August 27

Back to School Supplies

Can you believe school starts in just a couple of weeks?  If you haven’t grabbed your school supplies just yet, don’t worry.  This post covers what you’ll need.  If you did get your supplies, hopefully this will put you at ease.  I’m sure you were super successful and you’re all ready to start the year.

School supplies start being put out in the stores in July.  Wow!  At first, I think most kids and teachers cringe when they see the advertisements.  You might even begin to have those back to school nightmares.  But as the days draw us closer to our first day together, I think it’s generally something that students begin to look forward to.  It’s a fresh start to a new school year.

Here are the basics for what you need…









Here’s the bottom line.  If you have trouble getting something, just let me know and we’ll work it out.  The start of school is already hard enough.  I don’t want supplies to make if more stressful for you.  Let’s start the year on a positive note.  Here’s a video with more information about supplies that might help you to prepare.


August 1

The Portable People TV Channel

YouTube is a tool used around the world to promote ideas and wonderings that we reflect on daily.  After using it in the classroom to view videos that might tie in with our learning target, I decided to make the jump to create videos myself.  This channel will documents news in the classroom and around the school.  Why? Well I think there are a number of reasons to video document.

  • It provides students with an excellent way to reflect on their learning.
  • It gives us ownership of the learning.
  • It makes us mindful of our learning.
  • It’s fun.

Can you think of some other reasons?

To be honest, it’s a little scary to put yourself out there in front of others in a way that makes you really vulnerable.  But I see that as the exciting part.  I’m definitely no an expert with social media. I hope this will be something we can learn about together.  Take a look at the first, very short video, and see what you think.

December 7

A Brand New Start

Over the past several months I’ve wondered whether or not we should have a blog.  I haven’t posted anything for quite a while.  In fact, sometimes I’m not even sure what to post.  It’s like I’ve had a “writer’s block.”  You know, when you’ve come to a point where you just can’t think of anything to write.  For instance, your teacher asks you to brainstorm a list of ideas about the 10 Craziest Summer Moments from your last vacation.  You sit and a small ball of energy bounces around in your stomach as you begin to think, This could be great!  But that’s when it hits you.  You can’t think of one crazy moment you had last summer that you could write about.  Ahhh!  That’s been happening to me a lot.  So, I’ve placed the blog low on my list of things to do.

Trying to give our dog Zhosur a bath this summer was my Crazy Moment.

Trying to give our dog Zhosur a bath this summer was my Crazy Moment.

I came back to it recently as I’ve been thinking about what might help us accomplish our class purpose.  It’s there on our tagline on the front page.  A word was sticking out to me-“Fun.”  That word is pretty important in education.  It really helps to have an interest in what you’re doing to help with accomplishing your learning goals.  This may not be possible all of the time, but we should make thing as enjoyable as possible in an effort to learn.  Also, writing is pretty fun and kids like to share it with others.  A blog could help us to do that.

Then it hit me.  This doesn’t just have to be my blog.  It could be our classroom blog.  We could all contribute and work towards improving it.  So, I’ve started a small learning journey.  I came up with a question for the class:

“To what extent are you interested in having a classroom blog?”

We used a special tool to come to consensus.  In short, most kids really liked the idea.  In fact, only 1 student was completely opposed.  So, I began asking more questions.

“What theme would you want to use to showcase our blog?”

The kids voted and decided to go with Cubic.

Then, I asked kids for suggestions for names.  We talked about our blogging purpose and audience.  We discussed blogging about classroom, school and education news topics.  We figured most people reading would be kids, parents and teachers.  This helped us to eliminate a few suggested Titles for the blog, like “Lebron James.”  Pretty funny guys.  Anyway, the new title is simple and clearly related to our work.  “Mr. Magill’s Classroom”

I think the work has really just begun.  I’m not sure where it’s headed, but stay posted to our blog, and hopefully we’ll have some more posts real soon that have been created with class input.  I think it’s time to start fresh and share about the happenings that are going on in our classroom.



September 12


This week was bit confusing and chaotic.  Our school decided to make some changes.  We lost our 4th grade friends and gained some new 5th grade students.  Our classroom changed from a 4/5 split to a 5th grade classroom.  I know this is stressful for everyone involved.  Hang in there and remember that it’s a small distraction in the scope of a school year.  In fact, I checked in with our former 4th grade students and they were doing well with their new teacher.  I was very relieved.  It’s definitely a small rock.  We will see you around campus 4th graders!

As for our new classroom, wow!  We were tremendously productive.  We established a Code of Cooperation and Classroom Purpose.  Also, we blazed through a majority of our class policies and procedures.  We even fit in a little time to assess math.  I think we’re back on track.

I’m leaving you with a video.  Hopefully it will inspire you to get your “learn’n” on for the school year.

What will you change this year to make the most out of your learning time? What will you change to make everything awesome!?  Maybe you’ll find a way to make it fun.  Just maybe.

August 20

Welcome Back!

Usually, I try and shut my mind off from school for the first few weeks of Summer Vacation. I was pretty successful. I think I kept thoughts of adding unlike fractions, writing book reviews and reading about environments out of my head for most of our break. In order to do this, I went on some outing with my family. One thing we did was to visit Yellowstone National Park.  Wow! There was too much to see.

Ella and Riley look for grizzly bears.

Ella and Riley look for grizzly bears.













So, here we are, 2 weeks away from the beginning a new school year. School has started to creep back into my brain; and, I’ve started preparing things for this year.  For instance, I changed my desk a bit and made a huge “To Do” list.

The Desk Star. My students called it the Desk Star because it was as large as the Death Star in Star Wars.

The Desk Star. My students called it the Desk Star because it was as large as the Death Star in Star Wars.













I chopped the desk to make it a low rider.

I chopped the desk to make it a low rider.










I brought in a worker that's great at making messes.

I brought in a worker that’s great at making messes.










The finished product.

The finished product.












Are you ready? Trust me, you’re more than ready. If you’re feeling uneasy about it, there are a number of things you can do to lower your stress and fear for the upcoming year. First, remember I don’t bite. In fact, I’m pretty normal. Second, grab a supply list to help you get things sorted out for the upcoming year. If you have the supplies your teachers are requesting when you come to school, it always feels good when you get to class, but don’t worry if you can’t find something. Every school year we make sure kids have any items they’re missing. Third, start getting yourself into a regular sleep pattern. The long days of summer are quickly changing. By getting yourself into a regular school week schedule for bedtime and wake ups, you’ll help your body and mind adjust for the school day. Sleep is probably the most important thing that will help you to be successful in our classroom. When you don’t have enough of it, all kinds of problems happen. Fourth, eat and drink right. If you’re not sure what that means, we’ll learn about it this school year with our nutrition teacher. In the mean time, eat whole foods like an apple, eggs, carrots, etcetera and drink lots of water. Last, get outside to exercise. The summer is a super time to improve your fitness. Also, by exercising you’re improving your brain function.  The brain needs oxygen to work well.  Exercise helps us to use the air we breath to think better, even when we’re not exercising.  Basically, if you’re fit, you learn better.

Don’t forget that we’ll have a simple classroom walk through, as well as a meet-and-greet at Challenger Elementary on September 2nd. It takes place from 5-6 pm. This will be a chance for us to begin to get to know each other.  The countdown has begun. See you soon!

August 5

Back to School

Wow! We’ve had an incredible summer! The weather has been amazing. The start of August has made me realize that the end of our Summer Vacation is drawing near. I’m starting to feel the excitement that a new school year brings. Just yesterday I was in a local grocery store and was amazed at all the families looking at school supplies. I couldn’t help but smile.

For me, the new school year is a fresh start to meet new students and parents. It’s a chance to continue to improve my practice as a teacher in order to help young people grow.

In the coming days I’ll be thinking of you as I begin to get ready for the school year. Be safe and have fun in these last few days of summer.


September 3

Class of 2020

Adapted from MHS.

Welcome to room 35! I’m excited to get started with everyone. I hope you had a fun and restful summer. Mine seemed to fly by too fast, but I’m really excited about the transition the school year brings and learning more about you.

We will officially start on Wednesday the 5th of September. Get what you can on the classroom supply list and we’ll sort out the odds and ends when you get here on the 5th. In other words, the main supply you need to come to class with is enough positive attitude to last the school year.

Our main purpose for these first couple of weeks will be to create the infrastructure that will support our class. You will be helping me to build our classroom community.

To make things a bit more visual for you, here’s our schedule for this year:

9-9:45 Literacy

9:45-10:30 Music/PE

10:30-11:30 Literacy

11:30-12:15 Handwriting/Science/Social Studies/Art

12:15-12:35 Lunch

12:35-12:50 Recess

12:50-2:15 Mathematcis

2:15-2:30 Recess

2:30-3:00 Mathematics

3:00-3:15 Campfire (Class Meeting)

3:15-3:28 Clean-up/Dismissal

*Note: Breaks will be given when needed. It’s very difficult for healthy learning to take place without them.

**Note: Feel free to bring a snack for break time. We will talk more about what is a healthy snack later this week.

I realize this can be a stressful time for students and parents. We have a very experienced team of 5th grade teachers and support staff to help you do your very best. Please rest assured that you are in a great place that is safe and driven to focus on our school mission…

“Strive for your highest potential!”

I’m going to be stealing an idea from Mr. Rodger’s, another 5th grade teacher on the Challenger team, by asking you a challenge question at the end of some blog posts. Hopefully this starts to exercise your brain a bit.

Challenge: What does the picture at the beginning of this post have to do with our classroom?

September 22

Getting to Know You

Recently, we had student interviews in class. Students interviewed each other and presented there findings to the class. I wanted to share some of the student responses to our questions. Also, I included my responses.  I thought this might create some discussion at home with parents, siblings and friends.

What is your favorite sport or activity?

Kaitlin: “I like to dance.”

Mr. Magill: “I enjoy the sport of rowing, but it’s probably a tie with running and skiing.”

 Where is the most interesting place you have been?

Seth: “I think it would have to be Silverwood.”

Mr. Magill: “I think it would have to be Maui. I really like tropical environments.”

Tell me one interesting thing you did this summer.

Makenna: “We went camping.”

Mr. Magill: “We went to Pacific Beach in Oregon. It’s a cool little surfing community that’s known for its dory boat fishermen.”

What is something most people do not know about you?

Mohamed: ” I speak 2 different languages. I speak Arabic and English.”

Mr. Magill: “I once road on top of an elephant. It was at the circus.”

September 10


Code of Cooperation 2011-2012

We’ve been working hard on building our classroom culture. This week we spent time building a Code of Cooperation.  It illustrates our classroom beliefs that will help us to achieve our Purpose, which follows:

-To learn and have fun while working hard on math, reading, writing, science and other subjects, in order to get a good education.

-To be a great student by accomplishing set goals, being respectful, never giving up and working as a team.

I took a picture of our Code of Cooperation after we completed a Consensogram for it. The Consensogram is a graph that shows…to what extent students believe that they agree with it.  The top row of pink sticky notes represents students that felt it was something they agreed with 100%. The next line down shows some students that felt they were mostly in agreement with it (90%). The bottom row represents students that were 50% in agreement with it.  So, they didn’t agree with all of it, but they could accept using it as our guide for cooperating. Holden said he voted 50% and felt like it was an okay Code of Cooperation.  Overall, most people felt like it was something they could abide by.

This is a fundamental piece of our classroom. It provides the foundation that we’ll use to support our learning journey.

What reflections come to mind when you look over the Consensogram and the Code of Cooperation?










September 10

Growing Together

Welcome to 5th Grade!  This year we’ll be working hard to grow as a class and individuals.  Every school year I learn something from the students in my class. I grow as I become more experienced each year with a new group of young people.

What are your thoughts on growing?  How can you grow?  What are your needs and wants for this school year?  Please leave a comment.