Week XXXVII — June 1 – 5, 2020

IMG_20200529_125206 (1)Our children are ready to advance onto the next stage of their lives, whether the world is ready for them or not. Into your hands I commend their spirits. It was a somewhat out of the ordinary year, I think for all of us. A few of the kids didn’t come around much, so I hope they are doing very well. The children who did come around on the Zoom and through the GoogleDocs and emails, I thought benefited, generally to the extent of the effort that they put in. I am afraid that for the upper grades there may be some distance learning involved as the years go by, so this was a good little interlude to get them to take responsibility for their own learning, which is all the standards and goals in which I have taken an interest.

There will be a REMOTE culmination program for fifth- and sixth-grades at 10:00 AM on June 5, 2020. The online location will be sent out as soon as we are absolutely sure of it. Fourth-grade students are included in the slideshow, so they are encouraged to attend—on line, that is.

Zoom Times Here.

My mother was always fond of the Jacarandas.

Week XXXVI — May 25 – 29, 2020

MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY            Monday, May 25, 2020 is a national holiday. School resumes on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Representation of the relative sizes of objects in the solar system

CULMINATION         Mr. Granade will keep us informed about specifics as our school year begins to close out. It looks like there will be a special on-line program to celebrate the culminations of both the fifth- and sixth-grade students. Fourth graders will want to see the slide show. Culmination will take place on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 10:00 AM. I believe we will be making the program available on the school website, so nobody has to miss work to see it. It will be pre-recorded. You will get an electronic invitation to Culmination.

Wisteria House not in bloom.

FINAL ZOOM           We are doing Culmination on the fifth, which really tells us that our final Zoom sessions will occur on Thursday, June, 4, 2020 at the usual times.

Morning Moon over West L.A.

CHROMEBOOK RETURN               One reason why we can’t Zoom the final week is that we have to return the Chromebooks. Student classroom possessions will be returned in a bag that will also include Culmination Certificates and Awards. Report cards will go by U.S. Mail, assuming we still have a Post Office Department, which goes back to Franklin. Again, Mr. Granade will let you know exactly how we will do all this, but I believe that June 10 and June 11 will be the days that parents can pick up the student bags and RETURN the CHROMEBOOKS and any Richland property such as reusable text books.

“Well, what do you think? That God is like Colonel Sanders, spinning around in the sky?” — Mr. Whittier, Biology II, LAUSD

CLASS IS INSESSION     Meanwhile, we are still meeting every day at 9:00 (4th), 10:00 (6th), and 11:00 (5th).  It may be a carefully guarded secret, but there is Language Arts Homework of some sort every school day, including Friday. I have no doubt that the same is true regarding Ms. Danieri’s program. Ms. Danieri and Mr. Olliff Zoom Times Here.

There’s nothing quite as pretty as Mickey in the morning…




Week XXXV — May 18 – 22, 2020

Again, as we’re more or less at home, there’s not a lot of news. I believe the gentleman across the street had a little trouble starting his car this morning, but that’s about all I know.

I was a little worried if I’d left any little girls behind in Room 27.

You know where to find Mr. O and Ms. Danieri’s Zoom Classes.



Week XXXIV — May 11 – 15, 2020

We have hit a groove, man, and I really don’t have anything in particular to share. I am enjoying the spontaneity of our distance world, if a distance world is what we must have. Every now and then, a lost soul shows up. I like that. Andrew even made the Oobleck that we were talking about when did our chemistry lesson in Benchmark. I get a random book report here, or someone who wants to recite there. I like to see the sixth graders taking notes. That’s the main thing I try to get across in Ancient History class, so it’s good to see that some students automatically take notes when we talk about ancient Rome. Other kids are stretched across the couch or the bed looking at important phone messages, but we like to have them on board anyway. I am very thankful for the time that we have. You know where to find Ms. Danieri’s and Mr. Olliff’s Current Zoom Schedules.

Week XXXIII — May 4 – May 8, 2020

ANOTHER ADDENDUM from Ms. Danieri. The Young StoryTellers are back, and they want to work with their students. Ms Danieri has made all the necessary contacts. The following is the downloadable link to the Zoom schedule for the fifth-grade students who wish to continue participating in YST.  I believe some responses are time-sensitive, so parents of current YST participants might check email from Ms. Danieri.

Young Storytellers Schedule

ADDENDUM from Ms. Danieri:

The following PDF file was prepared by Ms. Danieri to coach students on How to Access Schoology. One can download it, follow the steps, and be able to access Ms. Danieri homework on the Schoology platform. Schoology is the platform the District uses in middle school and high school, so students who are proficient in Schoology will have an advantage! How to Access Schoology

We have been away since March 13, about six weeks, and look at what has happened to our school. Imagine six months more, or six years, and sixty. When would it be so cracked, broken, and overgrown that it would take an archaeologist or botanist to even discern that there was ever civilization, if that’s what we called it, on this land? Man fears time; Time fears the Pyramids—but Nature fears nothing for it always wins.

In other news, slowly but surely, we are bringing in our lost sheep, and I am happy to have them on board. (That was a mixed metaphor. Remind me to iron out that bottleneck!) We have a few strays, but there is always a place at the table should they join us once again.

Interested parents, I am hoping to get a learn-at-home photo from all of our students for an end-of-the-year video. Even if they don’t join us on the Zoom, they must be learning something. Technology might be a problem for some, so if you could take a photo on the phone and send it to me wolliff@lausd.net I would be pleased to include your student.

I understand that all of the second semester Young Storytellers will have a chance to work on and complete their projects. A special permission form is necessary, and Ms. Danieri will contact the previously selected fifth grade students.

The Zoom Times are posted per usual linkMR. OLLIFF & MS. DANIERI CURRENT ZOOM SCHEDULE.

As can be readily evidenced, I was in the old classroom the other morning, trying to find evil assignments for my students.

I came across this the other morning on my stroll, and I thought of Tuck Everlasting. I think the sixth grade read that back in fifth grade. Our fifth grade would have gotten to it this year.

Note for fifth grade: Andrew did his State Capital test on line in front of witnesses, and it might help his Social Science grade. Fifth grade students who have yet to do their state capitals have a means of improving their grade. If you already did it, this is not for you. Just let me know, and we can arrange a time.

Week XXXII — April 27 – May 1, 2020

FIELD TRIP #2           Ms. Danieri has arranged another field trip. We are to hear a concert at the Colburn School, the same program that most of our veteran students have attended in years past. It came up very suddenly. It is scheduled for Monday at 10:00 AM, which will interfere with the Sixth-grade class, which we will have to skip. Sixth-grade homework will be a thank-you letter, like Ms. Danieri expects. The fourth and the fifth grades will meet as usual at 9AM and 11AM, respectively, unless the Q&A goes beyond 11AM. I will open the meeting in a timely manner, and wait if necessary.


This is a YouTube, not a Zoom.

Question and Answer Session after the Concert:
In the link I just provided, there is text above the video that says something like “join the Zoom Q+A after the broadcast HERE”, and there’s a password. That link will take you to the Zoom Q+A.
The credentials below are what is on that same webpage. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Our Program       Both the number and the percentage of participating students, many of them as regular as they had been before the disruption, pleasantly surprises me. There is a growing esprit de corps. And, as always, I am delighted that so few students regularly take advantage of my commentaries on their homework. It saves me a great amount of time. But I would not mind if some of the shy would do homework now and again. I am young, and I can handle the load.

While I don’t know of anyone who thinks this form of learn-at-home is superior to what we had been doing for the last one-hundred-twenty years, I believe that the students who are actually engaging every day and doing the assignments are benefitting far beyond what might seem to be or not be a relevant upper elementary curriculum. They are learning to take responsibility for themselves, to self-direct their learning, and the present situation can only accelerate the incidence of learn-at-home cases, whether in high school or certainly in colleges and universities. The students who participate in the sessions in a professional (student) manner, understand the tasks, and then complete them in a timely way are, fortunately or otherwise, preparing themselves for that brave new world. In short, which I don’t do (there’s an aside, Anabell—whoops! There’s another!), even in these difficult times, students can continue to grow.


Cleaning Products     I have been in the business for a spell, and, I suppose because I’ve generally had upper-elementary children who generally know how to be safe around household chemicals, I have never felt the need to caution my students to avoid ingesting cleaning products. Nevertheless, at this juncture, I would endorse the idea that we don’t do that.

Week XXXI — April 20 – 24, 2020

We are getting into a very good rhythm with all this Zooming and Edgenuity. The students who are attending are participating well. I get about 60% of the students to turn in homework from time to time. Some are very regular. Others do what they feel like doing. I’m glad when students participate in any positive way. I think everyone should check in one way or another once a week. We just want to know that we’re all okay, if we are.

We have thirty-six students, and I have to date received ten learn-at-home photos. It is for an end-of-year video, and I want to include everyone in this part of it, even if they don’t really hang out with us on Zoom. Urge your pals.

I am posting a listing of the homework and all of the homework documents along with the Benchmark article on the various grade level pages. I will also attach the documents to the Zoom invitation letter for next Monday through Friday.

GLITCH   For some reason, the 11:00 AM Fifth Grade meeting disappeared from my Zoom control. Seriously. I know it sounds suspicious, like my dog ate the homework, and I missed my last class on Friday, but that’s what happened. Honest! I am guessing it might have had to do with Eastern time as opposed to Pacific time, or some such matter. I will try to avoid the same error next time. I hope the field trip went well. The students have been invited to write thank-you letters for the Rangers, which I will edit on Google Docs or whatevs.