Saturday, November 26, 2016

How-to Everything


This week we finished How-to articles. The writing objective was revision for a concise and presentable product. The class did well overall. However, the goal was working to become better writers rather than just finishing the assignment. If your child eagerly wants to just be finished, let’s slow down together and exercise improvement as an ongoing theme or concept for everything. “Is that your best work?” is a question that often yields a better effort.  Together, let’s keep asking that question.

How-to Articles

How-to Make a Milkshake

Tuesday, we will have a math mid-term exam. The test reviews the previous 10 lessons. We previewed the actual test yesterday. The kids have the worksheet at home to study and then officially take the exam Tuesday. The test requires answers to be explained graphically and or in writing. The goal is to articulate problem solving. We will review the concepts again Monday.

Measuring apples

If you’d like to supplement your child’s schoolwork with activities on IXL, I will be sending out the access code today. Please keep in mind that, beyond daily reading of 30-minutes or so for pleasure, I only assign homework when an assignment is due. The absence of official homework hopefully allows you to help your child exercise behaviors that support classroom learning and success like patience, effort, courtesy, and focus.

Show and Tell, we love it, but please question Show and Tell choices. We only use 30-minutes at the end of the week with no time to simply show or tell everday items. We strive to highlight unusual, educational, sentimental or strange things that offer meaningful stories. So far so good.  Thanks.

Reused materials Tuk Tuk


are the spelling words for next Friday’s spelling test.

We were delighted to have Hans Christian Andersen stories brought in to share. I loved reading and discussing these morality tales. When you’re book shopping, I recommend picking up Milbourne, Doherty & Brocklehurst's version Andersen's clever stories.

Classic tales!

"If it wasn't for bad luck..."

Finally, we started the week with a story that involved a scavenger hunt of sorts for color. We even found purple. Interestingly, blue was not a quickly identified natural color for some students (e.g. sky, distant water, some eyes). Let’s not let natural beauty go unnoticed as we move around Bamako and life.

Butterfly bonanza!


Banana blossoms

Enjoy your weekend,


Friday, November 18, 2016

Concentration Power


Monday morning, first thing, yearbook photos will be retaken. The early start should help our morning fresh kids stay tidy for photos. Fingers crossed.

Indeed, emailing you the spelling words before the test worked out well, so here are next Friday's words. No need to study over the weekend. The kids will receive the words Monday and can begin studying from then on.

Alexander Graham Bell once said,"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The Sun's rays do not burn until brought into focus."  To demonstrate his view of focus, we tried to concentrate the sun's rays with a magnifying glass. It worked! The sun's beam burned through a notebook and a leaf or two, safely. So, hopeful, Bell's point and mine were taken into mind by the kids. There's power in concentration.

The Power of Concentration

As our math continues to exercise measurements, the kids were asked to mark a water bottle from zero to 500ml with increments of 100ml. The challenge was how to mark the bottle with only one exact 100ml portion of water, a cup, a water bottle, a marker, and access to a sink. Not all of the kids got the idea at first, but eventually it clicked. Use the first 100ml portion to mark the cup and then use the marked cup for subsequent measures and pours.

Here are some watermark photos.

Watermark 1

Watermark 2

Watermark 3

Watermark 4

That's all for now.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Good Spirit!


First off here are reading support questions you could use to enhance bedtime stories or whenever you discuss a story with your child. Add these questions to your routine to boost comprehension and mutual enjoyment.

Along this line, during the parent/teacher meetings, I mentioned Cricket magazines with the hope that AISB could facilitate orders. Unfortunately, ordering through AISB will not be possible (due to international shipping issues). However, the digital version is available and just $10 a year.

The subscription link is here. If you are interested, choose either Cricket or Spider. What's the difference? Cricket is a more challenging read that targets 9 to 14-year olds. Spider is written for 6 to 9-year olds. Based on the children at home, I suggest you choose a subscription to suit the range of ages.

This was Spirit Week so below are a couple pics plus some birthday fun!

See you at the Halloween Carnival tomorrow.

Formal Day

PJ Day

Friends and Cake

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Flaming Balloons


Please remember that tomorrow is not a school day for kids, as we are having Parent/Teacher conferences (PTC). If you did not sign up for a PTC, but would like to talk at some point, just suggest a time and we can make it happen.

Also note that next week is Spirit Week. Monday is Pajama Day; Tuesday is Superhero Day; Wednesday is Nerd Day; Thursday is Twin/Triplet Day; and Friday is Formal Day.

This week started with a classic cartoon called It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown to explain Halloween and do something fun on the day.

The Great Pumpkin 1

Great Pumpkin 2
Many kids were eager to share their Fall Break Books with stories about the October vacation. 
Fall Break Share

Fall Break Book Report

To help recognize parts of speech, we disassembled sentences from random scraps of paper and made word cards. Then reassembled the words into new senteces. This was and will be a useful exercise to strength the students' knowledge of language conventions. 

Handmade Sentences

Cutting words

Our new science unit discusses water and climate. These topics will lead to many experiments and important ideas. 

Heat Capacity or Flaming Balloons
Millet plants under normal conditions

For today's assembly, we wrote haikus about caring. Caring is the character quality we will focus on this month. 

Haiku Crew

Finally, in math, we are working on measurement. This week the focus was time. To help explain number lines to solve time word problems, I share this clip from Khan Academy. It helped. Please explore this site and stay tuned for more of what we do with Khan Academy.

See you soon,
Mr. J