Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Rhetorical question:  if you played a game for the first time and won, would you expect to win every new game you played on the first attempt?  This is how I like to look at assessment and evaluation.  Sometimes, students are defined by the grades they get the first time around and it’s a natural expectation that it should continue.  But just like playing a new game, the results aren’t always the same.  Remember that the grades you’ll see on Monday’s report card are based on your child’s learning of the grade six curriculum.  There are new challenges every year:  new teacher and teaching style; more demanding curriculum; new concepts; group dynamics, etc.  Students can thrive or struggle from year to year based on how they handle the curriculum.  If your child got a B+ in reading last year, but has a B (or lower) in grade six, it doesn’t mean he/she is getting worse at reading, or moving backward; he/she is just more challenged by the new material.  Conversely, sometimes students excel and grades will rise, again, for the very same reasons cited above.  I guess my point here is, your child’s grades have been defined by his/her experience in 6M since September with the new material she/he has learned, not necessarily by an overall level you would expect him/her to be at consistently.

When the report card arrives home on Monday, look it over and first celebrate the positives (optimism can take you anywhere, after all).  Starting off with what we’re good at helps focus the mind and clears the negativity that might get in the way.  Then, look for areas of growth and have your child set some tangible goals for the second term.  It could be to improve in a specific subject area, have perfect homework completion, or taking on a leadership role.  These can be written down on the bottom portion of page 3/4 and returned with the envelope (by Thursday, if possible).  Enclosed with the report card will be a Class Dojo report that covers the entire term.  It too should allow your child to look at areas of strength and areas for growth.  As for Thursday night’s interviews, I remind you that they are to be booked online at this website.  You’ll need your child’s student id number, which is the same one he/she uses to log into the school’s laptops.

I thought I’d close by sharing this statement:  “A study (in 2015) by Microsoft concludes that attention spans have gone down since the year 2000, from 12 seconds then, to 8 seconds now.”  This was part of an article I’d read at this time two years ago.  I can say from my own experience over 19 years, attention levels have dropped significantly (and it’s particularly noticeable this year).  We, as teachers, do struggle to compete with the interactive world of technology; and while we’ve tried to integrate tech with our teaching practice, it’s difficult sharing three laptop carts and four iPad carts with over 600 students.  Nevertheless, maintaining a high degree of focus is crucial in many, if not all, tasks.  Parents will often say their child “is just bored” (which, to a teacher, is a discrete way of saying their ineffective at their job); but I say “boredom is self-created”.  Failure to remain attentive to a learning concept, or even simple instructions, stunts intellectual growth and interferes with one’s ability to succeed/progress.  Perhaps being more attentive in school could be an area of focus/growth for your child as he/she looks ahead to the second term and onward.  

Enjoy the snow!