Sunday, March 31, 2013

300,000 hits: What does it mean?

Over Easter weekend, Water for Sixth Grade hit 300,000 page views. WSG began in the school year of 2008-2009, making the current school year the fifth school year I've used this blog to help teach my class. Over the last five years, WSG has changed looks many times and evolved as a learning tool to hopefully provide a good resource and learning opportunity. Each year saw a rise in blog posts. In 2008: 52 blog posts. 2009: 57 blog posts. 2010: 62 blog posts. 2011: 131 blog posts. 2012: 189 blog posts. Overall, I've published 543 blog posts. These blog posts have been a variety of learning tools, writing prompts, informational, review, and sharing. During the school year, WSG gets on average 15,000 page views/month. With the 300,000 hit for WSG, I have been doing some reflecting. Water for Sixth Grade has 300,000 hits, so what does that mean? Simply put: not much. I have learned that getting a lot of hits isn't and shouldn't be the focus. The focus of a website should be helping your students learn. Isn't that the overall goal anyway? Of those 300,000 hits, many are random, meaningless hits. It's not like people all over the world are flocking to WSG to partake in some ancient civilization assignments or checking everyday to see what new posts I've published. To be honest, I have no idea how/why it has so many hits. WSG is not going to change the world, it is not going to "go viral" and make national news. And that's okay. The point of this blog and any educational/class website isn't to get famous or to try to get hits. It's to help students learn. I don't care how many countries view my site. All I care about is that it helps my students learn, review, share, interact, collaborate, and grow. The only stat I care about is 127, which is the number of students I have this year and the number of students I want to help and impact. Yes, I am proud of my website but not because of 300,000 hits, but because I know my students and parents use it and benefit from it. My blog will not change the world and I'm okay with that. My blog will not make me famous and I'm okay with that. From the start, my goal has always been to provide a website, an extension of  my classroom, for my students to help them learn.  If you look at WSG, you will not find a hit counter unless you scroll way down on the site. The top of the page should be things the students need or things that will help them learn or things they can do. The only reason I have a "cluster map" on my site at all is because....actually, I don't know why. Perhaps I'll take it off.  Well, enough about stats and page views. Maybe I'll talk about them again with hit number 400,000 but between now and then, I'm going to talk about the ancient worlds and skills that will help my students succeed. So, my students, you might be asking yourself, "Why is Mr. Klumper telling me this?" The answer is simple: I want to make sure you know the point of having this website is to help you learn. If you think having a lot of hits is cool, that's okay. But what I really hope is that you come here and learn!
So, should we have a piece of cake in celebrating hit number 300,000? Nope. No thanks. However, I will share a piece of cake with you in celebrating learning, growing, and being good people. Enjoy!
-Mr. Klumper

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your Weekend Homework: Name our new Class Pet

Our new class pet
Some might call it "childish" or "elementaryish" but I call it cool. We have a new class pet in social studies! Perhaps you have noticed him hanging out on the top of my smartboard lately. One of my students (Jay-Rad) found this little guy abandoned in a hallway in our school. Well, he has found a home in room #610. We are going to have lots of fun with our new class pet. We can play dress-up, read to him, play catch, see who can hold their mouth open the longest! It's going to be a blast! However, one problem: our class pet doesn't have a name. So our first project is to give this little guy a name. Post comments with suggestions for names for our class pet, then we will vote on the best ones. Think originally and be creative! Give our class pet a name that means something! Remember what I named my family dog? (Princess Artemis Willow Faina of House Klumperfell of the Westeros Realm). 
Post a comment on this blog post with your name suggestions. 
Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remembering Pompeii

What happened in Pompeii was a tragedy like never before seen at that time. This mountain had always been looming in the shadows as a silent member of the community. However, in 79 AD, this "mountain" turned out to be a volcano, catching all the citizens of Pompeii by surprise. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted, it was unlike anything imaginable by the people. It rained down terror and destruction without mercy for almost two days. The result was a city completely buried, and only few remaining survivors. Now, we learn about Pompeii and remember the tragedy that it was. Pompeii is important for us because when the ash buried the city it sealed the city like a time capsule. It preserved everything like it was the day Pompeii died. 
Listen to the story, told by a little girl who witnessed the last day and describes the tragedy as it unfolds. Sad, yes, but that is okay. It is okay to listen to sad things once in a while, it helps us appreciate what we have in life. Remember Pompeii. Be thankful for what you have.

PS: Mt. Vesuvius erupts every 2,000 years. It erupted last in 79 AD. Add 2,000 years to that and you have 2,079. So technically, Mt. Vesuvius could erupt at any moment.......

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gladiator Trading Cards

Welcome to the Arena. Lebron James? No. Kobe Bryant? No. Joe Mauer? No. In ancient Rome, these people are nobody. These people are nothing special. For the Roman world, the Gladiator reigned supreme as the "top-dog" in the athletic arena. The gladiator was the super star. What happens to star athletes when they lose? The answer: NOTHING. If a gladiator lost, what would happen to them? The answer: death. The stakes were much higher for the gladiator than the sports stars of today. The gladiator of the Colosseum in Rome fought for freedom and for their life. A popular hobby is to collect trading cards of sports super stars. What if there were gladiator trading cards? Wouldn't that be interesting? Well, there haven't been any gladiator trading cards dug up by archaeologists, so it appears it is up to us to make some. So, let us begin and make Gladiator trading cards.
*Read the Instructions on the details of this assignment.

*Website to help you research: Gladiator Index

*Examples from last year: Click Here

DUE: Tuesday, April 2nd.  

Blog Book #4: Pantheon

One of the most lasting buildings of the Roman Empire is the Pantheon. With its distinct look of the pillars in the front and the dome on top, the Pantheon has been a tourist hot spot in Rome for years. One of the most intriguing aspect of the Pantheon is the hole, called an oculus, at the top which lets in sunlight and is the only light source in the building. The pantheon was a place for worship for the ancient Romans. Below, you will find two articles to help you with your Pantheon blog book activity. For the Pantheon, we will be using the "hand" method.

Hand Method: In your blog book on the "Pantheon" page, you will fill out the Hand. Each finger will have a specific piece of information in it. The middle of the hand (the palm) will be a 3 sentence summary. Make sure you write in COMPLETE SENTENCES. See below for details:
Pointer Finger: Who ordered the Pantheon to be built?
Middle Finger:  What material was used to build the Pantheon?
Ring Finger: What is the hole in the roof called AND what it its purpose?
Pinky Finger: What does the word "pantheon" mean?
Thumb: How did the Romans build the dome part of the Pantheon? (hint: something to do with the thickness of the walls)
The Palm: Explain what the Pantheon was used for. (2-3 sentences)

Click here or here to find articles on the Pantheon that will help you fill out your "hand" notes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

BlueMan is Stranded on an Island

BlueMan is stranded on an island, but he's happy about it. He is finally free of Mustache. Or is he? Check out this latest BlueMan comic and see what our adorable dork BlueMan is up to next!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blog Book #2: Emperor's of Rome

(Use this article to fill out your crossword)
I find it very fascinating to look at and study people in leadership roles. I find it interesting to learn how they got into that leadership position and how they handle their responsibility. I find it interesting to look at the decisions they make and the consequences. Over the span of this earth, there have been many people in leadership roles. Presidents, Kings, and emperor's. In ancient Rome, the leader of the Roman empire was known as an Emperor. An emperor is much different than the President of the United States, though they are both the leaders of the country and there have been both good and bad. Some can not handle the pressure and responsibility of leadership. Others strive as the leader. Some are crooked from the beginning, others get corrupted while in charge. We have discussed a few different emperors in class. Now, let us take this opportunity to learn about a few more emperor's of Rome. Like we discussed in class, some emperor's are good, some are bad. Some emperor's had great achievements like Vespian, who was emperor at the time of the Colosseum being built or Hadrian who order the construction of "Hadrian's Wall" and the famous Pantheon. Some emperor's were famous because of their father, like Tiberius who was the adopted son of the very first Emperor or Commodus whose father was Marcus Aurelius. Not only from a famous father, Commodus also fought as a gladiator, killing hundreds of animals, amputee's and wounded. Also, Commodus's opponents were told to lose on purpose being that he was the emperor. Emperor's like Titus witnessed one of the most tragic and sad events of the Roman empire, the disaster at Pompeii. Emperor Constantine had no famous physical structure, but an idea. Constantine brought the religion of Christianity into the Roman empire and made it equal to all other religions. A radical move for the times. Then, finally we have Justinian who formed the basis of all systems of law in the western world with the code he put forth. Good or bad, the Roman Empire saw many dynamic emperor's throughout its history.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rome Detective

In "Ancient Rome: You Are There" your goal was to survive the day. Now, you are back in ancient Rome but you have a different objective: to become an ancient Rome detective and solve these clues. It is your job to identify the 10 suspects and bring them to justice. These people/things have been out pillaging the country side, so it is your job to find them to stop their destruction. Follow the instructions on the Rome Detective PowerPoint. You will record your findings in your work packet. Good Luck, detective. 
Extend the Learning: Once you have figured out all of the 10 suspects, select 3 of them and write a 4-5 sentence paragraph for each topic you selected, providing more detail/explanation of that topic. This brief research project is a Common Core State Standard. You will post a comment with your 3 paragraphs. 
VERY IMPORTANT: We will be having a standard check on Friday over "Ancient Rome: You Are There," Rome detective, and Ancient Quest Ch. 8. You will be able to use your work packet so make sure you complete the activities. 

Wax Museum 2013 Charity Winner

In a relatively close vote, the charity winner for the 2013 Wax Museum is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This is the fourth year in a row that the 6th grade students of Brandon Valley middle school has selected this charity to receive our donation. Each year, the students provide suggestions of possible charities to donate the Wax Museum money to. We had many, many good and worthy charity options this year. After gathering suggestions, the students vote, giving them the power to make the decision. (Democracy!)  This is an important decision because the Wax Museum brings in a sizable donation. In the last 2 years, the Wax Museum has donated over $8,500 to charity. We have sent a 4 year old girl to Disney World and sent a boy to Alaska for a dream fishing vacation. The students have done a great job so far and we all look forward to being able to make a difference again this year. 
Congratulations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Wax Museum Cover Contest Details

Each year, I hold a contest to see who can design the coolest/best cover for the Wax Museum program. The Wax Museum program is a very valuable item during the Wax Museum. First, it gives me a chance to thank some special people that help us with this project and show the steps of this project. It also provides a list of all the students and their characters so people can see who is all in the Wax Museum. Even more important, the program shows people where they can find each character. This is an essential element to the big night because without the program, people would be wandering around aimlessly trying to find certain characters. The first thing people see when they pick up a program is the cover, so that is why we have got to make something cool for people to look at. Click the Link below to read the details of the Wax Museum Program Cover contest.

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013 Wax Museum Charity Candidates

The Wax Museum 2013 is a little over one month away, which means it is time to select the charity we will donate the money to. During the Wax Museum, our "wax statues" will come to life when coins are dropped into their bucket. Once the coins hit the bottom of the container, the "statue" will come to life and tell all about their life. That money is then collected and donated. This is not the only reason we do the Wax Museum. However, it is an important part. This aspect of the Wax Museum project makes it more than just a school project. It makes it a dynamic opportunity for the students of BVMS to be a part of something that does good for someone else. For the Wax Museum, we are not working for simply a grade, we are working to put on a good show and help someone/something in need. Each year, the 6th grade students vote on the charity to receive the Wax Museum donation. The charity that wins our vote will be very happy. This is an important decision because it is a sizable amount of money that will be donated. With that said, look through the list and do a little research on the charities that you are not familiar with. Be an informed voter on Monday. 
2013 Wax Museum Charity Candidates
Wounded Warrior Project
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Humane Society
Children's Inn
Brandon Food Pantry
Special Olympics
Ronald McDonald House
Red Cross
Kids Against Hunger
Josiah McGee

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Blog Book is Launched

Get ready for the never before used "Ancient Rome Blog Book." As we launch this new product on WSG, prepare yourself for some intense learning via the blog. With this blog book, you will use Water for Sixth Grade to fill it out. The blog book does not require you to post comments, but to use the posts or whatever is loaded on to the blog to complete the activity. In your blog book, you will be covering: mythology, public bath, Pantheon, roads, daily life, and emperors. Your blog book will be an essential tool for you in standard checks and the end of the unit test. Be sure to do a good job and keep up with the blog book activities. All blog book activities will be posted on the right side of WSG for easy access. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This is Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome has begun and with it, many, many wondrous things. Ancient Rome was a huge, powerful empire that ultimately crumbled to the ground. The people and topics of ancient Rome are very interesting. This video will give you a glimpse into what Ancient Rome is all about. This statement is used too often, but here, it couldn't be more true: Ancient Rome is like no other. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Ancient Rome: You Are There" Adventure

Welcome to ancient Rome. We have spent a total of zero days in ancient Rome, which means your adventure today will be a difficult one. You will go forth blindly in this new ancient world, trying to make good choices. Once you click the link with your mouse, you will be transported back in time to a place of glorious wonderment. A place of many, many amazing things. I will not say what those amazing things, however, because I am not going to give you even one clue! With the click of your mouse, you will wake up in ancient Rome with one goal: survive. The adventure is up to you. The decisions are yours to make. The fate is yours to have. You are in ancient Rome. I bid you good luck, my honorable and courageous young warrior.  
Task #1: Play the game "Ancient Rome: You Are There" and fill out your score sheet. Complete sentences.
Task #2: Post a comment with 5 decisions you made (good or bad) and explain why they were either good or bad. COMPLETE SENTENCES.
Task #3: Answer these questions in a second comment:
1. What type of food do patricians eat?
2. What is an Eques gladiator?
3. Where do charioteers race their chariots? 
4. What is the Forum?
5. What is the Pantheon used for? 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Princess Artemis Willow Faina of House Klumperfell of the Westeros Realm

I would like to share with you our new puppy. She is a pure bred black lab. Her full name is: Princess Artemis Willow Faina of House Klumperfell of the Westeros Realm. Why the long name, you ask? Well, a special name for a special dog.

"Ask the Public about Democracy" Results

In my ancient world class, we studied Democracy during our ancient Greece Unit. Athens, along with their leader Pericles, invented Democracy as a way to rule their people. However, saying "Democracy ruled the people" isn't quite right. In a Democracy, the people rule themselves. The basic form of Democracy is when the people/citizens rule. They can vote, elect leaders, and have freedom. Since we live in a country with Democracy, I thought it would be interesting to have my students go out into the public and see what people actually know about our own form of government, democracy. They had to interview five adults, age 25 and older. I sent them out with a basic questionnaire. The results came flying in and when we analyzed them last week, we got a good picture what the public knows (or perhaps a better way to say it is 'doesn't know"). Click the link to see the results of our Ask the Public interviews. Here's a little preview: only 14% of the people interviewed got a 100% on the entire sheet. Also, for the question of "Who is President?" The results were NOT 100%...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ancient Greece Unit Test

Good Luck on your ancient Greece test! Don't let the word "test" scare you, or cause you to panic. Call it an activity if that makes you feel better. So go ahead, just answer the questions, no problem! Let's close our 6th ancient world on a good note. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

2013 City-State Olympics RESULTS!

On March 1st, 2013, eight Greek city-states competed in the first ever City-State Olympics in room 610. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Olympia, Megara, Argos, Crete, and Mycenae all competed their hearts out in academic questions and athletic competitions. The athletic competition was fashioned after some of the original Olympic games: running, long jump, javelin, shot-put, and wrestling. Our games were: "closest to target,"(shot-put) "foot race," "long jump," "paper airplane distance,"(javelin) and "push-up contest"(wrestling). Each city-state tried desperately to be crowned Champion. However, there can be only one champion. Here are the results of the 2013 city-state Olympics. Congrats to the winners!