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