daw.com - January 29

It is hard to believe that another month has roared by us but we are at the end of January and moving into February.  Here are the current event assignments for next week;
Tuesday - Jungle
Wednesday - Arianna
Thursday - HaeWon
Friday - Sveva
I am quite pleased with this program and really expect it to be a great lead in to our Imapct unit later this year.
Our wellness week activities went over amazing with the students.  We started the week with TaiChi and a Tea Ceremony, then went on to Cooking twice, Developing our own folk dances, and learning how to meditate and do Yoga.  Over all I would say that the experiences really enriched the students learning for the Human Body unit with a link to China.
Next week is the grade 5 performance and our class has been busy preparing for this.  The 5HD performance is on Tuesday January 2 from 11:40-12:20 in the Theatre.  I hope most of you can make it.  This is the only opportunity for grade 5 to show how they learn in Performing Arts class this year.
Next week we will also take part in the Chinese New Year celebrations here at ISB.  The entire afternoon on Friday is dedicated to the students taking part in celebrating this most important part of the calendar.  It all ends with a show put on by the Chinese Acrobats.  Promises to me a very good day.
In relation to this, if anyone is leaving early or taking a longer than expected holiday please let me know so I can plan accordingly.  I thank-you in advance for this.
Just before the holiday I expect to complete our Novel study with a Video Book Report and finish our first Speculative Fiction story.  We will also complete our math unit on Exponents and Negative Numbers.
Kind of short today but none the less important.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.  I will gladly set up a meeting with you.
Harold Daw

daw.com - January 22

We seem to be back into the routine of learning and things are moving along quite well.  Here are next week's current events;
Tuesday - Claire
Wednesday - Henry
Thursday - Kevin
Friday - Elgin
I am quite please with the current events so far as students have really shown how their choice has an impact on the community.  This is a prime goal of this activity as we move closer and closer to our Impact unit.
I want to let everyone know that the class will be performing The Four Dragons on Feb 2 from 11:40-12:20 in the Theatre.  This is the culmination of their performing arts unit on Chinese Folktales.  As this is just before lunch, you might want to stay and have lunch with your student. I know they would really enjoy it.  As long as they are with their parents, they can also eat in the MS/HS cafeteria which I am positive will put a real smile on their face.  I do hope most of you can make it.
We have finished our Human Body rotations where the students had six activities ranging from learning about the various system of the body (digestive, nervous, circulatory, pulmonary & muscular) to dissecting a real heart and seeing how the lungs really inflate. It was a great experience for the students and now we continue on the learning for the unit.  I will be introducing the final project to them before we break for Chinese New Year.  This project is based on how to keep a system healthy and must include interaction with the audience.
We have started our newest math unit on Exponents and Negative numbers.  The family letter is attached to the bottom of this blog post.  This is a short unit and I expect to complete it prior to the break for Chinese New Year.
Next week we should complete our current novel - Sign of the Beaver and students will complete their first video blog post.  Watch for it on your student's blog.
I want to thank the three mom's who volunteered to help us cook next Wednesday. We will be baking Cinnamon Muffins and making fruit smoothies.  Should be a great time in the kitchen.
We also have our next China experience next week with 10 activities during the week.  These are organized by our experiential learning office and include Folk Dance, Tea Ceremony, Meditation, Calligraphy cooking Chinese food and Yoga.  I am sure the students will get a great deal out of it and I look forward to assistance from my students with the translation as most of the instructors will be Chinese.
That is all for this week.  If you have any questions or need to meet with me please drop me a line.  I will make the arrangements.
Harold Daw

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