daw.com - February 2

It has been a great week with so many neat things happening it is going to take some time to cover them all.  The primary goal of this week was to connect our wellness unit to China with China Link activities.  On Monday we cooked with a chef from a main hotel downtown.  Students cooked salmon with a braised veggie side.  It was well done and given there was nothing left, it must have been a hit.  On Tuesday we had a gentleman come in to teach us Tai-Chi.  As a martial art he was most emphatic that it is health first, defense second and action third.  In fact the students learned that the amount of concentration needed for this was quite a bit.  On Thursday we did some Yoga with a professional teacher from the Yoga institute downtown.  This was followed by our participation in a Chinese Tea Ceremony.  It was quite interesting to learn about the origins of the ceremony and tea itself here in
China.  The leader was a lady that told the events in a story format.  Today students participated in Chinese calligraphy where they learned some routines in holding the brush and the proper way to swipe the brush to make the characters.  Lastly was a trip to flower arranging where again, the two leaders taught the students about the importance of this in Chinese society.  It was a great week and a good way to connect our personal wellness (in all areas) to China.

We also spent Wednesday morning cooking up Banana Bread and again, given that there was none left, it must have been a hit.  This was part of our fractions unit that also included conversions as the recipe had the temperature in Fahrenheit while our ovens are in Centigrade.  There was one loaf that was undercooked, but after checking things out, I believe it was a problem with the over.  The group doing the cooking did the conversion correctly and the settings on the over were also done correctly.  I hope to take them into the kitchen once more for our math unit before it is finished towards the end of March.

We had quite a week of absences racking up a total 19 in just 4 days.  I know this is the flu season and this is not unexpected, but it does remind us of our need to stay clean and healthy.  I think most of the class has recovered well and we can continue to move forward with our learning.

Our writing has seen us complete our first drafts and many of the students complete their final drafts.  These will be part of their writing treasury for the year and shared at student conferences as well as sent home once assessed.  The next story will be done with the context of "The Hero's Journey" which you can watch here on Youtube if your want to learn some more.  I expect this will take us until after the holiday to complete.

Our math unit is really focused on problem solving at the moment and the students are doing a great job of this.  I am working hard to make sure there is a great deal of understanding in math before we move on to the last three sections of our Multiplication and Division of Fractions.  We will look at designing and mathematically working out plans for a playground next week.

Please keep your students reading.  I feel that this has waned over the past few weeks and yet it is the single most important aspect of moving forward with language learning at this stage.  Reading will encompass all areas of learning starting next year and most of the learning after grade 5 will not include how to read so it is important that this skill be fine tuned by the end of this year.  Once a night, all seven nights can really help this skill along.  The time is not important - just a quiet, uninterrupted, individual reading time where they read out loud to someone or by themselves.  We are working on theme in a book at the moment and looking back over the books we have read as a class to determine theme in the books.

The parent meeting about puberty and what we teach in grade 5 is next Friday February 9th at 8:30am in the MPR.  A doctor from BJU will talk to the parents first and then the teachers will be there to go through the curriculum.  Please be advised that while physical changes is a big part of puberty, we also look at social, emotional and health related to puberty and growing into adolescence.  It is a one week part of our wellness unit.

There is also a parent coffee next Tuesday February 6th at 8:30 in the ESCAFE.  The theme of this is ES Math.  If you have questions about math, this might be the opportunity you have been waiting for to get them answered.  The math vertical committee will be on hand to help assist with questions and showing what we do in class.

One quick reminder, as we get ready for Chinese New Year, please let me know if you will be leaving early or returning late from the holiday.  This is just to help with my planning in the class.  Shoot me a quick email to let me know.  A reminder that CNY starts early this year with the last day of class on Wednesday February 14th.

That is about it for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me and I will set up a time that we can meet together.