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