Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Funderstanding Roller Coaster

If you want to test force and motion concepts while designing your own roller coaster click here

Friday, May 9, 2008

Free Typing Games

Free typing web-based (no download required) interactive programs and games that run in your web browser that you can use to teach yourself how to type and get fast.

Teaches Technique & Speed Games

Just Speed Games

See Also

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How to Take Old MEAP Tests for Practice

Students who will be entering 6th-8th grade this September click here to go directly to the tests for last year.

In Michigan, we take the MEAP test (
Michigan Educational Assessment Program) every October which assesses the state standards for the previous year's grade level content expectations. For example, 4th graders take a test on everything they were supposed to master in 3rd grade. Do you know you can get access to these state-wide high stakes tests? On the Michigan Department of Education's website they have the actual MEAP Tests that were administered for the last 8 years for all the grades! Here is how to access them:

1.Go to the search engine and type in "Michigan MEAP Released Items." Next, click on the first result that comes up.
Or if that doesn't work try this:

a) Go to the Michigan Department of Education's website at
b) Click on "School Assessment and Accountability" on the left margin
c) Click on the "Michigan Educational Assessment Program"
on the left margin
d) Click on "Released Items" on the left margin

2.No matter which method you used above, next click on the "Elementary link" (they also have links for the Middle and High School tests).

3. Now you will see a list of tests by grades and year.
Choose the test you want and click on the link to download the pdf file. When you click on the link, Acrobat or Adobe should download and open the file for you -- most computers already have one of these programs installed.

4. Then you can print the file and give to your child to practice. They are long tests so you can have them do just couple sections a day.

So which tests should you use? If my child just completed the 4th grade this year I would do the Math and Language Arts from 2006 (except for the Reading because the stories are not accessible due to copyright laws). This was the exact test they took this past October that assessed everything they learned from 3rd grade. I would make sure they have mastered it all and if they are still are having trouble I would go back to 2005-1998 versions
for 4th grade for some more practice. Then I would have my child take the 2006 5th grade Math, Language Arts, and Science (5th grade is the first year they take the science test and it is a tough one). This will be very similar to the next test they will be taking this October in 5th grade which assesses everything they learned in 4th grade. Again, if they are having trouble go back through 2005-1998 for some other versions from 5th grade for more practice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is an NSF supported project that began in 1999 to develop a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis). The project includes dissemination and extensive internal and external evaluation.

Click here to go to the NLVM

Online Geoboard Activity

Click here for online interactive geoboard activities from the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives one of my favorite math sites.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Solar System Resources

Our next science unit will be on the solar system.

Click here for a list of good power point presentations you can download and view to study.

Our new standards for this unit will be:


All students will compare and contrast our planet and sun to together planets and star systems.
1. Compare the earth to other planets and moons in terms of supporting life.

Key concepts: Surface conditions- gravity, atmospheres, and temperature. Relative distances relative sizes. Sun produces the light and heat for each planet. Molecules necessary to support life – water, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon,

Real-World contexts: examples of local and extreme conditions on earth vs. conditions on other planets, exploration of planets and their satellites.

All students will describe and explain how objects in the solar system move.
2. Describe, compare, and explain the motions of solar systems objects.

Key concepts: orbit, rotations (spin), axis, gravity, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, seasons. Tilt of the earth on its axis, direct/indirect rays

Real-World contexts; observations of comet motion over days and weeks, length of day and year on planets, changes in length of daylight and height of sun in sky; changes in daily temperature patterns; summer and winter solstices, spring and fall equinoxes

3. Describe and explain common observations of the night skies.

Key concepts: Perceived and actual movement of the moon and planets across the sky, moon phases, eclipses, stars and constellations, planets, Milky Way, comets, comet tails, meteors. Sun is light source for all solar system objects (except meteors; friction with atmosphere) emitted light, reflected lights

Real-World Contexts: Outdoor observing of the skies, using telescopes and binoculars, when available as well as “naked-eye” viewing; viewing with robotic telescopes via the world wide web; telescopic and spacecraft-based photos of planets, moons, and comets; news reporters of planetary and lunar exploration

Friday, February 8, 2008

Weather Resources

What is Weather

Weather Vocab

The Wild World of Weather

Web Weather for Kids

Stuff in the Sky

Types of Clouds

Kinds of Clouds

Cloud Gallery Chart

Cool Clouds

About Clouds

Download a Cloud Identifyer

Cloud Concentration Game

Cloud Matching Game

Weather Jokes

Fraction Standards for Our Next Unit

N.ME.05.09 Understand percentages as parts out of 100, use % notation, and express a part of a
whole as a percentage.

N.ME.05.10 Understand a fraction as a statement of division, e.g., 2 ÷ 3 = 2/3, represent simple fractions with pictures.

N.ME.05.11 Given two fractions, express them as equivalent fractions with a common denominator, but not necessarily a least common denominator, e.g., 1/2 = 4/8 and 3/4 = 6/8; use denominators less than 12, or factors of 100.

N.FL.05.12 Find the product of two unit fractions with small denominators, using area model.

N.FL.05.13 Divide a fraction by a whole number and a whole number by a fraction, using simple unit fractions.

N.FL.05.14 Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 100, using the common denominator that is the product of the denominators of the 2 fractions, e.g., 3/8 + 7/10 = ((3x10)+(7x8))/80 = (30+56) ÷ 80 = 86/80.

N.MR.05.19 Solve word problems that involve finding sums and differences of fractions with unlike denominators using knowledge of equivalent fractions.

N.FL.05.20 Solve applied problems involving fractions and decimals; include rounding of answers and checking reasonableness; use examples involving money.

N.MR.05.21 Solve for the unknown in such equations as: 1/4 + x = 7/12.

Weather and Fractions Power Points

Power Point Presentations are a great resource for studying. Do you know you can find free power points with Google by typing in a concept for keywords and ".ppt" into the search?

For example if you want to find Power Point Presentations about weather I would type in

"weather .ppt"

into google search.

Or you can look through a great directory form Pete's Power Point Station

I have found a good section here for Weather and here for Fractions that you can download, open, view, print, and study from.

Weather Standards

We just started a new unit in Science on Weather. Here are teh GLCE's:

V.3.M.S. All Students will investigate and describe what makes up weather and how it changes from day to day, from season to season and over long periods of time

1.Explain pattern of changing weather and how they are measured

Key concepts: weather patterns-cold front, warm front, stationary front, air mass, and humidity.

Tools: Thermometer, rain gauge, wind direction indicator, anemometer, weather maps, satellite weather images

Real-world contexts: sudden temperature and cloud formation changes, records charts, and graphs of weather changes over periods of days; lake effect snow.

All Students will explain what causes different kinds of weather
2. Describe the composition and characteristics of the atmosphere.

Key Concepts: Composition-air, molecules, gas, water vapor, dust particles, ozone. Characteristics=air pressure and temperature changes with altitude, humidity.

Real-world contexts: examples of characteristics of the atmosphere, including pressurized cabins in airplanes, demonstrations of air pressure; examples of air-borne particulates, such as smoke, dust, pollen, bacteria; effects of humidity, such as condensation, dew on surfaces, comfort level of humans.

3. Explain the behavior of water in the atmosphere.

Key Concepts: Water cycle-evaporation, water vapor, warm air rises, cooling condensation, clouds. Precipitation-rain, snow, hail, sleet, freezing rain. Relative humidity, dew point, for

Real-world contexts: aspects of the water cycle in weather, including clouds, fog, and precipitation, evaporation puddles, flooding droughts.

All Students will analyze the relationships between human activities and the atmosphere:
4. “Describe health effects of polluted air.

Key concepts: effects=breathing difficulties, irritated eyes. Sources- car exhaust, industrial emissions, acid rain.

Real-World Contexts: Locations and times where air quality is poor, local sources of potential air pollution; ozone warnings.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

How To Listen To Our Podcasts

There are 4 ways you can listen to our class podcast episodes:

1) Click the Play button in the player in the right sidebar of this page. Note: You will listen to the lastest episode, if you want to listen to previous episodes click on "Posts" in the player to listen older epidsodes.

2) Click on the Class Podcast link located under "Pages" in the right sidebar of this page. Note: This will show all the episodes.

3) Click on the Podcast label under "Categories" in the right sidebar of this page.

4) If you have iTunes software downloaded on your computer you can subscribe by clicking on subscribe free under the player then the episodes come to you and are downloaded so you can play on your computer, iPod, or Mp3 player.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Camp Pictures Are Up!

I have published some of pics that are safe to share publicly (not revealing their idenity). Let me know if you would like me to take any down.

Go click on the Class Public Pics Link 
which will be permantely located on the right sidebar under "Pages."

Don't forget you can captions and add comments to each picture. Be sure to click on slideshow for the best viewing experience.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blogs Are Spreading At DEPSA!!

Nice work class, you have a set an example for other classes to follow now we have two more 5th grade classes blogging. Look on the left side and you will find a "DEPSA Blogroll" that lists the links to the other classroom's blog websites. Or click on the links below

Ms. Harrison's 5th Grade Class
Check out a video on Ecosystems that she put up

Mrs. Anle's 5th Grade Class
Check out her games on fractions, a video on colonization, and a link to the camp we are going to.

Now don't forget to coment on their blogs too! But now we need to add "From Mr. Ambrose's class" so they know what class you are from.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spelling & Vocab Study Games

Click here for Spelling & Vocab Study Games

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Great Workbooks to Practice for the High Stakes Tests

In the age of high stakes test, the pressure to achieve has been put on our students and teachers. Parents you can help your child succeed by having your child regularly take practice tests at home. Learning how to take and beat tests is an essential skill for our students to master at an early age. I always tell the students "Right now you have to beat the MEAP test to get through elementary school, next it will be the ACT/SAT to compete for scholarships and college admissions, then the GRE for graduate school, or the LCAT for law school, or the MCAT for med school. Get use to these high stakes test because there are a bunch more to come."

I have found a list of some good standardized practice test books that would be great practice for students on a light homework night, a lazy weekend, or boring summer day. And as some of my students this year have taught me you don't have to stick to the grade that you are in, we have students challenging themselves already with 5th-8th grade reading and math tests.

Click here for a list of standardized practice test books.

Reading Workbooks That Help Improve SRI Scores

Some parents have been asking me for some additional resources that I recommend for them to purchase in order to support reading practice at home. I have found a good list of reading skills workbooks you can buy online. It has a wide range of grades, so if your student is below reading level you can drop down and if your student is already at grade level I recommend getting a higher grade so they can increase their Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) score so they can be placed into a higher reading class.

These workbooks are great for extra practice on a light homework night, weekends, vacations, and especially over the summer.

Click here or to see a list of reading workbooks that help improve SRI scores that you can buy through Amazon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ecosystem Test & Notes

Test will be on Feb 5

Go to

for a list of the standards and our class study guide created by MR0708 & JW0708

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Historical Diary Jan 7

January 7,1659

Dear Journal,

Today I really want to go to school,but I cant only because I'm a girl.I live in a place where we have a colonial system,that's when only boys can go to school,and I really hate it! I had to beg my mother to let me dress as a boy so that I will be able to study at the university,but she said no! Were I am living it is so hot and dry,even the ocean was dry. All around me is merchants selling goods,elegant and stone houses,a palace,and many universities.

Someday I wish that boys and girls can go to school, not only boys. If I could change any rule in the world that would be my first.I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to go and study at the university,I would really love that.


Division Club

Here are the members of the division club.
You need to do all 50 questions correctly under 2 minutes

LM0708 * Fastest Time at 45 seconds!

Multipication Club

Here are the members of the multiplication club.
50 questions in less than 2 minuntes:

RW0708 *Fastest time at 59 seconds

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Historical Diary Jan 9

Dear Journal

It's January 9th 1587. Today I went outside my camp,and I am going to tell you what I saw. I saw a huge camp. An Algonquin camp. This is also were Algonquins live. When I went outside of camp I saw Algonquins doing a traditional dance. They were also eating by some baskets. I saw white draw corn fields in three stages of growth. There homes were made of hay. Lastly they have lots of crops to eat.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Historical Diary Jan 8

Dear Diary,

We are starting our on colony.But we need a leader.Our leader should be:
*Concerned of other colonists-someone who cares
*Responsible-someone who would care about what we are doing
*Focused-someone who is serious and will not play games
*Respectful-someone who will tell the truth
*Brave-someone who will stand up for their colonists
*Listen-someone who will hear you out
*Honest-some one who will not lie
Our leader should always have all these traits.Well at least 5 of these traits.This will not make them the perfect leader but one that no one would forget.Someone who would be a unforgettable.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Great Workbooks Practice For Math

Some parents have been asking me for some additional resources that I recommend for them to purchase in order to support math practice at home. I have found a good list of math skills workbooks you can buy online. It has a wide range of grades, so if your student is below grade level you can drop down and if your student is already at grade level I recommend getting a higher grade for a challenge.

These workbooks are great for extra practice on a light homework night, weekends, vacations, and especially over the summer.

Click here or to see a list of math workbooks that you can buy through Amazon.