Thursday, May 29, 2008

Goodbye Nate

My heart smiled when I read Nate's poem from the scrapbook ya'll gave me of our year and I thought I'd share it:
-Mrs. Phillips-
I feel joyful when
she is around and I
feel lonely when she
wa(l)ks out the door.
Nate, we will miss you next year...I think we already do!

You brought a special joy to our classroom and everyone felt it. Please know that we love you and wish you well in your new life in Arizona.

I am confident that you will excel in your studies and be a good friend to all you meet. I know we will see you shine all the way from Arizona!

Jackie, Adam, Ian, Ethan, Ben, Matthew G., Grant, Elizabeth, Matthew Q., Sam, Sophie, Alex, Trey, Celeste, Jackson, Sarah, Jourdan, Audrey, and Mrs. Phillips

Extra Workbooks

By now you've probably dug into your child's backpack and discovered the huge bag of notebooks and workbooks. You are probably wondering...what have they been doing all year? It looks like they've done nothing! You are right! All of those workbooks are given to us by the state but Mark Twain isn't much of a workbook kind of school. Feel free to do whatever you think is right for your child concerning the extra books. We've covered all the objectives this year so if you were to give your child summer work, it would be a review...which is not a bad option! The thin blue language arts book is actually a 2nd grade workbook so if you want to get a head start, that's the one for you. The last option falls right in line with our last planner on ecology...recycle them all!
I've told the children to feel free to email me throughout the summer via the blog in the comment section at the bottom of every post. I will answer every email! I also told them they could have their parents email me photos of their summer and I could post them on the blog for everyone to see...virtual show and tell!
I will miss your children terribly....they were such a big part of my day...and heart! Thank you for a great year!

Love, Mrs. Phillips

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Class Party

We had a GREAT time at our class party at the park! The hula hoops were a great addition. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

The constables made sure we got there safely and we had PLENTY to eat and drink...thank you for all the contributions! FYI...the kids ate dinner at 2:30!!!
*** Remember to bring a game, toy or book for school tomorrow to share with a friend. What a treat! Alex's dad will watch the kids for an hour in the morning while I am at Maggie's Awards Day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Millionaire Club

HISD is asking teachers to register all their students for the summer reading program at the Houston Public Library. Let's just be's not happening. I can barely get my own child registered! Here are the steps to do it yourself in the leisure of your own home. Have fun! :-)

Many of you are familiar with the Houston Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. This summer, the Houston Independent School District has partnered with the Houston Public Library in an effort to have the 200,000 + students enrolled in HISD schools to read a minimum of five books each, for a total of one million books and to be a part of the Millionaire Book Club! Students who participate will have an opportunity to earn prizes, including a tee shirt from H.I.S.D., a free book from Barnes and Noble and a tee shirt from the Houston Public Library.

To afford student an opportunity to participate and receive their prizes, students must be registered online in the Houston Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. Many of Mark Twain’s students have been registered. To determine if your student/child has been registered, follow these steps:

Go to the Houston Public Library web site,
Click on the Summer Reading Program, and then click on REGISTER.
Your child’s H.I.S.D. id number (available on his/her report card) is the LOGIN.
The password is "password".
If your child was registered, his or her Summer Reading Program home page will appear.
If you cannot access the home page, go back to the summer Reading Program registration page and register your child using their Houston I.S.D. id as their login at:
Passwords should be changed from "password" to something you and your child will their last name.

Eligibility for prizes is dependent on registering the student with their H.I.S.D. student id for tracking purposes.

Awards Day

I took a photo at Awards Day but I think my battery was low. If anyone has a it to me and I can switch it out! I'm not much of a public speaker...only in front of kids! I just want everyone to know how wonderful this year has been. I absolutely adore the children and am so very proud of everyone's accomplishments and growth this year...I don't really have a certificate for that! I'm also very appreciative of all the help and support received from parents/ grandparents ...thank you!

Tomorrow is our class party. Please have your child wear shorts and their field day will make it so much easier for us to keep tabs on them! Also, please apply all sunscreen before school.
*** Check your recycle bin for brown paper bags with handles. (they use this kind at Whole Foods) I don't think I have enough for everyone to take home their desk stuff tomorrow. Bring them in if you have any. Thanks!
*** There has been a case of water under my desk for awhile...not sure how long! Is this for the class party tomorrow?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Brandon Came Back!

Brandon came for a quick visit today! He reports that San Antonio is awesome, he loves his new school, he has lots of friends, he fell off his bike and bumped his head bad, he rides the bus to and from school, there are 10 girls in his new class, and his school mascot is the Husky! The kids loved seeing him and couldn't keep their hands off of him. I had to quickly put him and the others to work or else they could have easily taken over the class!

A few quick reminders to get us through the next 2 1/2 days:
* Awards day is on Tuesday when we get back. Drop the kids off and get a good seat. It starts at 8:30. Expect to be there at least an hour.

* 1st grade class party will be on Wednesday 8:30-11:30 at Karl Young Park. I still need $3 from Audrey, Sarah, Matthew G., Adam, and Matthew Q. I need to turn the money into Mrs. Rangel next door on Tuesday so she can place the order for lunch.

Here is the list for those that signed up to bring something:
Dolly Thomas - Fruit and napkins
Heidi Padley - Chips
Nancy Oncken - Water, ice chest and ice
Sheila Ignatiev - 4 Hula Hoops
Fiona Dunnett - Muffins
Jennifer Enos - Ice chest and ice
Diana Nathan - Water
Barbara Manning - Chips and hula hoops
Maggie White - Cookies and 3 hula hoops
Sharron Huggans - Chips
Mindy Notley - Plates
Penny Linsenmayer - Chips
E Jane Myers - Jug of lemonade or punch
Sue Deigaard - Paper cups and hula hoops
Tonya Bush - Cookies
Kara Cooney Galli - Popsicles

* Thursday is early dismissal at 12:30. The children do not know this yet...they can bring a game, toy or book to sharewith friends in the morning. Imagine that...we're going to play!

A big THANK YOU to Nick Ignatiev for bravely volunteering to watch our class Thursday morning so that I can go to my Maggie's 3rd grade award day!

* No school for students on Friday...teachers only! :-(
Whew...I'm pooped. Don't tell the kids...grades are completed and already turned in! I think the year is really ending...I can barely believe it! It's been a joy to have your children in my class this year!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Green Sea Turtles

Jemma's mom told me about the NOAA hatchery in Galveston. It’s an unprepossessing set up, behind the campus of Texas A&M, but fascinating. You can do a ‘tour’ with one of the scientists, and see all the turtles they have rescued/hatched and hear about the work they do, rescuing eggs, testing shrimp net escape devices etc, as well as a real Turtle Excluder Device in a fishing net in the yard. Her family went and had a really interesting couple of hours there, and then went down to the beach with a big trash bag, and collected plastic bags (sea turtles eat these thinking they are jellyfish!) to make sure the turtles in the gulf don’t eat them!

Here’s the website for NOAA:
with a down loadable brochure in the bottom right corner. They offer free tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The kids expressed a huge interest in going...another fun and educational way to spend your summer!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Well Done!

First, we took our lunches apart and sorted what could be reused
or recycled and what was trash and organized them onto paper.

We wondered if ALL our trash from our class
would fit in this TINY did!

We had a great time on our was very HOT...
and I hope that what we learned will become the
beginning of a new way of life!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Save the Sea Turtles

Today 5th graders, Allison Powers, Jonathan Beaudion, and Jemma Leech came to our classroom to share their exhibition project on "Save the Sea Turtles." They shared a few tidbits of information, taught us how to play a board game, and gave us copies of puzzles to help educate us on how to keep these beautiful creatures alive. Jemma wrote a story called A Turtle's Story that we will read later, they invited us to visit their booth at the exhibition fair tomorrow, and we can even enter their drawing for a sea turtle plush! Their hope is that our generation will be the ones to save the sea turtles! Thanks to Elizabeth, our class is fascinated with sea turtles. We can't wait to learn more!

Waste-Less Picnic

Just a reminder...tomorrow will be 1st grades waste-less picnic at McGovern Park! We've been learning how to substitute reusable and recyclable items for disposable ones to help create less waste and conserve natural resources. When packing your lunch for tomorrow, choose items that are recyclable in our community and substitute reusable containers for things you would throw away. If unsure, look at the note sent home last week with the picture of a picnic basket and ideas written inside. Happy recycling!

Trees, Trolls, and the Kingdom of Trollup

Today we saw "Trolls, Trees, and the Kingdom of Trollup" at Pershing Middle school. It was written by the 6th grade theater arts teacher, Miss Broadmead.

The play was about how the Trees and Trolls work together with the royal family to defeat the evil Prince of Piety. He had a plan with his knights to destroy their homes by marrying Princess Daria. Prince Briska wins out and marries his true love Princess Daria. The Prince of Piety learns to recycle and they all live happily ever after! The message about recycling was a nice surprise and fit well into our current planner!

Thank you to Ian's mom, E.Jane! There was a scheduling glitch that left us with some free time and she rose to the occasion...entertaining the classes with camp songs!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Solar S'mores

First, we put all the ingredients together in aluminum foil:
graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows.

Next, we put them into the sun and let SOLAR ENERGY do its magic!

Last of all, we enjoyed them!
This could be another fun summer project!

Teacher Appreciation

Thank you for all of the "Teacher Appreciation" attention I received!
You guys went way overboard with both gift certificates...
but I do appreciate them! Thank you!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Field Day

The top picture makes it look like we have LOTS of girls in our class! Why do only the boys have orange (Sam, do you have 2? ) Popsicles? Cute picture!

Field Day was a lot of fun. The day was unusually cool and the Mighty Monarchs even managed to fly into 3rd place! Thank you to all that helped make today a success! I'm tired and on my way out of town. More pictures will be added later. Get some rest...can you believe there are only 7 1/2 days left of school? Amazing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Good News!

Need I say more?
We are rejoicing with the good news!

*** Busy elves will be putting the finishing touches on to the field day t-shirts tonight and they will be ready in the morning. They will be on the desks waiting to be worn!
When your child gets to school they need to change ASAP...
field day starts at 8:30. Journal as usual. :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you for the unknown person that delivered the plant right to my doorstep! I hope everyone enjoyed the VIPS luncheon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

VIPS Luncheon

This is a reminder that Wednesday, tomorrow, from 10:30 am - 1:00 pm your presence is requested at the VIPS luncheon. The presentation will begin at 11:30 am. Grade level Representatives and Lead Room Parents will be included in those that are recognized and honored. They've had a low RSVP sure to go!

The kids sounded FABULOUS last night! If anyone has a great photo, send it my way! My camera battery was extremely low so I saved it for Maggie! Sorry guys.

MIGHTY Monarchs

Their Monarchs turned out beautiful...and fierce!

I will take them home tonight to write "Mrs. Phillips' Mighty Monarchs" on the front and maybe stamp on a few butterflies when I'm out.

The kids are busy making the banner...and then we can relax! They are excited about field day Friday morning and have been practicing the events with Coach Jody during PE.

Dress Rehearsal

Today we had our dress rehearsal and the rest of the school was our audience. The kids did great. I don't know how this is possible but...I couldn't hear them! They were a bit stage-struck. Thank you for sending their bowls, spoons, aprons, etc. I had extras for those that did not.

Be sure to come dressed for the show at 6:30 in our classroom. Drop off your child and grab a good seat! After our part of the show, you may pick up your child and leave or stay and watch the rest. The children will be watching a show on TV in our room. I will stay at the program and watch my own 3rd grader, Maggie. Thank you to Jennifer Enos and Nancy Oncken for making this happen!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Acid Rain experiment

In class we learned that acid rain occurs when rain mixes with gases in the atmosphere and that these gases can come from factories, car exhaust, forest fires, and other resources. We also read that they can kill or damage trees, plants, and animals. We have had firsthand experience with our acid rain experiment in class. We started with 2 healthy plants and watered one with unpolluted rain water and the other with acid rain (vinegar/water solution). Sadly, we've watched the plant die because most plants cannot survive when the acid level in the water is high. Each week we record our results and discuss what has happened and what we predict might happen next.
*** We are decorating our Field Day t-shirts tomorrow (Tuesday). I will be out Wednesday and Thursday and Friday morning will be our Field Day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Thank your for the teacher appreciation gifts/flowers/meals/cards...your support is truly amazing!

I feel a bit of sadness as the end of the school year approaches (especially for my kiddos from kindergarten). I feel attached to each and every one of your kids. I know it's time to let can certainly see they are ready to move on. They have matured and grown so much this year...I know they will continue to shine next year in 2nd grade!
Here's a great Mother's Day website telling how Mother's Day started. Enjoy and have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

*** Be sure to thin out the basil as it grows to allow for better growth. We planted more than needed to insure we would get something to grow! Enjoy!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Art Car parade at Mark Twain

Art Cars came to Mark Twain today!

The 2008 Houston Art Car Parade rolls down Allen Parkway at 1:00pm on Saturday, May 10th. It should be hot outside...but totally worth it!

Yea to our "Name That Book" girls. Elizabeth and Audrey went on to the district competition and came in 3rd place. We are all proud of your hard work!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Junk Mail takes over 1st grade

We weighed our junk mail for 1 week...65 lbs.! That's a lot! We wanted to display it but unfortunately, it got recycled quicker than we planned...our cleaning staff is awesome! Here's what we found out:

1 week in our class - 75 lbs. (save 1/2 tree)
1 month in our class - 300 lbs. (save 2 trees)
1 year in our class - 3,900 lbs. (save 26 trees)
you get the idea...

Did you know it takes more than 100 million trees to produce the amount of junk mail that arrives in American mailboxes each year? Here are the links if you are interested in lowering the amount of junk mail you receive or signing a petition to help stop junk mail for everyone .
Next week we will be making solar s'mores, Sarah and Grant have volunteered to bring the chocolate and marshmallows. Let me know if you can provide 2 boxes of graham crackers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Name That Book

The "Name That Book" K-2 team won Name that Book competition today! Audrey and Elizabeth from our class are on the team. (Audrey was out sick today but will hopefully join the team on Friday) I hear they beat Poe in a tie breaker and they will be in the finals Friday...we wish them luck!
If you interested, the new book list will be out at the beginning of the next school year. Contact Penny Linsenmayer if you have any questions! Congratulations!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Our Class Landfill

Today we talked a bit about what landfills are, how long everyday items take to decompose, made our own class landfill, and started a journal to record what we see in the next few weeks. We added sticks, aluminum, paper, plastic, styrofoam and lettuce to our landfill in class.

The class was SHOCKED to find out how long stuff takes to decompose. Did you know it takes 450 years for plastic? 500+ years for glass? 100 years for tin? 350 years for aluminum? 1 year for material? 1 month for paper?

Beware...the kids all wanted to make their own landfills for home! Maybe a summer project? :-)

Monday, May 5, 2008


Today we read a book called The Lorax. Dr. Seuss is not one of my favorite authors but he does a great job with The Lorax. Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth's natural beauty. Later, we enjoyed watching the half hour movie during recess since it was raining outside. Afterwards, we created our own creatures, named them, and wrote how they either helped the earth like Lorax or polluted the earth like Once-ler. We made a HUGE mess but our end product turned out a success.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Junk Mail due tomorrow!'s my contribution to the junk mail collection. Tomorrow we will be weighing ALL the junk mail 1st graders collected in 1 week. We will figure out how many trees could have been saved if we didn't get so much junk mail! I read somewhere that 150 lb. equals 1 tree. Any guesses to how much we collect?
Does anyone have any BUTTONS to donate to the class? They need to be flat and can be any color. Thanks!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Meet Edward Tulane!

OK...he's hard to see...Edward is the little blob south of the red/orange blocks! Our hermit crab died and Audrey graciously replaced him with a new guy, Edward. He is named after the main character in the book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. This is the same author that wrote the read-aloud I read earlier in the year, Because of Winn-Dixie and the current read-aloud, The Tale of Despereaux. I believe Despereaux will be a movie next December 2008! As you know, I love this author and I am pleased with Audrey's choice of names! If you are looking for good family read-alouds with real world experiences, I encourage you to look into these and others written by DiCamillo. Make it a summer project! :-)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Career Presentations

Career Projects are due tomorrow...Friday, May 2.

Grant presented his career project on Marine Biologists today because he will be leaving early tomorrow. I can't wait to hear the rest of the presentations tomorrow! Remember that I am looking for clear voices we can hear and be prepared to answer questions afterwards!