Sunday, September 28, 2014

News of the Week: 29 September - 3 October 2014


MAP TESTING

Last week Grade 4 & 5 took the MAP reading test on Thursday. The MAP math test is this Tuesday 30 September, and the language usage test is Thursday 2 October. Male sure your child gets a good night's sleep the night before the test, and eats a healthy breakfast the morning of the test. You will receive reports about your child's scores soon.






FULL WEEK NEXT WEEK



The Minister of the Interior announced that Tabaksi will be celebrated in Mali on Sunday 5th October
. Due to this, AISB will change AISB's Tabaski holiday from Friday 3rd October to Monday 6th October.

AISB will be closed on Monday 6th October.






READING

Last week students continued reading The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. Before reading each day, students explored the novel's themes each day through various mediums. On Wednesday they studied the biography of Thomas Edison to see how he was a model for perseverance:



Students also analyzed a Dali painting to understand why the artist would compare and contrast swans and elephants, two seemingly different animals:


Salvador Dali, (1904 - 1989), Spanish
Swans Reflecting Elephants, 1937, oil on canvas, 51 x 77 cm


Students learned the following new vocabulary words from the novel over the past week:

sanctuary (safe place)
desperate (willing to do anything to get something)
linger (hang around)
malodorous (bad smell)
plumage (feathers on a bird)



First they try determine the word using context clues in the surrounding sentences, and by looking at how the word is used in the novel. 

Next they add to a vocabulary chart in their reading notebook where they record each new word, the definition, synonyms (words with the same meaning), antonyms (words with the opposite meaning), a quick sketch to help them remember the definition, and a "7-Up Sentence" using the word (must include 7 or more words and be highly descriptive). 

Over the week they review the words by creating individual or team tableaus for each word. Teams also create vocabulary word posters with definitions, synonyms, and antonyms, and these are posted in the room for the year. The idea is that they will incorporate these words into their speaking and writing. Here they work on the posters:






This coming week students will read six additional chapters in the novel, view part one of a documentary on trumpeter swans (to compare and contrast these with the swans in our novel), and listen to three very different versions of  "Beautiful Dreamer," a song that has much significance in the novel.


Here's a quick post from Clara about reading this week:

Today in reading we analyzed a painting of Salvador Dali. The painting was called Swans Reflecting Elephants.We looked at the painting and discovered it had swans on water but the lake was reflecting elephants instead of swans. Another weird thing about the painting is that the painter drew himself in the painting. After analyzing that painting we did some vocabulary words. The vocabulary words were plumage and malodorous. Plumage means feathers. Malodorous means bad smell.


Here's a short report from Isaac about the story:

Right now for reading my class is reading a book called “ The Trumpet of the Swan”. It’s about a trumpeter swan named Louis who can’t trumpet. So he goes to a boy’s house. The boy's name is Sam and he is Louis’ friend. Now Louis goes to school and learns how to write. One day he decided to go visit his family at Red Rock Lakes. He falls in love with a girl named Serena.


Finally, here's a post from Yasmina:

In reading we are reading a book called The Trumpet of the Swan. The book is about a young swan called Louis who can’t talk. Louis is trying to find a way to communicate with other swans so he decided to go to school with his friend Sam Beaver. So, now when they got to school the teacher Mrs. Hammerbotham was surprised. She told Sam it was impossible for Louis to read and write ,but actually Sam still insisted. Finally Louis was able to read and write, but when he went back home he tried to write, but his parents and sisters and brothers didn’t understand. One day Louis meets a beautiful swan called Serena but she pays no attention to him. His father then decided to steal a trumpet for his son but Louis is a little bit upset. So now he is trying to get money to pay for the trumpet by working in a camp.


HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT READING AT HOME THIS WEEK
  • Ask your child to discuss the Dali painting above. How are swans and elephants alike? How are they different?
  • Ask your child to pronounce and define each of the vocabulary words. Can he/she use any of the words in a sentence? Can they recall how the words were used in the novel?
    • Discuss Thomas Edison. Ask your child why Edison was so successful.
    • Check to see that your child is doing the “Read to Succeed” homework each school night: reading 20 minutes or more from a book of their choosing, then writing a 3 to 5 sentence summary about what they read. Read what he/she wrote and make sure it actually summarizes the pages read rather than giving a detailed retelling of the story, or just telling one thing that happened rather than the sum total of what happened.
    • Have your child read aloud to you to practice his/her fluency (reading accurately, smoothly, quickly, and with expression). 






    MATH



    Last week Grade 4 students related division and subtraction and looked at multiplication as comparisons between two things (people, objects, etc.).

    This coming week students use comparisons to solve problems, explore multiplication and division properties, look at the associative property, and begin a study of factors and multiples.

    Aida uses flash cards to practice math vocabulary.




    Last week Grade 5 students completed the Chapter 2 test to determine if they comprehended all the concepts over the course of the last 10 lessons, then related division to multiplication.

    This coming week they use manipulatives to explore division, practice with two-digit dividends, look for division patterns, and take a short quiz to check their progress on these concepts.



    HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT MATH AT HOME THIS WEEK
    • Grade 5: Distributive Property Game: http://henryanker.com/Math/Algebra/Distributive_Property_1.swf 
    • Check your child’s math homework each night, which is found in the My Math book.



    WRITING

    Last week students combined the "scenes" from their personal narratives into one coherent story, and typed the story into a Google document. They can access their document from home if you would like to read their draft so far.

    Next week they receive a second round of feedback from me. In addition they will use the "Six Traits" rubric to score their story, and a peer will also use the rubric to provide feedback to them. After one final round of revision, their stories will be complete. In the following week we will hold an author reading where students can volunteer to read their personal narrative aloud.

    In grammar,we focused on apostrophes and their use in contractions and in making the possessive form of a word.


    HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT WRITING AT HOME THIS WEEK
    • Ask your child to log into Google and show you his/her story so far. Offer feedback as you read.
    • Ask your child where the apostrophe is placed when a person's name ends with "s" or "z." (e.g. the apostrophe goes at the end of the name, or you can also add an apostrophe and another s--either way is acceptable).


    SOCIAL STUDIES

    Last week we completed our Ancient Egypt unit. Students explored hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone, read from their case files about scribes and writing in ancient Egypt,  continued suspect questioning, and iwrote a persuasive paragraph to the pharaoh explaining who they believe robbed King Sebekemsaf's tomb. Most of the class agreed that the stonemason was definitely involved (sorry, Jesse!).

    Then I revealed who the real culprits were, and I'm sure you could hear their loud responses from across the school!

     Jesse discovers that the master artist, portrayed in class by Bijan, was involved in the tomb robbery. Jess, who played the stonemason, found out his character was involved too!


    Clara can't believe her character, the laborer, was also involved in the robbery!


    Next week, after a test on Ancient Egypt, we begin our first science unit, although I'm keeping the topic a secret for now.

    Here's a post from Bijan about social studies this week:
    A month ago we started a social studies unit about a robbery… The Robbery Of King Sebekansaf's Tomb. The first thing we did was look at suspects, and then we became characters in ancient Egypt. We looked at paintings about ancient Egypt. And we looked at videos.


    HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT SOCIAL STUDIES AT HOME THIS WEEK
    • Ask your child to explain who the real tomb robbers were. (stonemason, carpenter, master artist, laborer, fishermen).
    • Ask him/her if their character was involved in the robbery. Were they surprised at who really robbed the tomb?





    COMING SOON

    OCTOBER
    Thu 2 Oct: Elementary Assembly featuring Grade 3 students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
    Sun 5 Sept: Tabaski holiday
    Mon 6 Oct: No school, Tabaski holiday
    Thu 9 Oct: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
    Thu 16 Oct: Elementary Assembly featuring students currently taking music, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
    Sat 18 Oct: AISB Halloween Fest
    Fri 24 Oct: End of Quarter 1
    Mon 27 Oct - Fri 31 Oct: No school, Fall Break

    NOVEMBER
    Wed 5 Nov: Q1 Report cards go home
    Thu 6 Nov: Elementary Assembly featuring Grades 1/2, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
    Fri 7 Nov: No school, Parent-Teacher-Student conferences
    Thu 20 Nov: Elementary Assembly featuring Intermediate French students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
    Thu 20 Nov: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
    Fri 21 Nov: Progress reports go home (for selected students only)

    DECEMBER
    Wed 17 Dec: AISB Winter Show, 1:30 - 2:45PM (parents are invited!)
    Thu 18 Dec - Mon 5 Jun: Winter Holiday

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    News of the Week: 24 - 26 September 2014

    TECH CONFERENCE IN ETHIOPIA

    I'm just home from the "Africa Learning 2.014" conference in Addis Ababa, and from the sessions I attended my head is full of new ideas to use in the classroom! It was also inspiring to meet so many teachers from international schools across Africa, sharing ideas and observations about teaching and learning. 

    I also had the opportunity to present a session on the Mali Health service learning project--malaria and rotavirus graphic novels--that my class has done for the past two years (and will do again this year). I can't tell you how gratifying it is to hear your peers rave about something you and your students worked on! Several attendees of my session told me they were inspired to do something similar in their own schools.

    A big thank you to Ben Amegatsey and Tama Walley for keeping things running smoothly in my absence!




    My presentation on our graphic novels for Mali Health


    I look forward to sharing with you how I implement all of these amazing ideas in our Grade 4 and 5 classroom. Stay tuned!





    MAP TESTING

    Over the next two weeks AISB students will take three computerized MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) tests--in reading, math, and language use. This is just one of the tools we use to understand the academic progress of each student, to inform our curriculum decisions, and to make sure we are meeting they needs of every single student. MAP tests are given at the beginning of the school year and again in April to allow us to compare data. As soon as all of the tests are completed and we have compiled the data, we will provide you with your child's scores.

    The MAP tests only give us a snapshot of how your child is performing on a given day. A single test cannot accurately determine if your child is below, on, or above grade level. Researchers agree that multiple measures should be used to assess a child's academic levels, and as such I use various data to inform my instruction, including:


    • MAP scores
    • DRA scores
    • essay scores
    • results from activities done in class
    • scores on teacher-created tests in each subject area
    • scores on projects for each subject area
    • participation in class discussions
    • performance on homework activities
    • student reflections written in their personal blog
    • information from one-on-one conferences
    • review of their reading, writing, math, and social studies/science notebooks
    • observations from your child's other teachers (French, ESOL, art/music/PE, etc.)


    Only by looking at all of these pieces of information can I begin to get a picture of your child's strengths and challenges. This monitoring process is ongoing since student performance varies from day to day, so I am constantly aware if a child is improving or slipping in any area so I can meet his/her needs.


    So in a nutshell, don't be overly concerned about the results of a single test your child took--particularly a test given near the beginning of the school year, after a long relaxing summer without school. 


    This week Grade 4 & 5 will take the MAP reading test on  Thursday 25 September. The MAP math test is Tuesday 30 September, and the language usage test is Thursday 2 October.






    REMINDER: NEW LUNCH PROCEDURES
    Last week AISB implemented a new, more flexible lunch system. Now your child can choose day-to-day when he/she wants to have the school lunch.

    Don't forgot to have your child purchase a pack of lunch tickets: 10 small meal tickets for 15,000CFA; 5 large meal tickets for 10,000CFA. Fanta sells these tickets in the lobby before school each day.

    Also, 20 snack tickets can be purchased for 5,000 FCFA. Snacks are sold at the first recess, 8:50 - 9:10AM.






    TECHNOLOGY "ACCEPTABLE USE" AGREEMENT

    Last week I sent a clarification email regarding the online form your child must fill out in order to use the computers and Internet at AISB. The link to that form is below. To access the form, your child needs to enter his/her school Google ID and password. This is the same ID they use to get to their school email and blog; they have a paper showing it if they forget.

    Please review the information on this form with your child to make sure they understand the content, then make sure it is filled out and submitted. Here is the link:

    https://docs.google.com/a/aisbmali.org/forms/d/1k41f8mVpvTs88XhfrulEYK4p9IIemCJvBzvhD4sPpA4/viewform?usp=send_form








    SHORT WEEK

    AISB is closed Monday 22 September for the Mali Independence holiday, and on Tuesday 23 September for a teacher in-service day. School resumes on Wednesday 24 September.

    For the following week, there will be no school on Friday, 3 October due to the Tabaski holiday.






    READING

    Last week students read Chapters 1 - 9 in our new novel The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. Before reading, students explored the novel's themes each day through various mediums:

    Analyzing quotes on perseverance:





    Analyzing a poem with swan similes and metaphors:





    Analyzing the plot of the ballet Swan Lake:




    Students learned the following new vocabulary words from the novel over the past week:

    defective (not working)
    awkward (clumsy)
    odious (hateful)
    captivity (confinement)
    sanctuary (safe shelter)
    extraordinary (unusually strange)


    First they try determine the word using context clues in the surrounding sentences, and by looking at how the word is used in the novel. 

    Next they add to a vocabulary chart in their reading notebook where they record each new word, the definition, synonyms (words with the same meaning), antonyms (words with the opposite meaning), a quick sketch to help them remember the definition, and a "7-Up Sentence" using the word (must include 7 or more words and be highly descriptive). 

    Over the week they review the words by creating individual or team tableaus for each word.

    This coming week we continue reading the novel. Before reading students will: 
    • explore the life of Thomas Edison, a true model for perseverance (when working on the light bulb, Edison tried over 6,000 different designs before he found the best solution!); students will compare and contrast Edison with the main character in our novel.
    • analyze the Salvador Dali painting Swans Reflecting Elephants (1937) to see how its theme relates to the novel
    • view the first part of a documentary on trumpeter swans so students can compare/contrast the habits of the real animals with those of the swans in the novel.

    Salvador Dali, (1904 - 1989), Spanish
    Swans Reflecting Elephants, 1937, oil on canvas, 51 x 77 cm





    HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT READING AT HOME THIS WEEK
    • Ask your child to discuss the perseverance quotes. Which one applied to his/her life the most, and why?   
    • Ask your child to pronounce and define each of the vocabulary words. Can he/she use any of the words in a sentence? Can they recall how the words were used in the novel?
      • Look at the poem (above) The Swan by Mary Oliver. Identify any of the things that the poet compares a swan too (similes and metaphors), and let your child determine if you found all of them.
      • Ask your child to describe the various endings to the Swan Lake ballet. Which ending does he/she prefer, and why?
      • Check to see that your child is doing the “Read to Succeed” homework each school night: reading 20 minutes or more from a book of their choosing, then writing a 3 to 5 sentence summary about what they read. Read what he/she wrote and make sure it actually summarizes the pages read rather than giving a detailed retelling of the story, or just telling one thing that happened rather than the sum total of what happened.
      • Have your child read aloud to you to practice his/her fluency (reading accurately, smoothly, quickly, and with expression). 






      MATH



      Last week Grade 4 students engaged in problem solving questions where they applied the skills they've learned over last couple of weeks, solved multiple step word problems, spent a lesson on math fluency practice (memorizing basic math facts), took a chapter test on all of these concepts, and began a chapter on division.

      This week they relate division and subtraction, look at multiplication as comparison, and use comparison to solve problems.





      Last week Grade 5 students looked at the distributive property, estimated the product of number sentences, and multiplied by one and two-digit numbers.

      This week they complete the Chapter 2 test to determine if they comprehended all the concepts over the course of the last 10 lessons, relate division to multiplication, and explore division models.



      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT MATH AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Grade 5: Distributive Property Game: http://henryanker.com/Math/Algebra/Distributive_Property_1.swf 
      • Check your child’s math homework each night, which is found in the My Math book.



      WRITING

      Last week students focused on another element of figurative language: onomatopoeia. This is also known as "sound effect words," such as POW! Zoom! Ding! Meow....and so on.

      First students explored why writers use onomatopoeia, then looked at an example from Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells:


      Students then created a four-panel comic that included four examples of onomatopoeia. The work is posted on our figurative language bulletin board and looks fantastic! The hope is that students include these figurative language devices we study, such as onomatopoeia and similes, in their own stories and essays.






      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT WRITING AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Ask your child why writers use onomatopoeia (e.g. it helps the reader experience the text, it makes the writing more interesting and exciting, etc.).
      • Ask your child to describe his/her onomatopoeia comic. Which sound words are included? Could these be used in a story?



      SOCIAL STUDIES

      In the coming week we will get close to wrapping up our Ancient Egypt unit. Students explore hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone, read from their case files about scribes and writing in ancient Egypt,  continue suspect questioning, and if time allows, write a persuasive paragraph explaining who they believe robbed King Sebekemsaf's tomb.


      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT SOCIAL STUDIES AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Ask your child to explain why the character he/she plays could be responsible for the tomb robbery.





      COMING SOON

      SEPTEMBER
      Mon 22 Sep: No school, Mali Independence Day holiday
      Tue 23 Sep: No school, teacher in-service
      Wed 24 Sep: Scholastic book orders due to Mr. Souleyman in the library

      OCTOBER
      Thu 2 Oct: Elementary Assembly featuring Grade 3 students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Fri 3 Oct: No school, Tabaski holiday
      Sat 4 Sept: Tabaski holiday
      Thu 9 Oct: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
      Thu 16 Oct: Elementary Assembly featuring students currently taking music, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Fri 24 Oct: End of Quarter 1
      Mon 27 Oct - Fri 31 Oct: No school, Fall Break

      NOVEMBER
      Thu 6 Nov: Elementary Assembly featuring Grades 1/2, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Fri 7 Nov: No school, Parent-Teacher-Student conferences
      Thu 20 Nov: Elementary Assembly featuring Intermediate French students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM

      DECEMBER
      Thu 18 Dec - Mon 5 Jun: Winter Holiday

      Sunday, September 14, 2014

      News of the Week: 15 - 19 September 2014

      TECH CONFERENCE IN ETHIOPIA

      This week I'm fortunate to be able to attend the Africa Learning 2.014 technology conference in Addis Ababa, from Tuesday through Sunday. This is my first conference in three years at AISB, and I hope to bring back many new ideas for using technology in the classroom to enrich my instruction and give students more opportunities to be functional citizens of our digital world!

      In my absence Tama Walli, a long-time AISB sub, and my assistant Ben Amegatsey, will make sure your child receives the same instruction he/she would receive if I was there.






      ELEMENTARY ASSEMBLY 

      Please join us this Thursday from 7:35 to 7:55 AM in the MPR for our elementary assembly featuring Monsieur Barry's advanced French students. That includes:

      Maimouna
      Gladd
      Charity
      Bijan
      Seyni
      Clara
      Isaac
      Yasmina
      Jesse

      We look forward to their performance!






      NEW LUNCH PROCEDURES BEGIN TOMORROW! 

      Due to popular demand the lunch system is changing as of Monday 15th September. Parents, students, and teachers wanted more flexibility so they could order lunch on a day-to-day basis, and the new system accommodates this request.

      Here is how it works for elementary students:

      1. Students buy a pack of lunch tickets: 10 small meal tickets for 15,000CFA; 5 large meal tickets for 10,000CFA. Fanta sells these tickets in the lobby before school each day.

       2. At 7:30AM, Mr. Ben will ask who is having lunch that day. He will collect tickets, date-stamp them, and keep them in an envelope.

      3. At lunch time Ben will give each student who signed up in the morning their stamped ticket. They will then present it to Fanta to get their lunch. Students without a stamped ticket will not receive a school lunch.

      Note: 20 snack tickets are also available for 5,000 FCFA. Snacks are sold at the first recess, 8:50 - 9:10AM.






      TECHNOLOGY "ACCEPTABLE USE" AGREEMENT

      If you haven't yet done so, please use the following link to go to an online form your child needs to complete regarding the use of technology at AISB. It details the proper use of the computers and the Internet to ensure that students are respectful, responsible, and safe. All students will be required to submit this form in order to use the school computers (something we use quite frequently in our class).

      Please review this form with your child to make sure they understand the content, then make sure it is filled out and submitted. Here is the link:

      https://docs.google.com/a/aisbmali.org/forms/d/1k41f8mVpvTs88XhfrulEYK4p9IIemCJvBzvhD4sPpA4/viewform?usp=send_form

      Throughout the year in IT class we will explore the various areas mentioned on the form.






      NO SCHOOL NEXT MONDAY & TUESDAY

      AISB is closed Monday 22 September for the Mali Independence holiday, and on Tuesday 23 September for a teacher inservice day. School resumes on Wednesday 24 September.






      READING

      Last week we completed the novel "Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days,"and students took a short story test featuring multiple choice and short answer questions. If you want to see how your child did, you can find the graded test in their reading notebook.




      We also started the background building for our new novel, The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. First I showed students a clip of Swan Lake, Act IV, by the Paris Opera Ballet, followed by a short documentary on Trumpet Swans. The students analyzed how the dancers emulated swans, comparing and contrasting their characteristics, appearance, and movements to those of real swans. I was hesitant to use a ballet video, not sure that students would be intrigued by traditional ballet. But was I ever wrong! They were mesmerized, kept making "ooooh" and "ahhhh" sounds, and came up with the most astute comparisons and contrasts I've ever heard. Here's a link to the ballet clip:


      Next students watched and listened to a video showing Trumpeter swans making their distinctive sounds. Then they watched and listened to a clip of trumpeters playing (Cat Anderson, Shorty Baker, Ray Nance and Clark Terry playing on Duke Ellington's 1958 show). next they compared and contrasted the sounds of the swans with the sounds of the instruments, noting that while the sounds were similar, the swans basically "played one note" while the trumpeters used many notes. Here's a link to the wonderful trumpet performance:


      I also formally introduced the reading skill we will focus on during this reading unit: compare and contrast. We discussed why this is an important skill, and they learned that researchers feel this skill is one of the most important--if not the most important--skill children need in order to comprehend a story.

      Next I introduced the social skill, the same skill that is a central theme in our new novel: perseverance. Students will learn why this quality allows the main character to succeed, and how this skill will help them be successful as well.

      Students learned a bit of background about the author, E.B. White, and how his experiences led him to write several children's classics like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little.



      This week we will read Chapters 1 - 11. Each day students will first explore the novel's themes through an alternate medium (poetry, dance, quotes, biography) and learn 1 to 3 vocabulary words before we read the chapters. After reading students answer a comprehension related to that day's reading.

      Here are a few parting shots of our partner reading ( a great way to practice fluency) and tableaus students performed to review vocabulary words before the test:







      Team tableaus showing the vocabulary word "humiliating:









      Individual tableaus showing the word "pungent."







      Individual tableaus showing the word "authority" (as in "authority figure").




      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT READING AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Ask your child to discuss the Swan Lake ballet. How did the dancers portray swans? (by their graceful movements, using their arms to imitate wings, moving together in a flock, etc.)  
      • Ask why it's important to use comparing an contrasting as we read.  (it helps us analyze the story in more depth so we understand it better, it makes us focus more on the story, etc.)
      • Ask your child how E.B. White got his ideas for stories (from things he saw around him, etc.)
      • Check to see that your child is doing the “Read to Succeed” homework each school night: reading 20 minutes or more from a book of their choosing, then writing a 3 to 5 sentence summary about what they read. Read what he/she wrote and make sure it actually summarizes the pages read rather than giving a detailed retelling of the story, or just telling one thing that happened rather than the sum total of what happened.
      • Have your child read aloud to you to practice his/her fluency (reading accurately, smoothly, quickly, and with expression)






      MATH



      Last week Grade 4 students added and subtracted mentally, estimated sums and differences, added and subtracted whole numbers, and subtracted numbers with many zeros (always a tough one!). On Friday they took a quiz to check their progress so far.

      In the coming week students engage in problem solving questions where they apply the skills they've learned last week, solve multiple step word problems, spend a lesson on math fluency practice (memorizing basic math facts), take a chapter test on all of these concepts, and begin a chapter on division.





      Last week Grade 5 students took a chapter test, and began a new chapter involving prime factorization, powers and exponents, and multiplication patterns. They ended the week with some problem solving activities to see if they are understanding the many concepts learned so far.



      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT MATH AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Check your child’s math homework each night, which is found in the My Math book.



      WRITING

      Last week I provided a few more tips to students for improving their drafts, including writing a great lead (beginning), a well-though-out ending, making sure they have included everything as it happened, making sure the story is correctly divided into paragraphs, and finally double checking that the HEART of the story is emphasized. They learned that the heart is what the story really is about. For example, I wrote a story about picking raspberries with my grandma, but the heart of the story really is the wonderful relationship I had with my dear grandmother.

      We ended the week by dividing our drafts into chunks/scenes/paragraphs, and writing each one of these on a separate piece of notebook paper they store in a writing folder. This gives them ample room to revise each paragraph, focusing on just one at a time so they don't get distracted.

      We also completed homework with regards to correctly using punctuation, knowledge that will serve them well as they continue to write their personal narratives.

      In the coming week students focus on another element of figurative language: onomatopoeia, or sound effect words. This includes words like pow, zip, and buzz. They will identify many onomatopoeia words and incorporate them into a comic strip.

      Here are a few shots of students sharing their leads and endings with a partner, to help them decide which version to use.









      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT WRITING AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Ask your child to read the latest draft they wrote (if they brought their writing notebook home) or to describe their story.
      • What is the heart of your child's story?



      SOCIAL STUDIES

      We continued our unit on Ancient Egypt: What’s the Mystery by beginning our questioning of probable suspects in the case of the robbery of King Sebekemsaf's tomb (a real robbery that occurred 3000 years ago. Wow, was I ever impressed with the level of questioning and answering! They made thoughtful, clever, and detailed questions and answers based on the facts they researched. It made for a rousing courtroom scene!









      We explored specialization, an approach that helped the ancient Egyptian society become powerful, with a fast-paced activity in which teams built paper pyramids. What they didn't know is that the instructions for 2 teams featured specialization, and naturally these teams created the most pyramids.






      They also took a test on the concepts covered so far--check your child's social studies notebook for the graded test. 


      HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT SOCIAL STUDIES AT HOME THIS WEEK
      • Now that two rounds of suspect questioning has happened, ask your child to explain who he/she thinks the tomb robbery suspect is, and why.
      • Ask your child how he/she came up with questions to ask the suspect. (e.g. used facts from the research, focused on things relating to tombs, etc.)





      COMING SOON

      SEPTEMBER
      Thu 18 Sep: Elementary Assembly featuring Advanced French students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Mon 22 Sep: No school, Independence Day holiday
      Tue 23 Sep: No school, teacher in-service 


      OCTOBER
      Thu 2 Oct: Elementary Assembly featuring Grade 3 students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Fri 3 Oct: No school, teacher in-service
      Thu 16 Oct: Elementary Assembly featuring students currently taking music, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Fri 24 Oct: End of Quarter 1
      Mon 27 Oct - Fri 31 Oct: No school, Fall Break

      NOVEMBER
      Thu 6 Nov: Elementary Assembly featuring Grades 1/2, 7:35 - 7:55 AM
      Fri 7 Nov: No school, Parent-Teacher-Student conferences


      Thu 20 Nov: Elementary Assembly featuring Intermediate French students, 7:35 - 7:55 AM