daw.com - November 24

I want to start off with some thank-you's to the parents.  With the grade 5 Performing Arts Presentation and your assistance with the gathering of data for our historical evidence unit, I really do thank-you for the home school connection.  I do not see any one group as more important than the other when it comes to the complete eduction of your students.  I know my students also thank-you for your cooperation.

One thing we did this week was show our school spirit at the annual Great Wall Shootout.  I feel it is important for the class to be a part of the larger community and so I like them to show this through their attendance at these kinds of events.  Some of this pics this week are from this event.

Next week students begin the research and writing process for their next report on an historical event.  We have narrowed the topics down and found research materials.  Next week we will determine the lenses that the research will be looked at with questions that will be answered in the final report.  I did mention to students that this project is under a very strict time constraint as we complete this semester three weeks today and then leave for winter break.

I have been listening to students read out loud to me and I am happy to see progress being made.  There is no way to make a student read fluently and with expression other than to read out loud.  We will continue to work on this next semester as well with the goal to be very accurate and smooth by the end of the school year.

Our math unit has covered equivalent fractions and begun the rectangular model of adding fractions with unlike denominators.  We will work with this through next week as well before moving on to subtraction of fractions.   By having students learn models as well as algorithms, they have a chance to make sure their answers are correct by doing checking with one or the other.  Modeling with
Mathematics is a standard math practice from Kinder to Grade 12 so it has long lasting effects for math in the future.

I do have one request; as we come closer to winter break there may be some families leaving school early.  Because we have presentations to complete and several special events, could you please keep me informed if this comes up so I can plan properly.  I thank-you in advance for this information.

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.

daw.com - November 16

A reminder that the grade 5 Performing Arts presentation is this Tuesday at 8:30 in the Theatre.  The students of grade 5 have worked very hard on this and I am sure the event will be well worth it.  If you can make it I am sure the students would be thrilled.

I was asked about assignments sent home, work sent home, assessments sent home etc. and realized that I have not been very good about communicating this to parents.  Hopefully this will clear it all up.  Most of the work we do is in books that we use all year long - writing journal, inquiry book, math journal and goals and objectives book.  Other work is done online throughout the year such as reflections and reading journal.  What I do send home is the final rubrics for you to see unit assessments.  So far you should have received three - first unit in math, first writing unit and Global Citizenship Unit.  At least two parents have not got these and it is most likely
due to me not stressing to the students or informing the parents these are coming home and to look for them.  I will change this immediately by putting notes in the daily planner to let you and the students know when these are headed home.  In the mean time, if you did not get any of the ones I mentioned above, please let me know as I do keep scans of these and can send them to you.  In the next two weeks you should get the final assessment rubric for Innovation Through Nature, Unit two in math and our second writing unit (this may be a couple of weeks away still). As home school communication is very important to me, let me know at any time if you feel something is missing.

Next week the homework takes on a very different look - one that I am going to need some help with from all of you.  Students are going to interview parents about a significant historical event in their lives that is not personal (no marriage or births etc please).  Then they are to try to also interview another family member that is not living with them - perhaps a grandparent, uncle or aunt.  I would love it if you could help make this possible but also understand if it cannot work.  This is in relation to our current unit on Historical Evidence where we are looking at how perspectives are different among people.  Be prepared to look at your reactions to 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks as that is the event we are zeroing in on.  We will analyze the results and look for both patterns and out lying topics.  Hopefully this will be a rich way for students to see how history has affected those around them and subsequently themselves.  They will have all week to work on this and it is due on Friday.

We will complete our math unit on multiplication and division of decimals this week.  Over all I am very happy with what I am seeing.  The only area that is still a work in progress is word problems that have more than one step.  Some of this is that the context of the word problems is not easily understood.  Another part is filtering out the useless information and organizing what is left.  We will continue to work on this throughout the year so hopefully it will improve.  Our next unit is on Addition and Subtraction of Fractions.  We will complete it prior to winter break.

Last week the students took a look at historical events and people and what makes them so.  One of the more difficult questions that was raised by the class is what makes an historical event significant?  We had a basic discussion about this but never really answered it.  I am hoping as we continue to study history, that this will come up more and more and finally maybe even either an understanding or answer to the question.  In relation to this, here are the unit of inquiry questions for this unit;

  1. At what point doe an event become significant?
  2. Why do people view some events as more significant than others?
  3. How can learning about perspective help us to understand the world today?
  4. How do we measure the significance of an event?
  5. How are historical events connected?
  6. How does our past affect us today?
The writing unit will also be connected to this with a research report as its final project.  This coming week students will think up three topics, find information about them from the internet and school library, and then select on to write a report on.

We had a great spirit week this week and the pictures represent the class students that participated.  I was pleased to see so many wanting to be a part of increasing school spirit.  This can only have a positive effect on us and the school.  Thanks for your support too.

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

daw.com - November 10

We had a great week of learning and reflecting on our learning.  This was a week to complete design projects for our Science Unit and also our current writing unit.  We also looked at Student as a Learner and updated our goals.  We have also just about completed our math unit on Multiplication and Division of Whole Numbers and Decimals.

Next week is a short week with the students in school just three days. Teachers will be in a PD day on Thursday and Friday is a much deserved school holiday.  Hopefully the weather and air quality will be good for the weekend and students will be able to get out and enjoy the time off. We will also be supporting spirit week next week with Crazy Hair day on Monday, dress as a career day on Tuesday and House Color day on Wednesday.  I am hoping everyone wants to participate - you can ask your student about me growing up to be a Hockey Player - quite a funny event in my class.

We will begin our new unit at this time with a look a Historical Events and People.  Students will be completing a time line and also a couple of videos on these subjects.  AS these are completed you will see them show up on Seesaw.  I am trying something new on Seesaw by having students show their math learning.  So far this has been a little rocky but as we do more and more I expect it will be smoother and better quality.  Please bear with me during this but do let me know where you see glaring problems.  You can always comment on your students work on Seesaw.  Remember to be critical but in a constructive manner - this is how I teach students to comment and help other students.

I want to remind everyone that your students should be reading every night of the week.  There is no time set as that is dependent on too many variables but reading every night has amazing rewards.  Those students who have been faithful to this I am seeing good gains in their vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. It is also important that students read books at their reading level to learn from the reading both about reading in general and also about what the text is trying to say.  Reading a variety of materials is also a good idea - magazines, fiction stories, non-fiction (factual) books and newspapers are ways that students begin to see that there is more to reading than just a class in grade 5.  I am very appreciative of your assistance with this.

I want to relay a message to you about a conversation I had with a parent this week as I want to make sure it does not happen to others.  It revolves around homework and home learning.  I know that many students are considered independent with the work they do at home.  This does not mean you should not be checking in with them every so often.  Please remember that we are talking about 10-11 year old students and they still need the guidance and support from parents.  Asking what they learned from doing the homework is a good way of checking in with them as you look over their work.  This all stemmed from a student not completing the homework even though the parents thought it was being done.  It remains a good idea for all parents to check in with their student no
matter how independent you think they are. I do see students doing "last minute" work on their homework every morning which means I know it is not getting done at home. Luckily, at the moment, it is not the same students every morning so I am not too worried.  I also know that there are lots of things happening at home that may prevent homework from getting done - but not on a regular basis.  Last word, I do not want home learning to be oppressive but it is an important skill to start learning as it is a definite part of school in both Middle and High School for students to be successful.  I do not use homework for grades at all - just extension learning and pre-learning for the next day.

That is it for this week.  As always, please let me know if you have questions or concerns.  I will gladly set up a time to meet with you.