daw.com - January 15

First off I want to thank everyone who helped make the last week of school prior to Winter Break so fantastic.  Our Prove It! science fair was a big success and our winter carnival was enjoyed by all.  Your part in this made it so.
I also want to wish everyone a Happy New year and welcome back to the second semester of your students grade 5 year.  It is hard to believe, but they are half done and well on their way to middle school.  I will have lots more on this latter part as they year goes on. We also welcome Tiana and Dylan to our class a the newest members.  I am always proud of the class in how they help new students transition into the class and the school and this week was not exception.
Here are the assignments for current events for the coming week:
Tuesday - Nicole
Wednesday - Sophia
Thursday - May
Friday - Eric
It appears as though Newsela (newsela.com) is working again so this would be a great place to get information about the impacts of the news on the world.  Every student has an account and we checked this week to make sure it is working correctly.
One of the big changes that you will see starting next week is the homework.  We move on to our next section of learning to read by taking a look an inferencing.  This is where an author gives clues to what is happening without really indicating it in words.  Students have to use these clues to infer what is happening.  This will take over as part of the reading section of our homework every week.
Added to this is a change in the planners.  While I think it is a good idea for all students to use the planner and for the teacher and parent to also keep track, it is time for students to start to make this decision for themselves as they prepare for Middle School. With this in mind, I am no longer going to require a check of planners on a daily basis.  I will still put up all the information for them to copy into the planners, but it will be up to them if they want to continue having me sign it.  It is also time for parents to start to let go so having a discussion with your student about this regarding your wishes is a good idea.
I would like to note here that the Monday Folders this week are particularly full given that there is a lot of the work from before Winter break as well as this week.  Please look it over carefully, take out the work, sign the sheet and return the folder.  It has all the final assessments for the Prove It unit, unit 5 math and the final writing piece we did for our realistic fiction unit as just some of the elements.
Our new writing unit is on Speculative Fiction - modern fantasy and science fiction with a little bit of horror thrown in.  We have been busy looking at what this is and how it is written and next week we will start our first short story involving the aspects of Speculative Fiction.  This unit is usually one of the favorites of the students.
We also started our Human Body unit this week with a look at the skin - what holds us all together.  Students also had a chance to dissect a heart and look at how real lungs work.  It was a great start to a really amazing unit.  Look for more as the weeks move by.
We have started a really short math unit on Data Use that looks at both the construction and interpretation of data in the form of many types of graphs.  I expect this to be completed by early next week.  Students will get their mid year assessment for math next week.  Following this our next unit in math is on Exponents and Negative Numbers.
Thursday is class picture day, retakes and new students picture day.  I ask that all students look their best for their pictures this day.  Thanks in advance for this.
As always, if you have any questions please let me know.
Harold Daw