Saturday, December 6, 2014

News of the Week: 8 - 12 December 2014

Our December door

Two weeks ago we started our new reading unit that explores the world of "mash-ups," the blending of two different elements--whether it be two different songs, two different pieces of art, or two different genres of literature. 

Then last week students finally read the genre mash-up story "Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude" around which our unit is based. In this story, the author cleverly blends a fairy tale (with ponies and a princess) with a high-octane adventure story (with motorcycles and a hideous giant). The students loved it!

Then it was time to begin the mash-up project. First each student chose one of four genres--either fairy tale, western, horror, or science fiction--and wrote a short story in that genre. Next I matched each student with a partner who wrote in a contrasting genre. Their goal was to mash up the two stories into one, keeping the main characters and settings from each story but blending them into one plot. The genre combos will be either:
  • fairy tale/horror
  • western/fairy tale
  • fairy tale/sci fi
  • western/horror
  • sci fi/western
  • horror/sci fi
Here are the partners (and one trio) creating their mash ups:

After creating their mash up, the partners began putting their story into a PowerPoint, complete with illustrations and narration. They will finish in the coming week. Here they are at work on the PowerPoints:

Here is what Jesse said about the mash up experience:

 At school we are making mash ups. I was amazed that my science fiction story was mixed with a fairy tale! But it went well and I am also happy about the cooperation.  

  • Ask your child to describe the genre he/she selected, and have him/her read the story aloud. What makes this story either a western, sci fi, horror, or fairy tale?
  • Ask your child to describe the mash up he/she created with a partner. How did they keep important parts of both stories to create the new story?
  • Ask your child to describe the story Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude. Why is this story considered a mash up? (it combines two different genres, adventure and fairy tales)
      • 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 studied quotients with zeroes, solved some multi-step division problems, took the chapter test on division, and began a new chapter on non-numeric patterns

      This week students will explore number sequences, engage in problem solving that requires the use of number patterns, use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division rules to work with number patterns, and finally will work with the order of operations.

      Here is a short video about number patterns:

      Last week Grade 5 students multiplied decimals by decimals, multiplied decimals by powers of ten, used properties of multiplication to multiply decimals, estimated the quotients of decimals, and finally divided decimals using models.

      This week they divide decimals by whole numbers, use models to divide decimals, and divide decimals by powers of ten.

      Here is a short video explaining decimal division:


      Have your child try some of these online games to practice the math skills we learned last week:

        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.


        Students completed their second personal narratives last week, typing it into Google Docs where I can read it and offer editing suggestions. In the coming week they will edit and revise their stories to create their final draft.

        Last week we had more grammar lessons on strategies that help us spell correctly.

        • Ask to read your child's personal narrative on Google Docs. Offer your feedback, remembering that the goal for this story is that it should touch the reader's emotions.
          • Ask your child what tips they have for remembering how to spell tricky words.


          Last week we continued our social studies unit on ancient Greece. Students wrote a modern day version of an ancient Greek myth to show how the ideas and discoveries of the ancient Greeks are still applicable and transferable today. Students then learned about the importance ancient Greek theatre as a means to educate and entertain. Following this, teams chose one of the modern day myths a team member wrote. and performed it as a skit.

          Next students learned about the various forms of government in ancient Greece, including direct democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, and tyranny.

          In the coming week students take a quiz on the concepts they've learned so far, then explore daily life and the arts in ancient Greece.

          If teams complete a daily lesson challenge, they move their ship on the Greek wall map, attempting to follow the route of Odysseus:

          Here is what Jesse posted about the new unit:
          At school we are learning about ancient Greece. My team is named after a cyclops called Polyphemus. I am so impatient to see what happens in this adventure!

          • Ask your child to describe the story of Odysseus that we have read so far. (Odysseus encountered the cyclops Polyphemus, stayed on Circe's island, and visited the Underworld to get advice from the wise spirit Tiresius). 
          • Ask your child about the modern Greek myth his/her team performed. What was the life lesson taught in this modern day myth? Did the other teams guess this correctly?

          COMING SOON

          Wed 10 Dec: AISB Board meeting, 6:30PM, parents invited
          Wed 17 Dec: AISB Winter Show, 1:30 - 2:45PM (parents are invited!)
          Thu 18 Dec: First day of Winter Break

          Mon 5 Jan: Last day of Winter Break
          Tue 6 Jan: First day back!
          Fri 10 Jan: No School (Tentative) Prophet's Baptism
          Fri 16 Jan: End of Quarter 2 and Semester 1
          Sat 17 Jan: Panto & Skit Performances at AISB featuring students, faculty, & community members
          Sat 31 Jan: AISB International Fair, 6:00 - 8:30 PM

          Fri 13 Feb - No school, teacher in-service
          Mon 16 Feb - No school

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