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Monday, August 31, 2015

Math Assessment

We had our first math test last week (it should be in your child's backpack today). For most of us, this is the first real test that we have ever taken. We had to talk for a long time about what a test is and how you take a test.  At this point in the year, we do the tests all together and I read every question to the crew. I also project a copy of the test on the screen at the front of the room so the students will know where we are on the test. They fill in the answers on their own. As they become better readers, they will begin to read the test on their own. The tests we take in first grade are not really the kind of thing that the students need to study for - that will come soon enough in their educational career.

The test consists of two parts. Part A includes those concepts that your child should have mastered at this point and Part B includes concepts that have been introduced but do not need to be mastered at this point.

When marking your child's test, I simply circled items that were incorrect, underlined directions that weren't followed and wrote a letter "B" by numbers that were written backwards. Students also completed an open response problem. Since this assessment is more for me to know who knows what, I don't give a grade or score. I use the results of each assessment to help me determine who needs more help with certain concepts and who may need some enrichment around certain concepts. I am sure that you can see those same things as you look at your child's test.

The open response lets me know who is already able to apply skills we have been learning and if they are able to express their thinking in drawings and in words. This is typically very challenging for all students at this point in the year. As we move through the year the goal is for all students to be able to explain their mathematical thinking and reasoning orally and in written form - either drawings or words.

Finally, you may be able to see that simply filling in blanks was a challenge to some students. As I mentioned earlier, this is probably the very first written test that most of the crew has ever taken. Taking a test will become easier as we go through the year.  When I look at a student's test I am looking for understanding of a concept rather than test-taking skills. So please don't worry if filling in blanks was a challenge for your child. I can see if they understand a skill and they will get better at test-taking but I usually marked those to draw your attention to them.

Important Dates
9/7 Labor Day ~ No School
9/22-9/23 ~ Fall Voyage
9/24 Day of Rest for 1st grade
9/25 No School ~ Professional Development Day for Teachers
10/2 Boot Camp
10/3-10/18 Fall Break
10/19 No School ~ Teacher Work Day

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ms. Zina's Garden

Today we were able to go and visit Ms. Zina's garden. Ms. Zina is our cafeteria manager. It was lovely and the weather was great. We learned so much that we will use when we get ready to plant the school garden later in the year. The zucchini bread and honey were great! Thanks to Mr. Leo and Ms. Zina for inviting to visit their garden.

IA (Integrated Arts class)
Our IA next week is PE.

Enjoy some great books with your child this weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Recess - yes, it is a favorite time of the day for most first graders. We have a wonderful playground with many different places to play. It is great for the crew to have some unstructured playtime in their day. There are so many benefits of play not the least of which is that it is fun!

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Math Stations

As we learn about math tools or manipulatives that can help us solve problems, we always spend a day just exploring the tools so we can see how they might work. It also helps us stay focused on the math if we have already had a chance to just "play" with the tools. Last Friday, we explored pattern blocks, Base 10 blocks and geoboards by rotating around the room to various stations. We were all very creative with them and next time we use these tools we will be ready to use them to help us solve math problems.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Practice telling what numbers come before and after a given number. For example: What comes before 5? What comes after 5?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Counting and Grouping Strategies

As we continue to work on counting and grouping strategies, we learned a new game called Mingle. To play mingle, the crew mingled around the room until I called out a phrase like "groups of 2" or "groups of 3". Then they had to form groups with that many people in that group. We then talked about why sometimes our groups didn't come out even.

Then we practiced counting large groups of items that we pictured on paper and so couldn't be moved around. We talked about various strategies to use to count them - crossing them out as we counted them, drawing circles around groups of 2, 5 or 10, etc. We all worked very hard to count the large groups of items carefully using a strategy that made sense to us.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Practice counting by 2s and 5s and making tally marks that represent various numbers.