Final Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Here we are, the end.  Did you ever expect it to happen so quickly?  I hope your child will look back on this year with a smile.  Constantly fighting time, I found it difficult to get to everything I wanted, nor did we consistently master things like I would have liked to.  I did, however, try to keep the learning fresh and fun.  I’ll leave it up to your child to decide if I made good on that one. As for the report card, I trust there will be no surprises.  Between the assessments section of the Reminder Binder, the posts in Class Dojo, and the weekly Dojo reports, I’ll assume you’ve been given enough information about your child’s performance.  Keeping parents in the loop has always been a mainstay of mine.  Focus mainly on the first page of the report card.  Grades are just that.  Learning skills are the tools we use repeatedly and those, in my opinion, weigh more than any A+ or D-.  You’ll also find your child’s Class Dojo report for the second term, which I hope will allow you both to focus on needs heading into next year.

Please avoid the “summer slump” that many students fall into over July and August.  Keep your child’s mind sharp with active learning: read a book, write often, think about science and test theories, look at anything and consider the math that goes into it, and a personal favourite – look back on the past and know where you came from.  There’s plenty of opportunities to continue learning without a classroom, notebook or teacher.  Happy travels!

Mepham – signing off!


Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Next week promises to be a busy one!  As indicated on Dojo, we’ve scheduled a class pot luck for Wednesday.  See the sign up poster and discuss options with your child(ren).  Message me, or send the info with your child next week, but the sooner the better.  Due to virtually no space in our fridges at school, it would be best if items needing refrigeration or heating be dropped off (any time after 11:45).  Otherwise, consider a cooler or crock pot if sending items in the morning.  Please ensure you label your containers and utensils so they are returned.  Pre-portioning items is requested to save time and the hunt for knives and spatulas.  We have 30 students in the class but don’t feel the need to bring 30 portions; there should be a lot of food and, as I recall, our last pot luck had far too many leftovers.  I’ll send out a reminder message about the pot luck on Monday.

Thursday, the last day of school, is our final assembly of the year.  This tends to be a long one but you’re welcome to join us if you’re free.  It starts at 8:45.  Thursday is also when your child will meet his/her grade seven teacher, and receive the final report card.

Speaking of report cards, last week I explained the nature of grades; this week, it’s about how the grades are determined.  Know that the assessment process is multifaceted.  You may only see grades on tests, quizzes and rubrics but things like observation, experiments, anecdotal notes, class presentations, participation/discussion, and group work are all a part of the overall grade; things you don’t see because you’re not in the classroom.  Typically, all the students are ever interested in is the letter grade and whether they went up or down.  This is the wrong way of looking at it.  Sadly, we’re too focused on grades rather than the learning journey it takes to get good ones.  If students make the most of each learning moment, then the grades will come with it.  It’s all about changing one’s mindset.  I hope this is useful in preparing you for the final report card.

On Monday, I announced Meaghan as our final Student of the Month recipient (for perseverance).  Since there’s no forthcoming newsletter it seems best to share that here.  Meaghan has shown perseverance not only this month, but since early in the spring.  Her work habits changed for the better and in many respects, so did her performance.  Gone are the days of “I don’t get it” and she seems much more confident and determined.  Super job, Meaghan, carry that momentum into grade seven!

Stay tuned for one final Weekly Digest next week!

Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Here we are, the home stretch.  Just nine school days to go but the learning continues.  Students are in the midst of a graphic design project about math.  They’ve chosen a topic to show how much math is involved with that topic.  Looking forward to the finished product!

Next Wednesday is our trip to Adventure Bay.  Students will need the usual things for going swimming but a lock is highly recommended to secure belongings.  Since outside food cannot be brought in, students should bring money to purchase a lunch.  Electronics can stay behind as they’re not needed, and they’re at risk of being damaged or stolen.

A while ago, I sent home some information to several families about a summer learning program being offered at Essex.  It’s a new program designed to hone language and math skills, and I’m aware the some of you have already registered your child.  The deadline has been extended to allow for more registrants.  To those who are on the fence about it, or would like more information, visit this link to learn more.  Feel free to contact me as well.

Our Jump Rope For Heart goal of $350 fell about $125 short but it was still a worthy donation.  Congratulations to Owen, Lisette and Dylan for securing some prizes for their efforts.

Report cards are beginning to take shape, but I don’t expect any surprises for you if you’ve staying in tune with the Reminder Binder and the more recent postings on your child’s Dojo wall.  One myth I’d like to dispel right away is the up and down of grades.  Keep in mind that this report card represents student performance from February to the present and is based on what we learned in that time.  You can compare your child’s first term grades to the second term but you’re comparing apples to oranges.  If your child’s mark in a particular subject (eg. social studies) or strand (eg. measurement) went up or down, it doesn’t mean he/she is getting better or worse; the mark is based on how the student performed on that content from the curriculum.  A lower reading mark doesn’t mean your child’s reading has worsened; it’s merely a reflection of the work we did in that term.  Likewise, a higher mark in Data Management and Probability might imply that a student fared better with probability in term two, than graphing and data in term one.  It’s not like an assembly line where the process and product is the same.  It’s more like a sports game; some players have stellar nights, but flop the next time out (and vice versa).  Tune in next week when I talk about the assessment process and determining a final grade.

Bit by bit, students will start bringing home materials from school that are no longer needed.  This will alleviate a heavy school bag on the last day of school.  What students do with it at that point is entirely up to them (I just don’t like seeing months of work dropped into the classroom recycle bin.)

Enjoy the sweltering weekend that lies ahead!


Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Here we are – June!  Unbelievable, isn’t it?  The final newsletter of the season has been posted for your perusal.  Scroll to the post below this one to read it.  There is still plenty of learning to be done despite there being only 18 (yes, 18) school days left in the year.  We will wrap up a handful of projects into next week and then ride out the year toward summer vacation!

We finished up EQAO today.  Students didn’t seem too ruffled by it and I had very few questions throughout the process.  Many finished the tasks quickly, which tells me it was rather easy or they rushed.  I did notice that students progressively finished sooner with each day of testing.  The results will be tabulated over the summer and sent to the school sometime in the fall, which is when you will learn how your child performed.

On Monday, two permission forms* will go home; one for the VIP Fun Day on the 15th, and a second for a trip to Adventure Bay on the 20th. VIP only requires a signature, while Adventure Bay comes with an added cost of $8.50, which covers the cost of admission to the park; the bus is being covered by our very generous School Advisory Council.  Payment can be made online or with cash/cheque sent to the school.  Ideally, keep both forms together and send them back to school that way.  Chaperones will be needed for both trips so please indicate your interest on either form when you give consent.  FYI: you don’t need to be in the water for Adventure Bay, just present.

Our Jump Rope For Heart event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6th, with different activities at different stations.  Pledges are due Monday, however, and we’re currently far below our class goal of $350 with a mere $30 brought in so far.  Hoping for a strong push on Monday.

One more reminder about dress code at the school.  Shorts should come past the thumbs when arms are at the side; shirts should cover midriff; undergarments shouldn’t be visible; and shoulder straps should be three fingers wide.  Thank you in advance for your support with this.

Have a wonderful weekend!

(*If your child is not going to the VIP trip because he/she did not get his/her volunteer hour in, only the Adventure Bay form will be sent home.)

Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We’re at the halfway point of EQAO, with two language tasks and one math done.  Next week will be identical for both the testing days (W, T, F) and the remaining tasks.  I’ve not heard much in terms of complaints so far, and in the brief discussions we’ve had, students seem to be managing on their own.  Since teachers are unable to assist, we can only hope that each student is applying his/her best regardless of the challenge.

It looks like the heat is here to stay.  Please have your child bring a refillable water bottle to remain hydrated throughout the day.  Sun screen and hats are also encouraged for recess breaks.

We’ve also been asked to remind the students about dress code at the school.  Details can be found on pages 8-9 of the agenda, but in short, these are the key elements we sometimes have to call a student on:  no flip flops; sandals should have a back strap; shoulder straps should be three fingers wide; and shorts/skirts should be past the end of the thumb when arms are at the side.  I gave casual warnings to a few students today about short clothing.  Your assistance in supporting this is appreciated.

Next Wednesday, we take a short trip to Harrow to visit the OPP detachment.  Students will be given a tour of the station and enjoy a hot dog lunch courtesy of Constable McKinnon.  As a heads up, our VIP Fun Day, to be held at Gesstwood Camp, is scheduled for June 15.  Please consider joining us for a fun filled day!

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

EQAO testing will begin next week.  Specifically, our testing days are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (and the same days next week) during the first two periods of the morning.  It is critical that your child be on time and ready to write.  Please avoid scheduling appointments during this time as the test needs to be written in a particular order.  As I’d mentioned last week, encourage breakfast so the body and mind is fueled for the day ahead.

Science tests were returned this week and I was surprised by the results.  We played a game of Kahoot!, which had a number of the test questions on it, and I even told them to study the classification flow chart as it would be on the test and worth half the available marks.  Continue to check in on your child’s Student Profile on Dojo where I’ve been posting samples of work.  This will keep you informed as we get closer to the end of the year.

We finished our novel study of Gordon Korman’s “Island” trilogy yesterday.  Students will follow up with a bedroom design based on a chosen character.  Those choosing to build a model instead of drawing need to gather materials over the weekend and have them here on Tuesday.  No part of the project should be made at home as this is an in-class activity only.

Looking ahead, an interesting exhibit is coming to Windsor at the end of the month called The Compassion Experience.  It gives Canadians a look and what living in the developing world is like, and would probably put our own lives in perspective.  Admission is free.  Click this link to learn more, or if you wish to attend.

Enjoy the long weekend.  The next holiday will be summer…

Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Students have had three and a half periods of research time for a social studies project about Canada.  To keep us on track, the next set of classes I’m devoting to this project is for actually building the project itself.  This means that anyone who doesn’t have all their research done as of today, will need to make up that time this weekend.  Please check in with your child to see where he/she is at; this late in the year, I have to be firm on due dates.

The school is engaged in a Jump Rope For Heart campaign, and as a school, we’ve already surpassed the goal of $1 200.  As a class, we’ve set a goal of $350.  All pledges are due in by June 4th.  Thank you for your support!

I have received 23 VIP volunteer hours forms out of a possible 30.  Those who did not hand one in will not be able to participate in the Fun Day on June 15th.  Seeing as VIP has been moved to Monday next week, I will accept any late submissions on Monday.

EQAO is just two weeks away.  We’ve designated the first two periods on specific dates for testing (TBA).  To ensure a smooth administration of the test, it’s important that students be on time and focused (encourage breakfast before leaving home).  If your child is away, we have make-up dates planned but we’d prefer that everyone write at the same time as distractions will be at a minimum.

Happy weekend!