Fifth graders celebrated the end of their Lower School years at their 5th Grade Celebration on June 8. After listening to messages from Head of School Pam Dreisin and Lower School Division Head Catherine Cohen, the students performed songs in French and English, then enjoyed lunch together with their families.
The next day, most of the students traveled to Paris, France for their 5th grade trip.
Construction on the newest addition to the FAIS campus is progressing nicely--watch several months of excavation and construction in just over three minutes in this time lapse video. Since the creation of this video, the building's second floor has gone up. Watch social media for an updated video over the summer!
Kindergarten went on our final field trip for the year to downtown Portland for our "How we organize ourselves" unit. Our central idea is "Transportation systems allow access to some people, places, and products," so we rode the bus to the OHSU sky tram, observed the traffic on the I-5 pedestrian bridge, took the Max across the river on the Tillikum Crossing, saw the submarine by OMSI, and visited the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. It gave us so much information on the form, causation, and connections of transportation in Portland!
Students created a special Web Radio broadcast for Grandparents and Special Friends' Day last month, in which they interviewed several of their classroom visitors. Coco and Isa led the broadcast, while Julia and Scarlett were the technicians. Click here to listen now, or visit the Web Radio webpage to hear previous broadcasts.
- Brooke interview Irma, la grand-mère de Zoe et Alaska │ Brooke interviews Irma, Alaska and Zoe's grandma
- Macleay interview sa grand-mère, Nan │ Macleay interviews Nan, her grandma
- Constantin interview son grand-père, Alan │Constantin interviews Alan, his grandpa
- Apollo interview sa grand-mère, Blanca │ Apollo interviews Blanca, his grandma
- Rémi interview son grand-père, Munir │ Rémi interviews Munir, His grandpa
Students have been practicing paragraph organization since 6th grade. They know that they need to write a topic sentence that takes a position, provide specific details for support, and build it all up to a conclusion. This spring, our 7th grade English Language and Literature students came to appreciate the importance of this format on a whole new level during our mock trial unit as they experienced the impact of their words when presented with clarity, accuracy, and support to make a clear point to settle a case. To prepare for a mock trial, students are given the facts of the case and a number of affidavits from key and expert witnesses. Students must use their best analytical, organizational, and public speaking abilities in order to make the strongest possible argument for their prosecution or defense team.
We began the unit with a field trip downtown to get a sense of what happens in real-life courtrooms. Since we tend to be heavily influenced by cinematic portrayals of courtroom dramas, this is such a valuable real-world experience that allows students to have a more informed perspective. We spent the morning at the Multnomah County Courthouse visiting trials in session, and then we spent the afternoon at the Federal Courthouse where we had the privilege of using a courtroom to put the Big Bad Wolf on trial. We would like to thank all of our parent volunteers who chaperoned our courtroom tours and made this day possible.
For the mock trial this year, 7th graders tried a criminal case involving a teenage driver, texting, a winding road, and a fatality accident with an elderly driver. The students worked hard to examine the facts of the case and establish pros and cons for both the prosecution and the defense, as well as prepare direct and cross examinations for each witness. In this process, students gained key skills and experience with public speaking, questioning, close listening, and impromptu response.
We are grateful to our parent judges, Laurie Shertz, Holly Levow, and Hank Sawtelle, who came to our classes to officiate the trials, which spanned two days. Thank you all so much for your time and expertise! Each class had a slightly different verdict depending on their performances, but they all learned about how poor decisions such as texting and driving can have serious life-altering consequences for all involved.
We would like to give a special thank you to Laurie Shertz, who has gone way above and beyond with her time and attention to us, radically improving our mock trial unit since she volunteered to be a judge when her current 8th grade daughter was in 6th grade. Over the past three years, Laurie has, quite literally, opened so many doors for us, from securing a federal courtroom to set the stage and creating the Big Bad Wolf practice trial, to curating four cases for us to rotate through in the future. Laurie gave us the confidence to take on criminal trials while giving us invaluable professional development, as we learned how to fine tune our approach. It's been a tremendous pleasure to work with such a passionate professional who has selflessly given her time and expertise, as she is truly invested in our community.
Perhaps writing analytical paragraphs isn't nearly as exciting as participating in a mock trial, but now our students see that these activities draw on the same skill set: the opening statement is just like a topic sentence, the questions are just like the supporting sentences and details, and the closing argument is just like the conclusion. If there is one part missing, they see how the case (or the paragraph) falters and loses its impact. With four different verdicts rendered from four different trials, our students realized just how important each part can be. From start to finish, the mock trial draws on a real world context, connects it to our language arts curriculum, and extends beyond. That's what great units are all about!
Recently 7th grade math and algebra classes have done a statistics project during which we thought about a question that we wanted the other students at Gilkey International Middle school to answer. As students, we were able to choose the most effective sampling method that would help alleviate any kind of bias when collecting our data. We worked in groups to collect this data and put it into a poster. Every question was different in order to allow us to understand the processes of collecting data, sampling, and graphing for statistics. There is no doubt that this knowledge will help us in the future.
During the statistics unit, we also touched up on statistics vocabulary and learned how to sample, organize, graph, and analyze data. We learned about sampling types and also explored misleading graphs and biased or unreliable data, which will be useful in the future. We learned about different graph types, including box and whisker plots, stem and leaf plots, and pie charts, and we learned how to analyze graphs to determine if and why graphs were misleading. Our understanding of the unit was enhanced by exploring some real-life circumstances. We learned how to identify unreliable data, and how to prevent bias in data collection.
The skills learned in this unit, such as how to recognize misleading graphs and how to collect, organize, and interpret data, will allow us to make more informed decisions and conclusions and will also help us when we eventually have jobs and may need to make presentations. Overall, it was interesting to see the responses to the range of topics such as time spent on video games, types of coffee 7th graders drink, amount of homework by track, if pineapple belongs on pizza, and Laurel versus Yanny.
Each preschool class got the opportunity to care for a special guest pet, a guinea pig named Puffy! He visited each classroom for a week, and we got to discover what needs he had and how they were different and similar to how we are already caring for our snail pets in our classrooms. This connects to our unit on Sharing the Planet with the central idea of "Living things have needs."
Though he travels close to 10,000 miles every year touring the United States and abroad with his music, next week Portland-based French musician Eric John Kaiser will return to FAIS to participate in this year's Fête de la Musique. Eric has shared the stage with musicians from around the world, including Welsh superstars The Stereophonics, French star Tété, and French band The Revolver. In Portland, he regularly collaborates with local and foreign talents. During the week of its release, his most recent album, "Made in Gaspésie," charted #14 on the Billboard World Chart.
Following his performance at the Fête de la Musique, after a string of shows around Oregon, Washington, and California, Eric will instruct a week-long music camp (Rock Band: Jam, Record, Perform) as a part of Summerfest, FAIS's middle school summer program. Open to students of all skill levels, this camp will give young musicians a chance to work on writing, covering, and practicing songs of their choice to perform live during an exclusive performance for friends and family in a real concert venue. For more information on that camp, visit the School's Summer Programs webpage, and scroll down to Week 5. To find more information about Eric and to sample a bit of his music before the Fête de la Musique, you can visit his website.
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