Sunday, September 28, 2014

News of the Week: 29 September - 3 October 2014


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.


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.


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.

  • 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). 


    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.

    • Grade 5: Distributive Property Game: 
    • Check your child’s math homework each night, which is found in the My Math book.


    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.

    • 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).


    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.

    • 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?


    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

    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)

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

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