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 

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