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,


  1. Watching these pictures of the students displays the numerous talents these children have. I am thankful of the environment provided by AISB to nurture the children's talents.
    The homework idea is great. Carlene emphasized that each day has its homework as opposed to rushing through all the 10 days homework, just like you wrote here. The homework is sure inculcating responsibility to Carlene. Thank you Mr Johnson for this blog. Harriet-Parent to Carlene.

  2. Such a touching comment, thank you.