ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog


Mike Simpson

23 October 2020

In case you are wondering why you are tired, we went online 219 days ago. This is the first chance we have had to rest for a very long time. Your work up until this point has set us up for the rest of the year and the rest of the year can wait for a week!

Happy Thadingyut!

Thank you to our wonderful Teaching Assistants who helped us celebrate this important festival. 

Happy Halloween!




  • October 23:
    • Common Subject Comments Completed.
    • Specialist teachers advise Homeroom Teachers if they would like to add to a student’s personalized ISY Learner Attribute comment.
  • November 6: Reports completed on Powerschool
  • November 13: Reports sent to families on Powerschool
  • November 19; Parent Teacher Conferences (No Classes)


Below are two documents that explain how we will put together our Quarter 1 Progress Reports:
Within these documents are links to where you need to write comments. We are currently making the template on Powerschool and when that is ready we can copy and paste from these documents into Powerschool.

Running Records:

We are using online Reading A-Z / RAZ Kids Running Records this year. Please use this Elementary Reading Levels (2020-2021) spreadsheet to enter the levels of each student. You may need to add your new students to your class. Linked to this spreadsheet is the ISY Benchmark Reading Levels that you can use as a guide in assessing and reporting on your students.


Assessing what a student can do online is challenging. Just before school started, I sat in on some webinars that provided some really sound and practical advice on this. Here are some key ideas that I thought would be useful:

  • Use the data that you trust the most – it doesn’t matter if it is summative (a test or final project) or formative (observations, discussion).
  • All assessment is formative and it all counts!
  • If you are unsure as to whether a student has mastered a skill or understands a concept, ask them to explain it to you. Generally, if a student can explain it, they know it.

That last point is I think important in any context, but especially online. It might mean that you do not have a lot of completed assessment tasks but you can take notes at any time with any discussion you have with a child and if you trust your assessment then those notes are valid evidence of learning – possibly even more so than a finished project or test. 

It is important to have a system to record your notes. Our Early Elementary teachers are masters of this if you need any ideas.


Esther will keep sending attendance reminders out at 9:30am so she can check in with families early. But don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance to do it by then. The aim to have your attendance completed in the morning as soon as you can. If you have been advised by a family that their child will be absent, please mark them as absent and leave a note on Powerschool to say you have heard from the parents so Esther will not call them. I am not sure how to do this so check in with someone on your team if you are not sure.

We don’t want to introduce a formal Powerschool post-specialist attendance check in. However, if you have a student who is consistently not returning after a specialist class (or missing other classes) and, please reach out to parents with a friendly email…’We missed Milly in the afternoon today…’ Please blind copy Patty and I on those emails just so we know if we need to follow anything up. Parents will often be struggling to keep up with what their children are up to but is important that parents know if their children are missing classes when it comes to reporting on and explaining progress.


Please continue to plan for synchronous learning and we will adapt for Chinthe Learning Online. We will meet on Monday at these times to check in as to where everyone is at and to make sure we are still making connections:

  • Monday, 2:00-2:40pm: Grades 2 & 3
  • Monday, 2:40-3:15pm: Grades 4 & 5
  • Tuesday, 2:30-3:15pm: Grades PK, K, & 1


To get through this last week before the Thadingyut break, remember to encourage students to move during their breaks and keep integrating mindfulness throughout the day.

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