Friday, September 28, 2018

Exceeding Expectations


Big Business!

The yard sale was livelier than I expected. The kids collected 11000 CFA and their customers were clearly satisfied.

The kids had a knack for handling money. Kind of like devices it seemed innate. Strange but cool to see today. 

Our cashier kept records (without me saying anything) and change was made surprisingly well. I feared coins for change would be a problem. 

Some items had to be priced over 100 CFA but no one balked.  

I think the kids got a bit of or maybe even bit by the capitalist bug, so I think we'll do this again, but not Monday or too soon. 11000 will cover utensils and treats. 

But we definitely know a way now to raise money, learn money, and help out our fellow toy and book enthusiasts.

 In-School Field Trip

Our organic school garden is awesome! 

And all of the veggies are eaten for school lunch. The kids' new appreciation for veggies could hopefully get some to eat more! Wishful thinking. 

Celebrate Mooncake!

Speaking of gardens, we celebrated the Chinese autumn harvest festival with some delicious mooncake. 

Geometry fun! 

It can be as simple as adding up to 18 or 36 with a hundreds place, at least for now.

Fun with Data 

We did a pet survey of elementary students.

And then plotted the data. Lots of birds for whatever reason. 

Other Bird Stuff

We're going to spend the next few weeks learning about birds. We kicked off the unit with a scavenger hunt for fascinating bird facts. Ask your child what she or he remembers (hints: ostrich, falcon, hummingbird, chicken).

More bird stuff to come.

MAP is underway

We had plenty of brain food each day. Thanks Lala! 

MAP continues next week with math on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and language usage on Thursday and Friday. The did great in reading. I look for to reporting details on the first quarter report card. 

Enough for now.

Have a terrific weekend!

Saturday, September 22, 2018



Homework Challenge!

Homework!? Officially, AISB does not mandate homework in elementary school. But when I put this 10-day homework challenge (10-DHC) to our third graders, they eagerly signed on. Some kids even danced and sang! Why? For one, this will be fun. 

The homework booklet has ten days of math and language arts tasks that will help keep our academic concepts afloat while away from school. Secondly, our beginning-of-year Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test will commence next week. The 10-DHC will keep our third graders minds primed for the types of questions on the test.

Sure, there are lots of more authentic ways to practice school concepts at home, and by all means do things like calculating road distance, tallying bills, comparing the temperature in Mali to another country, making shopping lists, writing a weekend or vacation plan, cooking together, keeping a diary, reading together and so on. But also consider the value of an informal 10-15 minute homework session for supporting and building study spirit, or letting us know your 8ish year old is just not into it, which is perfectly understandable.

Though, at some point in your child's formal education, homework may not be optional. So maybe trying to ease in a study habit sooner is better than later. Right? Here's an idea: design a kid-friendly office or "study" space. Fun and clever!

Anyway, as I have mentioned before, pleasurable reading is arguably the best study habit for any of us. For the next ten days, however, our third graders could also do the 10-DHC. The key - and this is so important - your child can only do one "Day" (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, etc.) of work at a time. If the booklet is rushed through in one or two sittings, the whole point of a steady, sustained contemplation will be lost.

In the past, I handed out each day's lesson, but this time I wanted to add the responsibility of returning the booklet in a tidy condition to class each day for our recap. Now, that particular responsibility, tidiness upon return, for ten days will be a true homework challenge for some kids. Great! By the way, I am aware the booklet copying went awry and put a couple days out of order. It's not a problem.   

Last thing about being academically ready now and beyond: please be extra sure that your child gets 10-11 hours of sleep each night and eats a healthy (low or no added sugar) breakfast at home each morning. 

We'll talk a lot more about all this in the near future. 

Moving on...

Elementary Kids' Got Talent! 

The kids organized a talent show that was pure heart-warming hilarity! 

Serious Judges


Puzzling Math

Silent Running

This quirky classroom management device is gold! Make noise and the meter goes nuts. Stay quiet, earn stars, calmly learn more efficiently, and get an educational treat from Mr. Johnson. 

Daily 5 One-to-Ones

D5 keeps getting better and better. We're identifying strengths and goals and moving forward with patience and pride. 


Flight Checks

RAZ-Kids has an excellent recorded reading feature that I use to analyze your child's reading skills and development. 

We did some test flights at school and will continue to deploy this tool, but...

... the best place for a Flight Check (FC) is at home. It's quieter. The whole thing takes 15 minutes so it should be easy too. 

By Monday, all the kids will have a FC cued up in there RAZ-Kids account. If there's time, space and connectivity, please let the FC happen at home. It's really useful literacy data and the kids actually like doing them. How about that, liking an assessment!? And if a home FC doesn't happen, no biggie. We can do it at school, of course.

Scenes from After-School Activities

Brain Break

Nothing like a grassy stroll to rejuvenate the human being. 

Remember, there is no school Monday for students, but I'd say there are a few things they could still do for school at home. Right?

Happy Weekend,