daw.com - August 14

What a great week it has been.  I have taken the time to get to know your student more and more as the week progressed through assignments, assessments and even interviews and informal talks.  While I know you already know this, you have a great student and things are looking great to make this a wonderful year of learning.
We took the time this week to get our Blogs set up and designed.  Everyone in the room has a personal blog and we are ready to start using them next week.  The blogs will be used as reading journals and learning reflections throughout the year.  Students will also learn about how to comment to a fellow classmate on their blog entries.  When I have these up and running I will send home a link with all the class blogs on them to make your life easier.

We also installed EVERNOTE on to the computers as it will be the system we use to learn about and report during Student Led conferences on L21 here at ISB.  There are 5 parts to this system and one section of Evernote will be dedicated to this.  It is my goal to make the Student Led Conferences of April as paperless as possible while still delivering a true and robust picture of the learning journey of your student.

This week saw student complete three writing assignments including what I call a TWO-DAY WRITE.  This is where I give them a topic or other information and on day 1 they plan, brainstorm and organize so that on day 2 they can write and complete a story.  They are good ways to get students really into writing and I have to say that I was impressed by both the quality and fullness of most of their writing.  It also gave me a very good foundation to start writing instruction.

Next week the homework will see students have reading, problem solving and some writing.  They will get the package on Monday and then daily assignments written in their planners.  They bring the homework package back each morning so I can mark it.  All corrections are to be done the next day.

We start our EXPLORERS unit in earnest this coming week with a look at what it must have been like to take the risk of exploring the unknown.  There is a look at some of the famous names in exploration as well as some that are lesser known.  Our Enduring Understandings are;
  • Exploration of the unknown is an on-going human quest that impacts society.
  • Effective leadership demonstrates many similar traits, but is also sensitive to the needs of particular contexts.
The Essential Questions are;
  • How might ideas of the unknown motivate human beings to explore?
  • What are the impacts or transformations that have come about as a result of exploration?
  • How have perspectives changed as a result of exploration?
Perspective is a hard skill for students to learn so we use this unit as a tool to introduce and study what it must have been like to be alive during the Age of Exploration.  

We will start our first novel study this coming week with Pedro's Journal.  It is the story of a young boy who becomes Christopher Columbus' ship's boy and his take on the journey into areas unknown.  While it has been "spruced up" by the author, it is a real tale from the travels of Christopher Columbus and fits very well into our unit.

In Math we continue our look at Whole Number systems with an emphasis on multiplication and division.  This past week we looked at arrays, factors and number models.  We also started our problem solving and will continue with this next week as well.  Students do have enrichment times within math class where puzzles, riddles and open problems are explored.

We will visit and learn about the science lab next week with Mr. Watson who always has some great activities cooked up for grade 5.  I use the lab quite a bit for both science classes and also for activities that lead up to science - ie.  measurement labs.  We will do our heart dissection there later in the year as well as some interesting learning for our Prove it Unit.

A reminder to all parents that this coming Wednesday from 6:00-9:00 is Back to School Night and I am hoping to see you all there.

Students returning to ISB need to start to bring their recorder back for Performing Arts classes.  If students have lost theirs, there is a RMB50 charge for a new one.  New students will be issued a new one.

Thats it for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Harold Daw