As part of their yearlong study of early America, third graders spent the morning with educators from Earth Spirit, who shared Iroquois history, traditions, customs, and artifacts with the students, including the tale about why the Iroquois' corn husk dolls have no faces! The students sang songs, heard legends, and used tool artifacts during several hands-on demonstrations. After some Iroquois games in the gym, students headed outside to learn more about how the Iroquois used plants for healing and food. The students are thrilled that Earth Spirit will visit them again during their tipi sleepover in the spring!
by Katie Holmberg and Judy Jurnack
Learning to read is one of the most exciting parts of first grade. Our students are improving daily in using their sight vocabulary and applying knowledge of letter sounds to become more accurate readers. As their fluency improves, we begin working more on comprehension, or understanding, of what they have read. In addition to our daily whole group and small group reading lessons, first graders spend time reading independently. With teacher guidance, an independent-leveled book is chosen to read in school. The book goes home in the afternoon to be read again. Listening to your child read a book to you is essential to his/her reading development and confidence. It is our hope to encourage our first graders to become life-long readers!
by Kathleen McIntyre and Kate Lynett
Third graders are mastering their addition and subtraction facts with weekly Mad Minutes. Students work to solve forty questions in three minutes, and then once mastered, move on to forty questions in two minutes. The challenge continues when the students move on to Mad Minutes with fifty addition or subtraction problems. Mastery of addition and subtraction facts is our goal, getting students fact ready to learn multiplication!
by Will Murrett
Second Grade had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with front row seats to their Feel the Music series, which helps children to understand how music can effect mood and feelings. The students ended their trip with a backstage tour of Kleinhans, getting a view from the players' perspective and learning how Kleinhans is acoustically perfect! The second graders were able to interact with the conductor, musicians, and the painter/artist who were part of making the music happen. They saw all the orchestra's instruments that they learned about in school. Second graders even got to see the vast collection of sheet music that is played by the BPO!
by Kate Lynett and Kathleen McIntyre
Writing about a life experience is ‘show’ much fun! Third graders are using their five senses to write about a life event that has taught them a great lesson or has been a memorable experience. Using ‘show, not tell’ details, students write about their special moment during Writer’s Workshop. It’s a beautiful sight to see young authors in action!
by Joan Good
Please be sure to visit The Jungle Book Fair with your child and discover some terrific titles for your family to enjoy! Swing by to shop on Parent Teacher Conference Day, Friday, November 11, from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, and be sure to pick up your child's selections from their class shopping trip.
All books are supplied by Barnes and Noble, and we will have thousands of intriguing books and items to choose from. Students in Prep II through eighth grade will visit the Book Fair with their classes. Beginners and Prep I will have special family shopping hours. We hope to see you there! All proceeds directly benefit our school!
by Katie Holmberg and Judy Jurnack
Here are two new math games to play with your first grader at home.
1 small plate
1. Player 1:
4. Players trade roles and repeat Steps 1 and 2.
5. Each player keeps a tally of their points. The first player to get 5 points is the winner.
Another Way to Play: Use a different number of pennies.
Penny- Nickel Exchange
1. Partners put 20 pennies and 10 nickels in a pile. This is the bank.
2. Players take turns rolling a die and collecting the number of pennies shown on the die from the bank.
3. Whenever players have at least 5 pennies, they say, "Exchange!" and trade 5 pennies for a nickel from the bank.
4. The game ends when there are no more nickels in the bank. The player who has more nickels wins. If players have the same number of nickels, the player with more pennies wins.
Another Way to Play: Play with a larger bank and two dice.
By Alyssa Charles
Differentiation is a hot topic in education right now. Every learner is an individual and learns different concepts in unique ways. Creating and creativity have the top spot in the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, which identifies higher order thinking skills we want our students to have. One of my favorite exercises in our Everyday Math program has students engaging in both differentiated and creative ways by thinking of different names for numbers. Name collection boxes give the student a number and they have to think of other ways to make that number through words, pictures, symbols, arithmetic, etc.
Over the course of Lower School, students' methods get more sophisticated as their fluency of thought and math skills are enriched. Differentiation and creativity are so easily implemented in this lesson. Sometimes students need a little push to get beyond writing 11+1 for the number 12. It’s easy and it works, but by setting some parameters, the exercise challenges the students and makes it more fun. Here, fourth graders try to write other names for numbers with the following parameters set:
There are so many ways to change the parameters and differentiate based on an individual’s or group’s demonstrable skills.
by Judy Jurnack and Katie Holmberg
About once a month first graders do "Explorations" in math. They try to find the answer to something they did not know before, without being told how to do it. Explorations happen in small groups so that children may share ideas and help one another. They use manipulatives such as pattern blocks, geoboards, dominoes, base-10 blocks, weighing scales, calculators, rulers and attribute blocks. The purpose of the Explorations is to familiarize children with some of the materials they will use in later lessons. It is essential that children have time to "play" with the manipulatives before they use them in lesson activities. First graders love Explorations!