Monday, February 17, 2014

What's Up This Week: 18 - 21 February


Our classroom door is ready to go for Literacy Week

Here are some of the ways the elementary students will celebrate reading and writing this week at AISB. Of course we invite parents to attend! 
  • Whole school assembly with skits performed by the teachers (Tuesday 7:50 - 8:30 AM)
  • "Mystery Box" writing activity with elementary and middle school students paired together to write
  • Drop Everything & Read school wide silent reading
  • Reading breakfast in the library with elementary students and their parents (Thursday 7:00 - 7:25 AM)
  • Costume parade with students dressed as their favorite character from a book (Friday 7:30 - 8:15 AM)
  • Grade 4/5 shadow puppet performance of Pinocchio (Friday 8:45 - 9:00)
  • Book Swap with students trading their already-read books for other already-read books (Friday 1:30 - 2:00 PM)

Last week students finished their detailed critique of the Pinocchio storyboards, and we used the revised storyboards to draft a script for the shadow puppet performance. After revising the script a number of times to include all of their ideas, teams developed a list of puppets and scenery required for each of 15 short scenes.

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This week they'll create simple puppets and scenery (we could use some metal coat hangers if you have any!), choose background music and roles, rehearse, and present this piece. The performance will be Friday from 8:45 - 9:00 AM in our classroom.

How you can help with reading at home: 
  • Ask your child to describe which character they hope to play (and why) for our shadow puppet performance. 
  • Ask your child how the plot of our shadow puppet play is different from the plot in the book. Why is it different?
  • 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 continued exploring division with three-digit numbers and working with division problems that include zeros in the answer. They also did a problem solving activity that required working with division and remainders so they could practically apply what they have learned so far.

This week they estimate quotients, divide 4 and 5-digit numbers, and take a short quiz to assess their understanding of these concepts.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students took a short quiz to check their understanding of adding and subtracting mixed numbers and fractions. I was very pleased that all students performed well, so I administered the Chapter 7 test, and again they proved their understanding of these challenging concepts. After that they began exploring how to multiply whole numbers by fractions, something they all agreed was "soooo easy."

This week they learn to multiply fractions by fractions, engage in a real-world problem solving activity requiring them to multiply whole numbers and fractions by other fractions, take a short quiz to assess their understanding, and explore how to multiply mixed numbers.

How you can help with math at home: 

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

Math Monster (make sure you choose "division):

  • Have your child practice fractions with these online games: 

Last week students used the Six Traits of Writing rubric to self-score their first draft. They also scored the essay of another student using the same rubric. Then I read each essay and suggested revisions/corrected. After a trip to the IT Lab to make revisions on their draft they gave it to me for final scoring. Here is the scoring rubric we use, which breaks down their writing into six categories:

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Having students use the same rubric as the teacher uses puts everyone on the same page (literally!). But this detailed rubric also allows students to critically look at their writing from many different angles. Writing well requires much more than just using the correct punctuation and capitalization! Having them score another student's paper helps them better understand each category of the rubric, which in turn helps them write better.

We will have an author reading next week where students can volunteer to share their essay with an audience of parents and other students (date/time to be announced in next blog post).

This week teams will share their field trip fiction stories. Each team chose one of the animals they saw on the field trip as a main character for their story and together developed a list of character traits about that animal, along with a plot map of a story involving that animal. They drafted a story which one of the students typed, and this week they will read their creations to the rest of the class. This is a great introductory activity for the fiction writing unit that they will begin this week.

As I mentioned last week, some students are struggling to keyboard, using one finger to slowly peck at the keys. Please encourage your child to use one of the online keyboarding programs to practice this very important skill (link below).

How you can help with writing at home:  
  • Ask to read your child's completed story, and give some constructive feedback. Have him/her explain the scores on the rubric…does he/she agree with my assessment?
  • If your child struggles with keyboarding, have him/her practice with one of the activities at:
  • Ask your child to describe the field trip fiction story plot his/her team developed. What are the traits of the main character?


Last week students used the AISB Friendica website to post journal entries and illustrations detailing one a voyage taken by their chosen explorer. They complete their postings this week, and will have time to read the journals of other students' explorers and comment on their posts (in the character of their own explorer, of course!)

Student teams also continued their own "voyages", sailing across the giant piece of grid paper on our bulletin board. They moved their ship each day the same number of squares as their team point score. While all teams discovered more land, none have discovered gold yet!

How you can help with social studies at home: 
  • Review your child's explorer journal on the Friendica site. They can log on at home: and sign in with their email address and password.
  • Ask them to describe some of the details they plan to put into the journal they write about their explorer's voyage.
  • Ask them to describe their team's success at discovering land on the big blue sheet of paper in class. What has been their strategy? Is this strategy similar to what the early explorer's did?


 We did a quick project for Valentines Day with students choosing a short poem or quote about love, and using that as the theme to decorate and construct a cube from a flat piece of card stock. 

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We made a card to thank Ferme Kledou for our fantastic field trip a couple of weeks ago. We thought a large ostrich card was appropriate!
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Monday 17 Feb - No school, President's Day (U.S. Holiday)
Tuesday - Friday 18 - 21 February - AISB Literacy Week
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 

APRIL 2014

Friday 11 March - Teacher-Parent-Student conferences

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