Earlier this month each child sent an email to ‘Doug’, who’s the voice behind Mystery Science – an online science programme that we have followed this year. We have really enjoyed all the activities and really learnt a lot, so we decided to write to Doug and tell him! this also gave us a real, authentic audience for our writing.
To our surprise, Doug read them all, and sent us a video last night, (just in time as I told him it was our last day today). The kids were so excited to hear all the personal comments he made, even saying their names, and trying out a bit of Arabic!
Dear Ms. Davy,
Thank you very much to you and your students for all the wonderful letters. I hope this video reaches them in time! Please let me know if you are able to view it! Here is the link:
Firstly – WHAT A GREAT YEAR!!!! We had such fun, and honestly, this was one of the best classes I’ve had for innovative ideas, personal responsibility, tech knowledge, teamwork and creativity. I’d like to thank all the kids, and their parents, for making it such an easy (and fun) year for me. You all deserve a lovely relaxing break (as do I!! LOL).
I know some parents like to have a few ideas up their sleeve for summer ‘work’. But I’m not the kind of teacher to give work to people on holiday – well, I don’t suppose you’d want work on your vacation, and I wouldn’t either! LOL. So I have tried to cover different areas, maths, science etc with interesting and practical ideas, that have a purpose and kids will love to do. If you really want ‘worksheets’ (boo!), then any bookshop has books of them (look for year 5, if they don’t have grade 4 books), or simply google!
Learning is EVERYWHERE…even when you’re on holiday and it CAN be FUN!!!! E.g.
use a map to plot a route to see the sites of a city
find a recipe online and bake yummy cookies or make a healthy fruit smoothie
make a timetable of a day’s activities
organise what to take on holiday, that will fit into one suitcase – and have your child pack it!
I urge you to watch this short video about letting your kids be ‘bored’! Don’t rush in to give activities, or organise camps all the time. It’s important that they figure out themselves how to fill time, even if that means sitting for a while and doing nothing. In the end, you will be surprised at what they will find to do.
Don’t fill those ‘boredom moments’ with more screen time! Today we made hats out of a newspaper!
Let your kids be creative. Have fun. Have kids show their personality through artwork, writing, movie making, invention designing etc. How about they design a T-shirt and then get it made in one of the malls?
If they/you are looking for more ideas that gets them away from Minecraft or gaming, then check below.
READ, READ, READ, READ, READ, READ…is what the G4 and 5 teachers are mostly requesting! Ms Lesley would love to see photos of reading all around the world on her instagram page! Or post on Twitter for a chance to win a prize! #uasreads. A list of 100 books for 9-11 years olds is given HERE
The kids have an account on code.org to follow the lessons provided to learn about computer coding. They can also do tasks without making an account, or they/you can make an account if they forget their school password.
4. Another writing idea is to continue with the blog. There is a list of all the class blogs HERE so they can read each others. If you wish, your child can share their blog with a friend or relative, who will then be able to comment.
5. Why not look at the DIY App again that we used in class and at home this year, or the website version HERE.
6. Some maths sheets and websites are HERE. But I would propose more interesting activities such as
plan a trip to somewhere using the internet and a given budget
plan how to get ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ using googlemaps.
or take a look at NRICH.org, it’s a website run by Cambridge University in the UK, and has some interesting & fun activities, some of which are online. (You’ll want to try things under Upper Primary or Level 2.)
7. Science lovers could try some practical activities from Science Kids. Take a video and put it on the blog!
Finally – PLEASE watch this video…it’s super cute about a young boy in the US spent his summer making something he loved using cardboard boxes – not a device in sight! It’s a true story! Could your child be the next Caine?
Parents were happy with the teaching, learning methods, blog, beginning of year parent meeting, timetable, student led conferences, timetable.
One interesting result is that although 1 parent asked for more homework, another asked for less/none!
Top 3 things parents thought about 4SD;
Independence / taking study more serious
a lot of good activity building
more general knowledge,
languages improved / reading
tasks at an appropriate level
plenty of challenges and kid initiated learning
taking in consideration kids’ needs
Parent suggestions for improvement (and answers)
spelling and more writing. Answer – Spelling is covered through word study lessons, and these will continue. Handwriting will be a focussed lesson next year for all grades up to G5.
reducing the class size. Answer – Sorry I have nothing to do with enrollment.
organize more field trips. Answer – We try our best, but there are not that many directly related to our units, so if you know of something suitable, please let the teachers know!
occasionally include musical entertainment for kids, as playing music in class helps them to refocus on the study. Answer – Good idea, I have tried this recently, still looking for the best music!
to include more learning in math by asking kids to work on IXL. Answer – this happens occasionally in class, but since it is really just revision, it makes more sense to do this at home.
I would like to see my child presenting in assemblies, not only in the classroom. Answer – Me too! I will pass this comment to the admin, but have heard that assemblies will return next year. From Mr. Dorn: correct all in place with PYP and school management systems.
Inform parents as far in advance as possible about class presentations, as some parents work full time and have very busy schedules. Answer – Understood.
Allow more time for the Student Led Conference session so as to be able to acknowledge and become involved fully. Answer – You were welcome to stay as long as you wished, or continue the sharing at home. Sorry, if these was not communicated clearly this year.
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE THE TIMETABLE
Arabic is 3 times a week is enough. Answer – I understand there is a set amount of time per week given by KHDA. The number of lessons depends on how long the lessons are. From Mr. Dorn:
Perhaps more breaks/longer time could be considered. Answer – I have no control over the schedule – but I will pass this suggestion onto Mr Dorn.
SUGGESTIONS FOR MR DORN (I have passed these on).
UAS has too much school holidays.Please reduce and save the time. Answer – I understand the school calendar is agreed by KHDA and has to meet certain requirements of KHDA. At times, KHDA gives schools instructions on holidays. From Mr. Dorn: KHDA dictates certain holidays, plus start/end dates, plus winter and spring breaks…we add a day here or there and our PD days to make the numbers work (compared to international schools outside of Dubai..our days off are much fewer)
It’s been observed that during fire drill, children are lined up in un shaded area which is unbearable for the kids due to severe heat. Recommendation is to have a shaded area for fire drill line up. Answer – There is a limit to the amount of shaded area available. In my personal opinion,I don’t think it’s an issue since they are outside for fire drills for a very short time, shorter than for recess. I’m in the sun too – and if anyone was to get sunburnt, it would be me! From Mr. Dorn: we have requested another shade for next year.
To invite organizations outside school to conduct any conferences or activities that encourage community service or social responsibility. Answer – Great idea! We often ask parents for ideas and people who can help, but to be honest, get few/no responses.
I believe that the class size was way too big this year and was unfair to both the teachers and students. The teachers did a great job of keeping up with such a large number without letting the kids feel it. From Mr: Dorn – sizes are set by Esol no negotiable room
As we are about to embark on our last week of school, we are already looking ahead and sharing important information for you about 2017/2018 supply lists and important dates for next school year. Save this information to plan your summer supply shopping and travel dates!
Wednesday, September 6th: Elementary Parent Orientation Evening – MPH:
This is a Parent Only Meeting with the Principal, David Dorn, and ES’s new Assistant Principal, David Jones. We will host a Parent Only evening to review the school’s goals for 2017-18 school year; introduce new faculty to the ES and review the Parent-School Handbook.
Thursday, September 7th: New Student Orientation in the MPH
All new students should join us @ 8am it the MPH!
Monday, September 11th: First Day of School for Students in Grades 1 – Grade 5
We look forward to welcoming back returning students and all new students today in grades 1 – 5!
Monday, September 11th and 12th: GROUP 1 of PreK & KG1 Orientation Days
September 11th is ‘Get to Know Your Child’ time. Your child’s classroom teacher will schedule a 15 minute session with you and your child to learn about your child.
On September 12th your child will come and spend their first full day in school with their teachers and ½ their classmates (if they participated in the orientation the day before, September 11th). Parents can pick up their child from the classroom at 12:45.
GROUP 1 does not have school on September 13th or 14th.
Tuesday, September 13th and 14th: GROUP 2 of PreK and KG1 Orientation Days
September 13th is ‘Get to Know Your Child’ time. Your classroom teacher will schedule a 15 minute session with you and your child to learn about your child.
On September 14th your child will come and spend their first full day in school with their teachers and ½ their classmates (if they participated in the orientation the day before, September 13th). Parents can pick up their child from the classroom at 12:45.
GROUP 2 does not have school on September 11th or 12th.
Monday, September 11th and 12th: GROUP 1 of KG2 Orientation Days:
On September 11th, students in KG2 with their last name starting with A through H, may “drop in” on Monday with their parents to meet their teachers and learn about the classroom. Parents AND students may come to school at anytime from 8-11. We ask that parents stay with their children during the “drop in” day to provide stability and support for their children.
On September 12th your child will come and spend their first full day in school with their teachers and ½ their classmates. Parents can pick up their child from the classroom at 3:00.
GROUP 1 does not have school on September 13th or 14th.
Tuesday, September 13th and 14th: GROUP 2 of KG2 Orientation Days
Students in KG2 with their last names starting with I through Z, may “drop in” on Tuesday, September 13th with their parents to meet their teachers and learn about the classroom. Parents AND students may come to school at anytime from 8-11. We ask that parents stay with their children during the “drop in” day to provide stability and support for their children.
On September 14th your child will come and spend their first full day in school with their teachers and ½ their classmates. Parents can pick up their child from the classroom at 3:00.
GROUP 2 does not have school on September 11th or 12th.
Sunday, September 17th: First Full Day of School for ALL Students in PreK, KG1, KG2
Parents can drop off their child KG2 child on the big playground in between 7:30- 7:45. KG2 students will begin their whole class first full day of school and will be dismissed from their classroom at 3:00.
Parents can drop off their PreK and KG1 child on the small playground with the climbing equipment in between 7:30 and 7:55. Children should be wearing their colored t-shirt that they will receive from the classroom teacher on orientation day. Parents can pick up their child from the classroom at 12:45.
Sunday, September 17th: First Day of After School Care for PreK and KG1 students
If you have registered your child in the after school care program, then September 17th will be their first full day. If you would like information about this program please click on this link.
We had great fun setting up our student blogs today.
You can find links to all the individual blogs if you access this document. We won’t know if the students inserted the links correctly until someone tries them, so let me know if you have any problems.
We are experimenting with it right now, so the class have been told they can blog about anything (school or home), but they HAVE to keep to the ‘How to Be a Good Digital Citizen’ agreements that we made at the start of the year. We revised these today.
If your child was away today and wants to make a blog, all the instructions are given in 3 videos on google classroom – the kids in class did it without really needing me at all (except of course to make the instructions int he first place!).
We’ll be wrapping up our book club/historical fiction reading unit by revising the main elements of character study, theme and author’s craft. The students now have the option of doing an informal book club with friend(s) using any book of their choosing, or reading their own choice of novel (no graphic novels at school). We will also have an extended period of a class read aloud on a genre not yet studied, focussing on all the skills we have studied this year. In addition, non-fiction reading skills will be developed through our unit of inquiry.
In the next couple of weeks we will finish up writing a literary essay. That means making a theory about a book and then substantiating this with a series of paragraphs using the PEE structure (Point – make your point/theory, Examples – from the book and Explanation – explaining how the examples prove the original point.).
We will also start a blog. The best way to work out what works well for a blog post is to just do it! We will again discuss being a good digital citizen, and what should/should not be posted. The blogs will not be public, but class members will be able to read them, since that is the point of a blog. This will give the children an authentic reason to write as they will have an immediate audience.
We are coming to the end of the fraction unit. The G4 expectations are to understand, and use in problems…
the difference between proper, improper and mixed numbers, and showing these with diagrams
adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominators (proper fractions and mixed numbers
UNIT OF INQUIRY
We have a couple of days of reflections and assessments of learning of the Sharing the Planet theme.
After that we will start our final unit of the year which is the theme ‘Who We Are’. The exactly details are to be a secret for now since I want the kids to think about what the central idea and lines of inquiry are themselves. There will be a lot of practical work and reading and writing will be an integrated part of the unit.
As for the last few weeks, the home learning will be on the google classroom site. This will be added to on a daily basis to keep it relevant.
First of all THANKS to everyone who came to the mini-exhibition on Thursday. Although, the intended audience was actually other 4th graders in the class, (each group was responsible to teaching others more about our central idea), the students love to see their parents, share their learning and have you appreciate their hard work.
Photos of the morning, and of the hard work to get there, are HERE.
Next week is our last full week before Ramadan. A slight different schedule applies, although specials still remain on the same day. I tried to accommodate the shorter lesson periods (30 mins), by often combining 2 periods into 1 focussed lesson. Or by taking a more trans-disciplinary approach and linking UOI with reading and writing for example. The timetable is HERE. But it is up for change at any time.
The main facts are…
specials (e.g. PE) are on the same days. PE is swimming.
school starts at 8:30 – no excuse to be late! LOL
school ends at 1:30.
morning recess break is 15 mins, there is no snack break in class. At recess children either go outside and eat there, OR if fasting, they is a room available for them to do something quiet (read, play board games, draw, NO devices will be allowed).
lunch is also 15 mins. Students will have their food in the cafeteria and then return to class (no outside play) OR, go to the fasting room (same rules as for recess).
there is no homeroom period after Arabic. Students will take bags to Arabic and be dismissed from there, or, they can return to their cubby, take their bag and go straight home after Arabic.