daw.com - December 6

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

Here are some student friendly sites for Current Events.

Good News Daily
Science News for Kids
Time for Kids

As you can see by the picture at the left, we had a great time on Thursday and Friday with the students from the Shenzen Sinolink International School and their teachers. I made them a regular part of the class as much as I could and they all seemed to really enjoy it. It is important for students to be a part of this as sometimes our class is a little isolated and we don't always see the complete picture. I would also like to congratulate the four students who boarded these students for the two nights. They did their best and really showed what we are all about in 5C1.

I also want to congratulate all our budding musicians. In 5C1 we have 6 band students, 5 strings students and 4 choir students. This past week the band and strings had their holiday concerts and on Monday is the choir concert in the Church of All Nations. As you can see by the picture to the right, the band students looked quite relaxed after it was all over.

This coming week has a couple of special events. First off is our Annual Holiday feast on Wednesday. I know we could really use a few more parents to help with setup and cleanup. Please let me know if you can help. By now Mrs. Pushkarna should have been in touch with all of you about timing and food delivery. If not, it will be coming soon.

We are still looking for some parents to help us with our Christmas Crafts on Dec. 15-16. Please consider this as we a bit short this year and can really use the help.

Students also need any of the following for a special event this coming Friday: scraps of cloth, wool scraps, fancy paper, used Christmas cards (just the front picture is needed). They can bring this in any day this week and I will store it for them.

Next is some special days for the students. Monday and Friday are free-dress (Dress for a Clause) days in helping to raise money for the South China Morning Post Operation Santa. It is $20.00 for each day or more if you are so inclined. Monday is dress in red day and Friday is dress in green day. Friday at lunch will also see the start of the sale of Candy Cane grams. Students can purchase one of these for $5.00 to send to friends in the school. Each afternoon the Candy Cane grams will be delivered to the correct person. This sale goes all the way until Dec. 17 with the last Candy Cane grams delivered on the 18th.

This time of year is when the members of the HKIS community pitch in to help out those less fortunate. This years food drive for St. James Settlement is being run by the Cub Scouts. They are looking for canned goods, noodles, flour, bags of rice, baby formula and the like. Boxes are set up outside the office to help collect. As a class we talked about how we can help contribute to our community which is one of the Student Learning Results here at HKIS. I suggested that this is one way we can all help but that there should be something that students have to do to make them more involved. I admit I have no ideas at this time but as a family perhaps you can talk it over and see what comes up. I believe that all the food needs to be in the boxes prior to the Christmas break so the Cub Scouts can package it up and get it delivered.

We have completed all the pollution experiments in the lab. There is one that is continuing in the class and that is the growing of grass under conditions of tap water, acid water (vinegar) and half and half. We will watch the results over the next few days and see where it gets us. Students will then report this on their pollution blog which can be found on their Portfolio Websites. This week we start to look at the final presentation which is a research based project that will end with a Public Service Announcement. Two lessons this week with Mrs. Robinson, our librarian, and two more next week will set students up to complete this after the Christmas break.

Our writing unit on the essay is fully underway. We have primarily been looking at the writing of paragraphs with our thinking. Ideas are being generated through observation, reading of newspapers and from our own thoughts. This coming week students will have to complete the first essay on their own. It will be a personal essay on a topic of their own or one from some prompts I have given them. It will start with a plan (something we call an accordion paragraph) and end with a complete paragraph. This unit will overlap with our Public Service Announcement project in science in that their project will be written as an essay.

In math we continue to work on fraction conversion to decimals and vice-versa. We have spent a lot of time on unit fractions (1 is the numerator with any number as the denominator) as this is where the basic understanding starts. We have also looked at reducing fractions to their lowest form after conversion from decimals. Sometimes it is hard for students to get it all the way, especially with very large decimals. As the week progresses, conversion to percent will start and I am hoping that all the learning in decimals will pay off with a smooth transition since all a percent is, is a fraction where the denominator is 100. We will also have another exemplar to complete.

In reading we have some catching up to do. We missed many reading lessons last week with all the other neat events happening. I expect that this will not be too difficult for students. Book talks and response blogs are part of what happens this week and should be completed by Christmas break.

I wanted to share with you a conversation I had with a parent last week. It was over the "exceeds expectations" category on the report card. This category is there for the exceptional student who consistently shows effort and thinking above that of a regular grade 5 student. Because of the fact that very few students in grade 5 are consistent in their work or thinking, this level of achievement is very difficult to obtain. This is the way it is suppose to be. When the exceptional student shows up, this is the place where they will be assessed. What the conversation boiled down to is that the majority of students will be in the meets expectations level of assessment. This level is constantly changing as the year progresses and students get more and more sophisticated. The learning bar is dynamic since it is normal for progress and expectations to increase as the year moves on. There always has to be something more to shoot for.

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


Harold Daw