daw.com - August 30

Dear Parents,

Each week there are students in charge of a current event. I have sent home a reminder with these students but I will also list them here.

Monday - Brock
Tuesday - Alex
Wednesday - Christoffer
Thursday - Halle
Friday - day 2, no current events

We have had a great two weeks and I am pleased that everyone has remained happy and healthy.

Our first unit of study for the year begins this Monday. The unit, called Cultural Encounters, deals with the settlement of the original 13 colonies of the USA up to the time of the Revolutionary War. The two essential questions for the unit are Why do people move? and What do people do when others don't think, act or speak the same way they do? Students will have the chance to work through several simulations that give them an idea of what it was like during this time. As we move through the unit they will be asked to become a member of a colony and act and think like this member. We will then prepare for a display as a colony. You might want to put October 8 on your calendar as that is Colony Day for 5C and we will put on a display and reenactment for the parents. We will also be having a special lunch at that time related to the colonists.

We should complete our first math unit this week. Every week we look at strategies to help students with problem solving and this coming week they will have their first chance to use these with two problems to be solved. Students will work collaboratively to work on closing locker doors and also a bunch of dancing students. This is part of our regular math program and we work on it weekly throughout the year.

We have finished the first two writing projects which were part of a mini unit on community. Starting this week we will look at the art of narratives. Telling a story from our lives is a great way for students to build stronger writing skills since the ideas are all from within and do not have be invented. There are two published pieces for this unit.

With shared reading, independent reading and comprehension now well in place we will start our guided reading this week. It is the final part of a regular reading lesson and involves small groups working with me on various subjects that will improve their reading over the year. The groups change frequently and are usually 3-4 students. Each student has an assigned day for library returns and sign outs but there time is not limited to this. They can also go to the library during recess and lunch recess to do the same.

We spent a lot of time on Friday setting up all the technology for my class. Each student now has access to their school email, Google docs and blogger.com through the internet. While we will do most of this at school it is important that everyone knows it is also available at home since most families have internet at home. Students will be setting up their first two blogs which we will use throughout the year - learning and reading. One of the first activities for our Cultural Encounters unit will be using blogs. As soon as these are all set up you might want to FOLLOW these blogs by signing up for them. That way every time an entry is made by your student you will be informed. Students also like it when they see who is following their blogs.

Students must now report their temperature as they enter the school in the morning. It would make things go a lot smoother if you could accomplish this at home and have the reporting paper with your student to show the nurse and teachers checking this each morning. We are no longer doing it weekly - daily starting immediately. The forms are on our web page at: http://dnet.hkis.edu.hk/ups/ - scroll down to find TEMPERATURE FORMS.

A reminder that every Monday all students work from the previous week comes home in a Monday folder. The folder and cover pages need to be returned on Tuesday but the work should be taken out and kept at home. Thanks for your help on this.

A parent asked me about purchasing a laptop for their student and I reminded them of the program starting next year. It is compulsory that you purchase through the school next year as there are copyright issues for the software. With that in mind, it would be best that you do not purchase this year knowing that another one will be needed next year. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Our video this week is of the various activities in the classroom this past week. Enjoy it.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.


Harold Daw