Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wonderful Winter Solstice, 2013!

In the Northern Hemisphere, winter is the 
coldest season of the year. 
It begins about December 21 and lasts until about March 21. Around December 21 or 22, 
the sun's rays fall directly over the farthest point south of the equator - marking the first day of winter. 

Winter days have fewer hours of daylight because of the path the earth takes as it revolves around the sun. The earth completely revolves around the sun during 365 days. The earth's axis always tips about 23 1/2 degrees from a line perpendicular to its path. 

In the Southern Hemisphere, winter begins in June.
Different regions have longer winters than others. For example, in the polar regions, winter takes up half the year. In the Temperate Zones winter takes up about one quarter of the year. 
In regions where there is cold weather, it causes many changes in the environment. Water may freeze and become ice, snow, sleet or icicles. Most plants and animals become dormant and rest. 
Some animals hibernate. 
The only plants that grow and remain green are evergreens. 
People protect themselves from the cold climate with winter clothing when they go outdoors. They enjoy a variety of indoor activities or outdoor winter sports such as skiing, skating, or sledding. 


Here are some fun winter links!

Want to make an online snowflake? Click here! 

BrainPop has some great winter and snow movies! Click here! 


What do you enjoy most about winter?

How will you be celebrating the holidays?

What activities will you be 
participating in this winter break?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Variety of Van Allsburgs!

Recently in our reading text books, we read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Chris Van Allsburg's first children's book. It is a clever and mysterious story about a dog named Fritz who runs into Mr. Gasazi's garden. Fritz is possibly turned into a duck by Mr. Gasazi, but the reader never really knows for sure. Mr. Van Allsburg leaves that up to the reader to decide.

Because Mr. Van Allsburg is such a talented writer and has written so many wonderful books, Mrs. Ranney read three more to us.

* * * * * * * *

The first book we enjoyed was Bad Day at River Bend. The story seems to take place in an old western town. Everything and everyone in town is being covered by a colorful greasy slime. However, at the end it is revealed that all the characters are in a young boy's coloring book!

* * * * * * * *

The second one we listened to was called Two Bad Ants. Through their experiences in the jar of crystals, which turn out to be sugar, these ants learn that they are better off staying with their colony rather than venturing out on their own.

* * * * * * * *

Finally, Mrs. Ranney read The Widow's Broom to us. It was an eerie tale in which a witch's broom comes to be owned by a widow. The neighbors are very upset about this enchanted broom who does all the widow's chores and want to do away with it. However, the widow comes up with an extremely clever plan to trick the neighbors and keep her broom!

* * * * * * * *

Which of these stories did you like best and why?
What other books by Chris Van Allsburg 
have you enjoyed?
Please leave a comment and give us your opinions.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Geography of the U. S. A!

Recently we have been learning about geography,
the study of people and
 places on the earth.
We have learned about landforms,
or shapes on Earth's surface.
In addition, we have studied the regions,
or areas that share one or more features, 
of the United States. 

Here is an interactive quiz to help in practicing
 and reviewing what we learned! 

Geography Quiz on PhotoPeach

What have you learned about geography?
What landforms or bodies of water 
have you visited in the United States? 
Which regions have you visited 
and what have you seen? 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Family Month Blogging Winners Announced!

                     On November 1, Mrs. Ranney announced 
that it would be Family Blogging Month!  
The project generated lots of enthusiasm and family participation!

In fact,  
over 130 comments (most from family members)
  were published during the month of November!

And the winners are... 

First Place: Lucas, with 27 stellar comments!
Second Place: Colin, with 25 outstanding comments!
Third Place: Ayden with 18 grand comments!

Each student received a certificate, won a free meal a Kings, and was given an opportunity to publish a free-choice post on our classroom blog!

Congratulations to our top bloggers! We will be running another Family Blogging Month in the spring! Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends for your participation!
We hope you will continue to participate in our learning community!


What did you like most about Family Blogging Month?

Which family members left comments, and 
how did that make you feel?

How did your family enjoy the month?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Giant of Barletta!

This week Mrs. Yollis' class continues with their unit 
 on fantasy. The story of the week is called
As luck would have it Chase's grandfather, named Nonno, 
has been to see the giant!
Nonno was a guest blogger when Chase's brother, Ben, was in Mrs. Yollis' class.
 He  lives in Italy and shared his Italian travels with all Mrs. Yollis' class! 

Now we can enjoy his guest post:

We visited Barletta during our trip to Puglia after Mrs. Yollis told us you would be hearing a story about the Mysterious Giant of Barletta. We wanted to see the giant and take some pictures to share with you.
Barletta is also in Puglia, on the heel of Italy.

The giant statue is located right in the city on a busy street.
People park their cars in front of the statue, ride their bicycles past and also wait for the bus right by the statue.
The statue is more than five meters tall. Five meters is more than 16 feet. Here is a picture of Cecca right next to the base, or pedestal, of the statue so you can judge how tall the statue is.

And also took one of her standing on the pedestal near his leg. Cecca is one meter 54 centimeters tall.
Barletta has many farms and fields around the city where they grow grapes and olives. (Can you imagine the giant meeting Captain Minekion out here in one of these fields?)

Very close to Barletta is a place where they make salt from sea water.
Barletta is now a modern city, but years ago it was a city of the Roman Empire. Years ago the coast was often invaded so the people built a huge fort for protection. Now it has a modern harbor that is overlooked by the huge fort where people can visit.
Is That Luigi?
Movie stars can be seen near the statue.

Now the statue is called The Colossus of Barletta. Here is what the people of Barletta tell us about it.

The Colossus of Barletta is a bronze statue of the Early Middle Ages, hollow on the inside and over 5 meters high. It most probably represents an emperor or famous warrior as shown by his military uniform, his rich, imperial robe and the bejeweled crown on his head, trimmed with two strings of pearls. Maybe Hercules, maybe not.

We are not sure how the statue arrived in Barletta. According to one story the Venetians stole the statue from Constantinople. On the journey back to Venice, the ship was wrecked in a storm and the statue was found on the beach near Barletta. According to another story, the Colossus was discovered in Ravenna, north of Barletta. Transported by ship, it was brought to Barletta’s harbor, probably to be used in some celebration.  When the statue came to Barletta it did not have a base, that was built later so it would seem even taller.

What did you think of Nonno's guest blog post?

Write a comment as if you are the Giant of Barletta 
or Zia Concetta!

Do you know any Italian facts or any Italian words? 
Try using Google Translate!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, 2013!

This  week we had a wonderful time preparing for


One way we did that was by measuring and
 mixing up the ingredients 
for our own loaf of pumpkin bread!

Enjoy our slide show, and see what with did 
with the bread after it was baked!

 Let's Celebrate Thanksgiving! on PhotoPeach

In addition to making our special pumpkin bread gifts to share, we have been busy with a cornucopia of
other Thanksgiving projects!

We wrote paragraphs about the people and things 
for which we are thankful.

We wrote paragraphs about our Thanksgiving feasts and hid them inside a beautifully colored cornucopia!

Finally, we created a very unique book report called 
"How Do You Dress a Turkey?"
We each disguised a turkey as a book character and wrote about the character's personality and actions in the book we read!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!


What do you think of all our special projects?
How will you celebrate Thanksgiving?
What are you most thankful for?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hurray for Veterans Day!

On November 11, America celebrates Veterans Day. 
It is the day we honor the men and women who have served 
in the armed forces. 

Veterans Day is a national holiday! 

Photo by Mrs. Ranney

Veterans: Men and women who have served in the armed forces.
Soldiers: Men and women who are currently serving in the armed forces.

     ★          ★          

Here is a link to a wonderful BrainPop video entitled
Armed Forces. What did you learn about America's Armed Forces?

     ★          ★          

In class, we will be sending holiday cards to active military personnel. Chance and Nate from Mrs. Yollis' class are in a Cub Scout Troop, and they provided the cards for the "Holiday Cards for the Troops" project. 

     ★          ★          

Are any of your relatives or friends veterans?

Please tell us about them and thank them for their service to America!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Learn to Write a Compound Sentence!

Mrs. Ranney's students are always trying to improve their writing skills.

*     *     *     *     *
 A compound sentence:
  1. Combines two shorter related sentences (This means it has two subjects and two predicates!)
  2. Joins the two sentences with  a conjunction (and, or, but, so)
*     *     *     *     *
Here are some sample compound sentences, and they are all about Thanksgiving!
(Hey, that's a compound sentence!)  


Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and many families gather for a traditional feast. 

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, but they had really 
planned a trip to Virginia. 

The Massachusetts winter was extremely cold and harsh, so everyone 
had to work together to survive!

The Wampanoag Indians helped the struggling Pilgrims, so they were able to harvest crops for their first feast!

Modern Americans dine on turkey and stuffing at home, or they make a 
reservation at a local restaurant.

 *     *     *     *     *

Comment Challenge!
In the comment section, tell about your plans for Thanksgiving. Be sure to include at least two COMPOUND SENTENCES!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November is Family Blogging Month!

Mrs. Ranney and her students to share what they are
learning and experiencing.

In an effort to include more family members in our online community, we are proclaiming:

November is Family Blogging Month!

Each student made a list of their family members. After looking through the archive, students selected specific posts tailored to the interest of a particular relative. 

We're inviting everyone to comment: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
We welcome friends, too!

Students will be inviting their family and friends to participate in a conversation! 

Frogger, the Blogger, says: 
"Maybe we'll get some 2-point comments! Follow the chart below for some tips!"

Here is the key we will use for  Family Blogging Month~

What do you think of our idea?

Who are you inviting to be a part of our online community?

Please leave a comment and introduce yourself! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, 2013!

We had a very happy
Halloween Day!

Please enjoy watching the slideshow to see
what we enjoyed doing today!

Halloween, 2013! on PhotoPeach

What did you enjoy most about our day?

What are you planning to do for Halloween night?

What costume will you be wearing?

 Don't forget to Trick-or-Treat for 
UNICEF, and 
bring in your box tomorrow!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Colossal, Creative Collections!

Recently Mrs. Ranney's class read  The Talking Cloth, by Rhonda Michell. The main character, Aunt Phoebe, is a "collector of life."  Her home is filled with souvenirs from her travels around the world.

In class, we started talking about collections. It turns out many people have collections of their own.

Notice how many people arranged their collection in an array
Many of us have collections too.
Please enjoy reading about them.

  Annsley's American Girl Clothing Collection

     I adore collecting American Girl Doll clothes.  I began amassing my collection on my birthday.  We went to the American Girl Doll Store in Beverly Hills.  Most of my collection is from Beverly Hills, but when my mom went to Chicago for work she brought me a red shirt form the American Girl Doll Store in Chicago.  I have many favorite pieces in my collection, but the one I like best is a hula skirt made out of grass.  In conclusion,  I enjoy collecting American Girl Doll clothes and look forward to my next trip to the store.


Blythe's Stuffed Animal Collection

     My collection is of various stuffed animals.  The collection was started even before I was born!  My big sister gave me a few of her stuffed animals from when she was little, and I have added to it as I have gotten bigger.  I even have a "collection within a collection" of different themed Minnie Mouse dolls from when we go to Disneyland!  My favorite is a little Teddy Bear named "Creamsicle" because she is soft and cream-colored.  I like collecting stuffed animals and enjoy decorating my room with them!

For the picture I put them in an array of 5 rows of 4 stuffed animals.


Gigi's Littlest Pet Shop Collection


     I enjoy collecting Littlest pet shop figures. I got some from my sister when I was younger and I love them so much! I buy them from the stores. Now I have probably have over 200 but I didn't count!   My favorite is the dog with the beret which is a French hat.


Lucas' Topps Match Attack Soccer Card Collection

     My collection of Topps Match Attack soccer cards represents some of my heritage because I collected them when I visited England and South Africa in 2011. I collect soccer cards because I like the sport, and I enjoy following the phenomenal athletes.  I began collecting cards when my family traveled to South Africa in 2011.  When my grandma goes to South Africa and England every year she brings back cards. Some of my favorite players are David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, and Cristiano Ronaldo because they all played for Manchester United, which is my absolute favorite soccer team, not including the United States National team.  I have cards from the 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 series of Topps Match Attack.  In conclusion, I hope to continue my collection and grow it bigger by obtaining the 2013-2014 series.


Colin's Star Wars Action Figure Collection

     My collection of Star Wars action figures is so awesome! Do you want to hear about it? I started collecting Star Wars action figures after I saw "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" when I was staying at my cousins' house on the night my brother was born (when I was 3). My dad loves Star Wars too, so he was so excited that I saw it for the first time. He took me to this store in Santa Monica called Puzzle Zoo, and they had an entire section of a million Star Wars action figures. That is where I started collecting Star Wars action figures. Most of my collection is from Puzzle Zoo. Second, I collect Star Wars action figures because my dad, brother, grandfather and I all love Star Wars. I like Star Wars action figures because it's like grabbing the characters out of the TV. I like to make up new scenes, like where Anakin meets Luke and they were both young or a scene where Yoda is born. Lastly, my favorites are Luke in the Storm Trooper outfit, Yoda (the one not missing a hand), Darth Vader, and Anakin Skywalker. I like them because I'm the most familiar with them in the movies. I hope you have enjoyed seeing and reading about my collection!


Jacob's Baseball Card Collection

     My hobby is collecting baseball cards. The reason I collect them is because they’re fun to trade. You can remember the players after they’ve died and can get money from selling them. I started collecting baseball cards when I was 5 years old. My brother gave me some of his cards, so I decided that I wanted to collect them. I have many favorites including Hideo Nomo, Dwight Gooden, C.C. Sabathia, Michael Young, Johnny Cueto, and lots more. As you can see I love my baseball cards!


Luc's Baseball Card Collection

     My collection of baseball cards is cool.  I collect baseball cards because it is fun.  I started collecting when I was 7 years old, and I saw some cards at the store.  Now, I get my baseball cards at Target.  My favorite baseball card is Chet Lemon.  He played for the Tigers.  I love my baseball card collection!  It is special to me.


Noah's Shell  Collection

     This is my collection of shells. The shells are in 17 rows of 4. I got the shells from all the beaches I have been to.  I like to collect a lot of things, but collecting shells is one of my favorites.  I started collecting shells when I first saw a really cool shell at Paradise Cove. At first I didn’t know what it was. I asked my mom, and she said it was a shell.  One shell I like the most is the shell from Israel. I like the shell from Israel because it reminds me of being with my grandparents. Collecting shells is one of my favorite things to do.


Michelle's Collection of Pokémon Stickers and Cards

     My collection of Pokémon stickers and cards reminds me of the time in Korea with my cousin Nina. I began to collect Pokémon stickers and cards when I was 4 years old in Korea. One day I watched the episodes of Pokémon with Nina. Several days later, when my uncle, Nina’s dad, came to visit my grandmother’s
house, he took us to the shopping mall. One of the stores had lots of Pokémon stuff. Nina found Pokémon cards and stickers first and showed me. My uncle let us choose some Pokémon stuff we wanted. Since then, whenever I visited Korea, I bought different kind of Pokémon cards and stickers. My favorite Pokémon sticker is Pikachu stickers. The reason Pikachu is my favorite is he is cute, and he can strike lightning. In conclusion, I plan to continue collecting Pokémon stickers and cards whenever I visit Korea.


Anthony's Collection of Snow Globes

     My collection is of snow globes from different parts of the world.  My grandparents brought back a snow globe for me once from one of their vacations and I became very interested in them.  Now relatives bring back snow globes all the time.  I started my collection because I thought it would be awesome to collect snow globes from different parts of the world.  Some of snow globes in my collection are from New York, Las Vegas, St. Thomas, Denmark, France and Finland.  My favorite one is the one from Copenhagen, Denmark because my dad lived there for a year.  I hope to be able to visit all of the places one day but I will continue to collect snow globes in the meantime. 


Kenan's Collection of Yu-gi-oh Trading Cards
     I collect  trading cards. I collect Yu-gi-oh trading cards because you can play a game with them. Luc showed them to me and I liked them. I get them at Target. That is why I made my array out  of them.
Mrs. Ranney's Marvelous Mass of Magnets!

     My collection of magnets represents travel experiences I have had over the last sixteen years. I began my collection during a train trip that I took with my daughters and Mrs. Yollis’ in 1995. For this reason, the Amtrak and Great Northern Railway magnets mean a great deal to me. Since magnets are rather inexpensive and because I can see them everyday on my refrigerator, they seemed like a great souvenir item to collect! It is very difficult to select an absolute favorite. Two groups of magnets that are particularly precious to me are the ones from New York and Germany. The magnets from New York represent my daughter, Sarah, who lives there. I have visited her many times and have enjoyed all the sites, particularly the Statue of Liberty. Symbols of my daughter Kari, the magnets from Germany, are from places I visited with her when our whole family joined her for Christmas there in 2009. Definitely, I plan to continue collecting magnets everywhere I go for the rest of my life!


Please leave a comment about our 
Colossal, Creative Collections.

Tell us which collection is the most 
interesting to you and why.

You can also include a bit of information about your own collection, if you have one!