Summer Homework (Parents’ Choice)

Dear families,

Please take ENGLISH homework packets with a grain of salt. If it helps you, use it. If you have other enrichment, do that instead. Just make sure to keep reading and writing this summer. If I can, I’ll send some more worthwhile comprehension questions.




Report Cards

Hi folks,

Looks like Report Cards will be mailed this year. Regardless, I’ll be sending home lots of test this week. I’m still in the process of looking at them. I try to approach grades with growth mindset. Don’t panic if you see CM or / grades. We are only in second grade. Students are VERY functional in this program and often worked until mentally exhausted.

The Bridges math test I’m using is somewhat difficult to come up with a percentage grade. It is only a few different questions, and those questions are multi-stepped. You can look at the test and get a feel for where a student has mastered a concept and where a student simply needs more exposure to a concept. You can also see when they are headed in the right direction.

Students have a strong understanding of probability.

They have an early understanding of fractions.

Many still need support with calculating money problems.

Many struggle with neatness. Some work is too sloppy to get an accurate score.

I’m also using a test I made based with the CCSS with many concepts left out of Bridges. This test is hard and gives us just more information. IF you passed this test, you’re doing really well.  If a student did not pass, well, it’s an advanced test. It is not a district test, but I hope it reflects the challenges students face in this standardized testing system.

For Reading I’ll be using DIBELS, SF Comprehension Tests, and observation. With reading grades, I almost can precisely predict how well most students will do. A lot of that grade comes from working with students, listening to them, etc. Some comes from DIBELS and some from SF Comp Test. I use the tests to firm up my predictions with some harder data or find holes. One win or loss on the SF Comp Test is not enough to predict how well a student will do in the next grade. All of this data creates, for me, a better overall picture of the reader. Love of reading is the goal.

Writing grades are also subjective. On the one hand, I can judge students by what they can do independently, and on the other hand, we can judge them on what they can do with support. When you look at the supported work, you realize all the potential within students. Getting them to do this work independently is a struggle, and my theory is that it is beyond the zone of proximal development, meaning, our animal report project is too hard. Almost all students who turned in a report should have a solid writing grade.

I’ll try to give some nuance to the nebulous report card. I think the OVERALL grade is important, the effort grade, and the Characteristics of a Successful Student. The individual threads often have too many concepts blended.

Reading, focus, follow-thru, cooperation, critical thinking, open-mindedness, imagination, ability to fail happily and keep going — this is where I would like to grade students, if these things could even be graded.

Hope this makes a little sense. Students are complicated. I can only give you small, tiny glimpse at their full potential.







Thanks Tabor Chaps

Thank you Mt. Tabor volunteers. This was 5th year of making this journey, a field trip idea that was met originally with naysaying. We pulled it off again and it would not be possible without parents taking time out of there day to lead small groups.

For some students it was there first time on the extinct volcano. The park was also cooler than our classroom, making it the perfect day to be out of the building. Mt. Tabor is — in my opinion — the most beautiful park within a city. Central Park has nothing on Tabor. Students pointed out two bird nests, one with tiny little eggs. We managed to have only a few scrapes. And everyone made it home safely. Thanks again. Loved it. Hope the kids remember it.

And special thanks to Denis O for speaking to the kids on Friday about the park on Friday and Ryan D for letting me know about poison oak spots in the park!

Animal Reports look exceptional

These are some of the best reports ever turned in. They are consistently organized and easy to read. I appreciate how hard everyone worked to get these reports written.

Field Day 3, 4, and 5th grade need help

If you are interested in helping with PE, the upper grades need more volunteers. Please talk with PE teacher Deb. She has coverage for our grade.

Field Day is Tuesday. The upper grades are in the afternoon.

TABOR – final CHAP list

Student groups, schedules, and overview will be presented Monday in the cafeteria at 8 AM. Thank you guys!

































Tabor Chaperones

Hello parents,

If you signed up, we are counting on you attending. Please meet in the cafeteria at 8 AM on Monday (rain or shine). Please pack your own lunch and water. Room Reps will give you schedules and Master Chaperone lists at that time. We will depart school around 8:45 and return around 1:30. We could still use some more to make smaller groups. Bigger groups are OK (more room for friends to be together.)

I will be making list tomorrow and printing list. You have 24 hours to make a decision if you’d like to attend. Also, if you sign up but are not on this list, I lost your paperwork. Please let me know and I’ll add you. Thank you. This trip is not possible without lots of parents.

Here’s who I have signed up by first name:





















Mr. D Acting Principal Thursday

In the building, out of the room.

Animal Reports/Final HW

Hello families,

Academically, the following is very important.

In class: students had at least 5 sessions to gather and share notes about a sea animal.

At home: students hopefully gathered additional notes or filled in the gaps. This was a homework assignment.

In class: student then had 5 explicit sessions to write a rough draft of this report. We used a student paper from last year as a model. This example paper was given to students and we have gone over this paper 5 times to explicitly model how this report can be written.

Today: students will take home notes, and the pieces of the rough draft written in composition books and some on loose leaf notebook paper.

The expectation: students will turn in a FINAL DRAFT on lined paper, skipping lines. They are allowed to have support with editing and revising. Early deadline: Wednesday, May 24. Late deadline: Wednesday, June 1st. 

Every year some students begin their final draft on time — they worked hard in class, they got it done. Every year some students go home with very little work completed in class and have a lot of work to do at home. I described the work in class as “homework” you should be doing in class. While helping motivated students to meet this deadline, I am very occupied during class time. If you discover that Johnny or Jilly has little work to show you in the form of a rough draft, it means they are struggling to work independently and with time management and/or motivation, they might not like the assignment. Many things could be occurring. They still need to get it done. The majority of students have a lot of work to show for the last three weeks. I’ve been an extreme task master for this project.

This is the final writing grade, science grade, and homework grade.

Almost there!



What we’re doing in class


LOTS of math practice/review, and introducing money, fractions, and soon probability


read aloud

writing Animal Report rough drafts

finishing grammar work for the year

independent reading