Thursday, October 31, 2013

Safety First!

Today, our entire school participated in an evacuation drill.  The students and teachers moved swiftly, safely and quietly to our designated safe spot. While we hope we never need to use this plan in the future, we are confident that our students know exactly where to go in case of an actual emergency. We are very proud of them!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Multiplication and Arrays

This week in math, students have been working with arrays. They have learned that arrays are an arrangement of things in equal rows and columns.  Arrays are a fantastic model that easily allows students to visualize "groups of" things (multiplication). Students have learned how to identify the dimensions of arrays (rows, columns), how to skip count to find the total, and how to break down arrays into smaller, easier arrays. Check out our anchor chart from today's math lesson.

Visualize an array that is 6 x 7. What smaller arrays can you break a 6 x 7 array in to? Leave us a comment with your answer. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Multiplication Strategy Work

On Friday, students began thinking about "Things That Come in Groups." As a class, we developed a chart with things that came in groups of 2-12. For example, four wheels on a car, 6 legs on an insect, 7 days in a week, etc. This was the very first lesson in our multiplication and division unit.

During the work period, students answered several basic "Equal Groups" problems.  Students set off to work with no discussion about multiplication or how even how to solve.  Instead, students were encouraged to use what they "visualized" in their mind about the problem to help them solve. We were blown away by the variety of different strategies and incredible math thinking that the students demonstrated! Check out the chart below for some the strategies that we shared in closing.
While some of the strategies are more efficient than others, all of the students are off to an incredible start!

It is extremely important for students to build this conceptual understanding of multiplication before jumping to "memorizing" facts.  If you let them work through this process, their thinking will be much more flexible, accurate and efficient as a result.

Also, don't forget that when we see the "X" symbol we say "groups of" in class. For example, 5 x 3 would be said "five groups of three." You can help at home by encouraging this vocabulary so that students are able to visualize what the problem looks like in their mind. :)

Students: What strategy is YOUR next step? 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wild About Skills' Block

Last week, we learned the difference between singular and plural nouns. We also learned some of the rules for spelling plural nouns. Using the chart, we challenge you to change the following singular nouns into plural nouns. Leave us a comment with your answer. :)

1. blueberry
2. child
3. lunch
4. monkey 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gizmos are Awesome!

On Thursday, students were introduced to an awesome tool called a Gizmo.  A Gizmo is an online simulation that powers inquiry and understanding of math and science. Students worked in pairs to explore the Measuring Volume Gizmo.  They learned how to read the volume of water in a graduated cylinder.  The even explored the volume of irregular shaped objects such as a rock.  They found that the difference between the water with and without the rock, told them the volume of the rock.  Students loved exploring the Gizmo. Today we continued our exploration with a guided student sheet.

As students are ready, we will slowly unveil more and more Gizmos.  Today, we have unveiled three more Gizmos for students to use at home: Cargo Captain (Focus: Multi-Digit Subtraction), Number Line Frog Hop (Focus: Addition and Subtraction), and Cannonball Clowns (Number Line Estimation). Feel free to explore Gizmos at home. Each student has the username and password in the back of their planner. What's your favorite Gizmo so far? There are many more to come!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Measuring Matter

This week in science, we have been measuring different properties of matter.  We used balances to find the mass of several objects. We also practiced using thermometers to practice finding the temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit.  Towards the end of the week, we will use graduated cylinders to find the volume of several different objects.
These young scientists are busy using gram cubes to find the mass of different objects. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Subtraction Strategies

In math class, we have been working on finding the distance between two numbers (subtraction). The following chart shows some of the strategies that students have been using in their work.  Every student is at a different point in their learning journey. When we come to our daily "closing meeting" during our math workshop, students are always looking for ways to make their work more efficient and sophisticated.