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

daw.com - August 23

Dear Parents,

Each day 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 - Norika
Tuesday - Sabrina
Wednesday - Christos
Thursday - day 2, no current events
Friday - Nikhita

It has been a great week and the students seem to be settled into yet another school year. Most of the routines of the class are in place and students are embracing them in their own individual way. I congratulate all of them for a wonderful week.

The biggest change coming this week is the weekly Vocabulary. I use a program called Wordly Wise which consists of 15 words with all the definitions. There are 5 parts to the program and students will do this each night as part of their daily homework. On Thursday night they will need to study for the test which is on Friday. The test is in two parts; 1) I will give them the definitions and they have to write the word for that definition and 2) sentences without the word are listed and students need to fill in the blanks with the words from the week. This is included in their homework packet I sent home on Friday.

We will also start our time lines this coming week so on Monday and Tuesday students will need to summarize an important event for each year of their life. For the younger years I have mentioned that they need to talk to their parents and take notes. If possible students can also collect pictures (photos, magazine cutouts, printouts from the computer, or drawings etc.) to put into their personal time lines. Please help your student out where you can for this very neat project. We will complete the project in class and this is just a data collection students are doing. Please note that students should only bring photographs that you do not want returned as they may need to cut them or reshape them.The instructions and papers for note taking are part of their homework packet I sent home on Friday.

The first of two writing prompts will happen Mon-Wed of this week. Students will have to complete a piece of writing based on a prompt given to them. It is marked by two teachers other than myself. If a student was here at HKIS last spring we will compare their scores and see where there are still teaching opportunities.

Reading this week will see us start our first shared reading and also guided reading. While the first is a class project the second is small groups that work with me. Reading lessons this week will continue to look at how students read and think while they are reading.

Our first unit in math - Number Theory is progressing very well. Students should be able to explain things like arrays, factors, factor rainbows and number models; mostly for multiplication and division. This coming week we move into divisibility rules, prime and composite numbers, square numbers and square roots. I will refer to square roots as unsquaring numbers and we will work with perfect numbers.

One new part of the classroom will be the introduction of Monday Folders. This is where I send home all the work of the previous week. Parents are asked to sign they received it. The folder is then returned the next day.

We had our first classroom elections and I want to congratulate Sabrina, Christos and Lucas as they were elected by their peers. All students will have an opportunity to partake throughout the year since there is a new election about every 6 weeks.

The pictures this week come from a community event we held with the other two classes in the 5C cluster. Students really had a great time.

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


Harold Daw

daw.com - August 16

Dear Parents,

Welcome to grade 5. I hope you all had a warm and pleasant summer vacation wherever you happen to have ended up. I took a short trip back to Calgary to visit with my mother and sister. We all had a great time.

Almost every Sunday you will receive a class letter outlining important information for your student. Please review it carefully each week. I do try to be as concise as possible but sometimes this ends up being very difficult. Due to this summary letter each week, I rarely contact parents during the week. You will always find my letters emailed out as ‘daw.com – subject matter’ to allow you to know it is not spam. All letters will simply have the link to our class blog which is http://dawcom-newsletters.blogspot.com/. You might want to save this link in your favorites in case you need it.

I am looking forward to meeting up with each of you on Monday where I will ask you to fill out some forms, volunteer for the year and get pictures of your students. I will also review a few important aspects of my class that will help it run smoothly over the year.

If you have students that are affected by the cold it would be a good idea to send a sweater they can leave at school. With ceiling mounted air-conditioners that blow down there are times they can be chilled. I do keep the air-con controlled but with 24 of us in the room it must stay on for comfort.

This week we will begin the first unit in math on Number Theory. Attached to this email is a PDF file which is the Family Letter for this unit. You should look it over to understand what is being taught and assessed in this unit. It will also help you when your student asks for help. You will get a family letter at the start of each of the 12 units in math.

We will also be starting our reading program this week. This is a twofold program – one part at home and one part at school. I am asking that students read for 30 minutes a night for at least 6 nights a week since one of the goals of the school is to make students lifelong readers. Students will get a form each week that needs to be completed each time they read at home. It should be fairly straight forward. Once a week, Thursday’s, I ask parents to initial the form as a check to keep students responsible about their reading at home. I will do the same with the sheet here at school.

Everyone is hyped up and ready for school. Have a look at the video which looks at the room and some other components of my class.


Harold Daw