SOTD: ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – The Beatles


Lately I have become obsessed with listening to the Beatles. This is probably a result of my new addiction to Rock Band.

I am not picking songs to teach a theme, or lesson. I’m just picking songs based on what I feel might be fun. This is one of my boys favorite songs to play on Rock Band. I like it best when Joey asks after the song is done, “Did I rock out, daddy?”

Let me know what you think?

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Song of the Day


Don’t know why, but I feel like doing something new this week in class. Also, this has nothing to do with math or science.

We are going to start a song of the day each day. Each day I will pick a song from my music library to share. I get to pick the song! It’s my class.

Feel free to let me know what you think, but promise to give each song each day a fair listen.

Today’s Song is: “Sigh No More,” by Mumford and Sons

Cooking as Teaching

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In my opinion, cooking with your child may be one of the best learning opportunities ever. This past month, we have used cooking as a learning opportunity in both math and science instruction. Cooking is an important experience in learning measurement skills for math, and learning the properties of mixtures and solutions in science. Honestly, cooking is basic chemistry that is fun, since you get to eat!

About a week ago, my afternoon class was invited to cook with Mrs. Walker’s class. We jumped at the opportunity, and I cannot stress how important this activity became. We ended up baking three different recipes of cake. Students we on charge of following the directions of the different recipes, figuring out the measurements, and mixing the cake batter.

As the cakes baked, this gave us a chance to discuss the ways a cake is a mixture, and how the heat from baking forces a chemical change that cannot be reversed. Ever try getting the sugar or eggs back from cake after baking? I don’t think it can be done.

The best part was getting to our school work! So, take some time to cook with your children. Your child’s teacher will thank you.

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Scarlet’s Visit

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This past week my students took part in a long tradition at Pontiac. We had a visit from the school mascot, Scarlet. She spent last week shadowing our class, and this week we helped her write about her experiences in our room. Today, some of our class got to read and share what Scarlet had to say about the ITEC room.

What follows is a copy of writing.

Scarlet’s Week


​In Mrs. Santiago’s Block 1, Scarlet learned the Parts of Speech, when we were going over our Every Day Edit Sheet. We switched to going over our Reading Logs. Scarlet enjoyed listening to us share what we have been reading.

​At recess Scarlet flew to the monkey bars. She swinged on them for a long time. Then she admired the beautiful butterflies flying by her. We went to the long snake, and she had fun bouncing on it. Next she went down the slide. She yelled whoooeeeeee. She loved being at recess.

​In Mr. Swick’s class during Science we did something amazing. We had aluminum cans, and a full tray of ice water. We put water in the cans and boiled it on a little stove. Then we flipped the can over and into the ice and water and it exploded the air out and crushed the can. We turned the gas in the can into liquid. Scarlet learned a lot about the states of matter and was interested.


​On Tuesday morning, Scarlet was learning a lot about first person narrative. She learned the definition of a first person narrative as a story that is told from the point of view of one of the characters in the story. She had a snack later on. After 10:30 She listened to us reading “Number the Stars.” She heard lots of sad things that happened. She heard the Germans were everywhere. The Germans did wrong things to the Jewish. They even forced people to go to bed at a certain time.

​On Tuesday afternoon Scarlet watched us correct our Fantastic Five. Then she flew to recess with us. She had fun flying around the playground. She told us later that she was hungry so we took her to lunch with us. She got a very delicious meatball sandwich. In Mr. Swick’s class later on, we did an experiment with soda cans again. You fill the cans with a little bit of water, heat them up, and when steam comes out you flip the can into ice water to turn the steam back into water. This makes the can crush itself. It was the most exciting experiment ever. It was great seeing it twice.


​On Wednesday, Scarlet learned how to multiply 2 and 3 digit numbers in math. She also helped us finish our summary posters in reading class. Later she had a break swinging on the swings. But then she got hungry and had a turkey hotdog. It was a half day, so we ate lunch in our room and got to play some educational games on the computers until dismissal. Scarlet does not like half days though, since she has to go back in her cage when we leave early. She said she gets lonely.


​On Thursday in PE, Scarlet bowled 3 strikes! After PE we switched classes for Block 1. Mr. Swick’s morning class measured using graduated cylinders. The experiment was with combining water and Isopropyl Alcohol to see how atoms in matter can change shape. Scarlet was impatient with Mr. Swick, and wanted to be the first one in her group to pour. In math we worked on 2 digit by 2 digit multiplying and Scarlet got all the problems right.

​Scarlet really got into reading the book “Number the Stars” today. She flew around during recess and ate lunch. In the afternoon, when we came back for math, she worked hard on using her computer in the ITEC room using BlackBoard and Study Island. During Science, we went to Mrs. Walker’s class and learned a little bit about measurement and mixtures by making different layers of cake. Scarlet had a great time seeing Mrs. Walker’s students again. But, Scarlet had a hard time leaving, since the cakes had to cool overnight. She wanted to eat them rather than waiting for Friday.


​ Scarlet’s day was all about the cakes we baked the day before. She was ready to learn more about matter. She was squawking about how the cake would rise and take its shape around the pan and how it would form in the container. Needless to say the highlight of her week was getting to taste test all the different cake recipes. Her favorite was Mr. Swick’s group’s cake. It had cherries in it. She did not even mind that the cake was missing a cup of flour!

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Pontiac MathFest Teams Compete

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This past Saturday about 30 students from Pontiac in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades competed against other students from across South Carolina in a MathFest competition. At the event students competed in both a team event and an individual competition. Students worked to solve word problems racing against time and in an effort to out last other students by keeping hold of tickets by getting answers correct.

The Fourth Grade MathFest team.

My crazy Fifth Grade team.

This was my first trip to a school math competition, and I must admit I had no idea what we were getting into! Many times I repeated to our 10 student team that this was going to be a learning experience… Just try to have fun.

Technology makes waiting fun for Ben and Mike.

The fourth grade team getting ready to compete?

Fourth grader Bella getting ready with her dry erase board.

I think we succeeded in that! From what I could see, we had the most fun of any team there. Considering the amount of hard math thinking taking place, the level of competition, and nerves it was amazing to still see smiling faces. It is not easy giving up a Saturday to spend hours working on really hard math problems, but our students did!

A quick division cram session with Katie’s Dad before the fifth grade division begins.

Matthew hard at work!

Chloe and Grace during the team competition.

Zemirah’s team finished up the team competition with a smile.

Amanda puts the last touch on her answer before time runs out.

In fact, not only did the team have a great time, we even had four students from Pontiac make it through to the next level… The regional MathFest in Atlanta in two weeks.

Lexi won in the Fourth Grade Division!

Ben, Kamryn, and Payton will represent Pontiac from the Fifth Grade Group!

I would like to thank all of our Pontiac students who came to MathFest. Also I’d like to give a special thanks to our fifth grade team – Amanda, Katie, Ben, Matthew, Zemirah, Michael, Grace, Payton, Chloe, and Kamryn. Also congratulations to Lexie in Fourth and Ben, Payton, and Kamryn in Fifth for winning and passing to Regionals in two weeks in Atlanta.

Post competition ice cream rules!

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ITEC Student wins Recipe Award

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I have been meaning to post something about this all week. Recently, Sodexo, our school cafeteria contractors held a district recipe competition, and one of my students won our school level competition.

Destiny took her recipe on the road and competed with students from across Richland Two. Her idea, Ants on a Log, was a big hit. she won an award at the Future Chef competition for easy kid friendly snack.

Destiny took home a medal and a bag of Chef Goodies. I am so proud to have Destiny represent our school in such a fine way. BTW… She also entered several items in the state fair this year as well. She took home some awards from that as well. She is a talented, creative, crafty student.

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