Saturday, January 3, 2015

News of the Week: 6 - 9 January 2015

Classes resume at AISB on Tuesday 6 January 2015.

In the coming week we continue reading our novel "The Sign of the Beaver" by Elizabeth George Speare. The reading skills focus is identifying figurative language, in this case symbolism that the author uses to make us understand the story. For example, even the title of the book refers to a symbol the characters discover during the course of the novel--a symbol that designates the hunting grounds of a particular tribe. But this symbol ultimately comes to represent a theme in the novel, which is that one should respect the rights of others.

We will read about 10 chapters, and practice the reading skill by searching for symbolism in poetry, paintings, and music. Of course this practice will help students better identify symbolism throughout the novel itself. Students will also continue to identify instances of stereotyping in the novel, and discuss how those affect the way the story is told.

Students will analyze Marc Chagall's painting "Paris Through the Window" (1913), looking for the symbols he used. Though he was one who refused to give literal interpretations of his paintings, he was well known for his use of symbols that represented childhood memories and elements of his personality. For example, floating people (as seen near the base of the Eiffel Tower) nearly always represented happiness. 

The students have learned two new vocabulary words so far:

rueful (regretful)
deprived (without basic needs)

In the coming week they will learn these:

thrashing (waving arms wildly)
resentful (offended)
admiration (respect & warm approval)
nonchalant (unexcited)
contemptuous (attitude of hatred)
companion (someone you keep company with)
indifference (no interest in something)
disdainful (look down on someone/something)

  • Ask your child to discuss the artist Marc Chagall. What memories from his childhood village did he often include in his artwork? (e.g. fiddler, roof, animals, 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). 


      This coming week Grade 4 students will explore equations with two operations, try their hand at equations with three or more operations, take a test on these concepts, and begin a new chapter on factors and multiples.

      Here is a short video about following the order of operations students worked on before the break:

      In the week ahead, Grade 5 students will be retaught some concepts on dividing decimals as most of the class had difficulty on the test. When I'm comfortable that they have grasped these decimal division concepts we'll move on to numerical expressions and order of operations.

      Here is a short video explaining the order of operations they will use this week (most should remember this from grade 4):


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

        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.


        This week we begin a new writing unit on expository writing--writing that explains something. Students will learn a few techniques for brainstorming possible topics, will spend time understanding the difference between the narrative writing they've done so far (e.g. writing a story) and expository writing (explaining an opinion or idea).

        • Read your child's final narrative essay and review the grading rubric I gave them. Does he/she agree with the scores I gave? In what area(s) should he/she concentrate next time? How does he/she feel about writing personal narratives about important memories?


        In the coming week we continue our social studies unit on ancient Greece, each day reading a chapter from the Adventures of Odysseus, then focusing on an aspect of ancient Greek culture that still impacts our lives today. This week students look at ancient Greek daily life, the arts, science, athletics, education, and trials by jury. Student teams will also perform a short skit demonstrating one of the forms of government practiced in ancient Greek times.

        • Ask your child to describe the story of Odysseus that we have read so far. (Odysseus encountered the Sirens, and blocked the ears of his men with wax to avoid the tempting songs of the Sirens. He himself was lashed to main sail so he could hear the sounds but not follow them. Next he sailed between Scylla and Charybdis, sacrificing six men for a safe passage.). 
        • Ask your child about the types of governments in ancient Greece (monarchy, oligarchy, direct democracy) and how each was different than the other. How do these compare with today's representative democracy?


        Wow, was I proud as ever of the professional job the Grade 4 and 5 students did with their performance at the AISB Winter Show. From their facial expressions to their singing to their acting and their cup work, it really looked like the hours of practice paid off! Special thanks to Clara 2 and Aida for taking on the leads and looking (and sounding) like stars!


        What a great surprise to learn about the results of the calendar contest our students entered last school year. Seyni and Soraya received honorable mentions for their design of a calendar page, and Nil was actually selected as a worldwide winner! His design about buckling up in the car is used for the State Departments February calendar page, meaning that his excellent and creative work is being seen in US Embassies around the world! Congratulations!


        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 & Skits at AISB featuring students, faculty, & community members, 6PM
        Mon 19 Jan: Quarter 3 After School Activities begin
        Wed 21 Jan: Semester 1 report cards go home
        Thu 22 Jan: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
        Sat 31 Jan: AISB International Fair, 6:00 - 8:30 PM

        Fri 13 Feb: No school, teacher in-service
        Mon 16 Feb: No school, President's Day (US Holiday)
        Thu 19 Feb: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
        Fri 20 Feb: Quarter 3 Progress Reports sent home for selected students

        Thu 17 March: AISB Board meeting (all are invited) 6:30 - 9:00 PM
        Fri 20 March: End of Q3
        Mon 23 March - Fri 27 March: Spring Break School Holiday

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