daw.com - December 11

Great news from the class - for the second year in a row 5HD won the World Air Toss championship.  The trophy is once again proudly displayed in the classroom with our name prominently displayed for all to see.  Congrats to the all the students - they did an amazing job.  I was also impressed with the sportsmanship they showed not only to the second place team but all the teams that were part of the competition.
This week's current events are as follows;
Tuesday - Sonya
Wednesday - Andrew
Thursday - Stephanie
We will forgo the Friday current events as we have a school assembly for the first part of the morning.  If students cannot get to Newsela then I have emailed them three other sites that might be of help.
This week we have to say goodbye to two of our classmates - Sonya and Sangwoo.  Sonya is returning to Korea and Sungwoo is moving to Germany.  I am sure I speak for the entire class in wishing them all the best in their new adventures.  We all hope they stay in touch with what is happening.  I have made up a memories book for each of them and students will leave messages and wishes.  I will make sure they get them prior to dismissal.
As my Christmas gift to the class, there will be no homework other than Current Events this coming week.
There is a lot happening next week so please take note.  On Monday we have the HS science students coming to review the student science fair experiments.  This is a great way for some interaction with the HS and ES as well as assisting my students with some (almost) peer to peer assessment.  Then on Tuesday is our Science Fair from 11:15-12:15.  You should have received your invitation today through the daily planner.  The goodbye counseling lesson for Sonya and Sangwoo is scheduled for Wednesday.  The ES counselors do an excellent job of this. Thursday is our annual Winterfest.  This is a time when there are fun activities, we watch a movie and then have a buffet lunch.  A really fun day for everyone.  Friday is a half day with students having a whole school assembly first thing in the morning and dismissal is at 11:30.
I expect to complete the current math unit on Fractions early next week and will be giving students the final assessment.  We then move on to a really short unit on data that will extend the work we have done with our Prove It unit on graphing and the collection of data.
One thing some of the students have indicated to me is a lack of things to do over the holiday.  With this in mind I have created two projects they can work on if they so desire.  They are attached to the end of this blog.  One is a calculation of the 12 Days of Christmas and the other is the Great Chocolate Caper.  Use as needed.
I want to take this time to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.  It should be a time for family and celebration.  Take the time to do both so that when we return in January, everyone is re-energized and ready to go.
Harold Daw

daw.com - December 4

To start this week off I have a request of my parents.  As the holiday approaches it has been my experience that some of you will leave early.  If this is the case could you please let me know as soon as possible.  There are lots of assessments happening the last week of school prior to Winter Break and I want all students to take them.  It is better than waiting three weeks and taking them after the break.  Thank-you in advance for this help.
This week's current events are as follows;
Tuesday - Jungle
Wednesday - Arianna
Thursday - HaeWon
Friday - Sveva
Please remember that the current events replaces the homework rather than being an add on.
This week will be the last week of homework for this year.  At this announcement the entire class erupted in a raucous cheer.  Of course, it did not take them long to notice that this is because when we return from Winter Break it is a new year - and homework will resume with a change to the weekly routine.  There will be no homework at all next week as my Christmas present to the class.
As I write this blog post most of my students have indicated that they have completed their science experiment.  It sounds like they all had a great time and a few discoveries were made along the way as well.  We have already started to create the tri-fold board and next Monday we start writing the Lab Report.  We will continue with our regular process of a first draft, one peer edit, one teacher edit and then final draft.  Students must bring their Science Experiment booklets next Monday to start the Lab Report.  This booklet is also part of the assessment as it reveals the process they were suppose to undergo to complete the project.
A quick recap of the current projects includes a realistic fiction writing piece, science lab on paper airplanes, novel study of Sign of the Beaver, continued work with suffixes and a look at word sums, a look at decimals relating to fractions also the addition of fractions, and finally a problem of equally dividing snacks up among a class.  As you can see, we are a busy community and one that is always learning.
Sometime this coming week you should get an email from our homeroom mom about the Winterfest.  This is an annual activity we do in grade 5 that involves three things.  The morning will have a time where students can participate in a number of activities, then there is a buffet lunch and finally a movie.  This all happens on Dec 17th and families have been assigned foods to supply for the buffet lunch and also asked to donate some cookies or cupcakes to decorate.  Every year the grade 5 students look forward to this event.  I also have a special activity for students on the last day prior to winter break.  A really nice way to wrap up a great semester.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set up a meeting with you.
Harold Daw

daw.com - November 27

We seem to be right on track with the current events and I am really pleased with what I have seen so far.  Students have found some great articles to report on and they have tried to make connections as to how this event impacts someone around the world.  Remember that one of the objectives of this program is to work our way up to the Impact unit at the end of the year by looking at current news and happenings around the world. Here is next week's schedule;
Tuesday - Claire
Wednesday - Henry
Thursday - Kevin
Friday - Elgin
Since Newsela.com is not blocked here in China, here are three other websites that students might find helpful.  They are also welcome to use newspapers, magazines or other information sources you might have at home.
BBC Newsround
Dogo News
Scholastic Magazines
Any assistance you can offer your child I am sure will be greatly appreciated.

Next week students will start their science project experiment as their weekly homework.  They have spent some time in class formulating a question, researching some information about their experiment, developing a hypothesis, creating a materials list and making up a procedure.  When students do their experiment they are expected to keep track of the results.  It is also a good idea to take photos of their work as they do it so they can display these when it comes time for the science project fair on Dec 15th.  In class we will start to do the writeup of the lab and also prepare for the showcase.  The experiment is entirely done at home as a homework assignment.  There will be no other homework next week other than this and those involved in current events.
As I prepare to complete the end of semester reports, I have been doing some informal testing in writing, reading and problem solving.  If at any time you want to know anything about this, please let me know as I would be more than willing to meet with you.  Obviously, I am hoping to see some real growth since the start of the school year.  I will be in touch with you should I not see this or see that it is not where I expect it to be.

We completed our last round of literature circles this week and will return to these with new books starting right after Winter Break.  Students got a taste of what they needed to read and learn from the reading in order to talk about the books in the discussion time.  The only written assignments for this is completion of think marks that involve FAT questions, making connections, a look at the setting and changes in the characters.
We have also completed our Biography Sketches and I was pleased with both the research he students did and also the final write up.  They did a first draft, edited and revised it and finished off with a final draft.  We move on to Fiction writing next with a look at realistic fiction first.

Our math unit on Fractions started off by looking at unit fractions (fractions where the numerator is 1) and how this can help solve problems with other multiples of this fraction.  We will then move on to comparing fractions and also making equivalent fractions as we get ready to add and subtract fractions next week.  There are a lot of manipulatives we use in this unit so students can both see and prove various algorithms.  Our problem solving has taken us to a running race with students that start at different times and places.  Should have an interesting finish.
Last thing is a reminder that November reading logs are due in on Monday when I will give students a December reading log.  Please help to remind your student about this.
I you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.  I will gladly set a time up to sit down with you and discuss these.
Harold Daw

daw.com - November 20

The biggest and most exciting news this week was the addition of a new student to our class.  On Thursday morning, to the cheers and assistance of all the class, Jungle joined us.  I was so pleased with the students helping him on his first day and he seemed to become part of the class almost instantly.
A problem has arisen with our current events.  Presently the main website we use, Newsela, has now been blocked by the Information Firewall of China.  Since there is no time frame with this, we will have to assume that it is closed for the rest of the year.  Instead we can use the following websites to gather information about news topics that impact our community.  I have sent and email to all the students with these websites already linked to it.
Next week the students doing current events are;
Tuesday - Nicole
Wednesday - May
Thursday - Eric
Friday - Claire
This week, as part of our science unit called Prove it! I set the students to several engineering challenges.  I was amazed at how the students planned, organized, collaborated and completed the challenges.  The first one was to get a marshmallow as high off the ground as possible using only spaghetti and tape.  The second one was to create the tallest structure possible that would hold a golf ball using only newspaper. I am sure it would be great conversation if you ask your student about this.
We have now completed all the gathering of research for our biographies unit.  Next week we will start to write up the biographical essay.  I was impressed with the gathering of data the students did and will comment on their research and process before handing back their booklets to them.  They will complete a final draft of their biography by next Friday.
We started to look at our science experiment project.  It has to be a experiment where there is only one variable that changes and that change must be able to be changed at least 5-6 different ways.  By Tuesday of next week, each student will have thought of an experiment to do and completed the question, hypothesis, materials list and procedure.  Once this is completed and I have conferenced with them, they can then proceed.  The entire experiment will be a home based project.  I have asked students to keep you informed of the process all the way along the road.

We continue with our reading of Sign of the Beaver and the assignments that go along with this.  In the coming week I expect to end our first round of literature circles.  The next round of lessons and reading for literature circles will start the following week.
This brings me to a couple of reminders.  Please make sure that your student is reading out loud at least twice a week for 5-10 minutes.  This is to improve fluency.  I constantly test this with students and am a little worried that I am not seeing the improvement I should be.  The best way to be come a more fluent reader is practice reading out loud with proper pronunciation, expression and use of punctuation.  Secondly, I do expect that each student will read every night and that when this is completed an adult will sign off on it.  I do not specify a time as that is individual.  However, the reading should be unbroken for the time the student reads.  At this time I am looking for students who can read and work for a constant 20-25 minutes.  I am not seeing this with too many of my students.
Lastly, please make sure that you take the time to read and sign the daily planner.  It will keep you up-to-date with what is going on in your child's education at school.  I do make each student complete it everyday and I sign it as well. I thank-you in advance for making these experiences positive for your student.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact me.  I will set up a time that we can meet to discuss your concerns.
Harold Daw

daw.com - November 13

We are well into our daily current events and so far the students have really done a great job.  Please remember that this replaces the nightly homework, does not add on to it.  Next weeks students are as follows;
Tuesday - Akari
Wednesday - Maxim
Thursday - Harry
Friday - Jovan
Each night before they have their events due, I will place their CE booklet in their outbox to be taken home.  It needs to be completed and returned the next day.  Please feel free to give them all the help they need.  Current events are to show how there is an impact to the community, world or people since this is a lead in to our IMPACT unit later in the year.
We will complete our unit on Division next week with the final assessment later in the week.  The unit has focused on division by single digits, division by two digits, division of decimal numbers and division by decimal numbers.  The latter of these four is still very nebulous for many students as they still do not really see why the answers work the way they do.  We have also completed two exemplars on geometric spaces and area that the students did quite well in overall.  Our next exemplars involve time and distance.
This week students chose who they will research for their biography project.  The research will take the following forms.  For 6 days students will research their topic with books, reference materials from the library and online databases.  Next week's homework will entirely be devoted to research on the internet with a minimum of two websites.  I have told students that they cannot use WIKIPEDIA other than for gathering general data since this website can be changed by anyone out there.  All information on the web needs to be referenced twice, hence the minimum of two websites, so that accuracy can be assured.  Students have a research booklet that they will take home and back to complete all the research on their topic.  The research is due next Friday.
It is also time for students to start thinking about what they want to do for their final Prove It! project.  This project needs to be focused on the changes of a single variable at a time and must show the learning we have done in the unit.  I will be explaining how the process will work during our Inquiry time next week.  The grade level has determined out science fair date and time so mark it on your calendars - Dec 15th from 11:15-12:15 in the morning.  It is always a great way to see all the really neat projects the students prepared.  This will be a whole grade event.
In reading we have completed out third of four Literature Circles.  These are really short books so that students can get use to reading and discussing the books.  There have been a couple of lessons on reading discussions and a few more still to come.  We will do our fourth book next week.  Students are completing a Think Mark for each book they read in which they look at FAT questions, changes to the character and setting.  We are also well into our novel study of Sign of the Beaver.  
Thats about all for this week.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me and I will set up a time to meet with you.
Harold Daw

daw.com - October 30

Congratulations to Eric, Elgin, Haewon and Akari - the 5HD Jedi Jugglers, also to Eric - our first Dragon Award recipient and to Stephanie, Haewon, Andrew and Akari - for performing during the LES assembly.

Here are the coming weeks current events  students;
Tuesday - Arianna
Wednesday - Haewon
Thursday - Sveva
More information about this later in the blog post.

Once again I find that the week has flown by with some really neat things happening in 5HD.  We started the week off with a visit to Ken Nesbitt, the visiting poet laureate from the USA.  He regaled us with our own unique poem involving sports and foods - two very unmatched groups.  By the time we were done we had a start to a real neat poem;
Soccer with sushi
Basketball with Berries
Skiing with Sundaes
Cheering with Cherries
Dancing with Donuts
This is awesome, dude!
Nothing is better than
Playing with food.
Since poetry is an year long unit, this was a great addition to our work with creation and reading of poetry.  Then on Tuesday morning we got to take part in the UES assembly where he gave us examples of what he has done in both writing poetry and re-writing songs in poetic form.  The students really enjoyed him.

This week we also finished off our first lab in which we looked at how to construct the best parachute.  On Monday we will write up and reflect on this lab.  Including the testing of the parachutes, students designed the lab, set up the testing schedules, recorded the results and drew conclusions about what makes the best parachutes.

We have also started our Biography unit by looking at what kinds of leaders there are in the various aspects of our society - religion, government, entertainment, education etc.  Next we will continue to look at the leaders and what makes them worth having a biography written about them.  As the week progresses, students will select someone to do a biographical sketch about.  They will write it as a script since they will be creating a video about their selected person.  Lessons in biography will include more on what makes a biography, how to read a biography properly and how to take notes as you are reading.

We have finished our second Literature Circle book and will move on to book number 3 next week.  Added to this is our new novel study - Sign of the Beaver.  With all these lessons and practice sessions, students are getting a lot reading done in class.  I hope it is spilling over to the nightly home reading as well.

Please remember that next week is only a four day week with Friday a Professional Development day for teachers.  We will be working on the accreditation report as well as having a Teachers Teaching Teachers time.  Should be a great day for me to learn more as my students do every day.

Next week starts our current events. I alluded to this last week and here are the particulars.  It is a program that supersedes homework for the student in charge.  At the top of very blog post for the rest of the year will be the students who are responsible and what day they are in charge of.
 There is a booklet that I will send home with the students in charge where they have to fill out a who, what, where, when and why and write up a summary report.  They will then present this to the class the next morning first thing as part of morning meeting. Everyone has a NEWSELA account where they can find great articles that show an impact on society.  They have also learned how to use the system to get the most out of it.

We have also completed the first draft of our memoirs booklet. I hope to complete this early next week.  If students can find pictures of themselves to add in, it really adds to this neat project.  I also know this may not be possible.

Thats all for this week.  If you have any concerns or questions please contact me to set up a time to meet.

Harold Daw

daw.com - October 23

I want to start by thanking all the parents for attending the Parent Teacher Conferences.  I feel these are an important part of our partnership in your child's education so I am pleased that there was a 100% participation.

Today was international day and the students looked magnificent in their national costumes and other national apparel.  We talked about thinking globally as part of our morning meeting and the students were really starting to put it all together with ideas that ranged from respect to environmentalism and everything in between.  If you have a chance stop by and see our class poster on the subject.  As it is part of our L21 wheel, students will add this to their Evernote system on Monday as they keep track for their student-led conferences later in the year.

It has been a very busy week with a lot happening and the learning curve continues to arch its way upward.  We have finished our Exploration Unit and I did video all the presentations.  Students have completed a blog post with the reflection of the unit and will add in this video sometime next week.  When this is done I encourage all of you to have a look at the blog with your student. 
We also completed our unit on measurement of Angles.  I really feel the students did quite well with this.  In grade 5 we allow them to be 2 degrees out from the measurement of any angle.  As they grow in their abilities, this will be narrowed until accuracy will be of prime importance.  We also looked at the qualities of polygons and the sum of measures of angles.  It has been a great unit with a lot of hands on learning.  We will start the next unit on division on Monday.  I have added the family letter to the bottom of this blog post.

Our Prove It! unit has been a big hit so far.  The unit aims at educating students on the importance of a process in science.  So far we have looked at questions, hypothesis and also written up our first science lab as a class.  There was a very lively discussion about only changing one variable at a time as the process is followed.  Not sure they all understand a variable yet, but over the next 8 weeks I am confident it will be much more understood.  We looked at several chemical reactions and made observations based on what we saw and what we knew.  I was impressed with everything that the class saw in these experiments.  Students do their own lab starting next week when parachutes will be our primary target of exploration.

In reading we have started our second round of Literature Circles (Book Clubs) and also started our second novel study (Sign of the Beaver).  I expect to complete these prior to the winter break with an astounding amount of learning about books, reading and writing.  There are a total of 4 books in our current round of Literature Circles that each student will both read and study.  Also, each round will identify a new leader so many students will get a chance at showing their skills as a leader - which just happens to also be one of our L21 skills.

In relation to reading, at this time of year I expect that all grade 5 students should be able to read silently with good comprehension for an extended period of up to 20 minutes - with no breaks at all.  If you student is not doing this at home, please start now to move in this direction.  Longevity in reading is a very important skill for all students to have as the move on in their education.

Next week we will continue with our writing of memoirs.  In order to complete the publication of these written pieces, I would like to ask all of you to find pictures of your student from an infant to present.  If it is possible, about 10-12 pictures would be great.  If they are digital, you can put them on a USB and students can download them to their school computers.  IF a USB is not available, then they can be emailed.  Please note that the school email system does not allow more than 20MB of attachments per email so it may take more than one email to send them all.  If you have them as photographs, please allow your student to bring them to school where we will scan them so they can be used in their memoirs books.  I also totally understand if you do not have any of these.
Next week I will be demonstrating current events for students that have to do with people impacting communities around the world.  This is in preparation for students to start this the week after.  I will have more on this next week but each Tuesday to Friday for the rest of the year, a student will be assigned current events that they will choose and report on. As I usually do, there is a very logical and easy system to follow for this.  This is part of how I teach our IMPACT unit so that it includes a broader understanding of how people do impact our world.

I would like to request your help on checking a digital website at home.  One of the sites the school subscribes to is BRAIN POP.  It is located at www.brainpop.com and students have the login information in their planners.  I will be asking all students to see if they can get this at home and would ask for you help as well.  It is my understanding that it is not blocked by the Chinese Firewall but I want to confirm this before I start using it later in the semester.  Thank-you in advance for this.

We have a visiting author next week - Ken Nesbitt.  The class will have a chance to see him twice and I have prepped them about finding out how he writes his stories and then comparing it to how my students do it.  Should be a fascinating outcome and a neat way to learn more about the process of writing.

Next Friday is the Jedi Jugglers so it will be a Wed Schedule so that the school can see the show at 2:00.  The evening show will be announced on the ES blog so look for the times there.  It is always a really good show - and the evening show is different from the daytime show.

That is all for this week.  Sorry it is a bit longer than normal.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know so we can meet about them.

Harold Daw

daw.com - October 9

Even though it was a short four day week, we got a lot accomplished and are working our way to finishing off several major projects.  All the students have now completed all six memoirs and are currently editing and revising with both myself and also a fellow team mate.  I expect this to take at least two more days to totally complete. There was a lesson on commenting about someones writing and what constitutes appropriate criticism and what would be inappropriate. So far it has really gone well. 
We have also completed our first draft of our presentation and after it is revised and edited, students will complete the entire presentation by Wednesday next week.  The five choices they had were a book launch, poster/infographic, drama/puppet play, news report or brochure.  They will have next long weekend (four days) to practice this and then present it to the class on Monday and Tuesday after Parent Teacher Conferences. 
We have also officially finished our first novel study of the year - Pedro's Journal. Our next book will be Sign of the Beaver.  These are good ways to teach some of the deeper reading concepts that I expect students will develop while in grade 5 to use again and again as they improve their reading ability.  Remember, reading ability has nothing to do with decoding - this they can do very well
already.  Instead, it is how deep they can comprehend the story they are reading.  We look at plot, themes, authors tools, inferencing, evaluation and comparison/contrast as ways to really dig deep into a book.

This coming week you will have access to two official documents from the school - Report Cards (Student as a Learner) and MAP Assessment Scores.  Then on Thursday and Friday I hope you have made an appointment to see me as part of the Parent Teacher conferences.  It would really be great if both parents could attend, but I am aware this is not always possible.  I will not be able to go into depth regarding the MAP scores as I am not that well versed in the interpretation of the scores other than for teaching in the class situation.  If you want more depth to understanding your students MAP scores, please contact the office of learning and make an appointment with them.

In the coming weeks I want to take my students into the kitchen to do some cooking.  While I do not have the dates and times yet, I am gathering parent names who could help me with this.  I need two parents per time I want to go in.  Let me know if you could help out and when I have confirmed dates, I will let you know.    I want to thank-you in advance for this.  In case you are wondering, it works in very well with the measurement section of our Prove It!  unit and also our fractions unit in math.
Next week is spirit week.  It is a time when students can show their school spirit.  I explained to students today that it is not mandatory but since it is their school, they will get out of it what they put into it.  Monday is house color shirts, Tuesday is "When I Grow Up" day and Wednesday is Recycled Fashion Day.  If your students ask for some help with these, please offer to help.  I certainly encourage everyone to participate.

Homework for next week will continue to be working on the Exploration Projects.

That is all for this week.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me and I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.
Harold Daw

daw.com - September 25

We have had an amazing week with so much learning that it is going to be hard to summarize it all - but I will try hard.
One of our big goals this week was to start researching an explorer.  As I alluded to last week, there are four questions that students are attempting to find information about regarding their explorer.  Not all the questions are answerable with the limited time and information we have but it set a direction for students to strive towards.  They have been busy reading books, websites, watching videos and listening to podcasts in an attempt to take notes regarding all four of the questions.  For the most part, they have now completed this stage of the process.  It is now time to start to prepare the presentation on their explorer.  This will start as soon as we get back from the National holiday with presentations set for the week after.
We have also been busy collecting and telling the story of our lives.  Referred to as memoirs, students took the notes they collected from their interviews of their parents and wrote them as stories for their memoir books.  We have completed three more in class and now have 6 stories about their lives.  After the break we will collate all these into a biographical sketch and produce it as a booklet.  One thing I can ask at this time is if you have digital pics of your student then prepare them.  After the break I am sure they will be asking so that they can include them in their memoirs book.
The last part of the memoirs book is a personal timeline.  As part of the learning for the week after break, students will need to know timelines of their life - birthdate, learning to walk, learning to talk, first words, moving away/to homes, starting school etc etc etc.  Anything you can think of regarding their life will really add to the timelines we will create for our memoirs books.
I have had several students forget their homework or misplace it.  I do put a copy of
the weekly homework as a shared document on Office 365 which every student has access to through any internet connection.  They should use their ISB login and password to access their account and from there be able to get to the homework booklets.
We had a great Terry Fox run this morning and I was very proud of the effort put forward by all the students in class.  We also talked a little bit about what it all means the outcomes from doing this.  One thing they were not aware of was that the proceeds from the event are kept here in China going to the China Cancer Society. I also gave them my viewpoint since I was around when Terry was running across Canada.
Reading workshop takes on a new look starting in October.  With the conclusion of our class novel (Pedro's Journal) it is now time to start on small group Literature Circles.  During these times students will be assigned a small novel to read as a group.  As they are reading they will be taking notes, asking and answering questions and learning more about reading.  This will take the form of THINK MARKS.  They will then use the information from these Think Marks to write blog journal entries about their novel.  This is the next step I use in our continual learning about our reading and reflecting on what we read and how we learn about reading.
Parent Teach Conferences are October 15-16 and I am hoping to see all of you.  Sign-ups are right after holiday so please make sure you are able to log in and sign up for a 20 minute slot.
As always, if you have any concerns please contact me and set a time up to meet.  In the mean time, have a great holiday.
 Harold Daw

daw.com - September 18

By now I am sure you have heard all about camp.  It never ceases to amaze me how a 2 day/1 night event can end up with so many neat and interesting stories associated with it.  While I admit to being exhausted by the end, it was a great experience and already one I know some of the students are looking forward to next year in grade 6. I have to tell you that I was very pleased with the students at camp, their attitude and how the managed themselves.  While not perfect, there was nothing that even remotely deserves saying anything except how proud I was of them. Today everyone completed an article about camp and a newspaper was published.  It is attached to this blog post.  It was a quick write/edit so there are still some errors but I wanted to get this done while camp was still at the forefront of their thoughts.
Next week is a big week for writing as there are two major assignments that we will be working on - Explorer reports and memoirs (Biographies).  The homework this past week combined with what we have been learning in the last couple of lessons with the librarian have created a pathway to seeing some really neat final products.  Both of these are my final assessments for the two corresponding units.
The final project for our Explorers unit will have the students answer the following questions as they research an explorer of their choice:
Who was _____________ (life history, character, education and training etc)
Why did they undertake their exploration?
What were the impacts of their discovery (positive and negative)?
What traits did they have that made them leaders in their exploration?
How did their exploration change the world?
You will notice that none of these can be answered with single words or sentences.  They all take some serious research and then the meshing of ideas to formulate a conclusion or answer.  This is the process of historical inquiry.
We will complete our math unit 3 next week, probably on Wed or Thur.  Our recent exemplar problem will also finish next week.  One thing that I have been very specific about as I am teaching mathematical problem solving is the students must show that there are no other answers and be able to prove it.  I have also been pushing how to stay organized when tracking problems that have multiple answers.  This is an important skill and one that takes students time to learn effectively.  Since most of the problems I give do have multiple answers it is up to them to prove they have them all.
We had our elections for Student Council (STUCO) on Friday and Jovan will be our class representative with Stephanie our alternate.  Congrats to these two and a HUGE thank-you to all that ran for office.  Please help your student understand that being unsuccessful does not mean they should give up.  I sincerely hope they continue on in future years with leadership positions.
Next Friday is the 35th Anniversary of the annual Terry Fox run.  It has special meaning for me as both a Canadian and also being a member of the welcoming committee for Calgary, Alberta when he arrived.  Unfortunately he never made it that far having succumbed to his illness. As a class we will participate and I hope that you can find it in your heart to donate to the Cancer Fund we hope to raise from this run.  All monies stay here in China and are made a part of the Chinese Cancer Society.  Having a personal connection to some who passed away from Cancer, I know how important events like this can be to someone special.
Next Wednesday there is an opportunity for you to hear from a Math Specialist about how the teaching and learning of Math has changed over the past couple of decades.  ISB's math program is under review and this same specialist will be visiting with us as we move forward.  I would highly suggest you attend to hear first hand what is happening in mathematics teaching/learning.
I think that is is for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and I will set aside a time we can meet.
Harold Daw

daw.com - September 11

 Another great week is completed and MAP testing is also over.  We will revisit this again sometime in the spring.  I really feel that students did the best they could.
This coming week there is a lot happening so you might want to get out your calendars as you read through this post.

Starting Monday 5HD will be swimming for PE classes.  This means that all students need to bring their swim gear and leave it at the pool for the duration of the classes.  I expect all my students to fully participate in swimming as it is a great life skill to have.  While I was going through University I was a swim instructor and lifeguard with the City of Calgary Parks and Recreation department.  I saw first hand how much fun learning to swim can be and now as an avid water sportsman, I really feel that all the time I spent learning to swim was really worth it.  If for any reason your child is sick or ill and cannot swim, the PE instructors need a note from a doctor.  Of course, things like broken bones go without saying.

Camp is also this week.  We leave for Singing Deer Lodge on Wednesday morning and will be back on Thursday in time to take the 3:30 bus home.  In order to prepare for this I need all students Passports on Monday please.  This is a requirement of the Chinese Authorities for traveling in China.  If your student is on a diplomatic passport then I also need the card that goes with the passport.  I will return these to the students as they are exiting the bus to go home on Thursday.

Packing for camp needs to be completed Monday night and overnight packs brought to school on Tuesday morning.  Please remember, we are only out for one night.  Keep everything to a minimum.  One thing that is a must is a warm sweater or coat for the evenings.  At this time of year, it gets quite cool at the camp.

Lastly are the day packs.  Students bring these with them on Wednesday.  In this pack should be a snack for the morning and a lunch.  Please note there is no facility to warm anything up or get hot water.  All lunches and snacks should be ready to eat.  Plastic baggies are preferred storage as they can be disposed of when finished with.  Also a rain coat should be in the day pack just in case it is "shining liquid blue" when we arrive.  I also have a couple of things I will be giving the students for camp so make sure there is room for a booklet, pencil and such.  Thank-you for helping to make this experience the best for your student.  I already know we will have a great time.

Book order forms went home last Wednesday and are due into me by Tuesday please.  As we leave for Camp on Wednesday, there is no time to collect forms and money on that day.  It is advisable to keep a copy of what you ordered just in case there are errors in the delivery of the order.

Homework this week will be interviews of the parents - so get ready.  To let you know in advance, I need you to think up three events with your child from early infancy to the start of school.  Students have been writing memoirs about themselves and these interviews will help with including their younger years.  It can be about them learning to walk, the first time they started speaking, a visit to grandmas, a funny event when they were young etc.  If you could help them out with recalling three events it would be greatly appreciated.  Students will be taking notes.  It is OK to do it in your own language as I am sure students will be able to write about it in English once they bring them to school.

Last week the class completed their first fine arts presentation - The Sword Dance.  Here is my video of them on the day of the presentation.  I was very pleased with the effort and out come of their work.  The video is about 6 minutes long.

We have been busy learning about Christopher Columbus and Ibn Battuta as explorers of the world.  We will next look at Zheng He.  Students will also be starting to research an explorer they want to learn more about.  I will be giving them a list of names to choose from and take them through a journey of researching and presenting.  This will be the final assessment for the unit on Exploration.  More on this as we run through it.

The winner of our first estimation contest was Andrew with an estimation of 300 Skittles.  There were 408 in the jar.  Everyone got some as a prize and Andrew gets all the left overs as well as his portion.  Congrats to Andrew.

I would like to introduce our Homeroom Mom Mrs. Ge.  This the mom of Kevin in our class.  She will be in contact with you these coming weeks.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  I will set up a time we can meet and discuss them.

Harold Daw