November Birthdays

1 Nov

happy-birthday-picture-wallpaperHappy birthday to the following students celebrating a birthday this month: Sunny (9), Rahul (9), Jaehoon (19), Enzo (23), Mutsumi (26). If we made an error or left someone off the list, let us know. Have a great day and a fantastic birthday!

- Ms. Jaya, Mrs. Hall, and Mr. Martin

Happy Halloween: I Bet You Didn’t Know!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween! Here is a link from the History Channel to some other great videos and information on Halloween and the history behind it. It also features information about candy corn, witches, pumpkins, and more. This Infographic is also excellent and shows Halloween by the numbers. Here is the direct link to the short (and cool!) VIDEOS.

Jack O'Lantern (Photo from History Channel)

Jack O’Lantern (Photo from History Channel)

Out of Eden Walk: Mesopotamian Moon God

30 Oct
Photo by Paul Salopek - posted on his Our of Eden Walk Facebook page, 10/30/14

Photo by Paul on Salopek – posted on his Our of Eden Walk Facebook page, 10/30/14

We are now studying ancient Mesopotamia. Paul Salopek just added this photo to his Facebook page today. Home of the Mesopotamian moon god Sin. Center of medieval Islamic learning. Erased by Mongols. Harran, Turkey. Paul is here (click on the map to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 5.45.07 AM


Ancient Mesopotamia – The Fertile Crescent

28 Oct

This week we begin our new unit in Social Studies, Ancient Mesopotamia (Chapter 3). This video playlist will support what we read in the first lesson (Geography) and will give some background to this amazing empire. Mesopotamia is in the region currently known as the Middle East.
Essential Questions to consider in this lesson:
1) How did the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers support agriculture?
2) How did Mesopotamians cope (deal with or overcome) a lack of resources?

Out of Eden: Paul Answers More Questions

27 Oct

Untouchables among refugees: destitute Turkmen nomads from Syria. Kilis, Turkey. (Photo by Paul Salopek)

During the vacation, Paul Salopek wrote me directly for the first time and answered some more questions from our students. Please see his response below and read his two latest dispatches on his blog, Out of Eden.
First: Yes, I would be interested in visiting your school because I have been making educational presentations starting from the trail head in Ethiopia. I can’t guarantee when I’ll be near your area (as you note, the closest I will come is northern India) because the route ahead is so unpredictable. So let’s just keep in touch about this–it could be early to mid-2015.
Again, your interest in the walk is keenly appreciated. I’m glad to have your school walking along.
Warm regards, P.
1) What is a typical day like for a child or teenager like in the refugee camp in Kilis (from Sriya, Bahraini)?
The children in some ways have it easier than adults, because at least they can attend a camp-run school. After classes, they help with small chores in their homes, which are shipping containers–those long metal cubes that fit on the back of lorries–refitted to serve as shelters. There are several playgrounds in the camp, too. But what the children don’t have a normal town or village setting to grow up in. Their future is uncertain. For example, once they graduate from primary school, there is no guarantee that they can continue to study in secondary school, because all such schools are taught in Turkish–the language of the host country. For the parents, life is even worse: Without work, without a way to earn an income, they are trapped in the camp with no future at all.
2) What percentage (approximately) of the children are separated from their parents or family (from Lucie, France)?
Good question. I don’t have an answer. All the children I met were with their families. Children who lost their parents in the war have two options: be taken in by relatives, or go to government-run orphanages. Many of the children with families are missing fathers–many of the refugee men have stayed behind in Syria to guard family property or fight in the war.
3) What initially inspired you to take this journey (from Sunny, S. Korea and Alice, France)?
Storytelling. I had been working as a journalist for many years, and decided that this project would be a good way to tie together all that I have learned, and to string together an important series of questions–where we came from, who we are, where we are going–into a single long journey story. We all love travel stories. This is a very old way of communicating knowledge. It goes back to the very beginning of humankind.
Thanks for your great questions.

Poll: Vacation or Staycation?

17 Oct

Have a nice vacation. We’ll see you on Monday, October 27th (Day # 4: F-G-H-E Day). Comment and tell us what your plans are for the vacation. Read a book!



India Week Celebrations!

17 Oct

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I Want a Great Book!

13 Oct
s49wzrp1xg2ax9d9o8cnStudents are always looking for new books to read. We have reviewed many places where you can find new books. Here is a list of some links. Remember, your friends are always the best source of ideas!
Mrs. Hall/Ms. Jaya’s Book Blog
Mr. Martin/Ms. Jaya’s Book Blog
Popular Grade 6 Books from goodreads (scroll down and click the next page to find more!)
Great books for boys 
Great books for girls
Awesome 6th grade books
You can also find books by reading level, as well as other links on our Moodle page.

Remember to write a book review this week!




Learning to Farm

12 Oct

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This is  a video playlist gives an overview of what we are learning in Chapter 2, Lesson 2 – Learning to Farm and Raise Animals. Think about: How did agriculture change the way people lived together? What are the major crops grown in your country? Write your country and list the major crops.



2014 Nobel Prize Winners

10 Oct
Source: Getty Images (BBC)

Source: Getty Images (BBC)

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize went to advocates for children’s rights with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi of India sharing the award on Friday.
Yousafzai, a schoolgirl in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, became a worldwide symbol against abuses by the Taliban after she was shot in the head in 2012 by militants who stormed the bus she was riding with other students.  Yousafzai, now 17, later become an advocate for girls’ education and has appeared in some of the most high-profile forums, including an address at the United Nations last year.
Satyarthi, 60, has fought against child labor more nearly two decades and is credited with helping free tens of thousands of children from harsh work conditions and other forms of forced labor, including in the carpet industry and traveling circuses popular in India.

Read this really nice interview with Malala, who talks about her favorite books.

Find this book in our school and class library.

Find this book in our school and class library.

News: Cave Paintings in Indonesia Redraw Picture of Earliest Art

9 Oct

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Great timing! Here is a story that Mrs. Hall and Mr. Hoover shared with me. According to this National Geographic article, a “hand painted in an Indonesian cave dates to at least 39,900 years ago, making it among the oldest such images in the world, archaeologists reported Wednesday in a study that rewrites the history of art.The discovery on the island of Sulawesi vastly expands the geography of the first cave artists, who were long thought to have appeared in prehistoric Europe around that time.  This BBC article features a short video on the caves. Click on the map below to enlarge, and you will see where Sulawesi is located in Indonesia.

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A Journey of Learning

8 Oct

Paul Salopek shares a video message to students around the world from Turkey where he currently is on his Out of Eden Walk. His latest blog post is entitled ‘This is not a life.” It is about his time in a refugee camp in Turkey on the border of Syria. Check it out!


Exploring Cave Art

8 Oct

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Students finished lesson 1 of chapter 2 with an art project where they created their own cave art. Here is a link with some of the best cave art from around the world. The Bradshaw Foundation has some good links also.  The next lesson will focus on how early humans learned to farm and raise animals.

Writing Tips from Marshfield Dreams Author

4 Oct
In our Language Arts class, we have been working on writing our memoir and hearing read ‘alouds’ from various memoirs, including Marshfield Dreams by Ralph Fletcher. Author Ralph Fletcher has a nice website and it includes some helpful links for young writers. Check out this page on writing tips and a Q & A (question and answer) page with for the author, as well as a list of other books by him. If you have enjoyed Marshfield Dreams, you can find it in the library along with other books by him. Please continue to work on your memoir with the aim of finishing your first draft by next class.  Have a nice weekend!

October Author of the Month: Linda Sue Park

1 Oct
Photo by: Jaya Shanker

Photo by: Jaya Shanker

The next time you step into our Grade 6 classroom library, check out our author of the month series. Linda Sue Park is the “daughter of Korean immigrants, she has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old, and her favorite thing to do as a child was read.”  Take a look at the Facts (aka FAQS) page on her website to learn more about her and see the books she has written. Her website features all kinds of information about Linda Sue Park. Sign out one of her books to read. Finally, you are all added to our book review blogs. Congratulations and thanks to the students who have already written and shared book reviews. Please write a review about a book you have read this year, or find new books on our blogs.
photo (3) copy

Photo by: Jaya Shanker

October Birthdays

1 Oct

birthday-cake-clip-art_Happy birthday to the following Grade 6 students celebrating birthdays this month: Tsukiho (2nd), Ai (5th), Aaron (12), Woosung (25th), Junsik (27th), and Min Wook/Eric (28th). If we made any errors or left anyone off the list, please let us know ASAP. Have a great day!  Happy birthday!  Ms. Jaya, Mrs, Hall and Mr. Martin


Word Hippo

1 Oct

Image Source: Word Hippo

Vikram shared a really cool website with me and some of this table partners today in Language Arts. Word Hippo is a website that you can use to find word meanings, rhyming words, word forms (past tense, future, tense, and much more!), example sentences, and translations. It looks like a great website that would be helpful to all students. We are always looking for great sites to add to our Moodle pages and our class blog. If you find helpful websites for Language Arts or Social Studies, please send the links to Mrs. Hall, Ms. Jaya, or me. Thanks, Vikram!

Thanks! Mr. Martin

Out of Eden: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Answers Us!

26 Sep
Image source:

Image source:

Great news! Paul Salopek responded to our questions we sent to him. Currently, Mr. Salopek is in Turkey observing and writing about the refugee crisis on the border of Syria. Last week, we brainstormed a list of questions we would ask him if we had an opportunity. Mr. Martin sent four questions from Tsukiho, Hanung, Yuki I., and Kennedy. He answered those questions on his blog.  We have cut and pasted his response below:
From Paul:
Thanks so much, Rob. To answer the questions:
1. What do you think your entire budget will be for this journey (Yuki, Japanese)?
Paul: It’s evolving, Yuki. I started on a shoestring. Thanks to great partners such as National Geographic and the Knight Foundation, the Abundance Foundation, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Project Zero, I’ve now got the shoes to go with it. Daily expenses have ranged from about $2 USD to $500 USD, depending on whether I was traveling with camels and a full team of desert guides in Saudi Arabia or walking alone across Cyprus and living on iced coffee.
2. What has been the best moment of your journey, so far (Kennedy, American)?
Paul: An impossible question, Kennedy—like asking which is the best moment of your life so far? All journeys, short and small, are made up of highs and lows that we sometimes only recognize years later. Mohammed Banounah’s jokes. Seeing the Gulf of Aden from the rocky hills of Djibouti. Or the hundreds of “ordinary” days when walking seems effortless—steeped in meaning and beautiful. Take your pick.
3. How many articles of clothing do you carry with you (Tsukiho, Japan)?
Paul: I’m still wearing the same t-shirt I started with in Ethiopia. My original pants were beyond repair, though. I have replaced them twice.
Mr. Martin’s note: see this article from NPR – What do you pack for a seven year journey?
4. What will you do when you finish this journey—write a book (Hanung, Korean)?
Paul: A couple of books are coming. I’ll pause halfway (2016) to write the first.
Read more about his seven-year journey in our other blog post or on this National Public Radio article (hear him talk in this interview!). Please add other questions in the comment section here. We will continue to ask him questions throughout the year. You can also follow his blog posts and journey using the RSS feed listed on our blog (scroll down and look on the right side of the blog).
Have a great weekend and add some more questions. First, look at his website and the links and learn more about his journey before thinking of questions.


Cave Paintings and Prehistoric Art

25 Sep
In Chapter 2, we are learning about Early Human Culture and the development of art. There are many examples of ancient cave paintings, particularly in France and Spain. Watch the playlist and also check out website for the Lascaux Cave Paintings in France (also mentioned in pages 6-7 in your textbook). Click ‘visit the cave’ to enter this cool website that features some really amazing early art. Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Here is a link with other examples of cave paintings around the world. The Bradshaw Foundation also features good information on cave art around the world.
What does this art tell us about early humans?  Where are some of the places where prehistoric art or cave art has been found (see Bradshaw Foundation link and other links in this post).



Otzi, the Ice Man

24 Sep
Image source: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Italy

Image source: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Italy

Why is Otzi’s discovery so important to archaeology and the world?

You can learn more about Otzi and the artifacts they found with his body by viewing the link of the museum where he now resides:

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Italy



21 Sep

Here is a video playlist which nicely describes memoirs.

Out of Eden Walk

19 Sep


In class we are learning about early humans and migration. Follow this great story and blog by National Geographic writer, Paul Salopek as he makes a seven year journey following the footsteps of man.  His Out of Eden blog can be found here. Read more about his project here:

From 2013 to 2020, writer Paul Salopek is recreating that epic journey on foot, starting at humankind’s birthplace in Ethiopia and ending at the southern tip of South America, where our forebears ran out of horizon. Along the way he is engaging with the major stories of our time — from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival — by walking alongside the people who inhabit these headlines every day. Moving at the slow beat of his footsteps, Paul is also seeking the quieter, hidden stories of people who rarely make the news.

You can follow his blog or dispatches on our class blog. There is an RSS feed listed on the right side of the blog and you will see his most recent posts. You can also ask Mr. Salopek questions about his journey. He posts thematic maps here and you can see where he currently is, if you see this Google Map. This is a very cool story, one that you can follow for the next several years. In class, we are brainstorming questions we would ask Paul. We will collect the best questions and post a message on his blog, Out of Eden Walk. Hopefully we will respond during his trek. Below is a video playlist about his journey and human migration (see pages 46-47 in our textbook).


United Nations International Day of Peace

19 Sep


Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace at AISC. Post a comment and tell us something you enjoyed about how UN Day was celebrated at school and your feelings about peace. What does peace mean to you? Watch UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s video message.




E-Books @ AISC

18 Sep

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Mr. Jet came to our Language Arts classes this week to talk about e-books and how to access them. We learned that we have thousands of new e-books. You can access the list of e-book links and passwords via Moodle. Go to the main Middle School Moodle page, scroll down to the CIC section and click on the link that says ‘Great CIC online subscriptions and e-books.’  You can also find them on our Moodle page under general resources. Just as we are reading ‘just right’ books, please choose just right e-books. Have fun exploring the new e-books and tell a friend about a great book you have read.



International Mindedness @ AISC

15 Sep

This week at AISC, we celebrate Dot Day and UN International Peace Day. How do you define international mindedness? What have you learned about ‘international mindedness’ as a student at an international school like AISC? (click on the images below to see a larger image).  Share your opinion. 

United Nations

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Website

International Mindness (1)

International Mindness Mug Design

Source: AISC website

Source: AISC website




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