Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thousand-Year Old Mayan Teeth!

Guest speaker (and Ruby's Dad) Professor Alan Goodman visited our classroom yesterday with a mystery:
Imagine you are vacationing in Belize and visit an ancient Mayan ruin. You see a rock slab and decide to raise it up to see what's underneath and you find over 300 teeth!

Whose teeth were they?

How old are the teeth?

How old were the people whose teeth were removed?

How was the health of those people?

Were they men or women, boys or girls? Did they have many cavities?

Were they taken out (shudder) while the people were alive, or (shudder) long after they had died?

Were they a sacrifice to the toothless rain god Itzamna?

We studied the teeth to find the answers to some of these questions and to ask some questions of our own!

Thanks, Alan! What a great experience you shared with us!

Alan greeted us in Mayan!

Studying the teeth

Observations and questions

Checking for signs of forcible removal

A small incisor, with root

Checking for tooth decay

Signs of malnutrition in the teeth?

Classifying teeth: deciduous or permanent?

Sketching the teeth

Wrapping things up: student observations and questions

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Books and Secret Friends

This week we did a secret friend activity where each student was paired with another (in secret) and did nice things for their friend all week. It worked really well except that there was some confusion with the two Emily's and one got lots of attention and the other got very little (sorry, Emily O!).  We will try again in a couple of weeks. I was very impressed by the way the class stepped up to give thoughtful gifts, compliments and clues, and how everyone treated each other.  Hooray!

After our Read-a-thon on Friday (in honor of the late, great Theodor Geisel's Birthday), we came up with a list of books that the Leverett Fifth Graders recommend to one another and other upper elementary aged students:

The list, in no particular order is....

Emma Jean Lazarus (two books by Lauren Tarshis, who visited our school last month)

Star Girl, Crash, and other Jerry Spinelli books

The Missing (two recommendations)

Lost Hero series

The Ranger's Apprentice books

The Hunger Games (x3 books and x3 recommendations)

Scat and other Carl Hiaasen books

Prince of Mist

Out of My Mind (several recommendations for this MCBA book)

Wonder (3 recommendations)

The Unwanteds, the Island of Silence

The Penderwicks (trilogy) (3 recommendations)


The Warriors

Wings of Fire series

Harry Potter series

The Whisperer/The Roar

Artemis Fowl series

Redwall series


Kane Chronicles

Heroes of Olympus

Lions of Little Rock

False Prince

Paint the Wind

Tale of Despereaux (or any book by Kate DiCamillo)

Percy Jackson series

Heads or Tails


Planet Tad

Bud Not Buddy or any book by Christopher Paul Curtis

Diary of Anne Frank

My Side of the Mountain

Summer of the Gypsy Moths (MCBA)

Jake and Lily (MCBA)

Three Times Lucky

Happy reading everyone!