Saturday, November 30, 2013

What's Up: 2 - 6 December 2013

At the elementary assembly last Tuesday, our Grade 4 and 5 students did a fantastic job presenting their I Have a Dream poems and artwork. They used excellent expression, impressing the audience with their creativity and presentation skills. A big thank you to the parents who attended--I know your children appreciated it!

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You are also invited to attend the elementary assembly this Tuesday at 7:30 AM. One student from each class will read a piece of their writing. The representative from our class is Aisha who will read her latest personal narrative about a mysterious knock at the door.  



Don't miss the musical production of "Citronella: A Cinderella Story"  Friday 6 December at 6:30 in the AISB Habib Koit√© Theatre (the MPR). Tickets are 3000 cfa for both adults and children (children under 3 are free) and can be purchased in the AISB office. Four students and I are in the cast, though they have much bigger roles than I do!

Last week for our unit based around the novel Stone Fox  students performed a story dramatization for a key scene from Chapter 6, when Willy meets the Shoshone Indian Stone Fox for the first time. After each team performed the scene, audience members (the other teams)
offered constructive feedback. Providing helpful criticism helps students practice critical thinking and analysis skills.

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Students also analyzed another song with similar themes of perseverance, Climb Every Mountain from the musical The Sound of Music. We looked at two different performances of that song: the original version from the 1959 movie and a modernized version by Christina Aguilera. Students discussed which version was most fitting for the song's the message, with some saying the original, simple version was most effective while others felt the modern version with full orchestra, children's' choir and a gospel choir made the message more appropriate for today.

This week we complete reading the last chapters of the book and perform the final story dramatization. They will also begin a culminating project in which they research a notable person that displayed perseverance, and create a portrait that uses images and text to represent that individual. 

How you can help with reading at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe the message in the song Climb Every Mountain. (e.g. use everything you have to reach your dreams). Which version of the song did he/she prefer and why? 
  • Ask your child to explain his/her role in the story dramatization last week, performing the scene in which Little Willy meets Stone Fox for the first time. What were some important tips he/she learned from acting out this scene? (e.g. you can express a character's feelings without overacting; even when you are not speaking you have to stay engaged in the scene; your dialogue should respond to the dialogue right before it, etc.)
  • Check your child's "Read to Succeed" each night/morning. For this daily assignment students read a book of their choosing for at least 20 minutes, then write a short summary of what they read. Their summary should clearly describe the main events in the part of their book they read without including too many unimportant details.
  • Ask your child to read to you for a few minutes so you can check his/her fluency, expression, pauses, etc.

Grade 4: Last week Grade 4 students looked at fact families as a way to better understand division. They will also take a quiz to check their understanding of division, and then completed the Chapter 4 test. All students did an outstanding job on the test!

This week we begin a new unit on multiplication, looking at the properties of multiplication, multiplying by one-digit numbers, and estimating products. They will also work on some problem solving activities that require the to analyze over and underestimating.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students explored sampling data, took a quiz to check comprehension of division concepts, and very successfully completed the Chapter 4 test! I was impressed at their thorough graph-making, and how they remembered to include all of the detailed elements for each graph.

This week we look at prime numbers (divisible only by one and themselves) and composite numbers (all the rest), common factors and greatest common factors, and an introduction to fractions.

How you can help with math at home: 

  • Please have your child practice division (and addition, subtraction, and multiplication too) with these online games:  
Math Downhill Slalom: 

Becoming Lord Voldemath: 

Last week students completed the final versions of their narrative essays. Along with my feedback, a partner offered feedback as well and students incorporated these ideas into their final draft. They receive their scored essays this week.

This week we begin a new expository writing unit in which students write a thesis-based essay. They will learn several techniques for generating essay ideas, and explore the differences between narrative and expository easy writing. 

How you can help with writing at home: 

  • Read your child's final draft of his/her personal narrative essay, and offer feedback. Do you find it interesting? Does it move you emotionally in some way?
  • Ask your child what the real message is of his/her essay.


Last week students studied the respiratory system, including performing an experiment that tested their understanding of the connection between oxygen use and exercise. They saw a demonstration that showed how the diaphragm helps the lungs take in oxygen.

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This week students explore the circulatory system and the endocrine system, and complete an experiment on heart rate. After studying each system they draft a chapter of their fictional story through that system. 

How you can help with science at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe the respiratory system (e.g. oxygen passes through the mouth and nasal cavity, through the larynx and the trachea, then into the bronchi that lead into the lungs; the alveoli at the end of the bronchi pass the oxygen on into the bloodstream).
  • Ask him/her to describe the experiments in which they compared blew into a bag with a normal breath and again after exercising. What did he/she discover? Did it prove/disprove his/her hypothesis?
  • Have your child read the chapter they wrote about the respiratory system, and provide feedback. Is it an exciting story? Does it include at least five facts about the respiratory system?


The AISB winter will be held on Friday 20 December at 1:00 PM, and parents are invited. If you haven't done so already please let me know if your child will NOT be at school on that day (for example, if your family is leaving early for vacation). students I'll have so our performance shines!


Tuesday 3 Dec, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring 1 student from each class reading their own story
Wednesday 4 Dec, Quarter 2 Progress Reports sent home for selected students
Tuesday 10 Dec, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring preK 2
Tuesday 17 Dec, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring Advanced French
Friday Dec 20 - AISB Annual Winter Show
Friday Dec 20 - Last day of Quarter 2 after school activities
Saturday 21 Dec - Tuesday 31 December - No school, Winter Break

Wednesday 1 Jan - Sunday 5 JanNo school, Winter Break
Tuesday 14 Jan - No School, El Mawloud; (tentative; Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon so the dates given are approximations)
Friday 17 Jan - End of Quarter 2/ Semester 1
Tuesday 21 Jan - No School, Baptism of the Prophet (tentative; Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon so the dates given are approximations)

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