As you know, one strand of our math program consists of games. In these activities, the children actually do many more math problems than they would have done if exposed to traditional math sheets. This week the children played Roll a Total. This game introduces the addition strategy of beginning with the larger number and counting up. They also played Subtraction Bingo. Besides teaching subtraction facts, the children learn to begin with the larger number when creating subtraction facts. The children played a penny plate game which requires them to solve for missing addends. They also thought of a number between 0 and 120, and created a riddle for their partner to find. If you feel so inclined you may want to play some math games at home with your child. You can roll two dice, and if the numbers are added correctly, one point is given. If one rolls doubles he or she loses all their points. This puts adults and children at an equal level. You may even want to introduce your child to the card game Blackjack or 21.
The first-grade class went on a trip to the Montclair Art Museum to experience the art of Charles Burchfield. Charles Burchfield was an observer of weather and it was his focus for many watercolor paintings. The children were encouraged to consider the weather that was portrayed in a painting and then discuss how it made them feel. Each child used oil pastels and water colors to create their own masterpiece of a weather scene.
This year’s Brookside Book Fair was a great success. The first graders loved shopping for books in the gym. They picked some amazing stories which created excitement in our classrooms for reading. The children enjoyed meeting three special authors and illustrators. The illustrator, Peter Brown made everyone laugh as he read his new book, Creepy Pair of Underwear! He showed the kids how the illustrations in a book come to life. `The second author who spoke to the group was Brad Meltzer. He shared books from his I Am series, specifically I Am Amelia Earhart, I Am Jane Goodall, and I Am Ghandi. There are several other biographies in this series. Together, they had an important discussions about heroes. We ended our author celebration with Peter Reynolds, author of the first grade favorite, Ish. He read his new book titled, Happy Dreamer. He challenged the first grade students to continue using their imaginations and to never stop dreaming. There are all kinds of dreamers, what type of dreamer are you?
This week the writing emphasis was on rereading one's own work. First graders were taught that writer's not only write, they also reread their own stories, listening for spots to fix up. They were coached to make small changes that might make a story sound better and make more sense to the reader. Mechanics of writing were also reflected upon, such as spacing between words, ending punctuation, and checking sight word spellings. This week children learned that they can read their own writing like they read a book during reading workshop, keeping a close eye out for places to make a story even better.