daw.com - January 24

What a great week we have just completed.  There were several times this past week I had to offer Kudos to the class for their outstanding work and behavior.  It was fantastic.
We started off with the dissection of a pigs heart and also looked at the inflation of pigs lungs.  We did not get the best results with the lungs but I think everyone got the idea that they are not a muscle but rather an organ.  The heart dissection went off great with everyone able to find the four chambers of the heart, several valves and even a few of the arteries and veins.  Who knows, maybe there is a budding doctor or medical researcher among the class.  We also talked about how this all comes about with respect being the key component of the discussion.

Students have also been to centers involving the skeletal/muscular system, digestive system, respiratory system and will finish next week with nervous system and sensory system.  There is a lot over overlap in these systems but this is something we want them to learn about.
We spent two days wearing heart rate monitors and the students where quite enamored with the change in their heart rates over time and depending on the activity.  There was one interesting comment from a student about how relaxed they must be during math since that was when their heart rate was the lowest.  I admit I would like to think so, but I am not sure that is class wide.

We are well along in completing the scripts to our section of the Monkey King production to be held later in the year.  First drafts are now complete so edits and rewrites will be finished this week.  We are using the new Office365 system to do this and with one minor hiccup, everything has gone smoothly. I am particularly glad to see the leadership from several class members in getting this completed.  I really have left it almost entirely in the students hands.
This week sees us finishing the first of three units on fractions, decimals and percent with the second one completed before Chinese New Year and the third about two weeks after.  It is a hard section of math for students but so important as the move on in their math studies to middle and high school.  There are some students struggling so we are going slow to make sure everyone really gets the most out of the learning.
We will make our way to the kitchen next Friday at 1:30pm to bake Cinnamon Muffins.  All is set and we are ready to be the best bakers we can be.  This is in conjunction with the math unit since so many of the measurements are fractions.  After the muffins have baked, I am sure they will be consumed by the whole class.  Please feel free to join us in the kitchen on the main floor beside the PTA store and cafeteria.
I am planning the Literature Circle/Book Clubs for students and hope to do some teaching of this during the week so we can use this fantastic method of learning about reading for the rest of the year.  Students will have some choice over the books they read, but they do have to be at the level their reading is at currently.
As always, if there are questions you have or problems you see, let me know and I will gladly set a time up to talk with you.
Harold Daw