Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Scholastic Dollar Deals!!!

Teacher friends.... it is that time of year again!! Scholastic is having their dollar deals going on right now for the next few days. Hurry, hurry, find it here! You only have until March 2nd to take advantage of this great offer. This is especially good for my fellow international school teachers, like me who do not have access to a teacher store except during summer.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Writing Corner: Fiction Book Reviews

For the past two weeks, 3R has been learning to write fictional book reviews. The students have been very excited and the reviews are turning out really well. In fact, I had quite a few parents ask if their child had written the book review themselves or had gotten help. Rest assured, all of the students wrote their reviews entirely on their own.

At our school, we use Write Source as a text to guide student writing. I love this resource! The text is wonderful for students because it is visually appealing, simply laid out and presents topics in a manner that is easy to understand. In the book, there is a specific formula to follow when creating a fictional book review and we used it for multiple stages in the writing process.

A fictional book review consists of three paragraphs:
  1. The first paragraph tells what the book is about and includes the title, author, main characters. It includes what happens to the main characters without giving away the ending.
  2. The second paragraph tells why the writer likes the book. The paragraph should tell why the writer is drawn to the book and what emotional connections the author makes to the book. For example: Is the book funny? Does it have a lot of action? Are the characters likeable? Do you have a favorite part? Tell why.
  3. The closing paragraph tells about the main idea the author wanted share. The writer should include what they learned from the book and why they think the author wrote the book.
I created some pre-writing activities to go with this lesson. You can download them free here from google docs or click on the image below.

Friday, February 24, 2012

World Maths Day 2012

World Maths Day is the world’s largest education event where students (aged 4-18) compete in real time against other students from around the world playing mental arithmetic games on the World Maths Day website. World Maths Day encourages students of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to have a go at maths in a fun, interactive and accessible way. Best of all participation in World Maths Day is free – all you need is Internet access –
World Maths Day is a part of the World Education Games. These games provide an opportunity for our students to practice Spelling, Maths and even Science.

The dates of competition are:
  • World Spelling Day – 6 March 2012
  • World Maths Day – 7 March 2012
  • World Science Day – 8 March 2012

Last year we had a fantastic turn out for World Maths Day 2011. We will again focus on World Maths Day but this time as an all school event. This year we have added World Spelling Day as an option. Mrs. McKillip has already started practicing with Team Twiga, her after school activity group.
Past World Maths Day Information from our IST Elementary Blogs:

IST Grade 5 – World Maths Day Student Reflection 2011
IST Grade 2 – Grade 2 Celebrates World Maths Day
IST Grade 2 – World Maths Day Information 2010

Students have been given unique username and password information (allowing students access to World Maths, Spelling and Science). Students have started practicing for World Maths Day at school and they are encouraged to also practice at home (if Internet is available). Practice games are now available (for Maths, Spelling and Science) and can be played until the events take place.

The World Maths Day competition starts Tuesday March 6 at 2.00pm (GMT+3) running 48 hours (time for March 7th to start and finish all around the world). On March 7th, in addition to Math activities in the classroom and in the ICT labs, IST parents have volunteered fun Math activities for students during break times. As a community we hope to make March 7th a true World Maths Day experience for all.

You are invited to join Mr. McKillip in the IST Elementary Open Lab, Tuesday, February 28 at 8.00am for a hands-on introduction to World Maths Day and other World Education Games. You will have the opportunity to play these games, competing against other adults and teachers to support student learning.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Do's and Don'ts of Making Friends

In 3R, we have been in school for quite a while, but every so often we revisit a topic that we learned about and discussed at the start of the year. The topic last Friday during our social skills session was about making friends. Mr. Blair and I broke the class into two groups and did two focus lessons on peer interactions. I taught the girls and we discussed the challenges of making and keeping friends. The girls shared that making and keeping friends is hard work.

In order to help with this challenging skill, we built an anchor chart about the Do's and Don'ts of Making Friends.

The girls and I also shared a book that Mr. Blair gave us to read. It is called Cliques, Phonies, and Other Baloney by Trevor Romain. It is a great book for students from age 8 up. It reviews some basic strategies about how to make friends and keep friends but also talks about building healthy friend relationships. If you are looking for a good non-fiction book about peer interaction for this age, check out this book and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why Are There Goats And Chickens On Campus Miss Rorey?

Believe it or not, our annual “Read to Feed” fundraising event is just beginning!

For the last several years, IST has been working closely with the Heifer International non-profit organization to help raise the standard of living for many families in our community. For more information on Heifer International check out: (Also, if you are one of our readers from overseas, think about going to the website and making a donation. They are a great organization!)

“Read to Feed” was developed to promote literacy while giving students a way to set off a chain of positive change around the world. Children ask reading sponsors to help them raise money to buy gifts of livestock for impoverished families. Our IST donations go directly to the Tanzanian branch of Heifer. The organization then provides a “living loan” of an animal and the training needed to take care of it. Each family that is given a “living loan” repays the loan by passing on one or more of their gift animal’s offspring to another family in need….and so on.

Parents can help by simply helping our children find reading sponsors and by encouraging nightly reading. Students brought home sponsor sheets last week to have filled out. This week, students should start their nightly reading and recording their reading on the "Read to Feed" sheets.

Dates to be on the lookout for:
• Weeks of February 7th- 25th students read nightly for Read to Feed
• Week of March 1-4 Donations collected

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
~Mother Teresa

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What do you love?

One of my fellow bloggers is having a linky party and I thought I would join in the fun. Funky in First Grade is hosting and asking "What do you love?" Such a fun way to kick off the love month. Here is what I love....

What do you love? Also, if you are overseas... what do you miss about home?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Acrostic Poem

Two of my girls just love, love, love to write during Daily 5. Whenever there is free choice for language time, they ask me if it is alright if they write, and ask to get out the box of writing prompts. Then they sit down together with sharpened pencils, their heads down toward their papers, just working away.

The other day, they showed me an acrostic poem about lemons that they wrote together. We had not worked on acrostic poems for about 2 months, so I was surprised and thrilled that they chose to write using this poetry method. I let them type it up together and asked them if I could publish it on the class blog. You can tell by the many exclamation marks that they were excited about their work.

Lime !

Even sour !

Mostly yellow !

Oval !

Not sweet !

By N. and M.