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Thursday, January 17, 2019

How-To Writing

Ms. Cate is teaching a new unit on how-to writing. The crew has chosen so many interesting topics to teach through their writing. It will be fun to share their writing with each other and learn how to do new things.

Another photo from our day - but not during the writing lesson.
Clowning Around

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Practicing Spelling

We recently did a short spelling assessment and now the crew is working on learning those words that they did not know how to spell. They practice them each day for a few minutes after recess.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Today's Number

We have learned a new math routine called, Today's Number. For this routine, I give the crew a number and they have to try to make that number in as many ways as they can using addition and subtraction. See the examples below.

Monday, January 14, 2019


Front entrance - lost and found has been moved to the cafeteria

Tending our plants

Sparkly shirts

Sharing our writing

Creating chopsticks from two forks

Working on spelling

Important Dates
1/18 No School for Students - Professional Development Day for Teachers
1/21 No School - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
2/14 Valentine's Day Party 3:00 pm
2/15 No School for Students - Professional Development Day for Teachers
2/18 No School - President's Day
2/19 Winter Voyage for First Grade - Day Trip - No Day of Rest
3/16 - 4/1 Spring Break

Friday, January 11, 2019

Melting Snowman

Melting Snowman
As we are beginning to work on spelling more words correctly, we are playing a game that will help us with that. It is called Melting Snowman. It is basically just the game Hangman but I didn't want to have to explain "hanging" to first graders so I changed the hanging man to a melting snowman (photo below). Play is just the same, you guess letters to complete the phrase and if you guess incorrectly, a part of the snowman "melts" (is erased). You have to guess the word or phrase before the snowman melts. This would be a great game to play at home with your child. It really makes them think about letters, words and how words work. You can play this on paper but it would work better with a small whiteboard or chalkboard since you are erasing parts of the snowman.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Learning Basic Math Facts

We have been focusing on learning basic addition and subtraction facts. Some of us are just beginning to learn them while others of us are much more comfortable with them. This is such an important skill to practice at this age. Familiarity with the basic addition and subtraction facts will make such a difference in your child's math career. I know I have mentioned this before but I have taught grades 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 (including Algebra 1). I can tell you that those students who had a solid foundation with their basic facts were so much more ready to tackle new math concepts and to use those basic facts to solve more complicated problems.  Now is the time to practice those facts with your child for a few minutes each day. We have begun to learn new games - both online and offline that will help us practice our basic facts. You can also help by asking your child to solve a fact as you are driving in the car and then ask them how they solved it or you can play various games both online and off to practice (rules for one game you can play are below). You can use whatever method you and your child enjoy. It's just important to work at it a little bit each day and to keep it fun and interesting.

Having said all of that, I do want to emphasize that what I feel is most important for students to learn in math is how and why things (like addition) work the way that they do. I want to develop their mathematical thinking and problem solving skills. If I had to choose between memorizing basic facts and developing mathematical thinking, I would absolutely choose mathematical thinking. Thankfully we don't have to make this choice. I will, however, always focus more on mathematical thinking in class and spend smaller amounts of time learning the basic facts. In our every day lives, we have so many tools at our disposal that can help with basic facts but we don't have tools that can do the deeper thinking and understanding for us so that is where my focus be.

Double Compare

The game is played with a deck of number cards, 4 cards for each number 0-9. (This can be a regular deck of cards with the face cards removed.) As many as four children can play, but at first, children should play the two-player game.

1. Shuffle the deck and place it on the desk with the cards face down.

2. At each turn, players turn over two cards and call out the sum. Players should check each other's sums.

3. The player with the higher sum takes all the cards. In case of a tie, players turn over two more cards and call out the sum. The player with the higher sum takes all the cards from both plays.

4. Play continues until there are fewer than 4 cards left in the deck. The player who took more cards wins.

Information for Parents
Learn math without fear, Stanford expert says 

You can find more math resources for parents on the Parent Resources page of our crew blog.

Fun apps,websites and board games to help practice basic math facts:

Hungry Fish

Resources page on our crew blog has links to several good websites for addition and subtraction practice

Board Games:
Tiny Polka Dots - many games can be played with this deck of cards - only one is shown at this link - I bought this game for my nephew for Christmas and we all enjoyed playing the games
Prime Climb - This game can be modified as your child grows up. You can start with addition and subtraction at first and add multiplication and division later. I bought this game for my niece and again, we all enjoyed playing this game. It is good for kids and adults. My 5 year old nephew played with us, too, with just a few adjustments to the rules for him.
Mobi - The Numerical Tile Game in a Whale Pouch
Shut the Box 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bedtime Math

A great website/app for you to use at home with your child is Bedtime Math. This site tells a short story each day and then follows it up with three levels of math problems for wee ones, little kids and big kids that you work on offline. The idea is to read the story as a bedtime story and then complete the math problems that go along with the story - a great way to do a little reading and a little math each day. It is not an app that kids just play on their own. Click on the picture to visit the site.


I read an article about Bedtime Math on NPR over break and thought I would share it with you. It explains some research that shows how doing the Bedtime Math stories really helps kids. The link is below:

Where The Wild Fractions Are: The Power of a Bedtime (Math) Story