Saturday, May 24, 2014

What's Up This Week: 26 - 30 May 2014



AISB hosted Africa Day on Friday 23 May. In the morning each class participated in an African fashion show. Our class showcased the African masks we created that represent the characters from the Sundiata story. After a brief introduction by Andreas, the other students posed in a tableau vivant that illustrated the battle victory scene from the book. Thank you to Mathies's mom for the great photo!

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In the afternoon every class participated in a performance. The show kicked off with Aisha, Abe, and I talking about our Grade 4 & 5 service learning project and introducing a quick iMovie about the process. You can see that iMovie here (it's better to download it than stream it):

Our class also sang a song they learned in Mrs. Andersen's music class called "Outdoors," a kid's version of the Jason Mraz song "I'm Yours."

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Finally, we were all very proud of Nil as he was chosen to read his Africa Day poem on stage.

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The graphic novel is complete in English! Here is a link to the digital version:

This will be off to the printers so we have copies before school is out. The translation to French is in process and we hope to have that ready for printing very soon.




Last week we continued reading Missing May by Cynthia Rylant. We also analyzed a ballet (The Dying Swan) to see how dancers use their body to express emotions about death, and learned about the steps in the grieving process to determine at what stage the characters in our novel are going through.

This week we finish the novel and engage in a short project to design a "whirligig," a device that is central to the novel. We will begin a new unit--our final one for the year--on spoken word poetry. 

How you can help with reading at home: 


  • Ask your child to describe how the characters in the novel are dealing with the death of May. Are they experiencing similar emotions? (e.g. Uncle Ob thought he could feel May's presence and hoped he might even speak to her. He could barely function as he was so heartbroken. But in the last chapter he seems to have accepted her death. Hi niece Summer is closer to accepting May's death, but feels she didn't really get to grieve.)
  • Ask your child to explain some of the symbols in the novel (the bats, whirligigs, May's garden).
  • Ask your child to describe how the ballerina portrayed a dying swan.
  • 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 from their "Read to Succeed" book so you can check his/her fluency, expression, pauses, etc.


Grade 4: Last week Grade 4 students looked at finding parts of a whole (e.g. 1/3 of 15), explored mixed numbers, and looked at determining probability. They took a test on these concepts then began a new chapter on fractions, learning how to add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators.

This week they explore properties of fractions, determine how fractions and decimals relate, explore tenths and hundredths as they relate to decimals and fractions, compare and put in order decimals, and finally round and add decimals.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students explored symmetry, circles, tessellations, and took a test on these concepts. Then they looked at finding the perimeter and area of various figures, as well as determining the circumference and area of a circle. On Friday they worked with "nets," the name for a 3-D shape that has been flattened, and created various shapes from flat sheets of paper. We also worked with determining the top, front, and side view of various 3-D figures. We used small cubes to help with this last task.

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How you can help with math at home:

Grade 4

  • Ask your child to explain how to add a fraction with like denominators.
  • Encourage your child to work with fractions using an online game:

Game 1: Tony Fraction's Pizza Shop (hint: select the size of the pizza FIRST, then do the toppings):

Game 2: Fraction Flags:

Game 3: Fraction Fun (hint: the numerator is the number of YELLOW pieces):



Grade 5

  • Ask your child to explain which "net" they cut out and assembled in class. Did they know which 3-D shape this was before they began?
  • Encourage your child to practice geometry with these online games:

Game 1: Two Dimension Concentration:




This week students continued drafting parts of their literary essay that focuses on a favorite book. They learned several ways of supporting their thesis statement:

  • storytelling a part of the book
  • summarizing a part of the book
  • using a direct quote from the book
  • including a list/repeating pattern from the book
  • adding information related to the author's craftsmanship

They learned a few additional tips, including using literary technical terms as much as possible (plot, exposition, climax, etc.) and using the present tense when storytelling or summarizing from their book.

This week students get a few tips on crafting an excellent lead paragraph and a great concluding paragraph. They will begin to type their essay this week too, so make sure they have practiced their keyboarding skills using the website listed below.


How you can help with writing at home: 


  • Ask your child to explain the thesis they have chosen, and how they plan to support that thesis. 
  • Is your child able to type quickly on the computer? If not, encourage he/she to practice with one of the keyboarding activities at:



This week we started our new science unit, "Space: The Final Frontier." We had a busy week:

  • analyzed David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" to determine how some people view outer space
  • explored the effects of the movements of the Earth
  • looked at how VanGogh expressed the night sky

Vincent VanGogh, Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888

Vincent VanGogh, Starry Night, 1889

  • determined the effects of the moon's movements
  • looked at the characteristics of each planet

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  • analyzed Horst's symphony "The Planets," guessing which planet each movement represented
  • explored the distant planets
  • analyzed Stevie Wonder's song "Saturn" and the B52s "Planet Claire" to see how the songwriters viewed distant planets




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Abbah reenacts a line from "Planet Claire"




MAY 2014
Mon - Fri 26-30 May AISB Teacher Appreciation Week
Tuesday 27 May 7:30 - 7:50 AM- Elementary Assembly featuring Advanced French

JUNE 2014
Thursday 5 June - AISB High School Graduation
Friday 6 June - Last day of school

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