daw.com - November 8

Dear Parents,

Each week there are students in charge of a current event. I have sent home a reminder with these students but I will also list them here.

Monday - Faven
Tuesday - Stephen
Wednesday - Claire
Thursday - Christina
Friday - Day 2, no current events

Here are some student friendly sites for Current Events.

Good News Daily
Science News for Kids
Time for Kids

I am still looking for two families to supply turkeys for our annual Holiday feast on Dec. 9th. If you can help me out please let me know. You might also want to mark this day on your calendar as parents are invited.

We finished our Cultural Encounters unit last week and this week we move on to our Pollution Unit. Some of the students have already started by reading some of the non-fiction books I have on the subject in preparation for their poster project later this month. They are also taking notes on the books they read in the form of answering questions about our essential questions for the unit. This should be part of their regular nightly reading. This week we have a special speaker for our pollution unit. Should be some interesting insights. Students will also be bringing home a particle detector which needs to be hung or placed somewhere in the home where there is movement of air - it can also be outside as long as it is a place where the detector will not be blown away or get lost.

We started our math unit on division last week. This is a fast unit with a look at three division strategies and algorithms. The final assessment for the last unit is in the Monday Folders this week as is the remainder of the work for the unit.

If you have not already done so, have a look at your students reading blog. They now have their first reading response blog posted and from the ones I have already read, they look pretty good. In another two weeks they will post their next response. These responses come from the books they are reading at home and here at school.

We are also well into our unit on summarizing a story. At this moment we are looking at the 5 w's for the stories we read in class and also as we share reading. It is also going to be a part of guided reading for the next two months.

Students should complete their Realistic Fiction stories this week and will publish them on their website when completed. Have a look there to see it later in the week.

Students have now completed their camp webpage with goals, a story about camp and their reflection. They did an excellent job on this so have a look see. Links to their pages can be found here.

On Friday the students have their annual Field Day. Our class color is RED so I am hoping that students can beg or borrow lots of read garments to wear as part of this day. We will leave just before lunch, have lunch at the field in Tai Tam and then return in time for dismissal. Water bottles are important for this day.

I took a 3 minute video of students participating in Project Adventure as part of their PE this week. Have a look and you can see what they are doing. This is an excellent problem solving unit for students in PE. Kudos to Mr. Bilington and Mr. Watson for making this available to students.
video
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Harold Daw

daw.com - November 1

Dear Parents,

Each week there are students in charge of a current event. I have sent home a reminder with these students but I will also list them here.

Monday - Alex
Tuesday - Christoffer
Wednesday - Halle
Thursday - day 2, no current events
Friday - Max

Here are some student friendly sites for Current Events.

Good News Daily
Science News for Kids
Time for Kids

A few quick notes first

1. After school activities begin this week. I have a list of the activities students are registered in, posted in my room.

2. Monday is a day 5 - students will start project adventure so they must have proper sneakers for PE. Please assist with this as it is a real neat part of PE and I am sure students would not like to miss this.

3. Please resume temperature checks every morning and complete the form. It wastes a lot of class time if I have to get students temperature checks done here at school. 22 students takes almost 15 minutes to complete. Please make sure this is done daily.

4. We will have our annual cluster seasonal feast early in December. For this I need three families to prepare Turkeys. If you could volunteer for this please let me know. More details later as we get closer.

5. Student pictures, for those who paid for packages, will be distributed on Monday to go home. If you are unhappy with the picture return the packet an I will see to a retake in January. Please make sure all pieces are in the packet when it is returned.

Camp was a great success and students will be talking about it for some time to come. So much to do and so little time was the typical response I got when we returned. My thanks to all the parents that attended and especially the ones who helped us overnight in the cabins. A big thank-you also needs to go out to the TAs as they are the real ones responsible for getting it all together. I have pictures up on our class website which can be seen here. I have also placed a video in this blog from the Water Sports Center which was one of the highlights. If anyone has more pictures or videos they would not mid sharing with me please feel free to send them along.


video

Students spent some time with the MacBooks making a book talk video. These videos are now up on their reading blogs. While not perfect (it was their first time), you can see the excitement about reading they have and how much they enjoyed the video components of the laptops they will be using next year here at HKIS. If you do not know your students reading blog address it is linked at our Grade 5 website here. I hope to continue this again after the Christmas break with another video on their reading.

Reading for the next several months will look a little different. The times are still the same - 30 minutes per night for a minimum of 6 nights per week. Students still need to be reading their choice of fiction books for their reading blog but there will be a book or two assigned per week about our next science unit on pollution. Students will also have to take notes on these books.

After two weeks away from homework I do expect it might take some getting use to again. However, it does resume to its fullest this week. With all the holidays and special events it was not possible to get the homework package out to students earlier than tomorrow. Some students may not get it all completed this week. They will have a vocab test on Friday so it will take the highest priority.

I am sending home two incomplete pieces of work this week with Monday Folders. I was hoping to use the time after camp to complete our personal profiles and time line projects. This was not possible and I do not foresee more time in the future. If students have some time at home they can complete these projects. They are not required to however. Students fall writing assessments are also coming home this week. Please remember to sign the Monday folders and have them returned by Thursday if possible.

This week will see us complete our current math unit on Geometry and move on to our next one on Division. Special games and other resources can now be found on our class website here. There is one piece on this page students are required to assist with - a math vocabulary presentation. It is a Google Presentation that I have shared with my entire class. Students can define the words, use pictures, find movies or whatever to help us better see and understand some of the unit vocabulary. The math Family Letter is attached to the email I sent out on Sunday.

Several students asked if they could bring their own laptops from home to use at school. I think this is a great idea for two reasons; 1) Next year this will be the norm - maybe not the computers they are using now but the same idea and 2) I plan on continuing with all the online applications we have started this year and any computer can access these. There is also the fact that we have only 14 computers in our room so not all can use them at the same time. I wanted to mention this here since I do allow it and think it would be kind of neat for the students. If student bring the electrical connection I can supply power strips to plug into.

I do want to share one observation I made while using the MacBooks; student's writing is both longer and more detailed with a computer. I am not sure why at the moment but this was very evident while we had the computers. Of course, it goes without saying that typing skills are a major part of this.

Whew! This is a long one and I hope I did not burn you out. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Harold Daw

daw.com - October 18

Dear Parents,

Each week there are students in charge of a current event. I have sent home a reminder with these students but I will also list them here.

Monday - at camp, no current events
Tuesday - at camp. no current events
Wednesday - at camp, no current events
Thursday - Nikhita
Friday - Brock

Here are some student friendly sites for Current Events.

Daily Good News
Science News for Kids
Time For Kids

Many thanks to all the parents who attended parent conferences. I was pleased to see you all and hope that you came away with a better understanding of your student and what is going on in our classroom.

Next is a great big congratulations to Nikhita, Sabrina and Christina for having their cover designs chosen for the camp booklet this year. Not bad considering only four were chosen. A job well done.

This week is camp week. We leave from school on Monday at 8:15 and arrive back at school on Wednesday about 2:30 or so. Students will have regular dismissal on Wednesday.

For Monday all students need the following in a day pack to be carried around with them all day; lunch, drink, snack, water bottle (full), swimming togs, change of clothes for after water sports, hat, sunscreen, water shoes and camp booklet (which they can pick up at school on Monday). They will not be able to access their luggage on Monday so please do not put anything needed for Monday in the luggage.

The camp packing list was sent home with the permission slips about a month ago but in case you need it here is the digital version.

Thursday we will provide pizza for lunch, so students only need to bring snack, drinks and desserts. I know they will really like this day. They also have a free swim period on Thursday so towels, suits and swimming attire will be needed. Great way to cool off from a long hot day.

Since the following week is a holiday there will not be a class letter for two weeks. There is no homework over the holidays but I have asked students to read everyday for this time period. I would also like to suggest that students read aloud once or twice a week as this helps with their fluency and expression. Please have students complete the book log as they finish a book. The link is in their email.

Friday is a half day and students are dismissed at 11:20. This means all that students need is a snack since they will be at home for lunch.

I do want to make it clear that Thursday and Friday are complete school days. We are moving along in our Math, religion and reading over these two days as well as completing projects in Cultural Encounters, websites and Writing. I do expect all students present for the day and a half. Students will also have PE (swimming) Music and Chinese over the two days. Thanks for your assistance on this.

As always please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Regards,

Harold Daw

daw.com - October 11

Dear Parents,

Each week there are students in charge of a current event. I have sent home a reminder with these students but I will also list them here.

Monday - day 2, no current events
Tuesday - Sabrina
Wednesday - Christos
Thursday - student conferences, no school
Friday - student conferences, no school

Here are some student friendly sites for Current Events.

Good News - Served Daily
Science News for Kids
Time for Kids

I would like to thank all the parents who attended our colony day last Thursday and also for all the food for our Colony Luncheon. I hope the students showed you what they are capable of and what we have been doing in our Cultural Encounters unit. By the end of this week we should complete our last pieces of this unit.

The big event this week is Conferences. By now I hope that all of you have signed up for a slot over these two important days. Students are welcome to attend but not required to do so. If there is something specific you want me to address during these conference days please let me know in advance so I can be prepared. Otherwise, I will go over the first quarter's learning by each student.

Because this is conference week, it is only three days. Students have homework on Monday and Tuesday only. After this, because of camp and then a holiday, there will be no homework until we return on November 2, 2009. I will be sending home a reading log for the time after camp and for the holiday as I do expect that students will find some time daily for reading. This will prepare them for their reading journal entries which we have now covered in class. Each student has one due every second cycle of the 6 day calendar starting last Friday with Day 1.

This weeks Monday folders will have the last math assessment and also a writing assessment in them. While it does have a space for parent signature, I do not need them back since I have an digital copy of all the assessments. All of grade 5 uses the same form so it takes into consideration all teachers of grade 5. Please have the folders returned by Wednesday so I can have the ready when we return on Nov. 2.

Students will get their cabin groups on Monday and meet as a cabin on Tuesday to prepare a poster for the cabin. All students are in a cabin with others from the class. This was all we could promise as there are just too many considerations to get everyone where they would like to be. Hopefully students will be still be pleased.

Watch students Google Sites this week as we will put our goals for the next half year as new pages on our sites. There is an entire process I will take students through to end up with these goals. Then we can revisit them throughout the year to see how much progress has been made.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Harold Daw

daw.com - October 4

Dear Parents,

Each week there are students in charge of a current event. I have sent home a reminder with these students but I will also list them here.

Monday - Simon
Tuesday - Trey
Wednesday - Zehra
Thursday - Pablo
Friday - Norika

Here are some student friendly sites for Current Events.

http://gimundo.com/news/
http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/pages/search.asp?catid=7
http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/teachers/wr/article/0,27972,1888376,00.html

We have been busy preparing for our Colony Day this coming Thursday. It will start after recess about 11:30am and the colony luncheon will start about 12:20. There will be presentations by groups of students and a town meeting in which students will be given a problem and have to solve it. Should be an interesting event - hope you can all make it.

Students can bring a costume to school on Thursday for Colony Day. We have looked at pictures of what the possibilities are and gone over what they need to look for at home. Basically clothes back then were fairly bulky and loose (fathers shirts) and most wore socks to cover pant legs. Vests or jackets usually rounded off the outfit. Some of the trades people had aprons to protect their clothing. Shoes were usually black and similar to what today we call dress shoes. Women wore long dresses, again, usually bulky. Any hep you can give your student will be greatly appreciated I am sure.

For the luncheon I have asked all families to supply the following;

Students with last names A-J please supply a main course dish for 15 people. (we do have a microwave).
Students with last names K-N please supply a dessert dish for 15 people.
Students with last names O-V please supply drinks (no sodas) for 12 people (tetra-paks or cans please).

Please let me know if you have any questions about this or don't know what to send. We are not trying to make this authentic other than a time for the colonists to have a luncheon together after completing their presentations. Mostly I would like to ask parents to send food that will be enjoyed by Grade 5 students - I think you know what this means. Parents are welcome to stay and join the luncheon if they wish. We will open the grassed area if the weather holds out for us.

The students have now completed their first writing piece and it is up on their portfolio websites. I have made getting to all the students electronic work easier by putting links to it on a single page. Here is the page and you might want to bookmark it for easy access throughout the year.

http://sites.google.com/site/dawcomgrade5/studentblogsandsites-1

Our next writing unit will not start until later in the week and will be Realistic Fiction. I expect it to take a month or so.

We have also completed out first reading unit and now move on to learning about inference and synthesis. This unit will also see the start of Reading Responses which will be posted on their reading blogs. Students will have about two responses due per month. I have some lessons to go over first so students will start with the next day 6 rotation which starts on Friday.


I am concerned about the reading at home that students are doing. This takes two forms. First is the time being spent on reading. It should be 20-30 uninterrupted minutes per evening for at least 6 days a week. Presently this is only happening in about 15% of my students. Secondly, students are to be reading story (fiction) books as this is what we are learning about in class. When we move to non-fiction later in the year I will then give them the chance to read these books. All students have a library day once in the six day rotation but they can also go to the library at lunch and recess to return and sign out books. This means there is no reason for students to not have books to read at home. These books should also be at their reading level. Please help by finding the time for students to read every day and record their progress.

We will start the next math unit on Geometry later in the week when we wrap up our current unit. The family letter was attached to the weekly email I sent home on Sunday. Delete the one I sent about a month ago and replace it with this one. You can also get it on our school website under grade 5.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Harold Daw