Krebs' Class Blogs

Constructing, creating, communicating, collaborating, and thinking critically in grade 5.

March 23, 2018
by Denise Krebs

Giant Checker Set

For Group Work, one group made a really big checker set. (Later we’ll add chess set pieces.) I’m so proud of them and their hard work! Thanks to Jack, Shaima, Mariam, Dana, Ahmed, Rashed, Yasmeen, Nathanael, Sarah, Yamen, Sam, and Ali for their creative and productive work making these beautiful checkers out of cardboard cartons.

First we made the checker set out of cardboard.

On Thursday, some of the members of our group were able to stay after school to paint the checkerboard.  Thanks to all those who were able to stay for a short or long time–Jack, Shaima, Mariam, Dana, Ahmed, Rashed, Yasmeen, and Nathanael.

First we cleaned the tiles.

Then we taped and papered the checkerboard pattern.

Then we painted. Each one took a row.

Last painters standing.

After pulling the paper up. Magical!

After the holiday, we’ll be able to play the game during recess and share it with the rest of the children to play.

February 28, 2018
by Denise Krebs

Persuade, Inform or Entertain


If you are brave, come and join our club where we fight alligators. A20


The crocodile is very dangerous. A23


There was a man, and he wanted to catch a fish. A crocodile came and wanted to eat the man, but the man kicked the crocodile. A22

Rico zoomed across the Amazon River. The crocodile was gaining speed. It wanted to eat Rico for lunch. Rico didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to get eaten. He revved the engine… A9


Come and buy our car. It could drive withour steering. Come and get it. It costs just 10,000 dollars; it is a big offer. A21

Hello, everybody, today we have a car. It’s named the Lazy Car. If you are lazy, buy this car. It will drive alone. All you have to do is press the MAP. A10

If you want to buy this car, go to and buy it for free. Tell the car where you want to go and it will drive itself. Thank you! A5

Come on down to Car Town where we have the Air-o-Car. It makes traveling around easy, and has a bag holder that takes off to heaven (just kidding). It will take you to paradise, and by that I mean vacation. A8


This looks like a wind-powered car. There is a wind turbine in the back that has been added on. It drives on just three wheels.


There was an old man who saw that everyone had a car. The old man was very upset. One day he decided that he would create his own car. He thought to himself: I was a great mechanic when I was young. A18

There was a man who had a nice car. He saw a trash bin beside the street. When he got home, he found that the trash bin he saw was stuck on the back of his car. A20

February 23, 2018
by Denise Krebs

We are Authors

On Monday, 5 March 2018, we will have a celebration of young authors in the grade 5 English class. We hope you can join us.

We have had a week of celebrating writing and reading.

Last Thursday we had an author come for a visit. Sarah Clarke and her dog Baloo go to the special needs school RIA. Baloo is a therapy dog. He makes the children feel loved and happy. Mrs. Sarah has written two books: Where’s Baloo? and This Way Baloo!

We had fun listening to her tell us about writing, pass out prizes for answering questions, and tell us about Baloo’s adventures. One of the best parts was seeing and petting Baloo.

Another highlight was when Mrs. Clarke started talking about the novels that the grade 5 students had written. She complimented them on their stories, and then chose one out randomly to give a prize to the author. Abbas was the lucky winner.

Later during our rainy recess, students flocked around the basket of fifth grade books, reading and looking through the stories.

As a teacher, these are the moments I love–when the lines are blurred between readers and writers. Authors write stories. It’s not only famous people who are authors. In grade 5 all the students are authors.

Baloo came for a visit!

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Mrs. Sarah Clarke asked questions.

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Rainy day reading.

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More reading on a rainy recess day.

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Update: Tuesday, 26 February, grade 5 buddied-up for reading time with Grade 3. Many fifth graders chose their novels as the books they wanted to read to their buddies.

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December 6, 2017
by Denise Krebs

We had a Mystery Skype Session!

Each morning, I try to start my day writing 759 words. This morning, I was writing along and then wrote this:

“So, this morning I am going to try to connect for a Mystery Skype call. I have no idea how I’m going to do it. It will happen in one hour, so I guess I bett”

I got to that place in the writing and closed my computer.

15 hours later, I came back to finish:
er go…

Yes, I am glad I stopped writing when I did. I quickly got ready and went to school, arriving at 6:40 a.m. Two girls greeted me at the door. Others began coming.

It took most all of my attention to mess with hardware. I brought my Chrome book to school so I could have a portable device to hook up to the HDMI cable. I had my phone to tether to for the WiFi. And all of it made me nervous. Then I needed to fix the display and the sound. I needed to find the HDMI cable. I did everything I knew how to do. It was 6:57 a.m.

While I worked on hardware, the children kept coming. They moved chairs. They covered their logos with duct tape, for they didn’t want the students in our Mystery Skype call to get any extra hints. They then started writing some clues about where we were. The Northern Hemisphere, Eastern Hemisphere, Asia. We speak Arabic. It is 7:00 a.m. here.

Then the phone rang. I missed the first call.

They rang again, and we answered it. We could see them, but they couldn’t see us. Another thing to figure out. How to get the video to work. The teacher on the other end of the call, Mr. Benjamin Lannen, (@bjlannen) was very helpful. His school was at the end of a day-long Skype-athon. We were the sixth school they Skyped with today.

Today I learned again a lot I had forgotten about Mystery Skyping. This was my students’ very first experience. First, we went back and forth asking questions. We figured out you had to ask Yes or No questions.

Them: Are you in Asia? Yes.
Us: Are you in Australia? **Open mouths** Yes! How did you know? (One of our boys recognized the accent. Sorry!)
Them: Are you in northern Asia? **Looking at each other, wonderingly. Then…** No
Us: Are you in NW Australia? No.
Them: Are you in Saudi Arabia? No **Someone wanted to say, ‘But we’re really close.’**
Us: Are you in SE Australia? Yes!
Them: Are you on a really small island? **Unanimously** YES!
Them: Are you in Bahrain? YES!

Narrowing down where in Australia our Skypers were from.

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Then we asked and answered more questions about each other, like what time is it here (7:30 a.m.) and there (3:30 p.m.). We watched two short commercials for their school that the students had created. Then we said good-bye.

Our students were so excited about the opportunity to do this activity.

Now we’re talking about making our own commercials for our school and planning our own Skype-athon!

May 31, 2017
by Denise Krebs

What is Genius Hour?

We are participating in Genius Hour to end our school year. Students will have time to work on a project of their choice. The students are expected to be productive and creative during this time.  

The schedule for genius hour during English class is below:

  • Sunday, 4 June
  • Monday, 5 June
  • Wednesday, 7 June
  • Sunday, 11 June
  • Monday, 12 June
  • Presentations will be the last week of school from 13-15 June.



  1. decide if they want to work by themselves or with one or two others.
  2. formulate a question to answer during Genius Hour.
  3. plan, research and think critically about a topic or their choice
  4. produce something to share with our class and possibly the world

What is it that you love and want to learn more about? 

Just some of our many passions! #geniushour

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How can we share what we learn with others?

Ideas for genius hour presentations are endless! #geniushour

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May 28, 2017
by Denise Krebs

Summer Resources

Have fun this summer, but don’t forget English!

Our main objective in the English department is TO ACQUIRE ENGLISH–that is to learn to use English in listening, speaking, reading and writing in order to communicate.

You can continue to grown  in acquiring English over the summer.

  • As you travel, you will find English to be a handy language to help you get around in many different countries around the world.
  • If you have a person in your life whose first language (or the only common language with you) is English (like a nanny, housekeeper, tutor, friend), you have a great chance to practice and grow in acquiring English. You can also get to know another human being!
  • Make a goal to add to your vocabulary this summer. Here are some suggestions from an article on Medium called: “How to Expand Your Vocabulary
  1. Look up new words you encounter. Use a dictionary or Google to define it in English.
  2. When you don’t know an English word that one of your friends, family or teachers use, ask them what the new word means.
  3. Read a lot! – The best way to acquire English at a higher level is to READ. Check out 11 Free Reading Websites for Kids)
  4. Get a Kindle to read books. The dictionary is built-in, so you can click on words you don’t know to see the definitions.

In my experience as a teacher of English language learners, the students who do these four things acquire more and more English vocabulary–a key to unlocking the language.

Check out the vocabulary article for 6 more ideas.

More Ideas and Resources

  1. Summer Learning Loss – What you should know

  1. Teach Your Monster to Read
  2. Genius Hour – Encourage your child to continue their Genius Hour project over the summer. Or start a new Genius Hour project!
  3. Continue blogging – I will keep checking and publishing blog posts your child wants to write. If they have their own blog, of course, they are free to publish on their own.
  4. Free Rice vocabulary builder – Practice English synonyms, as well as donate food to the hungry.
  5. Computer Coding – Computer coding is a fun way to practice a brand new language and a bit of English too.
    1. Hour of Code
  6. Do worksheets in your English practice book. Bring 20 or more finished pages (90-100%) to me in September for a prize! NOTE: If you choose to do the Spelling pages only, remember that is a spelling test page. You need to learn the spelling and meaning of these words. (You can show me how well you learned them in September!)
  7. If you need help with high frequency words, here are some spelling words for the summer with practice worksheets.
  8. Here are some stories to help you build reading fluency. Be sure to think about the story–predict, question, clarify and summarize while you read.  Leveled stories:
    1. EFGHI
    2. KLMNO
  9. Write another novel! Did you know the NaNoWriMo site is improving every day. You can actually write a novel on it now all year long! How about if you do a sequel to the novel you wrote last November? Check it out at You’ll need to log in or create an account to use it.

May 24, 2017
by Denise Krebs

Goodbye, Pen Pals

Hello, Mrs. Wieland’s class,

We enjoyed being pen pals with you! Thanks for all the great letters and coloring pages. We like them. We also liked the AirHeads candy. Thank you so much.

Here are a few final letters for you.


Mrs. Denise’s Class

From Ayman to Kyler

From Naeema

From Rayyan

From Fatima H.

From Fatima M.

From Nawaf

From Mohd H.

From Ali Y.

From Salman

From Mohd M. 

From Khadija

From Muhd S.


May 3, 2017
by Denise Krebs

Let’s Write Haiku

Today we’ll write some haiku poems.

For this form of poetry the rule is syllable counting.

It’s a three-line poem. The syllable count is 5, 7, 5.

Like this:

Poetry writing
In today’s computer lab
What treasures we’ll find!


Read Write Think Haiku Poetry Helper
Click here to try out the Read Write Think interactive to write and learn more about haiku poetry. I tried it out, and you can learn a lot more about haiku. They will even help you write one with some added features. Here is what I did when I clicked the link above.

You get a work space to brainstorm and practice before publishing.

You can choose one of the Japanese images that they provide. Or…

You can even add your own image. This is a picture I took from the Bahrain Bay.

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