daw.com - November 26

Here are this weeks Current Events reporters;
Tuesday - Leo
Wednesday - Cici
Thursday - Ada
Friday - Angel
Just a reminder that the Current Events are part of our morning meeting routine as they are one way we share in the morning.  Students should report on things happening around the world and include all the information they need so that the rest of the class will understand.  They also for part of our Impact Unit at the end of the year.
We have completed module 2 of math and started module 3 - Addition and Subtraction of Fractions.  You can find the parent letter for this here. It is not a long unit and we will finish before the winter break.
Next Thursday we are in the school kitchen cooking using fractions.  I want to thank the parents who volunteered to help for this.  It is always a highlight for the students.  Look for pics on next weeks blog.
We will complete our first piece of fiction writing this week.  Students are just about completed their first draft then it is revisions and edits ending with a final draft.  After I have assessed them, I will be sure to send it home in the Monday Folders.
We had a discussion this past week about proper digital behaviors.  It has come to our attention that many students at ISB are part of WeChat groups that are using inappropriate language, bullying others and various other nefarious activities.  One thing I pointed out to the students is that to use this site they needed to obtain written consent from parents.  This is clearly documented in the User Agreement for PRC.  You can find this here for your information. The legal age for users of WeChat here in China is 18.
This week students will start their Science Fair project.  This is an investigation of a science principle from questions the student asks.  It needs to include three questions all related to the idea.  Here is an example;
Science Principle - solids dissolving in liquids
Question 1 - What happens when sugar is dissolved in water, vinegar and coca-cola?
Question 2 - Does temperature affect the dissolving of sugar in water, vinegar and coca-cola?
Question 3 - Is there a difference in dissolving crystal and powder sugar in water, vinegar and coca-cola.
Each of these investigations is then carried out and students will keep track of the results they gather by drawing models, using charts and completing graphs.  Finally they will prepare a display of their work for the science fair on Dec 14th.  All of the investigations will be homework starting later this coming week and being completed by Dec 8th.

Tuesday is the annual Grade 5 Performing Arts performance.  It is in the theatre at 8:30 am for those of you that can make it.  It is a story that we did in class about an explorer from the 14th century - Ibn Batutta. Students will do all sorts of things for this performance and it will include all grade 5 students.
Once again I would like to ask you to let me know if you plan on leaving early for Christmas.  With all the celebrations of the semester as well as the ending of our science unit, I really need to know so that students can be kept on track.  Thank- you in advance for this. 
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know and I will gladly set a time up for us to meet.
Harold Daw

daw.com - November 28

Yet another week has sped by and we are really into a lot of learning.  First off is next week's current events;
Tuesday - Michael
Wednesday - Annabel
Thursday - Robinson
Friday - Poppy
Our current unit of science has all the students exploring the safety of parachutes.  We started by looking at what makes a parachute work and then came up with list of questions that would help us learn more about the safety of parachutes.  Students then created an investigation based on one of the questions.  They are in the process of completing these and then we will compare the results from the various groups.
Our writing of fiction stories has entered the final stages with most students almost completed their first drafts.  Now they will share it with each other as the revise the story then it will be for editing and completion of the final draft.  I want to remind everyone that writing is a very long term piece of learning.  It takes most students years of learning and practice to become efficient and effective writers.  Because of this, sharing becomes a very large part of the learning since it offers a larger audience of learning that just the student and teacher.
We will complete our math unit this coming week with the final assessment sometime towards the middle of the week.  I want to spend some time reviewing first and then looking at problem solving.  Our next unit is on addition and subtraction of fractions.
Next Friday is the school's annual book fair.  These are vendors from here in Beijing that come to sell the books they have that are of interest to both our students and families.  If you think your student might like to purchase a book, send some money with them and I will take them to the book fair to look around.  There is no requirement to do this.  
I want to take the students into the cooking lab for some real life fractions cooking but need some parents to help me please.  The two dates I am looking at are Dec 1 and 9th and it will be sometime between 11:00 and 12:30.  If you do not mind supervising this with me, please let me know.  In the past students have really enjoyed this.
We are coming up to our grade 5 Performing Arts presentation on November 29th.  It will be in the theatre starting at about 8:30 am.  If you can make it, I am sure the support will be greatly appreciated by the students.
Next week is our Week of Kindness in the Elementary School.  This is an important week as I feel that learning to be kind and learning about kindness is important for this age group.  I am sure you will hear more about this as the week continues.
I will return to weekly Monday folders this week after my absence this past week.  Look for the assessment rubrics for the exploration unit as well as the past two weeks of work the students have completed.  Just a reminder that you are asked to sign this so that I know you have seen what I am sending home.  The folder and signature paper comes back to school, the work stays at home.
Here is the video of the students involved with the Jedi Jugglers three weeks ago;

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Harold Daw

daw.com - November 4

Here are next week's current events;
Tuesday - Elvin
Wednesday - Eric
Thursday - Inseong
Friday - Jungbin
We return to regular homework next week with a math problem and reading passage per night.  One question I was asked during parent conferences was about students pre-learning the homework.  I do know I made one mistake last quarter but for the most part, everything they are doing in the homework is an extension of things we do in class.  In some cases we might just have done it once before the homework goes home, in other cases we have repeatedly gone over the concepts and ideas.  I also want to remind parents that the homework is only an extension of what we do in class.  There are special times where students are completing work from school, such as the past week with the Exploration Projects, but for the most part, if students have something else scheduled on the night of the homework, they can just complete it the next day.  At all times, the homework should not take more than an hour to complete as that is the Elementary School guideline.
We have been busy with our Science Unit - Prove It!  For this unit students are learning about the states of matter (solid, liquid and gas), the changes in matter and also about the scientific process.  This past week we did 4 investigations that involved M&Ms where students began to look at things critically and identify further questions that have not been answered.  It has been a very interesting week.
We are also in process of out first fiction story.  We have spent a lot of time planning the story with a brainstorm, ending, events leading to the end, character description and setting.  As we complete this the next thing students will do is record their rough ideas to their story.  From here we will then start to write it and finally publish it.
In math we have started division of whole numbers.  We started division with unit numbers (10, 100, 1000) and then started to look at single digit division (276 / 5) with and without remainders.  At this time we do not include decimal remainders - just whole numbers - ie 276 / 5 = 55 R1 or 276 / 5 = 55...1.  Both are acceptable representations as long as the student sticks with the one they like.  We also started to look at estimating division problems but this is a little more tricky since the entire expression needs to be looked at rather than just one number.
I will be away at a conference from Thursday Nov 10 to Tuesday Nov 15.  The sub will have all the plans for each day and my expectations remain the same with the learning.  Everyone should be well versed in this by now --- Do Your Best.  It will mean that for the week of Nov 14-17 there will be no Monday Folder and on Nov 11 there will be no blog.  I will return to both of these the week I return.
The student council (STUCO) is selling apples as a fund raiser for an orphanage here in China.  This is an annual event and something is very worth supporting.  The apples are RMB6 each and I think it would be a great community builder if students also support this.  They can bring in their RMB6 next week to me.
On Monday the ISB Book orders will go out to students.  If there are books you wish to purchase the order and money will need to be in by Nov. 15th.  On that day the PTA will pick up the orders and send the money off for the order.  It will not be possible to order after that time.
A reminder that the week of Nov 14-17 is a 4 day week with Friday a PD day for teachers here at ISB.  There is no school on the Friday.
I would like to ask at this time that if you know you will be leaving early or coming back late from Winter Break, could you please let me know so I can plan accordingly.  We have a couple of special events for the students and I want to make sure I know who all will be here.
One of these events is our Science Fair.  It is on December 14th starting at about 1:30 in the afternoon.  This is immediately after lunch so if you want to come early and have lunch with your student, please feel free to do so.  I know they would really enjoy a respite from the regular cafeteria for a chance to be with a parent and eat in the MS Cafeteria.
A little longer than normal today but as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and I will gladly meet with you.
Harold Daw