Always Write Never Poems Inspired by Shel Silverstein

photo credit:

     It’s National Poetry Month, which means my students and I are writing poetry together in class. This past week, we wrote Never poems, inspired by Shel Silverstein’s uproarious poem of the same name. We also sketched out concrete poems.

     This coming week, I’m excited to take full advantage of a middle school poetry packet I found on and purchased on (I love this site!) I think we’ll write haiku, Diamante, and found or blackout poems this week.

     What are you doing in your classroom for National Poetry Month? If you’re willing to share your ideas, leave me a link to your website or blog! There are countless teacher resources, including a Dear Poet letter-writing campaign on  Looks like a fabulous way to engage our students. Check that out here.

     Now, it’s time to celebrate National Poetry Month with a student’s poem. Here’s Rachel’s rendition of Never.


Inspired by Shel Silverstein

By: Rachel P.

I have never escaped a prison cell

Or killed a fly with a gun

I have never thrown a hotel phone

Or reached out far and touched the sun

I have never held a three headed frog

Or worked for a captain as a cook

I have never ridden on a pig

Or cut up an award winning book

I have never held the hand of a mermaid

Or cried tears made of cherry candy

I have never sang to a monkey in a tutu

Or met a spider who says I’ll come in handy

I have never lived a real life version

of a book called Green Eggs and Ham

Or bought a plastic flower vase

filled entirely with jam

I haven’t done most of the things

that I dream to do

But maybe this year I’ll try one . . . or two

Raise Your Voice: Blog Action Day 2015

The First Amendment of the United States of America gives us freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceable assembly, and the freedom to seek help from or complain about our government without fear of punishment. In honor of this freedom–which is both a tremendous privilege and a responsibility–we’re taking part in Blog Action Day on October 16, 2015.

Your blog is a public space where you can freely express your opinions about issues that matter to you.

For me, I’m worried about the overuse of toxic chemicals and the waste of water to maintain fairy tale green lawns. Did you know that 80% of all homes in the United States have grass lawns? The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly 1/3 of all public water is used to water grass. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that “homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops.” Wow! Most lawn care chemicals can find their way to our groundwater supply. Lawn chemicals are toxic–they kill. I worry about the health effects of these optional pesticides. The U.S. Geological Survey found that 96 percent of all fish tested in major rivers and streams contained pesticide residue. We need to rethink chemical lawn treatments.

What do you care about? What’s worrying you?

What would you change here at school if you could? How can we make Ashburn, Virginia, America, or the world a little bit better? In your opinion, what changes should our government make to improve your future? Speak up on Blog Action Day. How might you help homeless people or animals? Are you concerned about climate change? Or gun control? Or education? Or bullying? Do you want healthier lunches? Are sports too competitive?

Whatever it is, tell me in a quality comment below.

Then, use the internet to find 2-3 facts about your issue. Jot them down and bring to school tomorrow. Be sure to record the websites where you found the info.

Finally, visit another class and leave a comment based on their current post. Just click on the link below! I’m counting on you proofreading your comment carefully. Follow 6th grade writing expectations! Be sure to include our blog URL so the classes you visit can visit us, too! Here’s our class blog URL: 

CLICK HERE for complete list of class blogs in the Student Blogging Challenge (including ours).

Tomorrow, you’ll draft a blog post about what you care about. It’s time to raise your voice!

See you then! Mrs. Rombach




Student Blogging Challenge Week #9: Let’s Shine!

 Week 9: Let’s shine

Shiny, Capt.

Ken-ichi Ueda via Compfight

This is our penultimate week in the blogging challenge.

When you come to the end of a topic, what does your teacher often do?

  • That’s right! We give you a test.

This week’s challenge is a test about your blogging skills.

Having read many of your posts, Miss W came up with the following essentials in a great post.

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least two visuals whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet, animoto (use Mrs. Rombach’s class login), tagxedohaikudeck (check out Mrs. Rombach’s example below)
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through, shows well-researched topic
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these
  8. attribution for any images, video, music or clip art used – including those used in slideshows etc

Here are some examples of posts from a previous challenge:

When you have finished your post, please leave a comment for Miss W at the Student Blogging Challenge so she can have a peek at your work. Make sure to include your blog URL! 

Presenting this week’s topic:


Yawn! jerkylicker via Compfight

1. Do a quick Google search on your favorite animal and share out your findings.

2. Address problems like poaching, cruelty, or extinction (you might share the social issues presentation you’ve already done!)

3. Should wild animals be kept in zoos? Write a persuasive argument for or against zoos.

4. What are the benefits of pet ownership and which animals make the best pets?

5. Share your persuasive writing about exotic pet ownership.

6. Have a different idea? Go for it!

cows are cool – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Make sure you check hints 2, 7 and 8 in the essentials of a great post

Still got time left this week:

  1. Visit Namitha to add some words of help for people in Nepal or write your own post sending words to Nepal.
  2. Keep visiting other student and class blogs to leave comments and continue conversations.
  3. Check out the Flipboard magazine to see if your post is mentioned there and visit some of their blogs
  4. Leave links to your posts on the student blogging challenge blog post so Miss W can visit and leave comments or flip your posts to the magazine.

Choosy Bloggers Choose One.

Choose one.

Today, I want you to choose one of your blog posts that you believe demonstrates your very best writing. In addition, the blog post should meet all of the requirements listed below. This assessment is worth 50 points, so make sure you choose wisely. Once you’ve selected your superlative blog post, scroll down to leave me (1) your first name, (2) the title of your blog post, and (3) the URL link to the specific post (Click on the post headline and then copy and paste the updated web address from the browser).


1. Meets all sixth grade writing expectations (punctuation, spelling, capitalization–including comma rules).

2. Features at least three, well-written paragraphs. I’ll be looking for topic sentences and supporting details, as well as a concluding sentence.

3. Includes at least one image/video that has been properly credited (or attributed) to its creator. Uses CompFight or GettyImages (embed photos only).

4. Includes at least two tags and at least two categories. (Click on the links if you’re not sure how to do this.)

5. Includes at least one embedded link to another middle-school appropriate website or blog.

6. Ends with a question or quiz for your audience. If you’d like to embed a quiz in an existing blog post, click here for a list of 12 quiz makers.

7. Offers a creative, catchy headline that is properly capitalized; see any of mine as examples).

Click here for a copy of the grading rubric.

The GATES test you’re taking today has timed sections. If you complete a section early, you’ll first focus on finding and reviewing the blog post you’d like me to grade.

After that, here are your options:

1. Write a blog post about taking tests. Are you for or against standardized testing? Share your opinion and the reasons behind it.

2. Go on a commenting spree. This week’s Student Blogging Challenge involves visiting blogs around the globe. “I like this post because…” Click on the link above for all the juicy details.

3. Check out the poem I gave you. It’s National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Carry it with you all day. Post it on your blog (with credit to the poet) and write a short reflection. Or, write your own poem to celebrate today!

3. Read. Catch up on book club reading–or get lost between the pages of your own book!

Today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day!


Tomorrow is Friday…bring your beach towels for outdoor reading!


Week 4: My Favorite Color is Yellow Jeep

You are my funshine, my only funshine.
On a sunny, 70 degree day, there’s  nothing better than unsnapping the two black levers that release my sunshine yellow Jeep’s cloth top. In about two minutes flat, the top is down, my Maui Jim shades  are on, and I’m putting the pedal to the metal to  soak up the world. Meghan Trainor or Pharell Williams   gives   me an open air concert as I navigate one of the Loudoun’s signature, pot-hole-dappled, gravel backroads.
The license plate, the creation of my daughter, Cady, says it all: Funshne. Whenever I’m behind the steering wheel of my instantly convertible Funshne, life is good. The breeze threads my hair. The sun toasts   my face. There are no bad days–or nights–in the driver’s seat of my Jeep Wrangler. The sweet serenade of spring peepers, the twinkling dance  of a thousand lightning bugs, and the perfectness of a full moon are   all the more stunning when viewed from a topless Jeep.
A few weeks back, I had one of the best drives home from work…potholes, flooded roadways, overflowing ditches that became fast-running streams. While other cars struggled to straddle the potholes and slowed to a snail’s pace to circumvent the six  inches of water that covered the road, I reveled in every bump. I swerved into the stream and hooted and hollered as  waves of water washed over the hood of Funshne. When I burst through the door at home, I announced, “I just had the most fun drive home ever!” My husband smiled and said, “You came home on Shreve Mill, didn’t you?” Why yes, like-minded  husband of mine, I did. 
This summer, we’ll head to Corolla, North Carolina and take Funshne four-wheeling, dipping our Bridgestone tires in the Atlantic Ocean, drawing zigzag paths in the sand, and roaring hysterically  as we celebrate life in our favorite, top-down yellow Jeep. 
What’s your favorite place to celebrate life?
Students: Your Missions in the Computer Lab Today:
1. This week, your assignment is to write about favorites (dessert, vacation, book, movie, video game, board game,  birthday party, restaurant,  subject, sport, or anything else that’s a favorite of yours!).
2. Visit a student  in Mrs. Donofrio’s class. Leave a quality comment that includes a question and a link back to your blog (add URL, such as
Week 5: Favorites

This post is going to be for a three-week period as schools in Australia are on Easter break soon. The next official post will be on  Sunday 19th April. Miss W will do a fun post in between with some great sites to visit.

Our topic this week is favorites.  This will give you infinite options   for composing posts.

Your post should include all of the following:

  1. at least three paragraphs if you are 11 or older
  2. an image or video or music with correct attribution
  3. a title that grabs the attention of the readers
  4. at least one link to another website so readers can build on the information you have written
  5. a question for readers to answer
  6.  leave a comment for Miss Waters telling her about your post (include the URL for your post)

On this or a future post, try  some of the  new tools presented by the Student Blogging Challenge (see below).  

Web tools to use

Five-Minute PHOTO Friday!

Happy Last Day of the Quarter!

I’m pleased to present Five-Minute Photo Friday. Here are four photos to light your creative fires. What story could you tell with one of these pictures? Is there a poem, a slice of life narrative, or perhaps a journal entry bubbling inside of you? If not, that’s okay. Just write. Whether you’re silly or serious or somewhere smack in the middle, the most important thing I want you to accomplish today is to keep your fingers moving across the keyboard for a full five minutes.

Giving Credit…Where Credit is Due.

Before you begin, notice that all of my photos give credit (AKA attribution) to their creators. As I’m learning more about following copyright laws for sharing photos and videos, it’s important that I make clear that just because you find an image on Google, doesn’t mean it’s free to use. Writers, photographers, and videographers make a living selling their copyrighted work. It’s essential that we only use photographs that have been approved for use by the person behind the camera. Your best bet for embedding photos on your blog is with the Compfight widget we’ve already installed. However, you know my One Little Word this year is CHOICES--so I’m offering a few more photo resources that I’ve found through the Student Blogging Challenge.

First, say hello to Getty Images, which gives you access to over 50 million photos — including Hollywood celebrities and pro athletes! (Place pointer over an image and click the </> icon.) Getty also sells photos for commercial use (for big $) so only use the link provided. Next is MorgueFile, which serves up a lively body of free photos. 🙂 As always, give credit where credit is due–even if the photo is free to use.

It’s time to tap, tap, tap on the keyboard. Before or after you write, add the photo you used to your blog! 🙂 I can’t wait to read what you’ve written. — Mrs. Rombach

P.S. – Wow! A gaggle of global visitors responded to our country questions.

Click here to read their comments.

Then, visit their blogs to answer the questions they left for us.

Remember to leave your blog URL in every comment!


credit: By: seenicks/MorgueFiles

credit: By: seenicks/MorgueFiles


credit: By JoeysPhotos from

Avatars -Create Your Blog Alter Ego

If you haven’t already done so, today is the perfect time to avatar yourself. Check out these options:

1. Build Your Wild Self – If you adore unique animals.

2. Hero Factory – If superhero powers are calling your name.

3. The Mini-Mizer – If you’d like to be a Lego brickhead.

4. Picasso Head – If abstract art speaks to you.

5. Dude Factory – If you’re too cool for school.

6. DoppelMe – If you’ve always wanted a mini me.

7. BitStrips – If your life is like a comic strip.

8. MyBlueRobot – If you like Mrs. Rombach’s avatar below.

9. Mii – If Wii is your gaming platform, grab a Mii avatar. (Save this for another day; I can’t figure out how to download or embed this yet.)

10. Cuteki – If a bubble-face cutie-pie is you.

Create your own avatar at

Create your own avatar at

When I’m Gone…


It’s true. As Mr. Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” However, there is a hard-working substitute in our class today and Tuesday. Please be on your very best behavior while I’m in North Carolina visiting my Mom in the hospital.


Here’s the agenda for Monday, March 2.


(1) Collection of the February Reading Response Choice Boards. Confirm your name is at the top of your packet before turning in. The March choice board will be handed out today–and you’ll also find it shared with you on Google classroom.


(2) Add this week’s four vocabulary words to the Vocabulary section of your spiral notebook. Test on Week 15 & 16 words on Friday. Prepare by studying on

Untitled presentation

(2) Independent Reading & Reflection

(3) Problem & Solution Video and Quick Write

(4) Vocabulary Posters – Table Group Work

(5) I’m going to miss you when I’m gone! See you all on Wednesday.


Kiss These Crazy Days Goodbye!

Last Monday was Presidents’ Day.

Tuesday was a snow day.

Wednesday was a snow day.

Thursday was a two-hour delay.

Friday school was closed due to sub zero temperatures.

On Saturday, 8-10 inches of snow fell, topped with a layer of ice.

Sunday the temperatures rose and then plummeted.

Today is Monday, and we started with a two-hour delay. Whew!


Today we’re in the computer lab–which means we’ll be working on technology-based activities.

1. Five-Minute Monday starts today. With a nod to Mrs. Haseltine, I’m adding this thrilling morning writing prompt. Today you have five minutes to write anything you want about one of these three words:

PROUD, Nervous, or Kind

The catch is…you must write for every second of the five minutes. No sitting stationary watching the pixels pixelate. Dive “write” in. So, open up a new blog post. Writers, take your mark,, get set, write….


2. You’ll have a test on Main Idea and Supporting Details on Wednesday— finally! We’ve been preparing in class for several weeks, but I think it’ll be helpful if you watch this video on the difference between Main Idea (or Central Idea) and Theme. Watch the video (with headphones on, of course). When you’re done viewing, read the question below and leave your comment on the Padlet board. 


Click here: Main Idea vs. Theme – Know the Difference

Question:  What book are you reading? In the chapter you most recently finished, what was the main idea and what was the theme? Be sure to leave your first name and last initial. Absolutely no anonymous comments permitted.

3. It’s time to evaluate your classmates’ blogs. Next week, we’ll connect with a class in Australia, and we want to be sure we’re primed for global guests. Using the evaluation form provided, check out your classmate’s blog and use the Praise, Question, and Polish techniques we’ve practiced previously in writing groups.

If you finish early, visit Australian blogger, Tessa, and leave her a quality comment. Tessa is a member of Mrs. Coffa’s class. (Click on the blue hyperlinks to go directly to their blogs. Mrs. Coffa’s blogroll includes all of her students.) Here’s a message directly from Mrs. Coffa:

Dear Mrs Rombach and students,
Hello from hot Melbourne, Australia.
Reading your post about the fun in the snow, I could not help but note the contrasts to our current weather. Although we are officially in Fall (which we call Autumn) it has been quite hot these past few days. Yesterday was 36 deg celcius (96.8F).
Our students are now 4 weeks in to their new school year and have their blogs set up and ready to roll. We are going to be participating in the Student Blogging challenge starting in March. Some of us have been blogging for a year or so, others have just started. We are 10 – 12 year olds.
Perhaps you could visit some of our blogs and introduce yourselves? We will try and do the same.

Mrs Coffa

 4. Motivated bloggers, step up for the 2015 Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge. If you’re interested in expanding your blogging know-how, pumping up visitor traffic, and connecting with students from around the globe, you are invited to register for the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge. This is a commitment involving time and effortso only register if you’re willing to complete at least one challenge each week. We will also be participating as a single class named Mrs. Rombach’s Sixth Graders. To register as a student blogger, click here.

5. Start your research project today! Head to Google Classroom and access the Research Project Choice Board. If you’ve decided to create a slide presentation, explore the various types of creative presentations from which you can choose. There are active hyperlinks on the choice board. No matter which project you select, carefully review the requirements. You’ll want to follow each one so as to meet the expectations outlined in the grading rubric.


Questions? Talk to Mrs. Rombach anytime!

How Will You Make a Difference?




Hello, my favorite sixth graders!

Next Monday, you’ll start your two-week research projects. You’ll work alongside a small group of classmates to find out more information on a social issue that matters to everyone on the research team. Then, you’ll take the facts you’ve collected and turn it into your own individual project — from an animated slide show to a skit to a public service announcement. You’ll hear more about all of your options next week. For now, think about the local, national, and world issues you care about most. On the Padlet below, add your name and a social issue or two that you feel strongly about. Here are a few ideas…but you may add any issue that’s important to you!

Do you want to know more about a life-threatening disease like childhood cancer, diabetes, or cystic fibrosis and what’s being done to find a cure?

Do you worry about homeless families who lack a roof over their heads or food in their pantries?

Does animal cruelty break your heart?

Want to bring help clean water, electricity, or education to poverty-stricken countries?

Are you concerned about shrinking habitats, animal poaching, or endangered species?

Do you want to educate people about physical, emotional, or cyber bullying?

Is ocean pollution or climate change boggling your mind?

Share the causes you’re passionate about below:

Want Comments? Leave Quality Comments! Here’s How…

This weekend, sneak off to the computer or tablet and spend a little time building your blog. Write a book review and post it. Share a favorite family  cookie recipe. Deliver game highlights. Draft a short story.
Above all, get out in the blogosphere and leave comments. Visit classrooms on my blogroll, from those within our own hallways to classrooms across the continents. Before you do, take 8-10 minutes and read this post–and then watch the video. Some students are still leaving posts that are carelessly misspelled or short on content. Always do your very best…whether it’s commenting on another student’s blog or giving your Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech.”
Today we will focus on quality comments!

Content is key!

In our class, we evaluate our blog comments. Are you leaving two-point comments?
A one-point comment is a general comment that doesn’t add very much to the post. Example: I like your blog. Please visit mine!
A two-point comment adds something to the comment conversation. Your comment might compliment the writer in a specific way or add new information. Another idea is to make a connection. Maybe the post reminds you of an experience that you’ve had. Share that connection!  Try to end your comment with a relevant question. That way, an interesting conversation can develop.
Always add your URL (your blog’s web address) to ensure that the blogger you’ve visited can click your link and easily find your blog.Here is a video Mrs. Yollis’s class made with tips to help you take your comments to the next level!
See you Monday…only five more school days before winter break!
-Mrs. Rombach