Friday, June 28, 2013

Fourth Quarterly & Annual Assessment (3rd Grade)

Superintendent of Schools
XXXXXX School District

SCHOOL YEAR: 2012-2013
THIS QUARTER COVERS: 4/1/13 to 6/28/13
DATE SUBMITTED: June 28, 2013


Mikro is making excellent progress in all subject matter.
We have had instruction in all the following areas, as per Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education and Mikro’s Individual Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language Arts, Math, History, Geography, Science, Health, Physical Education, Music, Visual Arts, Patriotism and Citizenship, Fire Safety and Prevention, and Traffic, Bicycle and General Safety. Mikro had no absences from instruction this quarter, and has exceeded the required hours of instruction (225).

Highlights for the Quarter include:

Reading/Language Arts:

Mikro reads fluently, voraciously, and at a very advanced level. At the moment, his favorite books concern mythology, folktales, cryptozoology and mythical creatures, though he still enjoys nonfiction, particularly in the biological sciences. He enjoys making up rich and detailed stories, world building, and creating new mythologies. In an interesting twist on his love affair with science, he enjoys making up the detailed evolutionary trees of various mythological and legendary creatures. He draws cladograms and tells elaborate stories about how various branches of dragons, griffins, elves and assorted denizens of the fairy kingdom developed and speculates on the traits of their common ancestors and the stages in their life cycles. It is an odd combination of storytelling overlaid on a scientific worldview, and it is awesome to witness. Mikro is learning to type his own stories using a text edito, and practices with the BBC typing program online. We are working on grammar and spelling using a variety of workbooks and online lessons, and through journaling.

Some of the books read independently by Mikro (in addition to those listed by subject matter in other categories below) include:

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda’s Secret, The Ironwood Tree, The Wrath of Mulgarath, The Care and Feeding of Sprites, and The Spiderwick Chronicles Field Guide to Fantastical Observation, all by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black; The Artemis Fowl series: Artemis Fowl, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, Artemis Fowl: the Eternity Code and Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception, all by Eoin Colfer; The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland, At Least for a Little While, and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, all by Catherynne M. Valente; The Daughter of Frost by Nick Davis; Madhattan Mystery by John J. Bonk; Miro the Dragon by Theresa Berg; The Hand of the Necromancer by John Bellairs; The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangies; Faylinn Frost and the Snow Fairies by Trevor Forest; The Nerdfly by Jacqueline Druga; My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling; Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; The Book of Dragons by Ciruelo; The Odyssey for Boys and Girls by Alfred J. Church; The Story of the Amulet and The Phoenix and the Carpet, both by Edith Nesbit; The King of Shadows by Susan Cooper; The Time Cavern and The Inverted Cavern by Todd Fonesca; The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Before Achilles by Padraic Colum; The Heroes of Olympus: Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan; The National Parks Mysteries: Wolfstalker, Cliff Hanger, and Buried Alive, all by Gloria Skurzynski; The Practical Guide to Monsters by Nina Hess; The Seven Keys of Balabad by Paul Haven; Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull; The Boggart and The Boggart and the Monster by Susan Cooper; Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine; Jackson Jones Book 1: The Story of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish, by Jenn L. Kelly; Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective, Will Allen and the Ring Ring of Terror, and Will Allen and the Hideous Shroud, all by Jason Edwards; Bliss and A Dash of Magic, both by Kathryn Littlewood; Through the Portal and The Phoenix Glove, both by Justin Dennis; The Humongous Fungus by Periwinkle Blue; Tyler and the Magic Dragon by James Kennedy; Sticky Note Superhero: The Adventure Begins, by Chris Lamphear; Hal Junior 1: The Secret Signal, by Simon Haynes; The Gargoyles of Granville Abbey by Margaret Warner Morley; Dr. Hickerup: The Hiccup Healing Man by Katherine Ladny Mitchell; Iggy McMichael: The Battle in Seattle by Per Saelid; When Farts Had Colors by Mark Thomas; Loogie the Booger Genie: Prince of Prank, by N.E. Castle; Advice for a Frog by Alice Schertle (poetry); If Dragonflies Made Honey, poems collected by David Kherdian; Bill Martin’s Big Book of Poems; Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan; Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries For Children by Jan Dinborough; Postcard Poems: A Collection of Poetry for Sharing, edited by Paul B. Janeczko; Fairypedia by Alisha Niehaus; The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada, compiled by Mary Alice Downie and Barbara Robertson; Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind by Gary Ross; Monster Soup and Other Spooky Poems compiled by Dilys Evans; Insectopedia and Bow Wow Meow Meow, both by Douglas Florian.


We are working on fractions, decimals, money skills, including adding and subtracting monetary amounts and making change, and continue to practice two and three digit addition and subtraction with regrouping, single and double digit multiplication, and square numbers, using real life math, books, workbooks, games, drawings, original word problems and manipulatives. Mikro uses Teaching Textbooks 4 (a CD Rom based math curriculum) as well as online math resources such as Dreambox, IXL Math, and Kahn Academy. Mikro can do simple division problems. He continues to practice his math facts with the Timez Attack computer game. He also took an online Math Class from Supercharged Science.

Books include: The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger (which Mikro has read approximately 15 times out of pure enjoyment).

Music: Multiplication Mountain by Hap Palmer; Multiplication by Teacher and the Rockbots; Division Unplugged by Sara Jordan.

Games: The Number Devil computer game; Timez Attack computer game, Math Noodlers, keeping score.


We have discussed simple machines, light and optics, sound, motion, flight, and robotics, geology, minerals and crystals, gravity, space and time, marine biology, and have also studied the climate, habitats, food chains and animals of the Middle East. Mikro has gained hands on experience with binoculars, telescopes, periscopes, and other optical systems, as well as compasses and electrical meters.

Classes: Mikro took a multi-week series of science classes at the Science Museum of Long Island in Plandome, NY. Topics included: owl pellet dissection, orienteering, optics and light, soil sampling, crystal formation, and lifecycles and metamorphosis (including raising a painted lady butterfly). He has participated in live web seminars through the Supercharged Science web site and via The JASON Project.

Field trips: World Science Festival, including the Flame Challenge: What Is Time (in which Mikro assisted physicist Max Tegmark on stage) and the always inspiring Cool Jobs panel (food science, nanotechnology, video game design and social research using gaming, and robotics), Innovation Square (robotics, physics, optics, 3D printing), and the Science Street Fair (fossils, robotics, physics, zoology, climate change, and microscopic organisms on the Bio Bus); We also enjoyed educational exhibits at the Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, including microscopic observation of aquatic life such as diving beetle larvae, observation of aquatic macroinvertebrates such as water scorpions, dragon fly and damselfly nymphs, backswimmers, and crayfish, and observing live specimens such as american eels in glass eel and elver life stages, a painted turtle, a snapping turtle, yellow spotted newts, bullfrog tadpoles, pipefish, hogchokers, white perch, fiddler crabs, etc. Mikro also learned about the physics of sailing, and helped raise sail aboard the Mystic Whaler.

Projects: Mikro helps us to maintain a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat. He is caring for a growing menagerie of reptiles and invertebrates including garden snails, hermit crabs, a Chinese Water Dragon and pairs of Bearded Dragons and Italian Wall Lizards; he collects, observes and releases insects, birdwatches at our feeders, and takes many nature walks where he has observed such things as birds building nests, courtship behaviors and mating, and parent birds feeding their young; red tailed hawks hunting; bald eagles, ospreys, egrets, cormorants and great blue herons going fishing in the Croton River, Hudson River, New York Harbor and the Long Island Sound, insect and wind pollination of plants and crayfish, blue crabs, damselflies, dragonflies and snapping turtles in the local wetlands.

Books: Animal Life (DK); Prehistoric Life (DK); Biological Diversity: The Oldest Human Heritage by Edward O. Wilson; Crystals by Melissa Stewart; Temple Grandin: The Girl Who Loved Cows and Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery; Fossils of the World (World Book Science and Nature Guides); Pioneering Space by Sandra Markle; Skylab: The First American Space Station by Heather Feldman; A Child’s Book of Wildflowers by M.A. Kelly.

Videos: Videos from the World Science Festival web site, including previous years’ Cool Jobs panelists, and many others; TED Talks; Videos from the American Museum of Natural History; Life sciences videos from Robert Kampf, The Happy Scientist Mikro also watches videos produced by the American Chemical Society called ScienceBytes and the Cornell lab of Ornithology’s various nest cams. We continue to stargaze as a family, with the aid of a telescope, binoculars, and an Android Application called Space Junk, which identifies celestial objects overhead.

History, Geography, Social Studies & Patriotism and Citizenship:

We are wrapping up our study of the Ancient Near East and Middle East. We have discussions on Judaism, Islam and Christianity, the current conflicts in the Middle East and their historical antecedents, the history, geography, cultures and landmarks, folktales and legends of Syria, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Yemen. Mikro has also been exploring topics of interest using BrainPOP online, including: the Sumerians, Aztecs, Mayans, Incans, the seven wonders of the ancient world, as well as maps, videos, nonfiction and fiction concerning the cultures studied.

In American History/New York History/Patriotism and Citizenship, we have discussed the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the judicial system, New York state government, political current events in Albany and Washington D.C., the Holocaust, prohibition, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and labor movements.


America: In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights by Russell Freedman; When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green and 101 Other Questions About New York by Jean Ashton (partial) .

Middle East:: The Bedouin and The Philistines, both by Fidelity Lancaster; Jordan by Leila Merrell Foster; Welcome the Sabbath by Mark Falstein; One Minute Jewish Stories by Shari Lewis; Folktales from Syria, collected by Samir Tahhan; Let’s Steal the Moon: Jewish Tales Ancient and Recent by Blanche Serwer Bernstein; A Coat for the Moon and Other Jewish Tales by Howard Schwartz; The Phoenicians: Mysterious Sea People by Katherine E. Reece; Israel by Marcia Gresko; The Wise Fool: Fables From the Islamic World by Shainrukh Husain and Micha Archer; Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Folktale by Eric A. Kimmel; We Visit Oman by Khadija Ejaz; Pea Boy and Other Stories from Iran by Elizabeth Laird and Shirin Adi; A Fistful of Pearls and Other Stories from Iraq by Elizabeth Laird; Ghaddar the Ghoul and Other Palestinian Stories by Sonia Nimr; The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales From Around the World selected and retold by Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush; The Wonder Child and Other Jewish Fairy Tales selected and retold by Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush; Saudi Arabia by William Goodwin; The Ancient Near East by Malcolm Yapp; Middle Eastern Food and Drink by Christine Osborne; The Phoenicians by Elsa Marston; Syria by Margaret Beaton; The Three Muslim Festivals by Aminah Ibrahim Ali; Mosque by David Macaulay.

Precolumbian Civilizations of the Americas: Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Maya by Leonard Everett Fisher.

Other: Sailing Is For Me by Thomas J. Vandervoort; Explorers of the Ancient World by Anthony Brierly; The World’s Most Amazing Lost Cities by Ann Weil; My Librarian Is a Camel by Margaret Ruurs; Muktar and the Camels by Janet Graber.


Petra: One of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Archenemies: The Philistines; Legacy of Ancient Civilizations: Carthage and the Phoenicians; Phoenicians: The Alphabet and Carthage’s Hannibal; Global Treasures: Carthage; Global Treasures: Jordan’s Crusader Castles; Ancient Israel and Jerusalem; The Ark of the Hebrew Covenant; My Life on A Kibbutz; My House in Lebanon; My House in Habad Village; My House in Galilee; Shiran and Her Mandolin; Safi and His Darbuka; Itamar and His Violin; Elnathan in Israel; Shlomo Chaim in Israel; Muhammed in Judea; Muhamed in Israel; Eden in Israel; Ancient Arabia.

Field trips: Map Room and Georectification workshop at NYPL; National Museum of the American Indian Children’s Festival: Aloha Days.


Mikro is taking recorder lessons and is learning to read musical notation. He has been exposed to a wide variety of music. He attended a performance of the modern opera The Firework Maker’s Daughter at the New Victory Theater in New York. He also watched a video of Mozart’s Magic Flute. As is our family tradition, we attended the Clearwater Festival again this year, and Mikro enthusiastically participated at Circle of Song. Mikro walks around humming pieces by Bach and Bizet.

Books: The Magic Flute retold by Anne Gatti; Favorite Folksongs by Peter Yarrow.

CDs: our extensive family iTunes library.


Mikro took a pottery class and made figurative sculptures of various mythological creatures including the Hydra, the phoenix, and Medusa. He takes a weekly crafts class at the Croton Free Library. He has continued his drawing and experiments with various media, including pencil, markers, watercolors, markers, colored pencils, acrylic paints and collage/assemblage. Mikro keeps a sketchbook and participates in Sketch Tuesday, an online art challenge for homeschooled kids. He is fascinated with scientific illustration and is making detailed sketches of the skulls and skeletons of mythological creatures, as well as life cycle diagrams and cladograms. He also makes many drawings of snakes, lizards, aquatic macroinvertebrates and other creatures. Mikro also has made many articulated paper puppets of dragons and reptiles. He took a field trip with our homeschool group to the Noguchi Museum in Queens and learned about abstract sculpture.

Books: How to Draw Dinosaurs and How to Draw Robots by Ralph Masiello.

Phys Ed:

Hiking, park days with homeschooled friends and/or family; tree climbing, warm up exercises and running; basketball informally with friends and family; trampoline.


We have discussed avoiding illness through proper hygiene, how germs are spread, proper hospital visiting etiquette, maintaining a healthy weight through proper eating habits and exercise, safety issues related to food allergies, use of an epi-pen, vision and eye safety, maintaining adequate hydration, personal hygiene including dental hygiene, why drugs, alcohol and smoking are unhealthy, HIV and AIDS, and the perils of drunk driving.

Traffic, bicycle and general safety:

We have discussed the importance looking both ways before crossing the street, obeying traffic signals, watching cars for signals, safe and appropriate behavior on public transportation, seatbelts, carseats, not distracting the driver, using a cell phone to call for emergency assistance, hiking and wilderness survival including avoiding hypothermia, not hiking alone, and not consuming unknown plants; disaster preparedness including assembling emergency supplies; what to do if lost or separated from family, how to avoid getting lost in the first place, and how to ask for help.

Fire Safety and Prevention:

We continue to review what to do in a fire emergency, including practicing a family escape plan, stop drop & roll, get low and go, exiting the house immediately and not returning, trying to wake family members, but leaving if unsuccessful, telling firefighters if family and pets are still inside, using a cell phone or going to a neighbor to call 911, and waiting at a designated location for family members. We talked about fire prevention strategies.


As set forth above, and in our three prior quarterly reports, which are hereby incorporated by reference herein, Mikro has made excellent progress this year and is reading well above grade level. He has independently finished books that are over 650 pages long. He will be participating in the Croton Library’s Summer Reading Program. He is making good progress with spelling and penmanship,has begun creating notebooks of drawings, maps and story development notes for fun, tells wonderful stories, and has a rich and advanced vocabulary.

He has a firm grasp on the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and his command of math facts has improved. He is far more confident of his ability to do multi-digit problems.

He is passionate about science, and performs in that subject at several years above grade level. He refers to himself as “a biologist.” Evolution and microbiology are his particular areas of interest.

He enjoys history, especially folklore and learning about the day to day lives of people in ancient times, and how the lives of their descendants today are similar to and yet also different from our own. He has a firm grasp on the Bill of Rights and how our government is supposed to work, and eagerly joins in political discussions and offers his opinion. He is proficient at reading a map, and can identify the continents and countries we have studied on a map or globe.

He has a great love of music and has joined in his mother’s hobby of in writing original lyrics. He loves to sing and is excited to learn to play songs on the recorder.

He is active, healthy and physically fit, and is looking forward to another summer of swimming at Silver Lake.

He has made excellent academic progress in all subject areas, in which he performs at or above grade level. His remarkable enthusiasm for reading frequently gets him in trouble for staying up too late with his Kindle. He remains a curious and self-motivated learner who loves science, nature, history and mythology.

We are extremely proud of his achievements and enthusiasm, and look forward to another wonderful year of learning together.

Dated: June 28, 2013

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