daw.com - September 2

It is hard to believe the the month of August is already over.  We have had such a great start to the school year and have already learned so much that time is going by very fast.  This week we finished a couple of projects and started several more.  We are moving along at a great pace this year.
I want to thank all the parents who came to watch our sword dance demonstration early in the week.  We all had a great time as you can see with this video.

I was very pleased with the attitude and fortitude of the class during MAP tests this past week.  For 10-11 year old students, these tests are long and somewhat frustrating but the class took it all in stride and showed that they can really take on a challenge.  It will be about 7 months before we do the second ones later in the year.  Parents can expect to see results from the fall assessments in about 3-4 weeks. Look for an email from the Office of Learning.
This week we covered the first 5 weeks of Columbus' journey to the new world in a book called Pedro's Journal.  This is the first of several class novel studies we will do and this one happens to coincide with our first unit quite well.  The assignments for this novel study are a series of letters home placing the students in the shoes of the young boy Pedro.  There are also some post cards for specific skills from reading I am looking for.
We have also started our look at Google Earth as we look at the journeys of these explorers.  First we will learn how to use the parts of Google Earth we need and then students will chart several journeys of these explorers.  We will also use the same program to chart Apollo 11 as the first explorers of the moon.  It is so neat that we have this resource to use for this part of our unit.
We finished our "All About Me" presentations and I was generally quite impressed.  This past week we had a gallery walk and a peer assessment of the boards.  Since there are about 4-5 more presentations this year, it was a good way to start off the year and also learn more about how to do presentations properly.
Our outdoor adventure to Singing Deer Lodge is coming up really fast.  On Monday we will send home the parent letter and packing list.  Please read it over carefully.  This year we are also going to enforce the rule of no nuts or nut based products out at camp.  We have several students who are allergic to nuts and so it is best that we just avoid this all together. Please help us in making this a great trip for everyone.  We will leave on Wednesday Sept 21 and come back on Sept 23.  This always proves to be a highlight of the year for the grade 5 students.
Next week we will start two new things in the class.  The first is the current events.  Each student will get a Newsela Account and have to report on 4 current events throughout the week using this website.  It is not blocked in China so we can use it to report all year on current events.  One thing that is important is that the current event must include how it impacts a person or group of people.  This will lead us into our Impact Unit at the end of the year. The following week one person per night will be responsible for a current event report the next morning as part of the sharing for morning meeting.
The second upstart is Me As a Learner.  This is where students set short term goals related to the class and then in three weeks these are evaluated and either more goals set or original goals continued.  This will be done throughout the year leading up to our Student Led Conferences.  It will be annotated with blurbs in Evernote and a look at Me As a Learner through class and small group discussions.
That is all for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set up a time to meet.
Harold Daw