Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As promised last week, I wanted to give you a brief overview of the assessment process since we’re so close to report cards coming home.  Assessment takes many shapes and forms: from tests and quizzes, to projects, to conferencing, group work, and observation.  As a parent, you usually only see the first part of that list and if you’re basing that on your child’s report card performance, you’re only getting part of the picture.  Moreover, some things that are graded carry more weight than other pieces, which also has an impact on determining a report card grade.  For example, consistent As in word study doesn’t translate to an A in writing; nor does a student who reads well automatically get a high mark in reading.  There are so many look-fors in the curriculum that play a role.  Emphasis is placed on the most recent data and we look for common trends throughout the term.  Rest assured that if you’ve kept in touch with your child’s progress via Class Dojo and the agenda, I don’t expect there to be any surprises.  It would be great to have you in for an interview so please don’t hesitate to contact the secretary to see what time slots are available.

If you haven’t already, please read the information about our up-coming field trip to Ska Nah Doht Iroquoian Village.  Students will visit a life-size longhouse village, learn about survival the First Nations way, and engage in some authentic snowshoeing.  If weather should become a problem the day of the trip, I’ll communicate messages and updates via Class Dojo and the blog as quickly as possible.

You may be wondering how this topic fits into the curriculum for a combined class.  In the heritage strand, the grade fours learn about early civilizations, while the fives learn about First Nations and exploration of Canada.  I’ve married the two strands so that the fours are learning about an early civilization in the First Nations, while satisfying the grade five expectations.  Later, both grades will break off and do some independent work: the fours on a civilization of their choice (ex. Greeks, Mayans) while the fives will research the contributions of Canada’s earliest explorers.  We’ll then come together at the end of the year (time permitting) to focus on an ancient culture like the Romans.  We will bounce around the timeline of world history a bit but it at least satisfies the curriculum for both grades.

In math, we’re shifting our focus back to numbers by dabbling in decimals.  I will once again be putting additional practice work on the blog on certain nights so that students can extend their learning if desired.  Ask about today’s lesson regarding the concept of “tenths”.

If you’re wondering about the writing homework due Tuesday, we’ve been brainstorming different moments from our lives in our memoirs unit.  Students should have drafted a few “quick-writes”.  The quick-write is the first paragraph of a chosen memoir where the reader is introduced to the 5Ws regarding the topic.  This week, we looked at finding the best words to make our sentences stronger (ex. “elated” is a better word than “happy“; “scurried” is better than “ran”, etc.), and how to draw the reader in with a good lead (ex. Only when I saw the blood did I think I was in trouble.).  That opening sentence should captivate the audience right away.  So, students have been asked to revise at least one quick-write with better vocabulary and a strong lead.

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