Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 2015

December News

Last Blog of 2015

Hello parents and students!

I hope that you are all relaxing and enjoying the break.  It has been a fun and successful end of 2015 in the 4/5 classroom.  Congratulations to everyone on a great ending and a fun winter show!  A special thanks to Loic for choreographing the dance!  I've heard from many teachers, students, and parents who thought we did a fantastic job and I sincerely agree.  Another special thanks to Maxwell and Pablo for helping to say goodbye to Viggo for us at the show.  We will surely miss him but I'm looking forward to updates through email and hope we can have a video chat with him in the new year.  We will be getting two new students in the month of January as well.  Elya, a grade 4 students, and Selihom, a grade 5 student.

Enjoy learning about what we've been up to the last couple of weeks. 

Safe travels and happy holidays to all!
Ms. Fezekas

Reading:  We completed a unit on poetry.  While most of the poems we analyzed were on the topic of refugees (many of them were written by refugees), we also looked at poetry on different topics to emphasize the following skills:  repetition, assonance, metaphors, similes, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and syllabication.  Students are nearly finished with their literature circle books and will be doing a project on their book upon returning.

Writing:  The students have brought their personal essays through the writing process.  Most are nearly finished or already finished and we will be printing them.  We focused on essay format, transitions, and using the best evidence (lists, details, and mini-stories/anecdotes) to support our theses.  We will be learning about persuasive strategies (ie ethos, logos, and pathos) when we return and the students will be practicing the essay format again through writing their own persuasive essay.

Math:  In math, students learned and developed a variety of graphs:  line plots, stem-and-leaf plots, histograms, bar graphs, double bar graphs, circle graphs, pictographs, and line graphs.  After sufficient practice, students worked in pairs on a survey and graphing project on a topic of their choosing.  They developed four survey questions, collected data, and choose the best graph to display their findings.  These projects will be posted outside our classroom for you to see in the new year. We will be splitting into our grade levels again for math upon our return.

Science:  Students finished and presented their human body research projects.  They made great progress developing clear presentations and teaching about their system.  Well done!

Social Studies:  We have begun a unit on explorers.  Students have learned about human migration and the events that led up to Europe's Age of Exploration.  Before beginning a research project on an explorer, students will collaborate to create timelines of Europe, Asia, and what is now the Americas to recognize connections and cause and effect relationships that greatly impacted world exploration.

Mali Health Project:  I am working on scanning and adding the student's illustrations.  We will complete the finishing touches in the month of January.  Once it's finished and we have Mali Health's approval, we will get prices for printing and the French classes will work on the translation.  

Upcoming Dates

January 5th:  School resumes
January 22nd: End of Q2
January 23rd:  Q3 ASAs begin
January 28th:  Q2 reports go home

Friday, November 27, 2015

November 16th - 27th, 2015

Classroom News, November 16th - 27th

Dear 4th and 5th Grade Students and Families,

Here's a bit about what we've been up to.  Please ensure your child is successfully completing their homework each night and is studying their math facts.  Let's try to delay "vacation mode" until the break begins!

Reading:  We have been investigating the author's message and continuing with the QAR strategy with a couple of texts.  Last week, the students worked through Rudyard Kipling's The Elephant's Child, analyzing his use of repetition, onomatopoeia, and alliteration.  They practiced various reading skills and did a proposition and support write-up proving what they believe was Kipling's message.  This week, we read Eve Bunting's How Many Days to America and the students attempted to generate all four levels of questions to focus on the important parts of the text.  This book is about refugees fleeing their homeland on a dangerous journey to the US and it leads us right into what's up next:  reading and analyzing poems written by refugees.

Writing:  The students have been gathering ideas for their personal essays.  They've been using prompts to push their thinking with partners and by themselves.  They've been determined to generate meaningful topics that teach the reader something unique about themselves and/or the world.  We will be developing our first thesis statements on Monday and taking our essays through the writing process.

Math:  We have taken a break from numbers and operation to focus on probability and data.  We did a number of experiments determining likely and unlikely results and various combinations.  The students made their own spinners and discovered patterns for determining the number of possible outcomes.  This week we have learned line plots and stem-and-leaf plots and the students have been creating their own survey questions and conducting research to yield numerical data.  They've been using this data to practice creating and interpreting these types of graphs.  Next up is mean, median, mode, and range.

Science:  The students are nearly done with their google slide presentations and body diagrams and will be presenting to the class on Monday.  Students have been focusing on making sure they use their own words and use quick notes or bullets rather than paragraphs in their presentation.

Mali Health Project:  We have made some headway on the comic!  The text has been transferred to the digital comic and the kids have been hard at work during art trying to finish the illustrations.  We aim to be finished by Christmas vacation.

Upcoming Important Dates:

December 16th:  AISB's Winter Show
December 17th - January 4th:  No School
January 5th:  School Resumes

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 2nd - 13th

Classroom News, November 2nd- 13th

Hello 4th and 5th Grade Families!

Thank you very much for attending conferences.  It was great to meet those of you I hadn't yet had the chance to meet and it was wonderful to get a chance to discuss your child's progress and how we can work together.

Reading:  We continue to focus on theme and proposition and support.  Lately in reading, we have been focusing on working through short yet powerful stories in a variety of genres.

We have read "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury, a science fiction story. The students found important quotes from the story and searched for the deeper meaning in them. Through this activity, students were able to locate evidence for why the antagonist of the story acted as he did.  We also looked closely at Bradbury's use of metaphor and came up with a few metaphors of our own.
The second thing we read was "The Fly", a play about a famous Vietnamese legend.   We had a couple of great socratic seminars about the stories and what they teach us about life.  The students discussed big ideas such as why people bully others, why bystanders often don't stop it, and why stories about the poor or powerless outsmarting the rich and powerful are so popular in many cultures.  We also began literature circles.  Students are meeting in small groups to discuss a common story on their level.

Writing:  We have recently begun a new unit: personal and persuasive essays.  Students have learned the basic structure of an essay (thesis statement, reasons, evidence) and practiced "flash drafting" a simple essay to get used to the format.  They have started to collect ideas for their personal essays. The focus is on big ideas rather than stories and one strategy is to think about a person who matters to you and list big ideas about that person.  The more ideas that the students generate, the more likely they are to find an excellent topic for their final piece before we move on to persuasive writing.

Math:  In 4th grade, students began to explore two-digit multiplication and in 5th grade, students worked with two-digit divisors in long division.  The students have also been engaged in daily mathematical discussions explaining their reasoning when doing various mental math problems. Students are learning from each other and expressing their thinking in new and exciting ways.  Next week we will be taking a break from numbers and operations to learn about probability, data, and graphing.

Please ensure that your child is practicing his or her math facts at home each night.  All operations need review for most students (multiplication, division, as well as addition and subtraction)!  Making and practicing flash cards is a simple and effective way to have them study.

Science: The students are working in groups to research a particular system in the human body.  They are making a life-size, labelled diagram.  They are also collecting notes on the parts, how the parts work together to perform various functions, how to keep the system healthy, and problems that can happen in the system.  I am encouraging students to research at home whenever possible.

Mali Health Project:  We continue to work on our graphic novel, slowly but surely!

Upcoming Dates:

November 26th - No school
December 16th - Winter Show
December 17th - January 4th - No School

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October 19th - October 30th

News of the Week:  October 19th - 30th, 2015

Hello 4th and 5th grade families!

We have had a very busy last week and a half!  Read below to learn what we've been up to. You can find some photos from our field trip at the end of this post.

Mali Health Project:  This past Monday we had the opportunity to visit the Mali Health office to learn about Ebola from a local doctor.  There, we met the 20 students that will work on the project with us.  We also visited a Malian school and AISB students were able to take a peek into what life is like for the majority of children in the city. This is very important because our graphic novel will be designed and written with them as our intended audience.  We will be keeping them in mind as we create the novel to make sure that it is something that they can relate to.  This past Friday, the same 20 students, a couple of their teachers, and a few Mali Health employees joined us to work on story boarding and taking the photos that we will soon turn into illustrations.  Communication was difficult at first but the students were able to break through barriers and complete the task at hand.  It was quite impressive!  Tendresse said it best when she said, "It was weird.  Usually things don't work like that.  It started off hard but actually ended up good!" We will see these new friends in about a month's time during our celebration once the novel is complete.

Reading:  Rather than beginning another whole group novel, we will be reading high-quality children's books and short stories to help us practice various reading skills.  We have recently read Eve Bunting's Fly Away Home and Sherry Garland's The Lotus Seed to practice the QAR strategy; QAR stands for Question-Answer-Relationship.  It is used to help students identify different levels of questioning and where we can find the answers to our questions (in one place in the text, in many places, with clues from the author, through our own connections).  We have also practiced the strategy of drawing conclusions; combining many inferences to come to a final conclusion about a text.  This worked especially well with the short, suspenseful story we read titled The Landlady by Roald Dahl. Students interacted with the text and compiled their inferences. Students are creating a well-planned paragraph that proposes and supports what they believe will be the main character's fate.

Writing:  As students are working on typing up their final drafts (it is taking much longer than anticipated!) we are using our work in reading to practice for our next writing unit.  We are using "proposition and support" language to make a strong statement and support it with details/evidence from the text.  This quarter's writing unit is on personal and persuasive essays.  We have also recently begun a daily, 5-minute "drop everything and write!" activity.  Students write to a different prompt each day and practice expressing their ideas quickly, clearly, and confidently.  So far, they love it.

Math:  The fourth graders have been hard at work on multiplication strategies.  They have worked with finding factors and multiples of a given number as well as discovering patterns for multiplying across various place values.  Students reviewed rounding and estimating and used place value patterns to find the product mentally.  The fifth graders have been focusing on long division.  We looked at the distributive property of division as well as partial products.  Students are eager to attempt more difficult problems.  I often hear, "can we try to divide a number in the millions?" Getting a strong foundation in dividing with a one-digit divisor will be very important for what's coming next: two-digit divisors!

Science: We took a slight detour from learning about different systems to focus on Ebola for our Mali Health project.  Students took notes on various videos and read a variety of articles that taught about Ebola's history, symptoms, how to protect yourself, and the different pathways scientists are researching in hopes to find a cure and a vaccine.  The high school Science teacher, Sarah Laupidus, was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone when the most recent outbreak hit.  She came in to speak with our class and share her experience.  The students were able to conduct an interview with a first-hand source!

Regular science lessons will recommence in the upcoming week.

Upcoming Dates:

November 6th:  Parent-Teacher Conferences
November 26th:  Thanksgiving, No School

Friday, October 16, 2015

News of the Week: 10/12/15 - 10/16/15

October 12th - October 16th

Hello 4th and 5th grade families!

We had an exciting week of presentations.  Thank you to those who were able to attend the assembly this week.  This afternoon we were able to perform our reader's theater to the 2/3 class.  The students did a wonderful job at both and we ended the week sharing compliments and appreciations to each other for a successful week of team work.  

Reading:  This week in reading, students worked on fluency and expression during their reader's theatre and assembly presentation preparation.  We continued with using the FQR strategy while reading challenging non-fiction.  Students also got some time to delve into their independent reading books.  

Writing:  The students have been working hard to finish their stories, peer edit, and make the changes their peer suggests.  It has been great to see the students reflect carefully on their own writing as well as their peer's writing, giving compliments and making suggestions.  Typing will be next week.  

Math:  In both levels we worked with the basics of algebra.  Students discovered the importance of word order in variable expressions and began to evaluate expressions and write some of their own.
In grade 4, we worked on the properties of multiplication and investigated strategies to find all factors of given numbers.
In grade 5 - the students modeled division with place value blocks, reviewed the algorithm for long division and why it works, and began looking at the difference between multiplication patterns and division patterns with zeros.  

Science:  This week we learned all about the muscular system!  Students learned about skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, and cardiac muscle.  They also did an investigation of different muscles to determine if they were voluntary, involuntary, or both.  We tested the arm, leg, pupil, eyelid, heart, and lungs!  We were also able to draw conclusions about our chicken bone that had been submerged in vinegar for a week.  Brave students tested it and concluded that it became weak and very bendable! We deduced that the calcium was eaten away and so the bone lost its strength.  Teams are working well on their "Journey through the Human Body" stories.

Upcoming Dates:

October 20th:  Individual and group yearbook photos taken 
October 21st:  End of Quarter 1
October 22nd and 23rd:  No school
October 27th:  Field trip to a local school in Sikoro
October 30th:  Students from Sikoro to visit AISB
November 2nd:  Quarter 2 After School Activities begin

Enjoy some photos from this week!

Friday, October 9, 2015

News of the Week: October 5th - 9th, 2015

October 5th - 9th, 2015

Hello 4th and 5th grade families!

Here's a look into what we've done this week.  Enjoy some pictures of the kids enjoying each other's projects and having fun in Science at the end of the post!

Reading:  This week in Reading we were focusing on two non-fiction reading strategies that we will continue next week.  The first is called "FQR" or Facts, Questions, Responses.  Together we looked at a timeline of early African history and pictures of thriving kingdoms.  We also noticed change over time on maps showing borders (tribal and later country borders).  We read an article on the history of Africa and jotted down interesting facts and questions and responses related to those facts.  Once we were done, we decided on the main question the article answered for us and used that question as a focus for our question web.  We reread the text and added answers to our question web. Now students are in small groups focusing on children, poverty, agriculture/famine, and development in Africa.  These two strategies (FQR and a question-focused reread) are helpful for challenging non-fiction.  We are practicing these strategies to increase our success with understanding what we are reading when we do independent research.

Writing:  We focused on adding setting and rewriting our leads and endings this week.  Over the weekend, those who haven't finished drafting their scenes are expected to finish.  Next week we will be self-editing and peer-editing and spending sessions in the lab to type up our stories.  The students now have usernames and passwords so they can practice to improve their typing speed and accuracy.  Their login information is the same as it is for IXL.

4th grade - We ended our addition/subtraction unit with some multi-step problem solving and students began working with relating multiplication and division. Students recognized and modeled how division is similar to repeated subtraction just like multiplication is similar to repeated addition. We also practiced some work with variables (finding the unknown).

5th grade - The fifth graders finished their unit on multiplication, practicing mental math strategies such as using powers of 10 and the distributive property.  We also had time to practice multiplication by 1 and 2-digits using the algorithm.  Long multiplication takes many steps and if students are not fluent with their facts, it is unlikely they will be successful with this concept.

 Practicing math facts at home each night is very important for both the 4th and the 5th graders!

Science:  We began our unit on the human body this week!  Our first system was the skeletal system. Students participated in centers constructing the skull and putting together the skeleton.  We made hypotheses about what will happen to a chicken bone if it is submerged in a jar of vinegar for one week; we will draw some conclusions next week when our experiment is complete.  We also made connections to how bones' structure is related to their function and began the first bit of the project we will be doing throughout the unit: writing a story about a journey through the human body!  Students are paired up and each team has designed a vehicle that will enter a human of their choice.  Students will be showing their learning in many fun and interesting ways.

Upcoming Events:

October 15th:  4/5 will put on a small reader's theater at the morning assembly
October 19th:  End of After School Activities for Quarter 1
October 21st:  End of Quarter 1

Friday, October 2, 2015

9/29 - 10/2: News of the Week

September 29th - October 2nd, 2015

Hello 4/5 Families!

I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing break last week.  During this short week, we had MAP testing. All students were focused and gave their best effort.  This test is one way teachers can see what each student knows at this point and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.  Using this information, we can adapt our instruction and activities in the hopes of this resulting in greater academic growth for all.

Reading:  Students worked hard to finish their DRAs and their reading projects.  If students were not able to finish, they are expected to finish them independently at home this weekend  We also began our word study groups.  Students are grouped by their level of phonics understanding and are working to sort words based on various criteria and to find similar words in a variety of texts.  So far, it's going really well and the students are very engaged.

Math:  We focused mainly on problem solving when we had time for Math this week.  The students are learning various strategies to find elapsed time.  You may have seen a problem solving homework sheet go home this week.  I understand that multi-step word problems are a challenge for many students.  Using the graphic organizer provided, students are able to inquire more deeply about the problem in front of them, even if they are not able to reach an answer at the end.  I have told students to do what they can and to try different strategies.  I do not expect all students to be able to correctly complete this kind of work independently.  

Next week, we will resume the normal schedule in each subject area.  We will be starting with our first Science unit of the year:  The Human Body!

Upcoming Dates:
October 15th - Grades 4/5 hosts assembly
October 21- End of First Quarter
October 22nd and 23rd - No school

Enjoy some pictures of the students hard at work this week!

Friday, September 18, 2015

9/14 - 9/18: News of the Week

September 14th - 18th

Hello 4th and 5th grade families!  Here is a quick look into what we've been doing this week.  Please take a look at the announcements at the end of this post for important information about the upcoming MAP test.

Reading:  The students have been hard at work on a culminating project for the first class novel.  In addition, I have been meeting with each student to administer the first DRA of the year.  The DRA is a tool that helps to identify each child's reading level and is used throughout the elementary school. The scholastic book order forms went home on Wednesday; it has been great to see the kids pouring through them together during snack and recess.

Writing:  We continue to work on our realistic fiction drafts.  The students have been drafting their stories, scene by scene.  We have been focusing on adding description, dialogue, action, and emotion in our first drafts in an attempt to avoid "summary" writing.  

Math:  In grade 4, we have continued with our addition and subtraction unit.  We reviewed rounding and used rounding to estimate sums and differences.  We also used place value blocks to model what it is actually happening when you regroup in addition and borrow in subtraction.  Click here and here for helpful review videos of these skills.   In grade 5, we have been working on multiplication patterns and using tables to chart these patterns.  We have also worked with finding the factors of composite numbers; a skill that will be useful for multiplication, division, and fraction work.  All students are encouraged to study their multiplication facts at home each night.  At the end of each week, students will be given a timed test to see if they can complete the tables in order in five minutes or less.   

Social Studies: Each group has completed their project!  They presented to the whole group, teaching us about everything that makes their region unique.  In the coming days we will be taking a brief but eye-opening look at the continent's history before moving on to our first Science unit.  

A special thanks this week to Julia's mom for coming in to help out on Wednesday.  We really appreciate it!

A Note about the MAP Test:  The week we return from the break, the students will be taking the MAP test.  Our testing sessions are Wednesday and Friday afternoons and Thursday mornings.  MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress.  It is an important tool that guides our instruction and chronicles student growth.  The fourth and fifth graders will be taking the Reading, Language Usage, and Math tests.  The test is adaptive; as students answer correctly, the questions become more difficult.  We recommend doing what you can to ensure your child has a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast before the test each day.   Please encourage your child to give his or her personal best!

Upcoming Events:
Tabaski/fall break:  September 19th - 28th (no school)
Grades 4/5 MAP testing:  Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st, Oct. 2nd.

I hope you all have a fun and restful break!  Enjoy a few pictures of the students hard at work.  More pictures of projects to come next time!

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/4/15 - 9/11/15

September 4th - 11th

Hello 4/5 families!  Please see below for information about what we've done this week and some news about what is coming up.

Reading:  We finished our whole group novel, The Kid in the Red Jacket, and the students all clapped and cheered at the end.  It was great to see them all engaged with the story and enjoying it to the fullest.  Next week, the fourth and fifth graders will be doing in-class projects related to the novel while I test students' individual reading levels.

Writing:  All students at AISB completed the 6 + 1 writing assessment this week.  Students wrote  an informational piece on a topic of their choosing.  I was impressed by students' effort and focus and I look forward to analyzing the writing samples.  The students also helped each other push their thinking and organize their ideas on their story arcs so that they are ready to draft scenes from their realistic fiction story.  Next week we will be focusing on how to "show" and not "tell" to make our writing interesting.  

Math:  We began new units at both levels this week.  Grade four is doing addition and subtraction and has completed lessons on addition properties and subtraction rules, using place value to recognize addition and subtraction patterns, and mental math strategies.  Grade five is working on multiplication.  The students reviewed prime and composite numbers, practiced prime factorization and learned about exponents.  They also learned a bit about powers of ten and how to quickly multiply with zeros.  Click on the following links for review videos on prime factorization and an intro to exponents.  

Social Studies:  With their groups, students are creating brochures, maps, and menus for their theme parks.  We aim to finish next week, before the long break.  

In other news, we have a new fourth grade student joining us on Monday.  Her name is Dior and we are very excited to have her as part of our classroom community!  A new fourth grade boy, Pablo, will be joining us right after the break.  Many students remember him from a few years ago and are eager for his return.  

Upcoming Dates

September 19th - 28th:  Tabaski break, no school

Friday, September 4, 2015

31/8 - 4/9: News of the Week

August 31st - September 4th

Hello!  Here's a look into what your child has been up to this week!

Reading:  We are now finished with chapters one through five in the class novel The Kid in the Red Jacket, and the kids are hooked!  We continue to focus on making inferences while developing vocabulary, adding to the plot diagram, and independently reflecting on the reading through engaging questions.  Café Reading went well this week and the students are making strong progress on their independent book choices.  I will be testing students individually for the DRA reading assessment throughout the month of September.

Writing:  We continued to develop our realistic fiction story ideas and most students have now chosen the idea they plan to turn into a polished writing piece.  We focused on developing our main character first, deciding on intrinsic and extrinsic qualities and conjuring up a few scenes that will show these qualities.  Today, students began making story arcs to plot out the main parts of their stories.  Next week we will begin drafting.  Also next week, all of AISB will be doing a common writing prompt to better understand students' writing skills on an individual and grade-level basis. These assessments are one tool we use to guide our teaching and planning and students will be reminded to give their best effort!

Math:  We finished up our unit on place value for both grade levels and the students had their first assessment.  Our assessments will focus on the topic just learned as well as word problem solving skills.  We will do frequent practice expanding and communicating our mathematical thinking skills throughout the year.  

Social Studies:  Students finished up their research on their assigned countries and teams have decided how to break down the responsibilities for the final projects.  Together, teams will create a theme park for their region which demonstrates what they've learned in a fun and engaging way. The theme parks will have rides (famous places), restaurants (food and drink), stages (performances), a water feature, living history museums, a gift shop (artisanal crafts), and will be designed with the landscape of the region in mind.  Students will be creating a large map of the park as well as a brochure and some menus, programs, and/or "items for sale" lists.

Upcoming Dates:
September 5th:  Back-to-School BBQ from 13:00 - 15:00 
September 8th:  In-class 6+1 Writing Prompt
September 19th-28th:  Tabaski break (no school)

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 24th - 28th

News of the Week:  Week of August 24th - August 28th, 2015


This week was the first week we really dove into the curriculum and it went very well!  It is wonderful to see the students hard at work and to begin to know them as learners and thinkers.  Here is what we've been working on this week in each subject.

Reading:  We started a whole group novel called The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park.  It is a realistic fiction book about a 10 1/2 year old boy who moves from Arizona to Massachusetts and has to start at a new school.  Many of the 4th and 5th graders can relate to that scenario!  We are focusing on making inferences (reading between the lines) to discover what the author is really trying to tell us.  Whole group class time is used to understand reading strategies and see them in practice as well as to have a shared experience with a high-quality novel.  Some key words from this week were: muffled, dread, and dismal.  See if your child remembers what they mean and can use them correctly!

At the end of the week, we began Café Reading, a time for students to build their stamina reading a good-fit book to themselves and practice on particular strategies that they need to improve upon. Meanwhile, both the teacher and the teacher assistant are conferencing with individual students about their reading skills. 

Writing:  We have reviewed the six traits of good writing and discussed how they all work together. Like our class reading book, our first writing unit is realistic fiction.  We practiced two strategies for finding ideas for our stories.  First, we practiced taking small, significant moments from your life and adding some fiction to increase interest and add a lesson or theme.  After that, we thought of stories we wish existed.  If we could find a book that we could really relate to, where we felt like we were reading about ourselves, what would that book be about?  Students are encouraged to continue brainstorming for ideas at home and writing them down so we don't forget them!

Math:  In both grade levels we have begun with place value

In grade 4, we worked with numbers up to the millions and wrote them in standard form, expanded form, and word form.  We discussed and investigated our base-ten number system and practiced ordering and comparing numbers.  Rounding is coming up next!

In grade 5, we started with whole number review and quickly moved into decimals.  We are working with numbers to the thousandths and focusing on writing them in various ways.  Up next we will be comparing and ordering decimals.

Social Studies:  The students are working with their table groups on a region of Africa (North, South, East, or West).  Each student has chosen 2 or 3 countries to research specifically.  We researched in the library for one session and have used chromebooks for two days now.  Students are learning various research skills including determining importance and how to choose the right site for condensed, effective information.  As soon as the research is done, the students will be creating a theme park of their region - they are very excited to begin!  Your child is welcome to continue researching at home.

A Note about Homework

Monday-Thursday evenings your child will have homework in both reading and math.  Occasionally, there will be something extra on top of this.

For reading, your child is expected to read his/her silent reading book for 30 minutes and to write one response in their Reader's Response journals.  There are specific directions on how to do this.  Each student should have a copy of them, please feel free to email me for a soft version in case your student cannot find their copy.  I collect their journals on Fridays to check how they've done and to write them a response.  

For math, your child will have IXL homework.  Their log-in information is stapled in their planners. As they practice each skill, they are expected to reach 90% mastery.  If he/she cannot do this in a reasonable amount of time (10 minutes or less), they can stop and see me to clear up any confusion the next day.  It is very important that your child does not reach "frustration level".  Math should be enjoyable and effective, not a headache!  Please note, if the internet connection is not working, they will have a piece of homework from the textbook that can be used instead.  They do not have to do both.  

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email me at

Upcoming Dates

August 31st:  Q1 After School Activities begin.
September 3rd:  Back-to-School Night, 7pm at AISB
September 5th:  Back-to-School BBQ, 1pm - 3pm at AISB

Friday, August 21, 2015

Our First Week Together

We had a wonderful first week at school.  We've built a strong foundation and we are ready to delve into things on Monday.  The students are happy and excited about learning and have great ideas to share.  The children are working together and helping each other learn every day. I am very lucky to be working with this group of kids!

I have added a few resources onto the left side of this blog.  They include some "safe search" websites for when the students are conducting online research as well as some math websites.  I suggest that each student practices his or her math facts at home each night.  Computational fluency is key to lowering frustration levels and increasing success in math.  

Next week we will begin units in each subject.  We will be starting a novel during whole group reading time as well as practicing independent reading strategies.  In writing we will be reviewing the six traits of strong writing and starting on narratives.  In math both grade levels will be working with place value and numeracy.  We will work on problem solving skills throughout the year.  Finally, in social studies we will begin a research project on the regions of Africa.  

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, September 3rd - Back-to-School Night at 7pm
Saturday, September 5th - Back-to-School BBQ at AISB

Enjoy a little peek into what we've been up to!