Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wrapping up 2013

And suddenly it's December 21...winter break has started.  I think my New Year's Resolution is going to be to write at least one CLC blog a month so I don't get so far behind! There are too many cool things happening here to let that happen!

Here is a quick rundown of what's happened since the last blog:

*StuCo (student council) held several school spirit days.  One of them was beach day. We turned the big room into a beach oasis! Students ate their lunch on beach towels, wore silly sunglasses, and tossed beach balls around.

* We took a group of kids to Harner Farm for hayride, pumpkin picking, and the corn maze

*Team Sboogle got Lost! in South America. Teams were "dropped off in different parts of S. America and they had to find their way to Lima, Peru. When the group makes it to the city they will have to learn how to communicate with the people of the their native language of Spanish!  Each group filmed episodes of their South American adventure. I got to play the part of a guard chasing after thieves in one group's video, I was awesome.

*Team M/K and A/A went to Discovery Space. That place is super fun! There are two different sides; one is health related and the other is science/technology/music.  I got to tag along on this field trip!

Well, that was the quick end-of-2013 wrap up!  Wishing you Happy Holidays and great 2014!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another school year in full swing

Tomorrow is the last day of October.  We have been in school for 2 full months now.  It's the end of the first quarter and, in three weeks, the end of the first specials block.  I have to say, the beginning of the school year has been a blur! So much has happened here that I may have to do two posts to catch you up.

We started off the year with our usual Friday Challenges. This is a great way for our new and returning students to get to know each other. The whole school gets split into teams and they rotate through team challenges.  That was followed by the All School Building Challenge. This year's challenge was to build a structure out of pasta and mini marshmallows. It proved to be very challenging as the kids had to work with a budget.  They found out very quickly how hard it is to stick to a budget...and that things can happen to make you blow your budget!  The kids moaned and groaned a lot and I found myself repeating "welcome to the real world!" :-)

Once we got settled into the school year, the individual classrooms began their own projects. Sboogle learned about Native American culture and created archaeological digs. They used the artifacts they dug up to identify the specific Native American culture those artifacts belonged to.

Team A/A learned about plants, pollinators, and PA history.  The field trip below was to a butterfly garden in Tudek park.  I got to go along on this one!

Team M/K began working on their weather project. They watched Storm Chasers and I even saw them doing some activities outside that had them simulating tornadoes.  At least that's what it looked like from my view! Their students are in training to become weather experts and, eventually, storm chasers.

Team M/R continued with the "building with pasta" theme.  Their class built skyscraper models out of pasta and glue sticks.  These buildings had to have a structure on top to place an egg in. In addition, they had to be built strong enough to withstand the earthquake shake table!  The tallest tower came in at just under 9 ft tall...and almost all of the towers stayed intact during the "earthquake".  We have quite a classroom of architects!
Building a tower

The almost-9ft building

Placing the egg on top ever so gently!

To be continued....

Friday, June 7, 2013

And another year flies by....

It's hard to believe that the school year has almost come to an end.  We've been busy doing EYOP's (end of the year projects) and taking field trips. Part of today was spent cleaning out lockers.  Oy! You should have seen the stuff coming out of these lockers!  Anyway, I thought I'd catch you up to speed on some of the fun things we've done here at CLC to finish out the year.

Team M/R: No-weld recumbent bike building.  They basically take apart bikes and piece them back together as recumbent bikes. Pretty cool!

 CLC Circus: We had a lot of circus-type things happening during ESP for a few months so it was only natural that the kids wanted to have a circus to show off their new talents!  There was juggling, hula hooping (and not just ordinary hula hooping either...swing-your-leg-through-the-hoop-then-over-your-neck kinda stuff!), unicyclists, and acrobatics! It was quite a show, these kids are SO talented!

Entering the "ring"!

Student Representative Voting: The students had to vote for a teacher to represent them on the CLC Board.  Siobhan and Deb were the candidates and they each put on a great campaign! In then end, Siobhan took home the title of Student Representative by only a few votes.

Deb and her campaign manager

Private voting booths

Showing off their "I Voted" stickers

In addition to all these fun things we took an all school field trip to the Duquesne Incline and Pittsburgh Zoo, finished up our Specials classes with a rockin' assembly (all our rock bands performed!), and watched the 8th graders graduate.

It's been a great year at CLC! Next year we have some BIG changes coming.  The school is going to go under some big renovations, we can't wait to get it started! Be on the look out for blogs documenting the renovation process!

Have a wonderful summer everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tumblewood Challenge

This week we started the writing PSSA's. Yes, it's already that time of year again.  While the 5th and 8th graders were hard at work writing their little hearts out, the 6th and 7th graders got to work on a project together.  This year, Morgan organized a challenge...the Tumblewood Challenge to be exact.

The challenge: Build a structure using only balsa wood and wood glue (and a few other tools to cut/trace). This structure will then be sent rolling down a ramp to see how far it will roll. Then, the ultimate challenge! Weights will be added to the structure, little by little, to see how much weight it will hold.  

Do you know how much weight a small, round balsa wood structure will hold?  I bet you Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar that your guess would be less than what our Tumblewood Champions structure held.  Keep reading to find out the winning weight....

The balsa structure is under all those weights!

Rolling a structure down the ramp

Too nervous to watch! Notice the structure bowing under the pressure

It's very nerve wrecking!

Brian getting the best angle
Anticipating the next weight

And finally....the structure that held the most weight.....

330 POUNDS!!! What??! Did you guess anything close to that? You should have heard the cheering in the room, surprised us all that it would hold that much! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All School Science Museum

Our 2nd annual All-School Museum was held right before Spring Break.  This year our theme was SCIENCE and each classroom chose a different topic to highlight.  With infinite topics to choose from, I knew each classroom would be totally different....and they didn't disappoint! 

Team M/R: The Science of the Circus.  It was here you could learn about what muscles are used to do trapeze work, how escape artists prepared for the acts both mentally and physically, how to ride a unicycle, and how hypnosis is performed.  There were also some clowns running around, I didn't stay in that room long! 

You can't go to a circus and not have popcorn!

The muscles used by a trapeze artist

Demonstrating an escape artist trick

Team Sboogle: Cave Science.  All students in this class were trained to be tour guides through the cave.  The three parts of the cave were depicted in the room starting with the lightest part going to complete darkness.  Tour guides talked to "tourists" about cave animals and formations that can be found throughout.  I tried to take pictures, but it was really difficult to depict the coolness of this cave, you just had to be there!

Tour guides 

This part was totally dark and looked super cool, definitely felt like a cave

Team M/K: Great Inventions.  Students created their own great invention and demonstrated it for onlookers. Have you ever realized you forgot to turn the light off after getting all warm and snuggly in your bed?  Do you wish there were an easier way to clean up dust mites? Do you want an easy, yet stylish, way to carry your cell phone?  Well, these kids had the answers to all those questions and more!

Sunscreen Invention

Easy way to open a bag of chips 

Remote control duster

The Light Turneroner Invention

Team A/A: The Green House.  Educating us on the "green" way of living! The room was sectioned off demonstrating how to live greener in the living room, bathroom, garage, kitchen and so on. It was fascinating to see what homemade items can be substituted for things that we buy pre-made and full of chemicals in the store.  Did you know that you can use a mixture of cooking oil (1 part) and water (6 parts) in a spray bottle to act as your own chemical free version of PAM cooking spray?  Did you know homemade laundry detergent gets stains out better than store bought detergent? There is proof, the student showed it! I also got a cinnamon skin treatment that left my hand feeling quite soft.  Who doesn't like home remedies?!  Students also talked about things such as hydropower, solar energy, electric cars and more. 

It's pretty amazing how this school is transformed on the day of the museum. The students and staff (and, occasionally, parent volunteers) work so hard to create and demonstrate the topics chosen, they literally rebuild their rooms to create the perfect atmosphere.  It really is worth stopping by to check out the next time we have one, you won't see anything like it anywhere else!