesday: The last group taught their grammar lesson, and we talked about plagiarism and how to gather information for the research paper of science fair.  Students are encouraged to visit the public library to get more sources for their papers.  See post below on how we go about writing the research paper.

Thursday: Today we went to the computer lab to work on science fair research.  One thing that we need to remember are to use in-text citations.  Check out the explanation of in-text citations below.

In-text Citations

When a writer either quotes a specific source or refers to information from a specific source, he gives credit to that source by putting the author’s name and page number in parentheses at the end of the quote or sentence. These are called in-text citations.  Even though we write a bibliography of all the websites and books we used to learn new information, we still need to let the reader know which sections of our paper came from which source.  This makes it so much easier for the reader to find out more about a particular fact in your paper, and it’s the proper way to give credit to the author we learned from.

In-text Citations for Books

Put the author’s last name and the page number where you got your information.  You need to do this if it’s a quote, but you also need to do it even if it’s a paraphrase (in your own words).

“Regulated sport hunting has never driven any wild species into extinction” (Turbank 74).

Though the number of lion attacks on humans is low, the rate of increase of attacks since the 1960s is cause for serious concern (Rychnovsky 43).

In-text Citations for Books with more than one author

Put both authors’ name and the page number where you learned the new information.

The adult mountain lion population in California is at four to six thousand (Huxley and Smith 23).

In-text Citations for works without an author

If the author is not given, either use the complete title in a signal phrase or use a short form of the title in the parentheses.

In California, fish and game officials estimate that since 1972 lion numbers have increased from 2,400 to at least 6,000 (“Lion” 21).

In-text Citations for an internet source

Put the website in parentheses.  Do not put the entire web address, only the name of the website.

Example: There are 200 dogs in Bemidji (education.com).  There are 200 dogs in Bemidji (http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Dogs_Bemidji/2145)

Friday: Today was the first day with our wonderful sub Mrs. Corrington!  Baby Jude came a little earlier than his due date, so I wasn’t able to be there for my last day with the students this year.  We had our beautiful baby boy at 5 PM today.  He is our little miracle, but I will still miss the students immensely and will pray for each and every one of you daily.  I am so proud of their progress.  God bless the rest of your school year!

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January 29-31

Monday- Tuesday: We did not have school these days due to the weather.

Wednesday: Our chapel speaker this morning talked about God as our redeemer.  He did an illustration with kangaroos that you can ask your student about!  In language arts, we continued to go over how to conduct research for science fair and started looking in books at the library.  Students are encouraged to visit the public library to look for more sources for their research.  See the post below on how we go about writing the research paper for science fair.  In the afternoon, we started the spelling bee (we’ll conclude the final round tomorrow).  We worked on our Ming vases paintings and each student wrote two test questions that will be used for the final exam on China.

Thursday: We completed the final round of the spelling bee today.  Congratulations to Madeline for 1st place over all grades 3-8, Kia in 2nd place, and Willow in 3rd place.  I hope the students are encouraged for next year to study their lists and work on spelling before the spelling bee.  In language arts, we continued to gather information for science fair research papers.  In the afternoon, we celebrated the Chinese New Year (which is actually tomorrow, but we didn’t expect to be here at school with the planned ski day).  We made spring rolls, money envelopes for “good luck” and talked about the Chinese zodiac.  These are Chinese traditions, and the reason we talked about them was to learn about Chinese culture as we wrap up the unit on ancient China.  We also worked on the materials and hypothesis in science. Most, if not all, the students were able to get this finished in class.

Homework: A rough draft copy of the materials and hypothesis are due tomorrow if not finished in class

Please see the following description of in-text citations as we continue to work on research for science fair in class and at home:

In-text Citations

When a writer either quotes a specific source or refers to information from a specific source, he gives credit to that source by putting the author’s name and page number in parentheses at the end of the quote or sentence. These are called in-text citations.  Even though we write a bibliography of all the websites and books we used to learn new information, we still need to let the reader know which sections of our paper came from which source.  This makes it so much easier for the reader to find out more about a particular fact in your paper, and it’s the proper way to give credit to the author we learned from.

In-text Citations for Books

Put the author’s last name and the page number where you got your information.  You need to do this if it’s a quote, but you also need to do it even if it’s a paraphrase (in your own words).

“Regulated sport hunting has never driven any wild species into extinction” (Turbank 74).

Though the number of lion attacks on humans is low, the rate of increase of attacks since the 1960s is cause for serious concern (Rychnovsky 43).

In-text Citations for Books with more than one author

Put both authors’ name and the page number where you learned the new information.

The adult mountain lion population in California is at four to six thousand (Huxley and Smith 23).

In-text Citations for works without an author

If the author is not given, either use the complete title in a signal phrase or use a short form of the title in the parentheses.

In California, fish and game officials estimate that since 1972 lion numbers have increased from 2,400 to at least 6,000 (“Lion” 21).

In-text Citations for an internet source

Put the website in parentheses.  Do not put the entire web address, only the name of the website.

Example: There are 200 dogs in Bemidji (education.com).  There are 200 dogs in Bemidji (http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Dogs_Bemidji/2145)

Friday: Today was the first day with our wonderful sub Mrs. Corrington!  Baby Jude came a little earlier than his due date, so I wasn’t able to be there for my last day with the students this year.  We had our beautiful baby boy at 5 PM today.  He is our little miracle, but I will still miss the students immensely and will pray for each and every one of you daily.  I am so proud of their progress.  God bless the rest of your school year!

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Writing the Science Fair Research Paper

Here are the things you’ll need to know when writing our science fair research paper so that you and your student won’t be tearing your hair out.

The research paper needs to be 500 words or more.  The easiest part is the introduction.  You don’t even have to go to the library to write it!  The introduction is 1-2 paragraphs and includes your problem, hypothesis, an explanation of why you chose this project, and what you hoped to achieve.

The next part is the research portion.  It’s very helpful for students to come up with a spider map before doing any writing.  Start with this basic format:

Add information relevant to your project.  Common subtopics for science fair papers are history of _____, types of _______, interesting facts, why ______ is important, and how _____ works.

Once you know what your subtopics are, you can start your research!  Personally, I like to have note cards handy when I’m gathering information.  I like to sit down with my laptop or encyclopedia and jot down facts I think I might use on note cards.  On each card, I write the author, page number, and book title on the top.  If it’s an internet source, I use the Internet Citation Organizer at the bottom of the page (you can copy/paste into this webpage and then print it.  Make sure you print though because it won’t save) and write at the top of my index card Source 1 or 2, etc.  This is really important because it is going to help me come back later and write the bibliography.  I have seen a lot of students write their entire research and then forget what sites and books they looked at!  There are two major problems with that: you have to do a lot of backtracking to find the sources you used and it could lead to plagiarism.   Write one fact in the middle, and make sure you note on the bottom whether that fact is a paraphrase, summary, or quote.  You can fill out a ton of cards right now that are direct quotes and change it into your own words later, but you don’t want to forget the fact you jotted down is a quote and then stick that into your research paper without proper citation.  After compiling 3-4 cards per subtopic, I almost have the paper written for me!

Once I have my note cards, I can organize those facts into paragraphs.  One way to make this very clear is to use colored note cards.  At home, the students can start their research on colored note cards, which I highly recommend.  That way each subtopic is its own color, and you can tell at a cursory glance which subtopic needs a few more facts, etc.

You now have the details of each paragraph written on the note cards, and all you need is the topic sentence.  My topic sentence tells the reader what I am going to prove, going to explain, going to describe, or going to share.  The rest of my paragraph supports my topic with good reasons, interesting facts, and well-described details.

Sometimes the most difficult part of writing a cohesive paper is making the paragraphs flow.  Here are some transition words that might help seam together two thoughts.

Plagiarism

All of my students struggle with the basic question of “what is plagiarism?”  I’ve never gone through science fair without someone asking how much they need to change for it to be in their own words.  A common rule of thumb is not to use more than 4-5 words in a row that have been directly taken from the source (without adding quotation marks that is).  Paraphrasing is not just changing a few words or the order of the sentence, you to use new words (so it sounds like a middle schooler wrote it).  Another tip is to read the information from your source, close your eyes for a few seconds, and then try to write down what you remember.  Finally, use a thesaurus when you can’t think of how to change a word.  Especially think of ways a kid would say that fact you just read in an encyclopedia.  If there’s one thing I know, 5th and 6th graders will have a different writing style than a Webster dictionary!

Reminder: Students will be docked points or receive a zero if their paper has been plagiarized.  This doesn’t just mean that you stole someone else’s paper.  If you aren’t paraphrasing correctly, that would be plagiarism.

Bibliography
The very last thing to add is the bibliography.  Here are a few links to get you going.  We use MLA format to write  the bibliography.  Their guidelines cover everything and are very helpful.

MLA Format

Internet Citation Checklist

Internet Citation Organizer

I hope everyone has a stress-free time doing science fair!

January 21-24

Monday: We took a final exam on Huck Finn

Tuesday: We are starting student led grammar lessons.  Follow the links below to do some research on your topic.

Group One: Adverbs

You need to understand your topic thoroughly.  Read the following information on adverbs: http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/adverbs.htm

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adverbs.htm

Group Two: Subject-verb Agreement

You need to understand your topic thoroughly.  Read the following information on subject-verb agreement:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/sv_agr.htm

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/599/01/

http://www.towson.edu/ows/moduleSVAGR.htm

Group Three: Verb Phrases

You need to understand your topic thoroughly.  Read the following information on verb phrases:

http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/verbphrase.htm

http://www.noslangues-ourlanguages.gc.ca/bien-well/fra-eng/grammaire-grammar/sntvrbphrs-eng.html

January 21-24

Tuesday: We had Bible class after a week of spiritual emphasis.  We are going back to Daniel and his friends and went over the story of the fiery furnace.  Students read a reader’s theatre piece and completed a journal.  In language arts, we took an exam on the book Esperanza Rising.  Some students will need to finish the exam tomorrow during recess.  This afternoon, we talked about three types of clouds and watched the video below.  To wrap up today’s lesson, we played Pictionary with those cloud types.  We talked about the Silk Road in Heritage and watched the video below.  Students did a review worksheet (pages 47-48).

Homework: Heritage workbook pages 47-48, Fiery Furnace journal worksheet 

Wednesday:  Our chapel speaker talked to us about how God brings trials our way to teach us and help us grow.  Instead of being really upset about those trials, we can think about what we can learn from them.  In language arts, we made some corrections on yesterday’s exam, completed a pronoun search (find pronouns from any book you’re reading), and wrote the introduction to our research paper.  In Heritage, we read pages 214-218, watched the first part of the video on the website about wood block printing, and wrote facts about an assigned dynasty.  In science, we played a game, took notes, and completed the Label the Clouds worksheet

Remember to be working on all missing work!  The end of the quarter is THIS Friday!

Thursday: We had a two hour late start today, so all we did this morning was math.  In the afternoon, we worked on two projects: creating the different types of clouds and wood block printing (we used styrofoam) to go with our write ups about our assigned dynasty.

Friday: We started the day off by talking about the writing on the wall.  In language arts, we went over the following slideshare on plagiarism: slideshare.  During our independent work time, we practiced Internet Searching and Web Evaluation (pages 1 and 3) and Citing Web Sources (Students: when you are doing this activity today, you do not have to write out the entire URL.  That will be done on your science fair paper but not in class today).  These activities are designed to help the students conduct proper internet research for science fair and get used to correctly citing sources.

In the afternoon, we continued to work on our internet search.  We worked on creating Ming vases from the Ming Dynasty in China.  Ming vases are a beautiful blue and white, and I can’t wait to see our finished projects!  We also read about severe weather in science and answered the quick check questions on page 132.

Reminder: Spelling bee is next Tuesday and remember to wear Hawaii clothing to school on Monday for beach week!

January 13-17

Monday: We finished reading the book today and briefly talked about our reactions to it.  Students are choosing their own spelling words for the each from their spelling bee lists.  There will be no spelling homework this week.

Homework: Spelling test on Friday

Tuesday: We started watching a movie adaptation of Huck Finn today.  We will finish it tomorrow.

Wednesday: We finished the movie, had a brief discussion on our reaction to it, and we completed a reflection worksheet over the material.

Homework: worksheet is due tomorrow

Thursday: People have criticized the ending of Huck Finn, so today we evaluated two articles (one supporting the ending and one criticizing the ending).  Criticism includes Huck’s seeming reversion to his old ways when he’s around Tom.  Some people believe it discredits the growth he’s made in regard to slavery.  Students will need an opinion on the ending chapters of the book for Tuesday’s exam.

Friday: We took a spelling test and went over the study guide for Huck Finn.  The exam will be when we return on Tuesday.  Below are some resources that may help with studying over the weekend.

Homework: Huck Finn exam on Tuesday

Satire and Irony

January 13-17

Monday: This week is spiritual emphasis week, which means we’ll have chapel every day this week.  Today we had Grandma Alice’s group come in to perform.  In language arts, we decided on our new spelling list for the week.  We do not have spelling homework this week, and our list will be over words we chose from our spelling bee list.  In Heritage, we talked about the Shang and Chou dynasties.  Students decided which dynasty they would prefer to live in.  In science, we made a flipbook on the layers of the atmosphere.

Homework: Remember the upcoming deadlines: science fair question is due Jan 21, the end of the quarter is Jan 24, and the spelling bee is on Jan 28.

Tuesday: Our chapel speaker did not come so we switched for math early.  In language arts, we read chapter 12 and completed the next packet on character traits. In science, we read about air masses and did a couple demonstrations.  In Heritage, we took a look at the teachings of Confucius and met in groups to discuss what those quotes mean.

Homework: Spelling test on Friday, Esperanza reading and packet needs to be done for tomorrow 

Wednesday: Our chapel speaker talked about how God is our guide.  We use the Bible, other Christian friends, and prayer to help us discover God’s plan for our lives.  In language arts, we completed a pronoun worksheet on subject and object pronouns and started reading chapter 13: Peaches.  We will finish the packet tomorrow, so there isn’t any homework for language arts.  This afternoon we reviewed Confucius, talked about the terracotta warriors of the Qin Dynasty, and went over Jade and Bronze.  We read about weather fronts in science and watched the videos below.

Thursday: Library- Click for list of science fair questions and click here for more science fair question help and even here!

When you’re finished with science fair, click on the links below to learn about jade.

Jade: scroll down and click on the green box that says jade

Our chapel speaker had us on our feet this morning!  We learned a song with the names of God, and the speaker talked about how great it is to talk about the wonderful things of the Lord.  We finished our book in language arts today.  We will be taking a final exam on it and the vocabulary we covered throughout the unit on Tuesday.  This afternoon we talked about global winds (which is complicated stuff!) and watched the videos below.  We also learned about the Han Dynasty and talked about the unique discover of Lady Xi’s body during the Han Dynasty.

Friday: It was the last day of chapel for spiritual emphasis week.  The chapel speaker talked about how God is our refuge.  He compared it to the game of tag where you have a safe base where nothing can get you.  In language arts, we got a study guide (click here for a copy) and will be having the exam over Esperanza Rising on Tuesday.  This afternoon we worked on drawing faces with the correct proportions.  Some students even started on the next activity of drawing the other half of a photo.  In Heritage we made terracotta warriors with clay.  We read about local winds on pages 120-121 and completed workbook page 70.

Homework: Esperanza Rising exam on Tuesday, Jan 21 and science workbook page 70 is due that day as well