Here is an update of the past few Tuesdays and Fridays.

MATH: In math we have been enjoying some counting activities, including mystery bags. In this activity, learners counted various collections of items in small bags. We then recorded our information in an organized chart and spent some time discussion our observations about the data. Why might one learner get a different number than another? We talked about different counting strategies and mistakes that can occur (skipping or double counting objects, making mistakes with the sequence, not having a system for keeping track of what has been counted, etc…)

We have been thinking about parts of a number. If my partner has 8 cubes and 3 are now in their hand how many are hiding? We also have been learning some math games that involve rolling dice and recording our rolls.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: We have been working on revision: how can we fix our books once they’re done? Can you add information using scrolls and strips? Can you take out any parts that don’t fit with your topic. Are there any questions you don’t answer in your book and any info you could add?

We also started a share portion of our writer’s workshop time. The learners have loved showing their classmates their work. Hearing questions and comments is a great opportunity for learners to find out information they might want to add to your story. (If someone asks, when was that? Or what is that big blue thing in your picture? You can add that info to your story!)

ART: In art we have continued our work with lines by talking about the many different types of lines. We made two line abstractions. One with sharpie and watercolor, the other with glue then adding salt and then watercolor to blend colors along the salt lines. We also were inspired by some autumn corn that Mia brought in to class and made beautiful warm/cool color paintings. We learned more about the color wheel and how complementary colors (across from each other on the color wheel) pop against each together and analogous colors (in a row on the color wheel) go well together. We used our new knowledge in our work.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL): The last two weeks we have done some role playing as a way to discuss social issues that might arise in class. The steps of our role play are:

  1. I describe a specific situation (some examples of what we have done: what to do/say when you see someone playing alone at recess, what to do/say if someone isn’t sharing snack, what to do/say if someone asks if they can play with you at recess and you are in the middle of a game)
  2. We then brainstorm ideas for a solution
  3. Then we act out one idea with me in the lead or “tricky” role
  4. I ask the children what they notices (voice tone, body language, specific words we used, etc…)
  5. We do it once or twice more, acting out more of the ideas that were brainstormed and with the learners acting out all the roles. We then talk about what we noticed.
  6. We sum up what we learned, reiterating the strategies that have been tried in the role-play.

I’ve found role-playing very effective this year. This class loves to act things out! And I’ve even seen many of our strategies in action out on the play yard or during peer interactions in the classroom.

FIRST GRADE TIME: In first grade math time we have been working on How Many in All word problems and How Many of Each. In How Many in All we found the total of two or more quantities up to a total of 20 by counting on, counting all, or using various number combinations. We used specific books — like the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Rooster Is Off to See the World — for our problems. We practiced recording a solution to a problem – and ALWAYS showing our work. Even if we can solve the problem in our head. How Many In Each problems give students two types of objects (such as peas and carrots) and a total number (in the beginning of the year, numbers under 10) and then we determine how many of each object they could have to make up the total. They use words, pictures, equations, tally marks, or a combination of these strategies to find the solutions.

In first grade time we have launched our Guided Reading groups. During this time groups of two or three learners meet with Colleen and I to read a specific book and learn about a specific reading habits and strategies. We then do a follow-up activity to further understanding of the text.

I also have introduced the use of the ipad on Friday afternoon. A few years ago, I focused on technology in the K/1 classroom. It was my goal to find age-appropriate phonics and math games that truly enhance our curriculum, not just give the learners screen time. Finding apps that are educational AND fun is no mean feat!

The apps we have used so far this year:

  • Montessori Crossword game:  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 found in kids apps).
  • Hungry Fish: in this game learners are given a specific number and then have to quickly find addends of the specific number and combine them.
  • Zoom: this game is essentially an interactive number line. Learners are given a specific number then have to swipe the screen left and right to find where this number fits on the number line.

Last week we also enjoyed a special visit from Susan, mom to Georgie May in Irene’s room. She came to our room to share about Rosh Hashanah. We heard a wonderful story about the holiday’s traditions and enjoyed some shofar-playing, both live and some expert calls on the iphone  🙂