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Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter Party

Happy Holidays! Have a wonderful break!


Pacific Ocean Market and King's Land Restaurant

Wow! What a great day! We saw and experienced so much today. I will let the photos and your child speak for themselves. Thanks to all of the chaperones for coming along and helping us out.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two or try an online book. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play a math game.

Pacific Ocean Market and King's Land Restaurant Photo Album

Thursday, December 21, 2017


We had fun climbing in PE this week. Thanks to all who came and belayed us. We so appreciate it! Enjoy the pictures at the link below.

Library - We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return their books.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two or try an online book. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play a math game.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Elementary Progress Reports

Soon you will have access to your child's EPR - Elementary Progress Report -  for this semester, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you about them. First of all, I don't imagine that any of you really even need to go and read them. You already know how your child is doing and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Second, learning is messy. All children truly do grow and learn at different paces and this is perfectly normal. We humans decided (made up?) what "grade level" means and what things students should learn at what ages. Then we began to worry if each child wasn't meeting these "grade level" standards (that we created) right away. I know that I can get myself all worked up about these kinds of things sometimes, too. Really we just need to step back, take a deep breath and let our children grow. I am not saying that we don't teach them or that we don't have high expectations for them but I am saying that we need to balance learning content skills with learning social and emotional skills with learning to be a self-directed learner. Our whole crew is growing in leaps and bounds and that is just exactly what should be happening. We shouldn't get overly focused on the tiny details because those will take care of themselves over time if we just keep teaching and learning. I know I won't ever give up on any child and I know you won't either. These are just a few of my thoughts about ranking and grading and scoring children. Please don't feel like I am writing this because your children aren't doing well - it is quite the opposite. They are doing great - I just wanted to share my thoughts about ranking and sorting them. I prefer to teach them wherever they are ("above grade level", "below grade level", "on grade level", high, low, struggling, advanced, whatever labels might fit) and just make sure that they keep growing and growing.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two or try an online book. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play a math game.

We also had several guest speakers and presentations today. Here are a few photos and a video for you.

Video Clip  of Ms. Dana's Crew's Readers' Theater 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Book Recommendations

Some times when I am looking for books for the crew, I simply put a subject into the search box on the website of the public library and see what comes up. Recently I put in snow, snowman and winter and found a whole collection of great books. The crew is enjoying the wide variety of books that we have. I did this from home and put the books that looked appealing on hold. Then when the books are in at the library they send me an email letting me know that I can go pick them up. It is a quick and easy way to find books on a specific topic or by a specific author.

Some times I hear about a new series from other teachers on Twitter and I check and see if the public library has books in that series. That is the case with these nonfiction books below. They turned out to be great finds, too!

Some times I need books that address a specific behavior problem that we are dealing with in the crew. The library never lets me down. I can find books on almost every single topic I can think of - and it is so easy to put them on hold and then go pick them up.

Other times, I just keep a list by my computer and jot down titles that I hear about. When the list has a good selection of books on it, I head to the library's website and see which ones I can find and put on hold. These are are few that we have really, really enjoyed recently.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two or try an online book. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play a math game.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Math Games to Play at Home

Below are a few math games that your family could play at home. We have played some of them at school and some of them are new.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two or try an online book. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play a math game.

Race to $1.00
 You need: a partner, collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and a dollar bill, two dice.

Players take turns rolling the dice and taking that many pennies. On their turn, players may exchange 5 pennies for a nickel, 10 pennies for a dime, 2 nickels for a dime, etc.

Play continues until one player has collected enough coins to exchange them for a dollar bill. To make the game easier, use only one die or choose a smaller amount (50 cents) as the winning amount. 
As you play ask your child: How much money do you have now? Who has more money? How much more?

Sums of Ten

Players: 1
What You Need:
  • Deck of playing cards (with the face cards removed)
What You Do:
  1. Place cards face up on a flat surface in a 4 x 4 array. Place the rest of the deck to the side.
  2. Scan the board for cards that add up to 10. Remove these cards, or card combinations, and place them in a discard pile.
  3. If there are no cards or combinations that add up to ten, refill the array with additional cards and see if there are any combinations of ten now.
  4. Keep adding cards until you can find a combination that adds up to ten.
  5. Remove cards until you can't find any more combinations.

Before and After

What you need: number cards
1.            Shuffle cards together

2.            Deal 6 cards to each player.

3.            Put 2 cards number side up, put rest of cards down in pile.

4.            Take turns putting a number that comes just before or just after one of the face up numbers.

        Play as many as you can.

5.            Take number of cards you played from the facedown pile.

6.            If you can’t play then take 2 cards from the facedown pile.
The player who is out of cards or the player with the fewest cards when there are no more plays wins. 

Race To 20

You need a partner. Take turns. On your turn, you may count one or two numbers. So the first person says: "1" or "1, 2." And the second person continues with one or two more numbers. The player who says "20" wins.

Addition Top-It

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, add the numbers together 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.

Subtraction Top-It

This game is played just like Addition Top-It except that instead of adding their cards together they subtract their two numbers. The player with the largest difference keeps the cards.


Domino Top It 

What you need: dominoes

1.            Place the dominoes facedown.
2.            Each player chooses a domino and compares the total number of dots to the total number on his/her partner’s domino.
3.            The player with the larger total takes both dominoes.  Ties are settled by another draw.
The game ends when time is up or when all dominoes have been drawn.

Tric Trac

Another fun game to practice basic addition facts is Tric Trac. Below are the directions and a picture of the game board. You can easily make your own game board just by writing the numbers out on a piece of paper.

Tric Trac

Materials Needed: 2 dice, 20 pennies, and a hand drawn game mat for each player

1. Cover the empty circles with pennies.
2. Take turns. When it is your turn:
  • Roll the dice. Find the total number of dots. This is your sum.
  • Move 1 or your pennies and cover your sum.
  • OR move 2 or more of your pennies and cover any numbers that can be added together to equal your sum.
3. Play continues until no more numbers can be covered on your gameboard. Your partner may continue playing even after you are finished.
4. The game is over when neither player can cover any more of the numbers on his or her gameboard.
5. Find the sum of your uncovered numbers. The player with the lower sum wins.

Tric Trac is also available as an app. You can find it here.

3, 2, 1 Game

Materials: 1 sheet of paper, 1 pencil for each player
Players: 2
Object of the game: To reach exactly 0

1. Write 21 at the top of the sheet of paper.
2. Players take turns. When it is your turn, subtract 1, 2, or 3 from the last number written on the paper.
3. The first player who subtracts and gets 0 as the answer wins the game.


Difference Game 

What you need: number cards

40 pennies    
1.            In the center of play: 40 pennies (Bank)
2.            Players each take 1 card from open of the deck and then take the same number of pennies from the bank.
3.            Find out how many more pennies one player has than the other. You may pair as many pennies as you can.
4.            The player with more pennies gets to keep the EXTRA pennies. The rest go back into the bank.
5.            Game ends when there are not enough pennies in the bank to play another round.
6.            Winner: player with the most pennies

How Many Are Hiding

In this class activity, students find the missing number to complete a number sentence while also seeing different representations made by other students.


  • 10 or more snap cubes /objects per player
  •  A cup for each player

Task Instruction

  • In this activity each child has the same number of cubes and a cup.
  • They take turns hiding some of their cubes in the cup and showing the leftovers.
  • Other children work out the answer to the question “How many are hiding,” and say the full number combination.
Example: I have 10 cubes and I decide to hide 4 in my cup. My group can see that I only have 6 cubes.  Students should be able to say that I’m hiding 4 cubes and that 6 and 4 make 10.

Important Dates
12/18-12/22 Climbing Week for our crew during PE. Sign up here to belay.

12/22 Field work to Pacific Ocean Marketplace and King's Land Restaurant

12/22 Winter Party 3:00 pm

1/9 First Day Back After Break

1/12 No School - Professional Development Day for Teachers

1/15 No School - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

2/16 No School - Professional Development Day for Teachers

2/19 No School - President's Day

2/22 First Grade Winter Voyage (Day trip - no day of rest)

3/6 Life is Art Fundraiser

3/19 - 4/2 Spring Break

Friday, December 15, 2017

Performing Our Plays

Today the crew performed the plays they have been working on in Performing Arts. It was great to see so many of you there - what a large turnout for our audience - every child had at least one family member present! Check out the photo album below and ask your child to tell you all about it.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play Race to $1.00.

Below are two videos that show just how avid our readers have become. You will need to click through to the blog to view these two short videos but they are worth it. We also brought home our book bags today since we couldn't go all weekend without reading!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holidays in China

We have been learning about some of the holidays that people in China celebrate. The most recent holiday we have learned about is Chinese New Year. Today we made a lantern that is similar to (but not exactly like) the lanterns that children make in China.  Check out the photos below and ask your child to tell you about Chinese New Year.

Home Learning ~ Read a good book or two. Check out a Bedtime Math story or play Race to $1.00.

Library - We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return their books.