Friday, May 2, 2014

What's Up This Week: 5 - 9 May

Beginning Monday the Grade 4/5 students will spend the entire week, Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM to 2:45 PM, working on a service learning project. Collaborating with Mali Health Organizing Project and 20 students from a local school, we will create a graphic novel about diarrhea prevention, an illness that is the second highest cause of death in Mali.
Service learning projects are a great opportunity for students to practice their academic skills while helping their local community. In this case they will use their skills in science, math., reading, writing, and visual art to create a graphic novel that will be distributed to Malian students at local schools. Their work will have the potential of saving lives!
Here is our schedule:

Monday 5 May
Grade 4/5 students are away from school all day. We leave school at 7:45 AM and travel to Mali Health in the Sikoro neighborhood of Bamako for a presentation on diarrhea prevention, and a tour of the neighborhood, a local school, and a clinic. Afterwards we have lunch in the National Park then return to school at 2:15 PM.
NOTE: Students will need to pack a lunch, snacks, and drinks.

Tuesday 6 May
Back at AISB for the day, Students develop the plot for the graphic novel and create story storyboards.
Wednesday 7 May
Twenty Malian students from a local school visit AISB for the day, helping Grade 4/5 AISB students finalize the plot and create illustrations. AISB French teachers assist in the translation of the English text into French.

Thursday 8 May
AISB students complete illustrations and upload both illustrations and text into a comic software program with the assistance of IT coordinator Mr. Kelsey. Students create supplementary materials for the graphic novel, including posters. All final artwork is sent to a local printer.

Friday 9 May
 AISB students and the 20 Malian students celebrate their accomplishment at a pool party luncheon.
NOTE: Thank you to the parents who have agreed to bring food and drink for this event. You are welcome to attend as well!

This past week we continued reading the novel Missing May by Cynthia Rylant, spending time partner reading. This technique, in which I put students in groups of 2 or 3 to read to each other from the chapters we just completed, allows students to practice fluency and allows me to check their fluency progress. I encourage them to read with expression, to let the punctuation influence their reading, and to use different voices to represent different characters. I enjoyed hearing them use their Appalachian accents!
Over this four day holiday period, students should read from a book of their choosing for at least 20 minutes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and write a short (3 or 4 sentences) summary that explains what they read. That means on Monday I should have three summaries (Read to Succeeds) to check.
How you can help with reading at home: 

  • Ask your child to describe novel Missing May so far. Who are the characters so far? What do they want? What challenges do they face?
  • 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 explored finding the perimeter and area of different figures. Area turned out to be a big challenge for them, and I spent an extra math period reteaching this concept.

Grade 5: Last week Grade 5 students explored multiplication and division equations, and then focused on two-step equations that take a little more thought.  They took a short quiz to check their understanding of these concepts, and then followed that with the chapter test.

How you can help with math at home: 

Grade 4
  • Ask your child to explain how to find the perimeter of a figure (add all sides).
  • Ask your child to explain how to find the area of a figure (length x width). What about finding the area of a figure that is made up of several squares? (find the area of each square by figuring out length x width, and add all of the areas).
  • Encourage your child to practice geometry with an online game:

Grade 5
  • Ask your child to explain how to solve the two-step equations we worked on this week, such as 3y + 6 = 15 (undo the addition by subtracting 6 from both sides, then undo the multiplication by diving both sides by 3).
  • Encourage your child to practice the order of operations and algebraic expressions with these online games:

Evaluating Expressions with One Variable:


 Last week students created their final thesis statement for their literary essay, and developed supporting details for that thesis in the form of a bulleted list. We discussed how to use examples from the book in their supporting paragraphs, either by recounting the story as it happened, providing a simple summary, or using a quote. Regardless of the method they choose, they learned that it was crucial to gear the supporting details to the thesis.

How you can help with writing at home: 

  • Ask your child to explain how they plan to support their thesis statement. Is he/she using scenes from the story? Writing a summary of scenes? Using a quote?
  • 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 completed our social studies unit on government called Who's in Charge? As a final project, teams randomly chose three forms of government and created skits to show how this form works. They performed these for the class, and and the rest of the class guessed which form of government they were portraying.


IMG 3651

IMG 3652

IMG 3653

IMG 3654

IMG 3656

IMG 3658

IMG 3659

IMG 3660

IMG 3661

IMG 3662

IMG 3663

IMG 3665

 How you can help with social studies at home: 

  • Ask your child to describe the forms of government his/her team portrayed in a skit. What would they do ti improve their performance next time?

If you didn't get a chance to look at the iMovies students made for their science unit on oceans, here is the link. It is best to download rather than stream the iMovies.

Find the iMovies at: 

This past Tuesday students from each classroom presented an art form they have used in class. Grade 4/5 discussed the masks they created for the Sundiata reading unit we just completed, then each student showed his/her mask. I think the audience was quite impressed with their mask-making skills!

IMG 3646

IMG 3647

IMG 3648

Liv & Papi did a short piece for French class:

IMG 3649


Finally, a big thank to you to those of you who attended the performance of "In a Good Book" last Saturday. We had nearly a full house and the actors were so pleased with the very responsive and respectful audience.

Another big thank you to the parents of the Grade 4/5 actors in the play who arranged transportation to the many rehearsals. This was an amazingly meaningful experience for my students, especially getting to act with adults, and I look forward to more opportunities like this in the future!

Here are a few photographs (sorry, the photographer missed the Peter Pan scene!)

IMG 2424 2

IMG 2430

IMG 2433

IMG 2444

IMG 2446

IMG 2449

IMG 2539


MAY 2014
Thursday-Friday 1-2 May - No school, Labor Day holiday
Mon. - Fri. 5-9 May - Grade 4/5 Service Learning Project Week
Tuesday 6 May Elementary assembly presented by Music class, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Wednesday 7 May Progress reports go home (for select students)
Tuesday 13 May Elementary assembly presented by K-1 class, 7:30 - 7:45 AM
Thursday 15 May AISB Elections & Annual Meeting
Mon - Fri 19-23 May AISB Africa Week
Friday 23 May - Africa Week afternoon luncheon and assembly
Mon - Fri 26-30 May AISB Teacher Appreciation Week

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

No comments:

Post a Comment