Sunday, January 26, 2014

What's Up This Week: 27 - 31 January 2014



WELCOME SORAYA & MALIKA!
We were so happy to add two new students to our class this past week, sisters Soraya (Grade 4) and Malika (Grade 5). They come to us from the French school Etablissement Liberté. Welcome to our AISB family!

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Soraya, their mother, and Malika enjoy the assembly.


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Eva welcomes Soraya and Malika to AISB during the assembly.


ELEMENTARY ASSEMBLY
Last week our class hosted the elementary assembly, giving our audience a behind-the-scenes look at our Winter Show shadow dance performance. The audience was amazed at all the complex choreography required of the students to make this performance happen!

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The audience discovered that the lion is formed by three students, a piece of cardboard box, and tape.



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Abe's boxing gloves were just flat cardboard and lots of packing tape, and the flames were the wiggling arms of 8 students.




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Aisha and Anouk use cardboard and a broomstick to create the ocean.



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The big hand wasn't so big after all! Shima moved it closer to the light so it appeared very large.



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The audience finally learned all of the shadow dance secrets!




FIELD TRIP THIS THURSDAY

Field trip


Grade 4 and 5 students travel an hour outside of Bamako this Thursday to visit the Coulibaly Farm where they will see exotic animals and more. They will record their observations in writing, by sketching, and with photographs. Back at school they will use this information to create a fiction story featuring the animals they see at the farm. 

The trip lasts from 8:00 AM - 2:00PM. Please make sure your child/children bring a lunch and beverages, as well as snacks for the day.


READING
Last week we continued our Pinocchio unit, with students learning new vocabulary (mutter, desperate, conditions) by using clues in the sentence they appear, acting out the words, and recording definitions and sketches in their reading notebooks. Student teams also reviewed previous vocabulary words by creating a tableau of one of the words.

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Anouk's team demonstrates the word "fault."


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Eva's team gives an example of the word "summon."



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Shima, Malika, Clara, Nil, and Abbah demonstrate "dangling," holding this complicated pose for 30 seconds!



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Charity, Soraya, and Mell use a pose to show us the word "consequences."


After reading each day, students determined the plot elements in the chapters read. They also analyzed more shadow puppet performances, including Three Silly Ghosts and a children's performance of The Three Little Pigs, and used a rubric to critique these performances. In addition we watched the first half of the documentary "The Making of Pinocchio" which tells how Disney adapted the original story for the screen. This will help students when they adapt the original story for their shadow puppet performance.


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This coming week we may finish the novel, or at least come close to finishing. The following week students will begin to storyboard their Pinocchio shadow puppet performance, adapting the original story as they see fit.

How you can help with reading at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe the plot of Pinocchio from last week's reading (e.g. Geppetto is swallowed by a wave and Pinocchio attempts to rescue him; Pinocchio spends time in the Land of the Busy Bees learning how not to be lazy, a fisherman attempts to cook Pinocchio, etc.)
  • Ask your child to predict what may happen next in the story.
  • Ash him/her to critique the shadow puppet performances they viewed last week--Three Silly Ghosts, Three Little Pigs.
  • Have your child explain the vocabulary words they learned this week (mutter, desperate, conditions)
  • 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 estimated the answers to multiplication problems which required them to round numbers up or down first), checked their comprehension by taking a multiplication quiz, began multiplying larger numbers (up to four digits), and applied their multiplication skills to a real world problem that required them to make bar graphs.

This week Grade 4 students use mental math to multiply larger numbers, engage in another problem solving activity that requires multiplication, take a short quiz to check their comprehension of multiplication, and finally take the Chapter 6 test that assesses everything they learned over the past few weeks.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students added and subtracted fractions with unlike denominators. We used many methods to explore this concept, including fraction strips and paper pizzas! Students also checked their understanding of fractions with a short quiz. While students definitely understand the process required to add and subtract fractions, many have been making small mistakes (forgetting to simplify a fraction, adding/multiplying incorrectly, adding when the problem actually asks them to subtract, etc.). I stressed to them how important it is to check their final answers to correct these types of small mistakes that lead to large errors.

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Using fraction strips to illustrate subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators.


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Using the document camera to project what I'm doing into large size.

This week Grade 5 students explore adding mixed numbers with unlike denominators, add mixed numbers with unlike denominators, explore the properties of addition as they relate to fractions, and engage in a real-world problem solving activity that requires them to add and subtract fractions.

How you can help with math at home: 

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

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




WRITING
Last week students continued to gather various information to support their thesis, including personal stories, facts/statistics, quotes, poems, stories from TV/movies, interviews, and observations. I also explained how they can use lists of items to support their thesis (linking the items together with a meaningful, repeating phrase) and how to improve an essay by writing exactly and honestly about their opinions.

This week students begin to organize their essay by assembling the various bits of information they've gathered through research, literally taping together the sheets of information in the order they will appear in their essays. Next they will learn how to use transitional words and sentences to make their essay flow. Finally they will write an introduction and conclusion to complete their first draft.

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We finally completed our alliteration poster, adding another resource to our figurative language wall.
How you can help with writing at home: 

  • Ask your child to explain the additional types of information they included in their "reason folders" last week.
  • Ask your child to describe the process of researching information for his/her essay. Was it easy to find information? Did they discover any tricks to finding good information? What was the most difficult part about the research gathering?
  • Ask your child how he/she determined which "reason folder" to put their information into.



SOCIAL STUDIES

Last week we continued our social studies unit on "The Age of Exploration." Students discovered what life was like on ships during these times (1400s - 1700s), and they'll be able to incorporate these facts into their ship's logs as they write a diary from the perspective of a sailor. They each choose one of the explorers from this time period and will begin research next week.    

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How you can help with social studies at home: 
  • Ask your child to explain what life on a ship was like for European sailors in the 1400s - 1700s (inadequate food, harsh punishments, unsanitary conditions, terrible health care, etc.)
  • Ask for the reasons why men chose to go on these dangerous voyages.
  • Ask what explorer he/she chose. Does he/she know anything yet about this person?




OUR DIGITAL BOOKS ARE COMPLETE! 

Book
The cover of Abe's book.

After many weeks of work, each student has completed an 11-chapter fiction story about a journey through the human body. This was a challenging project that required students to learn the systems of the human body and incorporate them into an adventure tale in which their team becomes scientists who shrink and take a journey through a person's body. After writing the story they created and found illustrations, then put everything into iBook Author, a software program that allows students to create digital books.

I will send you an email with a link to the books. They are stored on a site called "Dropbox" so when you see that email, it's from me. I think you'll be so impressed with the results of this project!


AISB INTERNATIONAL FAIR THIS SATURDAY


Plan now to take a trip around the world without leaving the campus of AISB! Join us next Saturday 1 February from 4 - 7 PM for fun, food, and drinks from around the world. 




COMING SOON


JANUARY 2014 
Tuesday 28 Jan - Elementary assembley presented by French Standard students Grades 2 - 5, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Thursday 30 Jan - All day Grade 4/5 field trip to ostrich farm (bring lunch & beverage)



FEBRUARY 2014
Saturday 1 February - AISB International Fair
Tuesday 4 Feb - Elementary assembly presented by Grade 2/3, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 11 Feb - Elementary assembly presented by ESOL, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Friday 14 Feb - No school, Teacher in-service
Monday 17 Feb - No school, President's Day (U.S. Holiday)
Tuesday 18 Feb - Elementary Literacy Week assembly 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 25 Feb - Elementary assembly presented by music classes 7:30 - 7:45 AM



MARCH 2014
Tuesday 4 March - Elementary assembly presented by Grade K/1, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 11 March - Elementary math assembly presented, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 18 March - Elementary assembly presented by Advanced French students, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Friday 31 March - End of Quarter 3
24 - 30 March - No schoolSpring Break 


Monday, January 20, 2014

What's Up This Week: 21 - 24 January 2014



OUR JANUARY DOOR


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READING
Last week we continued our new reading unit based on the classic tale of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Students learned 10 new vocabulary words from the novel, determining the definitions by using context clues in a sentence. For example:

The man claims to have photographed Bigfoot in a forest near his home, which contradicts those who say it is nothing but a hoax.

Students use clues in the sentence (a man said something that was the opposite to what other people said) to determine the definition (a statement that is the opposite to another that was put forth). They also used the theatre technique of tableau to show the meanings of several words:

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Mell demonstrates "sob"



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Eva & Shima demonstrate "sensitive"



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Yasmina shows us "elegant"



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Charity demonstrates "summon"

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Shima shows us "elegant"



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Abbah demonstrates "devour"



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Alicia shows the word "sensitive"


We began reading the novel, starting first with my read aloud so I could model fluent reading (smooth reading with expression), using context clues to determine word definitions, explore plot elements, etc. Next students were paired up so they could partner read, taking turns reading a page to each other while they practice the techniques I modeled. This gives Mr. Ben and me the opportunity to move throughout the room and listen to each child read, assess their fluency, and provide immediate feedback.

After we read each chapter, students recorded the major plot elements that developed in that part of the novel. Understanding the parts that make up the whole leads to better comprehension and will help them create a shadow puppet theatre script for a shortened version of the story. Over the week students also viewed several clips of shadow puppet performances which they them critiqued using a rubric.


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By critiquing these performances with a rubric, students are able to critically look at a performance to determine just what makes it good or bad--which will assist them as they create their own shadow puppet performance of Pinocchio. It also gives them a chance to analyze the elements of a plot, learn how to provide constructive criticism (rather than being insulting!), and to understand that there are always positives and negatives to everything.

This week we continue the process above (introduction of new vocabulary, read alouds of the novel followed by partner reading, determining plot elements in the chapters read, and analyzing other shadow puppet performances). In addition we will begin to get a detailed look of how one creates such a performance, from creating story boards to writing a script to creating puppets and scenery to choosing music.


How you can help with reading at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe the plot of Pinocchio so far (e.g. Geppetto creates a marionette he calls Pinocchio who comes alive, and Pinnochio misbehaves by lying, skipping school, and hanging out with bad people.)
  • Ask your child to predict what may happen next in the story.
  • Have your child explain the vocabulary words they learned this week (exchange, sacrifice, lame, resolutions, dangling, summon, contradict, consequences, elegant, fault)
  • 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 continued working with two digit divisors, including divisors that are multiples of ten.

This week Grade 4 students estimate the answers to multiplication problems, check their comprehension by taking a multiplication quiz, multiply larger numbers, and apply their multiplication skills to a real world problem.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students completed the Chapter 5 test on fractions, began a new chapter where they added and subtracted fractions and mixed numbers with the same denominators. They also completed a problem solving activity that required them to add and subtract fractions in a real world application.

This week Grade 5 students add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators, and check their understanding of fractions with a quiz.

How you can help with math at home: 

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

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




WRITING
Last week students gathered various information to support their thesis, including personal stories, facts/statistics, quotes, poems, stories from TV/movies, interviews, and observations. They also explored adverbs and completed a wall poster on alliteration.

This week students learn how to incorporate lists into their essays to support their thesis, how to include true, exact details, and how to begin organizing for their draft.

How you can help with writing at home: 

  • Ask your child to explain the types of information they included in their "reason folders."
  • Ask your child to explain adverbs (words that tell more about verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs), and give some examples (slowly, never, immediately, lazily)



SOCIAL STUDIES

Last week we started our new social studies unit "The Age of Exploration" in which we look at the time period of 1400 - 1700 when Europeans explored the world and claimed new lands as their own (even though others were already living there!). They were first introduced to the empires of the 1400s--the Aztec, Incan, Songhai, and Mali empires.

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Next they learned about medieval Europeans and their desire for goods from the Far East, and how their route to get those goods was blocked and led
to increased exploration to find new routes.

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This week they will discover what life was like on these ships, and hear the fictionalized account of a crew person on Christopher Columbus' first voyage. Then they will each choose one of the explorers from this time period and develop a ship's log that details one of the journeys this explorer took during the Age of Exploration. I'm doing this unit in conjunction with Mr. Souleyman in the library as students will apply their research skills in order to create their ship's log.   

How you can help with science at home: 
  • Ask your child to explain what life was like in the 1400s in different parts of the world.
  • Ask what led Europeans to begin exploring the seas (looking for new routes to Asia). Why didn't they sail the seas before this? (their ships weren't designed for it, they thought the world was flat and that they would fall off of it or be eaten by sea monsters).


   

COMING SOON


JANUARY 2014 
Wednesday 22 Jan  - Elementary assembly presented by Grade 4/5, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 28 Jan - Elementary assembley presented by French Standard students, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Thursday 30 Jan - All day Grade 4/5 field trip to ostrich farm (chaperones needed!)



FEBRUARY 2014
Saturday 1 February - AISB International Fair
Tuesday 4 Feb - Elementary assembly presented by Grade 2/3, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 11 Feb - Elementary assembly presented by ESOL, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Friday 14 Feb - No school, Teacher in-service
Monday 17 Feb - No school, President's Day (U.S. Holiday)
Tuesday 18 Feb - Elementary Literacy Week assembly 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 25 Feb - Elementary assembly presented by music classes 7:30 - 7:45 AM



MARCH 2014

Tuesday 4 March - Elementary assembly presented by Grade K/1, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 11 March - Elementary math assembly presented, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Tuesday 18 March - Elementary assembly presented by Advanced French students, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Friday 31 March - End of Quarter 3
24 - 30 March - Spring Break - no school

Saturday