December 15, 2017

Books to curl up with this Winter Break!

I love a good book over the winter - it's nice to curl up in bed with some tea (or coffee and chocolates and cookies) to read.  That said, you have a little over two weeks to enjoy a book!  Here are some I thought you'd like:

A Single Shard

By the author of Long Walk to Water!!!

  Tree-ear, an orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated–until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself–even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

Trojan War

If you enjoy learning about Greek Mythology you might like this retelling of the classic story.

In this retelling of the Trojan War, Olivia Coolidge crafts heroes and gods into real, multidimensional characters, not just the figures of legend. Vibrant storytelling and finely wrought action have made her version of the classic tale of the Fall of Troy accessible to generations of young readers.

I, Juan de Pareja

Told through the eyes of Velasquez's slave and assistant, this vibrant novel depicts both the beauty and the cruelty of 17th century Spain and tells the story of Juan, who was born a slave and died a respected artist.

October 2, 2017

Meet Carl Hiaasen!

Carl Hiaasen is the author of the book we're reading Flush.  This week, we're learning more about his perspective of Florida and how it shines through in his book.

You can learn more about Carl's perspective of Florida by reading his Official page, and watching some interviews.

On Carl Hiaasen's Official Webpage you can find links to his other books, interviews and chats with other authors.  There is even a link to a short biography!

In class, we're also reading some excerpts of interviews that Carl Hiaasen has given.  

We will be using these excerpts and our work with them to find evidence of Carl Hiaasen's perspective in his novel Flush.  Here are a few interviews you might find interesting.

So, what do you think is Carl's perspective of Florida??

Finish the sentence:  As a result of being born and raised in Florida, Carl Hiaasen's perspective is that ____________________________

September 14, 2017

El pasado...

El pretérito y el imperfecto, se usan para hablar sobre eventos que ocurrieron en el pasado, pero cada uno de ellos nos presenta estos eventos de una perspectiva diferente.

El pretérito:

El pretérito sirve para presentar acciones como terminadas o cumplidas. Las presentamos como “históricas”. Es como si no tuvieran ninguna conexión con el presente.

El imperfecto:

El imperfecto expresa que un evento era en el pasado. No contiene ningún límite. Pretendemos que no sabemos ni cuando empezó ni cuando terminó.

Aunque lógicamente sabemos que lo que se cuenta ya está pasado, emocionalmente nos situamos en medio de alguna acción inacabada que todavía no se había acabado cuando hablábamos de ella.

Indicadores temporales
Muchas veces el pretérito se usa con indicadores temporales como ayer, la semana pasada, el año pasado, tres horas, 10 veces, toda la noche, hasta la madrugada, etc., que indican el límite temporal; o sea que ya se pasó y terminó.

Al ser bilingües tal vez se confundan porque algunas veces la combinación del significado propio del verbo con el pretérito cambia el significado tanto que parecen significados diferentes y se traducen con verbos diferentes en inglés dándole a la frase un significado diferente:

Yo sabía que Juan estaba enfermo. (I knew that Juan was sick.)
Yo supe que Juan estaba enfermo por casualidad. (I found out that Juan was sick by accident) 
Saber + pretérito = to find out, to realize, to begin to know

Nos conocíamos desde siempre. (We knew each other forever.)
Nos conocimos ayer en la universidad. (We got to know each other yesterday at the university.) 
Conocer + pretérito = to get to know, to meet, to get acquainted

Juan era mi hermano mayor. (Juan was my older brother)
Juan fue mi hermano mayor. (Juan was my older brother.) (but something happened to him)

Ser + pretérito = no longer existing

Acentuación del pretérito perfecto simple

¿Por qué se acentúan algunas formas verbales del pretérito perfecto simple?
Las formas verbales en pretérito perfecto simple correspondientes a la primera (yo) y tercera (él) personas del singular se acentúan gráficamente ya que son palabras agudas, es decir, palabras cuya última sílaba es la de mayor intensidad. En español, las palabras agudas que terminen en ns o cualquier vocal deben acentuarse gráficamente por medio de una tilde: corazón, compás, café, tutú, etcétera.

August 18, 2017

Palabras graves, agudas, esdrújulas y sobreesdrújulas

Durante clase el último miércoles, estudiamos un poco de gramática y las reglas de los acentos. Aprendímos que: todas las palabras en español tienen una sílaba tónica pero que no todas llevan una tilde (´); las palabras agudas y graves no siempre lleven acento; las palabras esdrújulas y sobreesdrújulas siempre llevan acento.

Unas reglas son:

1.- Palabras agudas: llevan acento cuando terminan en vocal o en las consonantes “n / s”.
2.- Palabras graves (o llanas): llevan acento cuando terminan en consonante que no sea “n / s”.
3.- Palabras esdrújulas: llevan acento siempre, en la tercera sílaba.
4.- Palabras sobreesdrújulas: como regla general llevan acento siempre, en la cuarta sílaba. Pero, cuando son adverbios que terminan en “-mente” llevan acento si el adjetivo del que proceden se acentúa.

En Aula Fácil podrás encontrar algunos ejercicios para practicar los acentos en casa. 

May 24, 2017

Jump into Summer Reading 2017

Every year I am asked about a summer reading list.  I don't have an "official" summer reading list but the following is a list of books I am either planning to read or have read and enjoyed myself!

This summer, I plan to finish Xenocide, Volume III of the Ender Quintet by Orson Scott Card.  This is the third book in the Ender's Game series and if you haven't read it - you are really missing out!  This is one of mine and the boys' favorite books EVER!  If you have an Amazon Audible subscription, you can listen to the audio book on "Channels" too.

I plan to read:  Astrophysics for People In a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I am a person in a hurry but I also love science. If you love science like I do, you'll love it.  This is a book to listen to or read along with a parent though because some science may be above your science level.

But...that's just me!  

The kids and I plan to finish reading the Harry Potter series.  We began reading the books in August, we are now reading The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling.  When we have completed that book, we will be reading the Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. Every human being should read the Harry Potter series, but that's just my opinion. Also, once you have finished the series or even if you haven't; you should pop by Pottermore and be sorted, find your wand and your patronus.

If you have already read the Harry Potter series and are looking for other books to read here are some books I strongly recommend:

Read the book - THEN watch the movie!
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
      The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

      Divergent by Veronica Roth

      Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
        If you want to try BIG books you might enjoy the Lord of the Rings

        The next list of books are books I also plan on reading over the summer to see if I'm interested in adding them to my classroom or home library.  They are:

        This list comes from Barnes & Noble.
        A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird - Living in occupied Palestine, twelve-year-old Karim is trapped in his home by a strict curfew. Wanting to play football with his friends, he decides to clear a rocky plot of land for a soccer field. When Karim is found outside during the next curfew, tensions rise, and his survival is at stake.

        Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling - Sylvia and Aki never expected to know one another, until their lives intersect on a Southern California farm and change the country forever. Based on true events, this book reveals the remarkable story of Mendez vs. Westminster School District, the California court case that desegregated schools for Latino children.

        Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French - When Julian is sent to stay with his disinterested aunt and uncle for four months, he discovers that his Uncle’s corporation plans to cut down a group of redwood trees at Big Tree Grove and decides to take a stand to save the trees. Perfect for the young environmentalists in your life, Operation Redwood is an adventurous and gripping tale as Julian and his friends hatch scheme after scheme to save these giants of nature.

        I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - A MEMOIR BY THE YOUNGEST RECIPIENT OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE "I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday."  When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.  On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.  I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

        I am Nujood, Age 10 & Divorced by Nujood Ali with Dephine Mainoui - For more mature readers, this unforgettable autobiography tells the true story of Nujood Ali, a ten-year-old Yemeni girl married off at a young age, who decides to resist her abusive husband and get a divorce. A moving tale of tragedy, triumph, and courage, Nujood’s brave defiance has inspired generations of women and young girls.  This book should be read with a parent.

        Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez - After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family hires migrant workers from Mexico to save his Vermont farm. Tyler bonds with one of the worker’s daughters and navigates complicated moral choices in this award-winning novel about friendship, cooperation, and understanding.

        The reason I've chosen those books is because they are empowering titles about boys and girls who are around your age and from around the world. They bring up diverse issues that I feel are interesting to students your ages too; such as: environmentalism, immigration, civil rights, and the world around us.

        One of my favorite summer time reads of all time though, isn't a BIG book, it's not a challenging book or a series; it is Gary Soto's Baseball in April and Other Stories.  The book is a series of short stories; they are fun, easy to read and they remind me of reading Chato's Kitchen to younger classes.  I think you'll enjoy the humor in the stories and love the characters as much as I do. 

        Let me know if you decide to pick any of these up and what you thought of them.  Keep reading!


        Sra Raff

        August 25, 2016

        What makes a Hero?

        Sr. Moses Allen came to our class this week to introduce us to the Hero of a Thousand Faces

        What makes a Hero?  This is precisely the question we are attempting to answer. We've been reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and we've just begun digging into Joseph Campbell's Hero myth archetype. During his presentation, Sr. Moses showed the following video; watch it if you need a quick review of the acts heroes go through and ask yourself - does Percy follow the Hero Monomyth?

        July 28, 2016

        The Hero's Journey - A closer look at Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief

        Welcome to 6th grade ELA at Cien Aguas International School!!!  I am thrilled to see so many familiar faces and happy to meet our new-to-CAIS students. With your school supply list, you received a list of the books we'll be reading this year. I'm sure you noticed that our first book is one that you might've already read - Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief. 

        Though you may have already read the book and maybe even seen the movie, it is always a GREAT idea to re-read a book for anything you might have missed. In our case, we will be reading the book to analyze it under a slightly different lens. During this unit, we'll be learning about the Greek heroes, gods and monsters that book refers to by reading some of the mythology Rick Riordan references. We will also analyze Percy's Hero's Journey; the pattern or archetype of a narrative that was first identified by Joseph Campbell. We will collaborate to decide if Percy Jackson fits the Hero archetype as presented by Joseph Campbell. The unit culminates with an evaluation of the students understanding of the Hero's Journey where they take some time to write their own narrative. 

        English Language Arts is not only about reading. The expectation is that we read, discuss and collaborate in a productive, collegial environment to enhance our understanding of the literature and to be able to produce our own pieces. Be prepared for an exciting year!  I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you.