daw.com - August 19

 I am always amazed at what I learn in the first week of school.  It makes me appreciate what the students are also learning.  And hear it is, the end of the first week already.  You would not believe what we got accomplished.  I am really enjoying being with your students and seeing them already learn the important concepts of not only grade 5 but becoming better citizens of ISB.
Next week will see a couple of new things happen.  The first one will be the weekly Monday Folder.  This is where I send home the previous weeks work all marked and corrected.  Parents are take out the work and then sign that they have received it.  It is one of three things that parents should be signing in my room.  Monday folders will go home on the first day of every week and be due back the next day or by the end of the week if parents are away.
You should also be signing the daily planner.  This will help you see what is happening in the class and keep you up-to-date with school information.  I do require students to get my initials as well every day.
The last thing you need to sign every week is the reading log.  This is signed every Wednesday so the first time is coming up this week.  Please remember that I do not consider reading homework and therefore there is no assigned reading time but I do require some kind of reading seven days a week.  It is more of a lifelong skill rather than a homework piece.  Students should also be reading in their native language at least twice a week to help strengthen this area.  If possible, I believe that reading out loud is also a good idea to strengthen fluency and understanding.  Twice a week for about 5 minutes a session would be great.  This last one may not be possible every week given the very hectic parent schedules of some of our families - just do what you can.
Wednesday is Back To School Night starting at 6:00pm in the FAT.  I am hoping to see you all their.  There will be time with the whole grade level, in the classroom, with the specialists, with the language teachers and for EAL students with their teachers as well.  Since our numbers are very high, we ask that students not attend - there simply is no room for them.
Homework will change to nightly starting on Monday.  I will send home a weekly homework booklet every Monday and most nights the students have a problem to complete and a reading piece.  It should not take more that 30 minutes.  Perhaps a little longer for the EAL students they comprehend the English.  The nightly assignment will be in the planner.
We start our first unit of Inquiry the coming week.  It is Explorers and Exploration.  Here are the Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions for the unit;
Grade 5 Explorers and Exploration
Enduring Understandings
  • Exploration is an ongoing human quest that can impact society in a variety of ways.
  • History/Historical periods impact society in a variety of ways.
  • Ideas, actions, and events can cause a shift in thinking and change the course of history.
Essential Questions
  • How have perspectives changed as a result of exploration?
  • How have perspectives changed as a result of history/historical events?
  • What are the changes that have come about as a result of exploration?
  • What are the changes that have come about as a result of history/historical events?
  • What motivates human beings to explore?
This unit will take us until October break with many exciting and interesting learning opportunities and concepts.  It will also include our first novel study - Pedro's Journal.
Our first math unit is underway and it is on Place Value and Decimal Fractions.  There is a lot of emphasis on multiples of 10, 100 and 1000 as well as 1/10, 1/100 and 1/1000.  Some of the vocabulary that is part of the unit is less, greater, 1/10 of and multiples of.  It is a neat unit and is the first time most students have looked at this part of the number system.  It will include exponents (positive and negative), scientific notation, and exponential expressions.  There is a full problem solving section that uses 4-5 strategies I will teach the class.  So far we have looked at Using or Making a Table and Creating an Organized list.  These strategies include explaining your method of solving the problem.
I would like to introduce to you Mrs. Kristin Upite who will act as our class mom.  She will be contacting you in the next several weeks to get things going with some organizational and operation parts of the classroom.  Please look for an email from her.
Whew,  this is a bit of a long one but with the start of the year there is so much going on that it is to be expected.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
Harold Daw
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