Saturday, December 17, 2016

Number Talks!

On Friday we had a special guest, Ms. Pike, come in and do a "Number Talk" with our class.
We have started incorporating Number Talks into our routine 2-3 times per week.
Currently, Ms. Pike has been teaching a class of teachers, including me,  how to use Number Talks. We we were all excited to have her spend some time with us.

What is a Number Talk?
A Number Talk is a short, ongoing daily routine that provides students with meaningful ongoing practice with computation. This quick routine helps students develop computational fluency because the expectation is that they will use number relationships and the structures of numbers to add and subtract.

Number Talks do not replace current curriculum or take up the majority of the time spent on mathematics. They take only 10-15 minutes.

Ms Pike displays an image, using 2 "ten-frames." Students take the time to determine how many dots there are in all. They indicate that they have an answer by giving a "thumbs up." 

Before asking for strategies, Ms. Pike asks for the answer and records it.

Children share their strategies and Ms. Pike records their thinking on the board.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Coding in First Grade

Last Friday our 4th grade Learning Buddies from Mrs. Dadmun's class taught us how to use a coding program.  The children learned how to "write code" to move a turtle across the screen to a pond. 

Today, our technology teacher, Mr. Fleury continued teaching code to the children by working on an iPad app called "Lightbot." This app can be used on iPads or you can use it on a computer at .  

The kids are really enjoying learning this new technological skill!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Today, all K-3 students in South Portland boarded buses to South Portland High School to see "Lighthouse Keeper: The Story of Abbie Burgess."  We heard the true story of a brave young girl whose determination and courage kept the lighthouse lit against all odds. The piece paints an exciting musical portrait of life on an island, the shifting ocean, majestic lighthouses, raging storms, and even silly dancing puffins.  Students were able to interact with the musicians from the Portland Symphony Orchestra string section, connecting music, literacy, art, nature, and Maine heritage.

Mrs. Mason, our librarian, had read Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie to the class.
We then made nautical weather flags which we were able to use as part of today's performance.

We also learned the song "Shine On Me," with Mrs. Osann in music class, which the audience sang along to at the performance.

Abbie Burgess narrated the story, accompanied by the beautiful string music of The PSO.

Everyone agreed this was a great interactive performance to get a glimpse into Maine nautical history, and hear some beautiful music.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Morning Meeting

We start each day with Morning Meeting.  There are 4 components to our meeting: Greeting, Sharing, Activity and Morning Message. 
Here is a snapshot of our meeting today:

Greeting: "Playing Card Greeting" the children were dealt a card with a number on it. When it was their turn, they counted that many children and greeted whoever they landed on. Children learn to make eye contact and greet their classmates in a friendly manor.
Sharing: Each child has a chance to share once a week. They can share 3 sentences about their topic, using bean bags to keep track of each sentence.

 They can then call on 3 friends who have questions, again keeping track of the questions with beanbags.

 Activity: We read a new poem each week (this week's is "Months of the Year"). Most days our activity includes reading the poem. We spend time visualizing, doing word work and adding movements to the poems. Today we were searching for the sight word, "and."
Morning Message: We read our Morning Message together (chorally). The Morning Message gives them information about the day to come and the children help correct mistakes or fill in missing information.  Often, there is also a class survey to answer as part of the Morning Message.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

PJs and Pumpkins!

We had a fun day yesterday, wearing our PJs and counting how many seeds were in 4 different pumpkins.

We started by reading this book which helped us make predictions about which pumpkin would have the most seeds.

We then scooped all of the seeds out of the pumpkins.

Some of us didn't mind "getting into" our mushy gushy work...

...while others preferred to use spoons.

We organized the seeds into groups of 10 so we could count them more easily. 

We were surprised that even though each pumpkin was a similar size, they had very different amounts of seeds.  The least was 181, and the most was 703!!

It was a great day, having fun and doing math at the same time!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Being a Writer

Our writing program in first grade is called Being a Writer.  We work on our writing 4 days a week.

On Monday, we read a book that gives us ideas for writing.  We brainstorm ideas and practice writing sentences.

On Tuesday, we start writing.  This week we wrote about animals we love, and met "Spaceman" which we use to remind us to put spaces between our words.

On Wednesday, we reread our writing, add words, and add details to our illustrations.

On Thursday, we share our writing with the class. Here you see Oscar, Neil and Batoul sharing last week's writing about what they like to do with a friend.
The kids listen respectfully, and make comments about their classmates' writing.