daw.com - August 21

I want to how grateful I was for all the parents who came to Back to School Night.  Since I hold home/school communication in such high regard, I was please with the turnout.  If you want further information about anything I talked about or have questions, please feel free to contact me.  One thing I forgot to mention during the night is that I will occasionally attached articles and letters to this blog, similar to the one I sent home from Back to School Night.  I keep them short and hope you find them interesting.  They should give you a bit more insight into what I am looking at for learning in my class.  The second of these is attached to this blog - Math Family Letter 1.  We are well into unit 1 but this will still give you a good idea of what we are learning.
On the subject of math, we will complete our first unit next week and I plan on doing the final assessment toward the middle of the week.  I am confident students have learned what they need to and ready for a cumulative assessment.  We continue with problem solving all year long that is related to the units we study.
This past week we started a deep look at some explorers and started to take the perspective of what it was like to be the person or with the person as the journey took place.  We also started to reflect on the effectiveness of these journeys and the challenges they faced.  It is hard for students to understand the historical significance of some journeys give than we live in a very different time.  Next week we continue to look at these journeys through the eyes of an immigrant and also as a young boy on board the same boat as Christopher Columbus.
As most of you are aware, the students in my class are going to be using technology very heavily.  Already we have started our personal portfolios on EverNote, we have Office 365 all up and running, we started to look at Google Earth and we have started bookmarking sites that will be used all year long.  For the most part students are not struggling with any of this as technology has been a part of their lives since they were born.  However, one area that is always a struggle for students is 
keyboarding.  More and more assignments and work will be computer related as they year(s) go on so having good keyboard skills is really important.  Can you imagine having to type in your Senior Essay (grade 12) with two finger typing?  We will do some of this in class but it will also require work at home every so often.The school has an online typing tutor program here.  Students do need to register first but registration is free.  This might be a great way to work on the keyboarding skills of your student.
Next week students will be shown reading levels and how to choose just right books.  Remembering that reading should be about learning to read and not just how big the book is, students should be selecting books that are toward their level of reading and increase as their reading level increases. One thing that I am sure if is that most of my students are excellent at reading words.  Understanding the text is a whole other piece of learning to read.  Today we started looking at inferencing and foreshadowing.  These are very important parts of being a good reader.  There is no sense in reading a book that is 500 pages long if all you understand is the first 25 pages.  Deep questions are important to really making yourself a good reader.
I want to thank everyone for keeping up with the nightly initials for your students planner and the weekly initialing of the Monday Folder.  This should really keep you informed about what is happening here at ISB.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.