News from the Classroom

Inside: Grades. Science. Link to article.

Great Blue Heron with Carp
We’ve been learning about food webs. Last year a great blue heron (like this one above!) often visited the creek. It’s amazing to see their necks wriggle and jiggle as a fish goes down that skinny throat!

Creative Commons License Kelly Colgan Azar via Compfight


You’ll see a mixture of grades from different teachers as you log into Power School. In Math, Reading, and Writing (Language), you’ll see scores on a 1-4 scale based on standards, which are statements that describe a particular area or concept that students are learning in class. You are probably familiar with the idea of “standards-based grading” from K-4 report cards. I’m a fan of standards-based reporting for lots of reasons. I’ll talk more about that in future posts.

You will also see traditional A-F scores in Science and Social studies. These subject areas are not as far along in the work of distilling, describing, and assessing the standards as we are for the other subject areas.

At this point in the year, I do have some basic Science, Reading, and Language scores up on Power School. Writing is always tough to get scores for early in the year. I strongly believe that writers need to feel comfortable with their writing in order to produce a good quantity of work. I’ve been providing a lot of response to student writing, mostly in the form of encouragement and advice, but I have not provided a lot of formal scores, yet.

If you need help logging into Power School, Paula in the main office can help you get started. (Truly, she knows everything and the place wouldn’t run without her!)


We are coming to the end of the food web portion of our ecosystem unit. Next, we’ll look closely at producers (green plants), how they get their energy and the surprising place they get the matter they need to make the food they need to grow and repair/replace worn out parts.

We’ve been having quick “learning quizzes” in the last week or so on Google Classroom. These don’t count towards a grade, but are designed to help learners figure out what they know and don’t know yet. We will have a longer quiz towards the end of next week. They’ll have a study sheet on Tuesday with the exact date and content.

Much of our work in science is on-line. I don’t use a textbook (they don’t work so well for the kind of science we’re doing, nor are they interesting reading!), but I do have readings and videos in our Google Classroom. We have time to do all of this work at school; I’m not a big fan of homework. Despite the fact that they can’t take their computers home yet, students CAN log into Google Classroom on a home computer. If you use Google Chrome and allow them to log in using their school account, all of their bookmarks and passwords will be available to them, since we’ve synched those items through their school accounts.


This week I read an interesting article at Mind/Shift, a terrific blog about learning.

The article offers a way to think about the idea of social status, popularity, and likability, especially as they pertain to the important transitions to middle and high school. It also offers some things adults can do to help young people navigate these difficult waters.

I’m going to search out Mitch Prinstein’s book: Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World.