Sunday, January 26, 2014

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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: 

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

  • Have your child practice fractions with these online games: 

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.


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?


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!


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. 


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)

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 

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