daw.com - February 27

IMG_0469 copy.jpgIt has been quite an emotional roller coaster for me this week.  Monday was a great day with the celebration of my birthday with the students.  I cannot begin to say how special it was.  Roses with words from each student was a great way to celebrate my 56th birthday.  Thank-you to everyone.
However, on Wed I recieved word that a student I taught in Grade 5 at HKIS, who is a Senior this year, passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident while on Holiday over the Chinese New Year.  His name was Griffin Lee.  I do not handle death well and was mostly an emotional blob for the whole day.  I was able to get through and will be part of a honor in his name when there is a memorial at HKIS sometime in the future.  Please remember to continually tell your student how much they mean to you as these kinds of disasters do happen - thankfully not very often.
We are in full swing preparing for our final project in the Human Body unit.  Students have completed selecting a condition of the body and a minimum of 4 guiding questions to help them through the research process.  They have two more weeks to complete their presentation at which time they will present it to the entire class.  This is the first time they have had to do this.  They have a copy of the assignment, rubric and list of some conditions on their Ondrive which is available at home through the internet.  If they have time, they can certainly do some research at home.IMG_1432.JPG
We are also preparing for our Student Led Conferences which happen the week we return from Spring Break.  There will be more coming on this in the near future from the ES office so watch for it.  I do expect everyone to be involved and present.  As much as possible I would like both parents to attend the conference please.
Students have completed their first round of book clubs, chosen their books, and now are on their second round.  They choose the books from a selection I have in the class and they are responsible for reading the assigned pages (chosen by the group) in time for the book club meetings every Wed and Fri.  So far it has gone fairly well but I still want a deeper understanding of the reading they are doing.  I model it in class, we have lesssons (currently about inferring) and they have time to practice it so I expect to see continued improvement as we do this for the remainder of the year.
I have placed more photos from the class in my FLICKR account which you can access here​.  feel free to copy any you wish to keep.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know and I will arrange to meet with you.
Have a great weekend,
Harold Daw

daw.com - February 8

We are fast approaching the Chinese New Year holiday and in the last week before the holiday there are some things the class is going to complete or prepare for later.
We have been writing our first essay piece on changes to the cafeteria.  So far we have chosen three ways to improve the cafeteria and written about them, explained them and dug as deep as wel could.  Next we will put in the introduction and conclusion to the piece and then publish it.  We are using Office 365 for this and so far it has gone fairly smoothly.IMG_1413.JPG
We will complete unit 6 on Graphing and Fractions by Thursday of this week.  Our next unit is on Exponents and Negative numbers.  This will be the first time this year that we dealve in to the number system as it works before 0.  We also finish math stations this week with two more meetings before the final assessment.
We have also started lessons on inferencing or the creating of a conclusion based on textual evidence.  This is hard for the students but necessary as they progress in their reading level past the basic to understand deeper meaning.
We have had our first two reading club meetings and they seem to be going well.  I was asked why students cannot read ahead - it is not that they cannot but rather that I would prefer not. This is because I want to explore predicting and it cannot be done if the reading piece has been completed.  I also want students to really dig into the reading and not just cover the words.  The books I have chosen for the students to read are at the top end of their reading level so they will offer students some real chances to think through what they are reading.

Our inquiry this week will start to look at human conditions.  We did a brainstorm of these last week and developed quite a list.  This week we will read a couple of books that will help studenst relate to what these are the possibilities for a cure.  It will also look at a real life situation.  If you have people in your family that have a condition please talk this over with your student as it might well be the interest they need to research this after the CNY holiday.
If anyone is planning on leaving early for the holiday could you let me know ASAP so I can make the proper arrangements.  I thank you in advance for this.
Have a great week,
Harold Daw