daw.com - April 20

It has been quite a roller coaster week.  Not sure if sports was a go or not, find out that on both days it could not go, having a swim time for the team on Thursday, making Ice Cream and Butter and starting with eggs in vinegar, writing our first Literary Essay, finding area when one or more sides has a fractional piece to it, and a myriad of other things has made this week fly by.  We even had our first visits to the middle school in preparation for next year.

Next week sees us completing the current math unit on volume and area.  We have been working a lot recently on word problems and problems that require more than one step to solve them.  An example was a wall to be painted that has two windows.  What is the area to be painted?  We also revisited the area model to look at ways of proving our calculations are correct.  Quite enlightening for some of the students.

Our science unit on Transformations is also coming to a close with a look at chemical and physical changes.  Several experiments, some of the 'yummy' type have been done and we are writing them up with a modified version of a lab report.  Again, this will help students as they move forward in their science learning.  I am pleased to see some fantastic questions coming out of our explorations of matter and change.

Writing a literary essay is no easy feat.  It takes a lot of reading, note taking and then showing supporting evidence for a thesis statement.  So far students are on track with this but I do not expect that it will take hold the first time.  There are further opportunities until the end of the year to continue writing literary essays based on the books they are reading.  This will replace our reading blogs for the remainder of the year.

Of high importance is CASTA (Celebrate And Share The Arts) starting next Thursday.  As I write this I do not know when 5HD's performance time is, but as soon as I do, I will make sure that it is taken home in the daily planners.  Students have also made a CASTA shirt and need to wear it on Thursday as part of the celebration.  We will take in several of the performances for the day and also look at the other work around the school with a critical, but positive, eye.

I will be at the final MSIS (Math Studies in International Schools) course on Wed night, Thursday afternoon and all day Friday.  The sub will have plans to keep the learning alive and moving forward.  I am in the school for this course, just not in my class on Friday.

Next week is also Earth Week and the events are Beefless Monday, Trashless Tuesday, Water Bottle Wednesday, Save Paper Thursday and Lights off Friday.  Some of these are sure to bless your dinner table as we talk about them throughout the week.  I have indicated to students that everyone must be involved if we ever expect a significant change to happen to our planet.

I think this missive has gone on long enough.  Have a great weekend and I am already looking forward to seeing everyone again next week.

daw.com - April 13

Friday the thirteenth - black Friday.  Raining outside and flowers on all the trees.  Summer is just around the corner.  The class reminded me that it is about two months or one fifth of the school year left.

Next week are several events.  The first is sports day.  It will be on Tuesday unless the AQI is high and then it will be on Thursday.  Students need to remember to bring with them clothing and items for swimming, running and being outdoors. Hats, glasses, sunscreen, water bottles, swim togs and sneakers are the order of the day.

Next week we also begin our middle school transition time.  Students get an intro from the MS administration on Thursday, have a visit to a grade 6 class on Friday and get a look at the choices for music classes in MS also on Friday.  Should be a great start to transitioning the class to the middle school.  I will keep you informed of due dates for forms.

We have been quite busy reading about and learning about Literary Essays.  Next week we will start the first draft of our newest learning.  The introduction has the thesis statement, then there is the support of the thesis and finally a conclusion.  I expect to complete this prior to the May long weekend.  We will be publishing literary essays on our reading blogs for the rest of the year.

Our math has taken us on a pathway of three-dimension objects and their volume.  Now it is time to integrate fractions into this.  It can be challenging to figure this out but once again it is an example of why multiplication abilities are so important.  Base TIMES height or length TIMES width TIMES height are the two formulas we look at for volume.  Once again there is a lot of multiplication.

In science this week we looked at physical and chemical changes, displacement to measure volume, movement of molecules at different temperatures and finally how to model science experiments.  Next week we begin to look at how to write up a science experiment with a lab report.  While this is only basic, it is a good intro for students since they will be writing science lab reports for many years to come.

I want to thank all of you for your time and effort during student-led conferences.  I really feel strongly about these and the importance they hold in reflecting on our our year in grade 5.  I hope you gained a further insight into your students learning and also into the fabulous growth I have seen this year.  I cannot be more proud of the students for the work they have done this year.

If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I will set up a time for us to meet.

daw.com - March 23

 We are ready for Student Led conferences.  This week we finalized all the parts so that students will now be able to show you their learning this year.  Here is what you will see.  Each students has 5 placemats (Reading, Writing, Math, Inquiry & L21)  with most of these there are artifacts that show the learning that happened.  They will discuss these with you and show you their work throughout the year.  At any time, you can stop them and ask them questions.  This should take the allotted 40 mins and I think you will find that time flies by.  Towards the end of each conference, I will join in for about 5 minutes to support and answer questions you might have.

I have to admit that I love this time with parents and students.  Personally I think it should happen on a much more frequent basis since there is so much to gain from them.  It is true that the students will be very anxious over these.  I find that many of my students do not take the time throughout the year to talk with their parents and now when faced with it in school, they can be very scared and anxious.  Please take the time to put them at ease and make them feel comfortable.  It is a time of celebration and goal setting for the last quarter of grade 5 and as they prepare to move on to middle school.

Next week is a very short week.  Homework next week will be to complete the final draft of their Fantasy story.  It will be due in to me on Friday.  Most students are well along with this and just need some time to complete it.  They will take home with them a first draft, the part of the final draft they have completed and some blank paper.  The will need some scissors, glue and pencils to complete this project.  We are writing it as a book draft so there are sketches to accompany the writing in preparation for where pictures would be used.

Math is moving very fast.  Students do not find the learning in this unit difficult and there is a lot of hands on building and constructing of prisms before calculating the volume.  Today we looked at the calculations needed to get from area to volume and this went over really well.  In order to make the as real as possible, I use actual prisms I have collected as well as specific math related ones.

Next week is spirit week with Wednesday being Neon dress day, Wednesday being theme day (we will determine this as a class) and Friday being house color day.  I find these are great ways to bring the school together as a community and also let the students have some fun.  I am looking forward to seeing what they do for these days.  I will join them to the best of my ability - yipeeeeee!

Next week we say goodbye to a Masa and welcome Linda.  We will all miss Masa and hope that he stays in touch with us when he is settled back in his home.  At the same time we welcome Linda to the class and I know everyone will help her feel welcome and make her a part of this wonderful community of learners.

After this is a much deserved break and, where ever your holiday takes you, I hope you have a relaxing and fun time.  I look forward to seeing my class back, all refreshed, after the break.