daw.com - March 29

IMG_1685.JPGI hope everyone had a great break and with the nice weather returning, spent some time outside.  This coming week is a short with with three days of school.  Then it is Student-Led conferences and into a long weekend with only 4 days of school the following week.  Seems like time is really passing quickly.
On Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 3, you will have an opportunity to participate in a conference led by your student.  These student-led conferences reflect the ISB Student as a Learner profile of “Takes Personal Responsibility.”  Your child will have an opportunity to be an active participant in reviewing and reflecting on his/her own learning.  Accountability and responsibility are built into the reflection process.  We have structured the conference, and have offered positive and practical support, making it possible for your child to assume leadership during the conference.  If, after the student-led conference you still have specific questions or concerns that you wish to address, simply let me know.  This conference is not meant to be a progress report, but an opportunity for your child to share with you the successes and challenges of his/her learning.
Here is what you can expect at your child’s student-led conference:
  • Your child will be in charge of the conference.  He/she will have planned specific areas to share, and will have had time to rehearse them.  Please allow your child the opportunity to share their plan. 
  • You will be shown a portfolio, reflections both electronic and on paper, and learn a little more about the class and your child’s part in it.
  • Several children will be conducting conferences in the classroom at the same time.
  • Your child may be unsure of your reactions to his/her presentation.  Please provide encouragement and feedback as your child proceeds with the conference.  Ask questions to clarify, but please try not to control or direct the conference.  Suggested questions are attached to this letter.
  • I will stop by your child’s conference for a few minutes and participate in the sharing.
  • Above all, expect your child to share his/her strengths, successes, strengths and areas of challenge.
We had a great week before spring break learning WUSHU, Chinese Traditional Medicine and performing the music learned from the two specialists visiting ISB.  Students also completed their Human Body presentations and Math Unit 7. I have uploaded all the pictures to my FLICKR account which is here.
DSC_0214.JPGThis coming week will see students tart their next writing piece, start Unit 8 (Fractions and Ratios) and start the writing of a report.  The parent letter for unit 8 is attached to this blog post. We will also continue with our next essays from current events.  Since it is such a short week, all of this will spill over to next week.
I want to remind everyone that the Parent Meeting regarding our Pueberty Week will be on April 8 at 8:30 in the ES Cafeteria.  I hope you can all make it. If this time is not convenient please feel free to send questions to me.  We have scheduled Pueberty Week for the following week - April 13-17.
We also start our second session of MAP testing next week and this will take place over three weeks with the same tests as the fall sessions.  
Our next unit is called Impact in which students will first learn how others have made an impact in the world.  The student groups will design an life changing impact to take place within our community.  We will wind this up with an Impact fair towards the end of the school year.
As always, if there are any questions please feel free to contact me.
Harold Daw

daw.com - March 13

IMG_1523.JPGWhat a week it was and this coming week looks to be the same.  There is a lot going on for the students this week both in class and with experiential learning.  First off a couple of recaps from last week.
On Wednesday afternoon grade 5 students were treated to a short talk by Koko Kondo who at 8 months old, survived the Hiroshima Atomic blast.  I heard her speech at the opening of the BEIMUN and it was so compelling that you could hear a pin drop and this was with 780 high school students and 150 adults all listening.  While I was not here for the talk with the class, I have been told it was just as compelling.

This works in well with our last unit of the year (Impact) that will start right after the Spring Break.  I also hope it was something that all my students take with them for the rest of their lives.
This week students will do four parts of their Human Body unit.  First off is the presentations.  6-7 students will do their presentation to the class per day.  One thing that is different this time is that students will be providing feeback to a number of their peers.  Each students will provide feedback for four presentations.  Added to this is the fact that for the first time this year each student will have to present to the entire class.  I am sure we will have some great presentations.

The second part is that this is wellness week.  This happens on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and each student has already signed up for their activities.

Thirdly is a chance to participate in Wushu with a world renowned instructor/practitioner of this martial art - Luyan.  Here is a short bio of her amazing life;
  1. Became member of Beijing Wushu Team at the age of 10 (then continued as a team member until she was 23 years old).
  2. Received over 50 Medals in her competition history.
  3. Beijing Wushu Team Coach for 20 years.
  4. Taught the Phillipine National Wushu Team for two years.
  5. Her Wushu students have become wushu champions themselves.  For example, her Philippine student won a Gold Medal in 2008 Olympics.
  6. Her events were Longfist (changquan), Straigtsword, Staff, 3-section staff, bagua zhang, taiji.
I have scheduled the class in for two sessions with her.  It should be a topic of discussion over dinner each night I am sure.IMG_1530.JPG

Lastly is our final lesson wth Mr. Watson on Chinese medicine and massage.  We were hoping to follow this up with a trip to a hospital but due to renovations this is not possible.  Students will still get a good look at how this really works.  The last two of these opportunities are also part of the Grade 5 Chinese Integration studies.

Students will complete this round of book clubs on Wednesday.  I am concerned that students are not completing their reading in time for these discussions.  It is their responsibility to be fully prepared for these discussions.  Since they created the schedule themselves, I really feel they should be able to follow it. Any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

As part of both the reading program and also our Impact unit, we will be doing a Read for Hope Read-a-thon on Friday.  Students will bring home a pledge sheet on Monday and need to return it with the money on Friday.  I am hoping that each student in the class can get RMB20-40 worth of pledges for this very worthwhile cause.  Your help with this is greatly appreciated.

For the last two weeks student have been working with out artists in house.  These talented musicians have been busy putting students through the paces of learning all sorts of musical ideas and the performance for this will be in the Theatre on Thursday at 10:15am.  Parents are invited.

Just a reminder that this Friday is a day of school.  It was moved due to both the extended holiday in March for the APAC conference and then again for the Chinese New Year celebtrations.  It is a day 4.


At this time I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Spring Break.  I look forward to hearing all about any travels upon the return after the holiday. We will also be welcoming a new student at that time and I am sure the class will be their regular charming selves.  

Harold Daw

daw.com - March 6

IMG_1451.JPGYet another week has passed and has it ever gone fast.  One of my students remarked that they could not believe it was already March.  Time flies when you are having fun.
 If you can help us with our Wellness week by offering an event please register here.  It is a week where students will participate in activities they do not regularly get to do.  I would like to see each student take the time to collect at least one pledge.  It works in very well with our Impact unit, which starts after the spring break.  Thank-you in advance for this.
 March 20 will see the first Read-A-Thon happen at ISB.  Students will collect pledges during the week and then do the reading on Friday.  More about this as it comes closer.  Just want to get you all thinking about it.
 There are a lot of interesting and fun things happening next week so please read this carefully.  If you have any questions please let me know.
 Next week is ES Spirit Week.  The ES STUCO has been busy preparing events and ideasIMG_1436.JPG

for each day.
  Monday will be Blue and White day.  Students are to wear as much blue and white as possible.  These are the school colors and will really show school spirit.  Tuesday will be games day – we will do this as part of our opening of the school day.  Wednesday is Twin Day.  Groups of at least two students can dress up to look like each other.  They may choose friends from other classrooms if they wish.  Thursday is Culture Day.  For this students can wear clothing that represents or identifies their nationality.  This can be shirts with tourist spots in it, sports teams or national costumes.  Lots of opportunity here.  On Friday it will Pajama Day.  Again, lots of opportunity to have some fun on this day.
 Monday we will have an assembly to kick of the entire week.  Should be a lot of fun and both students and teachers will be involved.  Friday students have a chance to see the Grade 2 circus performance.  Once again this year, it promises to be quite a spectacle.  There are always surprises and lots of color with this event.
 Our current inquiry unit on the Human Body is in its final stages with students preparing for a presentation they will do the week of March 18-20.  This will be the first time they have to present to the whole class and the class will be part of the assessment of each presentation.  We have been busy researching and gathering stories for students to make a presentation.  The assessment rubric, presentation ideas and a list of possible conditions to research is all on their portal which is available online at home as well.  Some students may find they have to complete some research at home.
 As part of the Human Body unit, students will see a movie called OSMOSIS JONES next Friday.  There is a note taking assignment that is part of this.IMG_1471.JPG
 We are in our second week of the second round of book clubs and students are really starting to get into this.  It is important that as they read they make connections, work on vocabulary and draw questions they need answered.  All these can be part of the book club discussions that happen every Wednesday and Friday.  They have a special thinkmark for Book Clubs that they can keep their information on.  At the end of each round of book clubs students have a set of reading blog entries to complete.
 We will finish up math unit 7 next week with the final assessment on Monday or Tuesday.  The next unit sees us return for the last time to fractions.  This week we took a look at positive and negative integers and fir the first time in their life students got to see a physical representation of zero ($1 owed + $1 saved = $0).  I think they really got the idea of what this is and how numbers on a number line, including negative ones, work.  We also completed our ABC Quilts exemplar, which is a very hard one to do.  This was one that we did as a class.  Next week we will look at Frugal Freda’s Fruit Foray in which students must find out which fruit has the highest fraction of edible flesh.  Involves measurement, fractions and some interesting calculations.
 We are in the midst of our A Day at the Beach story having completed the first drafts.  Next steps involve revisions, edits and a final draft.  I anticipate that this will be completed by weeks end.  It is interesting to see what students have written.
 I will be away at BEIMUN next Wed thru Friday.  This is an annual Model United Nations conference that attracts students from all over the world.  This year they are coming from South Africa, Sweden, USA, Nigeria and many other countries.  It goes without saying that the largest contingent is from China.  The sub I have will be the same for all three days and I have already discussed with the class that my expectations are very high while I am away.  I am sure they will rise to the occasion.
 As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know.  I will set up a meeting and we can discuss it.  Have a great week,

Harold Daw