Archive for January 2014

Using ShowMe to record thinking around unusual jobs

Grade 4 has just started their fourth unit of inquiry of the year.  This unit falls under the PYP transdisciplinary theme of How We Organize Ourselves.  As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the focus is on the World of Work.

The children have spent a session brainstorming various jobs in their homeroom class.  The EAL class took that task one step further and started grouping the jobs.  The children grouped them in a number of different ways: jobs where something is created, jobs in school, jobs in government, words ending in -ist, words ending in -er etc.

I wanted to present them with various photos depicting somewhat unconventional or unusual jobs and then record their thinking.  They had guiding questions: What job do you think this is?  Where do you think this is?  What can you infer about the people in the picture?

Their thinking was recorded using the ShowMe app. All images were taken from National Geographic.

Click on the links to listen to their thoughts.

A newly arrived temporary worker from Ghana, working as a ‘pool ambassador’ at Dubai’s five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel

At the Dubai labor camps (for foreign workers), entrepreneurs set up businesses

A band of Kayapo warriors move through the forest in the Brazilian Amazon

A Kayapo hunter in the Amazon Basin, Brazil.

It was very interesting to hear the assumption that if a person has black skin, they are either African or Native American.  It is a good reminder that even though we are an international school, we need to spend more time exposing them to different cultures.


Grade 4 has just finished a journalism writing unit and a social issues reading unit.  They learned how to write proper news stories paying attention to eye-catching headlines, informative introductory paragraphs, supporting details, the importance of quotes and writing the story in chronological order.   They had several attempts at writing news-worthy stories before being asked to write a news article on a social issue of their choosing.  They had to report on the factual information of the issue, as well as give their opinion on it in the end.

After scanning the finished newspapers and combining them into one pdf. file, the finished product was uploaded to Issuu for your viewing!


Kindergarten QR Code Video Galleries with Vimeo and QR Reader

Kindergarten students have been writing ‘Small Moment’ stories during Writers’ Workshop.  As a way to celebrate their work and share their stories with parents, we created a QR Code Video gallery.

Each student was recorded reading their story (using the built-in video on the iPads).  These videos were then uploaded to Vimeo and the link was converted to a QR code using a QR Code generator. The QR codes were then added to a Word document along with images of their stories.

Each child’s QR code was then displayed on the wall, outside the classroom, alongside instructions for scanning the QR Codes.  Anybody with an iPad, iPhone or other mobile device can download any QR Reader and use it to scan the QR code, in order to watch the student reading their story aloud.  I would recommend Scan, QR Reader or QRafter.

Here are a few examples from Mrs. Achim’s class:

photo 1

photo 2

For more examples, please click on the links:

The Scary Drive by David I Going To School by Paul The New Year 2014 Playing by Lisa Go by Boran Going to Netherlands by Robin My Dog by Aida My Vacation By Maya My Vacation in America The Fireworks by Santi The Puzzle The Ski Trip by Mick

SNOW DAY AT AISB: January 27 2014

It is official!  AISB will be closed Monday, January 27 2014 due to snow.  Please continue to check the AISB website for updates on when the school will reopen.  It is listed under News.

Here are some activities for your fourth grader to do at home.

1) Read a book on-line. Please visit Oxford Owl for free ebooks.  Click on the pink button labeled ‘My Class Login’ and enter the following information:

         my class name: Grade4EAL                             my class password: Grade4EAL

Next, click on For Home and either choose Reading or Math.  There are 250 free ebooks to choose from, along with many follow up activities.  Books can be chosen based on book type, Age or Series.  There is a different leveling system used by Oxford Owl because it is a UK website.  Please use the correlation table below to help your child find a book at their level.

Oxford Tree Correlation Chart

Oxford Tree Correlation Chart


Your child should know what reading level they are at using the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system.  If not, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at

2) Fourth graders are about to start persuasive writing.  At the end of the unit, the students will develop and support a position on a particular topic by writing a persuasive letter about that topic.

As a warm-up, your son/daughter can choose one of the following writing prompts from the Persuasive Writing Prompt Link below and write an opinion piece.

PersuasiveWritingPromptsFREEBIE to jump start persuasive thinking.

3) The next unit of inquiry is called The World of Work. It falls under the trandisciplinary theme of How We Organize Ourselves.  The central idea is: People’s opportunities in the world of work are influenced but not necessarily determined by their personal circumstances.

The students will be learning about different jobs in the world.  Here is a great website for teaching vocabulary: Learning Chocolate.  They have lots of different categories for teaching content vocabulary.  Please click on this link to learn jobs and occupations. There are various games and exercises to help learn new vocabulary terms.



This I Believe

Grade 4’s latest Unit of Inquiry fits into the transdisciplinary theme of Who We Are .  Under the central idea of “Belief’s help shape people’s identity and affect the way they view the world,”  students have been inquiring into the beliefs of others and their own belief system.

In conjunction with journalistic writing and social issues reading, the boys and girls in fourth grade have written articles on discrimination, poverty, orphans, the Holocaust, and China’s one-child policy amongst others.

Following the newspaper headline project using Haiku Deck, the fourth grade EAL students have been working on a This I Believe project.  They had to list ten sentences stating what they believed in and why.  They had a lot of fun choosing the images for the backgrounds of the slides.

Enjoy their finished products;










Grade 4 students have been busy being journalists over the last few weeks.  They have been learning what journalistic writing looks like and how to write a good story.

In order to have the EAL students focus on headlines and lead sentences, I had them read several stories from News In Levels.  This is a website dedicated to news for students of English.  Each article has three proficiency levels, with Level 3 including a video.  Vocabulary and tricky phrases are highlighted and defined and the website is updated every couple of days.  It has been extremely helpful for the fourth graders as it is always difficult to find news articles at their reading levels.

After reading a few stories, the task was for them to choose a story, identify the headline and the who? what? where? when? why? and how? of the story if possible.  They then had to come up with a new headline and lead sentence answering some of those pertinent questions.

Using Haiku Deck, haiku deckthe students then had to design a slide with their new headline and lead sentence with a photographic backdrop representing the story.

They were extremely creative and very much enjoyed using Haiku Deck.

Click on the link below to view the News Headline slides for stories from December 2013 and January 2014.

Connor McGovern Jersey