Author Archive

Book Buddies

My homeroom is paired with Ms. Porto’s Peacocks in kindergarten this year. We have already enjoyed lunch together and have even helped them practice their handwriting skills. We will get together at some point this month for a spooktacular candy sorting activity for a bit of math Halloween fun!

Surviving the Applewhites Unit

We have completed our very first novel together, and overall students seemed to enjoy it. For this novel, students have a bit of choice for their final projects. They can bring Jake Semple down from Rhode Island to Raleigh, North Carolina on a road trip, learn more about the butterflies mentioned in the text, perform a mini-movie or skit of a few memorable scenes, construct several writing pieces that include a prequel, a sequel, or research the importance of birth order in a family, or create a fake Instagram with posts/comments/likes of some of their favorite moments within our story.

Remember: All projects are in class, in school assignments 🙂 I look forward to sharing some of their finished pieces with you soon.

Cave Art

Yesterday and today, students immersed themselves into the Paleolithic Era as they created their very own cave art. They were positively inspired by our unit, and I look forward to seeing their finished pieces soon. What a fun way to end our first chapter in history together!

Our next chapter takes us into the beginning of civilizations…

Business Letters

This past week students busily constructed business letters to their favorite Youtubers, restaurants, companies, and passions. They learned the importance of these professional letters and how they are formatted, and they even got to practice their signatures! We will send them off this week in hopes that each will receive a response during the school year. From here on out, ELA class is like Christmas morning. It is so exciting to watch them rip those open and share the responses with one another. Hopefully, soon, they will all have that chance. Stay tuned!


Students were thrown into the grasslands of South Africa today and had to create shelter in order to survive. After only being given 30 toothpicks or less, glue, one piece of construction paper, and scissors, here are some finished products. Super creative! When their shelters were complete, students had to hunt and gather food slips hidden around the room trying to earn themselves 20 units. 2/7 survived in Seeba’s class and 4/8 survived in Kuegeman’s.
Students then self-reflected on how difficult this lifestyle might’ve been and how easy they have it now with grocery stores and fast-food chains.

We will wrap up this section with a quiz over 1.2, and listen to some NPR’s both Thursday and Friday to help us complete another DBQ on Neanderthals.

What’s Going On?

Daily geography questions will take up the first 7 or so minutes at the start of each history class. Beginning on Mondays, students will keep these in their binders and be responsible for answering the two questions each day. We will discuss what the theme is for the week, how to refer to the map page, as well as any questions they may have at any point of the week. Please note: The challenge is bonus! It is not required of them, however, it does make up for any one question missed throughout the week.

We have started our unit on Human Origins and are outlining our first section together. The Iceman Murder Mystery, our next DBQ, will help them connect what they are reading to a real-life event. Project info for cave paintings will be coming out soon…

Students have almost gotten through their very first unit in vocabulary and will have their first quiz this Thursday. Each of them has a set of flashcards they can use for studying or is the online component they can use for games/review as well. We have also started in our first novel together, Surviving the Applewhites. Throughout the book, students are expected to pull out unfamiliar vocabulary (as well as know what they mean!) and use characterization skills to explain what makes each Applewhite unique. There will be a whole book test at the end of this novel.

We are currently working to get our journaling online – which I thought would be easier – so thank you for your patience as we set that up. Like I said at Parent Night, all essay/final paper writing will be done in school. Hooray!

Welcome Back to School and Welcome Home!

It’s time to begin a new school year. We are about to graduate our 10th class of 8th graders in 2020 and we also warmly welcome our classes of 2021 and 2022. You are all an important part of our 50th school year and we cannot wait to celebrate with you.

Please mark your calendars for these important upcoming dates:
• School Forms Due – Thursday, August 1
Student Profile 2019-2020
Tree House Parent School Agreement 2019-2020
Publicity Release 2019-2020
Authorization for Medication (If applicable) 2019-2020
Updated Immunization Form (Form 3231 from your doctor)

• Meet and Greet – Sunday, August 11
Drop in anytime from 2 – 4 pm.
Visit your child’s classroom, meet the teachers, collect supplies/books, and stop by the office to say hello.
Purchase ice cream, water, and spirit wear under the portico by the main office to raise money for the 8th grade capstone Spain adventure. Don’t miss it!

• First Day of School – Monday, August 12
Drop off begins at 7:45 am in front of the main office so that a member of our office team may greet them as they make their way to Turner Hall.

Morning Tree House is available at 7:00 am on the first day if you have pre-registered. You will need to walk your student inside to attend Tree House. Tree House will be located in the Few Cottage.

• Parent Orientation Meeting – Thursday, August 15
Curriculum, RenWeb, and new details to the programs will be discussed.
 6th grade – Beaker Jr. at 6:00 pm
 7th grade – Beaker at 7:00 pm
 8th grade – Beaker at 7:00 pm

• 8th grade High School / Spain Trip meeting – Wednesday, August 21 @ 8:00 am
Please note this is a date change!
All parents and students will need to attend.

• 6th grade Marine Lab Meeting – Wednesday, August 28 @ 8:00 am
All parents and students will need to attend.

Thank you for your attention to all of this and for choosing Wood Acres as your child’s academic home.

We are so glad you are here and we look forward to watching your students be leaders this year!


Although our Under the Blood-Red Sun unit was a short one, it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. A compare/contrast essay was written after viewing the movie. While they agreed the acting could have been better, it was a wonderful ending to a powerful storyline. We have already started into our final novel, Tangerine. Meatier discussions, review of the novel features as well as literary devices, and personal connections will be our focus this text. Nightly rereading of pages and answering of comprehension questions is expected of them. After each “part” of the book – for a total of 3 – there will be a quiz. A final test will be given covering all parts at the end of the novel.

We have covered a TON in writing! We are currently awaiting responses from our business letters, so stay tuned! Some kids have already received theirs with attachments included 🙂 We will continue journaling and our review of writing processes with several pieces mixed in before dedicating the month of March to our big research paper. Information for this will be coming home mid-February, but I encourage the kids to start thinking of someone they’d like to research and learn more about. This figure needs to be someone who has made a POSITIVE contribution to their field. For example, Jackie Robinson made a positive contribution to the Major Leagues on breaking the color barrier for all races. Take something that interests them (dance, football, cars!) and start digging for that figure. Remember, all writing/research will be done here at school.

Our Judaism unit was a riveting success! I hope all enjoyed our scavenger hunt — thank you, parents, for your help! We are currently learning about Ancient Greece, democracy, and Ancient Rome before diving into our second monotheistic religion, Christianity.

EngineerGirl Writing Contest

EngineerGirl Writing Contest is Open!

Write a story that celebrates engineering design and problem-solving.

The EngineerGirl writing contest is, for the first time, asking students to submit works of creative fiction.

We want stories about women and girls saving the day with their wits, skill, and whatever resources they can find to solve the problem. Maybe they are working alone, maybe they are part of an elite team. Maybe they just find themselves in an unusual situation that requires some innovative thinking.

We want stories that inspire EngineerGirl readers to think, “I want to be able to do that” or “I can do that.”

Link to contest website is below:

WHO: Students in grades 3-12.
WHAT: Write an original, fictional story in which the main character is a female who uses engineering skills to solve a problem.
WHEN: Submissions are due Feb. 1, 2019.

Puzzles Project

During class over the last two days, students created a unique puzzle which creatively displayed the main characters and one of the major themes of our novel, The View from Saturday. Because (like Mrs. Olinski) I value both their creativity and their intellect, I did not want to put too many constraints on them for this project.

Students will get to take these home after our tea party as a keepsake from our book study.

This Matters At Wood Acres.

  • High Expectations For Teaching And Learning

  • Strong Instructional Leadership

  • Safe Learning Environment For Everyone

  • Positive And Welcoming School Climate

  • Valuing Time On Task For Mastery

  • Close Home School Partnerships