daw.com - September 15

John Denver started off what is now a very famous song with, "All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..."  and that is what we are for Camp 2017.  Monday morning we start the adventure of grade 5 camp.  A few things to remember.  Students should have two packs.  An overnight pack with all their clothes and toiletries and a day pack with their lunch, drink, water bottle, rain coat, hat, (sunscreen and bug repellent if needed) and snack.  This is the pack they will carry with them for the whole camp.  The other one will stay in their dorm room the entire camp.  When students arrive on Monday morning they take their overnight bag to the Little Dragon Theatre to store until we leave.  Please please please please remember we are ONLY gone for three days and two nights so keep everything small and light.  As for electronics I have told the students that I see no reason to bring a very expensive electronic phone out to a camp where there are a multitude of ways it can get lost, damaged or even fall in ponds, creeks or other water sources.  My suggestion is to leave them at home. I will have cameras at camp if they want to take pictures and we can download them when we return on Thursday.

Our writing of personal narratives is coming to the publishing stage and there is a lot of interesting stories to read.  I have been impressed by the ingenuity the students have shown in writing small moments into complete narrative stories. Look for these in the coming weeks on the students Seesaw accounts.

Our first unit in math is also coming to a close.  We have had an extensive look at base ten and unit decimals, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of these decimals and also a short session on estimation.  I expect to complete the final assessment and project for this unit prior to the fall break.

We all have Newsela accounts now.  This is a great website for student news and what I really like about it is the ability of students to mesh their reading level to the news items.  The homework for the week prior to fall break will all be using Newsela.  It is not blocked here in China so all students have full access at home as well.

Our unit on Global Citizen ship is coming to a close as well.  The students brainstormed the concepts that Ms. Sayson and Mr. Hurworth could use in hiring new faculty for ISB.  We will put these into a large graphic and then present it to the two of them with Mr. Byrne present as well.  The students also looked at Difference makers and will be creating a presentation about one of the Difference Makers they wrote about.  I used the 4 C's method of studying them (Connection, Challenges, Concepts and Changes) to really help the students dig into what the article was telling them.  It will be interesting to see what they come up with as a presentation.

After 5 weeks of school I am pleased to continually tell you how wonderful your students are.  They work together well, they are an exciting and excited group of students and most of all, they are wonderful learners in a multitude of ways.  I am one of the luckiest people in the world at the moment with such a magnificent group to work with.

In the realm of transparency, I do want all of you to know that I am looking to move on from ISB at the end of this school year.  New laws in China have made it not possible for me to stay past the age of 60 which is next school year for me.  With that in mind I have already applied for or will be applying for positions at Hong Kong International School, Singapore American School, Seoul Foreign School and the International School of Prague.  This was not an easy decision to make but I do think it was made for all the right reasons.  I have nothing but the utmost of appreciation for my 8 years here at ISB. It is an amazing school with great students and parents.

As always, if you want to talk to me about something or have a question, please feel free to contact me.  I will gladly set up a time or call you at your convenience.

Harold Daw

daw.com - September 9

Another very busy week of learning has transpired in 5HD.  Even with all the MAP testing that we did there was still time to get work in on our writing, reading and math workshops. The students even earned their first reward for the year with a total of 8 compliments from outside of the classroom in the past 4 weeks.  These are things we talk about in class as both how the watch their own behavior and how others perceive them.  Part of our morning meeting time is used to learn how to become good students, good citizens and just a generally good person.  We will also talk later next month on Digital Citizenship and what is needed to use technology to its best, appropriately.

With this last point in mind I want to convey a talk I had with one of the parents this week about computer games.  I mentioned that the reason these are so popular and addictive is that there is an instant physiological response to trying to win and ultimately to winning.  While this is not a bad thing, the concern is that it can take over the lives of young people to the point of addiction. My suggestion to parents is that computer games should not be allowed at all during school nights.  The time is better spent on a sports team, music lessons, art classes or some other kind of activity that will benefit them over a longer period of their life.  When a student does play computer games it should never be for longer that 45 minutes and then it is time once again to get up and try some of the aforementioned activities.  I have unfortunately seen youth that are so addicted to computer games it takes over a greater part of both their regular lives as well as their education.  While not an expert on this, I think that if it gets to this level it would need some serious professional intervention.  I would like to see this avoided.

One of the biggest activities this coming week will be preparation for camp at Singing Deer Lodge Sept 18-21.  Students will bring home a packing list with the suggested items to bring.   While packing please remember - we are only gone for 2 nights and three days.  Keep everything small and compact and do not over-pack.  Students are allowed to bring a camera to camp but no other electronic devices.  This is for safety reasons since nothing is locked at camp and there is water all around which can seriously damage electronics. I have also talked with the students about how responsible they need to be if the bring out any kind of electronic device.  There is nothing I can do if they lose it other than retrace steps.  In most instances of lost electronics they were never recovered.  Think seriously about this before sending your student out to camp with a very expensive electronic device.  I will be bring the 15 class cameras I have for the students to use to take lots and lots and lots of pictures.  Also, the mobile reception out at Singing Deer Lodge is usually quite poor and in most cases non-existant.

One other thing for camp is that I need to collect all passports from students to take with us to camp.  A student cannot go if I do not have their passport with me when we leave on September 18.  They are kept locked up here at school and at camp the lodge takes them for the duration of our stay.  I will return the passports as we arrive back to ISB.

Students selected cabins for camp on Friday and while not everyone got what they wanted, I was happy that there was some give and take as the students finalized the lists.  We do not see this is as too important since we do not spend a lot of time in the cabins except to sleep and we also want the students to get to know other boys and girls from the classes we go to camp with.

We have started to write our reading journal blogs.  Our first entry is just about complete and then students need to comment on each others blog.  We will do this once every 6 day cycle and entry will be a short summary of a book, character evaluation/description and a connection made while reading.  This is an excellent way for me to both see what the students are learning from their reading and also to watch what they are reading.  I am hoping by now there is some kind of daily routine for students to read at home and that they are keeping track in their planners.  Please help your student with this if they are experiencing difficulty.

We are in the drafting phase of our first piece of narrative writing with most students well on their way to complete their first draft.  After this, three people will revise this with them and two will help with the editing.  Then it publication time and the process begins all over again with collecting more small moments.

We will produce a camp paper when we return from camp as part of our writing unit.
I have been asked when results of MAP testing will be sent to parents and do not have an exact answer.  It is usually 2-3 weeks after the tests end so sometime right after October break would be my guess.

We are really moving forward with out Global Citizenship unit.  So far we have come up with our understanding of what makes a good global citizen and how we can be good global citizens.  Now we are looking at the aspects of global citizenship and what influences peoples decisions in civic and global issues.  We will read about a number of students who have really taken this to heart and made a serious change in the world.  We will also look at our school culture as we prepare a list of qualities that ISB should look at when hiring new teachers.  This list will be presented to Mrs. Sayson, Mr. Hurwoth and Mr. Byrne when it is complete.

That is all this week.  If you have any questions or concerns please let me know so I can work with you in answering them.
Harold Daw

daw.com - September 1


The start of the week was a really good way for students to see how writing is actually done professionally.  The visiting author Matt Holm did two great presentations for the students on where ideas come from and how to go from an idea to a final publication.  The parallels were amazing with what I am teaching your children.  Writing is MESSY.  Anyone who thinks they have a good piece of writing the first time they do it is either very lucky or not really taking a good look at what is in the writing.  Proper spelling and grammar and not important as students are collecting their ideas and thoughts in some kind of writing journal.  When it comes time to revise and edit, then it is time to look at the proper spelling of words, proper punctuation and even sentence structure since these pieces will eventually end up being published.  What is most important, right at the onset, is how well your message or information is being communicated for others to read.  This is something I will continually tell my students all year long in writer's workshop.

The big part of next week is MAP testing.  For returning students I will be interested to see if there has been any growth since the last test which was late in the previous (grade4) school year.  Not usually a lot, but I am hoping to see some.  It is vital that all students get a good night sleep and eat well at breakfast.  The test will be administered on Tues, Wed and Thurs, first thing in the morning.  There is nothing students can do to prepare for it.  Parents should see results about 6 weeks later.

I want to say thank-you to all parents who attended Back to School Night on Thursday.  I do hope the time was informative and answered most of your questions about my room and the curriculum being taught.  I also hope that you feel your student is in good hands in my class.  I can certainly assure you that they are very important to me.

I have now sent home all the family invitations for our student Seesaw blogs.  Parents have access to their student's blogs and can comment on them.  If at all possible, I would like something more than "Great work!." as a comment.  I am really trying hard to have my students look at comments and work from them to improve themselves.  With this in mind it would be better to write something like; "Great Work! I really liked the rhyming pattern in your poem." or something to that nature.  Students will also be commenting on each others blogs as well with the same type of comment.  Again, I am trying hard to make everything they do in class have a reason and learning associated with it.

I was very proud of the class with the cooperation and collaborative skills shown in their Sword Dance presentation on Friday morning.  They did a truly remarkable job.  For those that could not see it, here is a short video of what it looked like. Also a video of the song after the performance.




As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know and I will be happy to meet with you.

daw.com - August 25

 The so called "honeymoon phase" of grade 5 is now over.  At this point just about all the routines in the class have been formalized and now it is just a matter of reinforcing them over and over.  Perhaps the largest of these is the daily reading and recording of the reading.  Yes, it is true that reading is a 7 day a week experience.  After all, I am fairly sure that a day hardly goes by that all of us adults does not read something be it a report, letter, proposal or research grant application.  Just about all adults in our community read every day of the week.  Therefore, so should our students.  About the only different component of this is that I do make them record the name of the book and time they read each of the 7 days.  A burning question from the students is what about holidays?  As much as it is feasible, I recommend that reading continue through all days of a holiday too. By doing this, and making sure that the students are thinking about their reading, something I have just started to teach them, there should be quite an improvement in reading ability over the year.  One thing that you can do as a parent is have your student read to you - just what they are reading now is fine and only for a couple of minutes.  This way you can watch their progress throughout the year.

Homework will commence in earnest this week with a problem to be solved and a reading/writing sheet every night.  We did these in class this week to show the students both what is expected and also to let them understand what the homework is.  For the reading/writing, there are two levels as my EAL students need a different kind of reading/writing assignment as they learn the English language.  As the year progresses, I will monitor the students homework and if I feel they need
something more challenging, I will change the homework accordingly.  We mark the homework the next morning so there is no such thing as late homework - they can copy and learn from the answers given in the morning.  Later in the year, when students are more familiar with the homework, they will be presenting the answers to the class.

This week coming up has several events built in.  The first is a couple or workshops with the visiting author Matt Holm.  These are important as it allows the students to see how a professional writer using the writing process to go from idea to publication - the same thing we do in class in our writing workshop.  Thursday evening is our annual Back to School Night starting at 6:00 in the theatre.  I am looking forward to seeing all of you there.  I will review the curriculum and let you know about the class in general.  Lastly is out start to Counseling lessons by Mr. Kooienga who is the grade 5 counselor this year.  These lessons are designed around a once every second rotation system so we will see him approximately twice a month - more toward the end of the year as
we look at moving to Middle School.

ASA registration opens next week so if you are interested in having your student take part in any of the activities make sure you login in and sign them up.  Some of them have limited spaces so early signup is suggested.  Also, starting next week is all the advanced strings program.  You should already have read the blog post from Mrs. Campbell about this but if you forgot, remember the link to her blog is at the top of our blog.  Students interested in Band will get a taste of it on Tuesday as there is a performance that will look at showing students what it is all about.

Whew! This is a long one today but all the information is important as we continue to move forward with our learning.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and I will gladly meet with you.

daw.com - August 18

This has been an amazing week and a great start to the year.  The students and I have really taken the time to get to know each other and I feel like I know them so much better than when I started the week.  You have an amazing student and I am so glad they are in my room.

We spent a lot of time this week with two activities - creating a learning community and thinking about our learning.  We wrote two pieces, both published, spent some time creating icons that represent us (these are now on student lockers), learning more about our base 10 system, working through some math puzzles, doing our first open ended math problem, reading for enjoyment and also for comprehension, preparing our technology for use this year and just doing the things that we need to really make this a great year.

Students have now met all their specialist teachers and I have placed a link to their blogs at the top of the blog page.  There are still a few I need to get but I will work on this over the weekend in an attempt to get them all up for you.

Just a couple of housekeeping items to finish this week off.  Please look at and sign the daily planner Monday to Thursday.  This will help you get to know what is going on in the classroom.   Secondly, if you and your student have not signed and returned the Responsible Use Agreement for Technology please see to this as quickly as possible.  Mark on your calendars August 31 in the evening as this is Back to School Night.  I look forward to seeing all of you to update you on the progress of the class.
 
Next week there will be no homework sent home. I spend the first week doing the homework in class so I can see the students work on it and also so they get to know my expectations.  Regular homework will commence the following week.

I have had several parents ask me about music classes after school. If you are interested in Band, Orchestra (Violin, Cello etc) or Choir, please contact Mrs. Campbell in the Fine Arts department.  She has all the information.

ASA sign up is not for another week.  Look for an announcement from the activities office about this later next week.

I think that sums it up for this week.  As I always end, please let me know if you have any questions.  I will be more than willing to set a time up for us to meet.

daw.com - June 2

WOW!!! How this year has flown by - it still seems like we were just getting back from Winter Break.  Even the students are letting me know how fast this year has gone by. There are a couple of housekeeping things first I need to take care of.
Next week is lunch in the MS cafeteria.  For those students who purchase lunch from the school, it means they need their lunch card topped up.  If they run out of money, the MS cafeteria does not allow students to get a lunch.  Please help your student by making sure their card is topped up.  Also, please talk with your student about how much they should spend for a meal.  Remember, each item costs and there is no single meal price in the MS cafeteria.
Secondly, I am hearing from a lot of students about absences due to leaving early for summer break.  It is very important I know of these so I can plan properly.  Please send me an email about any absence your student will have between now and the end of the school year - the sooner the better.  Thanks for looking after this.
Next weeks current Events are as follows;
Tuesday - Eric
Wednesday - Simon
Thursday - JungBin
Friday - Millie
I am also requesting that all students read in English over the summer.  Next Tuesday is our regular library period where each student can sign out 10 books for their summer reading if they are returning to ISB.  I want to encourage everyone to continue with their 5-10 minutes per night EVERY night during summer just so they continue with the practice of reading.  I know that this skill does decline if not practiced regularly.  Please encourage your student to sign out some books for summer reading.  Here are some online-resources as well;
  1. Raz Kids: Our Raz Kids class account will remain open and active for students until September. I’ve expanded the book room to each child’s current reading level and several levels above, to give them room to grow during summer. Raz Kids is perfect for traveling families because it’s online or available as an app!
  2. Newsela: The Newsela website is one that students have been using a lot this year to read nonfiction news. Each news article in Newsela can be read at several different reading levels, which provides access to a wide range of readers. If your child forgets their homeroom class code, they can login using my class code: KS6PPH. Newsela also has several summer book clubs, on a variety of topics, that your child can participate in online. Newsela is also an online source or available as an app.
I have completed the recording of reading in a reading log for the year but still want to encourage students to read every night for at least 10 minutes.
I am starting to send things home as we finish them and today the daily math book went home.  It is a good review of general math skills. Please remember that I no longer use Monday folders but rather send home work as I complete grading it.
Report cards will be posted on June 14th but if you want to meet with me prior to this please let me know and I will gladly set up a time to meet with you. In the mean time, have a great weekend.

daw.com - May 26

I want start by sharing a conversation I had with a parent this week regarding writing grades.  You may recall that at Back to School Night and several student conferences, I mentioned that it takes years for students to become very proficient writers.  The learning to write is only one part of the equation with having time to practice the other side.  In grade 5 our writing focuses on several parts of writing - report writing, biographies, fantasy stories, narratives and opinion/persuasive writing.  With all of these there are lessons on both the specifics to make this area more proficient as well as word work that looks at spelling and punctuation.  We then spend time practicing this through the writing workshop model - planning & research, first draft, revisions & edits, final draft.  All of these take a large amount of time but are essential to making sure that a process for writing is what students use.  While it may look like the writing assessments are not showing any growth, because expectations are always growing, as long as a student is remaining or improving in their assessments, they are showing growth in their learning to write.  I return to my first thought - it takes many years to become a proficient writer.  It is also much harder for a student who is EAL as they are also learning the language as well as the process.
Speaking of grades, as we head to the end of the year, if you would like a conference with me about the progress of your student, please let me know and I will be glad to set a time up with you.  Please note that grades are posted on June 14th not the 15th as previously announced.
I am also hearing of summer plans from many of your students that involve leaving early or missing some days of school.  Please keep me informed of these so I can plan accordingly.  There are a lot of events and activities at the end of the year we are planning for and numbers are an important part of this planning.  There are also things like yearbooks, EOY shirts and assembly celebrations I need to account for.
This week I wrap up the Monday Folders.  There will be no need to return these again. All completed work will be sent home as it is finished.  I have had mixed reviews of these so I will reflect on this process for future years.  So much more is digital that it does not really go home, but rather is always available online.  We are also moving to a more updated version of blogs for next year so that will impact these folders as well.
This week there is no school on Tuesday so the current events are as follows;
Wednesday - Kevin
Thursday - Elvin
Friday - Eric
As parents you will need to help your student decide whether they do their homework and CE on Monday evening or Tuesday evening in preparation for the next day.
The week will entail continued work on our 2nd persuasive essay, debates on Is Globalization Good?, our math unit on the coordinate plane, book clubs, poetry and work on economics and trade.
Have a great week.

daw.com - May 19

We are working on finalizing many projects as well as completing end of year assessments.  So far MAP is completed and the writing prompt is finished.  Next week we will get DRA done as well as the Word Work and EOY Math Assessment.  I have been asked when MAP scores will be out and at the moment we have not finished the testing in the school so I would imagine a few more weeks before release of scores.
Here are next week's current events;
Tuesday - Siwoo
Wednesday - Brandon
Thursday - Oscar
Friday - Tiffy
The students reminded me that these are the last ones of the year for these students since there is not 20 school days left.  I will send home the current event booklets toward the end of the year.
Our inquiry unit on Economics and Trade has spend some time looking at what is globalization and how it has changed the world.  This will eventually lead us to a debate on the question Has Globalization Been a Positive Influence?  In order to support this, students have been working on a persuasive essay.  The final draft of this is due in next Wednesday and then there is one more of their choice to close out the year.  These persuasive essays will work in tandem with preparation of the debate.
Our math unit on the coordinate plane has taken us into looking at parallel, perpendicular and intersecting lines from formulas and rules.  Students have had a lot of fun with this unit and the learning is interesting since it is something they have not had in any previous grade level.  We should finish the unit on time before the end of the year.
As the year comes to an end please let me know if you wish to meet with me to wrap things up.  I will send you some times that we can meet.  I would also like to ask you to let me know of any early leaving plans just so I can plan accordingly.  There are a lot of special events for grade 5 students as we prepare them for the move to middle school and there are also things they get as they leave the ES.  Any info you have please share with me so we can have a smooth close to the year.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Harold Daw

daw.com - April 28

Remember that this is a long weekend and there is no school on Monday.  It is Labor Day here in China and the whole country celebrates it with a day off of work.  The class has also earned this with all the neat and exciting things they have completed.
This week was a week of packed activities and happenings.  The biggest were the three times the students started their transition to middle school with their grade 6 buddies and a concert by MS choir, orchestra and band.  One of the nice things about these in Middle School is they are a part of students regular school day and not an after school activity.  Students will sign up for their enrichments next month some time.
Here are next weeks current events.
Tuesday - no current events
Wednesday - Annabel
Thursday - Robinson
Friday - Poppy
The big event this coming week is Celebrate and Share the Arts (CASTA) starting on Thursday.  The class has been busy in Performing Arts preparing a presentation which will take place in the theatre.  The other grade 5 classes will be the audience and we will be the audience for their presentations.  I would like to see all students in their CASTA shirts on Thursday.


We have finished our unit on Fractions with Area and Volume and now move to Graphing on the Coordinate Plane.  Students usually really like this unit as it involves a lot of problems that are using graphics and drawing.
We will also continue with our reading unit on Economics and Trade and our writing on Persuasive Essays which will both lead into our debates toward the end of May or beginning of June.  We are well on track with this and moving nicely forward.  It is not an easy unit and one that really stretches the brain.
Have a great long weekend and regenerate the batteries for next week.

daw.com - April 23


This week continues to be a busy place in 5HD.  Here is a listing of some of the events your students will be involved with as the week goes by;
Monday - Senior Parade
Wednesday - Panda Reading Program Assembly for Chinese Classes
Thursday - Transition time with a grade 6 class
Thursday - Eat in MS Cafeteria with grade 6 class
Friday - Author Visit assembly
In between all this we are still working on our economics inquiry unit with our current learning on trade.  This week we will explore trade between countries and what his means to the rest of the world.  We will also start to look at globalization in the context of trade and people.
We are also moving forward with our persuasive essay unit using the topic of mobile phones in the class.  Lost of interesting debate and ideas on this one.  We should have our final draft out by Friday.
For current events this week we will hear from the following people;
Tuesday - Maya
Wednesday - Millie
Thursday - Naoko
Friday - Michael
We will complete our unit on area and volume using fractions with a final assessment on Wed or Thursday.  Our next unit is graphing on the coordinate plane.
That is all for this week. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will set up a time for us to meet.
Harold Daw

daw.com - April 16



This past week seems to have flown by and with all the great learning happening next week, I expect the same will also happen.  We were fortunate to play host to Braxton in our class for just one day on Friday and the students did their usual great job at welcoming him and making him feel at home.  He was an integral part of our class albeit, just for one day.
Here are this weeks current events;
Tuesday - Elvin
Wednesday - Eric
Thursday - Simon
Friday - JungBin
Some important announcements first;
Tuesday is Track and field day.  Students will need a water bottle, hat, swimming clothes (we will supply the towel) and sneakers to run in.  If they are bringing a lunch from home please be advised that we eat outdoors on this day so there is no hot water or microwave available.  Those who have a school lunch have already ordered it.
If the AQI us above 200 at 7:00am it will be cancelled and rescheduled to Thursday.  If it is between 150 and 200 it will go as planned so if you do not want your student out in this kind of air day, please keep them at home.  These are the regular school track and field AQI rules.
Friday is the last of the school book fairs.  If students want to purchase some books they need to bring some RMB to school with them on Friday.  The kinds of books grade 5 students like usually start at about RMB60 and go up from there.  Please use your judgement in sending money in with your student.
We will start our Trade and Interdependence unit this week with a game called Settlers of Catan.  The students got a quick intro into this on Friday and will play it 4-5 times this coming week. The will have a 4C's assignment to complete every day and final copy on Friday - these are Connections, Challenges, Concepts and Changes.
We also have book clubs this week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so it is important that students stay caught up with this so they are prepared for their part of the discussion time.  There is a yellow Book Clubs booklet that they fill in as well as a Thinkmark to aid in their note taking and discussions.
Our writing takes to persuasive essays and we are doing a class example about cellphone use in class.  There has already been an interesting discussion about this.
This coming week is Take a Stand week where we look at how students can be advocates for others in their school that may be bullied or teased.  At this age it is not just recognizing this but also beginning to learn how to help others when it is seen.  Mr. K and also a group of HS students will help us out with this starting with an assembly on Monday morning first thing. 
I will be out of class on Friday for part 2 of the MSIS training.  This is training in Math that is in alignment with the math program we Have at ISB so there are teachers from all grade levels to grade 10 involved with it.  I will have a full set of sub plans ready for the day.
That is it for today.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will set up a time for us to meet.

daw.com - April 9

Welcome back and I do hope everyone is well rested and ready for the final stretch to the end.  It is only 9 weeks and there is still a lot of good learning to do.  We will return to regular homework this week.  Monday folders will also resume after a two week hiatus so there will be lots in there.  Please look over it carefully and sign the parent form before having your student return them.  Thanks in advance for this.
One thing that happens at this time of year is people begin to know their plans for next year.  As we will be involved with planning for grade 6 classes, it is most helpful that you keep me as informed as possible when decisions are finalized.  This way I can be sure that my planning and preparation is done with the utmost care.

Here are this weeks current events reporters;
Tuesday - Oscar
Wednesday - Tiffy
Thursday - Kevin
Friday - Elvin
We will complete our unit on Fantasy writing this week with final drafts of our second story.  With all the other things happening the last week prior to the holiday, we did not have the proper time to complete this.  All are edited so now all that needs to be done is correcting and then publishing. 
As part of our use of technology, we will begin responding to blogs this week.  Students will randomly choose a reading blog to comment on each week.  This is an important part of learning for both parties.  Being able to offer suggestions for improvement as well as being able to accept these is part of putting your work out there for others to both peruse and learn from.  There are several lessons I have planned to manage this then we will start this on a weekly basis for the remainder of the year.
We will also complete our Human Body unit this week with a look at the respiratory system as well as the look at nutrition.  When this is completed, I will send it home as part of the Monday folders. I plan on having this finished by Thursday of the coming week.
Our math continues to look at volume and area with cubic prisms.  I was impressed with some of the constructions the students came up with in the lesson before the holiday and now it is time to take the next step and look at how area affects volume - or in some cases, does not change it at all.
We will start our next set of book clubs this week with students choosing their own books, creating their own timeline and also selecting the leaders for the book talks.  So far this has gone OK but I am hoping students push this up a notch by taking more time to really look into the book.  Discussions are very rich when depth is the reason for talking about a book.
We have several special events associated with the APAC Girls Soccer Tournament being held here at ISB this coming weekend.  The Jedi Jugglers are performing for them and several of the girls are coming to talk to my class about their school and country.  A true global connection.
That is all for now.  Let me know if you have any questions or concerns and I will gladly set a time up for us to meet.

daw.com - March 25

A very big thank-you for your attendance and observations at the Student Led Conferences.  These are a great way to celebrate all the learning that your student has been involved with this past year with the Learning 21 concepts as a guide.  While this is over now, it does not mean you have to stop.  It is always a great idea to ask what you student is learning and what have learned about their own learning style.  We call this a metacognitive process.
Here are next week's current events;
Tuesday - Angel
Wednesday - Siwoo
Thursday - Brandon
Friday - Oscar
This is the last week for our human body unit and it will primarily look at the digestion system and the foods we eat.  The nutrition part of this unit is a good start for students to look at what foods are made of and why certain foods are needed for our wellness and health.
Students will also be completing their last Fantasy story.  First drafts are already in but their is further work needed in editing and revising before they can be published.  I have read all the stories and so far they are both more interesting and better written than previously.  This is what I am looking for as it takes practice to become a good writer.  This will end our Fantasy unit.
We will also complete this round of book clubs where students choose books from lists I present to them.  As a group they come up with the routine they will follow and then for each day of the meeting they need to complete a thinkmark, summary and questions all of which will be discussed in the book talk.  We will resume this after the Spring Break.
Our math unit has moved on from volume of 3D objects to a look at how liquid volume relates.  There are some investigations we will do that will allow students to better understand how liters and cubic centimeters are linked.  Might be a part of a home conversation this week some time.
If you are planning on leaving early for Spring Break, please send me an email so that I can plan accordingly.  Also, it is important that all work is completed prior to the student leaving. I thank-you in advance for this.
Have a wonderful break and I look forward to seeing everyone again after the holiday.
Harold Daw

daw.com - March 1

This is a packed week with a lot happening in the life of your child.  First off is next week's current events;
Tuesday - Ada
Wednesday - Poppy
Thursday - Leo
Friday - Cici
First thing on Monday morning students will be visiting a high school science lab to participate in some experiments the students have prepared for them.  Should be an interesting time.
Next is the due date of three major items.  On Wednesday, students will complete their Human Body Wellness Infocharts.  These are based on 6 questions we came up as a class covering everything from what are the parts to what can be done to keep it healthy.  They will present their posters to another group in the class.
Thursday is the presentation day for Genius Hour projects.  Students are presenting to Grade 1-8 classes as well as 2 groups who will present to the ES Administration and ISB Administration respectively.  Each presentation will complete their Genius Hour project and will have 4 assessments; self, homeroom teacher (me), room teacher of presentation and also students.  We will complete this with a reflection at the end of the week.
Next is our week on Human Growth and Development which takes place one period each day of this week.  The basic structure of the program is to instruct and introduce students to adolescence in all areas including growth, socialization and life changes.  It will begin to prepare them for this important part of their life as well as middle school.
Lastly is the first draft of their fantasy story which is due on Friday.  After revisions and edits, students will move on to their final drafts which will be due prior to spring break.
We have finished out unit on Multiplication and Division of decimal fractions.  Overall I am pleased with the work the students completed and how well they have learned the many concepts.  Like all things in learning, further practice is still needed to really cement the ideas and use them smoothly.  Our next unit is on Volume - I will have more on it in next week's post.
I believe that signups for Student Led conferences start this week.  I am hoping to see you all over the two days of conferences.  We will start these in earnest on Wed of this week although we have done some work on them since we started school back in August.
With all the projects due this week and the time students need to rehearse and practice their presentations, there will be no homework this week other than book clubs and current events.
Thats it for this week.  Let me know if you have any questions.

daw.com - March 4

Another power weekend is upon us and I hope that everyone takes the time to rest and be ready.  I will be with the Beijing International Model United Nations all weekend welcoming over 700 students from as far away as South Africa, Sweden, USA and Mexico.  It is quite rewarding to see students debate and discuss the issues of today in a forum that is real to the rest of the world.
Here are next week's current events;
Tuesday - Naoko
Wednesday - Michael
Thursday - Annabel
Friday - Robinson
We will begin a new piece of writing this week in our fantasy unit now that our first piece is behind us.  This next one will involve me providing the setting and title (idea) for the story.  The characters, plot and hero's journey will be up to the students.  They will have two weeks to complete this next piece of writing.
We are also well into our Human Body unit.  Students are each in a group that is working on the health and wellness of a human body system. Questions like what kinds of exercise are good for the system, what are healthy foods for the system and how to avoid some of the injuries are all part of the research completed as the prepare to make a info-poster on their subject.  We should bring this to a close either late in the week or early next week.
Along with the Human Body unit is a section on Human Growth and Development.  There are three sections that the whole class participates in and two that are gender specific.  There is a meeting next Friday March 10 at 8:30am for the parents to learn more about what will be discussed and taught.  Teachers will start the meeting then a pediatric doctor will finish up with a medical look into this subject. I am hoping all of you can attend.
Please make sure you sign up for student led conferences later this month.  Students have already started to prepare their portfolios as they present their year of learning to you with in the realm of L21 skills.  While I know not always possible, I would it if both parents could attend this.  It is a great way for you to get first hand, the learning of your student this year and the goals for the rest of the year.
We will complete our math unit on Multiplication and Division of Fractions this coming week with the final assessment later in the week.  So far the unit has involved both the learning and modeling of these two important parts of math learning.  The students have taken this to task and done very well.  Our next unit us a look at volume and the multiplication needed to calculate volume.  It is more of a hands on unit with the use of geometric shapes.
We are coming to the end of our Genius Hour projects.  This week students will concentrate on being prepared to present their project to a class, a set of adults, some of the administration here at the school and also to special guests.  While I know they are a bit nervous about this, I feel they will do a fine job as I help them to prepare for this.  The assessment of this project will come from the audience they have and be organized by the students themselves.
Later in the month we will take off again for our Spring Break.  If anyone is planning on leaving early, please remember to let me know so I can plan accordingly.  This is greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set up a meeting time with you.

daw.com - February 24

I want to say a big thank-you to all of the parents and students in my class who made my birthday such a special and memorable day.  I was surprised by the attention to this and also honored.  I told my students that really the best gift is just that I get to see them everyday.  Thank-you.
Here are next week's current events;
Tuesday - JungBin
Wednesday - Millie
Thursday - Maya
Friday - professional day, no school
One of the neatest things to see is how students work with specialists that visit our school.  This past week we as our link to China in the Human Body Wellness unit.  Students did TaiChi, Meditation, Calligraphy and a Tea Ceremony.  The experiences were wonderful and I was pleased that they came away with some things about
China they may not have known before.  Thanks to the Office of Experiential Learning for setting these up.
We have started out Human Body Wellness research with the final outcome being an info-poster.  We came up with a list of questions to research, some things that could be on the poster and looked at what makes a good info-poster. Then we started researching.  Each student is in a group of 3 or 4 and we should complete this project in about 2 more weeks. I am already looking forward to our presentations.
Our Genius Hour projects are also well underway and I am very interested in what students have chosen to do.  They have five more lessons to complete the project before presentation day which is on Mar 16th.  They will be presenting to groups of students and adults around the school.  With this in mind, if any of you are
interested in being part of a presentation panel, please let me know.  I must let you know that I cannot guarantee you will get your own child as the presentations are specific to levels of groups and that ranges from Grade 1 to adults.  Let me know.  You will need about 20 minutes at school on that day.
Our math unit is almost complete.  We are currently looking at multiplying fractions and unit decimals (tenths, hundredths and thousandths).  Most of the students are moving nicely with this and the models I am showing them are really helping.  The last part of this unit is division of fractions using like denominators - we do not use the reciprocal method for division of fractions since it makes no sense to students this age and does not follow with anything I have been teaching.  I know a lot of students know how to do this but I do not believe one of them knows why it works so.
We completed the first draft of our first fantasy writing and the final drafts will be done next week after they are revised and edited.  There is then a second assigned story before they can write their own.  All of these are based on the teaching of the Hero's Journey as the process for making a fantasy story make sense.
In a couple of weeks our Human Body Wellness unit will look at Human Growth and Development.  There will be a parent meeting set up with a doctor and the teachers so please be on the lookout for this announcement.  Grade 5 is the start of this unit that continues each year until grade 9.  As it states in the unit title, our concern is the wellness of the students as they grow and develop into adults so we will look into physical, emotional and social growth during this all important time.
The students have enjoyed their work with Kofi in their Music classes these past two weeks and it was completed with an assembly on Friday afternoon.  I was pleased with how the students learned from Kofi and also their interactions with a person from a culture not often available to them.  Not only did they learn about the rhythms and cadence of African music but also some of the cultural aspects of living in Africa. It was a great experience for the class.
That is it for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me and I will set up a meeting time with you.



daw.com - February 18

Here are this weeks current events;
Tuesday - Kevin
Wednesday - Elvin
Thursday - Eric
Friday - JungBin
I have to start out with a problem I am seeing in class and something I would like you to talk with your student about.  There has been a decline in the quality of the work I am seeing handed in.  This is both in class and homework.  I have always discussed with the class how important it is to make sure that the work they do is neat and tidy.  While this will be different from student to student, I do still want to see work that is not only complete, but neat and tidy as well. We are going to steer towards this more in the coming week.
Our health unit on the Human Body will take us to a week of Chinese Wellness.  There are four activities that we are going to participate in throughout the week that all have a Chinese theme to them.  These have been kindly set up by the Experiential Learning Program.  At the end of the program we will use our blogs to post a reflection of what we learned.
Our writing is based in our unit of Fantasy.  We learned about the Hero's journey from Ms. Sutton and using this idea we planned our own journey with two characters and a specific setting which was a picture given to them.  Some of the journey's the students have planned should lead to some very interesting stories.  We are on our first drafts which are due in by Wednesday.  We will then revise and edit before completing a final draft.
We have returned to reading workshop this week with students completing a reading journal entry on their blog once every 6 days, having a reading conference with me and a mini lesson that is dependent on what they need further lessons on.  We have also finished our last novel study for the year and will start book clubs this coming week.  The reading they do for book clubs can be used as the home reading and should be recorded daily in their reading log.
We have taken a short journey into the skin this past week and will now look at how we keep it healthy.  This is in preparation for our unit final assessment in which students will choose a body system and report on what it is, how it works and what we can do to keep it healthy.  This is a class project and will be reported to the rest of the class toward the end of the quarter.
IN the next few weeks we will dive into our Student Led Conferences.  These will be held the third week in March and will take the place of the report card for the third quarter.  Students will organize their conference in the L21 fashion of ISB's learning.  We are currently gathering all the work we have done this year and organizing it in this way.
I want to thank all the students in the class for donating to Baby Brian's surgery with the Hot Chocolate Drive.  5HD raised over RMB1000 for this very worthwhile cause and I think the students should be proud of this accomplishment.
In music class students are bring treated to a special set of lessons from a man from Ghana in West Africa.  Kofi is taking the students through African rhythms, dances and chants.  This will help students as they use their home made instruments to create their own music.
That  is all for now.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I will gladly set up a time for us to meet.