Letter to the Parents

August 13, 2014

Dear Parents:

Please contact me anytime at william@wells-school.com if you ever have any questions or concerns.  If you feel you need to speak with me in person about your son or daughter, please request an interview at william@wells-school.com and suggest a day and time.  If I need to contact you for any reason, I will use the contact information you have provided the school that may or may not be on PowerSchool at the moment. To ensure that that information is correct and that I have your name and contact details, I would like each parent to fill out the following online form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1wJdxujzA_f_foIzwsOVnlriKy_AZqI1i7DVZHbYUi8M/viewform. I really appreciate it!

There are four main things that you, as a parent or guardian, can do to ensure your child is doing well in my class:

  1. Talk to your child regularly about their studies.
  2. Check my blog after every class at ajarnwilliam.wordpress.com for the course syllabus, standards, essential questions, and announcements about homework, projects, tests, etc. There is also a page for parents to get ideas about how to help their child who may be struggling in school.
  3. Check PowerSchool every week to see both the progress of your child and if your child needs to redo or hand in missing assessments.
  4. Look at your child’s work in their Social Studies Portfolio (S.S.P.) as well as their online work.

Parents, my blog and PowerSchool will help you to monitor whether or not your child has assignments that need to be completed or improved. In my opinion, PowerSchool should be checked once a week to see if there are missing assignments or assignments that should be redone due to low marks. A red “L” means that an assignment was/is late and a yellow “M” means the assignment is missing because your child did not turn it in or complete it satisfactorily. (Please note that the notifications for lateness and missing assignments may change in newer versions of PowerSchool.) If you see that an assignment is missing, please insist that your child completes it. If we work together, your child should be able to achieve greater success.

I believe in middle school that both parents and students are jointly responsible in making sure that homework is completed and brought to class on time. If a student is not doing their homework regularly for whatever reason, I believe that parents must check daily to see that their child is completing their homework. In my opinion, this means checking my blog to see what homework there is and then asking to see the completed homework as well as making sure it gets put in the school bag for the following day.

I apologize, but I cannot give out my phone number as that is against school policy. However, if you check my blog, PowerSchool and look at your child’s portfolio regularly, you should have a very clear idea about how your child is doing in my class. If you have any questions or concerns, I would encourage you to contact me directly by email at william@wells-school.com because it is a quick and clear way of communicating. (Please contact me directly rather than speak to other people in the office. Please do not pass any notes to your child because notes often get undelivered.)

Please note that all attendance policies and consequences for misbehavior can be found in the Wells International School Student Handbook. However, I would appreciate it if you or your child notified me of their absence as soon as possible. I will also notify you if there is an issue of major concern that needs to be dealt with.

Please also allow your child to bring ICT (laptop, iPad, smartphone, etc.) to school when necessary for class. I will often post such needs on my blog. There is also a section that may be of interest to you: “PARENTS: What You Can Do to Help Your Child Succeed.”

I look forward to meeting you and speaking to you at future parent-teacher interviews. All the best to you and your family!

Sincerely,

William Jones, B.A., B.Ed.

WELCOME BACK!

August 13, 2014

A new school year begins.  I trust you have all had a great holiday. 

Now it is time to get back to work.  As a student, it is your job to study as it is my job to be your teacher–a job I am very happy to have.  I hope you love learning as much as I love teaching.

Please use the links on the right to access homework, rubrics, my contact information, etc.

I wish you all the best this year!  :-)

G12 Fitness Challenge

February 21, 2014

Based on the presentation about exercise, many of you liked the idea of making a fitness plan and being accountable to others to follow it.  Studies show that being accountable to others via “workout buddies” or group situations dramatically increases your chances of sticking to your plan and goals.  (See http://blog.codyapp.com/workout-partner-motivation-exercises/ and http://experiencelife.com/article/strength-in-numbers-the-importance-of-fitness-buddies/ for statistics, etc.)

For an official assignment that will receive a grade, the minimum you need to do for next Monday is print out one A4 page.  The title should be Nickname’s Exercise Plan and Fitness Goals.

State what kind of exercise you want to do and the number of times per week as well as the duration of the exercise.  Then list your goals clearly.  I will give you a model at the end of this explanation that you should follow.

I highly recommend you try using MyFitnessPal to maintain your weight, to lose weight safely, or to make sure you are getting enough calories everyday if you are very active.  It is a free app you can download.  It will add extra calories you might need to eat when you put in your exercise for the day.  (Many people make the mistake of not eating enough or eating too much.)

Possible goals you might make:  (1) do a 5K to raise money for disabled children.  Go to http://camillianfunrun.com/ for more info. (2) do a 7K or 14K race at 6 a.m. in Rama IX Park on March 11th, 2014.  There will be other races before and after that as well with lengths of around 3K to 10K.

Please be realistic with your plans and goals.  If you can, choose a fitness buddy, i.e., someone in class you will be accountable to for your plan and goal.  If you plan on losing weight, do not subtract more than 500 calories per day from what you need to eat based on your height, weight, age, and gender.  If you want to make sure you are eating enough, use MyFitnessPal and add in your exercise and you will know how much you need to eat to maintain your present weight.

It is ultimately up to you if you wish to actually follow this challenge, but at least give it a try and complete this assignment. :-)

         Mr. William’s Exercise Plan and Fitness Goals

Weightlifting: 3 times per week for about 45 minutes each session.

Jogging:  Minimum of 10K per week until the end of the year and one half marathon per month (with the possible exception of April which is too darn hot).

Upcoming Races:  20K at the Thai Sikh Marathon (Feb. 23rd), 10K at the Khao Yai Half Marathon (Mar. 2nd), 10 miles/16K at the Supersports 10 Miles International Run (Mar. 16th), etc.

MyFitnessPal Food Log:  Continue to use MyFitnessPal to track my food calories and exercise every day.  On days when I am not “carb loading” for a race, I want to shave off 100-500 calories per day to aid in my weight loss goal.

GOALS:

1. Continual weight loss  (90 kg by the end of this year, i.e., lose around 2.5 kg)

2. Muscle gain

3. Run my second full marathon at the Bangkok Marathon (Nov. 2014)

Tips on the G12 Issues in Society “Essay Within a Presentation” Project

January 20, 2014

Remember that your Google Presentation / PowerPoint this semester is meant to be an essay within a presentation.

Only use full sentences through your presentation. 

After the due date (see below), you will need to do a plagiarism check according to the instructions on my blog to ensure that the work has been done by you and that you have put things into your own words.  If excessive plagiarism is found, you will be given a 0 until you produce a brand new project.

Each individual sentence should have a bullet at the front of it to make it easier for people to read.

You do not need to do citations due to your detailed research essay outline you did at the end of the first semester.  However, you need to base all of your presentation on that research that you did.

Please be sure to include nice pictures and titles for each slide.

You also need to prepare and photocopy summary handouts like last semester.  All other instructions pertain to what we did in the first semester and that information is on my blog.

The presentation is due on the morning of Monday, January 27th.

WELCOME BACK for the Second Semester

January 15, 2014

Glad you are back!  Hope you enjoyed your holidays.

First G7 Test for 2013-2014 School Year

September 20, 2013

Study Guide for Test #1:  The Wars of the Roman Republic

The test will be on 25/9/2013.

Know what militarism is.

Know all the information on Page 80 Reading Comprehension: War.

You should know how to label the map of the conquests of Rome using ALL the place names I showed you when taking up the assignment.

Know how to label the Roman Soldier (Legionary) and know at least five things that he carried in his kit.  I will provide you with the words to label the legionary and a picture of the kit that you can label yourself or add things to.

Be familiar with the ideas and concepts asked of you in your Reflection:  War.

Also know the following vocabulary and idioms:

o   Legion, cohort, decimate, and century.  Be sure to know the ancient Rome vs. modern usage.

o    “Rome was not built in a day,” i.e., many things cannot be done instantly and require time and patience.

o   “All roads lead to Rome” was true historically during the Roman Empire, but today it means “There are many ways to reach the same outcome or destination, i.e., there is not just one right way of doing something.”

o   “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”  (Be willing to adapt to the culture where you are visiting or living in.)

Standards We Will Cover: 

 

4. Describe the early wars of Roman expansion (e.g., the Punic Wars), Roman military tactics, and the philosophy of “defensive aggression” to examine the realities and consequences of war.

9. Research daily life in the Roman Empire (education, religion, entertainment, art, architecture, etc.) to draw parallels to our lives today.

 

Essential Question We Will Cover:

What are some of the causes and results of war?

.

The videos we watched to help you understand the Punic Wars:

Punic Wars:  Rome and Carthage:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZrjXEomBXM

First Punic War:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZrjXEomBXM

Second Punic War:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxG9B5C4RSM

The Battle of Cannae:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY-Hcr4bB3U&feature=related

The Battle of Zama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unKuRvO12Sg&feature=relmfu

Animated Punic War:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk8xlblMFXI&feature=related

The Siege of Carthage:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trvNo79PsRI&feature=related

First G6 Unit Test of 2013

September 12, 2013

I am planning to have a test on Thursday, September 19th, 2013.  Please begin to study for it.

Essential Question #1 for the Prehistory Unit:  What makes us human?

Standard #3:  Examine the interpretation of the fossil evidence of a selected species of extinct upright apes, beginning with Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”) all the way to Cro-Magnons (the early humans of Europe), to compare-contrast them to us in order to discover what makes us uniquely human today. 

  • Know everything on your study guide “Uncovering Clues to Our Past (Part 1)” (Chapter 4, Lesson 1) EXCEPT the exact dates.
  • Instead of exact dates, you only need to know the meaning of all the names and the order of all the hominids that we studied, i.e., from “Lucy” all the way to Homo sapiens.  Therefore, you should just get the information about the meaning/reason for the names and the order of the names on the study guide of Chapter 4, Lessons 1 and 3 as well as all the information about Homo heidelbergensisWe will deal with the rest of the information about Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons on the next test.
  • Make sure you can recognize the pictures of the different fossils finds such as “Lucy,” the first Homo habilis fossils that were found, and “Lampang Man.”  Basically, be ready to recognize and name all the pictures found on your study guides and on the PDFs on my blog.
  • Study all the information on your “Lampang Man” Summary that you took from the PDF about Homo erectus in Thailand / Homo erectus fossils found for the first time in Thailand. 
  • Be ready to answer the essential question we have been asking:  “What makes us human?”  We have been reviewing this again and again.  You can also use the note taking exercises that we have done.
  • Make sure you study for at least TWO HOURS.  The test will be easy if you study hard.  Good luck!

EXTRA INFORMATION:

  • Be prepared to answer these questions on Lampang Man:
  1. What exactly was found?
  2. Where were the fossils found?
  3. When were the fossils found?
  4. Who found the fossils?
  5. What mistake did Thai scholars make when they first found the fossils?
  6. How old were the fossils really?
  7. What does this fossil find mean to us as humans?
  8. Are the fossil finds in Thailand similar to other finds?
  9. What do other scholars think about the fossils found in Thailand?
  • WHAT MAKES US HUMAN?
  1. Art (something that makes us uniquely human)
  2. Walking Upright (We are the last species of upright ape on the planet)
  3. Opposable Thumb (to grasp tools, etc.)
  4. Tool Use (to adapt to the environment, access food, etc.)
  5. Curiosity (to explore new things as scavengers to find food)
  6. Large Brain (thanks to eating meat, i.e., protein)
  7. Inventiveness (to acquire food and adapt to the environment)
  8. Teamwork (to acquire food)
  9. Running (for long periods during the heat of the day unlike other animals)
  10. Hairless Body (to release heat)
  11. Sweat (not pant to release heat)
  12. Brain Interprets the Environment (to unlock nature’s secrets, e.g., animal tracks.  If you can understand the world, you can control it.)
  13. Understand Others (about 1/6 of our calories goes to our brain to help with social interaction)
  14. Hunters (Erectus was probably the first hunter)
  15. Language (Erectus was probably the first to use basic language skills)
  16. Rely on Family and Friends (to survive and be taken care of in old age)
  17. Populate the World (Erectus was the first to leave Africa)
  18. Innovation, i.e., Our Technology Changes (the handaxe of H.erectus did not change for a million years, but perhaps used bamboo in Asia)
  19. Fire (Erectus was the first to use fire)
  20. Cooking also makes us uniquely human

School Open House (24/8/2013)

August 23, 2013

Dear Parents,

Greetings!  My name is William Jones.  I am Canadian.  I have worked as a teacher and as a manager at many different schools in Thailand since 1994.  I have two degrees:  a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in History, and a Bachelor of Education.  I am the Head of Social Studies at Wells.  I have worked at Wells since August 2007.

Please contact me at william@wells-school.com if you ever have any questions or comments.  In the title of your email, please make sure you write the name and NICKNAME of your child as well as your child’s homeroom, e.g., Somchai / TON Grade 6Y.

If you feel you need to speak with me in person about your son or daughter, please request an interview at william@wells-school.com and suggest a day and time.  I will let you know by email if I am free or not.  Unless I reply to your email to confirm a date and time, I cannot guarantee that I will be able to speak to you when you arrive.  Thus, if you try to arrange a meeting through the office staff, I can also not guarantee that I will be free to meet with you unless you contact me personally.

There are two main things that you, as a parent, can do to ensure your child is doing well in my class.  In addition to talking to your child regularly, please check my blog for homework and check PowerSchool for overall academic performance such as grades and missing assignments.  I will now explain in more detail about how the above two recommendations will help you monitor the success of your child or children.

Parents and students should visit my blog regularly at www.ajarnwilliam.wordpress.com to view assigned homework, to read the instructions about how your child can complete an assignment or project, to see study guides for tests or quizzes, to read class news, to see future projects, to see the standards, etc.  Parents, my blog will help you to monitor whether or not their child has homework.  (As a joke, I can honestly say that my blog cannot ever lie to you.)  On the most part, I usually assign homework for every class.

I believe in middle school that both parents and students are jointly responsible in making sure that homework is completed and brought to class on time.  If a student is not doing their homework regularly for whatever reason, I believe that parents must check daily to see that their child is completing their homework.  In my opinion, this means checking my blog to see what homework there is and then asking to see the completed homework as well as making sure it gets put in the school bag for the following day.

In my opinion, PowerSchool should be checked once a week to see if there are missing assignments.  A red “L” means that an assignment was/is late and a yellow “M” means the assignment is missing because your child did not turn it in.  If you see that an assignment is missing, please insist that your child completes it (as I will also insist at school because I log all homework that is not done).  If we work together, your child should be able to achieve greater success.

If you have any questions about why your child got the mark that they did, you can also ask to see your child’s social studies portfolio that they are expected to keep in proper order.  You can also check the contents of the portfolio on my blog in the link above homework to see if your child is missing any assignments in their portfolios.  Some assignments may be online and you can ask your child to show you their online work.

I apologize, but I cannot give out my phone number as that is against school policy.  However, if you check my blog, PowerSchool and look at your child’s portfolio regularly, you should have a very clear idea about how your child is doing in my class.  If you have any questions or concerns, I would prefer you contact me by email at william@wells-school.com because it is a quick and clear way of communicating.  Please do not pass any notes to your child because notes often get undelivered.

I look forward to working with you this year and helping your child to practice skills they will need to succeed in life.

Sincerely,

Mr. William, B.A., B.Ed.

Interested in Running Races in Thailand?

August 23, 2013

For students who expressed interest in running races here in Thailand, check out these websites:  http://www.forrunnersmag.com/events/index.php and http://www.jogandjoy.com/index.php.  You will need to be over 16 to sign up by yourself or, if you are under 16, your parents will need to sign a release form on your behalf.

A nice run that is coming up on September 15 is the TMB/ING ParkRun.  You get to run through three parks if you do the 10.5K.  There is also a 4K option as well.  You can sign up here:  http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/sport/sport-detail.php?sid=1991

There is also a run sponsored by UNICEF and many major hotels here in Thailand.  Run for Children 2013 will be held at Suan Luang Rama IX Park on September 22nd.

Please note that these events are NOT Wells sponsored events and that the school or teachers will not be responsible for you if you attend them or other races.  :-)

You have to get to the event around 5:30 a.m.  Yes, you have to get up really early to get there on your own, but, once you start running and then cross the finish line, you will feel great!

Image (6)

WELCOME BACK! The 2013-2014 School Year Begins!

August 13, 2013

Dear students (and parents),

I am happy to teach you this year.  I have thought of fun and new ways of improving classes that I have taught for years, and I am very excited about teaching the G12 Issues in Society class.

I believe we will have a great time exploring (depending on your grade) ancient civilizations, the Middle Ages, and issues in society.  Let’s laugh and learn together as well as practice important skills you will need in your future career as a student and worker.

Please check homework after every class.  You can see the link over on the right (“Semester One, 2013:  HOMEWORK”).  Issues in Society students can also check the special link I have made on the right.

Let’s have a great year!


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