Monday, May 1, 2017

Volunteer Opportunity!


Volunteer Opportunity: Mrs. Jones needs willing volunteers to help tidy and pack up the library in advance of the summer renovation project. Please email emily.jones@breckschool.org if interested.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April and May News

I believe we all agreed that it was great to have Spring Break, but also exciting to be back at school. There is a lot on our learning agenda for this month!

  • Complete our research on the Hero/Shero project and create a visual display of our work.
  • Complete our study of the Pacific Region and write a summary essay and add five more states to our states and capitals challenge!
  • Complete our current literature study of Black Star, Bright Dawn.
  • Complete Book A of our Math curriculum (Number Sense, Estimation, Multiplication, Division, and Fractions.
  • Begin Book B (Decimals, Angles, Area and Perimeter, Symmetry.)
  • Field trip to the Science Museum for a class, the new exhibit, and an I-Max film.
  • Begin our study of the Mid-Atlantic Region (including a closer look at Washington D.C.)
  • Spend the week of April 17-21 taking the E.R.B. tests.
  • Complete our last two region studies, the Southeast and New England Regions.
  • Study for our last WordMasters Challenge (the week of May 1st)
  • Cruise and study on the Mississippi River Boat trip (May 2nd)
  • Spend a day in the 5th grade (May 9th)
  • Celebrate the Fourth Grade with a special dinner and performance (May 25th)
  • Proudly present our "State Fair" posters and share our research.
Wow! What an exciting spring!  

On another note, please read the message from Mrs. Zozel regarding our Birthday Service Project.

Birthday Wishes
April 6-21

We are collecting birthday celebration supplies for our local food shelf.  Families who use our local food shelf often are unable to buy extra items
that make a birthday special,like
Cake Mix & Frosting, Candles, Rice, Noodles, Cookie Mix, Pizza Crust mix,
Paper Plates & Cups. Gluten-free, Kosher and Halal items are often needed by families as well. 

If you would like to donate,
please bring items to school April 6-21.  Thanks!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Math News!

Math Update!

Parents,
This week, we have spent the last two days in meetings with our math consultant, Cassy Turner.  She met with grade level teams to talk about our successes with our new program, Math In Focus - and to help us look ahead as we plan our continued implementation.  It was good to hear her affirm how we're teaching math in our classrooms, and how engaged our students are with new vocabulary and problem-solving strategies. 

Please read the notes compiled by Peg Bailey at the "Parent Boot Camp" last night here at Breck. 


Singapore Math In Focus
Boot Camp for Parents
February 2017

Presenter:     Cassy Turner, consultant and trainer
                        Cassy@MathChampions.com

Big Ideas in Singapore Math:
Number Sense:  our goal for students is to develop a deep understanding of number
Making Connections:  we want students to see connections between mathematical ideas
Visualization:  mental models help students see the math
Metacognition:  we want to give students opportunities to “think about my thinking . . . .”
Communication:  How do I communicate and share my understanding?

For our youngest learners, they learn to tell a number story about a picture.  They learn to apply the concept of number bonds.  Students use manipulatives to understand math.  Math In Focus moves from concrete to pictorial to abstract. 

Strategies our students learn:
·      Make a ten
·      Using a tens frame
·      Make the next ten 
Where we start . . . 67 + 5  leads to a vertical algorithm  67
                                                                                               +5

Language of Math In Focus - parents will likely hear:
·      Decomposing – breaking numbers apart to make an easier equation
·      Subitizing - You can see a quantity and know the number without counting.
·      Regrouping/Renaming – trading ones for a ten, tens for a hundred, etc.


Bar Modeling – an essential strategy (visual representation) in Singapore Math In Focus
·      Drawing a picture to represent a problem increases understanding
·      Bar models support students in 3/4th grades to understand fractions
·      Bar models introduce students to the structure of algebraic thinking

·      Part-whole models (adding or subtracting parts to make a whole) – students are introduced to this in the early grades
Examples of problems:  Helen has 14 breadsticks. Her friend has 17.  How may do they have altogether?  - Or - There are 21 fish in a bowl. Fifteen are from students. The rest are from the school.  How many are from the school?

·      Comparison models  (How many more or fewer is one quantity compared to another?) Example of a problem: Grant buys 345 fruit bars. Ken buys 230 more fruit bars than Grant.  How many fruit bars does Ken buy?


Parents worked on creating a bar model for this problem:

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pegbailey:Desktop:IMG_1114.JPGA farmer has in his pasture 63 farm animals consisting of cows, goats, and sheep.  There are twice as many goats as cows, and twice as many sheep as goats; how many has he of each sort? 
The bar models show we know the relationship
between goats and cows is 2:1.  This can be represented as 1 bar for cows and 2 bars for goats.  We know the relationship between sheep and goats is 2:1.  Therefore, there are 4 bars for sheep.  We know the total is 63 animals and we have 7 bars.  Therefore, 63 divided by 7 = 9.  If each bar represents 9, then we have 9 cows, 18 goats, and 36 sheep, which is 63 in all.)
           
This year, we are teaching computation to mastery – a foundation needed for the next grade’s work.  This year, some of the concepts are being picked up in science (such as measurement).  By the end of next year, students should be ‘caught up’ with the program, since this year we ‘backfilled’ some concepts and vocabulary since the program is new to all.

By the end of 1st grade, we want students to know their addition/subtraction facts by memory.
By the end of 3rd grade, we want students to know their multiplication facts by memory.
Parents are encouraged to play games and practice basic math facts.

We may want our children to get the right answer, but we also want them to know why it is the right answer.
Mathematical problem solving is central to mathematics learning. It involves the acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills in a wide range of situations, including non-routine, open-ended and real-world problems.

Resources:
Thinkingblocks.com – website and iPad
Thesingaporemaths.com
Xyla and Yabu iPad app

Monday, December 12, 2016

December Updates!

As we move toward our winter break, here are some updates on our work the past month.

We completed our study of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  We used Kidblog to manage our study.  I recorded each chapter of the book and included it in each of the 14 blog posts. The students then listened to the chapter while following along.  They were often asked a question or two that required a comment on the blog post.  While they were reading, I expected them to mark in their books when they came across an interesting vocabulary word or could make a connection with the text.
Finally, they completed an extensive Study Guide that broke down each chapter.  Your students can show you the blog posts and their Study Guides after break.

We also completed a thorough study of the West Region.  This fit perfectly with our Lewis and Clark study.  After completing the Study Guide, the students wrote essays about this amazing region.  We are teaching a three paragraph format with topic sentences for each.  I require two of the three paragraphs to cover the geography and history of the region.  We also had a states and capitals test for this region.

Our class loves to read! Thank you so much for your commitment to our Book Bingo program.  Two of our students are working on their third Book Bingo Chart!

In math, we have just completed our fourth chapter in our new Math in Focus series.  To review, the four topics covered so far have been:
1. Place Value
2. Estimation and Number Sense
3. Multi-digit multiplication and Division
4. Data Tables and Graphs
After break, we will begin an extensive Fractions unit.

As you read the comment cards, please note the following comment from Mrs. Bailey about the math markers:

Dear Parents:
At the end of this week, your child's first-semester progress report will arrive in your homes.  It's always a great time to reflect on all that our students have accomplished . . . both as learners, friends, and classroom citizens.  You may notice that there are several markers in the Mathematics section of the report that are marked as "not introduced".  As you know, we've shifted our curriculum to Math In Focus (MIF), which has a different emphasis in content and sequence.  We will be revising the math section of our progress report for next year, giving us this year to implement MIF and identify our priority learning objectives in the curriculum.  Please refer to the narrative comments to gauge your child's progress in math this year.

We have completed 10 Spelling Lessons and the students are doing very well on the tests.
In writing, we continue to craft weekly letters as part of the V.I.P. project.  The students are also working on writing personal stories based on our work with the Lucy Calkins writing program.
We took our first WordMasters test last week and our scores were across the board   Although I believe the students knew the meanings of the words backward and forward, the challenge of using those words in analogies is a very difficult task.  We are committed to working harder in class to practice analogies and really examining those "bridging" relationships.  The students have received the second list of words and the test will be at the end of February.

Have a wonderful winter break!