November, 2014

Website Banner 2Guatemala Group Hosts 1st Fundraiser This Saturday from 7-12PM

web version (4)Support AZ Academy’s students on a mission for community service in Guatemala!  Join us on Saturday to get your car washed, have breakfast or lunch, and shop for household items, appliances, and more.  Plus, Santa will be arriving in style at 10:00AM where pictures can be taken with him and his elves in Santa’s Workshop!  Children can choose to make adorable arts & crafts gifts for family members for only $3 while you shop – now that’s a plan for a fun Saturday morning!

Also, we will be selling cups of coffee every Friday morning in the parking lot – $2 for a fresh cup to go!

Calendar Quick Notes

  • Much Ado about Something Yard Sale, Food Sale, and Car Wash @ AZ Academy – Saturday, 12/6 from 7:00AM – 12:00PM
  • Spelling Bee – Monday, 12/15 at 2:15PMbee
  • Semester 1 Exam Schedule for Middle & High School: Social Studies Exam – Monday, 12/15; Language Arts Exam – Tuesday, 12/16; Mathematics Exam – Wednesday, 12/17; Science Exam – Thursday, 12/18
  • AZ Academy Faculty Holiday Party – Wednesday, 12/17 from 3:15 – 5:30PM
  • Winter Celebration – Thursday, 12/18 at 6:30PM

OxFam Hunger Banquet

Robel - Pic 2 (2)AZ Academy’s 3-12th grade students gathered on the pavilion on Wednesday, November 12th to explore the causes and nature of hunger in our global community.  The Rwanda Genocide, which was featured this year, was used to create a simulation of the role that power plays in the distribution of political, economic, and environmental resources in a country.

The Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa are the three groups that live in Rwanda, and they were pitted against each other as students traced 100 years of a tumultuous history that lead to the genocide that reportedly lead over 500,000 Tutsi’s to be brutally murdered by Hutu’s over 100 days in an event that was widely ignored by the international community.  The interactive simulation left students with more questions than answers, while provoking deep conversations about the challenges faced by nations across the world.

Watch the Power Point Presentation, with embedded links, to explore what students experienced at the OxFam Hunger Banquet.  Then start a conversation with your student about what they learned!

16th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon

thanksOn the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, AZ Academy’s families gathered to celebrate our community and to give thanks for the wonderful people we have surrounded ourselves with this year! Tables were decorated with runners made by students’ hand prints turned into turkeys, and fall colored flowers in beds hosted the theme of the day, “GIVE THANKS”!

Mrs. Paula Heller began the 16th annual event with a celebration of gratitude – for everyone who volunteered at the Fall Festival, for our students who are volunteering their time to serve in Guatemala, for the staff that works tirelessly to serve our children, and for guests, parents, and then students for all that they do to make AZ Academy a success.  Finally, she recognized students on the Honor Roll for academic excellence and then students who earned Dragon Spirit Awards for exemplary citizenship!

Then the buffet began, catered by Good to Chew, which are students from C-TEC at the Educational Complex.  The menu was traditional and tasty, and as people moved through the line they had to tell Ms. Paula what they were thankful for this year.  Answers included family, health, having a job, and of course – AZ Academy!  In the end, everyone reported that the food was delicious, and that having a caterer this year was a wonderful idea – they gave thanks for the relaxing time together to socialize!

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AZ School Store Grand Opening

School Store PicThe AZ School Store had their Grand Opening on Halloween. The Store is off to a frighteningly good start! The store, located in room 1A and run by the General Mathematics class, sells toys, pens, pencils, notebooks, and a variety of other things. The prices range from $.25 to $3. Please stop by and check out what’s in stock. We will happily take requests if there’s something cool you’d like to see sold at the school store. Regular store hours starting next week are Wednesday afternoons from 3:05 – 3:30 and Friday mornings from 7:15 – 7:40.

“Caught Being Good” Students of the Month Have Lunch with Directors

IMG_1489When students are caught being good at AZ Academy, they receive a coupon that counts toward a drawing at the end of each month for Students of the Month.  Two elementary and two middle school students’ names are drawn, and the prize varies each month.  For the month of October, the winners were Gabe, Cooper, Jared, and Antonio, and they all had lunch at Maria’s Cantina with Ms. Paula and Mr. Mauree in November.  Thank you to all of the students who do great work every day at school – you are awesome!

Middle School Math Gets Ready for Algebra

mathMath in the middle school classroom is definitely a cumulative affair.  Course 3 Math students are working on concepts that were introduced in fifth grade, like fractions.  We are now using complex fractions and number theory to apply to algebraic and geometric concepts.  We have been moving beyond ideas like basic perimeter and area to finding the dimensions of complex figures using the Pythagorean Theorem.  Here is an example from one of our lessons on the SmartBoard.  These students are going to be so ready for Algebra next year!

MS/HS English Classes Tie History to Literature

dust witchIt’s amazing what you can find in texts if you take the time to look! This month the middle and high school literature classes have been all about digging deeper into works of fiction and nonfiction and learning to apply what we read on the page to our knowledge of the past, the present, and the possibilities the future might provide. English I, English II, and English III have all been spending time exploring connections to history and other works of literature by reading Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elisabeth George Spear, and “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes respectively. So, when you see your child reading at home, be sure to ask them not just how they like it, but what new and interesting facts and ideas they’re learning!

Meanwhile, Composition VI is learning the art of persuasion as they study rhetoric and use this knowledge to examine the techniques used by a variety of sources from TV commercials to WWII propaganda to the greatest American speeches of the twentieth century. They are now using what they’ve learned to prepare their own persuasive speeches. This is a great time for those of us who have experience with the art of public speaking to share that experience with students, so that they can all give strong, confident performances.

Native American News in Pre-K/Kindergarten

prek 1 prek 3We had a terrific November up in pre-k/kindergarten!  We have been working hard on our letters, numbers and shapes!  Our favorite thing we did this month was study Native American culture.  We had a lot of fun walking the trails and thinking of ways that we could “life off the land” like the Native Americans did at the time of the First Thanksgiving!  We made traditional headdresses and mini bow-and-arrows.  We also spent some time talking about the pilgrims and their long journey to “the New World.”  Everyone agreed that being on the Mayflower would not have been fun because so many pilgrims were on such a small ship.  Our favorite fact about the voyage was that everyone (even the children) drank beer because they didn’t have anything else to drink!  Such a fun month!!

3rd Graders are Busy!

Robel - Pic 3 Robel - Pic 1November has flown by in the third grade! We have been busy with hands-on learning in science and social studies, including a field trip to Salt River to explore sands, turtles, lizards, and much more.  The third graders have dug into both hot desserts and cold tundras in science and learned about ancient Egypt and King Tut in social studies.  They even scribed their names in hieroglyphs.  The students also learned what it was like to eat like different cultures and classes at the OxFam Hunger Banquet.  This month has been a very explorative month! We hope you had a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving break!

Hands-on Learning Fun in 1st & 2nd Grade!

Harris- Pic 2 Harris- Pic 1 Haris - Pic 5 (2)The elementary years are primarily about providing hands-on learning opportunities for youngsters.  As we explore our environment, connections arise and students fully grasp moving from concrete to more abstract concepts.  Our class has been working hard on becoming investigators and utilizing the information we gain from our hands-on activities to apply to future learning.  We became gardeners this month, investigating our pumpkins and squash, and planting the pumpkin seeds to learn about parts of a plant, as well as plant needs.  In addition to collecting our data from this process and documenting it in a writing journal, we have been focusing on data collection in other subjects as well.  The children graph our daily weather, are learning to tell time, and are measuring, both with non-standard and standard units within our classroom. We measured parts of our body using string and unifix cubes with partners for some Friday afternoon learning fun!