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Friday, January 20, 2017

Two-Digit Addition and Place Value

In math today, we introduced the concept of two-digit addition. We did this by using our base-10 blocks. We created silly stories about animals and how much they would weigh together. Then we represented the weight of each animal with base-10 blocks and added the blocks together. We did not focus on the regular math notation for this yet. We are working on building a deep understanding of place value and how addition works and will focus more on how to write it in symbols (25 + 36 = 61) at a later time. (I did write some problems using that notation so some children may begin using the symbols now. It just depends on how ready they are for that step.) Check out the pictures below for some examples.

Arts and PE Class
Our Arts and PE class next week is Art.

This is a way that you can draw the blocks to use this system at home.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Melting Snowman

As we continue 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Home Learning

Yesterday we had a great math problem that we were working on as our warm up activity.  Here is a photo of the problem:

I thought we might stop after the  first page of questions above but the crew was still engaged in thinking about this problem so we continued and worked on some of the questions below.

We eventually began making a chart to keep track of our thinking. We were looking to see if we could find any patterns in our numbers that might help us know how many blocks we would need without actually drawing the steps. We noticed that the number of blocks we added each time was the same as the step number we were on - when we were adding step 6, we needed to add 6 blocks.

This was pretty high level thinking for us and we were really enjoying the problem. So I challenged the crew to work on this problem on their own at home that night to see if they could figure out how many blocks we would need to build 10 steps. A couple of the crew took me up on that challenge and brought in a paper to share their thinking with us.

One more member of the crew also worked on this problem during Exploration Stations and figured it out, too.
I love that they were so engaged with this problem. They are really becoming mathematicians.

One other example of home learning last night is this Lego bald eagle that was inspired by our study of symbols of the United States.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year is coming soon. I thought I would share a couple of local events in case you were interested in taking your children to them. Chinese New Year's Day is January 28th with two weeks of festivities following that. This two week period might also be a great time to visit a Chinese restaurant because many of them will have smaller celebrations then, too.

The first event is the 2017 Chinese New Year Celebration at the Southridge Recreation Center in Highlands Ranch. Below are photos of the flyer with more information and details. Click here to purchase tickets for the on-stage portion of the celebration.

The second event that I want to share with you is Beautiful China hosted by the Chinese American Association including Joyous Chinese Cultural Center (where we visited for our fieldwork) at Buell Theatre. Click here to order tickets.

The performing arts troupe from Jiangxi province, China will present traditional Chinese dance and acrobatics to celebrate 2017 Chinese New Year.

Spectacular Chinese New Year Show
Buell Theatre at Denver Performing Arts Complex
To order by phone: Call 303-221-6688 or email info@joyouscenter.org to order your tickets with your credit card (Master or Visa) info ready
When: Sunday, February 12, 2017 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Where: Buell Theatre at Denver Performing Arts Complex
1350 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80202
Tickets: $15/per person

Finally the link below gives more information about Chinese New Year celebrations and what is celebrated each day of the two week festival.
Chinese New Year Preparations and Celebrations (2017) - What Chinese Do

Important Dates
1/20 Book Orders Due

2/2 Chinese Folktale Play Performance with Ms. Chelsea at 3:30 pm
2/17 No school for students -  Professional Development Day
2/20 No school - President's Day
2/23 Winter Voyage for 1st grade - one day only, not an overnight trip, no day of rest needed
3/20 - 4/3 Spring Break

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Let's Read a Good Book

We all have favorite books, series and authors. We thought we would share some of those with you. This might help you find some great new books to check out on your next trip to the library.

Arts and PE Class
Our Arts and PE Class next week is PE.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


As we continue to work on spelling more words correctly, I wanted to share a few ideas with you that you can do at home to help your child work on spelling.

First, I wanted to share this article about spelling:
Why is My Kid Allowed to Make Spelling Mistakes

Commercial Board Games
Have a family game night and play a board game with word play like Scrabble, Scrabble Jr., Boggle, Boggle Jr, Upwords, Bananagrams, Zingo, Word Yahtzee, and many more.

Other Word Play Games
You can also do word searches, crossword puzzles, hangman (or our version called, Melting Snowman ) or other games that just need a paper and pencil. You can buy books of this type of puzzle or you can go online and print some off. Also, many of these games have online versions that are fun to try, too.

You can also just write a long word on a piece of paper and see how many shorter words you can make using just the letters in that word.

Games to Play in the Car
You can have a spelling bee in the car and give each person a word to spell that is at their level.

You can say a word like "hat" and say what would that word be if I changed the "h" to a "c", to an "f" and so on. Experiment with changing beginning sounds, ending sounds and middle sounds.

Play a game based on word families. Name a word family like the "ate" family. Go around the car and have each person say another word in that family: late, skate, fate, date, gate, and so on.

Online Games
Search for word games on your computer, iPad or smart phone for your child to play. There are many, many variations out there.

Be Creative
Make up your own games. Anything that makes kids think about words and how they are spelled will help.

Spelling City

A while back, I created a home page for our crew on SpellingCity.com. This site allows teachers (and parents and students) to create and save spelling lists. Once lists are saved, students can do various activities to learn to spell (and read) these words. I added lists of sight words that our crew needs to master by the end of first grade. The lists labeled 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E are the lists to master by the end of first grade. I also added some lists for second grade for students who need an extra challenge - these begin with the number 2. After doing some of the teaching activities and games for each list, your child may take a spelling test to see if he or she has learned these words. If not, they can practice some more and if so, they can move on to the next list. We have been using these lists at school and I wanted you to know that your child can use these lists at home on a computer or a tablet. If you use a tablet, you will need to download the app, click on "more lists" and then search for my lists using my name, our school name or school zip code. If you have your child go to the Resources page of our crew blog, they can access it from there on a computer.