Monday, October 6, 2014

News of the Week: 7 - 10- October 2014


AISB will be closed on Monday 6 October for the Tabaski holiday.


Last week students continued reading The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. This week students watched a two-part documentary about the Trumpeter swans of Red Rock Lakes Sanctuary in Montana. Even though this was a very old film (I watched it when I was a child!) they really loved seeing the swans take off in their very strange way, seeing the cygnets (babies), and understanding how humans nearly caused these swans to go extinct--but also saved them from extinction.

After the video clip students compared and contrasted the real swans with the ways the swans are depicted in the novel. It was interesting to hear the students agree that E.B. White must have researched Trumpeter swans before he wrote the book. They decided that even thought the book is fiction, that White was still able to help us learn and appreciate real Trumpeter swans.

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

commotion (loud, noisy disturbance)
salary (monthly pay)

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. 

This is their vocabulary word wall.

This coming week students will listen to three very different versions of  "Beautiful Dreamer," a song that has much significance in the novel. They will also view an animated fairy tale called "The Six Swans" to see what themes it shares with the novel.

  • Ask your child to discuss the difference between the real swans in the video clip, and the swans in the book (e.g. the real Trumpeter swans are given a band on their leg so scientists can keep track of them; the swans in the novel speak, etc.) How did humans cause the swans to almost become extinct? (killing them for their feathers).
  • Ask your child to pronounce and define this past week's vocabulary words. Can he/she use any of the words in a sentence? Can they recall how the words were used in the novel?
  • 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 used comparisons to solve problems, explored multiplication and division properties, and look at the associative property.

In the coming week they begin a study of factors and multiples, do some real-world problem solving using the concepts learned in the last five lessons, and take the chapter test. On Friday they begon a new chapter and in Lesson 1 look at multiples of 10, 100, and 1000.

Last week Grade 5 students used manipulatives (cubes and rods) to explore division, practiced with two-digit dividends, looked for division patterns, and took a short quiz on Friday to check their progress on these concepts.

In the coming week they estimate quotients, do a hands-on activity to demonstrate division of larger numbers, explore the distributive property, and divide three and four digit numbers.

  • Grade 4: Hoop Shoot Multiplication Game:

  • Grade 5: Soccer Multiplication with Remainder

  • Grade 5: Distributive Property Game: 

For those students who have not memorized their basic math facts:
  • Check your child’s math homework each night, which is found in the My Math book.


Last week students received a second round of feedback from me. After making revisions they used the "Six Traits" rubric to score their story, as well as the story of a partner. Having them do this helps them become skilled at looking for the elements of good writing, plus they really seem to enjoy being the "teacher" for awhile!

After one final round of revision, their stories were complete. I am currently scoring them using the Six Traits rubric, and will give them their scores next week.

In grammar, we focused on using quotation marks correctly. For our figurative language study we began to look at alliteration.

  • Ask your child to log into Google so you can read his/her final story. How would you score this personal narrative? Are you able to make a movie in your mind as you read the words?
  • Ask your child what quotation marks are used for (to indicate dialogue or the name of a story, TV show, movie, poem, etc.). Where are quotation marks placed in a sentence? (before and after the spoken words). Does the punctuation go inside or outside of the quotation marks? (inside)


This past week we began our first science unit, "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." This unit is about earth building and breaking--specifically earthquakes and volcanoes, but also includes topics such as the rock cycle, convection currents, and disaster preparedness.

For this unit students will become Disaster Consultants, responsible for creating a manual full of facts about earthquakes and volcanoes--from how they occur to how to prepare for these horrific events.

Already students created a hardback book from scratch. Each week they will take notes on what they learn in class through discussions, readings, viewings of video clips, songs, etc. They will then transfer these facts into their handmade manuals where they will use text and illustrations to summarize the information they recorded. This unit is full of hands-on experiments as well, and they will record the results of their experiments in their manuals.

Here they are making their hardback books:

Here's a short post from Isaac about science:
At school we have started a new unit in science. We are studying about “ Earthquakes and Volcanoes.” So far we made a little book to take notes about everything that we learn. We also watched a short clip about earthquakes and volcanoes to compare and contrast.  When are books are done we will become earthquake and volcano experts.

  • Ask your child to explain the myths that were created hundreds of years ago to explain earthquakes (e.g. the Earth was on a giant's head; a giant catfish in the Earth shook, etc.). Why did they create these myths? (to try and explain events they didn't understand).


Sun 5 Oct: Tabaski holiday
Mon 6 Oct: No school, Tabaski holiday
Wed 8 Oct: Parent information session on MAP testing, 7:30 - 8:15 AM
Thu 9 Oct: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
Fri 10 Oct: Movie Night at AISB, 6 - 8:00 PM, 1000cfa (in advance), 1500cfa (at the door)
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

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
Sat 15 Nov: AISB Halloween Fest
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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