daw.com - October 27

I cannot say a big enough thank-you to all of you for spending time with me at Parent Teacher Conferences.  I believe very heartily in the home school connection and cherish every time I get to meet with parents as they are few and far between.  I also hope you gleaned some things from them about your child in my classroom this year and that not too much was a shock to you.

As part of our Math class, we visited the cooking lab this week and cooked up YUMMY CINNAMON MUFFINS.  I was amazed at how well everyone worked and how well everything turned out.  I can also tell you, everyone does know how to clean up in a kitchen after the cooking is over.  We complete the snack with a strawberry-banana smoothie.  The pictures today come from our time in the lab.  We will do this once more as part of our fractions unit and again at the end of the year for a very special year end party.

We are coming to the final stages of some of the projects in the class over the next couple of weeks.  Today we completed the voice over of a Biomimicry video that I made and I am looking forward to students presenting these next week. One of the other teachers on the team identified this as a coloring book in which the students complete each page.  This time it was a video with no sound and they had to produce the narration.  These will eventually show up on Seesaw and you will be able to see them there.

One big take-away from the conferences was some discussions about math.  ISB does not run a leveled math program as a school.  This is left up to the teacher to do in the way of personalized learning.  As I talked with a lot of you, there were comments about how they are performing and how their math is progressing.  For the most part I am very pleased.  There were two areas that were covered frequently with quite a few parents. This year is the final time for students to really perfect their multiplication tables and understand how to use
them for division, ie. 4 * 5 = 20 so therefore 20 / 5 = 4.  There is a wide distribution of this in the class and the best way to really become good at this is to do it orally every night.  The second component was the ability to understand a problem.  This takes on many facets as we look at multi-instruction problems.
  • As an example - Cora and Gemma were making bead necklaces.  Gemma made 39 more than Cora.  If Cora made 106 how many did Gemma make? 
  • If each necklace had 104 beads in it, how many beads were used by each girl? 
  • Cora was able to sell her necklaces for $14 and Gemma for $10 more than Cora.  Who made the most money and how much more than the other?
As you can see there is a lot of math here.  Nothing hard, but a lot of math.  This would be a typical grade 5 multi-step problem.

Our writing is taking on the form of report writing.  We are into writing a report on Innovations Through Nature that will have 5 sections in it.  The due date for this is November 10th and I am confident everyone will make it.  Their research is completed and they are ready for the first draft of the sections of the report.  They will then revise and edit them before completing a final draft.

Our final project in the unit is to complete a design for something that is inspired by nature.  We have looked at over 35 examples and hopefully these will set the stage for some really original ideas from the students.  At the end of this, students will present their ideas.  I am hoping to have the present to you at home as well as students here at school.  More on this later.

Next Friday is International Day and I encourage students to dress in something that is representative of their native land.  I have something that I will wear from Canada (it is not a Mountie Uniform) and I am hoping all the rest of my students will do the same.  I want to thank all of you for being so punctual in returning the supervision letters for the after school events.  It always promises to be an exciting and fun time for the students.

We should complete our second Book Club this week and it has been interesting to see how students both react and learn with a historical fiction book.  While I do believe that everyone has tried their hardest, there are definitely those really enjoying the book and others putting up with it since it is an assignment for the reading class.  Either way, I do believe everyone continues to learn about reading.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.  I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.