March, 2015

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Chained Freedom Plays Tonight @ The Pickled Greek!

TheGreek_01AZ Academy’s Chained Freedom is getting it’s Greek on!  The band will be playing at The Pickled Greek tonight, March 27th, from 7:00 – 9:00PM.  Stop by to have a gyro and have some great entertainment – Opa!

Calendar Quick Notes

  • Quarter 3 Ends – Wednesday, 4/1
  • Quarter 4 Café Menu Begins – Thursday, 4/2
  • NO SCHOOL – Friday, 4/3 and Monday, 4/6
  • Book Fair & AZ Quest – Friday, 4/17

Books and Volunteers Needed

booksDo you have books that aren’t being read anymore?  This year, the book fair has been transformed to a book exchange!  Book collections will run April 6th through the 15th, culminating in a book fair at AZ QUEST (Friday, April 17th) in which students and families can pick out books using their credits from turning in books or buy a book for $1 each. Everyone can also order from Scholastic and make a book mark.  Volunteers are needed to work at the event!  More detailed information to come soon, so start cleaning out your bookshelves!

Write, Write, Write – Right?

stx mapAZ Academy is writing a guidebook about popular destinations on St. Croix, and every student will be a contributing author!

The Common Core State Standards call for a shift from fictional reading to more informational reading across grade levels, and writing goes hand in hand with this instructional change.  To support this transition, AZ Academy’s Writing Action Team has developed a contest to promote non-fiction reading and informational writing throughout the school – a writing contest that requires research!

Students will research and write about one destination on St. Croix, while also taking a picture of themselves on site.  Although it is predominantly completed at home, English/language arts teachers will provide students with a rubric for developing their paragraph and will issue a grade for the project.  But note that everyone should get a great grade, because the drafts submitted will be re-written in school until they are awesome, because…

Next year, the high school technology class will use this published framework to develop an App that is “A Tourist’s Guide to St. Croix”, and from there, it will go global for anyone travelling to our beautiful island.  Then, every parent can say that their student is a published author!

For more information and to choose a place to research, click here!

Spirit Event & Pie in the Face Contest

AZ Academy has a rowdy “Hungry, Hungry Human” Spirit Event, and the Blue Team scored 4 points, and the Silver Team scored 1!  A special thanks to all of the parents who came to watch the competition.

The day ended with the “Pie in the Face” competition, which raised over $200 to be split between the Guatemala trip and the high school dance.  So who got the pies?  Ms. Lindquist, Mr. Mauree, and Mrs. Cissel – it was soooo sweet!

Guatemala Group Continues to Raise Funds

The students and parents traveling to Guatemala at the end of the year continued to raise by hosting a breakfast sale of pancakes and bacon.  The response was overwhelming – we didn’t have enough food for everyone, so Ms. Paula ran out to the store to get bagels and cream cheese for those who expected breakfast.  Please make sure you meet deadlines for orders – we had no idea 16 extra people wanted to order last minute!

The Guatemala Group also brought together the entire school to help make a GoFundMe video, which will be published in early April.  The link will be published so that everyone can check it out!

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Making Butter in 4th Grade

We finished up our work on adjectives this month with a test in language arts, and we’ve started a new book entitled, The Kid Who Ran for President.  The students are doing a lot of writing using both writing prompt, and free writing.  It’s amazing how creative they can be!  We are also continuing to work on test taking skills.  Anytime you can ask your child to summarize something for you, either orally or in writing – it’s going to help them hone that skill.  This book will go along with our unit on American government when we get past discussing life in the colonies.  We had fun making our own butter just like the colonists.  The math group has moved on to geometry using protractors and learning the various geometric shapes.

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How Can High Speed Internet Impact My Life?

2015-03-27_14.49.11Well, if you are Sabreen K. or Jordan H., high speed internet can actually impact your life a lot!  Completing an essay contest hosted by VINGN using this question as the topic, they both won a laptop with all the bells and whistles – antivirus, Microsoft Student & Home, and much more.  Now, they are both in a position to experience high speed internet – congratulations!  A special thanks to everyone at VINGN for installing high speed internet cables at our campus in the last 2 weeks, as well as including us in this awesome contest!

Fraction Flip in Middle School Math

Now that we have completed our fraction unit it’s important to keep those skills fresh so we can apply them to all sorts of other types of problems.  Games are a great way to refresh skills already learned.  Every two weeks our class gets a “Math Game Day”.  Sometimes we play Decimal Bingo, or Place Value Push or any number of other fun games.  This time we played Fraction Flip, using our multiplication of fraction skills.  Math should always be fun!

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Sugar, Sugar

The Composition III and V classes are reading Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson and Maria Budhos. This nonfiction book traces the roots of sugar from New Guinea as it nearly circumnavigates the globe ending up in Hawaii. Its role changes from a medicinal resource and a luxury item for the few to a necessity for the masses. This need for sugar has caused humanitarian crimes all in the name of keeping prices low and quantities high. Sugar continues to affect society today as people deal with obesity, diabetes, and a variety of other health issues that many scientists believe are due to our love of sugar.

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The two classes led by Ms. Morgan and Mrs. Crowther explored St. Croix’s sugar history by taking a tour of Estate Little Princess, a sugar plantation established in 1749. Local historian Georg Tyson gave our students excellent insight as to how sugar affected St. Croix specifically. From there, the students enjoyed a tour of the Cruzan Rum factory which included tasting molasses as it poured out of a truck into a holding tank. The last stop of the day was at the Hendrickson’s sugar cane stand at Sunny Isle. There, students bought sugar cane to chew as well as juice that was extracted on the spot. It was a fantastic learning experience for all!

First and Second Graders are Out of this World!

Our first and second grade group spent time learning about the sun, earth, and moon rotation to begin our exploration of the solar system.  The children kept a moon journal, documenting the changing moon phases for a two week period and reporting their observations.   We created these phases out of Play-doh in class as partners.  Also, the students chose an aspect of the solar system to further explore with an at-home project.   The children presented the information to their fellow classmates and we had our own classroom solar system exhibit.  It was an out of this world experience!

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Wind Turbines & Dissections in Science

melinda photo1` melinda photo 2The Science Center has been buzzing with exciting labs. The physics class has continued to work on their wind turbine. The students made a very bold decision to scrap the design that they were previously working on. They went back to the drawing board and came up with a simplified design that is proving to be more productive. I am very proud of them and all the very hard work they have put into this build and competition.

The life science class had a unique opportunity to dissect three different types of muscle structures. The 4th grade joined in the fun and worked with the life science students in groups. Each group had 4 samples including cow’s stomach, chicken intestine, turkey heart and beef on the bone. I’m sure that this experience might have created a few vegetarians in the group.

Stars vs. Sand – Stars Win

The third grade has had a very busy month once again!  The students have finished learning about poetry, became editors, and close readers (in which they have learned to read for proof and detail) and will sail away to Never-Neverland when we get back from spring break.  The class has also been learning the beginnings of pre-algebra by using variables and simplifying multi-step equations.  We have also learned about how stars form and fade away (Did you know that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the ENTIRE planet?) and constellations.  They will finish up our astronomy unit by researching a constellation and creating their own.  Have a relaxing and rejuvenating spring break!

Naughty Leprechauns!

prekMarch was a busy month in pre-k/kindergarten! We continued our quest through the alphabet, numbers and shapes.  The pre-k students spent a lot of time talking about the planets and they were able to make their very own solar systems!  Many of them are getting very close to reading and we couldn’t be more proud!  The kindergarteners spent most of the month working with consonant blends and word families to help in furthering their reading skills. They also have conquered subtraction and are ready to take on measurements and money!  As a class we talked about the weather and how it affects our day-to-day lives.  I will say it is very challenging to teach about the various forms of weather when we live on this sun-filled island!  On St. Patrick’s Day we came into our classroom and were very surprised to see that the mischievous leprechauns had visited us (and made a HUGE mess) the night before!  Never a dull moment in pre-k/k!