Sunday, December 8, 2013

What's Up This Week: 9 - 13 December 2013

ELEMENTARY ASSEMBLY
At the elementary assembly last Tuesday, one student from each class read a piece of their writing. The representative from our class was Aisha who wowed the crowd with her latest personal narrative about a mysterious knock at the door. Mr. Berry chose Anouk as the representative from Advanced French, and she read her amazing original poem.

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CITRONELLA: A CINDERELLA STORY

Last Friday was the premiere of a British panto-style performance at AISB, with a cast of folks from various embassies as well as me and four students from our class, Aisha, Anouk, Abbah, and Charity. There was a full house for the performance and it went off without a hitch. It was great to see so many AISB families in the audience. An AISB art show was held before the show, and my students' art was well represented.

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READING
Last week we completed our novel Stone Fox, with students performing two story dramatizations for key scenes in Chapters 7 - 10. Through
these dramatic interpretations students were able to fully understand the characters, theme, and lessons of this story.

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They also viewed a clip about the life of Liz Murray, a homeless teen who was accepted to Harvard University on a full scholarship. Students analyzed how perseverance led to her success. This week students complete a culminating project, creating a portrait (part illustration/part text) of a notable person who displayed perseverance


How you can help with reading at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe the message or life lesson in the novel Stone Fox (e.g. never give up on your dreams, don't quit when things seem bad, etc.) 
  • Ask your child to explain his/her role in the final story dramatization last week, performing the scene in which Little Willy finished the race despite the death of his dog. What were some important tips he/she learned from acting out this scene?
  • 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.



MATH
Grade 4: Last week Grade 4 students began a new unit on multiplication, looking at the properties of multiplication, multiplying by one-digit numbers, and estimating products.
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This week they work on a problem solving activity that requires them to analyze over and underestimating, and then take a quiz to check their understanding of multiplication so far. They will also begin to multiply longer numbers, applying the same principles from art week, and to explore function tables involving multiplication.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students looked at prime numbers (divisible only by one and themselves) and composite numbers (all the rest), common factors and greatest common factors, and had an introduction to fractions (which at first they seemed to dread, but then they decided it was easy).

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This week they engage in a problem solving activity that has them look at missing or extra information, and then they take a progress check to see how their understanding is so far. Next they simplify fractions, look at least common multiples and least common denominators, and finally compare and order fractions.

How you can help with math at home: 

GRADE 4
  • Please have your child practice multiplication with these online games:  

GRADE 5
  • Have your child practice fractions with these online games: 

Fraction Shoot (choose "Simple Fraction" level or "Simple Fraction 2" level): http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/mathgames/earlymath/fractions_shoot.htm 





WRITING
Last week students we began a new expository writing unit in which they write a thesis-based essay. They learned that thesis-based essays focus on an idea/opinion that they feel passionate about. I gave them methods for developing essay ideas, including being observant and looking at the world around them for ideas. They first looked in the classroom (e.g. they looked at the clock and wondered why time seems to go so quickly when you are having fun, and slowly when you aren't), then outside as we meandered around campus, and finally while they were on their drive home from school.

This week they learn how to extend their thinking so that their essay idea has real substance, how to use their narrative story ideas to get ideas for their essay, and finally, how to write a good thesis statement--the core of their essay. To fine tune their writing they will also be looking at adverbs and alliteration this week.

How you can help with writing at home: 

  • Ask your child to describe the difference between an essay and a narrative story (e.g. essay is about an idea you have and a narrative is a story you tell).
  • Ask your child what ideas he/she has gathered so far for the essay.


SCIENCE
Last week students explored the circulatory system, completed an experiment on heart rate, and began typing their chapters from their science-based story o a hypothetical trip inside the human body.

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This week they explore three systems: endocrine, nervous, and digestive. They will also complete an experiment about their sense of touch (part of the study of the nervous system).


How you can help with science at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe the circulatory system (e.g. the right side of the heart gets oxygen poor blood and sends it to the lungs; the right side sends the oxygen rich blood throughout the body in arteries, capillaries, and veins. ).
  • Ask him/her to describe the experiments in which they measured their heart rate while sitting and after exercising.
  • Have your child read the chapter they wrote about the circulatory system, and provide feedback. Is it an exciting story? Does it include at least five facts about the circulatory system?





WINTER SHOW

Mark your calendars now for the AISB Winter Show, Friday 20 December at 1:00 - 2:40 PM. Students from each class perform, and our class is well on its way to preparing our shadow dance performance.



LAPTOPS & IPADS

Several students have asked if they can bring their personal computing devices (laptops or tablets) to school. Of course this is allowed, and each students is allowed to connect one device to the school's wifi. While I'll do everything possible to make sure they are caring for their personal device, it is the student's responsibility to keep their device safe and sound (e.g. stored in their backpack when not in use, not placed on the floor or at the table's edge, not taken outside to be used, etc.). 

We are using the computers more and more in each subject. Since we no longer have as many AISB laptops in our room, we either have to travel to the computer lab (which eats away 10 minutes of our class period in travel time) or check computers out from the school's laptop cart (and there aren't enough for anyone). So bringing a personal device would make sense--as long as each student is very responsible for his/her device.



COMING SOON

DECEMBER 2013
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, 1:00 - 2:40 PM -  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


JANUARY 2014
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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