daw.com - December 15

My how time flies.  This has been a repeating theme this semester and once again we hit a milestone - half way through grade 5 or 1 semester until middle school - depends on how you want to look at it.

I want to thank all of you for the wonderful semester.  I keep telling everyone what a magnificent class I have and I am very pleased with the progress so far.  We still have a long way to go, but I remain confident we will make it.  I also want to thank all of you for the assistance for out Winterfest yesterday.  It was a huge success and it could be so without you. 

If you are traveling I hope your travels are safe and happy.  Where ever you end up for the holiday, it is my sincere wish for a time of rest and regeneration. There is not a student in my room who has not earned it.

To all of you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - see you all again on January 8th.

daw.com - December 8

It is my brother's birthday today and that is a reminder for me that the end of the semester is also coming to a close very quickly.  I am busy with report cards and comments still waiting on a few assignments and assessments to be completed before entering grades.  It really has been a fast semester and I have to tell you that in my experience, the second semester is even faster - drats!!!!

Our annual grade 5 Winterfest is next Thursday and everyone should have been contacted now about what to bring.  In case you have forgotten or maybe misplaced the email, here are the expectations.  IF your last name starts with the following letters, the request is beside it.  The food/drinks should be enough for about 10-12 people. Please remember we are feeding 10-12 year olds and that we would like to stay away from anything with nuts in it or prepared with a nut oil.
A-E - Breads and appetizers
F-K - Main courses
L-P - Vegetable, potato, rice pasta
Q-U - Dessert
V-Z - Drinks
After the activities in the morning, students will sit down to a delicious buffet style lunch.

We have been busy trying to complete our recent piece of writing - a report on an historical event.  For the most part I am quite pleased that the lessons I have taught about report writing over the last 6-8 weeks are starting to show in students writing.  One thing I did have to remind students of is that any writing they do from research must always be in their own words. There is an online system I can use that will let me know if a student has copied anything from a book, website, magazine or newspaper.  I should not have to use it with grade 5 students, but it is an important thing to learn early and how easily it is to check.

We will complete our current math unit on addition and subtraction of fractions next week - most likely on Wednesday.  I am really pushing the solving of word problems in multiple steps and seeing some nice results.  This is an ongoing math practice for my class.

A reminder that next Friday all students need to leave the school at 11:30.  There is nothing open or available for them after that so it should be time to go home.  For drivers, you will need to remind them of this.  Busses will run as normal, just earlier in the day.

We will also say goodbye and good luck to one of our own.  Chase is moving back to the USA over the winter break and while it is always hard to lose a member of the class, we all wish him the best of luck in his new adventure.  I do have a memory book for students to leave messages and notes for him.  This can also be an email so he can keep in touch with us.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and I will gladly meet with you.

daw.com - December 1

WOW!!!! It is already a new month and also this means only two weeks until winter break.  Good news is that we are right on track with all the learning we are to do.

Now that we have completed our research for the historical report, it is time to start writing it.  There is a bit of time crunch on this as I do want it published prior to the winter break.  This means there are 9 days to draft, revise and publish.  I feel this is doable within the time frame.  There are some neat projects in this unit and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of report the students end up with.  In the new year, students will take this report and complete a presentation to deliver to the class.

We are also continuing on with our book clubs where one group is reading Sign of the Beaver and another group is reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  I have been working with both groups to help develop a community of readers that shares and discusses the readings from the book they have completed.  This is a long process of learning but one that I am seeing some growth in.   We should complete both these books prior to the winter break.

Our unit in math only has one objective - addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers.  So far we have looked at equivalent fractions, addition of fractions, subtraction of fractions and subtraction of mixed numbers.  While the arithmetic is fairly straight forward, understanding why it works is a harder process.  We are using the rectangular model to prove that these operations work.

As a grade level teaching team we recently had a discussion about grade 5 behavior out of the classroom.  There are some bad words being used in student to student interactions as well as in appropriate content and gestures being used  and this must stop.  No one is exempt.   I would ask that you also explain this kind of activity is both disrespectful to others and inappropriate.  Mr. Byrne will be talking with the students at a Monday assembly.  I can say I have never heard it in class but this does not mean it is not happening.  If it were to happen in class, you would be the first to know as I will not tolerate it.

As we prepare for the winter break I know there may be some of you that need to leave early.  If this is so, please let me know so can make the proper plans for the activities and class learning.  I thank-you in advance for this.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.  I am more than willing to meet with you.