Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ippolito family jack-o-lanterns

Hey Team Thunder! Do you and your family have "pumpkin art" that you would like to share? E-mail your photo to me at before 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night so we can display it on!

Encourage your parents to vote Tuesday with help from Google

On Tuesday, November 2, there are issues and candidates on the ballot that will affect YOUR education.  Encourage your parents and other adult family members to vote.  Google Maps can help you find your polling place by clicking here:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

VIDEO - Sorting Mesoamerica artifacts in Mr Ippolito's class

Yesterday and today, we all became amateur archaeologists as we sifted through artifacts from the Maya, Aztec, and Inca cultures.  Students created some AMAZING artifacts!  In this video, students are documenting each artifact they find.

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Rio Norte Halloween Costume Rules - reminder for tomorrow, 10/29/10

We want Halloween to be safe and fun for all Rio Norte students and staff this year.  Here’s a great way for you to follow the rules, and enjoy this year’s Halloween celebration on Friday, October 29.


1.           No masks may be worn.  A mask may be brought to school for the costume contest at lunch and may be worn during the time of the contest only.  Masks worn at any other time will be confiscated.

2.           All costume clothing must conform to the dress code.

3.           Flip-flop sandals and appropriate pajamas may be worn as part of a costume.

4.           No spikes, chains, or ropes may be brought to school.

5.           If you choose to dress in a sports theme, no baseball bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs, etc. may be brought to school.  Also, no cleats may be worn.

6.           No weapons of any kind, real or fake.  To bring even a fake weapon to school—even on Halloween—can still be an expellable offense.

7.           Make-up, hair dye, and hats are permitted, as long as it is not dangerous or disruptive.

8.           Finally:  No costume may be worn that will prevent you from learning and fully participating in the day’s activities. 

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Get text alerts from Mr. Ippolito WITHOUT signing up for Twitter

It just started two months ago so I didn't even know about it, but you can now use Fast Follow from Twitter!  This means you do NOT need to sign up for a Twitter account in order to get cell phone updates sent directly to your cell phone.

Simply send the message follow mrippolito to 40404.  And you're done!  You will now receive Mr. Ippolito's class and homework updates sent directly to your cell phone with NO TWITTER ACCOUNT REQUIRED!  It's amazing!  If you get sick of Mr. Ippolito's messages, simply text the phrase unfollow mrippolito to the same number and that's it!

Of course, standard text message rates apply.

Mr. Ippolito

Play the Life and Death in Mesoamerica Game

This is cool!  Click the link below to play the game the Maya and Aztecs played!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Connecting to Mr Ippolito, homework, and other school resources using twitter

Twitter is a powerful tool for staying connected with the friends, news, and resources that matter most to you.  Adults are using it for professional and social connections, college students use it to stay connected to professors, and you and your family can use it to get instant information about Rio Norte Junior High School.  Mr. St. Peter (the Team Thunder science teacher) and I are also posting regular updates to twitter so your family can stay connected to what's going on in the classroom.  You can even get these updates sent straight to your cell phone the moment they're posted!
I have posted two resources to help you.  The first is "a parent's guide to twitter," designed to help you better understand what twitter is all about.  I then posted a step-by-step tutorial for creating a twitter account and linking it to your cell phone. Just like Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any online resources you may let your child use, twitter is a powerful and useful tool that is also a window to the wide world, so it's important for parents to understand twitter before setting up an account.
a parent's guide to twitter

create your twitter account and link it to your cell phone - Step-by-Step Tutorial

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sgt McCauley's Visit - VIDEO

Note that there is a woman sitting off to the side in front of Mr. Ippolito's file cabinet you may not recognize.  That is Maggie Lockridge, the founder of the Iraq Star Foundation.  To read the news article about today's visit, check out the link here:

Fox 11 News in Mr Ippolito's classroom

(photo by Micaela Bensko)

It was very exciting not only to have Sgt McCauley visit my classroom today, but also to have Fox 11 News' Christine Devine there to cover the story.  However, there's no need to set the DVR tonight to see your friends on TV.  The story is scheduled to run closer to Veterans Day, November 11.  As we get closer, I should get notification of when exactly we'll be on TV, and I will pass that notification on to you!  --Mr. Ipp

Visit from Sgt McCauley

Sgt Bret McCauley, twice awarded the Purple Heart for his service as a US Marine in Iraq, came to speak to my classes today.  He was seriously injured in an explosion from a suicide bomber in Fallujah in 2003.  His message was that you can't control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction.

Here is what was left of the truck that Sgt McCauley was travelling in when he was injured.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AGENDA - October 19-20, 2010

Visit from an Iraq War veteran TOMORROW, Thursday, October 21

I'm sorry for the short notice, but I finally have confirmed that we will get a visit tomorrow from Sgt Bret McCauley, US Marine Corps. Sgt McCauley proudly served our country in Iraq, and received the Purple Heart for injuries received in the line of duty. I was offered the opportunity for Sgt McCauley to come speak to some of my classes, and because tomorrow is an E Day (39-minute class periods), and because we are ahead in our seventh grade history curriculum, I jumped at the chance.
There is a slight possibility that Fox 11 News may come to my classroom to do a story on Sgt McCauley during Periods 2 (history), 3 (yearbook), or 4 (history), and again another slight chance that your child may appear on TV.
If you have any objection to your child appearing on the local Fox 11 News, please let me know. If they do end up running the story on TV, I will post that information on
Thank you,
Mr. Ippolito

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another helpful map

This map might also help you with your homework.

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Better Maya map

There really is no GOOD Maya map in the textbook, so here is a good map that gives you the locations of both the Aztecs and Maya. Happy homeworking!

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Images from today's Inca gallery walk

Today we took a gallery walk where we learned about 15 different
aspects of the Inca civilization. Included with each reading was an
image. Here are each of those images.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Send Halloween Grams to your friends!

You can buy Halloween Grams for your favorite Rio Norte student now through Thursday, October 21.  Each Halloween Gram is only $1 and includes a fun goody bag and your special, personalized message!  All the money supports field trips for Rio Norte students.  Buy them this week, and they will be personally delivered in homeroom next Friday, October 29.  You can get one for each of your friends!

You can find the Halloween Gram booth at brunch and lunch on the outdoor stage or in the MPR (if there's rain).  Fill out your special message at the table, or download one, fill it out at home, and take it to the booth:  

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Great SoCal Shake-Up POSTPONED

On Tuesday, October 19, all schools in the Hart District are scheduled to participate in the Great Shake-Up Earthquake Drill. We will have a special schedule that day, but you will still attend all classes. Be prepared to be outdoors for 30-45 minutes. Wear comfortable clothing, and consider bringing a book to read.

The Shake-Up has been postponed at Rio Norte due to thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow.  I'll keep you posted so you know when it will be rescheduled. --Mr. Ippolito

Friday, October 15, 2010

AGENDA - October 15-18, 2010

Today in history we transitioned from the Maya to the Aztecs.  There are many similarities between the Maya and the Aztecs thanks to a process called cultural diffusion.  Pay attention to what makes the Maya, Aztecs, and later the Inca SIMILAR and DIFFERENT as we continue our studies of Mesoamerican cultures.

Another mystery of the Maya . . . ?

Did Justin Bieber get the idea for his hairstyle from renowned Maya scholar Linda Schele?  You be the judge, and have a great weekend!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Important End-of-Quarter Information

Tomorrow, Friday, October 15, is the end of the First Quarter.  Will you please look one more time at your grade before they are permanently posted to the Q1 Report Card.  I have spent the past two days making personal contact with any student who has below a C- in history to make sure they clearly understand what they have to do to improve their grade.  Most of the time, it's missing or absent work that can easily be turned in for either partial or full credit.
EVERYTHING is now up-to-date in the gradebook, except for work that was just given to me today.  This would also include the extra credit that was turned in for Periods 4, 5, and 6.  I will enter that this evening.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me at my personal e-mail address (  You can also text me at (661) 347-4990.  We're down to the wire here, so as long as you send me a message tonight by 9:00 p.m., you will get a response back tonight.
All the best,
Mr. Ippolito

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cracking the Maya Code - AGENDA for October 13-14, 2010

Today in Mr. Ippolito's class we watched a Nova special called "Cracking the Maya Code."  We then learned more about the Maya Civilization from our textbook and worked on the "Maya Civilization" handout, which goes on page 32 of the INB.

Your homework for tonight is simply to complete the "Maya Civilization" assignment that we began in class.  In, please scroll down to the blog post right below this one to participate in the BONUS activity for today!


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Did the Maya really predict the end of the world?

Did the Maya really predict the end of the world?  Is the world really going to end in December 2012?  Comment on this blog post to let us know what you think.  To qualify for the bonus, make your comment by next Wednesday, October 20.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Schedules for this Friday (10/15) and next Monday (10/18)

We had two additional minimum days thrown at us after the A-B block schedule had already been set for the year.  One is at the end of the first quarter (this Friday) and the other will be at the end of third quarter (in March).

Because the A and B Block Days were already set when we got this new schedule, we needed to figure out how to take Friday's A-Day and Monday's B-Day, and make them as equitable as possible so students have the maximum learning time.  Here is our solution:  Friday will be an A1 day with Periods 1 and 2 only.  Next Monday will be a B3 day (it sounds weird, I know).  Enjoy!

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Christopher Columbus - classic cartoon

This cartoon was produced in 1960, and is a wonderful example of the classic view of Christopher Columbus.

Columbus Day - AGENDA for 10/12/10

Today is Columbus Day, so we focused the short time we had in class today trying to figure out who this man, Christopher Columbus, was, and what his legacy is today.  We asked the question:

"Is Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?"

and that was the journal assignment that we worked on today.  There are a couple things I want to share with you.  Included are two articles, one from conservative columnist Daniel Flynn in defense of Columbus, and then an excerpt from A People's History of the United States, by liberal author Howard Zinn.

So, is Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?  Place a comment on this blog and make your voice heard!

Oh, by the way, there is no NEW homework assigned today.  Make sure you have the "Mesoamerica" vocabulary assignment ready for the next block day.

Christopher_Columbus_Hero___HUMAN_EVENTS_-1199623.pdf (27 KB)
View this on posterous

Columbus - Howard Zinn.pdf (3041 KB)
View this on posterous

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Mesoamerica video

Sorry again about the BrainPop confusion.  Apparently, our username and password allow unlimited students to login AT SCHOOL between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.  Of course, our internet connection at school is so slow that we barely have enough bandwidth for teachers to log onto BrainPop.  Anyway, enough of my complaining about our slow network.  Here's the video we watched today in case you were absent or you simply want to watch it again.  Enjoy!

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I won't check vocab until next BLOCK day

Tomorrow is Tuesday, October 12, and it's an E Day. Because our class periods are so short, I have decided not to check the Mesoamerica vocabulary assignment until our next BLOCK day. If you have already done the assignment, great! If you don't think you can get it done in time, you will have a little extra time. You will have no additional homework assigned tomorrow. --RVI

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BrainPop whoops!

So I guess I misunderstood our BrainPop account. Oops. You won't be able to have the at-home access to BrainPop that I thought. I will find another way. Stay tuned . . .

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

This has nothing to do with seventh grade history

Need help with pre-algebra or algebra?  I just stumbled upon a website called Khan Academy.  Sal Khan has produced nearly 2,000 tutorial videos on a range of subjects, including pre-algebra and algebra.  You might find them helpful.  You can check it out here:

I know it has nothing to do with history, but I was amazed that this guy has produced all these helpful videos!

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Friday, October 8, 2010

End of Q1 and Start of Q2 - October 8-11, 2010

Glossary updates will be finished by tomorrow, Sat 10/9

Hey Period 2!  If you're already starting on your vocab, please note that I will update by class glossary by tomorrow, Saturday October 9.  In the meantime, you can find most of the definitions right in the textbook.  --Mr. Ippolito

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Benchmark Exam and INB Grading - October 6-7, 2010

Today in Mr. Ippolito's class we did two things:

1.  INB Grading
2.  Benchmark Exam

It was a pretty simple, straightforward day.  Along with the "African Proverb" projects (which I still need to finish grading), these are the final grades of the quarter.  The homework for tonight is simple:  Do something nice for your parents.  Speaking of being nice, I am nice enough to offer an exam re-take on the benchmark.  :-)  If you get below an 80% on the benchmark exam, you will have one chance to re-take the exam, on Wednesday, October 13, at lunch.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010 on Sesame Street

I grew up watching Sesame Street, as I imagine you may have as well.  I enjoyed watching this season's opener with my daughter, and thought I would share this with you.  Comment if you like this vid as much as Mr. Ippolito and his daughter did!

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Benchmark Review Podcast NOW ONLINE!

Q1 Seventh Grade Benchmark Review Podcast 2010 by Mr Ippolito   (12293 KB)
Listen on posterous

Listen online now.  Podcast is now available for download HERE (right-mouse click to save).  For instructions on how to import into iTunes to play on your iPod, click here:

Mr. Ippolito

A couple sample Africa maps

Team Thunder videos

Hey Team Thunder!

Here are the two videos of us wishing Ms. Norton a very happy birthday
yesterday. Hope everyone has a great Fall Break!

Mr. Ippolito

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Infinite Campus issues resolved

Last night a malfunction occurred which appeared to affect student, staff, and parent logins for Infinite Campus.  As a result, users were locked out after three unsuccessful attempts.  As of 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, the Hart District IT Department announced that the issue had been resolved and all locked-out logins have been reset.

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My 6th period class amazed at the rainbow in my classroom