Daily Schedule

Thursday, January 19, 2017

This Week in Review - 1/16 - 1/20

This information will also be found in Walter's weekly email:

This week was short and sweet. We practiced doing one of our newer mindfulness exercises, which was all about sending loving and friendly wishes to ourselves and others. We worked on a couple of different long-term writing projects - our Steig stories and memory pages - as well as maintaining our work in our poetry anthologies and listening with "ears, eyes, and hearts" to the Special Readers of the week. In science, children are having a lot of fun making their animal habitats - Shan keeps it hands-on and fun, as well as educational. Math found us practicing more place value skills using 1001 Things to Spot in the Sea.

1001 Things to Count in Math Class

1001 Things to Spot in the Sea, by Katie Daynes, presents an engaging and colorful array of water-related scenes – like a big “I-Spy” book. Children love these types of books – so much so, that their little gift from me for winter break was an I-Spy tube and card. Since bringing in this book, and another of the same series, 1001 Animals to Spot, they have been in hot rotation at quiet reading time.

This book ALSO provides the context for helping students use place value ideas to add with regrouping. We will use interlocking cubes and base ten blocks to figure out how many things they spot in each scene and then in the entire book. It focuses on strategies for combining the numbers to make it easier to count.

For instance, today we looked at the first page, “Open Sea”. I pointed to the humpback whale and took one cube and told the children that it represented the one humpback whale. I placed this cube on the chalk tray. Then I called on a child to see if they would make a stack of cubes to represent ten sea nettles, and still another to present the next animal (eight half moon fish). Each time, we kept a running tally as we added each animal to the chalk tray, right next to each other. We soon had a whole line of different size trains.

Because we kept a mental tally, we knew that there should be 64 cubes. I asked the students to show me with their fingers how many 10s were in the number 64, and they could all show me 6 fingers. I then asked, “How do we know that there are six tens in the number 63 if we don’t have six trains with 10 cubes each?” We soon decided to rearrange the trains of cubes into trains of ten, with 3 single cubes left over.

As we go through this book, children will get plenty of practice with hands-on materials to represent numbers, to use addition strategies including regrouping, and to make estimates. It will be very exciting to finally reach 1001 things in the sea!

Friday, January 13, 2017

From an article about Finland's schools and the importance of play/Timothy D Walker, The Atlantic:

"It’s free-play that gives students the opportunity to develop social competence. During these times, they not only rest and recharge—they also learn to cooperate, communicate, and compromise, all skills they need to succeed academically as well as in life."

At Summers-Knoll, we are proud to have always honored time given to children to "free play". We have at least 2-3 outside breaks a day, and for the majority of the time, children are free to play how they want and what they want. But most days, there is also a time of day for "indoor free time". This gives students an opportunity to play with different people, or by themselves. This group often chooses building or art projects, but sometimes they read together, solve mazes, or simply daydream. It truly is a time to recharge our batteries.

Yesterday, we had about 30 minutes of free time at the end of the day. I thought I'd snap a few photos to show the types of activities were chosen.

Lego toys. Always.

Chocolate Playdough/Candy Factory 

Family House/Pretend

Crafting / Sewing and Knitting


Thursday, January 12, 2017

This Week in Review - 1/9 - 1/13

This information will also be found in Walter's weekly email:

It was a week of getting back to the many routines of the school day. The students received new lists of spelling words, recited and illustrated a poem from their anthologies, continued their hard work in math books, added a new set of pages for our memory books (a year-long writing/reflection project), and rediscovered our beautiful wooded playground. The snow was very welcome ... the soggy mud, not so much.

We also started a few new things. We read from not one, but two new chapter books. We took a few days to read George's Marvelous Medicine, a short chapter book by Roald Dahl. This led to a couple of fun activities - recipe writing and magic potion making. Another chapter book that will take much longer to complete is The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. Each child also started working in their own handwriting book, and weekly practice will become part of our growing routine.

In math, we read about and pondered the concept of Infinity. We also played a variation of a game we learned before, this time adding money to the mix. Before too long, we will be preparing for the annual "Flea Market Math" activity, so any practice with money will come in very handy.