daw.com - August 26

First off some announcements for next week.
Monday at 8:30am in Gym 1 will be the student presentation of the Sword Dance.  This had to be rescheduled from Friday due to a conflict of scheduling the gymnasiums.
Tuesday to Thursday will be the MAP testing.  While these are not high stakes tests I would still like every student to come to school in the best of health with a good nights rest behind them and a nutritious meal in the morning.  Both of these point to success in these kinds of tests.  Tuesday will be language use, Wednesday will be reading and Thursday will be math.
I want to thank all the parents who attended Back to School Night.  I hope it was both informative and reassuring that we have your students well being high in hearts.  Even though we have only finished two weeks, we are well along in the learning for the year.  It is all uphill from here.
We completed all sorts of things this week and we are right on track with all subjects.  We will start the reading/writing workshops next week.  In this system, all students will have a reading journal (blog) entry on one of their readings, a reading conference, guided reading plus practice, oral reading and time to silent read at least once every six days.  Mini lessons in writing and reading will accompany every day.
Math will move from the use of a base 10 system to measurement with a base 10 system including the conversion from one unit to another - both larger and smaller.  We do units from 1/1000 of a meter to a kilometer in this measurement.  Problem solving will continue to emphasize important words and concepts as well as proving your answer is correct.  Being able to persist with math for periods up to 20 minutes is important in growing mathematicians and these problems will continue to make them think more and more.  For the EAL students, seeing the recurring vocabulary is important in understanding the problem first.
We have finished the book Grandfather's Journey and started Encounter in our Explorer's unit.  We will also start with a novel in class called Pedro's journal.  While a work of fiction, it is based on the historical facts of Columbus' first voyage.  Perfect for our unit on how explorers and exploration has impacted our lives today.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and I will schedule a meeting with you.
Harold Daw

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
Personal Twitter - @worldbadger     School Hastag - #learnisb

daw.com - Aug 14

The classroom made a video in preparation for your arrival tomorrow - see what all it has to say.