The American International School of Bamako

Grades 4 and 5

Teacher: Ms. Margaret Fezekas

About the Class

This year, the fourth and fifth graders will be together in one classroom. As the research points out, combined grades promote students’ cognitive and social growth and lend themselves to effective instructional practices such as active learning and integrated curriculum. The wider range of ages and abilities in a multi-age classroom helps teachers focus on students’ individual learning needs.

In terms of instruction in my classroom, I will first present an engaging whole class lesson to introduce a skill/concept. Following that, students will receive specific instruction and skill practice based on the AISB benchmarks for their specific level. I take special care in meeting the individual needs of each student. This includes supporting struggling students as well as challenging students who have mastered grade level expectations.

Children’s Social and Emotional Development

Great care is given to facilitate students’ social and emotional development.  We will use Kelso’s Choices, a character education program which gives students the necessary skills to manage conflict.  In addition, the class will have frequent class meetings where skills such as empathy, collaborative problem-solving, and mindfulness will be taught and practiced.  The classroom will be structured in such a way that promotes mutual respect and ensures each child feels a sense of belonging and significance.  

Learning in Language Arts

The literacy curriculum in upper elementary is tailored to meet the needs of the students.  We will be using Café Reading for more individualized and small group instruction as well as whole group units.  We will teach and use the 6 + 1 Traits of writing in a writer’s workshop format.  

Our units of study include:


  • Realistic Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Poetry


  • Informational Writing
  • Narratives
  • Persuasive Arguments
  • Poetry


The CAFÉ Literacy Program

The Café Program provides a structure for conferring with students, a language for talking about reading development, and a system for checking growth and fostering students’ independence.  CAFÉ stands for comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary; and students will be working on strategies to acquire and master these skills throughout the year.

Learning in Mathematics

In math we will use a variety of resources tailored to meet student needs, all of which are aligned to both Common Core and Aero Standards.  A new addition this year is the JUMP Math Curriculum, a highly effective program designed to build student’s confidence and love of math.  It will be rigorous, personalized, and engaging.   Students will be encouraged to use a variety of tools and strategies and to show their thinking in many ways.  The fourth and fifth graders will be taught separately because the math standards and concepts different between the two grade levels.  

Our units of study include:

  • Place Value and base-ten concepts
  • All operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
  • Fraction concepts and operations
  • Decimals and Percentages
  • Algebraic Thinking
  • Data Analysis
  • Measurement
  • Geometry

Learning in Social Studies and Science

The Science and Social Studies curriculum is project-based. Students will investigate the world through purposeful research and group collaboration.  

Our units of study include:

  • Culture and its Influence
  • Conflict and Cooperation
  • The Scientific Process

  • Biology: Systems, Structure, and Function
  • Oceans
  • Mixtures and Solutions


You will receive a standards-based report card four times a year, one after each quarter. Report cards go home soon after the end of each quarter.

In addition to internal formal and informal classroom assessments and ongoing classroom observations, AISB assesses all students using several internationally normed computer or paper-based tests. These assessments help us understand each student’s academic progress and provide detailed information that we use to meet each student’s individual needs and build curriculum. The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) are administered in September and May/June; the AISB whole-school writing assessment is administered in September and May.  Students will also participate in frequent, reflective self-assessment throughout the year.