Monday, February 28, 2011

Math in Review

To prepare for our end of six weeks math exam which is this week, the students have been working in rotating math stations. They have been practing ordering larger numbers from least to greatest and greatest to least, creating and extending patterns with a variety of materials, and identifying and solving addition and subtraction problems through the use of Doubles and Doubles Plus One.

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Doubles and Doubles+1 Sort

Last week in computer lab the students created a t-chart using Pixie 2 as a way to sort Doubles and their related Doubles+1 addition facts. They modeled the addition facts using dominoes which they then labeled. We first did the lesson as a group using the school's new Promethean Board. The students then completed the work independently at their student stations.

Making Words

We use a word activity in class called Making Words by Patricia Cunningham. In this activity the students use a set group of letters to brainstorm and build various words. The set of letters when put all together make a mystery word. Usually the students cut out letters to manipulate but occassionally we do a quick version on the board if we only have a few minutes of time. I write a set of letters on the board and have the students brainstorm as many words as they can. Parents, this would be a great activity for your child to do on a piece of paper in the car for those long road trips or when you are waiting at the doctor, etc.

Doubles' Neighbor: Doubles Plus One

Last week we reviewed Doubles Plus One by creating Double and Doubles Plus One neighborhood houses. We talked about how if you learn a Double, you can learn a Double Plus One because one addend goes up by one therefore the sum goes up by one. The students were able to see that the two addends were numbers that are next to one another on a numberline - they were neighbors. The students then worked in groups to complete fact families for Doubles and their Doubles Plus One neighbor. As we discussed their fact families they noticed that Doubles Plus One have more number sentences than Doubles, that Doubles are always even because since the numbers are equal they each have a partner, and that Doubles Plus One are always odd because there is always one too many. You can read their reflections on Doubles and Doubles Plus One at their student blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Measuring Up!

The students experimented with measurement last week. First they made predictions about who had the longest or shortest ribbon just by viewing them with their eyes. We talked about comparing length and decided the best way to be sure which was the longest or shortest would be to measure them. I asked the students if it would be fair to measure the winner of a race if one person got to start in the middle and the rest had to start in the back. Of course they said it would be unfair. I then explained that it was the same with measurement - you have to start at the end. You also have to start with the same units of measurement. The students then measure craft sticks using Lima beans and pop cubes. We discussed that if you measure with a smaller unit of measurement it will take more units than if you measured with a larger unit of measurement. The students then chose three items from around the room that they measured independently with pop cubes.

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Gardening Lesson

The students had an exciting, hands-on science lesson last week from our Literacy Strategist, Mrs. Reed. They got to plant potatoes and onions! Mrs. Reed read the students a story about potatoes and then they created charts about the parts of potatoes, how to plant and take care of them, and ways they like to eat them. They then went outside to one of the plant beds and took turns planting rows of onions and potatoes. Mrs. Reed also included a great mini-lesson on measurement and skip counting as she taught the students how to space the vegetables properly. We can't wait for our big garden to be completed!

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Our class recently started their own blog site through You can visit our class site here. Each student has a password to log in which has already been sent home. If you would like another copy, please let me know. The students have already written about 40 blog entries in one week. We are using the site as a place to journal personal narratives, to write critically about recently taught concepts, and to write affirmations to one another. Writing affirmations is a part of the Capruring Kids' Hearts program we use district wide. Parents, feel free to leave your child comments in their blog entries; please leave your name if you do. The comments are moderated before posting so you may not see it appear immediately. I encourage you to let your child blog at home through this site as it helps with their writing and spelling as well as giving them an opportunity to show what they know.

Valentine's Day Party

Last week the students had a great time at their Valentine's Day Party as you can see in the pictures below. They enjoyed cookies, fruit , and drinks along with passing out and reading their Valentine's to one another.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

What Love Means to Me

Today the students wrote what love means to them in honor of Valentine's Day. They wrote very sweet things! Take a listen below to their podcast:

Pattern Block Fences

Today in math the students extended repeating patterns based off of pictures of pattern block fences. They had to extend the pattern at least three times. After extending their patterns, the students rotated around the room on a "gallery walk" to compare and contrast the different types of pattern block fences. Once everyone had a chance to see the variety of patterns, they went back to their own seat to remove two pattern blocks from their pattern. They then traded places with another classmate to see if the classmate could identify which pattern block piece was missing.

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Repeating and Additive Patterns

Yesterday in computer lab the students had the opportunity to use the school's new Promethean board. The students took turns creating, extending, and labeling repeating and additive patterns. They then created patterns at their individual student stations.

Johnny Appleseed

This week we have been learning about the American legend, Johnny Appleseed. After reading about and watching a short video about his life, the students brainstormed facts that they learned about him on a Circle Map. They then used the Circle Map to help them write "Did you know?" questions. Writing facts as questions is a fun lesson I learned from my teammates a few years ago.

100th Day of School

With all of the recent school closings due to weather, I wasn't sure if we were ever going to make it to the 100th Day of School! But, we did and we had a great time exploring the number 100. The students began their day by decorating crowns to show they were the "Kings and Queens of 100."  Then in math the students took turns being leaders to sort through number cards to 100. They would hold up the card for their classmates and ask if the number was even or odd. They would then color-code the number with a sticker to show if it was even or odd. Every time the students completed a set of ten numbers, they would ask a volunteer to create a row of those numbers from least to greatest. As they continued to add rows, they began to see a pattern of skip counting emerge. Once completed, they realized that they had made a 100 chart similar to the one we use in calendar everyday. After completing this activity, the students made predictions about how far they thought 100 tiles would be from our classroom door. Using the same cards from our previous lesson, the students taped the cards down, one per tile, in the hallway to reinforce the skip counting pattern and to test their predictions. The students were surprised to see that 100 tiles reached all the way to the nurse's office. After taping down the number cards, the students then went back and added another color sticker to show skip counting by fives.

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Pattern Practice

Last week (the short time we were in school) and this week we have been reviewing repeating patterns and learning about additive patterns. Additive patterns are patterns that grow. To help us practice, the students rotated through stations making patterns out of various manipulatives.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A few weeks ago the students formed "season committees" and brainstormed everything they learned about their assigned season on a Thinking Map. They then used what they learned to create a beautiful painting of their season. Each group member contributed to the paintings. They did a wonderful job of working cooperatively!

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