This trimester, First Grade Enrichment Math will meet each week on Wednesdays. First grade students with a preponderance of STAR Math scores at the 98th percentile and above have been invited to join an enrichment math group. Currently, we only have one STAR Math score, so membership in an enrichment group is based on that score. Enrichment math groups change each trimester depending on assessment information.

If your child is in an Enrichment Math group this trimester, s/he brought home a letter from me. Please know that, as I mentioned in my letter, inclusion in an enrichment group is not the same as a gifted identification. Enrichment groups are flexible and depend on achievement information. As student needs and scores change, so do the groups. Your child may come one session and not the next. This is normal! Formal gifted identifications include much more information and do not take place until the end of second grade.

We will have enrichment math homework most (but not all) weeks. You’ll know it comes from me because it will have your child’s name and the due date written at the top in green pen.

We started out working on calculator skills, doing math problems on our calculators and then turning the answers into words. We talked about what letter each number on the calculator looked like when we turned the calculator upside down, and then got to work forming words.

There’s something kids find ridiculously amusing about silly words formed using numbers. While we worked on our calculator story in class, they were gleefully shouting out the answers as they worked through the problems.

Homework is a calculator crossword. I demonstrated how to do the work in class, but it can be tricky. This is further complicated by the fact that modern calculators don’t square off the numbers like old school calculators do. Add to that the fact that turning your iPhone calculator upside down doesn’t work because the screen adjusts, and you’ve got yourself a problem. There are a couple of easy solutions. The first is a trip to Target to pick up a small, simple, old school calculator. Alternatively, there’s an app for that — Calculator Words for your iPhone or iPad has a squared off, old school-style display. It’s not a simple fix, though, as Calculator Words reverses the orientation. So you need to do the math on another calculator, find the answer, and then type it into the Calculator Words calculator. I wish I could loan every student a calculator, but I don’t have enough to go around!

I’m looking forward to working with these first graders!