October, 2016


Calendar Quick Notes

  • End of Quarter 1 – Tuesday, November 1st
  • Report Cards & Portfolios Come Home! – Tuesday, November 8th
  • OxFam Hunger Banquet – Tuesday, November 8th @ 12:15PM
  • No School – Friday, November 11th for Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Luncheon – Tuesday, November 22nd @ 12:15PM
  • No School – Wednesday, November 23rd – Friday, November 25th for Thanksgiving

Environmental Volunteerism – Loving Our Beaches!

On Friday, October 7th the entire AZ Academy family went on a cleaning spree!  While PreK – 2nd graders stayed on campus and did a school cleanup, 3rd – 12th graders headed west of Seaborne Airlines to do a beach cleanup. Marine debris is a major problem in all coastal communities, but I think we notice it more because we are on a small island with lots of beach access.

Here are some interesting statistics about the top 3 items found at beach cleanups…

  • World Findings – Cigarette butts, plastic single use bottles, and food wrappers
  • USVI Findings – Metal bottle caps, glass bottles, and plastic single use bottles
  • AZ Academy’s Findings – Glass bottles, food wrappers, and plastic single use bottles

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Thank you AZ Academy for caring about our environment!

What is an OxFam Hunger Banquet?

Hosted annually all over the world, an OxFam Hunger Banquet is a unique experience that raises global awareness about food resources.

“The purpose of this program is to educate participants on the global dynamics of food distribution and how they lead to hunger in different areas of the world. At this interactive event, the place you sit, and the meal that you eat, are determined by the luck of the draw—just as in real life some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty.” http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/1772/oxfam_hunger_banquet


This will be AZ Academy’s 8th banquet, and this year we will re-visit some of the countries we have focused on in the past (Haiti, Somalia, and Syria) while looking at the current food shortages in Venezuela and how they are a result of political unrest.  We hope that this inspires interesting conversations around the dinner table!

Red Ribbon Week a Success!

With presentations throughout the week and homeroom discussions daily, students learned a lot about being drug free with this years theme – YOLO Be Drug Free!  To learn more go to http://redribbon.org/.  The best part of the week is when the crime prevention dog, Scruff McGruff visits elementary students – we gave him an AZ Academy t-shirt to thank him for his work!

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Join AZ Academy for Its 19th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon!

turkeyEvery year we gather with our AZ Academy family to celebrate Thanksgiving.  With an attitude of gratitude, we recognize Honor Roll and Citizenship students and then sit down to a delicious meal that includes all the trimmings!  Guests are welcome to attend – the more the merrier!  Look for an invitation in the next few weeks to reserve your space.

Buddy Group Names & Members of the Month

Every month after a Spirit Event, Buddy Group captions will choose their most impactful member to celebrate!  Team names and flags for the year were proudly displayed at the talent show in October, and these students were selected…

  • Silver Stallions – Gabe G.
  • Blue Eyes White Dragon – Sean H.
  • Stampeding Stallions – Amarion G.
  • Blue Warriors – Aden R.
  • Silver Wings of Fire – Sophia L.
  • Blue Bloods – Scarlett W.
  • Blue Fire – Justin C.
  • Pirate Dragons – Madison G.

Math & Economics

It is very important to succeed in higher math, that certain basics must be solidly understood. Practice and understanding the fundamentals in the areas of fractions, ratios, decimals, factoring are extremely important. That is what the 7th and 8th grade classes have been engaged in for most of the marking period. There is that bright light that seems to indicate that the students are at the stage where the foundation is becoming as solid as a rock.

The economics class has enjoyed the exposure to types of business organizations. The fundamental of business types are of great interest. They seemed to be fascinated with the terms associated business especially concepts of limited liability, unlimited liability and doubled taxation.

Mr. Renee

4th Grade Class

Fourth graders are working hard in all subjects. In Language Arts we are looking at creating fresh and original ideas for writing as well as how to organize our writing. We are continuing to study nouns in grammar, and we are about halfway through the book, “The Sign of the Beaver”. We have finished our first unit in math on place value, rounding, addition and subtraction. Next we will be looking at multiplication and long division. Social Studies classes are learning about our expanding country in its early years, and another class is doing PowerPoint presentations on Native Americans. Please contact me anytime if you have questions or concerns.

Mr. Clark

Books & Writing

In ELA III and V/VI, we are working on extended writing projects. Ask your students about The Giver and The Canterbury Tales, respectively. We are using peer editing and discussion groups, along with Socratic Seminars to further their thinking as they write. In the photos, you can see ELA III class peer editing. Students tell each other what they are doing well and what they can work on next. Example: “You have great examples here of Jonas learning from painful memories.”

In math, students are working on quadratic expressions and they just finished a major quiz. If they need to go back and retest some concepts, we’ve discussed how to study at home. Many college students do not know how to study, but we are making sure that students at AZ know how to study independently!

eden-peer-editing-2 eden-peer-editingMrs. Eden

Learning Opportunities Galore!

The first and second grade classes have been busy with hands-on learning opportunities over the past month.  As we all know, building a sense of community amongst young children is imperative in establishing positive learning opportunities throughout the year.  PreK-2nd spent a morning completing team-building activities where students must work together to bounce balls within a large parachute (our very own popcorn popper!) and play sports working collaboratively.  Check out our video of this fun experience!

As a first and second grade classroom, we are experiencing a wonderful transition.  Our class welcomes Mrs. Melissa Clarke-Charmon as the new teacher.  She is continuing our learning journey with activities to foster growth and development.  The children had an opportunity to be scientists, exploring pumpkins using our five senses, during her first week in the room. We are looking forward to an amazing school year together!

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Halloween Extravaganza & Fire Prevention

The month of October finds our classroom transformed into a Halloween extravaganza! Our young artists have had their hands busy with bats, spider webs, ghosts, and glow in the dark puzzles. We are learning some fun finger plays and singing spooky Halloween songs! Even our math and language arts lessons are centered on this holiday.

In honor of Fire Prevention Week, we had a very special visit from our very own St. Croix firefighters. We had a lively discussion about what to do and not do in case of a fire. We got to see and hear the fire engine and even hold and spray the hose. To show our thanks, we presented the fire fighters with brownies and cookies prepared in their honor from two of our class parents. At the end of the visit, fire hats and goodie bags were given to all the children.

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Mr. Smith Goes to Cross Country

Despite a last second change in our cross country meet schedule, which would throw anyone off, and being told an hour before our first meet that all of the public schools would not be able to participate, the Dragons of AZ Academy still went out to UVI and ran like their pants were on fire. Everyone one finished strong and looked amazing in their new cross country uniforms courtesy of two families. You guys rock!!!!!

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Mr. Smith Goes to Cross Fit

Tuesday’s are the days we bring kids to 340 Cross Fit which is right next to our campus. The younger kids are learning the proper form of basic exercises like squats, pushups, sit ups and pull-ups. It’s best to teach them proper form when they are young. The older kids are in the process of learning some beginner Olympic style movements like overhead squats and power cleans along with rope climbing. It’s one of the days all the kids look forward to. Well almost all of the kids. Check out a few pics and a video!

mr-smith-340crossfit2 mr-smith-340crossfit1 mr-smith-340crossfitMr. Smith

Omniscient October with 3rd Grade

Welcome to Omniscient October, meaning we are getting ready for the end of first quarter, and ready to learn what comes next.

In ELA, we are reading a chapter book, The Stories Julian Tells. We are following the characters’ traits, motivations, and actions throughout each chapter. Each chapter’s events contribute to the story and we learn a lot about the characters based on their motivations, or wants, and their actions. The main character tells stories to get him in and out of trouble (sound familiar?). We learn important lessons through him as he makes mistakes and learns how to fix them.

A key component to reading is responding to what we read. In writing, we are learning how to respond to literature. Our focus is to consistently respond in complete sentences, answer the questions in full, and support our answer with evidence found in the text.

In math, we are taking multiplication drills every day to increase fluency in times tables. Please continue to work on them at home as well.

In social studies, we are working on projects to show off the five regions on the United States.   Each group was assigned a region to research and represent through maps, pictures, attractions, and descriptions of land forms. The group will attempt to persuade an important figure in our history to visit their region.

huff-pic-1-lit-folder huff-pic-2-ssMrs. Huff

Insight into Class with Ms. Chew

Woohoo! We are steadily approaching the end of Quarter 1! It has been an interesting and productive nine weeks.

In ELA II this month, we have continued with the theme of perseverance in our literature. Some of the articles we have looked at in this context include “Mindset for Achievement”, “Overcoming Obstacles”, “Casey at the Bat” and the biblical story of “David and Goliath”. We have further solidified the skill of summarizing and are learning new methods to shape our thoughts including annotation and graphic organizing. We have also been working on analyzing texts with these tools and supporting our conclusions with claims. To piggy back on our sentence writing work, we have been working on not becoming overwhelmed with words and breaking down the most important parts of a question. Students also worked on a grammatical assessment to parallel the PSAT of the older kids and will be working with differentiated goals based on these results for the progression of their grammar and punctuation. We also recently started Reading Buddies with Ms. Lin’s Kindergarten Class where students get the opportunity to read to a K-5 friend. They love it!

In ELA IV this month, we have been working on how to express ourselves, speak in front of others, respect opinions and, overall, effectively discuss. We were able to complete our excerpt from the “Diary of Anne Frank” and used this text to work really hard on sentence building and restating questions as complete sentences.  We have continued to build on our work in Narrative Voice / Point-of-View by working on our creative narrative writing and learning about Narrative Orientation. Some analytical literary terms students have become familiar with are tone, setting, sympathy and distance just to name a few. We then followed up with excerpts from “The Book Thief” and “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” using our newfound literary terms to analyze these texts. Students also worked on the PSAT this half-quarter and watched the American Classic “Lean on Me” with Morgan Freeman which complimented nicely the theme of testing.

In both English classes, we have started Word Work with Mrs. Crowther who has given us tools to process the meaning and the spelling of words. We have begun semantic mapping inside and outside of Word Work and all students have learned new sets of vocabulary words. Both ELA classes have become more comfortable and confident with the reading, journaling and summarizing their AR Readers.

In Civics, we have moved on to Forms of Government to include American Government today, the first government, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. We have been paying close attention to St. Croix native, Alexander Hamilton. In Geography, we are studying Planet Earth in regards to the sun’s energy, water on Earth and the land. Several National Geographic video examples have been helpful in our visual aids. We have also looked at “Around the World in 80 Days”, a classic that provided examples of different geographical locations, cultures and governments for the students. Soon, we will be travelling to Christiansted to see some of the stomping grounds of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers and I hope to get a copy of “Hamilton” the musical now on Broadway. The students have most successfully solidified their grasp of Cornell Notes and using complete sentences and restating the question to answer the assessments.

Enrichment has been progressing nicely. I serve as a facilitator to the self-guided applications of Read Theory for Reading Enrichment and Sum Dog for Math Enrichment for the students. They have gotten the hang of coming in, logging in and monitoring their progress.

My first quarter here at AZ has been going as smooth as the picturesque pretty blue oceans outside my classroom window. How lucky I am to be a part of AZ’s dragon spirit. Thanks for the opportunity!

Ms. Chew

Spectacular 5th Grade

As Esperanza Rising comes to a close, students will be presenting a chapter project on their favorite chapter. For Math 5 we are wrapping up Module 1. We covered multiplying and dividing with decimals, multiplying and dividing with decimals using whole numbers, and also word problems. Science 4 students built and demonstrated how a lung works using a plastic bottle and balloons. Science 5 students identified a dominant trait in corn plants. Please contact me at anytime if you have any questions or concerns.
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Mrs. Bradshaw