Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Newbery and Other Predictions

Betsey Bird, who writes the authoritative blog Fuse #8, makes predictions for the Newbery Award, as well as the Caldecott and other awards. Check out these titles if you're looking for new books to read. Read the post here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Elements of Realistic Fiction in The Golden Compass

Instructions for the assignment can be found here.

The new banner for Gacekblog incorporates motifs from The Golden Compass. Thank you, Juyoun, for creating this beautiful artwork.

Geo Quiz #20: Central Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe, Zambia.

Geo Quiz #19: West Africa

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.

Here is a map of West Africa.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Geo Quiz #18: North Africa

Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a blank map of Africa.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kentucky Defeats Washington

Washington played a brilliant game Monday vs. Virginia, and it was unrealistic to think they could sustain that level of play Tuesday vs. Kentucky. They couldn't. They got off to a fast start, scoring the first 4 points. The Kentucky coach called a quick timeout. UK then proceded to score the next 18 points. This placed the Huskies in a deep early hole. Due to some cold shooting from Kentucky, however, the Huskies crawled back. They actually led by one at halftime.

Kentucky played just a little bit better than the Huskies in the second half and ended up winning 74-67. Washington looked good at times but overall they weren't as crisp or effective as they were the previous night. Some of the things contributing to the UW loss:
  • Their 3-point shooting was way off. A day after sinking a school-record 17 three's vs. Virginia, UW made just 3 of 13 vs. Kentucky. The Kentucky defense completely neutralized this threat.

  • Poor rebounding. UW was outrebounded 45-32. Kentucky's Josh Harrelson picked up 7 offensive rebounds altogether and his final two sealed the win for UK.

  • Isaiah Thomas had a bad game. 4-14 shooting, 0-4 on 3-pointers, 5-10 from the line. Their top scoring threat was completely shut down.

  • Darnell Gant disappeared in the second half. Gant made 2 huge three's in the first half but then had to sit on the bench with three fouls. He hardly played at all in the second half. His presence was missed.

Aziz N'Diaye was the surprise for the Huskies with 5 blocked shots. He's not a complete player yet, but his shot-blocking ability is a nice new addition for the team.

Terrence Jones was again a star for Kentucky: 16 points and 17 rebounds. Husky fans are still bitter.

Washington plays Michigan State this afternoon at 2:00. The Spartans are currently #2 in the country. We'll see if Washington can bounce back against another very talented team. Go Dawgs.!

Photo of Terrence Jones: David Parry/McClatchy Newspapers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day

Today was a snow day for kids all across Western Washington. While it was cold and the roads were treacherous, it was a beautiful, sunny day.

Today's school day would have been the last day of the trimester. Because it didn't happen, Monday and Tuesday of next week will be make-up days. On Monday, Golden Compass Part III questions will be due. On Tuesday, the Geo Final will take place. Both will count as Trimester 1 scores. Next Tuesday will be the absolute last day to turn in missing work from Trimester 1

Make sure you do some reading over the break. Read and enjoy The Subtle Knife if you picked up a copy. If not, make sure you have a good book to read as an alternate. Stay warm, kids!

Photo: The view from my front porch this morning.

Washington Defeats Virginia

The Washington Huskies are an incredibly fun team to watch. They play a smothering defense and on offense they run and shoot at full tempo. Last night in Maui they played as well as they can play against Virginia. Virginia is not a great team, but the Huskies' win was still very impressive. They shot 58% from the field. They shot 65% from 3-point land. They scrapped for loose balls and rebounds. They were just on.

The Huskies individually looked dramatically improved from last year. Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holliday, and Abdul Gaddy were tremendous. The freshman C.J. Wilcox couldn't miss. Transfer center Aziz N'Diaye from Senegal gives the team a long-needed big man. Everyone that entered the game played well.

Tonight at 6:30 the Huskies take on the Kentucky Wildcats. It will be a chance for the Huskies to show they're a contender against a marquee team. Plus, there's some added drama. Last year Portland high school senior Terrence Jones announced at a press conference amidst much fanfare that he would be attending the University of Washington. Immediately after making the announcement, however, Jones had second thoughts. He didn't sign the letter of intent to make his commitment official. A month or so later, Jones reneged on his commitment and announced he would attend Kentucky.

Terrence Jones is now arguably Kentucky's best player. Without Jones, the Huskies are still a darn good team, and an exciting one at that. With Jones, however, they would be that much better.

It's gonna be a barn-burner of a game tonight. Go Dawgs!

Isaiah Thomas photo: AP/Eugene Tanner

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Europe Maps

Each country should be labelled and colored. Adjacent countries should be colored different colors.

Bodies of water should be labelled and colored blue.

The following capitals should be labelled: Reykjavik, London, Dublin, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Warsaw, Moscow, Kiev, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Athens.

Labels should be inked. Coloring should be done with colored pencil.

Include a compass rose and a title. Name should be inked in lower right-hand corner.

Outer border should be colored and decorated.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spelling Quiz #2

This quiz will be cumulative, in that words from Quiz #1 will be repeated for this quiz.

You will need to know the spelling, part of speech, and definition for all of the words. Here is the Quiz #2 List:

mischievous, assimilate, restaurant, literature, opportunity, knowledge, enthusiastic, Wednesday, extraordinary, exaggerate, clothes, exception, embarrass, melancholy, description.

The Golden Compass, Part II: Bolvangar

Read all of Part II: Bolvangar by Tuesday, November 16.

1. Vocabulary: Record at least 2 unfamiliar (or interesting) vocabulary words with their definitions and parts of speech. Use each word in a new sentence of your own design.

2. Short Answer Questions:

1. What is intercision? What is the General Oblation Board trying to accomplish by these experiments?

2. What did you like or dislike about Part II? Support your answer with specific examples from the book. How did Part II compare with Part I?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dave Niehaus

I don't really know what cosmic forces conspired to make me a baseball fan, but I do know that it happened sometime early in my childhood. My introduction to baseball was through the radio and through baseball cards. I spent countless hours, in fact, listening to the Mariners and sorting my baseball card collection. Dave Niehaus was the play-by-play announcer, a job he held from the team's inception in 1977 until today, when he passed away at age 75. Niehaus was a story-teller above all else, and he loved baseball. I grew up in the '80's and the Mariners played some bad baseball during that decade. Still I had my heroes on those Mariner teams. The first was Julio Cruz, a slick fielding second baseman and stolen base threat. The next was Alvin Davis, the American League Rookie of the Year in 1984. But by and large, these were bad baseball teams. Still, I loved listening to the games on the radio and following the team's ups and downs. Dave Niehaus was that good. He made a bad baseball team worth caring about.

Dave is probably best known for his exuberant calls of exciting events. Back in the day, these were few and far between. Dave would not disappoint, however, when Mickey Brantley or whoever would hit a game-winning home run. Things changed of course in 1989 with the arrival on the scene of Ken Griffey, Jr. It did still take a while for Mariner teams to actually become good. We Mariner fans were elated in 1991 when we experienced our first winning season. Then 1995 came along. No one enjoyed the moment more than Dave Niehaus. The Mariners beat the New York Yankees in their first playoff series on an Edgar Martinez double to score Griffey. It was a great time to be a Mariner fan.

2001 and the arrival of Ichiro was another great year. It's been a bit of a dry spell since then. I heard a lot of frustration in Dave's voice of late. Still, I got the sense there was no place Dave would rather be than broadcasting a game from beautiful Safeco Field.

"My oh My!"

"It will Fly Away!"

"The Mariners are going to play for the American League Championship!"

So many great memories. We've been lucky as Mariner fans that we've had Dave Niehaus all these years to narrate the games we've so enjoyed. Thank you, Dave.

Photo: Betty Udesen, Seattle Times.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Geo Quiz #17: Middle East II

Countries: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Capitals: Tehran, Baghdad, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi.

A blank map of the Middle East can be found here.

Geo Quiz #16: Eastern U.S. Physical Features

Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario.
Rivers: Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Red, Rio Grande.
Mountain Ranges: Appalachian.

A blank map of the United States can be found here.

Appalachian Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Geo Quiz #15: Middle East I

Countries: Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey.
Capitals: Nicosia, Jerusalem, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Ankara.

Map of Middle East is here.

Geo Quiz #14: Eastern U.S. Cities

Boston, Providence, New York City, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, Nashville, Louisville.

Map of Eastern United States is here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Golden Compass: Part I

Read all of Part I: Oxford by Tuesday, November 9.

1. Vocabulary: Record at least 4 unfamiliar (or interesting) vocabulary words with their definitions and parts of speech. Use each word in a new sentence of your own design.

2. People, Places, Institutions: Record at least 3 interesting names of people, places, or institutions which are alluded to but not really described in depth. Record what little you know about 3 different proper nouns of this type.

3. Short Answer Questions:

1. Do you like Lyra as a character thus far? Why or why not? Refer to specific things Lyra did or thought in explaining your answer.

2. Do you like or dislike the book thus far? Give specific reasons for your opinion and back them up with examples from the book.

Picture of Oxford High Street from The Daily Mail (UK).

Geo Quiz #13: Europe Physical Features

Rivers: Danube, Rhine, Seine, Thames, Volga.
Mountain Ranges: Alps, Apennines, Carpathians, Caucasus, Pyrenees, Urals.
Mountains: Mt. Etna, Mt. Blanc, Mt. Elbrus.
Bodies of Water: Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean Sea.

Picture of Pic du Midi d'Ossau in the French Pyrenees from Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hero Paragraphs

You will write 2 paragraphs for this assignment.

In the first paragraph, you will describe the prototypical hero at the beginning of Fantasy stories. Describe the traits and attributes commonly seen in Fantasy heroes. Describe the heroes’ physical attributes, personalities, home lives, interests, demeanors, and anything else that you think is important in relation to this topic. With this paragraph, you are creating a composite picture of a Fantasy hero. You are not describing any single character. Draw on your knowledge of Fantasy literature for this paragraph.

For the second paragraph, choose a hero character from a Fantasy book you have read (if it’s from a series, you must choose the first book), and explain whether or not you feel the character fits the hero prototype you outlined above. Use the specific criteria from your first paragraph in making your decision. In this second paragraph, describe specific examples from the book in explaining whether or not the hero fits the criteria.

Underline all book titles.

Paragraphs may be typed or hand-written (if typed, use size 14 font and 1.5-line spacing).
Due Tuesday, November 2. You will have class time on Monday, November 1 for writing, proofreading, revising.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quiz Bowl Questions

4 Questions total.

May be typed or hand-written.

Questions should be somewhat challenging, but it should be possible to guess an answer. Questions about obscure facts will not get full credit.

Include answers. Answers may not be numbers or dates. They may not be multiple choice, true/false, or yes/no.

You must write one question for each of the following categories:
1. Geography
2. Science
3. Popular Culture
4. Pot Pourri

Questions must come from original research. You may not borrow a trivia question someone else has written and claim it as your own.

Due Wednesday, October 27, in Language Arts class.

Geo Quiz #12: Eastern U.S. States

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

This quiz will be worth 15 points.

Geo Quiz #11: Eastern Europe

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Black Sea.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Library Shelf

I have created a new shelf in the Library called 'Adolescents.' This shelf will feature books about young people and various topics related to them. The shelf is intended for Nova parents and Nova faculty and staff. It is currently just a small shelf, but it will grow over time. Parents who would like to check out books from the shelf can either check out the books under their students' names or parents can e-mail me and I will enter their names into our library check-out database. Parents, please give the shelf a look during Conference Week. It is located next to the Chick Lit shelf and above the Shonen Jump magazines.

If you have a book that you think would be appropriate for the shelf and would like to donate it to our library, please don't hesitate to do so. I will also be creating a notebook for articles; if you have an article you think I should archive and keep in the notebook please send it my way. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LIbrary Wishlist Updated

Nova students read a lot of books. I am continually adding new books in all genres to our collection. We always appreciate donations of books to our library. I maintain a list of the books we would most like to add to our collection. Feel free to look over the list, and any books or groupings of books you might like to donate would most appreciated. You are also welcome to donate books from your personal library that you think might fit the needs of our library. If we don't actually need some of the books that you donate, we will either trade them in to Orca Books or Powell's in Portland or we will save them for the annual Nova Book Swap.

The updated wishlist is here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Geo Quiz #10: Central U.S. Cities

Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Little Rock.

Photo of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, from Wikimedia Commons.

Geo Quiz #9: Southeastern Europe

Plates 23 & 24

Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia.

Photo of San Marino Castle from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Latitude and Longitude

We continued working on Latitude and Longitude in class today and started this handout. Remember Stump the Chump #2 is tomorrow!

Spelling Quiz #1

Quiz will cover spelling, definition, and part of speech.

The words: definitely, recommend, environment, exciting, weird, author, extremely, government, different, innocence, awkward, careful, sufficient, necessary, efficiency.

Thursday, October 14.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Latitude & Longitude

Today we had an introduction to Latitude and Longitude.

The Latitude handout is here.

The Longitude handout is here.

Latitude diagram from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Realistic Fiction Stories

You get to write a piece of Realistic Fiction. This assignment will be pretty open-ended. The most important thing is that your story feel realistic. You can base your story on an event which you experienced. You don’t have to base your story on actual events, however. Your story must include the following conventions which distinguish Realistic Fiction from other genres:

1. Plausible story.
2. Terrestrial setting
3. Clear protagonist
4. Protagonist must face hardship, challenge, or problem
5. Story must have a resolution
6. Protagonist must experience growth or learn a lesson
7. Protagonist must experience emotion

In addition, your story must contain the following elements:

1. At least one additional significant character.
2. Dialogue.
3. Protagonist must be middle school-aged.
4. Story must be set in the modern day.
5. Narration in the first person.
6. Tense must be past tense.
7. Description of the characters, setting, and events.
8. Topic must be different than in previous assignment.


1. Typed or hand-written. Typed must be 1.5-line spaced, Calibri or Times New Roman, size 13 font.
2. Length 5-6 pages.
3. Include Title and Heading.

First 3 pages due Wednesday, October 13.
Completed story due Wednesday, October 20.

Geo Quiz #8: Central U.S.

Plates 9 & 10

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas.

Photo of Kenosha, Wisconsin, barn from Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Geo Quiz #7: Central Europe

Plate 22.

Countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein.
Capitals: Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, Bratislava, Bern.

Map of Central Europe.

Photo of Frauenkirche, Munich, Germany from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"The Island in the Wind"

Read "The Island in the Wind," by Elizabeth Kolbert.

1. Record any vocabulary which is unfamiliar to you.

2. Describe what makes the Samso Project unique in 4 sentences.

3. What is meant by "living a 2,000 watt life?" What does living such a life entail? (3 sentences).
4. What is your personal opinion about people attempting to live a "2,000 watt life?" Is it a realistic goal in an industrialized society? (at least 3 sentences).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part II: Dialogue

For Part II, you will be shaping Part I into a new piece. Keep the Event in Part II in tact. For Part II, you will be adding dialogue to the piece. The dialogue should be between the two characters watching the event.

1. Revise Part I so that mistakes are corrected.

2. Add dialogue between the two characters into at least three points in the story. The dialogue should be interspersed with the description/action. Each point of dialogue must include both characters speaking at least one line each. Remember to start new paragraphs when dialogue alternates between multiple characters.

3. You can change details in Part II from Part I so that the new story makes narrative sense.

4. The maximum page count is 5 pages. Same formatting rules apply.

5. Give the piece a title other than "The Event." This title was actually used this Fall for an NBC series, so it's been taken.

6. Due Wednesday, October 6.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Northern Europe Questions

4 Questions total.

#1-3: Country Trivia Questions: Answers must be names of Northern Europe countries.

#4: Capital Direction Question: Answer must be a directions to one capital from another.

Due Tuesday, September 28.

Photograph of Ikea headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden from Wikimedia Commons.

Realistic Fiction Paragraphs

Choose a Realistic Fiction book you remember well.

Paragraph #1: Introduce the protagonist and describe the hardship he or she faces in the book.

Paragraph #2: Describe how the protagonist has grown by the end of the book. What has he or she learned about himself or herself?

Due Tuesday, September 28.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Geo Quiz #6: Western U.S. Physical Features

Mountain Ranges: Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Rocky Mountains. Mountains: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Elbert.
Deserts: Mojave Desert, Great Basin.
Rivers: Columbia, Snake, Colorado.
Lakes: Great Salt Lake.

Picture of Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert from Wikipedia.

Geo Quiz #5: Western Europe

Countries: Belgium, France, Andorra, Monaco, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom.
Capitals: Brussels, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, London.
Bodies of Water: Bay of Biscay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Geo Quiz #4: Western U.S. Cities

Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Boise, Billings, Cheyenne, Denver, Santa Fe, Albuquerque.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Western States Questions

5 Questions total.

3 State Trivia Questions. Answers to questions should be names of Western States. Trivia should come from text of Coloring Book.

2 City Direction Questions. Answer should be a direction from one city to another in the Western U.S.

Due Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Recommended Article

Elizabeth Bird has written an analysis of the contenders for the 2011 Newbery Awards at her blog, A Fuse #8 Production. It also serves as an excellent primer for quality middle grade fiction published in the last year. She is pushing hard for One Crazy Summer. Will it win?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part I: Description

We are going to start the year in Language Arts studying Realistic Fiction. You’ll be reading Realistic Fiction and writing your own Realistic Fiction pieces. Later we’ll contrast Realistic Fiction with Fantasy. Later in the year we’ll study the genres of Mystery and Science Fiction literature.

For your first piece of Realistic Fiction, you are going to create a piece in which two characters watch an event. The event can be a sporting event, a celebration, a performance, a spectacle, a festival…I’m being broad because I want you to think of something you’d be interested in describing. You will describe the event the characters are watching. You can invent what happens during the event, but you should probably choose something you know something about, so that you can describe it accurately. The event doesn’t have to be The Greatest Event in the History of Mankind. It can be a normal event in which normal things happen. Your goal is to write a descriptive piece, not necessarily a suspenseful piece (though you can add suspense to your piece at your discretion).

You are telling a story in your Realistic Fiction piece, however. Think of yourself as a storyteller describing these two characters, where they are, and what they see.

You will describe three things in your piece:

1. The characters. Describe the appearance of the characters. Describe what is noticeable about them.

You are creating realistic characters. Give them realistic names and realistic appearances. You can base your characters on people you know. Make your characters fictional, however.

2. Describe where your characters are as they’re watching the event. Describe the venue, the weather, the crowd…anything applicable to the event.

3. Describe the event itself. What is happening? What do your characters see? The event should be somewhat prolonged so that the characters can watch it. It should not be over in an instant.

Your descriptions should happen in the past tense, as if the events have already happened.

Your description should be narrated from a third person perspective. This means that neither of the characters is narrating the description. It is the author, in effect, who is narrating the description.

Do not use any dialogue in your descriptions. You will be adding dialogue to your piece for Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part II: Dialogue.

Your weekend homework is to brainstorm ideas for your two characters, the venue in which they will be watching the event, and the idea itself. The brainstorming sheet will be due Tuesday, September 14.

The finished piece should be at least a full page in length, but no more than 3 pages. It can be typed or hand-written. If you type your piece, please use the following settings: Times New Roman font size 13, 1.5-line spaced.

We will be working on our pieces in class all of next week. You’re welcome to work on this over the weekend, but make sure you bring your work to class with you each day. We won’t be working on computers, so if you work on a computer at home, you need to print out whatever you’re working on to bring to class.

The actual piece will be due Tuesday, September 21, though it can be turned in Wednesday, September 15, if it is finished by that time. It can also be turned in Monday, September 20.

The brainstorming handout can be found here.

Photo Credit: Alex Trebek hosting the 2009 Geo Bee Finals, NationalGeographic.com.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Geo Quiz #3: Northern Europe

Plate 20.

Countries: Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden.
Capitals: Helsinki, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm.
Bodies of Water: Norwegian Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland.

Friday, October 1.

Map of Europe.
Map of Northern Europe excluding Iceland.

Geo Quiz #2: Western U.S. States

Plate 11.

Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico.

Friday, Sept. 24.

Blank map.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Geo Quiz #1: Continents and Oceans

Study Plate 1 in your Coloring Book. You may color it if you so choose (follow the directions--places on the map should be the same color as the bubble letters naming these places outside the map).

For the quiz you must be able to identify the following on a blank world map: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn.

Be careful with the spellings of 'Arctic' and Antarctica.' Students often misspell these.
Geo Quiz #1 will take place Tuesday, September 21.

A blank map of the Continents can be found here.

Geography Coloring Books

Many of you will be getting your Geography Coloring Books from your parents, who picked them up at Parent Orientation night. If you don't get a Coloring Book early, don't worry--you can pick up yours on the first day of school.

Please feel free to start reading and coloring in your books. Please first read the instructions at the beginning of the book called "How to Use and Color this Book." If you use colored ink pens, make sure they don't bleed through the page. If the ink bleeds through, please switch to colored pencils. Enjoy!

Summer Reading

If you didn't get the Summer Reading instructions at the beginning of the summer, don't worry! Simply record the books you read this summer in the manner explained in the instructions. If you haven't read a fantasy or realistic fiction book yet, don't worry, you'll have time to finish them. The writing portion will not be collected the first day of school. If you've already completed the writing portion, hang on to it, and I'll let you know when you'll be turning it in.

The Summer Reading instructions can be found here. The Summer Reading list can be found here.

Picture of Manchester (U.K.) bookworm made entirely of plants courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Welcome, New Students!

Welcome to Nova! I will be posting things here relevant to Geography, Language Arts, the Library, and other things that I find of interest. I will post due dates, assignment instructions, links to help with assignments, and news about chickens named after yours truly.

Have a great year, everybody!

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Mr. Gacek photos!

Guess what? Rosa also has a chicken named Mr. Gacek! Here is a picture of Rosa posing with my namesake.

August is Mr. Gacek's birthday month. Here she is sharing her birthday "cake" with her friends.

Thanks for the great photos, Rosa! If you want to see pictures of Mo's Mistergacek, you can find them here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review: "One Crazy Summer," by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
Amistad/HarperCollins, 2010

Three sisters travel to Oakland, California, from Brooklyn to visit their mother, whom they haven't seen since she left them and their father some years earlier. The year is 1968 and the girls spend their days at a summmer camp sponsored by the Black Panthers. Talk about a great premise! The book starts kind of slowly. The first half establishes the characters and the milieu, but it's not terribly exciting. The plot kicks in in the second half of the book, however, and the last few chapters are just phenomenal. It becomes clear why the somewhat slow build-up to the final scenes was necessary.
One Crazy Summer was written for grades 4-6. I'd say most kids this age will have no idea who Booby Seale and Huey Newton were. The book infuses details about the Panthers into the story in such a way that I think kids can pick up quite a bit about the Black Panther movement and the era in general. There's also a segue in the story where the characters visit San Francisco and get to see real live hippies (they'd previously only seen pictures in magazines).
This story is fiction, but it feels incredibly true to the time and place of the setting. This is an excellent read for kids, and there's a lot for adults to appreciate in this book as well.
More info about the Black Panther Party can be found at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Geo Quiz #3: Poland

Cities: Warsaw, Poznan, Krakow, Lodz, Gdansk.
Rivers: Vistula, Bug, Warta, Oder.
Mountain Ranges: Sudeten Mtns.
Mountain: Rysy Peak.
Body of Water: Gulf of Gdansk.

A Map of Poland can be found here.

Photo of Krakow courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Summer Geo Quiz #2: Deutschland

Cities: Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Nuremburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel.
Rivers: Danube, Elbe, Rhine, Main, Weser.
Mountain: Zugspitze.
Islands: East Frisian Is.
Photo of Zugspitze courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 19, 2010

World Cup Prediction Contest: Final

Spain wins the World Cup, defeating Netherlands 1-0. The winner of the Jones Soda is Galen. Congratulations!

Here are the Top 5 finishers:

1. Galen: 33 pts.

2. Aaron: 32 pts.

3. Nickan: 30 pts.

4: Isabel: 29 pts.
- Neil: 29 pts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

World Cup Predictions: Semifinals

The World Cup Final is set: Netherlands vs. Spain! If Netherlands wins, Isabel will be the champion. If Spain wins Galen will be the champion. The Final will be played Sunday, July 10, at 11:30 a.m.

29: Isabel (Spain vs. Brazil)

28: Jake (Spain vs. Brazil)
Galen (Spain over Brazil)

27: Aaron (Spain over Brazil)

26: Cheyenne (Brazil over Spain)

25: Nickan (Spain vs. Brazil)

24: Ethan (Brazil over Spain)
Anya (Brazil vs. Spain)
Neil (Spain over Brazil)

21: Quinn (Brazil over Germany)

19: Colin Mil. (Germany over France)
Rosa (Greece over Spain)

17: Shreya (Brazil over Argentina)
Allyson (Brazil vs. Argentina)

16: Chelan (Chile vs. South Korea)
Olivia (South Africa vs. Paraguay)
Linnea (Australia over Ghana)
Michael (New Zealand vs. Chile)
Jenny (Italy over France)
Tristan (England over France)

15: Jeongvin (Brazil over France)

14: Sam R. (Ghana over Honduras)
Tessa (Brazil over Italy)

13: Danny (Brazil vs. Portugal)
11: Matt (Japan vs. Denmark)
10: Zachary (Slovenia over Japan)

Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup Prediction Contest: Group Play

16 teams made it out of group play.
Each team correctly predicted is worth one point. Therefore, a maximum of 16 points is thus far possible.

The Leaderboard:

12: Chelan (South Korea vs. Chile)
Aaron (Spain over Brazil)

11: Isabel (Brazil vs. Spain)
Ethan ( Brazil over Spain)
Danny (Portugal vs. Brazil)
Neil (Spain over Brazil)
Cheyenne (Brazil over Spain)
Galen (Spain over Brazil)
Anya (Brazil vs. Spain)

10: Jake (Spain vs. Brazil)
Tessa (Italy over Brazil)
Tristan (England over France)
Sam R. (Ghana over Honduras)
Colin Mil. (Germany over France)
Anna (Spain vs. Brazil)
Quinn (Brazil over Germany)
Nickan (Brazil vs. Spain)
Jenny (Italy over France)

9: Allyson (Brazil vs. Argentina)
Olivia (Paraguay vs. South Africa)
Matt (Japan over Denmark)
Jeongvin (Brazil over France)
Shreya (Brazil over Argentina)

8: Rosa (Greece over Spain)
Zachary (Slovenia over Japan)

7: Michael (New Zealand vs. Chile)
Linnea (Australia over Ghana)

The winner will receive a Jones Soda, of course.