daw.com - October 13

Friday the 13th - is this an omen or what.  If it is, then I am positive it is a positive one. We have had an amazing week of learning that continues to show just how much we can move in one week.
This week started with a new math unit (multiplication and division of decimals), a new unit of inquiry (Innovations Through Nature - Biomimicry) and a new writing unit (Non-Fiction Articles).  We have laid the foundations for all three and are on the move to more and impressive learning in all three areas.  While not a new unit, our book clubs takes on a new book and genre as well (Pedro's Journal - Historical Fiction).

The new reading book is about a cabin boy to Christopher Columbus.  It takes place during the initial voyage of Captain Columbus to the new world.  Pedro is the boy who is assigned to Christopher Columbus to take on the duties of journaling, time keeper and chart keeper.  As an educated boy, and this was a rare skill back in these days, the book is written through his lends of history.  We do spend a lot of time with the historical aspect of the story so the students will have some background to what they are reading.

Our Innovations Through Nature is a unit we we look at how nature has inspired us to invent new and more sustainable products and structures.  We spent this week looking at what is nature and how nature has already helped us.  we are keeping an Inquiry Journal for our work for this unit.  As we move along we will spend a lot of time look at the innovations that have come about as a result of studying nature.

Our Non-Fiction article work is going to use the inquiry unit as its basis for topics.  We will look at how to research for this kind of article and if the internet works for us, all this will be published on a website of the students design.  We will also look at how to properly research both in documents and books as well as the internet.

It is important that everyone keep reading at home each night.  No time on his, just a time set aside to read is all that is needed.  Please continue to help your student make this a reality.

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

daw.com - September 22

This year’s camp is over and what a great time we all had.  Your students were spectacular and I would gladly take them on another camp if we only could.  Added to this was probably the finest air quality I have seen in the 8 years I have been in China and great weather.  Everything seemed to align just in time for 5HD camp and it showed in the faces of the students as we came home.  Smiles from ear to ear.  This post is filled with pics from camp and here is a brief video of your students at camp.







Next week is a week of some really neat
experiences.  As part of their Performing Arts class, they will do the sword dance for a special meeting on Tuesday morning.  On Wednesday the HS Science class is collecting data on heart rates and breathing so the grade 5 class will help them with the collection of this data for their experiments.  Then on Friday is the annual ISB Terry Fox run.  The specifics for this will come from the ES office as it is determined on the day depending on the air quality. If you ordered a shirt, it will be delivered in time for the students to wear during the run.




Students will complete their first formal writing piece this week and publish it.  We will complete our first book club this coming week and then do a blog post on it.  Finally we will complete our current math unit with the end of unit assessment.








Homework this week will also be completely different as students use Newsela to report out on a different article each day.  As we get going with this, you may have to spend some time with your student getting them into the site and locating news articles that interest them.  We are doing this in class as well so it should be a mostly seamless transition from home to class.  There is a special current event book they use for this. Use of a computer/device each night is necessary.






There will be no blog post next Friday as we head into Fall Break but there will be one the following week as we prepare to return to school.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

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