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Friday, January 31, 2014

When We Grow Up...

This week we started learning about some Financial Literacy topics. We are learning about incomes, jobs and careers. It would be great if you could talk to your child about your job and why you chose it. We are also learning about wants vs. needs, goods and services, and we will learn about how to set a short term financial goal. (Yes, you read that correctly!) Below are some of our ideas about what career we would like to have in the future.

  • Elliott wants to be a builder because he likes to build.
  • Ava wants to be a doctor because she likes to see kids.
  • Sam 2 wants to be a baseball player because he likes baseball. He think he will make $40.
  • Mason wants to be a hot wheels driver.
  • Brandon wants to be an inventor.
  • Emma wants to be a teacher because she likes to teach people. She thinks she might make $30.
  • Gabriel wants to be a scientist because he loves snacks.
  • Sloan wants to be a veterinarian because she loves being with animals.
  • Gracie wants to be a scientist because she likes science.
  • Harry wants to be a soccer player because you get to kick it.
  • Hayden wants to be a teacher because she loves to read, write and Exploration Stations.
  • Lochen wants to be a monster truck driver because it's cool. He is going to make 25¢.
  • Will wants to be a long boarder because it is interesting and you can do it at any age and it is fun to do.
  • Trent wants to be an engineer because it is fun. He will make $30.
  • Haley wants to be a skier because she is good at it.
  • Micah wants to be a famous skate boarder because he is good at it. He will make 1,000.
  • Joseph wants to be a soccer player because he is really good at soccer. He will make $50.
  • Caroline wants to be a swim teacher because she likes to swim.
  • Sam 1 wants to be a fighter jet because it is so fun.
  • Ellison wants to be a veterinarian because she loves animals.
  • Anna wants to be a doctor because it is fun.
  • Allison wants to be a veterinarian because she really loves to spend time with animals. She will get $150 and 25¢ per hour.
  • Chloe wants to be a doctor because she likes to help people.
  • David wants to be a blacksmith.
  • Matthew wants to be a rock scientist.
  • Luke wants to be a builder.
No homework for the weekend. Enjoy some good books with your child.

Our IA next week is PE. Help your child remember to dress appropriately.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Writing ~ Part 2

I am sharing some more writing samples today. This time you get to read the whole story written by 4 different students. Enjoy!

2 Teeth by Sam H.:

2 Teeth by Sam H.

I went to the dentist but my sister went first. My sister got one tooth pulled out. My sister's tooth was wiggly so it did not hurt. My brother did not do anything.

Then I went. They put something on my nose. They did something and then they pulled out my tooth.

The Time I Got Hit By a Snowball by Sloan:
The Time I Got Hit By a Snowball by Sloan

Yesterday I went to the park with my brother, my mom and my friend. When I went down the slide, my brother through a snowball. It went in my eye.

I cried like a bullet hit me. When I got home I got a nice, warm bath. The one that threw the snowball ran the water and got me a snack.

Lost by Joseph:

Lost by Joseph

One day my mom and I went grocery shopping. I loved going to the store. I was picking out a candy. My mom left. I got scared.

I went to find her! I saw my mommy so I ran to get her.

I found her.

My Friend's Pajama Birthday by Chloe:

My Friend's Pajama Birthday by Chloe

I went to my friend's house for a pajama party. We made a craft that is a dolphin.

The problem was when we were dancing. Two people got hurt. The problem got solved when we watched a movie and played.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.14 ~ Unit 6: Family Letter: Developing Fact Power

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Periodically I take home the students writing folders to read through some of their writing to check to see how they are doing and to note what I need to teach them next. Last weekend, I took some pictures of some writing samples that made me smile. I thought you might like to see them, too. More tomorrow!

Great first line by Trent:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, finally we were there. Micky and Minny and Goofy were there, too.

Nice cover art by Harry:

Sick by Harry with a picture of SkyRidge Hospital

Great example of showing how someone feels rather than just telling how they feel by Will in a story about building with Legos:

Some of the pieces are hard to find. And my face started to get red, my fists were clenched but it was time for school.

Interesting topic by Haley:

Golden Retriever's Training Guide Book

Another great first line and great illustrations by Emma:

I got bored! I just sat in my bed all day long. And then my cousins came over to my house. 8 of my cousins.

An "award" winning 3D book by Brandon:
It may be hard to see but the words are overwritten in two different colors and look like 3D print does when you are not wearing the 3D glasses.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Test tomorrow including problems about: greater than/less than, comparing amounts of coins (who has more or less, how much more or less), function machines (What's My Rule?),  reading a thermometer, telling time (quarter before and quarter after), addition facts, reading a tally chart.

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to bring his or her books back.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Communication - One of the 4Cs

Last Friday we had a crew discussion about Communication. I wanted to see how much they could tell me about what we have learned about communication so far this year. It turns out that they could me a lot! It was one of those times when I wish that I had a video camera going. I had to settle for exchanging happy grins with Wendy. We were both amazed at how much they knew, remembered and were able to share. We began with a whole group discussion and then broke off into pairs to write up one of the ideas that came in the discussion for a group created chart. Below are photos of our chart and a list of ideas we generated. We were all so into the moment that we neglected to take pictures or video of the discussion or the partner work.

Our ideas about Communication (shown on the photos of the chart below):
  • talking - including making comments, listening, taking turns, making eye contact, speaking loudly and clearly, thinking, responding by nodding head or saying uh-huh
  • reading and writing
  • drawing
  • different languages - sign language, Chinese (Mandarin), body language
  • making connections
  • asking and answering questions
  • sharing ideas
  • using tools to communicate - ShowMe, Twitter, Skype, email, phones, texts, FaceTime, Facebook, blogs
  • writing blog posts and commenting on blog posts

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.13 More "What's My Rule?"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Skip Counting

Remember this post, Morning Meeting, from the beginning of the year? It was about the components of our morning meeting and the activity that day was lining up by counting by 2s without talking to each other. This activity was a big challenge for us back then. We also did the same activity counting by 5s, too. Well, we revisited this game on last Thursday and Friday and what a difference a few months make. This time we were able to get in line without talking in under a minute. The whole crew could feel the difference and was very proud of how far they have come as mathematicians and as community members who work together so well to complete a challenge. The pictures may look similar but there was a big difference in our performance from then to now.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.12 What's My Rule
Online Book Orders and Voyage Paperwork are due on Wednesday

Be sure to check out Ms. Pam's latest blog post about first grade art, First Grade Art: Ceramic Self Portraits: Tell Me How You Really Feel

Friday, January 24, 2014

Vision and Hearing Screening

Today we all had a chance to have our vision and hearing checked. Below are a few pictures of what that looked like.

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy some good books with your child.

Our IA next week is Music.

Note from Ms. Diana:  In yesterday's electronic Thursday folder, there was a short item about reading logs needing to be turned in to the library. Our crew is exempt from that because we read all of the books as a crew and discussed them. Now they are all eligible to vote for their favorite books for the Colorado Children's Choice Awards.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Learning Basic Math Facts

As I am sure that you have noticed, we are really beginning to focus on learning basic addition and subtraction facts. Some of us are just beginning to memorize them while others of us are working to increase the speed with which we can say the answers. This is such an important skill to master at this age. Knowing the basic addition and subtraction facts quickly and accurately will make such a difference in your child's math career. I know I have mentioned this before but I have taught grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 (including Algebra). 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. Soon we will begin to create sets of Fact Triangles (flashcards) at school and at home that your child can use to help with practicing basic facts. There is an online fact practice game on the Resources page of our crew blog where students play against another player. You can ask your child to teach you how to play Beat the Calculator (we will learn it this afternoon or tomorrow afternoon) or you can quiz your child on facts as you are driving in the car. You can use whatever method you and your child enjoy. It's just important to work at it a little bit each day.

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 learning 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. 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.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.11 Adding 0 and 1

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Sometime before winter break there was a national event called the Hour of Code. I signed our crew up to participate but then life happened and we couldn't fit it in during the official week of the event. It turns out that this is completely fine. We can still learn a little bit about coding (computer programming) anytime. We have added a couple of the suggested apps to our iPads and have taken a quick look at how they work. Now coding is a choice for the crew during our Exploration Stations. Many of us also got to explore the apps last Thursday after we created our ShowMes about patriotic symbols. You never know what a student will be passionate about and I like to give our crew exposure to lots of things. We will just have to wait and see if any of them become passionate coders.

Our coding apps: Daisy the Dino and Kodable

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.10 Turn-Around Facts

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return his or her books.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Parent's Wishes for His Child's Teachers

The TED Talk below is by Chris Kennedy, a school superintendent, former teacher and parent in Canada. He shares what he hopes for in his children's teachers. If you get this post by email, you will need to go directly to the blog to view the video.

What are your hopes for your child's teachers? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or in an email.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.9 Comparing Sums

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ShowMe Showcase

As I mentioned in the earlier post today, we worked collaboratively with a partner to create a ShowMe to share what we have learned so far about the symbols of the United States. I wanted to share one of those ShowMes with you and point you to our Kidblog page to view more. (There were a few inaccurate details in a couple of them.  I have made a note of these and we will clear up a few points next week. They are all pretty cute, though.) Enjoy. If you get this post by email, you will need to go directly to our crew blog to view the ShowMe below.

The 4Cs: Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking

As you are aware, we work really hard to use the 4Cs all day, every day. They are embedded in everything we do. Sometimes, however, we want to talk a bit more about one of the Cs so we do an activity that helps us think more about that particular C.

One activity that we do is having a Maker Station as one of the rotations of our Build and Create Station. At this station the students must think creatively to use recycled objects and turn them into something else. They must also think critically as they try to actually build their idea and think about things like building strength and balance so that their creation can stand up if necessary. They also collaborate and communicate by sharing ideas with their station partner. Together they can come up with ideas to overcome a tower that just won't stay standing or what to do when the glue isn't strong enough to hold their creation.
A finished Maker Station project.

Another activity we do is a morning meeting game called, "What could it be?" For this game, I  grab an item from our pile of recyclables and we pass it around the circle answering the question about what it could be. The first time we played this game the crew was worried that they wouldn't be able to think of any ideas. Now they know that not only will they have an idea but that they will have many ideas and will want to build their idea during their next visit to the Maker Station.
A few of the objects we have passed around our circle.

Sometimes we adjust an "old" activity to make it more collaborative. For example, we normally create our ShowMes on our own during our station work time. Today we tried to create a ShowMe with a partner about something we have learned about a patriotic symbol or holiday or famous American. We had to work together to decide what content we wanted to include, how we wanted to present it and what parts each partner would do.

We will continue to work on learning these skills and to begin to use these words in our daily discussions.

No homework for the long weekend. Read a few good books with your child. See you back at school on Tuesday.

Our IA next week is Art. Be sure to check out Ms. Pam's blog, Renaissance Art, for Art information including the Pages tab which has information for each grade level.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ShowMe Showcase

It is time for another ShowMe Showcase. Enjoy the ShowMes below. If you get this post by email, you will need to go directly to the blog to view the ShowMes. Be sure to check out our Kidblog page for more ShowMes and blog posts.

Anna shows us how to count base 10 blocks.

Chloe also teaches us about base ten blocks and how we use them.

Ellison tells us about how Ms. Wendy helps all of us throughout the day.

Gracie reads a book called, "Fat Ducks", to us.

Mason shows us how to count by twos starting on one.

Micah shows us how to count a group of coins.

David tells us the value of different coins.

Elliott tells us a little bit about coins and their value.  
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.8 Number Stories

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return his or her books.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Writing Stories from our Lives

In writing we are working on writing true stories that have happened to us in our lives. We began by learning the parts of a good story - the beginning, middle and end. The beginning of the story is where we introduce the people in the story (characters) and tell where the story takes place (setting). The middle of the story is where we explain the problems,issues and events that happen in the story (plot). The end is where we describe how the character solved the problem (resolution). We noticed that we can see these parts in a story when we are reading another author's story and when we are writing our own. Some of us have begun to use the words in parentheses above. We have some great stories and we can't wait to share them with you.

Social Skills and Emotions
Mr. Bill, Ms. Noreene, Ms. Josie and Ms. Jodie came to our room today to work with us in small groups on various topics around social skills and emotions. Each group will eventually meet with each teacher over the next couple of months. It was lots of fun. Ask your child to tell you all about it.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.7 Comparing Amounts of Money

Monday, January 13, 2014

Problem Solving in Math

We do lots of problem solving in math. Sometimes the problems are just number stories that require using addition or subtraction to solve the problem. Sometimes the problems are multi-step problems that are similar to the Open Response problems that we do on test days. On Friday we did some problems like the second type. Our process was to read the problem together as a crew and make sure that we all understood what the problem was asking. Then we worked on solving the problem by ourselves for a few minutes. After that we worked with our table groups to come up with a solution. Working by ourselves first helped all of us have something to contribute to the group discussion. Finally we shared our thoughts with the whole crew and talked about how the process went. We are learning to collaborate with each other so we had lots to share. Below are the problems we worked on and some examples of the work done by a few students. The problems came from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) website, here.

Curious Cats 
Five curious cats went exploring in a freshly painted room. Four got paint on their front paws and one got paint on its back paws. How many paws didn't have any paint on them?

Use a Model 
Imagine that you have one penny, one nickel, and one dime. What amounts of money can you make using one, two, or all three coins? 

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.6 Relation Symbols