4th and 5th Grade Updates!

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We’ve made it through our first three weeks of school! We’ve been introducing ourselves, reading, writing, and developing our classroom culture. I’m looking forward to all the great learning we’ll do this year!

4th Grade has been busy at work reading realistic fiction to help them with writing their own realistic fiction stories in their classroom Writer’s Workshops. We’ve also reviewed adjectives so that they can add spectacular words to their writing! Students are currently learning how to develop a flow map and then to create a story using their IMG_0014flow map as a guide. They will begin using the computers to type their stories and to practice computer skills. Students have been working at centers to practice grammar, reading, writing, and vocabulary. The students don’t know it yet, but we’ll be starting a class garden this fall and they will have an opportunity to combine their science knowledge with real life experience! Keep your eye on this blog for more updates on our garden as it grows.

IMG_00055th Grade has been busy writing memoirs in their classroom Writer’s Workshops. During EAL the students have created charts and posters to explain what a small vs. big moment is, as well as how to “show” rather than “tell” in their stories. They have begun writing small moment memoirs in EAL class. We’ve reviewed adjectives of character so that they can help their characters come to life in their writing. They’re also embarking on a teamwork project to develop a class mural. They have to use their speaking, planning, writing, art, and math skills in order to accomplish this task. Stay tuned for more!

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Back to School

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Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year at Shanghai American School. Whether it is your first or fifth year here, I hope it is fantastic! This is my second year at SAS and my fifth year teaching EAL. This summer I went to America to visit my family and spent the entire summer traveling from one place to another to say hello to EVERYONE. It was so fun but incredibly exhausting! I’m happy to be back at school and at home with my husband and our dog, Emma. In the EAL department we are setting up our classrooms and getting ready for students. Classes will begin on August 17th during the scheduled Language Learning Block time (LLB). I will be stopping by the 4th and 5th grade classrooms to introduce myself and get to know all the students. I’m looking forward to a great year. See you next week!

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The Importance of Sharing

bUshNijCLh_1406430797738Each week, teachers ask you to share your learning with others by posting on your blog, doing a presentation in class, making a poster, recording a conversation, taking part in a book club, or selecting a writing piece to add to a class book.

Why do they do it? Do they secretly enjoy watching you sweat and struggle to read your itty-bitty smudged notes on your too-dark index card? Have their brains been abducted by aliens, making them forget everything they once knew and leaving YOU, the student, in charge of educating the whole class? Are they on vacation already, wearing sun hats to school and gazing dreamily out the window, imagining they’re slathering on sunscreen in Tahiti? What’s with all this talk of “sharing your learning” and “kids teaching kids”? Who’s in charge of the learning here?!

That’s a great question.

A slightly famous musician named Phil Collins once said, “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” I’ve found that you learn so much more from teaching someone else than by just sitting in a chair attempting to soak up information like a sponge. (If this is what you currently do in class, I’ll bet you walk away slightly confused when the only words you remember from a lesson are “global”, “sometimes”, and “lunch”.)

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Yes, this is a computer.

Why do teachers ask you to share your learning with others? Mainly it’s because you’re on the road to becoming an expert. You have terabytes of information at your fingertips. You see the world in a way that is different from your teachers. You have your own life experiences, and they are incredibly valuable. You can relate to your friends and classmates far better than your teachers can, who grew up learning on computers that looked like the one on the right. It’s up to you to explore and share information, since you’re ultimately the one who is responsible for how much you learn.

There could be a group of students in Canada wondering whether anyone has read, studied, or learned about push and pull migration factors. Or maybe a reading class is trying to think of new ways to keep track of how a character changes throughout a story. You’ve done this! You know this! You can teach this!

The whole point in sharing your learning is that information and creativity don’t live inside a bubble; ideas need to be expressed and talked about with others. Since you are worldly students, it’s your job to take what you know and get it out there. Start a conversation. Start a debate. Just… start sharing.

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BB King: A famous guitarist and blues musician.

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Some Journal and Blogging Ideas

Hi students! Are you out of ideas for your blog or free writing time? Check out these writing prompts at the following websites:

Writing Topic Ideas

MORE Writing Topic Ideas!

 

 

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Goal!

Once again, another month has flown by. We’ve had a chance to start persuasive writing in Grades 4 and 5. We’ve also investigated story elements and character development in Grade 4. Our Grade 1 class has been learning about short vowels and cvc words (bat, hat, mat) and are busy getting ready for reading and writing centers in EAL. This week, we have student-led conferences. Specialist teachers don’t have sign-up spots like homeroom teachers, but we’ll be in our rooms and available when you and your parents are on campus. Students, you’ll fill out a survey about how you are using your English skills every day. Then, you’ll use those as targets to create S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself.

SMART goal poster

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October Already?

Wow, it’s incredible to think that it’s already October. We’ve just returned from a
refreshing trip to Moganshan with several other SAS teachers. We hiked, biked, ate delicious food, and took our puppy on her first outdoor adventure! What did you do during the break?

Our puppy, Emma, enjoying her first nature walk.

Our puppy, Emma, enjoying her first nature walk.

In these next few weeks, Grade 1 will continue working on short vowel sounds and word families. Grade 4 students are working on interesting leads and fabulous finishes to their realistic fiction stories. Grade 5 is perfecting their research and presentation skills. They’re also working on deciphering tricky vocabulary by looking for clues in what they’re reading.

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, October 11th– Carnival 12pm-4pm; Join the PTSA and SAS teachers for a wonderful day of games, prizes, and entertainment!

Winter Concert Info

Winter Concert Information: See the attached image for more information about the December holiday concert.

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Here we go!

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! Today is the first day of LLBs (Language Learning Blocks) and also the first day of EAL Plus classes. This week, we’ll get to know each other and learn about the classroom expectations. This week’s tip: try something new. We’ll talk more about what that looks like during our class meetings. Have a great year~!

 

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Hello world!

Welcome to my brand new site at Shanghai American School Sites.

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