• Mr. Harder's 5th Grade Math & Science Class

    I want to welcome you and your student to my webpage and my classroom.  I'm Mr. (Wes) Harder, and I'm so excited to be back at Norterra Canyon for a fourth year !!





        As the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year begins, I'll be posting updates here (as well as email blasts to you all once I have all parent emails) regarding what you and your student will want to do to get prepared for during each phase of the school year.

        Please warn your students that my tests can be tough, but I feel obligated to create tests that challenge students and that will help them prepare for AzMerit testing. Not only do I take the tests out of the module and sometimes modify them to include a lot of older material, I also do not make them multiple choice. For this reason, they may actually find the AzMerit math test EASIER than mine !! :)

       Without multiple choice, I can truly see how the student works the problem and whether they're on a pathway to the correct answer. I can be sure that they did not just guess.
       Also...my math curriculum (at the end of the school year) will start involving special projects that will help lessen the possibility that a poor performance on a big test will have a dramatic effect on an existing grade.
       In terms of science, you will be updated when ever a new science unit starts. The 1st unit will be on levers and pulleys, and know that the science grade is made up primarily of work done on special projects, maintaining their science notebooks, and being effective teammates. More to come on that in my next big email :)
    I can be reached at my email (wesley.harder@dvusd.org), or by calling our school's front office at 623-445-8200. My room this year once again is #703, and the number there is 623-445-8265.
    The best time to reach me, of course, is after school lets out at 3pm and can usually be done most effectively by email. I am an early riser, though...so I am often able to respond to emails promptly if they are sent to me in the morning before 7:30 a.m.  Also...if you would like to try and set up a conference with me to discuss anything urgent or special regarding your student, just email me anytime with a subject heading of "Can we set up a special meeting ?"


    First major science announcement:

       As some of you will hear at our upcoming Curriculum Night, I have a special project that I assign as an accompaniment to each of the four 9-week science units that I teach.
    With a new quarter comes a new special project !
       Our 2nd quarter science unit is the human body. Along with FOSS activities/experiments/vocabulary/article reviews/inventory,
    videos, and on-campus activities, we have a special project.
       On Friday, the students joined their new science teams (made up of classmates that they chose, primarily) and were given one of the 10
    major body systems.
       Their project is to create an imaginary person who is fairly normal, but has something very unique regarding the team's body system.
      For example....if your student's team was given the digestive system, they are to create an imaginary person whose digestive system is
    extraordinary in some way.
       The project is almost always an exclusively digital project (meaning they create it completely on a Google Slide presentation), though some
    teams may choose to have some type of physical 'show-and-tell' component.
       The beauty of this is that the teammates have the ability to contribute to/edit the project remotely (as long as they have properly shared the
    project amongst themselves within the Google platform).
       I explain to students that they are creating a 'mutant' (a character like Wolverine who is normal except for claws) as opposed to a 'superhero'
    (a character like Superman who is extraordinary in most ways).
    BTW...I was blown away by the levers & pulleys creature trap projects !! Amazing !!!
       I am usually able to provide numerous opportunities for team project work in class (usually about once/week), but almost every team will probably see a need to work at home on the project as well.
       And it is common for students to want to coordinate working together at one of the teammate's homes...although this is not as common when they are using Google Slides since they can work remotely  :)