Saturday, November 9, 2013

What's Up This Week: 11 - 15 November 2013


It was a pleasure meeting with those of you who had scheduled conferences last Friday. I found our discussions positive and productive, and I know your child will benefit with the clear goals that we set. Each week I'll have the students use their personal blogs to reflect on the progress they're making in reaching these goals.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your child's progress.


By now you should have received an email from your child's AISB account, giving you access to his/her personal school blog. If you have not, please let me know.

For the culminating project of our Martin Luther King Jr. unit, students created an original dream poem about an important world issue, and an accompanying collage to support their poem's message. This was a very complicated project but I was completely impressed with their perseverance! Here are the final products.

(poem from Mathies to be added)

This week we continued our new unit based around the novel Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. We viewed some clips about kids who display perseverance, as well as a piece on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, the first elected female president in Africa. Students learned of her continuing perseverance in bringing peace and prosperity back to Liberia. 

The reading skill focus for this unit is comparing and contrasting points of view in the novel, from the narrator to the characters. We began this discussion by looking at the types of narrators in fiction, including first, second, and third person narrators.

As I mentioned last week, we will use the research-based theatre technique of story dramatization as a way to better comprehend and analyze this novel. Students will interpret a scene from the novel by acting it out as part of a cast of characters. By closely analyzing the text, they determine what each character might say (beyond the dialogue already in the book), how the characters would move, the facial expressions they might have, and how they would react to what others say. 

To prepare students for this technique students rehearsed their concentration, choosing a focal point to concentrate on and allowing their mind to think about another place while I tried to distract them. I was impressed with their levels of concentration, and am hopeful that this skill will transfer to daily classroom use too!

This week we begin reading the novel, applying the comprehension skills we have learned. We will also analyze a poem, song, and video clips that have similar themes as our novel.

How you can help with reading at home: 
  • Ask your child what they felt about the video clips of the teen piano player and the teen with autism who played basketball. How did they show perseverance?
  • Ask your child to describe the three types of narrators: first person (where the narrator is a character in the story), second person (where the narrator puts the reader in the novel), and third person (where the narrator is someone outside of the story) 
  • Ask your child about the collage he/she completed for the Dream Poem. How did it turn out? Does it represent the poem well? What would he/she do differently next time.
  • 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 students engaged in a problem solving activity involving puzzles so they could apply their graphing skills. They also completed a short quiz to check their comprehension of all of the graphing concepts they learned over the past two weeks, and completed the Chapter 3 test. 

This week students begin exploring the properties of multiplication, focusing on their times tables from 2 to 10.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students learned another problem solving technique, checked their progress with a quiz covering the division concepts they learned over the past couple of weeks, and took the Chapter 3 test. 

This week they begin to study graphs, including how to collect, organize, and display data. They will also explore finding the mean, median, mode, and range.

How you can help with math at home: 

  • Please have your child practice multiplication with these online games: 

Fantastic Fish Shop:

Cone Crazy:

  • Have your child practice graphing and range/median/mode/mean: 

How It All Stacks Up:

Mean, Median, Mode Buildings:


Last week students learned a few more techniques for developing an excellent topic for a personal narrative, including thinking of favorite family stories and completing a phrase (e.g. "I always feel angry when" and "Late at night I..."). They also reviewed their previous essay to determine how they will improve their writing on their next essay, and made a list of planned improvements.

Students also completed their personification poems and posted them in the room.

Abe's personification poem

This week they will choose their seed idea for their new essay, and then focus on what exactly their message is in the essay they plan to write. They will also study the way authors use leads to get readers interested in their stories, and finally will learn how to truly step into the point of view of the narrator in their story.

How you can help with writing at home: 

  • Ask your child which seed idea he/she may choose to write an essay about. What makes that idea the best?


Last week students continued exploring the skeletal system, learning the names and functions of major bones and setting up an experiment to test the effects of vinegar on bones. As with all of our experiments, students create a lab report using the scientific method. They also put together model skulls and skeletons, and added three-dimensional bone models to the giant figure on our wall. 

This week students use what they have learned about the skeletal system to draft the first version of their story about an imaginary trip through the human body. We then move on to tour study of the muscular system.

How you can help with science at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe what he/she has learned about the skeletal system.
  • Ask your child to describe the experiment he/she set up on Friday. What is his/her hypothesis for this experiment?



Tuesday 12 Nov, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring ESOL students
Tuesday 19 Nov, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring preK 3/4
Tuesday 26 Nov, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring Grades 4/5
Tuesday 29 Nov, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring Standard French
Thursday & Friday 28 - 29 Nov - Thanksgiving Holiday

Tuesday 3 Dec, 7:30 - 7:45 AM - Elementary assembly featuring 1 student from each class reading their own story
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

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