The past two Fridays we have continued our exploration of dice math games. The games have included rolling dice and matching the pattern in a bingo game; rolling and tracing the number; rolling and writing the number; rolling two dice, adding them and writing the number; rolling, adding one to the number rolled and writing the number; rolling and writing out the number in its word form (ex: “one” “two” etc…); and rolling and figuring out how many til 10. Phew! That’s a lot of games!

This last game is called Racing Bears, a game where little plastic bears travel on four tracks of 10 squares and you have to roll the dice to have them land exactly on the finish line. I especially like this game because it gives concrete practice in counting on and how many more, two important addition strategies for K/1. For example, if my bear is on the 4th box, what do I need to roll for him to land on the finish line, the 10th box? (4+x=10)

In art last week we expanded the previous week’s discussion of primary colors with a lesson on Piet Mondrian. We discussed his use of horizontal and vertical lines and then made our own Mondrian-based creations, making sure they were balanced compositions. This week we started exploring complementary colors. We read the book Mouse Paint about some mice who hide from a cat, but in the process mix up a bunch of paint, using primary colors to create secondary ones. Then we reenacted the book, making our own mice with the primary and secondary colors.

Last Friday we also enjoyed a special visit from Susan, mom to Georgie May in Irene’s room, and Georgie May’s Zadie and Bubbie. They came to our room to share about Rosh Hashanah. We heard a wonderful story about the holiday’s traditions and enjoyed Zadie’s expert shofar-playing.

First grade time has been focused on phonics: guided reading, middle vowel sound games and then Friday afternoon I introduced the ipads to the first graders for some phonics work. This year one of my focuses is technology in the classroom. I will be researching age-appropriate phonics and math games that truly enhance our curriculum, not just “playing on the ipad” (as the kids see it).

I hope, by the end of the school year, to have provided you all with a list of instructive apps and a list of articles on media use and K/1-aged children. The app we used on Friday is called Montesorri Crosswords. It is a literacy program in which you drag and drop letters to form words to correspond to given pictures. At the lowest level you practice linking sounds to letters to match the picture, and the higher levels use complex spelling patterns and higher vocabularies to create crosswords. I especially like this app because of the varying levels and it’s simple design (no distracting bells and whistles often in kids apps).

Here are a few pictures from the last few Fridays: