daw.com - April 2

I sincerely hope everyone had a relaxing and refreshing Spring Break.  It is the last break for this year and now it is time to head to the end.  First up are the very important Student Led Conferences.  If you have not signed up yet please do so soon.  There are two conferences at the same time but the times are filling up.
I have prepared my class for these in the following manner.  First we took a look at the five areas in the Learning 21 standards of ISB.  For each of these we asked what it should look like in a grade 5 classroom.  Then I had each student explain how they show this in their learning, provide examples of their growth this year and finally provide goals for continued growth.  After this we did a similar process for the Habits of a Learner that are the third quarter report card.  Students used these to work through completing their
own report card with my help and assistance.  You will get a copy of this report card during the conferences. Students have also organized their portfolios into these areas as support for what they will discuss with you during the conference.  With all of this in place, I believe they are ready for a discussion with you. The support of your student's learning is very important and I want to thank-you in advance for this.
There will be no current events, homework or Monday Folders this week as there is only two days of school before the conferences.
Before the holiday we did a class construction project.  It started off as a math problem of how to plan to build the largest doghouse from a 300cm x 150cm piece of PVC board.  Students planned and organized this and then proceeded as a class to demonstrate that this would work and that it was the largest possible size.  You can see from the pictures that there work was not in vain.  One interesting outcome from this exercise is that pure mathematics proved to be incorrect.  The actual area of the sheet of PVC board is 45000 cm² and since only five sides are needed (dogs sleep on the ground) it should have neatly fit as five sides of 9000cm².  However, 9000 is not a square number so this would not fit on the board.  From this point the students worked to see how to change the dimensions so that it would actually fit on the board.  A very interesting process.
We have now completed the Human Body unit and Adolescence.  I am sure there will still be some discussion about the latter of the two areas in the years to come but I do want to say how impressed I was about the maturity the students showed in their learning.  Human Growth and Development will continue to be a subject of health learning throughout middle school.  Students will show you their work and projects during their conferences.
Our next unit is called Impact!.  More or less it is how people impact their immediate community and in some cases the larger population of the world.  Students will read and study these people and the impacts they have made on the world.  They will also look at how they can make an impact to their community through the development of an idea of their own.  They will then have to attempt to make this impact a reality.  We will look at this over the next month and then start the final project of the year.
This unit is developed as a Problem Based Learning (PBL) unit so students will have almost total control of the idea - they will still need my permission before actually carrying it out.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.
Harold Daw