Gradebook Updated (12/27)

Almost completed, though I have noticed a pattern that students are largely ignoring their independent non-fiction note-taking assignments for Reading homework…many zeroes are piling up for a large contingent of students.

Much of what I’m grading now are assignments that were handed in late and so I’m jumping back and forth between subjects.  Lots of assignments with no names, lots of kids not doing the work as instructed, and a few assignments that I’m sure students forgot to hand in when I collected them, all things that we will clear up upon our return in January.

Again, I don’t have much left to grade so for the most part, what you’re seeing is what your child is on track of receiving.  I’ll allow time for things to be made up per usual, but honestly, responsibility should never allow things to get this far in the first place.  The constant makeups our students are becoming accustomed to receiving is not a healthy position to take, and so hopefully by Quarter 4 we won’t have kids asking about retakes before they even hand in their first copy of an assignment or Test.

Complete the tasks as instructed and hand in your work on time and you’ll always be successful in my class, there’s really no trick to it.  Keep checking the gradebook in the days ahead- I plan on being 100% finished by Friday.



Happy Holidays! (Also, gradebook being updated as we speak)

Hi, I just wanted to express my thanks and deepest gratitude to the students and parents from both 5s and 5L for the wonderful gifts you got for me during this time of year, a time for rest, reflection, and family (the jacket fits! 🙂  I feel like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future :-p, thank you  so much)!

I always feel uncomfortable whenever people do nice things for me and this year is no different, I just wanted to let you all know how proud and privileged I feel to be able to teach your children day in and day out, to provide them with a challenging, well-rounded education that I know they wouldn’t be receiving elsewhere, especially at this age.

I know we’ve had some ups and downs over these first few months, but now I feel that we’ve hit our stride…students are handing in their work more on time, expectations are being raised and again, most (we need all! 🙂 students are rising to the call for more complete answers on their assignments.  I truly believe that once we return in January, we’ll hit the ground running and not look back.  2017 is going to be a good year for us all because we’re beginning to understand the importance of the school-to-home partnership, that my high expectations are tempered by my flexible grading, and that ultimately all students will be prepared for any tests and exams they have in the future, not just this year but in the years ahead as well.

While I know it’s not the answer everyone wants to hear, I firmly believe that the bulk of what I cover w/ my students is not immediately quantifiable, there’s no immediate test or assessment to check for understanding, rather, having them exposed to such a diverse array of topics and discussions is method I use to challenge each child to ask more of themselves, to respect that the minimum is not enough and that to truly understand and appreciate the meaning of success, you must put in the required effort, first, and sometimes failure is the impetus needed for that spark to occur.  Nothing is given in my class nor this world, everything is earned, and the sooner our students (and others…) learn this, i know the better off they will be.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all once again for your patience and understanding and trust in what we are trying to accomplish this year.  Thank you again for thinking of me during this time of year, and my best wishes and prayers go out to each and every one of your families during this holiday season.

Thanks again and enjoy your break!



P.S. – working on the gradebook now, mostly 5S stuff, but I should have it all completed by this weekend though right now you can have a good idea of what your child is missing.

Homework 12/20

Winter Packet

Has been distributed, will be due upon arrival from the break.  It might seem like a lot but please look it over and give every question a chance.  If there’s something you don’t know, try, look it up, do your best before simply skipping it.  Buon Fortuna!


  • In-text citations (6 minimum)
  • 3 total sources (your 6 citations should come from these 3 websites/books)
  • 3 images for reference, data, charts, numbers, etc.  Anything that supports your fact-based statements.
  • Cover page
  • Bibliography (separate page)

Updated Attired for Multicultural Night

After speaking to the kids in the class, it sounds as though they would like to dress more formally.  If the boys can wear black pants and the girls black pants or a skirt along with a red, green, or white top, I think that’d look better than the “costume-y” style which the jeans represented.

This sounds to me like the best way to go…I’ll run it by the kids once more tomorrow – if for some reason you have a problem getting any of the attire above, just let me know and I’m sure we can work something out.

Thanks again!


P.S. – updating some more of the gradebook tonight…still lots of random late papers to sift through but it’s getting done.

Homework 12/19

Tomorrow will be a dress down day!

Current Events

Olumide (late)

Paislee- Tuesday


History – Primary Document worksheet

Egyptian Society Primary Document


Writing– Due Wednesday

I’d say about 3/4 of students did NOT do the assignment to incorporate their in-text citations.  I showed students how to create their bibliography today (it should be the last page of the report) so all you need to do there is plug in the proper information.

I’ve typed up the requirements for this particular assignment too many times already – scroll down if you need more specific information.  Make sure that you have a cover sheet, at least 3 images/charts/data, etc. representative of your topic, 6 in-text citations, 3 overall sources, and a separate bibliography page (use your notes).  Thanks!


Reading– make sure you have your “Mummy” reading notes completed from this past weekend so we can discuss them in class tomorrow during our Sarcophagus project.

You should also for this evening read your independent non-fiction book for about 40 minutes, take notes…remember, do not simply list facts, explain why what you wrote down is important in the first place.


Math– 5A Workbook pages 139-140

Gradebook Updated 12/17 (just a bit more to go :-)

Just spent the last two hours updating…going to spend some more time tonight and tomorrow of course so we’re all 100% caught up…I largely focused on 5S this time around, but I did make some changes to 5L as well.

With 5L, there is a column under “Product Map,” a worksheet we didn’t get to yet and that I’m holding off on until we have the double-period again once the multicultural night practices are over and class time resumes back to normal.

With that said, I feel that students have enough to keep them going over the next few days, the reading below I posted about the mummies, for example, on top of completing your Chapter 4, Lesson 2 packet and the Howard Carter primary document worksheet, questions #1-3…I think both classes are in a wonderful spot, they are definitely holding themselves more accountable for missed work than they were throughout all of Quarter 1, and for that, we’re extremely grateful.

I’ve seen positive changes from the majority of students, specifically when I receive the kids from 5L, but right now we have to work on consistency (and a disciplinary action one step above a TAB out, and so I need to speak to Mr. Garay and/or other staff about some ideas…teachers can get back to teaching , while the majority of students that are ready to learn don’t have to worry one bit about a student distracting them, etc.  Keeping the focus and instruction within the classroom is paramount above all else, and if students are not doing their jobs, including during dismissal time, this will be documented on the board and impact their Fun Day 6 first before calls are made home.

  • Anyway, per usual, I got a little far afield there from my original intention to recap updates to the gradebook, ha!:-)  

In summation, if 5L after-care kids are out of control running around and making a mess after my 5S students cleaned up their area and put their chairs up, we will be taking names down as it pertains to time off during Fun Day 6.  If this behavior continues, you’ll receive a work session on Wednesday or Saturday (depending on the severity and student history)

Remember, if you clean up your stuff, you have nothing to worry about!  Any questions about this or the dress code just let me know via text or email…thanks!

Homework 12/16

UGLY SWEATER DAY ON MONDAY!!  If you feel so inclined, you can dress up in the ugliest sweater imaginable and not have to worry about getting in trouble for being out of uniform! 🙂

Current Events for the week of 12/19-12/21

Olumide– Monday

Paislee– Tuesday

Tiffany– Wednesday


Math– so we are now done w/ Chapter 3 – I graded some Tests earlier in the day and the results for the most part across the board have been very promising.

For this weekend, students are to work on the Chapter 4 Recall problems in their 5A Textbook, pgs. 163-164, #s 1-25


History– Howard Carter Primary Document worksheet, complete questions # 1-3 only



Reading– Because it made no sense to waste almost 200 pieces of paper printing this out in school, attached below is the reading for this weekend, a cross-curricular passage related to Social Studies and the mummy project we’ll be working on next week.

Please read the article, take notes, write down the main idea(s), key dates, people, places, etc.  Did you learn anything?  Anything you found interesting that you’d like to research further?  Higher-order thinking questions like that.

  • DOWNLOADMummies of Egypt
  • This entire passage is expected to be read for next week…if you take solid and detailed notes, you’ll have to work that much less in class next week, remember that!
  • This assignment will coincide with our Make Your Own Sarcophagus project, so it’s more relevant to read now than ever before.


Writing– Have the final draft of your essay typed/written neatly with a minimum of 6 facts/in-text citations completed for Monday.  You do not have to have the bibliography completed for Monday, just the essay.  We’ll have the kids peer review each other’s work on Monday and if there needs to be any changes, the absolute final date for submitting this informational essay will be on Wednesday.  Consider your research paper a ‘living’ document, keep working on it over the weekend, think about how you can rewrite passages in different ways, think about whether or not your paper is strong as is, or if you need to do some more research to bolster the points you are trying to make.  Do you have enough supporting details?  Quotes?  etc.  

Remember, please incorporate in-text citations like I showed you in class yesterday and that I wrote examples of on the blog last night.

Below is the handout I gave everyone in class today, two resources related to setting up the ideal bibliography.

Gradebook Updated (90%)

I updated a handful of things, but more specifically, I focused on the handful of loose/late papers that people submitted because in my mind were a higher priority.

I’ll continue updating tomorrow and through the weekend…

  • If you see nothing, no score under an assignment, that means I didn’t get to it yet.
  • If you see a zero or a score under 10 on any of the work, parents and students alike, this implies that the work was incomplete enough for me to start taking off points.
  • The answers that we went over in class were practically all wrong and never changed, corrected, or expanded upon…the assignment was late, submitted, but not graded just yet.
  • Lastly, you didn’t follow the instructions, you didn’t put in the strongest effort you are capable both in and outside of class into this particular piece (and I’m sure others as well since this is a serious assignment


In regards to reading/writing…

As I’ve stated already numerous times, regardless of subject, we have begun to escalate within the past 10 days or so the expectations that we have for ourselves in terms of written responses.  Again, we are done with listing facts, now we are taking things a step further to obtain a full score on our assignments.  Students know full well that their objective is to find the main idea (or ideas) regarding what they read on a given topic.  Develop a thesis statement – did you write down supporting details and facts that support the primary question that you are trying to answer in your short responses and essays?  Did you write a brief, approximately 2-3 paragraph summary about what you read in your reader’s notebooks, and finally, were there any major developments worth sharing w/ the class?

We are trying to have students tap into their higher order thinking skills, to their ability to ask questions beneath the surface, the obvious, and so that has been and will continue to be one of the many goals of ours for the rest of the year.  Thanks!

Gradebook Information, 12/15

I’ll try and get some more assignments updated this evening- specifically the late work that students handed in before I move on to the newer material.

The gradebook will be 100% updated with all the assignments I received from both classes by this weekend.  In this way, parents and students alike will know exactly what work they need to make up over the break.  So far we’ve been doing much better than Q1 in terms of getting things submitted on time, but regardless, I plan on taking some class time next week to over things in more detail so we can maybe use some class time to get a head start on make-up work.

This week for me has been a bit hectic outside of school and so while I’m still updating the gradebook no less than twice per week, I will admit to falling a bit more behind than I would like.  Either way, by this weekend you’ll know 100% what’s going on.

Thanks as always for your patience and understanding…also, some students are still forgetting to hand in their work when I collect it during class…please speak to them about this at home.

Thanks and have a wonderful evening!

Homework 12/15

History– I think I collected the Lesson 2 packets yesterday, so  we can complete this tomorrow instead of for homework this evening


Writing– Mid-Year Assessment tomorrow on your independent non-fiction book.  You can bring in your book or any other related articles/sources that you have.  You cannot bring in notes or a pre-written essay, all your planning will be done in class tomorrow.

See the handout from last week or the blog post below (scroll down) for more info.  

  • It might make sense to practice writing out your thoughts this evening so you’re not necessarily starting from scratch tomorrow so you’ll have a really good idea of what you want to say as soon as your time starts.  You should enter class with a very clear picture of what you want to teach the reader of your paper about, that your thesis statement (what your paper is about) is thorough but manageable within the time allotted (not too big, make sure your topic is focused), make sure that you have your facts lined up, any quotes, numbers/data, geographic locations, dates, etc., all of the concepts and strategies we’ve discussed ad nauseum the past couple of weeks are fair game.  Please use the resources I’ve provided you, I’d say about 15 or so pages of notes the past couple weeks!  Attached below is a similar copy of the rubric you’ll receive tomorrow stapled to the instructions – students should already have their own copy of this, plus I posted it on the blog a little while back.  I’m not a big fan of rubrics, but if this is a tool that you find useful, more power to you.  Good luck!


Reading–  Root Words packet (same link as last night, just finish pages 8-11

  • Vocabulary words, their definitions, and 1 synonym and 1 antonym for each are due tomorrow.
  • Spelling Quiz #7 tomorrow!