daw.com - May 16

This week saw the completion of several items for the year.  The last two literary essays are now done and I will get to assessing them this week.  For the most part they were well done.  I was impressed that the one assigned as homework was on time and complete - by everyone in the class.  A job well done.  We also completed our last two parts to the Transformations Unit and they are all in our Inquiry book as well.

The next pieces of writing follow on the heels of the essay unit but this time it us persuasive essays.  We will start off with one on Chocolate Milk served at lunch in school cafeterias.  There is plenty of opinions and research on this for students to really develop a great argument.  We will stick with the 5 paragraph structure for the time being as they are familiar with it so that will need only review rather than teaching.  I can then focus on gathering evidence and making an argument.  Eventually this will lead to a final debate in the class.  Please note that I use the word debate very cautiously as it will be a very structured semi-debate.

Our unit on economics started to look at the globalization of economics.  We took a look at 12 infographics that got the students really thinking about what it means to be a part of a global economy.  Next week they will develop a presentation based on fact sheets specific to categories associated with the globalization of economics.

Out math until changed pace this week to the development of rules.  These rules are based on straight lines and look at the relationship of the x-coordinate to the y-coordinate.  This is the first time we have used an algebraic expression to graph a line.  For the time being we will be sticking with straight lines. Although I am not surprised, there is some vocabulary in this unit that is giving some students difficulty.  I will continue to review this with the class in our daily lessons.

As we head to the final weeks of the year there are some things that are now set in stone.  On June 7,8,11 and 12 grade 5 students will be eating lunch in the MS/HS cafeteria.  This means a lot more freedom in choice for meals.  It also means you might need to talk to your student about limits in spending as it is no longer a set meal price but rather a price for each part (main dish, drink and dessert).   Of course, if students are still bring a lunch from home, this is not a problem.  Microwaves and hot water are available for students.

On June 13th, the grade 5 team will have their annual barbecue so students will not need a lunch.  There will be burgers, fries, veggies, fruits and a drink for all the grade 5 students.  Any student not wishing to participate is invited to bring a lunch from home.  Eating in the cafeteria is not an option as there are supervision issues with this.  This is a student only event.

On June 14th, there will be a whole school assembly first thing in the morning to say goodbye to those students leaving and also to all the grade 5's as they move on to middle school.  It is usually quite a nice event.  This day is a half day and students are dismissed for summer break at 11:30 am.
If there is anything you need to talk to me about, please let me know and I will gladly set up a time we can meet.

daw.com - May 11th

I am pleased with what I saw as students took the MAP test this week.  A quick examination of the teacher results does not show anything I do not already know and for the most part shows positive growth.  Remember that the test is taken toward the end of the year so the evaluative specs of it are higher than they were in the fall so all growth is a good thing.  I think that results should be out to parents later this month.

One thing I did notice and also talked with the class about is stamina.  At this age and time of the year I would expect students to be able to be stay on talk, including the map test, for at least 25 minutes.  This was not the case for the majority of the class.  A lot of my students found things to distract them both external (water bottles, pencils erasers etc) but also electronic (swishing the mouse pointer, rapidly moving the selection box over and over).  We talked as a class about this and agreed that it is something to continue to work on.

Our second and third essay's are quickly becoming a reality.  One is a homework assignment the final drafts will be due in next Thursday morning.  Everyone handed in a first draft today and I will read these over the weekend and comment on their work to help make it better and also to assist with the revision process.  The classroom essay is moving along quickly and I expect it to be published by next Friday.

Our math unit has looked at parallel and perpendicular lines to the x-axis and y-axis of the coordinate plane.  This will now move to the development of equations that represent what we have on the plane.

As we head to the end of the year, let me know if you would like a final teacher conference.  I would also like to be informed if you plan on leaving early so I can make the necessary plans to complete the year for all my students.  In the mean time, have a great weekend.

daw.com - May 4

May the fourth be with you......A short week but plenty of learning happening in all sorts of areas.

We started to learn about trading and value of goods this week as we played a game called Settlers of Catan.  IN this game the students need to build roads to build houses and to build cities.  To do this they need to collect resources - sheep, wood, bricks, wheat and steel.  Since no two games are the same they are finding that scarcity of resources happens more often than they thought and this changes the value of items.  We will look at this further as we continue in the unit next week.

Our writing has been two fold but both are literary essays.  Students are finishing off the second of their assigned literary essays and starting, as their first homework project, the essay from IN the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson that they have just finished reading.  They have until Tuesday morning to complete their planning sheet and on Friday of next week they need to hand in their first draft.  The following week they will complete their final draft either on a word processor, hand written or on their blog.  All of this is a homework assignment.

We have also started to look at persuasive essays by looking at what an argument is and what kind of details you need for one.  This is the final assessment for this unit and it will be in the form of a debate.  Not an easy thing to do, but lots of fun.

Put last math unit for the year is the coordinate plane.  This week included a look at designs that can be made from points on a plan, the definition of the x-axis and y-axis and also a look at reading coordinate pairs.  Not too much time on it this week but it will pick up next week.

MAP tests are next week on Tuesday (reading), Wednesday (Language) and Thursday (Math).  As most of the students in my room have done these before, I am expecting an ease of the testing time.  Results should be out prior to the end of the year.  For me the results are not too critical since they represent a single snapshot.  Hopefully, they should show growth from the start of the year.  Students should get lots of sleep and have a good breakfast prior to coming to school to do the MAP tests.

As we approach the end of the year there are two things I want to remind you of.  If you are planning on leaving early, please let me know.  This is very important for grade 5 as I want them to get their T-Shirt, Yearbook and all their materials safely home.  The other thing is a request for a final conference.  If you feel you need one please let me know and I will schedule in for the last two weeks of the school year (June 4-13).

Have a great weekend and enjoy what looks to be good weather.