daw.com - April 3

IMG_1616.JPGI want to thank all the parents who attended the Student Led Conferences these past two days.  I hope it was both informative and showcased all the growth I have seen in your students this year.  If you need more information please feel free to contact me to set up a time to meet.  I have to say that it was an interesting journey in learning for the students and really stretched their thinking about areas that are not normally done in class.  L21 skills are areas of learning that take many years to master and sometimes a whole lifetime.  Having students reflect on their learning has been an interesting insight into what they see as strengths and challenges.  I had several parents ask if they could take the portfolio home with them. Since I plan to continue using it for the rest of the year students need to keep it in class and will take it home with them at the end of the year.  There will also be a final year-end reflection that goes with it.
I would like to remind all parents that the meeting about our upcoming unit on Puberty will be in Wednesday April 8th at 8:30am in the ES Cafeteria.  If you have questions about this unit, please plan on attending.  You can also send questions to me and I will gladly answer them.
We have started our report on the Human Body and I anticipate that we will complete the first draft this week.  Then students will revise and edit it before completing a final copy.  The process we are going through involves identifying text features that could be used in a report and then choosing which ones to use in the report.
Students selected their third books for Book Clubs and are busy at work reading the first section, coming up with FAT questions (questions that cannot be answered with a single word or phrase), identifying words/vocabulary use and making connections.  Each student gets a leadership chance with these clubs, as they have to be facilitator at least once through the book club.
IMG_1724.JPGOur reading program was given an extra boost with the visit of author Michael Buckley.  He took the students through his journey in becoming an author.  A lot of the visits this year have had a similar theme in how what you do in your early years, may open doors for you later. 
This week we start the second round of MAP testing.  It will be the Language test.  One of the most important parts of this test is that it can show growth over the years that a student does the test.  It also helps me know where I still need to put more effort in helping students continue to grow in their learning.
We start our last inquiry unit this week.  The unit is a look at the local and global impact people can have on others.  We will start by looking at vignettes of people who have successfully managed to create a positive change in the lives of people all over the world.  These will be followed by a critical look at both what the service idea was, the goals of the program, preparation and planning and finally the change (impact) it had on the community.  This unit leads up to the students working in groups and identifying a local community project they can undertake to make an impact locally.  I am sure this will become more of a topic around the dinner table in the coming months.  The final project will be the Impact fair towards the end of the semester.
I would like to ask all of you to help keep your student on track for the remaining time left in grade 5.  It is a time of a year when student thoughts begin to wander as they prepare for the end of the year.  There is still a lot of learning to accomplish prior to the end of the year and I do not slow down.  We have good systems in place in the class that I would like us to stay focused on for the last 9-10 weeks of school.  This will help all the students continue to learn.  Thank-you in advance for this.
As always, if you have a concern or problem, please let me know and I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.

Harold Daw