It's all gotta go somewhere

Goodbye, First Grade

Progress reports were released today! First, here are Jackie’s overall homeroom comments:

This spring the Loowits investigated food and nutrition by exploring the questions: What is nutrition? and How is food grouped? Each week of the unit focused on a different food group. After discovering about the nutrients and benefits, the class prepared a snack or meal featuring foods from that group. The students tracked their own eating habits for a week and planned meals that contained the suggested amount of servings from each group. The unit culminated with the creation of Loowit’s Foodville, a restaurant that served all our creations at our annual Gardner Market. Throughout this unit, Dashiell was an enthusiastic and engaged participant. From cutting fruits and veggies, to cracking eggs and blending smoothies, he wanted to do it all. During the setup and operation of the market, Dashiell volunteered to run the cash register and cook, both tasks for which he is very skilled. Way to go, Dashiell!  

It has been an absolute joy having Dashiell in the classroom this year. His curiosity is insatiable, and he can find pleasure in all tasks. His positive attitude towards life in general sends a wonderful vibe throughout the classroom. Dashiell is very extroverted in the classroom and sometimes finds this can impede his progress. Throughout the year he has worked to limit the impact on his work, often by finding alternate places in the room to work when necessary. A goal for next year is for Dashiell to continue to deepen this awareness and self-monitor his habits more independently. Academically, Dashiell has made terrific progress in all areas of the curriculum, especially in writing! He is now able to select topics quickly and write several sentences in a session. Socially, Dashiell is well-liked and has many connections both in the classroom and throughout the school. He spent his recesses playing games or exploring the wetlands. There were times this year in which he assumed a leadership role. This is an area in which he has natural ability and next year will present the perfect opportunity for him to further develop these skills. Dashiell, thank you for a fantastic year and I am looking forward to working with you in second grade! I hope you have a terrific summer!

My Veggie Bowl for Gardner Market

Student Reflection

Portfolio Night

In the Literacy section, Dashiell received mostly “Proficient” and “Developing” marks, with a couple “Emerging.” Here are Jackie’s overall literacy comments:

Reading has been an area of significant growth for Dashiell this year! He has been devouring chapter books throughout the second and third terms. Dashiell’s fluency has improved and he is building his repertoire of strategies for unknown words. He is using them quite independently, striving for accuracy when reading. As he is presented with texts that are more challenging, Dashiell adjusts his pace, ensuring that he is still reading correctly. During the last term, Dashiell read Clementine and several books from the Magic Tree House series. His reading group spent more time working on comprehension tools. Dashiell’s comprehension is pretty solid, although there are days in which he has a harder time tracking when his partner is reading. He is beginning to decipher the implicit meaning within text, and this will be an area of focus in the fall. Attached is a suggested book list at Dashiell’s level. Daily reading is strongly encouraged throughout the summer break. Keep up the great work, Dashiell!

Dashiell’s writing has flourished this year! He has gone from drafting a few words, to writing several sentences in a session. Dashiell is developing his ability to express himself through writing, and it is a wonderful way for him to share his thoughts and creative ideas. He applies the FAST spelling and other convention rules that he is learning, and consistently uses beautiful penmanship. On his recent writing assessment, he was asked to write a small moment story, just as he was asked to do in the fall. Dashiell wrote about attending a luau in Hawaii. It is evident in his piece that he was intentionally adding feelings and details. A highlight of his story was, My farite part of the show was when was the men put fire on their feet! And when they sat on top of each ather with the fire in their hand! I was cerius and exitied. Writing during the summer break is recommended to maintain progress and continue to build fluency. Dashiell may enjoy keeping a daily journal of summer adventures, as well as sending postcards to friends and family. 

In Math, D also got solid marks (I can’t easily copy the grading table into this blog post but am still working on that, since it is amazing to see the areas of study.

Dashiell has a solid foundation of skills in all areas of math. His confidence is solid and he brings a positive attitude to all activities. Dashiell is adept at working collaboratively, and has increased his ability to work alone this year. During the marble roll unit, Dashiell paired with several different peers and came away with a strong understanding of the mathematical and scientific principles behind the project. During each of the three experiments he generated a plausible hypothesis and clearly articulated his conclusion. Dashiell performed very well on his comprehensive growth assessment, scoring a 34 out of 37 points! He demonstrated he has a firm grasp on place value, story problems, and numeration concepts. Dashiell has consistently demonstrated mastery of the material covered in math. He is a careful and accurate worker who takes his time and always gives his best effort. Way to go, Dashiell! Over the summer it is recommended that Dashiell continue to keep his math skills sharp. Playing board or strategy games, real-world applications whenever possible, and electronic games are all great ways to practice math. 

Marble Roll

From Jared in Science:

This term Loowit has been working learning about Insects and Plants. We came back from winter break and started our  unit. We learned the characteristics that make an insect an insect compared to a spider. We worked on our drawing skills as we created unique types of insects. We worked on our research skills as we watched short videos and tried to decide what was the important information from that video. Ended our unit by creating unique insects out of woodsies that were part of the culminating event.

After learning about insects we shifted our focus to plants. As a class we explored what plants need to survive and designed an experiment to test our ideas. We planted pea plants and put them in various places in the science classroom to see how different amounts of light impacted the growth of our plants. We also looked at different liquids to see which is the best to grow plants. We then made weekly observations about our experiment. While our pea plants were growing in their pots a question was raised about if soil was needed or not. This lead us to explore growing plants in our aquarium and finding a surprising result of pea plants sprouting and beginning to grow at the bottom of the aquarium submerged in water. 

From Maria in Spanish:

Loowit 1 – 2:

We have just finished an inspiring year in Spanish. We have learned about animals. I’ve had the opportunity to hear what their favorite animal was; it was fun! We’ve also enjoyed discussions about the different rooms in a house and what their favorite room was. Learning about food was a fun subject too. We spoke about different types of fruits and vegetables and of course, we took the time to talk about what our favorites were. We will continue to run through our shapes, colors, counting, different sizes, and writing skills. We have been learning about vowels, verbs, and how to recite and write full sentences using the concepts we have learned in class. The second-grade students were capable of reading words and phrases from short story books. Singing, playing games, and watching instructive videos also have been educational for their growth. The children enjoyed working with clay and made beautiful, artistic projects. The class was also introduced to Mexican culture and the ways Mexican people celebrate certain holidays such as 5 de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and for the month of June, Father’s Day & Mexican food. All of which play a big role and support the process to learn a new language. All of this may seem like a lot of work, which it is, but I have confidence your children will do very well. We also have fun learning at the same time.

I would like to take this opportunity mention that during the year, students were placed into two groups to encourage them to work and support one another with various concepts that were introduced throughout the year. As a result, they all learned how to communicate effectively and use their skills to complete the tasks in class. I am very proud of their growth and must say it was a pleasure to work with your children. Keep up the good work and enjoy your summer.

Mrs. Maria Flores

Dashiell has shown an excellent attitude towards learning Spanish. He continues progressing as his vocabulary and pronunciation skills keep improving. He is a very hard-working student. I am proud to say that he has made a huge step forward, as he is able now to read short sentences and words.

And from Jane in Art:


The Loowit children are engaged and enthusiastic art students! This term the art lessons introduced various art materials and methods and focused on COLOR, SHAPE, FORM and TEXTURE.

To celebrate winter and all the snow, the children drew whimsical Snowmen at Night, inspired by the book of the same name. They used oil pastels and added snow with tempera paint. In February the children enjoyed using tempera paint to mix colors for their painting of large intersecting hearts. They filled the “heart puzzle” with colors they mixed using tempera paints. This is all part of understanding color theory.

Integrating with their classroom thematic studies about animals, the Loowit children spent a lot of time sketching various mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. Drawing animals is no easy task so I laud their efforts! For culminating event they built models of their animals and and also made a book filled with watercolor paintings of the animals they studied.

Playing with clay makes children happy so Loowit students were given the opportunity to create beautiful clay owls. The students rolled clay slabs, cut out the owl shapes, and cleverly used texture and color for their feathered friends. Wearable art is also fun so the children had a chance to tie-dye their own T-shirts to wear on their zoo overnight trip. They were a big hit!

In May the students celebrated the arrival of the beehive by drawing bees and hexagon hives using colored pencils.

To integrate with their spring studies of nutrition, the Loowit students created a cookbook combining their watercolor paintings and delicious recipes. These were sold at the Gardner Market. To end the year on a delicious note, the children created paintings of plates of delectable and nutritious food choices. The paintings were laminated and taken home to be enjoyed daily!

In keeping with The Gardner School focus on the multiple intelligences, the art projects incorporated the development of spatial (drawing/painting), mathematical/logical (proportion/scale, color theory, hexagons), naturalist (clay owls, bee drawings) and bodily-kinesthetic (fine motor: using paint brushes, scissors, tools)

Working with Dashiell is a pleasure. He has a very positive outlook on life, a whimsical sense of humor, and brings a big smile to every art class. Dashiell enjoys all the hands-on activities and especially liked working with clay. He said,”I like the feeling of the clay and how you can craft with it. It’s really fun to play with it and see what I can do.” Regarding his ceramic owl, Dashiell said, “I really like the orange face. The owl’s name is Orange Face! I like the belly colors and the magenta and red on the wings.” His comments were quite entertaining. 🙂

I hope Dashiell has a relaxing summer full of creative activities!

Me & Orange Face

From Dana in Music:

The Loowit students had a great year in music. They continued their quest of singing in tune by adding new solfege syllables to their repertoire. They can now sing, pretty much in tune, do, re, mi, sol and la.  These are the whole steps of the major scale, also known as the pentatonic scale.

They learned/reviewed rhythmic notation including the quarter-note, two eighth notes, the quarter rest and the half-note.

Also this term, the Loowit students worked with the digital music lab. The program, Groovy Shapes, is so engaging and user friendly that the kids just jumped in and never looked back. They explored several musical concepts like timbre, beat and melody and then used that knowledge to create their own pieces. 

The Loowit class played the xylophones many times throughout the term. They learned songs, created their own songs and improvised. They enjoyed sharing their songs/improvising with the class, thereby, increasing their confidence, not only in their music, but also in their performing.

The Loowit performance in the Talent Show this year combined students playing the xylophones and students dancing a circle dance that they choreographed themselves. They enjoyed the opportunity to share their musical talents with their parents. 

It has been a fun and full year for the Loowit musicians! I hope you all have a wonderful summer and return next year to make more music together.

Dashiell did well in music this year. He enjoys learning new songs and playing all of the instruments. When asked about his favorite thing in music, Dashiell replied, “I really like playing the xylophones because it’s just really fun for me. It takes a lot of eye/hand coordination which I’m really good at.” When asked about his strengths, he said, “One of my strengths is singing really loud and beautifully, but not screaming.” Dashiell is a good student and a pleasure to have in class.


And finally, from the beloved Peter of PE:

My goal for this year was to help foster an environment where the students were able to build on the many great things they are learning in Loowit. The students spent their time building, scooting, tumbling, throwing, kicking, running, hiding, fencing, hopping, and dancing. We spent the majority of our time outside where the students learned to explore and grow comfortable in nature. Once they grew comfortable in navigating the wetlands, they would spend their time creating a game, building forts, investigating bugs and plants, or finding frogs. The students also enjoyed structured games where they learn how to follow the rules, try, be creative, and challenge themselves. The games focused on the individual where they were free to be creative and participate according to their learning style or intelligence(s). They also spent time working on teams and learning how to collaborate and communicate. The students were able to get a variety of fun experiences and build on their already growing self confidence. It was a great year and I look forward to seeing them grow.

Physical Education at The Gardner School is about having fun so students will want to continue to be physically active into adulthood. Playing a game is more fun than running a lap and has the same aerobic benefit by getting the heart rate into the target heart rate zone necessary for building endurance. Play is also at the core of creativity and innovation. Play makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born.

Dashiell enjoys PE. Dashiell usually will find me earlier in the day to inquire what the game is of the day. Dashiell enjoys activities where he can move and process at a very fast pace. Dashiell is competitive but brings a positivety to games. He also shows that it’s ok to take risks and if you don’t win or don’t get the result you want you can still enjoy the game. I look forward to working with him next year.

D in wetlands, with Jamison (guess he is too fast to photograph in action)


  1. Grandpa Don

    What a kid!

  2. Lori

    Why am I not surprised!? I would love to have a summer postcard! The orange owl is wonderful!

  3. sherry

    What a wonderful report. Can’t think of any school that would offer this much. He is going to be a better, all-rounded, person because of it. I am so proud of him, and of his two super parents. Good work !!!

  4. Grandma Beverly

    This school is amazing. I can’t help but compare it to the schools I worked at…a district that was rated one of the best in the nation. Hands down the cope and level of learning opportunities is far better. I would place Dash in 3rd grade at the skill level he is already at. It is the perfect marriage of a great school and a great student with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. He also is allowed to develop and use his love for body movement, especially running.

    Which Clementine books has he read? The other series has 28 books, with good history sprinkled in (not counting the series on fantasy). I would love to buy some for him birthday if you lead me to which ones.

    You once said, “We only have one chance to do this right.” And boy have you! Dash is receiving the best education of any child I have ever met. Backed up by two awesome parents that foster learning with every breath.

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