November, 2016


 Quick Calendar Notes

  • 2nd Quarter Midterm– Tuesday, December 6th
  • Progress Report– Tuesday, December 13th
  • Semester 1 Exams– Tuesday, December 13-16th
  • Winter Celebration – Tuesday, December 20th at 6pm (Place: To Be Determined)
  • Winter Break Begins– Thursday, December 22nd
  • School Resumes – January 9th

Fall Festival 2016

So…many of you have heard of our Fall Festival ;) And you must have spread the word since we had our Largest Turnout Ever! We ran out of wristbands due to our island’s fantastic community support.

Our sincerest thanks goes out to you, our volunteers, who helped us make our largest fundraiser a success. The Fall Festival does not run without you! Your dedication and enthusiasm is appreciated and heartfelt by us at AZ Academy.

It all boils down to giving our community a fun time to support our AZ students in school. A full circle.

Anyone that has some photos they would like to share of that spirited night, you can e-mail them to  For now, here are a few from Beth Joseph – thanks, Beth!

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November’s Spirit Event

For November’s Spirit Event, Blue and Silver Buddy Groups gathered on the pavilion to have a quiz bowl competition with topics that focused on events in the month – Election Day, Veteran’s Day, Daylight Savings Time, and Thanksgiving! The questions were hard, but three teams were victorious:

1st Place – Blue Eyes White Dragon (Blue – 5 points)

2nd Place – Blue Warriors (Blue – 3 points)

3rd Place – Blue Bloods (Blue – 1 point)

Congratulations!  The running tally is now 12 points for the Blue Team and 9 points for the Silver Team, but don’t get over confident Blue Team because there are plenty of competitions left for the remainder of the school year!


Two weeks before the abundance of the Thanksgiving Luncheon at AZ Academy, students gathered on the pavilion to experience hunger at the OxFam Hunger Banquet.  As students and staff entered the pavilion, they were assigned to an income level (low, medium, and high) which determined their seating, and they were assigned a number with a sharpie on their arm.

Before turning to the focus this year, Venezuela, students learned about updates in Haiti, Syria, and Kenya.  Then students learned about Venezuela’s flora, fauna, animals, and history to have a general sense of the country.  Using videos, students watched the powerful politics of the Bolivarian Revolution and the Hugo Chavez dictatorship.  He was charismatic and Venezuelans easily followed him as he implemented Socialist policies, such as land redistribution by taking estates from wealthy individuals, as well as housing, education, and food for the poor.  Unfortunately, it has gone terribly wrong for many reasons, but the most important is that the price of oil plummeted and the government’s ability to sustain the public programs they created was not possible.  This has lead to serious unrest in the country, where there are food shortages, the highest murder rate in the world, and a referendum to recall the election of Chavez’s successor, Maduro, who has continued Chavez’s policies.

Students in the high income group were forced to join the low income group when Ms. Paula stripped them of their wealth.  Students in the middle income group were then forced to join to low income group as the money they had lost its value (it takes a backpack full of bolivars to buy a bag of flour).  By then the back of the pavilion was quite crowded, and students began grumbling about it not being fair.  Then everyone lined up in order by their number to wait in line for food.  Everyone was given a cup of water and one arepa, a traditional corn cake made by Ms. Veliz, who is from Venezuela, while they walked past a beautiful beef dish they would not get to taste.  Once everyone was served, Ms. Paula made a plate of the beef dish and sat by herself at the front of the pavilion eating, while the students began calling for a revolution!

All in all, students learned a lot about the way politics and economics impact hunger.  But hopefully they also learned that charismatic leaders and socialist policies are very enticing – but be careful what you wish for! (See the slideshow)

Thanksgiving Luncheon

On Tuesday, November 22nd at noon, 175 people gathered for AZ Academy’s 19th annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.  Pre-K and kindergarteners got us started by singing a few songs in English and Spanish about Mr. Turkey, the star of the feast.  Then Ms. Paula spoke to each staff member saying what she appreciated about them.  Finally, students who earned the citizenship award or were on the honor roll for quarter 1 were acknowledged and given certificates.  Finally, it was time to eat lunch, and as each person came through the line, they told Ms. Paula what they were thankful for this year.  Everyone had a great time as we strengthened our AZ Academy community!  (Watch the video)

4th Grade Subjects

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing break.  Students have been writing a lot in ELA class.  We are currently focusing on persuasive writing.  We are studying verbs in grammar, and we finished the book, “The Sign of the Beaver”, and have begun a new one together entitled, “Frindle”.  Math class is moving along nicely.  We are working on multi-digit multiplication, long division, and as always, practicing those skills by applying them to real world word problems.  We took a slight detour from the Social Studies curriculum to discuss how a presidential election works, but now we are back on track with the development of our country in the early years, and the regions of the U.S.  Please contact me anytime if you have questions or concerns.

Mr. Clark

Ready to Read!

Our first grade readers have been on an exciting learning journey this school year.  They are exploring the wonderful world of literature, gaining new sight words daily and discovering what good readers do when trying to tackle an unknown word.  Each student is enthusiastic when finding sounds and word patterns in our reading group stories.  It’s an exciting transformation to witness and we look so forward to watching each child reach his/her full reading potential throughout the year.

chelsy-pic-2 chelsy-pic-1Ms. Harris

A Thanksgiving Message

As the holidays near and the end of the calendar year gets closer, we reflect on the year. Likewise, students reflected on quarter one and wrote down what they learned. I love portfolios because students get the chance to tell us, the adults, what they know about what they know. They articulate their learning. It is so neat!

Looking ahead to the end of second quarter, students are exploring in both ELA III and ELA V/VI the topics of truth and memory. What is real and what is not. They are enjoying these existential conversations. Ask them about Socratic Seminars! We are grounding it all in lots of textual evidence! Parenthetical citations, please!

For math, students continue to explore exponents and quadratic equations. Going from linear equations like y = -3x + 5 to quadratics like x­2 + 3x – 43 = y is a BIG jump. I think the math students are starting to wonder a little, too, what is true or not. What is real? But as they continue to explore quadratic equations’ patterns, more and more solid rules emerge.

As always, it is a joy to work with your students. Thank-you. I am grateful. Happy Thanksgiving.

eden-reflection-and-portfolio-cover-sheets eden-socratic-seminarMs. Eden

October with Mrs. Thomas

October was a busy month with Red Ribbon Week, Halloween and the Fall Festival. It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of November with Christmas right around the corner! The children have been learning about the very first Thanksgiving. We have been reading stories, doing finger plays and singing Thanksgiving songs. We did the “Turkey Wobble”, and sang “We are thankful “and “Hello Mr. Turkey” in both English and Spanish. We did a lot of art making turkeys out of gloves stuffed with popcorn, cornucopias, and turkeys showing everyone what we are thankful for. We even made turkey hats for our Thanksgiving Feast which we are all very excited about.

I am sorry to say that I will miss the December holiday events here at AZ. I will be traveling to the states where I will be receiving a new hip for Christmas! In my absence, Mrs. Jan Rothwell will be stepping into my shoes. She and the children have already met and really hit it off! When I ponder what I am thankful for this month, I have to say that I am thankful to have such a kind, nurturing and qualified teacher to fill my shoes while I am gone. I am also thankful for my job, my wonderful colleagues and my super students here at AZ. In closing, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2017 when I will be sporting a new look!

lin-photo-3 lin-photo-2 lin-photo-1Mrs. Thomas

Mr. Smith Goes to Europe

We have a lot of fun in our PE class to say the least. I’ve introduced a new version of an all-time classic game. European Dodgeball!!! It’s a mix between soccer and dodgeball in a way. Typical dodge balls rules apply when it comes to a player getting out. A team wins by either getting all of the opposing players out or being the first team to score 10 goals in the soccer net. Now that I’m writing this for Dragon Tales I think I might just add a new wrinkle next time we play like you can only kick the ball into the goal to score. Hmmmm…I like it!!!!

Mr. Smith Goes to the Sandlot with Bridesmaids in Zombieland

So for an enrichment class in ELA, I decided to have some fun with the kids. The idea I had in mind, before we switched classes at the end of the 1st quarter, was to have to students memorize and learn a monologue. We were then going to write out the monologues phonetically and change certain sounds in order to perform them in different dialects like British, Cockney, Southern American English, etc. We weren’t able to get that far but I was able to shoot a few videos featuring some future Hollywood thespians.




Mr. Smith

Welcome to Our Pumpkin Patch

The Scientists of Grade 1 & 2 are proud to showcase what happens to a Jack-O-Lantern after it’s been carved and the seeds have been removed. Thanks to the Simons for giving us a pumpkin. We scooped out the seeds and planted them in pots to see how pumpkins grow. When our pumpkin seedlings grew to a certain height we planted them outside. We also placed our Jack-O-Lantern outside as another experiment and checked on its progress everyday. We noted that there was a color change and then as it rotted we used our senses to describe it. In the last stages of the decomposing process we noted that bugs used it for a home. Yea Science!!

mrs-clarke1mrs-clarke-2mrs-clarke-3mrs-clarke-4Mrs. Clarke-Charmon

Tales from Mr. Renee

November 1, every year in the Virgin Islands is public holiday, and all government agencies are closed including schools, and some banks. It was however, a regular school day at AZ Academy. The US History class was required to research the local hero, in whose honor the holiday was granted. They were to present their findings to the class. D. Hamilton Jackson is honored every year for his many accomplishments. He was a brave man who challenged the Danish establishment. For example, there was an ordinance providing only government subsidized newspaper. Jackson traveled to Denmark to successfully petition the King of Denmark for removal of that law.

During the course of the presentations and upon learning of the many acts of courage and bravery, the students questioned why they were in school on that day, and agreed that AZ Academy should not hold any classes on November 1. They felt that his will be a most fitting way to honor the memory of such a committed son of the soil. The students immediately “commissioned” a class mate to approach the administration with a proposal that November 1 should be a holiday for AZ. The student dutifully left, with his teacher’s permission of course, and presented the case on behalf the class and indeed the school.  He met with school administration who gave him an audience. He came back to the class feeling successful that he had made a convincing case on behalf of his follow students.

This was a very good example using newly acquired knowledge to achieve a desired result.

Mr. Renee

Third Grade:  Growing with Character

We finished our last chapter in the Stories Julian Tells.  We successfully learned about characters’ traits and motivations and how their actions contribute to the story.  We especially enjoyed finding the central message by examining the main character’s growth from the beginning to the end.  Next, we are shifting our attention to narrative writing.  We will be reading several short stories, analyzing story elements, and discussing which magical combinations make a good story.

In math, we are beginning a new unit about measurement.  Multiplication and division will still be an important concept to maintain in the area of fluency and vocabulary.   Our next module will involve measurement of time, volume, and distance.

Our classroom is also honing in growing our character in our community.  We will be discussing bullying.   What is it?   Who does it affect?  In what ways does it present itself?   How can we stop it?   Bully education will answer these questions and more so we are equipped to make positive changes in our environment.  We understand that a school environment should exude love and respect for all.

In Science and Social Studies we are on to bigger and better things as well.  We will be deciding on quarterly projects for units in each subject.  You can see our some of our Social Studies Projects from the last unit below.  We put together a rather convincing display and made persuasive arguments that our region of the United States was the best one for a great vacation.

huff-3 huff-2 huff-1Ms. Huff