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Volume 1, Issue 1 December 2011
Message from the Principal
Daily life here at ACS Athens Elementary continues to be pleasantly full, charmingly noisy, academically challenging and highly productive. I am certain that most of you had the opportunity to witness a number of s u c c e s s f u l presentations and/or activities which took place in our school during the month of October. Noteworthy events such as OXI Day, the Pumpkin Patch Exhibition, and the Halloween Carnival, not only created a festive atmosphere enjoyed by all, but wer e also huge successes. Knowing how hard our students and faculty members had worked for these presentations it couldn’t have been otherwise. The first trimester ended December 1st. Report cards will be posted on Skyward on December 22nd. As you recall, Parent-Teacher Conferences were held during the month of October, enabling you to meet with your child’s/children’s various teachers, discuss their academic progress and clarify any concerns you might have had. All of our students, without any exceptions, deserve a huge hug for their genuine efforts and hard work during this time. If, for whatever reason, there are students that are not performing up to their ability, then, we need to work together to provide them with the assistance needed. For safety reasons we have instilled a policy concerning entering classrooms before and after school hours. Parents and students are not allowed to enter classrooms during the weekend. On school days they may not enter classrooms before 9:00 a.m. (unless they have been given a special permission or due to inclement weather). Also, should students forget something after school, they have until 4:00 p.m. to retrieve it and until 3:45 p.m. on Wednesdays as long as faculty are in the classrooms. At this point, I would like to remind you that school begins at 9:00 a.m. and finishes at 3:30 p.m. Bringing your child to school on time is essential for the maximum educational benefit of your child. The key to success is the home-school cooperation which has been proven, makes all the difference in the world. The last day of school before our holiday break is December 23rd. During this time of feasting, holiday leisure and fun, I strongly encourage parents to urge their child/children to read, as much as they can. The fascinating world of reading unveils before our startled eyes all the mysteries of the world. Let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a joyful festive season. Sincerely, Cathy Makropoulos Acting Elementary School Principal
Junior Kindergarten News
Happy December to everyone! It is an exciting time in Junior Kindergarten as we explore the magic of winter and all its celebrations. Your child will bring home art work, projects and other wonderful things to share with you. Take the time to discuss these activities with your child. A lot of time and effort are put into these projects and it’s important to show your child that their work at school is important to you as well. The children have been busy at school as we have also been discussing “All About Me” and continue to explore family, friends, and ourselves!! We have been sharing our feelings through daily class discussions, story books, and activities. At home, find opportunities to verbalize your feelings so that your child can better understand how he/she can express himself/herself. This is a great way to reinforce vocabulary and the use of language. We have also been busy learning various colors, shapes, numbers, patterns and so much more! Help your child discover these concepts in their environment, whether it is in your home or maybe on the road while you’re driving! In class we continuously talk about showing proper behavior by using listening ears, careful eyes, quiet feet and still hands. The children have been doing a great job! Please support us by encouraging the same behavior at home and, as always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have!!! Ms. Alex, Ms. Korinna, and Ms. Vasilike
This year has started off with a bang! The Kindergarteners spent the month of September getting acquainted with the school, their classrooms and each other! At home, each student collected some of their beloved items to create a “ME BOX”. They then shared these things with their teacher and friends. It was a great way to get to know one another! In October, we got our first visit from the letter people and began working hard to learn our letters and sounds! Each week we focus on a different letter and have fun activities related to things that begin with that letter. We also learned all about the holiday Halloween and worked on several fun art projects, such as the Halloween mural, spiral ghosts, and black cats. We ended the month with a Halloween Party, where we all dressed in costumes…What fun! During the month of November, we have been learning about Thanksgiving as it is celebrated in the United States. The Pilgrims’ role and the Native Americans’ significance have been discussed as it relates to the theme of giving thanks. We talked about all of the many, many things for which we are thankful to have in our lives, most importantly our families. As a way to enjoy some ‘special time’ with his/her family, each student creatively decorated a turkey poster at home. With the help of their families, the students succeeded in making some breath-taking art work! The children proudly shared their turkeys with the group before displaying them in our classrooms. Ms. Anna and Ms. Ashley
1st Grade News
Hello to All, and especially our Fantastic First Grade Parents! We are well into our first trimester and enjoying our year thus far, as children have settled into the classroom routines and are becoming responsible and respectful first graders. Along with the help of our two aides, Ms. Eleftheria and Ms. Hara, we are able to provide students with frequent small group work in both reading and writing. Children are making great strides and effort in their directed writing assignments. As growth in reading and writing are closely united, it is imperative to continue positively reinforcing children and boosting their self esteem throughout all their endeavors, both at home and at school. Remember that at this stage in your child’s writing, using phonetic awareness for inventive spelling, environmental print, sight word spelling, word books, and word walls are all part of the process. We will also be introducing a weekly spelling focus to enrich your child’s comfort with words, both reading and writing. Our dinosaur u n i t h a s d e f i n i t e l y provided fodder f o r t h e imagination in journal stories and on the playground! The rehearsals for our Dino-Daze play have come along nicely in the big theater. We hope you share in the excitement and success of each and every effort made during the process of our much-acclaimed dinosaur play. A sneak peek into the near future will reveal a common thread based on our discussion of dinosaur extinction – we will be studying about contemporary endangered and extinct animals. favorite holiday from your heritage to share with your child’s homeroom. Again, a letter with details will be sent home. We look forward to our year ahead with all of you. Jubilantly, Ms. Birbil, Ms. Ficke, Ms. Lamprou
On a lighter note, we will also be looking forward to building and decorating our holiday cookie houses which are always a real treat. You may volunteer your time, energy and enthusiasm to help us build these houses on the morning of Wednesday, December 21. A letter with details will be sent home. Speaking of the holiday season, in school, we focus on holidays presented in the United States. In order to enrich our curriculum, we invite you to present your
2nd Grade News
Second graders have been working on the unit of community. They have engaged in hands-on activities, created interactive maps of their town and identified local resources produced within a rural town versus urban productions. Most currently, they have been discussing Thanksgiving traditions and the daily life of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Through various virtual field trips and reliving the Mayflower boat ride students have experienced the lifestyles of both Native Americans and Pilgrims. Soon, students will slide down the time line a few hundred years and learn about pioneers and how their life then differs from our life in the present. In science students have been studying air and weather. Students are learning about different types of severe weather conditions. Examples include tornadoes, winter storms, lightning, and floods. They are also expanding their knowledge on air pressure, wind, and air resistance. After concluding air and atmosphere students will examine the phases of the moon. Second grade math has been focusing on learning alternative ways to add and subtract by being exposed to various strategies. They are working hard on becoming fluent in both addition and subtraction skills covering facts from 1-20. Recently, place value has been introduced in order to build knowledge of how larger number concepts will be constructed. In reading, students have been working hard on the 5W’s (who, what, when, where and why) to help build basic comprehension strategies while reading. As content increases and students are assigned more opportunities to read, they are beginning to focus on more in-depth strategies such as text-toself connections and learning the technique of visualizing text. These skills will assist them in connecting with the c h a r a c t e r s a n d understanding why the characters change throughout the story. Throughout these units, students have been constructing stories with a focus on correct grammar and punctuation. Students are developing their story ideas and adding detail to their writing by following the Writing Process. The use of thinking maps, (such as story webs and Venn diagrams) has allowed students to build clear ideas and organization involved in the writing process thus far. We are looking forward to continued success and excellent work from all our students!
Ms. Johnson, Ms. Moros, Ms. Spiliot
3rd Grade News
Greetings from the third grade geologists! We have been studying rocks and minerals in science class. Students have been exploring properties of rocks and m i n e r a l s through a variety of hands on labs in class. We also spent time learning about the layers of the earth. Our next major unit of study will be conflict. We will be looking at some specific examples regarding Native Americans and Settlers as well as the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. We are also rapid readers, as we are following a literature circle format for reading in addition to whole class instruction. Students are working in small groups to read and analyze texts using peer and teacher guidance in addition to strategies covered in class. Both classes are reading Charlotte’s Web as our novel study, in which we are studying vocabulary and focusing on writing summaries. In writing we have been using descriptive language including the use of similes. We are now starting to explore a variety of poetry as well. Our pencils are now ready for cursive writing as we have just begun our handwriting focus for the year. Our mathematical studies started us off reviewing addition and subtraction skills. We also covered currency this year including the tough concepts of c o u n t i n g money (US dollars) and m a k i n g change. The fun times h a v e n ’ t stopped since we began studying multiplication. Our primary focus is to develop a conceptual understanding of the multiplication properties, then we will apply those concepts to master facts. Ms. Ernst and Mr. Perroni
4th Grade News
The Fourth graders started the year with a wonderful unit called Products and Processes. In this unit students inquired into how products are made. They wrote “How-to” paragraphs, conducted science experiments, wrote lab reports, organized observation data and made recycled paper. Grade four students learned the difference between physical and chemical changes that all products go through. The unit included an extraordinary field trip to the Chrisalida Cultural Center in Keratea. Students were able to experience the process of changing grapes to wine. It was a fantastic trip and we thank all the chaperones for donating their time to our class! Our current unit is titled Regions Near and Far. The grade fours are learning about the geographical landscapes, weather conditions and attributes of the United States and other regions. They will also be exposed to the idea of government and citizenship as it relates to the world, the school and the classroom. Our students have begun researching the regions of the USA in computer class. In their homerooms students will be researching a state. We are learning how to research using a variety of sources. O u r classes will be making a power point presentation for their state which they will then present to their classmates. Students will also be writing persuasive pieces throughout
4th Grade News continued
this unit. Writing is extremely important and we are persistently writing to improve our grammar skills and expand our expression. There has been an emphasis on figurative language by using similes, metaphors and personifications. We encourage fourth graders to write in all subject areas. Fourth graders are constantly reading like bibliophiles! Our October book report was on fiction books. Students presented their books with a project. Fourth graders did a fantastic job for their first presentation. We were impressed with the variety of projects and our students’ creative abilities. November’s book report was a Non-Fiction book. These reports were due on Wednesday November 30th. Once again we had excellent reports and presentations! In class we are engaging in Literary Circles. Students are enjoying a variety of literature. At this age, we recommend that students be reading 2 or 3 books at a time. Please encourage your child to read every night at home. In Math, students are continuing to work on their multiplication and division skills and understanding all concepts and rules in this area. We would like all fourth graders to set the goal of December as the month to have learned all their multiplication facts to 12. Students in should be their homework basis and staying grade 4th completing on a daily organized. Please check your child’s passport to make sure they are completing all their homework and packing it again for the next school day. Also please make sure your child is bringing a healthy snack and lunch to school on a daily basis. If you have any questions the 4th grade team is available to meet with you by appointment. Ms Soteres and Mr. Perry
5th Grade News
“I honor you!” These were the words of our first literary hero, the brave, little mouse, in the Fifth novel, Despereaux. graders have started the year honorably demonstrating that they are responsible, caring students and good role models for younger children. Through discussions and writing assignments about Despereaux, students examined qualities that make writing excellent. They learned literary terms to critique a novel, and wrote colorful poetry revealing their favorite things. Fifth graders have been learning how to write well while they acquired knowledge about their first unit of study, Exploration. Additionally, students started researching and finding facts about individual explorers. They practiced paraphrasing information, taking notes, and organizing them into logical, sequential paragraphs to create a simple research project and an explorer booklet. Students used their notes on their famous explorers to write a lively persuasive essay, “In defense of the Great Explorer ___________.” Fifth grade students have finished their research on explorers and prepared their individual Explorer Booklets to share with o t h e r students in an oral presentation and then plotted their explorer’s famous route on a map. They have been studying
5th Grade News continued
geographical locations and plotting longitude and latitude coordinates. These skills will be useful for fifth graders to understand international connections, identify countries and continents, and locate the journeys of different explorers on maps. Definitely we have all seen how exciting those early days of exploration must have been! Additionally, we have learned how to write literature logs, summaries, journals and character sketches while examining Christopher Columbus’s journey in the historical novel, Pedro’s Journal. Our new unit of study is “The Changing Earth”. Students will study geological topics collaboratively and share their information with the class. Topics will include earthquakes, volcanoes, ocean ridges, mountain formation, and the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift. Finally, Ms Kynigou’s class will soon begin to read Maniac Magee, while in Ms. Coklas’ class students will be experiencing a range of literature books through innovative literature circles. Ms. Coklas and Ms. Kynigou
Optimal Learning News
The beginning of the year has been especially busy for us in the Optimal Learning Program. As many of you know, the Monitor Sheet has been revamped, and I am eager to receive your feedback on this change. I would like to ask that when you do receive the Monitor Sheet, please send me an email indication that you have read it; a lot of work goes into each of these emails and acknowledgement of receipt is expected and would be greatly appreciated. We are currently in the process of revising all the Individual Learning Plans (ILP’s) and hope to soon be meeting with you to discuss this year’s goals. In addition, we have received many new materials and manipulatives to accommodate for our students, and we hope they enjoy them and learn through them. Ms. Kaldelli
News from the Art Room
The theme in the art room this year is “There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.” Students of all ages have been challenged on art projects to not use erasers and turn their “mistakes” into something beautiful. It’s been fun watching the creative ways students are “making mistakes” work for them. Kindergarten has mastered what we do and how to act respectfully in the art room. They have been introduced to all sorts of art making materials and concepts including some of the following: shape, form, color, pattern, scissors, their “glue finger” and our favorite, “Mr. Paintbrush”. First grade learned about pattern and color by looking at the art of Henri Matisse. After learning about his style they recreated his famous goldfish painting. Next, they read an African folktale about Anansi the Spider and made their own versions of Anansi using collage and printmaking. Most recently, the first grade students have been working on hats for the upcoming Dino Daze performance. Thank you to all the parents who came in to help build the hats for our first grade artists to finish! The students are excited to reveal their hats at the show! Like the first grade, second grade artists also learned from and about Henri Matisse. They used collage and paint to make colorful vases full of flowers. Most recently, the second graders mastered weaving by practicing, “over, under, over, under”, first with paper then yarn and burlap was used. They have also worked with pattern, line drawings, color and printmaking so far this school year. Third grade artists started the year with an intense printmaking project where they printed their first initial four times using complimentary colors. Next, they worked on one of my favorite art lessons that helped them discover the difference between geometric and organic shapes. Third grade has also been busy learning about positive and negative space, Day of the Dead and making optical illusions! Fourth grade began the school year challenging their imaginations by creating chal k paste l mythica l creature drawings. Next they learned about the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead and compared it to the American tradition of Halloween. The students made sugar sculls and traditional skeletons. Most recently, fourth graders were introduced to Op Art. They learned that it is a type of art that tricks the eye. Two optical illusions have been completed so far with two more on the way! Fifth grade began the year reviewing background, middle ground and foreground. They worked for weeks on a layered jungle drawing that needed to have all three of these items. Fifth grade recently completed another wonderful lesson which helps them understand foreshortening and how to apply it to their artwork. In these drawings the 5th graders look like they are flying through outer space! Grades 1-5 are working hard to win the Golden Paintbrush and to be crowned Art Class of the Month. Like last year, each class is given a Daily Art Grade that is based on behavior. Points from the daily grade are added up and averaged out to find the best class of the month. Congratulations to September winner, 2nd grade, Ms. Moros and October Art Class of the Month, 3rd grade, Mr. Perroni! Who will it be for November? Kim Jones
“REACHING for the TOP IN P.E.”
Are you ready to be challenged? Are you ready to be stopped? We’re the mighty ACS Athens Elementary students And we’re reaching for the top! Many units have been taught in P.E. since September. All students, K-5, were introduced and challenged in the units of kickball, soccer, street hockey, and volleyball. Students learned about each sport’s history, rules and regulations, and all the skills involved in executing each sport successfully. Students were also assessed on each unit’s content standards and benchmarks, and they got the opportunity to see what assessment in P.E. is through a mini and tournament. like fun
Furthermore, the first grade classes have been working extra hard on learning the choreography for their dynamite Dino Daze show! Coming up next……..the 1st annual Turkey Bowl and the next P.E. unit, softball! GO ACS ATHENS ELEMENTARY STUDENTS, GO! With Smiles, Stavroula Salouros
The year has started out wonderfully as the students and myself have become acquainted and work together to learn about the English language. Each student has put forth incredible effort so far and have already made extensive gains in the language learning process! In first grade, we started out the year learning and reviewing basic concepts such as colors, shapes, numbers and the names associated with each. We are now working on learning sight words to build reading fluency and comprehension. In addition to increasing their reading, we are using these sight words in writing complete sentences. In second grade we are carrying over some work from last year in continuing to build reading comprehension and writing using correct sentence structure. Third graders are working on a variety of vocabulary skills to describe the world around them as well as build their reading fluency. We are hitting grammar hard, as they are also doing so in their homeroom classes; we have covered nouns, adjectives, and are continuing work on verbs! Fourth and Fifth graders are working hard on building strong grammatical skills to aid in their writing of stories, descriptive essays, and responses to literature. Please continue to encourage your child to practice their English outside of school. Working on homework, reading a book together, or even watching a show in English will provide them with fun and engaging activities as well as continued practice. Picking one word a day to learn can create some interesting conversations and boost their vocabulary. I am very pleased with how each of the students are progressing in ESL and am excited to see continued progress till Christmas and beyond! Ms. Schulz
News from the Computer Lab!
Our kindergarteners are learning about the alphabet, patterns and sequencing and beginning counting with the help of the computers. In connection with the dinosaur unit our first graders went on a virtual dinosaur dig from the The National Museum of Natural History. They are also practicing their reading skills online with www.starfall.com and their math skills with www.xtraMath.com. Second graders are using Microsoft Word to enter weather terminology. They have learned about saving and opening files, font manipulation and inserting pictures. The students also worked on
earth, third grade students visited a virtual cave trip. This is an online reference to the minerals and features found within caves of all types. They extended their learning by working on a web quest to find information about different types of rocks and minerals and are in the process of preparing a Powerpoint presentation on the rock of their choice. Fourth graders are currently learning about states and regions of the United States. Their task is to persuade a group of foreign students to visit a specific region of the United States. Each student had a specific role e.g. travel agent, historian, geographer, and cartographer and was responsible to collect
information according to their occupation. Our fifth graders will embark on a geology web quest to answer questions that they have about earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, tectonic plates, land forms, erosion, weathering, and glaciers. They w i l l b e u s i n g www.choosito.com for safe, educational web searching. Their final project is a Power point pr esent ation. During this research we will also be participating in a research project directed from the University of Pennsylvania about site evaluation. Criteria for the research will be: Who is the author of the page and is it up-to-date. Ms. Sarantes
where they listened to and read along to learn about different occupations in a community. In connection with rocks and minerals and layers of the
News from the Music Room
Music is a way of expressing oneself and applies to all ages! During lessons, students are guided through the learning of the basic ideas of music. They listen, learn, compose and perform music from different parts of the world and of different styles. They are encouraged to use a number of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. Kindergarten learned the meaning of some of the elements of music such as tempo and dynamics. They develop their learning and understanding of elements through playing tuned and untuned percussion instruments and also through movement games in the classroom. They have also developed their creative self and their confidence through various music making activities. First graders have learned motor coordination skills and have started developing some rhythm skills. They have also started developing an awareness of how to use their voice in a musical way. Note names have also been introduced and implemented into their day to day learning. Emphasis on development of self confidence through music is also a key feature in all lessons. All first grade students been working hard on preparing the various songs for the Dinosaur Show. Second grade students have started exploring music around the world with the learning of African music and culture. They have developed rhythmic skills, and have mastered the practice and implementation of certain key ideas in African music. Second grade students have had the experience of playing music using different types of drums and have developed their musical skills through the singing of monophonic and polyphonic music. Third grade began the school year learning basic performance skills and key ideas that are necessary for a successful musical outcome. They have started learning how to play the recorder and have been introduced to music notation. Learning key ideas in music is developed through the performance of different styles of music. Fourth grade students have been developing their recorder and music notation skills. They have also been using xylophones and met allop hones. Thr oug h different songs and instrumental pieces students are guided through the development of ensemble skills as well as coordination, rhythm, and many other music ideas necessary for their d e v e l o p m e n t a s musicians. Fifth grade spent the beginning of the year learning the music of China. Chinese music has also served as a means for development of various elements and devices extremely useful for the development of musical knowledge and understanding. After this ‘journey to Asia they went on to experience a taste of Latin American music. The focus has not only been on the learning of new instruments, keywords, and devices but also on the gradual development of successful group performances. All grades have been working very hard on preparing for the upcoming winter concert. I look forward to seeing you there! Ms. Apostolou
News from the Greek Classes
The first months of school have been very productive for Greek classes. Besides working on speaking, reading, spelling, grammar and vocabulary, students have been doing a wonderful job learning about OXI Day. Our 4th graders had a very exciting time presenting the historical account of OXI Day, at the ACS Theater. All other grades (JK-5) worked on poems, songs and various texts, according to level. Special thanks to parents who encouraged students to make the most of this learning experience. In the month of November, besides their regular work on language: The Greek Language A classes (Greek native and near-native speakers) Our JK students have worked on the units: “All about me”, ”Feelings”, “Body parts” “Popular fairy tales” and learned relevant poems/ songs. KG students are learning the letters of the alphabet and a song for each letter. In first grade, students are working hard on reading and writing. In second grade, students have been introduced to Greek grammar and are also enthusiastically working on poems and stories on their «Ανθολόγιο». Many students have also started to read Greek books in order to get their prize from our classroom’s Treasure Box! Students in grades 3-5 started to work on their history books: 3rd grade Mythology, 4th grade Ancient Greek History and 5th grade Byzantine history. The Greek Language B classes (non-native speakers) Our KG students are learning the vocabulary for colors, clothes, body parts and domestic animals through various games and activities. In first grade, students are working on the letters of the alphabet through phonetic vocabulary, writing activities and relevant games. In second grade, students are working on writing words and reading stories. Third and fourth grade students have started working on supplementary thematically
based vocabulary. In grade 5 students have started to write paragraphs/ short essays using vocabulary they have been taught. Also, we are working on different occasions (i. e at the kiosk, at the supermarket) and Greek culture units (Greek ethnic holidays and customs). In all grades students are encouraged to borrow books from the Greek classroom library.
Well done to all our hardworking students!
Ms. Kovaiou, Ms. Papageogiou, Ms. Rovoli
News from the Arabic Classes
The Arabic classes have started the school year full of enthusiasm and learning. Our friendly classroom welcomes grades KG through 5. In the month of October, the ParentTeacher conferences in the Arabic class were very positive and show the appreciation of both parents and students regarding the Arabic language and the learning experience at the elementary school. In the current month, students have been busy expanding skills in speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary and spelling. Through various activities and projects, learning is fun and students look forward to coming to the Arabic class to learn something new everyday! Ms. Accari
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