daw.com - September 30

Since we were out at camp last Friday, I was unable to get a blog post prepared and published.  It is going to mean that this one is longer than usual.
Camp was a HUGE success.  The students bonded with each other, learned more about the teachers and administrators, did some art, science and PE activities and had a host of other things to keep their minds busy.  The setting was serene in a deep valley with lush growth all around and a stream passing nearby.  Today the students will bring home their camp newspaper with the articles they wrote this past week.
Today is Terry Fox run and being a Canadian it is especially important since even after many years, he is still a national hero.  Just imagine running a marathon (26 miles) every day of your life for almost 4 months and this with a prosthetic leg.  Although he never made it, I was on the University of Calgary committee to welcome Terry when he finally made it to Calgary.  It would have been an even unlike any other.  Today we honor his legacy to raise funds for the Cancer Society of China by doing 20 minutes of running here at school.
Our class elections for STUCO are over and Eric is our representative with Brandon the alternate.  I want to congratulate these two and also thank everyone who ran for office.  You did a great job with your speeches and I was impressed with the details you brought forward for the students.  Eric and Brandon have already had their first meeting with many more to come.
Next week is the national holiday week and I hope everyone takes a well deserved break.  Rest and rejuvenate is the theme of the week.
Last Monday we hosted Luca in our class.  He is the son of one of the prospective candidates for Head of School.  The class took to him very fast, and he became one of the class very quickly.  While his dad was not successful, I know many of the students would have loved to work with Luca next year.  We do wish him all the best in the future.  I was quite proud of the class in their manners and helping attitude.
When we return we will continue with the writing of our biographical sketches.  Most everyone has selected their historical figure and now it is time to research and write about them.  Lessons in this area will include taking notes, identifying important information, preparing paragraphs and proper research/bibliographic procedure.  This will come in handy in their future since many more research projects are ahead of them.
We will also continue with our Exploration projects.  In these projects students choose from 5 projects and then prepare to present their explorer.  It need not be an explorer from long ago as some people want to do underwater explorers, space explorers, scientific and medical explorers and other famous people/explorations.  They have a total of 5 questions they must answer as part of their presentation and when it is all done, they will present this to the class who will do a critique for them to learn from.  I have shown them examples and prepared a scaffold of learning for the students.
Our next math module us a continuation from the first one but now looks very heavily at the operations of decimal fractions and whole numbers.  We will begin this on the Monday when students return to school.
I have been asked by several parents about Current events and want to make sure that everyone knows that on the night of this assignment, the homework is strictly optional.  I want students to put a true effort into their Current Event so they are fully prepared to present this to the class next morning.  We do four a week unless someone is absent and then their make-up will be with someone else.

After the break, here are the people doing Current Events;
Tuesday – Naoko
Wednesday – Michael
Thursday – Annabel
Friday – Robinson
Friday October 14 is the International Day here at ISB.  A form went home this week and I would ask that it be returned as soon as possible please so I can have it ready for the parade component of the day.  If anyone wants to stay after school for the rest of the event, I need to know who they will be with, where they will be picked up, and how they are getting home afterwards.  I thank-you in advance for this.  On this day I do hope students will wear things that represent the country they are from.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know and I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.
Harold Daw

daw.com - September 16

As I write this I am hoping that most of you are enjoying a long weekend with the family and perhaps even the extended family.  Mid-autumn festival is a great time of the year for this to be a part of our life.
It was a really short week we just finished and next week is even shorter here at school since we will spend three days and two nights at Singing Deer Lodge in the annual grade 5 outdoor experience. More on this later.
Each week there is now up to four people who are in charge of the daily current events.  Next week there is only one - Tuesday - Inseong.  Remember that current events take the place of nightly homework and are not an add on.  All students have an account with NEWSELA and we practiced with it here in class for three days last week.  The website does not require a VPN to work but it is account specific so each student will have to login to use it.  One thing I really like about it is the leveled reading available.  This means that even my EAL students can have total use of the site.  In case it does go down I have emailed three other sites students can use to our class email on Office 365. These sites are Time for Kids, Dogo News and Science News for Students.
We are lucky to host the son of one of the candidates for Head of School on Monday.  The students are excited to have him in class for the day and we all hope he will leave with a really positive insight into 5HD.  At supper time on Monday as your student about this.
Spirit week was a great success and the students really took it to heart.  The pictures on this blog attest to the spirit 5HD shows the rest of the school.
Wednesday to Friday next week we will be out at Singing Deer Lodge.  Students need to bring their packed items for overnight on Tuesday morning so we can be ready to leave first thing on Wednesday.  Please, please please keep this light and to a minimum.  We are only gone for two nights.  This being said, the nights can be quite cool and the forecast is for showers most of the week.  Please plan accordingly.  
On Wednesday students need to bring with them a day pack that has a snack, lunch, water/drinks, and rain gear in it.  Please remember nothing with nuts in it.  I have a booklet (small) and pencil they will also be packing.  Any electronics they bring (and I strongly recommend that other than a camera they do NOT bring any) should also be in the day pack.  Remember they will be carrying around with them all afternoon on Wednesday as we can not get into the rooms until 5:00pm.  Anyone with medications should also bring them at this time and give them to me with any special instructions.
Camp is always a great event of the year and one that students look back on as a highlight.  We are really lucky that we can go for two nights this year.  I think I am just as excited as the kiddies are.
One change in class this week is that I will no longer cover the nightly homework with the class unless there is a huge problem.  Instead everyone will hand it in first thing in the morning and I will mark it and hand it back for the next night.  Please make sure students look over what they did in case there were errors and corrections need to be done.
We will continue with our look at decimal fraction equations, explorers and exploration and start biographies this coming week.
As always, if there are any concerns or questions please let me know so and I will gladly set a time for us to meet.

daw.com - September 10

It is hard to believe but the first month of school is almost over and we have already done so much.  If time keeps up in this fashion, it will soon be time to look at winter break.
Please remember that this coming week is a three day week.  Thursday and Friday are national holidays.
This coming week is the start of the first session of ASA.  I have posted a listing in the classroom but it would be a good idea for you to go over this with your student as well so they know the where and when plus travel home after the program is over.
It is also spirit week.  Monday is house colors with an assembly last period of the day to celebrate this.  All students were given their house color shirts on Friday and need to wear them on Monday.  Tuesday is twins, triplets or groups day where students can band together and plan to wear the same clothes or outfits.  Accessorize as needed.  Wednesday is dress up as you favorite character from a book, TV show or movie.  Lots of opportunity here to show school spirit and have fun at the same time.
We are also well planned for our trip to Singing Deer Lodge on Sept Sept 21-23.  The students picked their cabin groups earlier in the week, we have been meeting regularly ti plan and implement the activities, the admin team has prepared the specialist teachers to come with us and SDL is ready and waiting.  It should be a fun three days.  I would like to remind everyone as they plan for this to make sure there are no nut or nut product foods brought on the camp.  This includes snacks as well as meals.  We want everyone to have a safe and fun time at camp.
This coming week will see the start of the current events in the class.  Each night, from Monday to Thursday, one student will come home with their current event booklet.  They need to select an event that is fairly current, usually I say within the last 18 months or so, and report out on it.  They will then present it to the class next day.  The current events is in place of the homework for that night.
Given the short week this week there will only be two nights of homework.  This is also the last week that we mark this in class.  By now students should have an excellent understanding of my expectations.  They will hand it in every morning and I will have it back to them by the end of the day marked.
Our unit on Explorers and Exploration is well underway with a look at Google Earth, Age of Exploration posters, Pedro's Journal and some work on reading up on people who are explorers in today's world.  Once back from out camp outing, we will really pick up the pace on this.
I am hoping that everyone is reading every night of the week and logging it in their reading log.  As I begin to prepare for the first reporting period, I will be conferencing with all the students and one of the subjects will be their home reading program.  Remember that on every Wednesday, parents should sign the reading log.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.  I will set up a time we can meet.
Harold Daw

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