What’s Up This Week: 6 – 8 June 2016

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O U R   Y E A R   I N    R E V I E W
What an amazing first year I’ve had at SAS Pudong! And I owe most of that to 15 incredible students who made teaching a joy for me this year: Henry, Jonathan, Rachel, Maksym, Daniel, Irene, Shen, Olyvia, LinHan, Angelina, Stephen, Rex, Tina, Ophir, and Noah (and also Santiago who left SAS in December).

I can’t tell you how many times this year other teachers have told me how much they enjoy working with this group of kids. They use words like polite, creative, focused, and excited about learning. They are a bright bunch too, challenging me with complex questions, going the extra mile on projects, and all of them scoring above the norm grade level on the MAP reading, math, AND language usage tests! Phenomenal!

I am going to greatly miss their humor, their many talents, and their willingness to step outside of their comfort zone to try brand new approaches to learning, like tableau and analyzing paintings. I can say with confidence that these students are well prepared to meet the challenges of Grade 5!

Our 2015 – 2016 class by the numbers:

  • went on 4 field trips
  • spoke 5 languages
  • came from 7 countries
  • read 8 class novels (nearly 1100 pages of text)
  • completed 10 chapter tests in math
  • read an average of 15 novels each
  • conducted 25 science experiments
  • learned over 130 new vocabulary words
  • spent 1,260 hours in school  (if no absences)
  • read an average of 5,400 minutes each for Read to Succeed
  • wrote an average of 5,600 words of essays

 

B O O K S   T O   E A T
The Grade 4 and 5 “Books to Eat” event was last Monday, and our class enjoyed looking at, and then later eating, the many creative entries. Congratulations to Maksym and Angie who represented our class with two fantastic (and delicious) designs.

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S U M M E R   S I Z Z L E R
It was a rare sunny day with blue skies last Thursday, giving us the perfect day for our annual Summer Sizzler. Groups of students moved through a series of 14 activities, from slip-n-slides to gaga ball to “dog” sled racing. It was a great way to cap off the year!

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R E A D I N G
While we finished our “Historical Fiction Book Club” unit, students continued reading their final book club novel. I am impressed with both the quantity and the quality of reading they did throughout this unit.

Reading historical fiction is a complex task, but they certainly met the challenge by reading up to five historical fiction novels,  the text are some of them above grade level. Their skills at analyzing have improved so much–they are easily determining the meaning of symbols, deciphering the meaning of a character’s actions, determining the themes in a novel, and more.

I highly encourage students to continue reading for at least 20 minutes per day over the summer. Some studies show that over the summer students can lose up to two months of reading skills (the “summer slide”). Daily reading will prevent this, and will make them prepared for Grade 5.

 

W R I T I N G
Last week we again integrated writing into other subject areas, primarily social studies and reading.

Students wrapped up the writing related to our social studies unit, “Take Me to Your Leader” as they completed their advertising campaigns on a quality of life issue. Their articles, posters, comic books, scripts, and question & answer games went through final edits and revisions and were published in a variety of ways. They also honed their letter writing skills as they contacted various organizations they hope will post their products.

They also completed their writing obligations related to our historical fiction reading unit. Aside from writing their daily reflections for their final book club novel, they wrote about an important lesson they learned from one of their book club selections and shared this with the class.

 


M  A  T  H
Students completed Chapters 11 & 12 which included many hands-on activities about measurement, and took the test. Students will bring it home on Monday.

This year students learned many real life math skills and activities that solidified their basic math facts necessary for Grade 5. If they don’t want to get rusty this summer, encourage your child to use the IXL website occasionally to practice math skills.

Thank you parents for your time in helping your child with math this year. Your child learned many brand new, but well-researched approaches to math problem solving, so we appreciate your assistance with this!

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
This past week we completed our final social studies unit, Take Me to Your Leader. Throughout this Project Based Learning (PBL) unit, students worked in groups to answer the driving questions – What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life? How can you help? This week we wrapped up the unit and on Friday the entire fourth grade shared what they have been working on with each other in a grade-wide showcase.

The students not only studied various quality of life issues but researched and presented leaders who were improving this quality of life and the traits they had. The most meaningful part of the unit was when they chose a quality of life issue that was important to them and they became a leader in trying to help. 

Each group helped to improve a quality of life issue that they were passionate about.   Here are some of the amazing things our class did. 

  • The “Save Trees” team (Maksym, Irene, Noah) created a Save Trees app. Within the app is a stop-action movie, video game, tip sheet, checklist, article, and donation tab. They have sent their app to a number of ecology-focused organizations to see if they will include it on their websites.
  • The “Girls’ Education” team (Ophir, Angelina, Olyvia) created six t-shirt designs related to the sad state of education for girls around the world, and sold them around school to raise funds they will donate to the Malala fund. They also sent their designs to several organizations, offering them at no cost.
  • The “Syrian Refugee” team (Henry, Shen, Daniel) created a comic book to teach people about the refugee crisis in Syria, and to persuade people to donate to an organization that builds underground schools in Syria. They also sold copies of their comic to raise funds to donate as well.
  • The “End Child Slavery” team (Rex, Tina, Stephen) created an iMovie and a video game to teach people about child slavery across the world, and to convince them to donate to several organizations that fight this terrible practice. 
  • The “Animal-Free Fashion” group (Rachel, LinHan, Jonathan) created a stop-action Public Service Announcement (PSA) on why people shouldn’t wear animal products, and teaching them about alternatives. They urged people to donate to several organizations that promote animal-friendly fashion, and also sent their PSA to several animal rights organization hoping that it is posted on their websites.

Students should be proud of all they accomplished and learned during this exciting unit. 

A critique earlier this past week:

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The showcase:

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C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

JUNE

  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last Day of School: school out @ 11:30 a.m.
    Report Cards go live on PowerSchool @ 3:00 p.m.
    Paper copies of report cards will be sent home

 

 

What’s Up This Week: 30 May – 3 June 2016

R E T H I N K I N G    H O M E W O R K
Everything we do as educators is based in research, careful studies that show us the most effective ways to reach our students. We don’t adopt new teaching approaches because they are popular or faddish or represent the latest style–we look at what the research tells us. 

Now the research tells us that elementary children do not benefit at all from doing homework. In fact, the research shows us that homework has negative impacts on elementary age children.

Here’s an article that explains it all. I am very interested in your feedback about this. Please email me with your thoughts: jeffrey.fessler@saschina.org.

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summer sizzler

S U M M E R    S I Z Z L E R
Next Wednesday 1 June is our annual Summer Sizzler, in which our elementary students participate in many enjoyable outdoor activities to celebrate our fantastic school.  The upper elementary students celebrate from 12:20 to 2:45. Students will need to bring:

  • clothes that can get wet
  • their house shirt to wear during the activities
  • proper shoes to run and play in
  • change of clothes
  • Sunscreen, hat, and maybe even a coat in case it is cool out
  • A positive attitude and a desire for fun!

 

 

B O O K S   T O   E A T
The Grade 4 and 5 “Books to Eat” event is this Monday 30 May 2016. If you want to participate, think of a book, and make something edible that relates to the book. You could bake a cake, and frost/ice it to look like:

  • the cover of the book
  • a character from the book
  • a scene from the book

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Or you could make a cake shaped like a character/scene in the book. But you don’t have to make cakes, or cupcakes, or even sweet things…some of our entries have been

  • ice cubes (for the book Frozen)
  • vegetables (for the book Little Pea, for the book Green)
  • cereal (for the book The Infinity Ring, for the book Cornflakes)
  • popcorn (for the book Popcorn)
  • meat (for the book I smell like Ham)
  • bread (for the book The Princess and the Pea)
  • pasta (for the book The Pasta Factory)
  • jello (for the books Alice the Fairy, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish)
  • Turkish delight (for the book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)
  • liquid (for the book Chemical Chaos)
  • milk (for the book Fortunately the Milk)
  • pancake (for the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake)

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So, if you are interested, please make something on Sunday at your house, and bring it to the library on Monday morning.The library staff will all look at it, photograph it, reward it and anyone interested can eat it on Monday afternoon!

 

 

F I E L D   T R I P    F U N
Even though it was a dreary, rainy day last Friday, we had an enjoyable time on our trip to the Historical Exhibition Hall of Shanghai City in the Oriental Pearl Tower. Students participated in a scavenger hunt through the many fascinating displays, learning lots of facts about Shanghai’s history.

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R E A D I N G
We are wrapping up our “Historical Fiction Book Club” unit, reflecting on the accompanying novel Number the Stars and learning a few final tips about reading historical fiction. One tip students learned was not to overgeneralize when reflecting on a book. For example, we shouldn’t say that “many Jews escaped the Nazis” just because that was the case in Number the Stars. The situation in Denmark was unique, and Jews in other European countries had very different–and much worse–experiences.

Another tip students learned about reading historical fiction is that we can look at who holds the “power” in a story to determine much about the characters. For example, in Number the Stars it seemed as if the Nazis held the power, but upon reflection we realized that the Danish Resistance also held much power. They rallied an entire nation to help their Jewish citizens, and were able to save 95% of the Jewish population!

We also viewed a documentary about how the rescue of the Danish Jews, which allowed students to see the real life events the novel is based upon.

Next week we have a final discussion about the theme of the novel, and how this same theme might work for other novels we have read.

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child to explain what it means to overgeneralize when talking about a novel, and why overgeneralizing should be avoided.
  • Ask what lessons we can learn from Number the Stars.
  • Ask your child about the current (and final) book club novel they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • How does their current book compare to their previous book club novel(s)?
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far.

 

W R I T I N G
Over the past week writing was again integrated into social studies and reading lessons.

Students continued working on their final projects for our social studies unit, “Take Me to Your Leader,” creating an advertising campaign to convince an audience to support a quality of life issue. Each team of students is working on different products, so there is a wide variety of writing including:

  • nonfiction articles
  • scripts for short movies
  • short taglines for t-shirts (these were the trickiest!)
  • questions and facts for an online game
  •  fictional story for a comic book

Students were able to draw on all of the writing lessons over the year as they applied them to this exciting project.

In our historical fiction reading unit, students also engaged in a number of writing-related activities. They continued writing their daily reflection for their current (and final) book club novel, took notes as they read, practiced writing notes about their book without overgeneralizing, and drafted a passage identifying their book’s theme and supporting it with evidence.

During the week students also engaged in other word work, including “What Do You Notice.” For this technique they analyzed short passages from Number the Stars to identify specific uses of grammar, figurative language, and vocabulary.




M  A  T  H
In the past week students completed a chart displaying all of the metric and U.S. Standard measurement. They used this chart to help them convert measurements (inches to feet, feet to yards, ounces to pounds, liters to milliliters, centimeters to meters, etc.).

Next week students practice decimal rounding and decimal multiplication, review the pre-assessments they took a few weeks ago, review all of the concepts learned in this final chapter, and take the final chapter test.

 IXL Skills for Practice

Measurement
N.1 Measure using an inch ruler
N.2 Which customary unit is appropriate?
N.3 Compare and convert customary units of length
N.4 Compare and convert customary units of weight
N.5 Compare and convert customary units of volume
N.6 Compare and convert customary units
N.7 Conversion tables – customary units
N.8 Which metric unit is appropriate?
N.9 Compare and convert metric units of length
N.10 Compare and convert metric units of weight
N.11 Compare and convert metric units of volume
N.12 Compare and convert metric units
N.13 Conversion tables – metric units
N.14 Compare customary units by multiplying
N.15 Convert mixed customary units
N.16 Add and subtract mixed customary units
N.17 Convert between metric and customary units

Geometry
P.26 Volume

Decimals
U.12 Round decimals
V.1 Add decimal numbers
V.7 Complete the addition or subtraction sentence

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child to explain the differences between the metric and U.S. Standard systems.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some online math games to practice the skills we are doing in class:

Artie Ounce Soda Jerk (Units of volume game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/soda/
Measurement Workshop – http://mrnussbaum.com/measurement-workshop-ipad.html
Sal’s Sub Shop (ruler & measurement game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/sals-sub-shop-ipad.html

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
It was an intense week of production of final projects for our unit “Take Me to Your Leader,” Student teams are hard at work creating the final pieces of their advertising campaigns to convince others to support a particular quality of life cause:

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With just a week left before they share their work with other classes, they are making sure that their mission is clear, that their products grab your attention, and that they have a plan for getting their work out into the world. Last week students participated in a critique, with each team presenting their draft project to the class, and the class offering constructive criticism. This peer feedback was essential in helping teams refine their products to be more effective.

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I am really enjoying watching how independent students have become, determining the schedule of production, critiquing their work and the work of other teams, and solving problems on their own. The products I’ve seen so far are professional and effective–I couldn’t be more proud.

Next week will be their last push to wrap up their production work. Then they will have a formal critique, presenting their campaign to the class to get feedback. On Friday they will share their completed work with other Grade 4 classes.


How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • Have your child describe the work they’ve done on their project this past week.
  • How have they divided the work among team members?
  • What has been challenging about this project so far?
  • Will they meet the deadline?

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

MAY

JUNE

  • 1 June, Wednesday: Summer Sizzler, 12:20 to 2:45.

  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last day of school; half day for students

What’s Up This Week: 23 – 27 May 2016

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S O C C E R    D A Y    S U C C E S S
Last Wednesday could not have been a more beautiful day to host teams from other schools for our Soccer Day event. Our class was a powerhouse on the field (and I had nothing to do with it!). We have quite the talented bunch of soccer players. They had loads of fun and were good sports.

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B O O K S   T O   E A T

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Pandas made of rice!

Keep in mind that the Grade 4 and 5 “Books to Eat” event is Monday 30 May 2016. If you are interested in participating, start thinking now of a food creation relating to a book! Books to Eat – Click here to learn more!

 

 

A U T H O R    P R E S E N T A T I O N

IMG_1207Students were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet yet another author. In this case it was the author of Red Scarf Girl, a memoir written by Ji-li Jiang about her experiences during the Cultural Revolution of China. Students were fascinated by her engaging storytelling!

 

 

R E W A R D   L U N C H
Congratulations to the two SuperTeams who enjoyed lunch in the “Big” cafeteria on Friday! I appreciate how you completed your IXL, did your nightly reading, stayed involved in class, and worked well with your team and others!

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R E A D I N G
It was another week with our “Historical Fiction Book Club” unit and our class read aloud Number the Stars. Students learned how nonfiction texts can be read alongside historical fiction to deepen comprehension.

For example, we were unclear about a reference to a special handkerchief used in “Number the Stars.” It seemed to be something very important to the escape of the Jews in the story, but we didn’t understand what it did. So, we read a nonfiction article that told us how Danish and Swedish scientists developed a special formula that would temporarily numb the noses of Nazi police dogs, and how they laced handkerchiefs with this formula.

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When the Nazis and dogs boarded Danish fishing boats looking for escaping Jews (who were hiding in the hold below!), the fisherman made sure the handkerchief was out. The formula attracted the dogs first, and as they sniffed they temporarily couldn’t smell anything. Hence, the Jewish people who were hiding were never discovered, and safely escaped across the water to Sweden. By reading a nonfiction text, we were better able to understand our historical fiction novel.

Students also analyzed a WWII era song to see if it included any references to things we have learned about this era through reading “Number the Stars.” After some discussion they realized the song referred to the blackouts people were forced to endure to avoid being bombed. This was referenced in “Number the Stars” many times, and made us realize the challenges people around the world faced because of the war.

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Students also became history experts since they each have become quite familiar about a particular historical era through reading books with that time setting. They had an opportunity to share interesting facts, and we all learned much about WWII, The Great Depression, The Westward Expansion (“Pioneer Days”), and the Revolutionary War.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
We completed our read aloud novel “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry, which is part of the historical fiction unit. This book offered a fascinating and frightening look at how the citizens of one country banded together to save almost every one of their Jewish citizens during Hitler’s reign of terror. Not only were students were immersed in WWII history, but they learned about racism, heroism, and how ordinary people can make a huge impact in the world. I’m sure your child will enjoy sharing their thoughts on this novel.

Here is an updated list of our vocabulary words from Number the Stars:

lighthearted
bleak
warily
hastily
stricken
wince
lattice
brusque
staccato
protruding
recurring
gnarled
wryly
specter
dismay
tentative
distorted
glower
belligernet
imperious
unwavering
torment
haughty
sabotage

intricate
civilized
linger

Next week students will learn about the problems with overgeneralizing when interpreting a novel, and will also explore how a reader should never skim through descriptive parts of a book as they may hold important clues about the theme.

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Have your child explain the meaning of the song “When the Lights Go Again.” How did this relate to our novel “Number the Stars?”
  • Ask your child about the current book club book they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • How does their current book compare to their previous book club novel(s)?
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far.

 

 

W R I T I N G
During the week students once again engaged in writing that was integrated into their social studies and reading activities.

In social studies, students continued work on their Challenge 2 project, creating an advertising campaign to convince an audience to support a quality of life issue. They began writing portions of their ad campaign, combining facts they researched with persuasive writing—all trying to convince others to help with a certain quality of life issue.

They also did much writing during their historical fiction reading unit, including daily reflection writing on their current book club novel and note-taking.

During the week students also engaged in other word work, including using the Words Their Way program, exploring the use of a variety of sentence lengths to make writing more exciting, and vocabulary practice (words in context, antonyms, synonyms, vocabulary tableau) through new words introduced in our class novel, Number the Stars.

Rehearsing vocabulary words through tableau:


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M  A  T  H
We took advantage of the fantastic weather and air quality last week to do more outdoor math activities. Students participated in a scavenger hunt in the Eagle’s nest, searching for items on a list that were certain lengths (in both metric and U.S. Standard measurements). For example, they had to find something manmade that measured exactly 80 millimeters long. It required lots and lots of measuring practice and a good bit of fun too.

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We also explored capacity, looking at both metric measurements (liters and milliliters) and U.S. Standard measurements (cup, pint, quart, gallon). First we watched some video clips to remind us of these measurements. Here is a clever one for the U.S. Standard measurements:

Then, students tried to estimate the capacity of several containers. As a reference, their team had a basket of items marked with various measurements. I was impressed that they guessed the capacity either exactly or at least were close!

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Finally, students compiled all of their learning about metric and U.S. Standard measurement into a handy chart they created. Here is one in progress:

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Next week students tackle the tricky task of converting measurements (inches to feet, feet to yards, ounces to pounds, liters to milliliters, centimeters to meters, etc.). They learn that when you convert from a smaller unit to a larger unit (e.g. centimeters to meters), they divide to find the equivalent measure. When they convert from a larger unit to a smaller unit, you multiply.

 IXL Skills for Practice

Measurement
N.1 Measure using an inch ruler
N.2 Which customary unit is appropriate?
N.3 Compare and convert customary units of length
N.4 Compare and convert customary units of weight
N.5 Compare and convert customary units of volume
N.6 Compare and convert customary units
N.7 Conversion tables – customary units
N.8 Which metric unit is appropriate?
N.9 Compare and convert metric units of length
N.10 Compare and convert metric units of weight
N.11 Compare and convert metric units of volume
N.12 Compare and convert metric units
N.13 Conversion tables – metric units
N.14 Compare customary units by multiplying
N.15 Convert mixed customary units
N.16 Add and subtract mixed customary units
N.17 Convert between metric and customary units

Geometry
P.26 Volume

Decimals
U.12 Round decimals
V.1 Add decimal numbers
V.7 Complete the addition or subtraction sentence

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child to explain how we find the volume of a box.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some online math games to practice the skills we are doing in class:

Artie Ounce Soda Jerk (Units of volume game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/soda/
Measurement Workshop – http://mrnussbaum.com/measurement-workshop-ipad.html
Sal’s Sub Shop (ruler & measurement game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/sals-sub-shop-ipad.html

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
In our unit “Take Me to Your Leader,” students are off and running with their interest groups to make a difference in our quality of life! Last week they organized into groups based on similar interests and starting thinking about an advertising campaign that will convince others to support heir cause. The students asked themselves some questions before moving ahead with their ideas:

  1. How can you narrow your topic to something manageable that will make a difference? 
  2. What are you convincing people to do?
  3. How are you going to get your ideas out into the world?
  4.  What pieces will you create for your ad campaign?
  5. How will your pieces grab the audience’s attention?

These questions helped guide their ideas and actions last week. Here are the ad campaigns each group is working on:

  • Child Labor (Rex, Stephen, Tina): Creating a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to persuade people to only buy from companies that don’t use child labor.
  • The Plight of Syrian Refugees (Shen, Daniel, Henry): Creating a comic book to persuade people to donate to a fund to build bunker schools in Syria.
  • Saving Trees (Maksym, Irene, Noah): Creating an app to inform people about simple ways they can save trees.
  • Animal-Free Fashion (Rachel. Jonathan, Lin Han): Creating a short movie to persuade people to avoid buying clothing made of animal products.
  • Guaranteeing Education for All Girls (Angelina, Ophir, Olyvia): Creating a series of t-shirts to sell to raise money for the Malala fund for girl’s education.

I’ve never seen these students so focused and passionate about a project! I can just feel the intensity and the creativity in the room as they work. Next week they continue the production phase as the June 3rd deadline looms…


How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • Have your child describe the work they’ve done on their project this past week. How will their ad campaign improve the quality of life?
  • What has been challenging about this project so far?
  • Will they meet the deadline?

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

MAY

JUNE

  • 1 June, Wednesday: Summer Sizzler. More details to follow.
  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last day of school; half day for students

What’s Up This Week: 16 – 20 May 2016

B O O K S   T O   E A T
Mrs. Power is once again organizing the fabulous “Books to Eat” event at SAS Pudong. Last week teachers were asked to make a food creation that represented a book. This was mine:

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Students will be bringing in creations as well…here is the schedule:

  • Monday 16 May: Prek, K, 1
  • Tuesday 24 May: Grades 2 and 3
  • Monday 30 May: Grades 4 and 5

The only rules are that the creation must relate to a book and must be 100% edible. In the past creations have been made from cake, cookies, ice, fruit, veggies, and more! Books to Eat – Click here to learn more!

 

 

R E W A R D   L U N C H
Congratulations to the two SuperTeams who enjoyed lunch in the “Big” cafeteria last Wednesday!

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R E A D I N G
In the past week in reading we continued “Historical Fiction Book Club” unit and our class read aloud Number the Stars. Students learned how to create a theory web to determine the theme of their novel. For this graphic organizer they first list their theme idea, then underneath list evidence that supports their theme idea. They learned that the evidence may cause them to change their theme idea.

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Students also analyzed paintings by George Seurat and the Danish artist Egill Jacobsen. For the Seurat painting, students learned that he painted and revised over the course of three years before he had his final painting. We related this to the way authors revise their writing, and the way students may revise their thoughts about a novel. Revision is part of life!

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Georges Seurat, French (1859 – 1891) A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884–1886 Oil on canvas 207.6 cm × 308 cm (81.7 in × 121.25 in)

For the Jacobsen painting, we discovered that he expressed his feelings about the coming war through his art. Teams analyzed his painting to determine exactly what type of feelings he expressed. They really applied their critical thinking skills for this task, pulling from the elements of art to inform their interpretations. I found their ideas to be more thought provoking than the explanation provided by the museum where the painting hangs!

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Egill Jacobsen (1910-1998), Danish Accumulation, 1938

 

Students also learned that when determining the theme of a novel, they should keep three points in mind. A theme is….

  • a BIG idea that relates to the WHOLE story
  • grounded in specific DETAILS from the story
  • something that considers the CHOICES the author has made

Students also explored how photographs and illustrations can help you better understand historical fiction novels. When you are unfamiliar with an historical time period, person, or event, a photo or drawing can provide much information. Students used a variety of these to explore their book club era:

Revolutionary War

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The Great New York Fire of 1776

 

Great Depression

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Migrant Family, February/March of 1936, Nipomo, California. Photographer: Dorothea Lange.

 

WWII

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Sailors stand among wrecked airplanes at Ford Island Naval Air Station as they watch the explosion of the USS Shaw in the background, during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941. (AP Photo)

 

Westward Expansion

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Chinese railroad workers, 1869.

Next week students learn how nonfiction texts can be read alongside historical fiction to deepen comprehension. They’ll also analyze a WWII era song, looking for ways the lyrics connect to the class novel which is set during WWII.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
We continued reading aloud the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as part of this unit. Here is an updated list of our vocabulary words from Number the Stars:

stricken
wince
lattice
brusque
staccato
protruding
recurring
gnarled
wryly
specter
dismay
tentative
distorted
glower
belligernet
imperious
unwavering
torment
haughty
sabotage

intricate
civilized
linger

Next week students continue refining the way we decide on a novel’s theme. Students will look at how we can self-assess our interpretation of a big idea by asking ourselves the ‘qualities’ of a good interpretation.

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Give your impressions of Egill Jacobsen’s painting Accumulation (shown above), and see if they match the analysis your child did earlier this week.
  • Have your child describe some of the images that went along with their book club novel. How did these images help them better understand their book club novel?
  • Ask your child about the current book club book they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • How does their current book compare to their previous book club novel(s)?
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far.

 

W R I T I N G
This past week students engaged in a number of writing based activities. During their social studies Leaders unit they began another project, this one researching a current quality of life issue. This required summarizing and recording nonfiction text, a task that involves determining which information is pertinent, and recording it in a quick and simple way that they can interpret later. In the coming weeks they will use their summaries to create a variety of pieces for an advertising campaign—from mini movies to websites to songs.

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In our historical fiction reading unit, students continued their daily reflection writing on their current book club novel. Their reflections had a number of formats, including simple summaries, symbol interpretations, a who-what-when-where-why explanation, predictions, and character analyses. Since each format requires a different type of writing, they pulled from many techniques they’ve learned throughout the year.

In addition students engaged in other word work, including word sorting and classification using the Words Their Way program, figurative language study through an exploration of imagery, and vocabulary practice (words in context, antonyms, synonyms, vocabulary tableau) through new words introduced in our class novel, Number the Stars.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 7.42.07 AMRehearsing vocabulary words through tableau:IMG_1047IMG_1049












 

 


M  A  T  H
During the past week students explored the volume of rectangular prisms–in other words, determining how much space is inside a box by using the formula length x width x height. Students made their own small paper boxes, estimated the volume, then filled it with one-centimeter cubes to find the actual volume.

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They also determined the volume of a variety of box types.

IMG_1027IMG_1028IMG_1029IMG_1030IMG_1031IMG_1032Finally, we went outside to the playground where they found as many rectangular prisms as possible so they could determine the volume.

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Next week students work with metric and U.S. standard capacity, including liter and milliliter, as well as gallons, pints, quarts, and ounces.

 IXL Skills for Practice

Measurement
N.1 Measure using an inch ruler
N.2 Which customary unit is appropriate?
N.3 Compare and convert customary units of length
N.4 Compare and convert customary units of weight
N.5 Compare and convert customary units of volume
N.6 Compare and convert customary units
N.7 Conversion tables – customary units
N.8 Which metric unit is appropriate?
N.9 Compare and convert metric units of length
N.10 Compare and convert metric units of weight
N.11 Compare and convert metric units of volume
N.12 Compare and convert metric units
N.13 Conversion tables – metric units
N.14 Compare customary units by multiplying
N.15 Convert mixed customary units
N.16 Add and subtract mixed customary units
N.17 Convert between metric and customary units

Geometry
P.26 Volume

Decimals
U.12 Round decimals
V.1 Add decimal numbers
V.7 Complete the addition or subtraction sentence

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child to explain how we find the volume of a box.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some online math games to practice the skills we are doing in class:

Artie Ounce Soda Jerk (Units of volume game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/soda/
Measurement Workshop – http://mrnussbaum.com/measurement-workshop-ipad.html
Sal’s Sub Shop (ruler & measurement game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/sals-sub-shop-ipad.html

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
This week in Social Studies we continued with our Project Based Learning unit “Take Me to Your Leader.” Based on our driving questions “What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life? How can you help?” students are now answering the second part of the question – How can you help?

We formed interest groups based on what the quality of life issue students were most passionate about. We formed five issue teams of three students each:

  • Child Labor (Rex, Stephen, Tina)
  • The Plight of Syrian Refugees (Shen, Daniel, Henry)
  • Saving Trees (Maksym, Irene, Noah)
  • Animal-Free Fashion (Rachel. Jonathan, Lin Han)
  • Guaranteeing Education for All Girls (Angelina, Ophir, Olyvia)

Their challenge is to create an advertising campaign to convince others to help with their particular issue. In order to do this, they must research and thoroughly understand their quality of life issue, decide exactly what elements are included in their ad campaign (e.g. commercials, posters, songs, articles, websites, apps, etc.). They will also determine how to share their campaign to get the most exposure.

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Students created the schedule with deadlines for this project:

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They also spent quality time researching their issues:

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IMG_1088IMG_1087IMG_1086IMG_1082IMG_1084IMG_1085IMG_1081IMG_1080IMG_1079Next week they continue their research for two more days, then begin the production phase. I’m really looking forward to seeing what their creative minds come up with!


How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • Have your child explain the quality of life issue they are working on. Why did they choose this particular issue?
  • What facts about this issue have they found so far?
  • Do they have ideas yet about what will their ad campaign include?
  • What will their ad campaign convince others to do?

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

MAY

  • 16 May, Monday: Return order form and money (270 rmb) for SAS Yearbook (supplies limited–first come, first served).
  • 18 May, Wednesday: Soccer Day. Students need to bring a water bottle, sunscreen, snacks tennis/sport shoes, and a light jacket. A pizza lunch will be provided.
  • 19 May, Thursday: ES/MS Choir & Orchestra Concert (Grades 4-8)
  • 27 May, Friday: Grade 4 Pearl Tower field trip.
  • 30 May, Monday: Grade 4 & 5 “Books to Eat”  Books to Eat – Click here to learn more!.

JUNE

  • 1 June, Wednesday: Summer Sizzler. More details to follow.
  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last day of school; half day for students

 

What’s Up This Week: 9 – 13 May 2016

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F R I D A Y   F I E L D   T R I P   F U N !
On Friday, Grade 4 students traveled to to Nanxiang old town & Guyi Garden as part of our China Alive activities. Students enjoyed a beautiful sunny day, walking amidst the lakes, lush vegetation, and gorgeous traditional architecture. In Nanxiang many students enjoyed delicious Xiao Long Bao, the dumplings that are traditional to this region. We thank the Chinese teaching team for a well planned and enjoyable trip! Here are some photos from the group I was in charge of:

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R E A D I N G
This past week in reading we continued with our reading unit “Historical Fiction Books Clubs and the class read aloud Number the Stars, using the teaching points from this class novel to guide the conversations and activities of the individual book clubs.

We focused on paying closer attention to the minor characters in a story, and how they really help to carry the big message in the story. It was very interesting for us to read with the perspective of a minor character in mind to see if changed or strengthened our interpretation of the big idea in the book.

It has been a very rewarding week with thoughtful conversations and many “a-ha” moments J We look forward to more learning next week in this exciting unit of study!

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
We continued reading aloud the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as part of this unit. Here is an updated list of our vocabulary words from Number the Stars:

gnarled
wryly
specter
dismay
tentative
distorted
glower
belligernet
imperious
unwavering
torment
haughty
sabotage

intricate
civilized
linger

Next week students continue refining the way we decide on a novel’s theme. Students will look at how we can self-assess our interpretation of a big idea by asking ourselves the ‘qualities’ of a good interpretation.

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child about the current book club book they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • How does their current book compare to their previous book club novel(s)?
  • Have your child describe how minor characters in their novel have a different perspective than the main character.
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far.

 

 

W R I T I N G
This past week we continued to integrate our writing instruction and practice into our other subject areas. In our Social Studies unit, “Take Me To Your Leader,” students drafted and revised text for their leader poster. They had to be succinct and clear since the text was limited, only providing the information required in their checklist.

In our reading unit, “Historical Fiction Clubs,” students continued writing about their book club novels. This week they focused on writing about the perspectives of the minor characters. Students hypothesized in writing about how those alternative perspectives gave them new thoughts about the story.

We also continued working on Words Their Way, with groups focusing on either adjective suffixes, vowels alternations (long, short, and “schwa”), vowel patterns, or vowel-consonant patterns.

Finally, we explored one more example of figurative language: hyperbole. Students learned about when to use hyperbole, created a sentence using an hyperbole, then create an illustrated poster with the sentence.

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M  A  T  H
During the past week students received their scored Chapter 9 – 10 math test, and made corrections. I was very pleased with their understanding of decimal multiplication and division, as well as their understanding of symmetry in two-dimensional figures. Thank you for signing off on their tests—I’m sure you were as pleased as I was when you saw the results.

We also began our next math that focuses on metric and U.S. Standard weight, length, and volume. I challenged teams to estimate the mass of 10 objects (in grams), and to put them in order from least to most mass. Then they used a digital scale to find the actual mass in grams. We also compared grams to ounces.

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 IXL Skills for Practice

Measurement
N.1 Measure using an inch ruler
N.2 Which customary unit is appropriate?
N.3 Compare and convert customary units of length
N.4 Compare and convert customary units of weight
N.5 Compare and convert customary units of volume
N.6 Compare and convert customary units
N.7 Conversion tables – customary units
N.8 Which metric unit is appropriate?
N.9 Compare and convert metric units of length
N.10 Compare and convert metric units of weight
N.11 Compare and convert metric units of volume
N.12 Compare and convert metric units
N.13 Conversion tables – metric units
N.14 Compare customary units by multiplying
N.15 Convert mixed customary units
N.16 Add and subtract mixed customary units
N.17 Convert between metric and customary units

Geometry
P.26 Volume

Decimals
U.12 Round decimals
V.1 Add decimal numbers
V.7 Complete the addition or subtraction sentence

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child to explain something that has a mass of one gram, 5 grams, and 10 grams.
  • Ask your child to explain something that has a mass of one kilogram and 75 kilograms.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some online math games to practice the skills we are doing in class:

Artie Ounce Soda Jerk (Units of volume game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/soda/
Measurement Workshop – http://mrnussbaum.com/measurement-workshop-ipad.html
Sal’s Sub Shop (ruler & measurement game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/sals-sub-shop-ipad.html

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
This week in Social Studies we wrapped up the first part of our unit “Take Me To Your Leader.” Students began to answer our driving question, “What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life and how can we help?”

Over the past two weeks each student chose a quality of life issue that was important to them, researched that issue and a leader who worked on that issue. Then they created a poster to showcase their findings. On Thursday the students went on a Gallery Walk, observing the nearly 80 posters made by Grade 4 students which were displayed in the project area. Here are the amazing posters our class produced:

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Students had two tasks to complete as they observed the posters:

  • Leave Post-It notes on posters with questions they had, something they liked, or something they are interested in. This allowed students to reflect on other issues as well as get feedback on their own poster.
  • Complete a checklist that asked them to answer questions, including which quality of life issue was addressed the most, and which leadership quality did you see displayed the most?

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This was the first part of our Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit, which leads into our main project: create an advertising campaign about what kids can do to help with an important quality of life issue. We begin the second part next week.

How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • What posters impressed your child during the gallery walk, and why?
  • What did they like best about their own poster?
  • Which quality of life issue seemed to appear the most on the posters, and why?
  • Which leadership quality did they see appear the most?

 

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

MAY

  • 18 May, Wednesday: Soccer Day. More details to follow.
  • 19 May, Thursday: ES/MS Choir & Orchestra Concert (Grades 4-8)
  • 27 May, Friday: Grade 4 Pearl Tower field trip. We will need chaperones! More details to follow.

JUNE

  • 1 June, Wednesday: Summer Sizzler. More details to follow.
  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last day of school; half day for students

What’s Up This Week: 2 – 6 May 2016

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S W I M M I N G   U N I T   B E G I N S !
Students in our class begin a swimming unit with PE teacher Mr. Magsi on Tuesday 3 May and continue until 19 May during their regular PE time.

This is a great opportunity for students to improve their swimming and water safety skills, while having a safe and enjoyable experience. Please read the following guidelines below so as to make sure you are ready to begin the swimming program.

SWIM SUITS:

  • Girls should wear a one-piece swimsuit.
  • Boys may wear Speedos, trunks or knee length Lycra suits; no bathing suits below knees. Condition of swim suit must be suitable.
  • T-Shirts not allowed.
  • To ensure that the children do not forget their swimsuits, all students can leave their suits hanging in a designated place at the pool. When they arrive for their next lesson, the suits will be there, dry and waiting for them. Please write your name clearly on your bathing suit.

GOGGLES & CAPS:

  • Some students prefer to swim with goggles and some not.
  • Basic, inexpensive goggles that are comfortable are fine.
  • Swimming Caps should be worn by all students with long hair. At the very least, long hair should be tied back.
  • Leave goggles at pool until the swimming unit is complete.
  • Clearly write your name on the cap and goggles.

TOWELS:

  • We are very fortunate to have clean towels for all our students.
  • No need to bring your own towels.
  • Put towels in the bin provided after use.

SICKNESS:

  • It is PE department policy that if a child is attending school, then they must participate in physical activity. If you are well enough to be at school, then you are expected to participate in swimming.
  • This is a great opportunity for your child to receive professional and high quality instruction from a qualified and experienced aquatic staff, who will endeavor to provide a safe and friendly learning environment. Swimming is a life skill!

INQUIRIES:
Aquatics Staff: George Carpouzis/Sandy Elder,+86-21-6221-1445 ext. 3572;
email: george.carpouzis@saschina.org or  sandy.elder@saschina.org

PE teacher Magsi Magsumbol: +86-21-6221-1445 ext. 3301; email Magsi.Magsumbol@saschina.org

 

 

 

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F I E L D   T R I P   F R I D A Y
As part of the China Alive activities that begin this week, the Chinese teachers have organized a field trip for Grade 4 students this coming Friday, 6 May, to Nanxiang old town & Guyi Garden. Thank you for signing the field trip permission form. The Chinese teachers have already secured chaperones for this trip.

Please make sure students bring:

  • a home lunch
  • snack
  • water bottle
  • money if they wish to purchase some treats or souvenirs

For questions about this field trip, please contact Giselle Holberry at: Giselle.Holbery@saschina.org

Our final field trip will be 27 May to Pearl Tower. Details to follow…

 

 

 

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S O U T H   A F R I C A N   D A N C E R S
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to watch (and participate in!) a performance by the renowned Gumboots dance group from South Africa, who travels around the world to perform. They raise funds for the Kliptown Youth Program, an organization that helps South African youth rise out of poverty through tutoring, athletics, and arts programs. You can read more about this wonderful organization here: http://www.kliptownyouthprogram.org.za/

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SAS Grade 4 students learn some of the dance moves.

 

 

R E A D I N G
Last week we continued our unit on historical fiction. Each team continued reading novels from a certain era, and students learned another strategy for comprehending historical fiction stories:

  • Be open to new thinking as you read – Discuss ideas with other readers, and listen to their ideas as well. This can lead to a journey of thought and new insights. Here, book clubs discuss possible themes for the current book they are reading:

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Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
We continued reading aloud the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as part of this unit. Here is an updated list of our vocabulary words from Number the Stars:

specter
dismay
tentative
distorted
glower
belligernet
imperious
unwavering
torment
haughty
sabotage
intricate
civilized
linger

Next week students learn how analyzing the perspectives of minor characters can help their comprehension. Students will also continue refining the way we decide on a novel’s theme.

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child about the current book club book they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • Have your child describe the theme of the book they are reading. Has this theme idea changes as they read more of the story?
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far.

 

 

 

 

W R I T I N G
This past week we incorporated writing instruction and practice into our social studies unit “Take Me to Your Leader.” Students researched a leader who improved the quality of life in some way, taking notes from various sources (websites, articles, books, videos), then creating short paragraphs they will put into a poster.

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We also incorporated writing instruction and practice into our reading unit on historical fiction. Students wrote daily reflections as they read their historical fiction novels, touching on a tip they learned each day (theme, symbolism, character perspectives, etc.). Students also completed a “quick write,” jotting down ideas about how their ideas for theme have changes as they read their novel.

 

 

 

M  A  T  H
This week students reviewed all of the concepts from Chapters 9 and 10, including:

  • converting fractions to decimals and percentages
  • discovering patterns in figures and numbers
  • determining the line(s) of symmetry in a 2-dimensional shape
  • drawing the reflections of a 2-dimensional shape

Students corrected their pre-assessment, participated in some “white board challenges” (solving quick math problems on mini-whiteboards), and finally took the chapter test on Thursday. Next week they will bring this home for your review and signature.

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Our next unit will focus on weight (kilogram, gram, pounds, ounces), length (centimeters, meter, feet, inches, yards), and liquid volume (gallons, liters, cups, quarts).

 IXL Skills for Practice

Measurement
N.1 Measure using an inch ruler
N.2 Which customary unit is appropriate?
N.3 Compare and convert customary units of length
N.4 Compare and convert customary units of weight
N.5 Compare and convert customary units of volume
N.6 Compare and convert customary units
N.7 Conversion tables – customary units
N.8 Which metric unit is appropriate?
N.9 Compare and convert metric units of length
N.10 Compare and convert metric units of weight
N.11 Compare and convert metric units of volume
N.12 Compare and convert metric units
N.13 Conversion tables – metric units
N.14 Compare customary units by multiplying
N.15 Convert mixed customary units
N.16 Add and subtract mixed customary units
N.17 Convert between metric and customary units

Geometry
P.26 Volume

Decimals
U.12 Round decimals
V.1 Add decimal numbers
V.7 Complete the addition or subtraction sentence

 

 

 

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child to explain a line of symmetry.
  • Ask your child the steps to take when multiplying a decimal, and then for dividing a decimal.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some online math games to practice the skills we are doing in class:

Artie Ounce Soda Jerk (Units of volume game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/soda/
Measurement Workshop – http://mrnussbaum.com/measurement-workshop-ipad.html
Sal’s Sub Shop (ruler & measurement game) – http://mrnussbaum.com/sals-sub-shop-ipad.html

 

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
This week in Social Studies the students continued to gather data on an issue that was important to them and a leader who is making a difference in that area.

photo: Jo-Anne McArthur; http://www.theghostsinourmachine.com/

Jonathan’s leader: Captain Paul Watson. Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur; http://www.theghostsinourmachine.com/

Once the students were able to find enough information they began writing. They created a checklist that helped them organize their information, and started thinking about how to convey the message though an informational poster. We looked at examples of professional posters to see what elements were used to make these so effective. They also made sure their information was complete.

Here’s a sneak peek at the draft for one leader poster, this one by Rex:

Leader

Next week we will finish researching, writing and making the poster. Then, on Thursday, students display the posters in our project area for a gallery walk. 

How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • What facts about their leader has surprised your child?
  • Ask your child about the progress they’ve made on their poster. What is their design idea for organizing all of the information?
  • Ask what will make their poster attract the attention of others.

 

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

MAY

  • 2 May, Monday: No School; May holiday
  • 4 May, Wednesday: Swimming begins in PE for 4JF and 4SM
  • 6 May, Friday: Grade 4 China Alive field trip to Nanxiang old town & Guyi Garden
  • 6 May, Friday: “Collage” Dance Performance featuring Grades 3 – 12. Reception begins at 5:30pm, show starts at 6:00pm at the PAC. Book tickets here: http://pudong-performing-arts.ticketleap.com/collage/.
  • 18 May, Wednesday: Soccer Day. More details to follow.
  • 27 May, Friday: Grade 4 Pearl Tower field trip. We will need chaperones! More details to follow.

JUNE

  • 1 June, Wednesday: Summer Sizzler. More details to follow.
  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last day of school; half day for students

What’s Up This Week: 25 – 29 April 2016

V I S I T I N G    A U T H O R S
We were fortunate for the second time this year to have a pair of award-winning authors visit our campus. We had excellent presentations and Q&A sessions by Margaret Peterson Haddix and Laurie Halse Anderson, authors of books that many of our students have read. Both authors were personable and had fascinating stories about how they came up with their story ideas. They certainly were inspiring! 

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Monday assembly with both authors.

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Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Margaret Peterson Haddix with our class.

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Laurie Halse Anderson

 

 

 

R E A D I N G
This past week we continued our new unit on historical fiction. All students are part of a team of three or four students reading the same books from a particular era in American history: either WWII, the Great Depression, Westward Expansion/Pioneers, or the Revolutionary War.

Students decide on how much their club reads each day, discuss and debate their books, and figure out the life lessons taught in the story. Three of the clubs started second novels this week, and the fourth club is still tackling a middle school level novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, one of the visiting authors this week. They were even able to ask her specific questions about the book this week! 

We began a timeline in the hallway, with each book club team adding important dates from their book–both historical and character events.

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Students learned a few more strategies for comprehending historical fiction stories:

  • Pause and pay attention – Pause during parts of the story that seem to be important (e.g. repeated words or symbols, surprising things, parts where the main character has an epiphany, etc.) and determine what these mean and how they connect.
  • Look for the small stuff – How do small details and small objects support the theme of a novel?
  • Wear “theme glasses” – After deciding on a theme for a novel you’re reading, view the rest of that novel through the lens of that theme.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
We continued reading aloud the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as part of this unit. It offers many fine examples for our exploration of historical fiction, and is a gripping story that has captivated the students.

Here is an updated list of our vocabulary words from Number the Stars:

tentative
distorted
glower
belligernet
imperious
unwavering
torment
haughty
sabotage
intricate
civilized
linger

As usual students learned the definitions through context clues, and remembered the meanings by keeping a vocabulary log with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, a 7-Up sentence, a sketch, and by acting out the definitions using tableau. Here are some of their creative tableaus:

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Demonstrating “imperious”

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Demonstrating “sabotage”

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Demonstrating “belligerent”

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Demonstrating “torment”

Next week students learn how to strengthen their interpretations of a novel by listening to the interpretations of others. They also find out how analyzing the perspectives of minor characters can aid their comprehension.

 

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child about the current book club book they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • Have your child describe the theme of the book they are reading. Has this theme idea changes as they read more of the story?
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far.

 

 

M  A  T  H
This week students reviewed multiplying decimals, then dived right into dividing decimals. As with multiplying decimals, they learned that it’s good practice when dividing decimals to get an estimate first as it will help determine the placement of the decimal point. For example:

The problem: 7.8 ÷ 2
Estimate: 8 ÷ 2 = 4, so the answer to the problem above will be around 4.
Solve: 78 ÷ 2 = 39 (Remove decimal from 7.8)
Determine where decimal goes: Is the answer .39, 3.9, or 39? Since the estimate was 4, the answer must be 3.9.

Students also revisited the concept of equivalent fractions, this time with fractions that have denominators of 10 or 100:

The problem: 3/10 + 35/100
Using equivalent fractions to create like denominators: Change 3/10 to 30/100.
The new problem: 30/100 + 35/100 = 65/100

We also took another look at geometry, with an emphasis on symmetry. Many objects in nature are symmetrical: flowers, insects, and the human body, to name a few, Symmetry is all around us–in buildings, furniture, clothing, and paintings.

symmetry

We focused on reflectional symmetry, also called line symmetry or mirror symmetry. This in when half of a figure is the mirror image of the other half. Students used a device called a transparent mirror, seen below, to see and trace the mirror reflection of an object.

mirror

As with last week, students used visual art to strengthen their understanding of a math concept. Students created an art piece using reflectional symmetry, and the results were stunning!

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Next week students review for the test which they will take later in the week.

 IXL Skills for Practice

Multiply decimals

Divide decimals

Decimals

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child how they created perfect symmetry in their art piece.
  • Have your child explain how to add 5/10 + 22/100.
  • Ask your child to demonstrate finding 9.1 ÷ 3.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some of these online math games:

Death to Decimals: http://mrnussbaum.com/deathdecimals/
Puppy Chase: http://www.mathplayground.com/ASB_Puppy_Chase_Decimals.html
Fruit Shoot: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/mathgames/fractions/FractionsToDecimals.htm

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
This week we continued our new unit, Take Me to Your Leader. The students seek to answer our driving question – What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life and how can you help? We broke this question up into two parts. First – What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life? Second – How can you help? 

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This week we focused on the first part of this question. Each student chose an issue that was important to them and researched a leader that was making difference in this area. Students were able to use books from the library, the SAS data base, prior knowledge, interviews and/or “student friendly” search engines to gather information about the leader they chose.

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Everyone in our class has made a selection of a leader/social issue to research and present.

This week students mainly conducted research. Next week students complete their research and begin to create a poster to showcase the leader and issue they chose. Once the posters are complete, the fourth grade will have a gallery walk where we can learn about issues that are important to us and who the leaders are making a difference in that area. After the gallery walk in two weeks time, we will begin to answer the second part of our driving question – How can you help? Stay tuned for more on this exciting project!  

How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • What has your child discovered about their leader so far in their research?
  • What qualities make their chosen leader so effective?
  • What type of poster design is your child thinking about to showcase their leader?

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

APRIL

  • 25 April, Monday: Pajama Day (Part of Spirit Week)
  • 26 April, Tuesday: School Colors Day or Eagle Wear (Part of Spirit Week)
  • 27 April, Wednesday: Worldly Wednesday: clothing or colors from your home country (Part of Spirit Week)
  • 27 April, Wednesday: Grade 4 Track & Field Day, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • 28 April, Thursday: Sports Day: Sporty clothes or favorite sports team (Part of Spirit Week)
  • 29 April, Friday: House Shirts (Part of Spirit Week)

MAY

  • 2 May, Monday: No School; May holiday
  • 6 May, Friday: China Alive Field Trip. More details to follow.
  • 18 May, Wednesday: Soccer Day. More details to follow.

JUNE

  • 1 June, Wednesday: Summer Sizzler. More details to follow.s
  • 8 June, Wednesday: Last day of school; half day for student

What’s Up This Week: 18 – 22 April 2016

A   G L O B A L   C O L L A B O R A T I O N

In my past teaching experiences I’ve had the great opportunity to engage my students in global collaboration projects with students in other countries. These are organized and presented by a wonderful organization called Blue Planet Writers’ Room located in Florida in the USA. They specialize in connecting students across the world through arts-integrated writing projects.

New-Logo

Currently we are partnering with students at a school in West Palm Beach, Florida. The US students are writing “fractured fairy tales,” or funny versions of traditional fairy tales. They are creating puppets of their main characters as well. They have shared film of their work with us through a file hosting service called DropBox. Here are two of the Florida students reading their work:

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Our class is creating fractured fairy tale versions of Lon Po Po, a Chinese fairy tale that is a bit similar to Little Red Riding Hood. They have written their funny versions, and three of the four teams have been filmed either reading or acting out their fairy tale. Once all are complete, we will put these in Dropbox for our new US friends to view, and post them on this blog for you to enjoy as well.

These types of global collaborations have so many benefits for our students:

  • developing global awareness
  • increasing tolerance for diversity
  • strengthening collaboration skills
  • building confidence
  • increasing creativity skills
  • improving writing skills
  • developing skills in the arts

We look forward to doing more of these in the future!

 

 

S T U D E N T  –  L E D   C O N F E R E N C E S
I must admit that after witnessing the student-led conferences last week, I was so impressed I nearly exploded with pride! It was impressive hearing the students describe in so much detail  what they had learned and what they want to focus on in each subject area. These conferences were a huge responsibility for them to prepare for, and they came through with flying colors. I hoped you enjoyed them as much as I did!

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R E A D I N G

90aWe started a brand new reading unit this week focused on historical fiction…in book clubs! With this particular genre, students will be tackling more complicated texts and more interpretive reading work. Historical fiction will give them opportunities to enhance their reading skills with new and fascinating challenges, as the characters live in places in which they have not lived, in times they have not known. Needless to say, the reading work will be appropriately intense!

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Readers are often drawn to historical fiction because the stories are ones of the struggle toward social justice…you’ll see your children, during this unit of study, realize that reading is really about learning how to live. 

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This reading of historical fiction also supports a new social structure- book clubs. We want students to know the shared pleasure of reading with friends. We want them to know what it’s like to come to know someone through the books they read. And we want them to have the experience of building collective interpretations.

All students are now part of a team of three or four students, all of them reading the same books from a particular era in American history: either WWII, the Great Depression, Westward Expansion/Pioneers, or the Revolutionary War. They will discuss and debate their books, determine how history intersects with the characters, and figure out the life lessons we can learn from historical fiction stories. Here are the first four novels:

boy at war

The WWII team, Kid Allies, is reading this.

Bud,_Not_Buddy

The Hopeful Halos team, is reading this, set during the Great Depression.

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The Popular Patriots are reading this, set during the Revolutionary War.

trouble river

The Lone Ranger team is reading this novel set during the Westward Expansion.

The unit begins with a focus on reading complex texts with deep comprehension. This week students learned that the beginning of a book is chock full of important details about the characters, setting, and the problems. One way they can keep track of this information is to “pin it to a mental bulletin board.”

They also learned to keep track of multiple timelines–both the historical timeline and the main character’s timeline of events. Finally they learned to be alert readers and notice anything special that stands out–repeated words or images, surprises, or a character getting a new insight. All of these signal something important happening.

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Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
As part of this unit, we are reading aloud the Newbery Award -winning novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This piece of historical fiction documents the heroic actions of Danes during WWII as they save Jewish citizens by smuggling them in fishing boats to Sweden. Students will certainly learn many life lessons related to being selfless and courageous.

Students learned four new vocabulary words from the novel this week:

sabotage
intricate
civilized
linger

As usual students learned the definitions through context clues, and remembered the meanings by keeping a vocabulary log with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, a 7-Up sentence, a sketch, and by acting out the definitions using tableau. Here are some of their creative tableaus:

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How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child about the current book club book they are reading. In which historical era does it take place? Who is the main character? What is the trouble that is brewing?
  • Have your child explain some tips for beginning a historical fiction novel. Why must the reader pay close attention at the start? How can we keep track of everything happening? What sorts of timelines are we dealing with in historical fiction stories.
  • Ask your child what they have learned about the historical period in which their book takes place. Did they know anything about this time period before? How could they learn more?
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in a sentence? How were they used in the book?
  • Ask your child to explain the plot of “Number the Stars” so far. Can they describe the main characters? The setting? The trouble that is brewing?
  • Ask your child what they are reading for the nightly “Read to Succeed” homework. Students read a self-chosen book and write a few sentences about what they read. They record the amount of time they read on a reading log.
  • Have your child read one of aloud one of his/her selected books. Encourage smooth reading, stopping for punctuation, using voices for different characters, using expression to make the reading exciting, etc.

 

M  A  T  H

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This week the students had a great time incorporating art into our math unit by introducing the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. First, students examined four of his paintings by using a grid to determine the percentages of color he used in each. Here is one of the works students analyzed:

Composition C (No.III) with Red, Yellow and Blue

Composition C (No.III) with Red, Yellow and Blue

Using a 10 x 10 grid overlay, they determined the fraction, decimal, and percentage of each color. For example, in this painting red makes up 20% of the composition, which can also be expressed as .20 or 20/100. Comparing all four paintings, they determined that Mondrian used more white than any other color, with red in second place.

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Finally, the students used his concepts of abstract painting to produce their own piece of work. First they determined the percentage of each color they wished to use, then used a grid to help them arrange the colors. Then they recorded the fraction, decimal, and percentage of each color. This was a very engaging way to learn the Grade 4 standard of determining equivalencies among fractions, decimals, and percents!

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On Friday students learned how to multiply decimals (for example, 2.8 x 7). They learned this technique:

  1. Estimate the answer: 2.8 x 7 is close to 3 x 7 = 21.
  2. Multiply the actual numbers (leaving out the decimal) using partial product multiplication or another method:

28
x 7
________
7 x 8 = 56
7 x 20 = 140
______________
56 + 140 = 196

3. Looking at the earlier estimate (21), determine the placement of the decimal point. Is it .196, 1.96, 0r 19.6? (19.6 is closest to 21)


 IXL Skills for Practice

Patterns and sequences
L.1 Geometric growth patterns
L.2 Increasing growth patterns
L.3 Numeric patterns: word problems
L.4 Patterns involving addition and multiplication
L.5 Mixed patterns review

Line of Symmetry
P.29 Lines of symmetry

 

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Ask your child how they were able to find the percentage of red in the Mondrian paintings.
  • Have your child demonstrate how to write 50/100 as a decimal and as a percentage.
  • Ask your child to demonstrate finding 5.8 x 9.
  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some of these online math games to preapre for our new unit:

Death to Decimals: http://mrnussbaum.com/deathdecimals/
Puppy Chase: http://www.mathplayground.com/ASB_Puppy_Chase_Decimals.html
Fruit Shoot: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/mathgames/fractions/FractionsToDecimals.htm

 

 

S O C I A L   S T U D I E S
This past week we started our new unit titled, “Take Me to Your Leader.” The focus of the unit is for students to:

  • describe ideas and actions that changed societies in particular times and places
  • explain how cultures are influenced by people in positions of power
  • identify qualities of a successful leader

We launched the unit by showing a video on Huang Ming who is trying to reduce the pollution in China through the use of solar energy. 

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Then we introduced our driving question for the unit: What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life and how can you help?

The students came up with questions they had in order to help understand and answer the driving question:

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The students’ questions will help drive the instruction for this unit. For example, one of their questions was, “What is quality of life?” So we looked at the definition of quality of life: the general well-being of a person in terms of health and happiness. Teams then developed a list of issues that impacts our quality of life.

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Another question students had was “What makes a leader and what qualities do leaders have?”To help answer that question, teams first used a circle map to brainstorm “What is a Leader?”

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To answer that question they also did a jigsaw video activity. Each student left their home team to join an “expert group.” Their expert group watched a video on a leader, noting what qualities that leader had and what action they took to improve the quality of life of others. Then students returned to their home team and presented on their leader.

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Finally, students chose one quality of life issue that they are passionate about, and on Friday began to research a leader in that area. Here are the leaders chosen so far:

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Next week students will continue to research their leader, and eventually will create a poster that will be displayed in a Grade 4 Gallery Walk. This project base learning unit will provide lots of voice and choice into how the students want to best answer our driving question – What actions does a leader take to improve the quality of life and how can you help? Stay tuned to see how it unfolds. 

How you can help your child with social studies this week:

  • Ask your child what “quality of life” means. What are some important quality of life issues today? Which issue is your child most passionate about?
  • Ask what qualities Huang Ming, the Solar King, has that make him a good leader.
  • Have your child describe the leader video they viewed. Can they summarize what that person did to improve the quality of life? Can they explain some qualities that made this person an effective leader? Can they describe the other three leaders that their teammates presented?
  • Has your child chosen a leader to research yet? If so, who did they choose and why?

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

APRIL

  • 18 and 19 April, Monday and Tuesday: DRESS REHEARSALS MANDATORY for Hairspray
  • 18 April, Monday: Earth Week begins.
  • 18 April, Monday: Parent to Teacher survey opens on PowerSchool.
  • 19 April, Tuesday: MAP Reading test for Grade 4, 10 – 11:30 AM
  • 19 April, Tuesday: Be a “tree hugger!” With any donation you can add your name, (or a friends) to a leaf on our tree in the Cafeteria and help SAS plant trees in Inner Mongolia
  • 20 April, Tuesday: MAP Language Usage Test, 10 – 11:30 AM
  • 20 April, Wednesday: Mini plants for sale during lunch; supplies are limited!
  • 21 April Thursday: MAP Math test, 10 – 11:30 AM
  • 21 and 22 April, Thursday and Friday: Hairspray Show Time! 7pm start. Students prep after school. 
  • 22 April, Friday: Date with Dad: 2:15 check-in for dads/meet up with child; 3:00-5:00 pm activities. “Dads” may also include uncles, grandfathers, older siblings, or family friends. Transportation provided at the end of the event back to Jinqiao and Gubei. For the perfect date, stay for the musical performance of Hairspray after Date with Dad! Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DWD2016

MAY

  • 2 May, Monday: No School; May holiday

What’s Up This Week: 5 – 8 April 2016

S T U D E N T  –  L E D   C O N F E R E N C E S   T H I S   W E E K
As a reminder:

  • Student-led conferences are scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday 7 April, and for Friday 8 April.
  • Unlike the conferences at the beginning of the school year, these are led entirely by your child who will explain highlights of their learning in Trimester 2, challenges they’ve encountered and how they are tackling those, and their goals for the last trimester.
  • Each time slot is an hour. That includes a 30-minute student-led conference in my classroom, and 30 minutes to visit your child’s other teachers (art, PE, music, language, counselor, etc.)

 

R E A D I N G
During the week before break students worked on the culminating activity for our novel Missing May, the design of a “whirligig” that expresses a particular emotion. A whirligig is a garden ornament that has a part that spins in the wind, and these devices played an important role in the story. Students chose an emotion or idea, and designed a moving sculpture to represent it. Pictures to come next week!

Students also continued work on their graphic novel offering tips to new students. Each team took a section of the novel and created storyboards showing dialogue and rough sketches of the illustrations.

How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child to describe their whirligig. What emotion or idea did they represent? Can they imagine Uncle Ob creating this whirligig too?
  • Have your child explain the graphic novel they are working on. What tips are they offering new students to help them adjust to a new school?
  • Ask your child what they are reading for the nightly “Read to Succeed” homework. Students read a self-chosen book and write a few sentences about what they read. They record the amount of time they read on a reading log.
  • Have your child read one of aloud one of his/her selected books. Encourage smooth reading, stopping for punctuation, using voices for different characters, using expression to make the reading exciting, etc.

 

 

M  A  T  H
In the past week students reviewed, then took the Chapter 8 assessment on fractions. Overall most of the class showed a solid understanding of fractions and how they represent parts of a whole.

After spring break we begin Unit 9: Fractions, Decimals, and Percents. Unit 9 has three main areas of focus:

  • Equivalencies among fractions, decimals, and percents
  • Reinforcing the use of a data table, survey data, and ranking and comparing data reported as percents
  • Introducing division of decimals by whole numbers


 IXL Skills for Practice

Multiply decimals

Divide decimals
Decimals

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Encourage your child to play some of these online math games to preapre for our new unit:

Death to Decimals: http://mrnussbaum.com/deathdecimals/
Puppy Chase: http://www.mathplayground.com/ASB_Puppy_Chase_Decimals.html
Fruit Shoot: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/mathgames/fractions/FractionsToDecimals.htm

 

 

S C I E N C E
Over the past week students continued to prepare for the culminating activity of our unit “Catch a Wave: Waves and Information Transfer.” Then on Thursday afternoon students transmitted a message across the length of the playground to a partner on the other side.

They sent some “secret” information either via light waves or sound waves, and they couldn’t use words or letters. The message they transmitted was actually a set of directions leading to a hidden treat! Students created secret codes that they sent, from sounds to flags to body movements. And, best of all, every student found their chocolate!

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After spring break we begin a new social studies unit: Take Me To Your Leader. It focuses on how an individual can take actions to improve quality of life issues, and how students can also make a difference.

How you can help your child with science this week:

  • Ask your child to explain how they were able to transmit the secret message, and how successful they were in finding their treasure.

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

APRIL

  • 4 April, Monday: No School; Tomb Sweeping Day
  • 5 April, Tuesday: School resumes
  • 7 April, Thursday: Student-led Conferences (School in session)
  • 8 April, Friday: Student-led Conferences (No school)
  • 11 April, Monday: Hairspray Rehearsal
  • 14 April, Thursday: Hairspray Rehearsal
  • 14 April, Thursday: Help raise money for diabetes research and have fun! Great prizes for students who raise the most money and for those who swim the most laps! Space is limited….sign up here ASAP: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TCK5Y5K
  • 18 and 19 April, Monday and Tuesday: DRESS REHEARSALS MANDATORY for Hairspray
  • 18 April, Monday: Earth Week begins.
  • 19 April, Tuesday: Be a “tree hugger!” With any donation you can add your name, (or a friends) to a leaf on our tree in the Cafeteria and help SAS plant trees in Inner Mongolia
  • 20 April, Wednesday: Mini plants for sale during lunch; supplies are limited!
  • 21 and 22 April, Thursday and Friday: Hairspray Show Time! 7pm start. Students prep after school. 
  • 22 April, Friday: Date with Dad: 2:15 check-in for dads/meet up with child; 3:00-5:00 pm activities. “Dads” may also include uncles, grandfathers, older siblings, or family friends. Transportation provided at the end of the event back to Jinqiao and Gubei. For the perfect date, stay for the musical performance of Hairspray after Date with Dad! Registration and more specific information coming 5 April.

MAY

  • 2 May, Monday: No School; May holiday

What’s Up This Week: 21 – 25 March 2016

S T U D E N T  –  L E D   C O N F E R E N C E   S I G N  –  U P   T I M E
Student-led conferences are scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday 7 April, and for Friday 8 April. Unlike the conferences at the beginning of the school year, these are led entirely by your child who will explain highlights of their learning in Trimester 2, challenges they’ve encountered and how they are tackling those, and their goals for the last trimester.

Because of this format, I can accommodate up to five students and their parents at a time since the conferences can happen simultaneously. Since many parents seem to prefer the three Thursday afternoon time slots (3:10 PM, 4:10 PM, or 5:10 PM), that means I can accommodate everyone on Thursday if need be. If for some reason the PowerSchool site doesn’t allow you to sign up for a Thursday slot, please email me ASAP and I’ll make it work! Of course there are Friday slots available too (8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM).

For your information:

  • If you have 3 or more children at SAS, you can sign up on PowerSchool beginning this Monday 21 March at 8:00 AM.
  • Everyone else can sign up beginning Wednesday 23 March at 8:00 AM.
  • Each time slot is an hour. That includes a 30-minute student-led conference in my classroom, and 30 minutes to visit your child’s other teachers (art, PE, music, language, counselor, etc.)

 

S P R I N G   B R E A K   B E G I N S
There is no school from Monday 28 March through Monday 4 April due to spring break. School resumes on TUESDAY 5 April.

 

A   F A N T A S T I C   F I E L D   T R I P !
On Friday Grade 4 visited the new Shanghai Natural History Museum, a beautiful facility chock-full of fascinating displays that kept our students interested and amazed. They enjoyed completing a set of challenges that took them all throughout the massive space. A BIG thank you to our parent volunteers Gretchen, Kim, Tal, and Rafa!

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V I S I T I N G   A U T H O R S
We were fortunate two have two well-known children’s book authors visit SAS Pudong this week, 2015 Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander and best-selling author and Emmy nominee Todd Parr. We were able to see both in presentations, and students in my class who are library pages even had lunch with both of them as well!

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Kwame Alexander with the Grade 4 library pages.

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Todd Parr with the Grade 4 students.

 

 

 

 

R E A D I N G
During the past week we completed our class novel Missing May, wrapping up an interesting and emotional story that students connected to in many ways. Students analyzed Celine Dion’s song “My Heart Will Go On” and determined that the message—that we never forget those we loved—was also the main message in our novel. I was impressed that students were able to have deep discussions about this novel which is written at a Grade 6 level!

Next week they work on the culminating activity for the novel, the design of a “whirligig” that expresses a particular emotion. A whirligig is a garden ornament that has a part that spins in the wind, and these devices played an important role in the story.

Sedona Whirligig

Here is our updated vocabulary list:

eavesdrop: secretly listen to another’s conversation
oblivion: the state of being unaware of what is happening
consolation: comfort
optimistic: feeling hopeful and positive
legislature: government body that makes laws
bereavement
: period of sorrow/heartache after a death
paradise
: place of perfect happiness
reliable: dependable
revelation: information suddenly revealed
surreal: weird and dreamlike
collaborate: work together
speculation: guess
enthusiasm: excited interest
concrete: solid, real, and definite
lunatic: reckless and foolish person
tolerate: put up with
indifference: lack of feeling or interest
serene: calm and peaceful

We did our last set of tableau vocabulary practices for the novel:

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How you can help your child with reading this week:

  • Ask your child to summarize the novel Missing May. Did it end as they expected it to end? What message did they take away from the novel? Which character was their favorite?
  • Have your child explain the meaning Celine Dion’s song “My Heart Will Go On.”
  • Can your child use the vocabulary words above in sentence?
  • Check that your child is completing the nightly “Read to Succeed” homework. Students read a self-chosen book and write a few sentences about what they read. They record the amount of time they read on a reading log.
  • Have your child read one of aloud one of his/her selected books. Encourage smooth reading, stopping for punctuation, using voices for different characters, using expression to make the reading exciting, etc.

 

 

 

W R I T I N G
This past week students prepared in earnest for the Spoken Word performance held on Thursday. They rehearsed their pieces countless times, making sure to express the emotions that were present in their words, and made revisions to their text as they thought of more impactful words and phrases. By Thursday morning they were ready (and maybe just a little bit nervous!).

Our individual class Spoken Word performances in the Black Box allowed every single student to present to our audience of parents. Our talented students definitely met the challenge of connecting with the audience and making everyone feel the emotion in their pieces. I could not have been prouder.

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Then all Grade 4 students and parents gathered in the Black Box for performances by a select group of students from each class. It was nearly a full house as Newbery Medal-winning poet and author Kwame Alexander kicked off the show. He told us how, when dating the woman who became his wife, he wrote her a poem every day for a year. Then he performed the last of those, the 365th poem he wrote that year! It was a fantastic kick-off to our event, and Kwame returned to the audience to watch our event. What an honor for our students to perform in front of a Newbery Medal-winning poet!

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Kwame Alexander kicks off our Spoken Word performance.

Next the performers stepped one-by-one onto the stage, confident and poised, and delivered their powerful pieces, cheered on by their peers and families. One parent commented, “I had to keep remembering that these were 10-year-olds! I myself couldn’t write poetry this deep!”

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Maksym performing his piece about moving to China.

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Rachel performs a piece about moving to and from China.

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Rex performs a piece honoring his sister.

Ophir performs a piece describing her cultural confusion.

Ophir performs a piece describing her cultural confusion.

And just a quick snippet from Rex’s performance:

I really appreciate the parents (and siblings!) who attended our performance. It meant a lot to me and the class to have you there!

Hats off to the Grade 4 students for a performance to remember!

How You Can Help Your Child with Writing This Week

  • Ask your child to reflect on their Spoken Word piece. Why did they choose this topic? How did they make sure that their writing made us feel emotion? What poetic devices did they use? How did they use gestures to strengthen their performance? Looking back, would they change anything?

 

 

M  A  T  H
In the past week we continued exploring the perimeter and area of rectangular shapes. Students also continued working with scale drawings, such as creating a scale drawing of a pool at 5 cm = 1 m. Finally, they practiced solving word problems that involved multiplying a whole number by a fraction (e.g. If five people each eat 2/3 cup of rice, how much rice did they eat in all? 5 x 2/3 = 10/3 = 3-1/3 cups of rice total).

Next week students review, correct their pre-test, then take the math test.


 IXL Skills for Practice

How you can help your child with math this week:

  • Make sure your child is logging on to IXL and doing at least 8 to 10 minutes/day.
  • Have your child practice our current math concepts using one of these online games:

Design a Party: http://www.mathplayground.com/PartyDesigner/PartyDesigner.html 

Zoo Designer: http://mrnussbaum.com/zoo/

En Garde: http://www.math4children.com/Grade4/games/Geometry/geometry/

 

 

S C I E N C E
Over the past week students prepared for the culminating activity of our unit “Catch a Wave: Waves and Information Transfer.” For this final activity, students are preparing to transmit a message across the length of the running track to a partner on the other side. They must send the information via light waves or sound waves, and they can’t use words. The message they transmit is a set of directions leading to a hidden treat! Students have been busy creating codes that they can send, from sounds to flags to body movements.

Next Thursday afternoon they will transmit their messages, and it will be quite interesting to see if their partners can make heads or tails of them!

How you can help your child with science this week:

  • Ask your child to explain how they plan to transmit the secret message!

 

 

C  O  M  I  N  G     S  O  O  N

MARCH

  • 19 March, Saturday: Hairspray Rehearsal
  • 21 March, Monday: Report Cards Live on PowerSchool
  • 23 March, Monday: Conference sign-ups open to all until 3PM on 4 April
  • 23 March, Wednesday:“iDreamofmusic” ES school concert, 10:00 AM, Pudong Auditorium, 10:00am, no tickets are necessary.  Parents, just come right in and take any available seat.  Performers should wear their house (puma, falcon, dolphin, bear) shirts with normal pants and normal shoes.  No special outfits are necessary.
  • 25 March, Friday: Hairspray Rehearsal
  • 26 March – 4 April: Spring Break

APRIL

  • 4 April, Monday: No School; Tomb Sweeping Day
  • 5 April, Tuesday: School resumes
  • 7 April, Thursday: Student-led Conferences (School in session)
  • 8 April, Friday: Student-led Conferences (No school)
  • 11 April, Monday: Hairspray Rehearsal
  • 14 April, Thursday: Hairspray Rehearsal
  • 14 April, Thursday: Help raise money for diabetes research and have fun! Great prizes for students who raise the most money and for those who swim the most laps! Space is limited….sign up here ASAP: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TCK5Y5K
  • 18 and 19 April, Monday and Tuesday: DRESS REHEARSALS MANDATORY for Hairspray
  • 18 April, Monday: Earth Week begins.
  • 19 April, Tuesday: Be a “tree hugger!” With any donation you can add your name, (or a friends) to a leaf on our tree in the Cafeteria and help SAS plant trees in Inner Mongolia
  • 20 April, Wednesday: Mini plants for sale during lunch; supplies are limited!
  • 21 and 22 April, Thursday and Friday: Hairspray Show Time! 7pm start. Students prep after school. 
  • 22 April, Friday: Date with Dad. More information to follow.