Finishing the First Quarter of First Grade!

school20Tomorrow, is the LAST day of the first quarter of first grade.  Whoa!  Where did the time go?  It is VERY HARD to believe that this quarter has sped by so quickly – just like this zooming bus! 🙂  Read below to see what we have been doing and some of the incredible learning that has taken place in our classroom.  Thanks for reading our blog this week.

  • Conversation Starters
  • Math Investigation – Double-Decker Bus
  • Musical Instruments
  • Creating Our Symbols
  • A Smile for You!

Conversation Starters:

  • This week, your class read Some Dog and Some Cat, both written by the same author.  Tell me about the beginning, middle and end of each story.  Tell me something that is the same and something that is different between the stories.
  • During your Morning Meeting this week, you discussed the importance of waiting to talk when others are talking.  How do you make sure you respect others by waiting to talk, instead of talking over them?  Why is this an important skill to have as a respectful first grader?
This is an arithmetic rack.
This is an arithmetic rack.

Math Investigation – Double-Decker Bus:  This week, we began a new math investigation that began with a story about a girl watching double-decker buses and trying to count the number of passengers as the buses drove past her home.  What a great context to learn about number sense, specifically counting in groups (unitizing) and noticing patterns in numbers.  One tool we use to extend our thinking are arithmetic racks, which directly connect to the story.  The double-decker buses referred to in the story have 20 seats, 10 red and 10 white, while our arithmetic racks have the same.  Great connection, huh?  What a helpful tool for our thinking!

The unit is designed to focus on cardinality (when counting numbers they end on the number of objects in a set), unitizing (counting in groups), and the relationship between addition and subtraction.  On the first day, we read a story and used an arithmetic rack to discuss strategies to count the possible number of passengers on buses that were passing by.  We often had to remember that it’s impossible to count passengers by ones when a bus is driving by, so we needed to count in groups.  On the second day, we played a game to reinforce counting in groups and then began doing Quick Images – showing an arithmetic rack for about 3 seconds and sharing strategies used to count the beads.  Check out a few of our photos below from the unit thus far.  We will continue this great learning next week!

These kiddos were exploring the math racks to find different ways represent the "passengers" on the double decker bus.
These kiddos were exploring the math racks to find different ways represent the “passengers” on the double decker bus.
Gage is thinking hard about his math rack.
Gage is thinking hard about his math rack.
Friends taught us about the strategies they used to count "passengers" on the bus.
Friends taught us about the strategies they used to count “passengers” on the bus.
Playing a game, these mathematicians were finding equivalent numbers of "passengers" on the cards.
Playing a game, these mathematicians were finding equivalent numbers of “passengers” on the cards.
As a class, we looked at Quick Images of a math rack. The kids taught one another their strategies for counting in groups, rather than by ones.
As a class, we looked at Quick Images of a math rack. The kids taught one another their strategies for counting in groups, rather than by ones.
These mathematicians were taking about their strategies with our Quick Images.
These mathematicians were talking about their strategies for counting in groups with our Quick Images.

Musical Instruments: We recently borrowed a few instruments from our music teacher, Mrs. Kesler, with the intention of using them in our classroom to grow and strengthen our sense of hearing.  Recently, I have done some learning and have found that children from birth through age six are in their “sensitive period” for exploring the world through their senses. This means that sensorial experiences, such as playing musical instruments, are one way to help prepare children for future exploration of language, mathematics, geometry, art, and music.  (This is also why it is important to incorporate food into learning since it strengthens the sense of taste, another important sense.)  Having instruments in our room to explore and play with on a daily basis will help the wonderful kiddos in our room continue to flourish.  Check out a few photos below of some of our first graders enjoying our new instruments.

Check out our friend exploring our instruments.
Check out our friend exploring our instruments.
Ethan and Isaiah were exploring our instruments too.
Ethan and Isaiah were exploring our instruments too.
Here are a few more friends exploring our instruments.
Here are a few more friends exploring our instruments.

Creating Our Symbols: As you know, your first grader has learned about important symbols, such as the bald eagle, Mount Rushmore, Washington Monument and Gateway Arch.  This week, we are culminating our research by sharing our learning and teaching others about our symbol.  Check out some of the photos below to see a few steps in the process as we have worked to learn about national and local symbols.

Ruby chose a symbol and is researching to find more information about it.
Ruby chose a symbol and is researching to find more information about it.
Sanjay is working hard to learn about The Gateway Arch.
Sanjar is working hard to learn about Mount Rushmore.
These friends are researching to learn more about The Gateway Arch.
These friends are researching to learn more about The Gateway Arch.
Gus is collecting his information and putting it on a poster to organize his research.
Gus is collecting his information and putting it on a poster to organize his research.
Here is another friend compiling his research on a poster.
Here is another friend compiling his research on a poster.

A Smile for You! This week,  I wanted to share the LOVE we have for our classroom turtle, Bradford.  The children in our class created some drawings for Bradford and decided that if they hung them outside his aquarium, he could enjoy them too.  🙂  I figured I’d share them with you because they make me (and hopefully, Bradford!) smile each day and maybe they will do the same for you.  Thank you for reading our blog this week.  Have a terrific LONG weekend with your first grader.

We love our classroom turtle, Bradford. :)
We love our classroom turtle, Bradford. 🙂
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