daw.com - February 2

It has been a great week with so many neat things happening it is going to take some time to cover them all.  The primary goal of this week was to connect our wellness unit to China with China Link activities.  On Monday we cooked with a chef from a main hotel downtown.  Students cooked salmon with a braised veggie side.  It was well done and given there was nothing left, it must have been a hit.  On Tuesday we had a gentleman come in to teach us Tai-Chi.  As a martial art he was most emphatic that it is health first, defense second and action third.  In fact the students learned that the amount of concentration needed for this was quite a bit.  On Thursday we did some Yoga with a professional teacher from the Yoga institute downtown.  This was followed by our participation in a Chinese Tea Ceremony.  It was quite interesting to learn about the origins of the ceremony and tea itself here in
China.  The leader was a lady that told the events in a story format.  Today students participated in Chinese calligraphy where they learned some routines in holding the brush and the proper way to swipe the brush to make the characters.  Lastly was a trip to flower arranging where again, the two leaders taught the students about the importance of this in Chinese society.  It was a great week and a good way to connect our personal wellness (in all areas) to China.

We also spent Wednesday morning cooking up Banana Bread and again, given that there was none left, it must have been a hit.  This was part of our fractions unit that also included conversions as the recipe had the temperature in Fahrenheit while our ovens are in Centigrade.  There was one loaf that was undercooked, but after checking things out, I believe it was a problem with the over.  The group doing the cooking did the conversion correctly and the settings on the over were also done correctly.  I hope to take them into the kitchen once more for our math unit before it is finished towards the end of March.

We had quite a week of absences racking up a total 19 in just 4 days.  I know this is the flu season and this is not unexpected, but it does remind us of our need to stay clean and healthy.  I think most of the class has recovered well and we can continue to move forward with our learning.

Our writing has seen us complete our first drafts and many of the students complete their final drafts.  These will be part of their writing treasury for the year and shared at student conferences as well as sent home once assessed.  The next story will be done with the context of "The Hero's Journey" which you can watch here on Youtube if your want to learn some more.  I expect this will take us until after the holiday to complete.

Our math unit is really focused on problem solving at the moment and the students are doing a great job of this.  I am working hard to make sure there is a great deal of understanding in math before we move on to the last three sections of our Multiplication and Division of Fractions.  We will look at designing and mathematically working out plans for a playground next week.

Please keep your students reading.  I feel that this has waned over the past few weeks and yet it is the single most important aspect of moving forward with language learning at this stage.  Reading will encompass all areas of learning starting next year and most of the learning after grade 5 will not include how to read so it is important that this skill be fine tuned by the end of this year.  Once a night, all seven nights can really help this skill along.  The time is not important - just a quiet, uninterrupted, individual reading time where they read out loud to someone or by themselves.  We are working on theme in a book at the moment and looking back over the books we have read as a class to determine theme in the books.

The parent meeting about puberty and what we teach in grade 5 is next Friday February 9th at 8:30am in the MPR.  A doctor from BJU will talk to the parents first and then the teachers will be there to go through the curriculum.  Please be advised that while physical changes is a big part of puberty, we also look at social, emotional and health related to puberty and growing into adolescence.  It is a one week part of our wellness unit.

There is also a parent coffee next Tuesday February 6th at 8:30 in the ESCAFE.  The theme of this is ES Math.  If you have questions about math, this might be the opportunity you have been waiting for to get them answered.  The math vertical committee will be on hand to help assist with questions and showing what we do in class.

One quick reminder, as we get ready for Chinese New Year, please let me know if you will be leaving early or returning late from the holiday.  This is just to help with my planning in the class.  Shoot me a quick email to let me know.  A reminder that CNY starts early this year with the last day of class on Wednesday February 14th.

That is about it for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me and I will set up a time that we can meet together.

daw.com - January 26

We are moving along in our Wellness unit and it is time to start thinking about Puberty which is part of this unit.  There is a parent meeting on Friday February 9th from 8:30-9:30 in the morning.  It will be held in the MPR.  This meeting will involve a doctor who will cover the topic with the parents and then the teachers will review the material we will cover in class.  If you are unable to make this meeting but still have questions, please feel free to contact me with the questions and I will answer them for you.  While it is a time of concern for parents and students, it is an important time in the life of a student and the more they understand the better off they are for life.

Our writing unit has seen us move toward our final drafts.  This first FANTASY piece is called A Day at the Beach where I supplied the setting for the short story and the students did the rest.  We looked at some of the components of a good fantasy story and also at something called the Hero's Journey as students studied what was needed for their story.  I have set a date of next Friday for the final draft to be handed in.

In math we are currently multiplying whole numbers by fractions and we move on evaluating expressions with parenthesis and also word problems with operations in fractions.  This last part is something I have been putting strong emphasis on in class as I feel it is something the entire class needs to be stronger at.  If a problem cannot be converted to a mathematical equation, then the problem has not been understood.  It is not unusual at all that problems have more numbers in them than are needed for a solution.

Next week we will have our China-Link activities for our unit in wellness.  This involves being in the cooking lab twice, learning Tai-Chi, participating in flower arranging, calligraphy and the Chinese Tea Ceremony as well as some other activities that relate both to China and our wellness unit.  Every year we do this it is a highlight for the students.  Look forward to some interesting conversations about this.

We are approaching Chinese New Year and I know that many people travel for this holiday.  If you need to pull your student out early or come back late please let me know so I can plan accordingly.  Just an email is all I need.  Thank-you in advance for this.

That is all for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.

daw.com - January 19

Just a quick reminder that I will out of class next week from Monday to Wednesday.  I have a family event to attend to in Los Angeles. While I will be on my email, there will be a time delay in responding.

Also a reminder that report cards for the first semester are out now.  If you did not get yours please let the ES office know.

Our week looked at fighting diseases as part of our wellness unit.  We had a discussion about how we fight disease and how our body helps us with this.  It included getting shots to help with our immunity and also about eating properly, sleeping enough and exercising.  This will be a big theme in this unit as there is not a single piece that makes us healthy - it is a combination of things.  We move on to look at our image and what we think about it.

This week you should have got the latest writing assessment and Historical Evidence assessment.  If you have not seen these please ask your student about them. One was sent home on Wednesday and one today.

We are well along with our first Fantasy story which is titled A Day at the Beach.  The idea is that I have given the students the setting and they have to create a story around this setting.  It is a short story so we have started with the ending and are now crafting the rest of the story.  We should be finished later next week or early the week after.  Following this we will be creating a story as a class and individually based on The Hero's Journey which is a formula for writing fantasy writing.

Our math unit has looked at dividing and multiplying whole numbers by fractions.  The hardest concept here is that the answers are smaller than the original - yet when reasoned out, it should make perfect sense.  We have looked at a fractional set as well as the splitting of a whole number into fractional components.  We mostly use perfect fractions which are factors of the whole number to make learning easy and well understood.  We will move to more difficult factions later in the unit.

That is all for today, have a great weekend.  If there are any questions you have, please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set a time up to meet you.