January 2nd, 2016

Happy New Year!

Just a quick update…I am currently updating the grade book using the assignments that I brought home with me.  It is possible that I may have left a handful of class/homework in the bin on my desk but for the most part, the majority of student materials I have here with me.  I withheld putting scores up for the research paper on Ancient Egypt for a variety of different reasons, but after some thought I think I figured out the best and most fair way of doing so (many reports were copied, for example).

The third and final research paper grades have been posted along w/ a Math Test and Quiz score.  With Social Studies, unfortunately because of dance practice for Multicultural Night both 5S and 5L barely met for almost 2 weeks; 5S was able to work on our Sarcophagus project so it was not a complete loss, however, the “Chapter 4 Test” on Egypt will likely be take home since by now I’m sure the material is not front and center on the students brains.

Continuing,  I have yet to receive final copies of the third “student choice” research paper from a handful of students- some kids may have emailed me their copy which is fine to ensure that their work is not late, however, as per instructions each student was to print their paper out in the library during a time that is least disruptive to what we are doing in class.  Lastly, many students also lost points for not including either their bibliography, their rough drafts, or both.  Not having one of these items leads directly to a -10 off the top.

Starting Monday, I will use our time to reboot and reinforce our best practices and classroom management policies.  Having so much time off obviously can lead to many students forgetting the rules and/or high standards and expectations I have for our class.  A more firm system of discipline will be in place within the classroom and will be the student’s responsibility to follow through on completing any disciplinary work they may have received.

With the President’s, for example, if I do not receive the assignment by the end of the week the number of lists will double (this will indeed be taken much more seriously as students now know how serious I  take this).  If I do not receive this work by the second week (or earlier if assigned), this will lead to an AM or PM Work Session along w/ 4 sets of Presidents (2 doubles to 4).  Depending on attitude, behavior, and the nature of the incident(s) of concern, it’s highly possible that we can jump right to a Work Session after 3 strikes.  I have been very “kind” in not handing out too many of these penalties out of concern for parents who work, but according to school policy, any inconvenience caused by a child’s behavior is of no concern to the school.

As per the suggestion of Mrs. Howard, students will now also have jobs to help keep the classroom clean and organized (as it has been, thankfully) as Room 212 is OUR space and we should treat it as though we were in our own homes.  If students refuse to do their job and/or do not pitch in when instructed to, depending on the nature of the incident this can also lead to an immediate work session.

It is now January and thus each and every child in class already knows the rules and what they should and should not be doing as it pertains to their assignments and their behavior.  I truly believe that the new policies/procedures I will implement starting Monday will lead to a more structured environment for all students but especially those who are struggling w/ maintaining their focus, discipline, and responsibilities to themselves, their families, and to the class.  While we have made incredible strides since September in terms of behavior, I’m starting to see a handful of students slack off w/ submitting their assignments and thus the goal is to put an end to this unacceptable behavior asap.  Please check FA Web to see what work your child is missing (see previous blog posts for more information).

Anyway, I will comment further on this post as we begin the week on Monday.  I truly cannot wait to embark on fresh journey  w/ the class, one in which we will all benefit from as a team!  We also have the Grade Level Meeting coming up soon and so I look forward to learning from and meeting w/ all parents that are involved in the process as of course this sort of thing is new to both me and Miss Lujan.

Thanks as always for the love, help, and support from home!


Mark Santeramo



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