Time’s A Ticking

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.“ – Charles Bixton

My watch. Does anyone really know what time it is, anyways??

My watch. Does anyone really know what time it is, anyways??

I love Daylight Savings time in the fall. For me, the concept is full of possibilities.  I am given an extra hour, and it is up to me how I choose to spend it. Mr. Brooks thinks I am silly – that any “extra” hour is in the middle of the night, so it is spent sleeping… I see things a little differently, and believe that the extra hour can be filled at any point during the day, in any way I choose to fill it.

This is the inside of the Custom House clock in Boston, MA. Time, from a different perspective...

This is the inside of the Custom House clock in Boston, MA. Time, from a different perspective…

I started wondering if others feel the same way, so I put together a one-question survey and posted it on my social media channels right before I went to bed.  I was up an hour early, and slowly watched the numbers climb. Of course, I soon started thinking about the opportunities for math lessons!!  At the time of publishing tonight, there have been 543 responses. I have some awesome friends who shared my link (thank you Charity, Dana, Jerry and the MTA!) and because of them, we have some real meaty numbers to dig into!  Yaay!!

Click Pic to access survey questions.

Click Pic to access survey question.

Needless to say, my students will be working with data over the next week or so.  Every response is time-stamped, and there are many responses which need categorization.  We will have to decide what is “useful data” and what is “bad data”. We’ll make predictions, comparisons, calculations and perhaps draw some conclusions.

Click the pic & see the data!

Click the pic & see the data! — Teachers – if you decide to use this data with your class, PLEASE come back and tell us what you did!!!

When Spring Ahead comes around, I’ll plan on doing the same thing.  I have my personal predictions on what folks will believe they “lose” when we move the clocks ahead, but only the data will tell us that!


Mrs. Brooks’ Students: Here is the link to where we will assemble our data:

Daylight Savings Data Entry

If you would like to see the work we are doing with this data – scroll all the way to the bottom of this post!!


:) We are a week away from our Plimoth trip. Lunch orders are due by Friday. If you are a chaperone and are driving instead of busing, thank you! Keep me posted – our buses will be packed!
:) Recess is starting to get chilly. Be sure your child is dressed for the weather.
:) Almost 30% of you have signed up for Remind 101!  AWESOME! :) If you have questions about it, let me know :)

Smile Wide,

MyLiveSignature - My Signatures




November 4

Video of the Week

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 9.43.09 PM

The kids were ALL excited to get started!!!


We color-coded each of the categories. We also had to categorize some of the data that people put in the “other” category. Most of what they put fit the category of “doing something fun”, but we had to make some decisions to exclude data because it didn’t really fit any category. Decisions, decisions!!


Using a Google Form made it easy for everyone to enter data. It also made it very easy to share information off of our iPads!! Talk about timely!!

Check out our VINE videos — We are working with data!

Categorizing the raw data.

Categorizing the raw data.

Entering the categorized data into a Google Form for tabulation.

Entering the categorized data into a Google Form for tabulation.

data 1data 2data 3


A Repository of Sorts

This week, students in 204 are creating end-of-year slideshows, highlighting their personal Top 10′s.  To aid in their image collection, I took requests from students, and promised I would post them here on the blog to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.  Their technology skills have blown me away this year, and I can’t wait for them to show their parents at our Farewell Celebration next week!

Here is my Top 10 Video (I used Explain Everything to create it, and I have a ways to go in my learning):

Reading is FUNdamental!

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss
For the 2nd year in a row, I just logged off of the Scholastic Book Clubs website, where I used all of my Bonus Points to order 10 board books.  You might think that board books are a bit babyish for our mature 3rd graders, right? Well, we have a Big Project in the works, and those board books will play a big part!

Students in 204 have already spent considerable time learning about fluency skills employed by great readers. You can check out each student blog to see what we’ve reflected on so far. We will continue next by researching early literacy, and reflecting on what their own experiences have been as readers.


As soon as the shipment of board books arrives, the real work begins!  Each student will receive a board book to keep for a few weeks.  They will read that book, upside-down, backwards and sideways until they are expertly fluent.  When everyone is ready, I will record them reading their chosen book and burn their recordings onto a CD.

Enter the gift bags: We will fill each bag with one board book, and one CD, along with a carefully planned, perfectly edited letter…  These persuasive letters will be written to parents of brand-new babies, informing them as to why reading to babies is so important, and convincing them to begin immediately!

In May, we will deliver all of our gift bags to Falmouth Hospital, so they can be distributed to all the new 2013 babies.  Who knows? If I stay in teaching long enough, I could see one of those cuties in my class someday!!
Visit the blog for updates and more information on this exciting project! If you are willing to donate a few board books, please let me know, as we are short by a few. We’re so, So, SO excited!!!


Wax Museum packets of information will come home on Wed or Thur this week. Please start asking questions now, so this project is more enjoyable than stressful.  Also? Be repared to be BLOWN AWAY by the level of work performed by these kids of yours!!

Yawwnnnnn – today was Pajama Day! Thank you to all who participated, as the money raised will help raise funds for an Arts Council performance coming up soon!! Yaay!
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Reigning Taxes

Greetings. Queen Suzy, here.  I recently spent two days at Mullen-Hall School in Colony 204 along with my fellow royals – Duchess of the Bell and Lady Price.

Lady Price, Queen Suzy and Duchess of the Bell

We felt it imperative to visit the Colony personally because it had become awfully expensive to keep it running.  With all the children requiring pencils, paper and quality instruction, the costs were adding up. We arrived Tuesday morning in order to introduce our new tax structure.  Each student was given a job in the colony (we must each pull our own weight!) ranging from milliners to farmers, tax collectors to coopers.  Two students were valued members of Parliament, and spent the day advising us on the workings of the Colony.  Once each colonist was paid (40 beans), it was time to explain the tax structure:

It wasn’t long before my loyal subjects were paying beans left and right. Though some were willing to give up a few of life’s luxuries in order to avoid a tax or two, I was pleased to see the beans accumulate in our depository.

Many gave up chairs, rather than pay for the Chair Tax.

And the beans pile up...

We still did the important work of the Colony, even though the setting had changed.

The end of Day One rolled around… I invited Duchess of the Bell and Lady Price out for a shopping spree and a nice dinner, as we had collected a generous amount of beans!  We made plans to return to Colony 204 the following day, as we realized our loyal subjects were more than willing income sources.  Our loyal Parliament members had recommended new income sources, such as snack, book and cushion taxes, and noise and running fines. We had lots of new ideas to work with.

Day Two found us wearing luxurious furs, larger crowns and we were dripping in jewels.  We unleashed our new tax structure, and it seemed our loyal subjects weren’t all that pleased.  I am not sure exactly why?

We were not welcomed with open arms, however, our young colonists seemed to accept their plight.  Soon, they were thankful to have such caring royal leaders, because we noticed another colony had popped up nearby.  It seemed that Queen Holly had arrived in Colony 201.

Being the diplomat I am, I traveled to Colony 201, to welcome Queen Holly and her subjects. I inquired about her intentions, and it seemed to me that while very pleasantly elusive in her answers, I feared she may be looking to expand her colony.

Loyal Subjects at the Depository

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was beginning to panic a bit. I was worried that I had never properly measured my colony, so I wrote a letter to Queen Holly, which was delivered by my royal couriers.

“Dear Queen Holly, I have heard you are an Everyday Math Colony. We, being a Math in Focus colony, are in dire need of some EDM rulers.  Two will suffice.  Will this payment cover the cost? I have to measure my colony.  Your powerful friend, Queen Suzy of the World.”

Her response was immediate, as she sent back my couriers with only one ruler and a note.:

“Dear Queen Suzy of the Tiny Colony 204,  I am quite insulted that you feel that paltry payment of one coffer of pence would be enough for TWO WHOLE rulers.  Signed, Your Exceptionally Powerful Queen (who hopes to expand) ~ Queen Holly the Lovely.”

The NERVE of some royalty…  I set to writing, with most of my subjects looking on….

“Oh Queen Holly, It is my understanding that our currency is worth far more than yours. This one bean should more than cover the cost of your rule, er… I mean ruler.  Your Queen Suzy of the World.”

The response was immediate….

“Dear Queen Suzy, It is unfortunate because in my divine I WAS going to give you a royal tape measure as that would have clearly sped up your work. However, your continued insult to my colony means I will not be that generous. Another ruler will cost AT LEAST ten of your tiny insignificant beans!  Signed, The Best Queen ~ Queen Holly”

It was clear to us now, that Queen Holly was not backing down.  I knew I had to keep collecting taxes to pay for protection from such an unfriendly colony.

Duchess of the Bell and Lady Price lay the new taxes on our unhappy colonists.

Duchess of the Bell and Lady Price announced to the colony that once again we were going to raise taxes.

In fact, my loyal subjects were inspired to write letters of their own.  Some were antagonistic, assuring Queen Holly that we were a strong enough colony to stay put, and to cancel her plans of expansion. A few letters begged her not to expand, as that seemed to be causing the Taxes in 204 to rise exponentially.  Please stop, they begged. Do it for the children.  We received one last letter:
Dear Suzy, Colony 204 Parliament and Colonists, I WILL take your land. As you stated, my kingdom is much too small for our needs. We need more land.  Your beans, or lack thereof, are most certainly NOT my concern.  Signed – Your SOON-to-be New Ruler, Queen Holly”

At this point, we were having some issues.  Some colonists had run out of beans, and could not pay taxes.  COULD NOT PAY TAXES???  Of course, they ended up in jail, which was very sad indeed.

Working hard at math while in jail.

Soon, the writing was on the wall, I, Queen Suzy and my Royal court knew it was time to go.  We would have to find our fortune elsewhere.  We abandoned ship, and took our beans with us, leaving Colony 204 high and dry.  Soon, we saw they were in good hands:


Phew! Mrs. Brooks, here.  With Queen Suzy, Duchess of the Bell and Lady Price long gone, we were able to meet as a class and discuss their two long days under royal rule.

We compared and contrasted our plight with that of the REAL colonists. We talked about protests, and how our students protested in small ways, but the colonists had to be brave and protest in big ways.  Each student spent time during the two days blogging about his or her own experience – be sure to check out their blog posts at our Kidblog page!


Until next year,

Flip Over Math

Students in 204 are learning about a new option on their weekly Math Missions today; Flip Over Math!  They will be scooping up the logo here:

On your iPad, hold down your finger on the image, and then save it to your camera roll.

They will watch the model video here:


We are loving our new Math Mission, as it allows students to have more choice during math block.  Additionally, students are already more aware of what concepts they need to review. Our Weekly Math Mission is still a work in progress, but here’s a peek:



International Dot Day

This week, we celebrated International Dot Day along with hundreds of thousands of others around the globe.  Reading Peter Reynolds’ book, The Dot, inspires us to “Make our Mark” and see where it takes us….  I am always amazed by how inspired students are after we read the book and talk about ways we can make an impact on the world.  The Dot serves as a launch pad for much of our community service work during the school year.

We started off our day by reading The Dot, and then later on, we used Big Screen Books on our SMARTBoard to listen to Peter read his book. We also had an “author visit” by watching the video that comes with Big Screen Books.  While we watched and listened, we painted our own dots using crayon relief and watercolors on CD-labels. They came out fabulous!

Here are some of the photos:
This is the final product – hanging in the hallway outside our classroom!

Our Three Words

As a Mullen-Hall staff, we spent time watching the following video from ABC News shown on Good Morning America.  It focused on the power of three simple words, and how they can tie us together while celebrating our differences.

Watch the video here:


The live event was inspiring to all of us, and we spent time coming up with our own three words.

If you visit Mullen-Hall, you will see two large bulletin boards with all of our staff’s inspired ideas.

Today, after showing students the video, I had them peek at the bulletin boards and think of their own special words and phrases. They filled out our rainbow forms with one word on each line:

Created using Stationery Studio from FableVision

Finally, I started putting the students’ ideas into an Animoto video to share online.  I realized quickly that with one student absent, I would have missing information!  Oh no!!!  I quickly emailed the absent student, giving a link to the video, and the assignment.  Within hours, I had a response, and was able to include EVERYONE!!  Yippee!!

Watch our video by clicking on the image here:

5th Annual Living Wax Museum

I’m still thinking about last night, reflecting on all the hard work on display in the halls of Mullen-Hall.  I hope each and every student feels so proud of his or her achievement, as they deserve to be!

It took me nearly two hours, but I have finished everyone’s Biography Unit Grading Sheet.  There was just no way I could give a single grade for the entire project – there were too many different requirements! So, students helped me come up with the following grading sheet on the SMARTBoard – thanks, friends!

Created using Stationery Studio from FableVision!

All of our speeches are now uploaded to our VoiceThread page – check them out !HERE! Keep in mind, these recordings are the first time students performed speeches at school.  By the end of the Wax Museum performances, each student had recited his or her speech dozens and dozens of times.  Of all the years we have taken on this project, this year had the most memorized speeches!  BRAVO!!

As for the individual photos – they are on the way!!

Some first grade museum patrons

Some Kindergarteners learning all about Massachusetts colonial history.

Waxing Dramatic II

We’re one day away from our Fifth Annual Wax Museum, which will be held here in the halls tomorrow afternoon, and tomorrow evening.

Part of the process includes recording each individual speech with the whole class watching.  The speeches aren’t posted on Voice Thread just yet, but here are a few screen shots of our performances.  Can you guess who these students are portraying?

We continue recordings tomorrow morning, with the Big Show tomorrow afternoon – can’t wait to see the rest of my amazingly wonderful students!!

Waxing Dramatic

Well, our 5th Annual Living Wax Museum is coming up in less than a week.  From what I can gather, our students are on target and ready for next Tuesday and Wednesday’s recordings and performances.

We’ve taken 3 opportunities to spend time in the computer lab, practicing our speeches using PhotoBooth.  Students recited speeches, and then played them back to observe and listen.  A few comments I heard:

“If I didn’t say “um” so much, my speech would be shorter!”

“I didn’t realize I was talking so fast!”

“I am trying to increase my volume.”

“I didn’t know that I moved around so much when I speak.”

Here are a few snapshots from around the lab yesterday, as students practiced and practiced and practiced….

Looks like there has been a big sale on Dream Big shirts.  If anyone finds this shirt in my size – let me know!  I think the ruffles and sequins would look cute on me!!!  HEE!

Finally, today we say goodbye to Mr. White.  Mr. White is a yearly volunteer in my classroom, where he helps with Read Naturally.  He loves coming in to help students improve their reading, and the thank you notes that he’ll receive today will mean so much to him.  We created another bag, and think he’ll look adorable carrying it around town!

The projector comes in handy for creating these bags - I just hang the bag on the wall, shine the image onto it, and start tracing!

Our Class Dojo report for the week :) . It was a good one, with the exception of chatting through the morning music. So, today students were treated to 4 musical selections by Benjamin Britten, Josh Groban, Crash Test Dummies and Gary Girouard.