Second Grade Math — Tabletop Mini-Golf Almost Complete

Tabletop mini-golf holes are trucking along.  Their creators have facced many frustrations — not the least of which was the difficulty of cutting cardboard (especially when one has tiny hands!).  As they attempt to play their holes, they’ve also found too much friction slowing their balls down.  Obstacles like ramps are often too steep.  Bridges have walls that aren’t secure and the ball falls over the side. They have dealt with all of these and more, and the holes are nearing completion.FullSizeRender Vedika covers her tunnel with construction paper.FullSizeRender_1 Christiana decorates her hole.FullSizeRender_2 Mya’s jungle is almost completely covered in paper.  Avoid the scary tiger!FullSizeRender_3 Lydia works diligently on her Wild West hole.  Don’t touch the prickly cactus!FullSizeRender_4 Bennett and Alex try out Sammy’s hole.  Apologies for the blur — these boys move fast!FullSizeRender (35)Alex advises on some possible modifications.

This project has been so fun, and the kids’ conversations show that they have learned quite a bit about about the laws of motion.  If you asked them, my guess is that they’ll tell you that they haven’t learned anything about math this session and they’re just “doing art.” Their scale models, blueprints, and constant testing and modifying tell a different story.  Don’t tell them that, though.  Sometimes the best learning is the sneaky kind!

Second Grade Humanities — Assigning Roles

This week in second grade humanities, I assigned roles for the trial and we had a mock trial run-through.  Some students were out sick, and I joked that no one is allowed to be out sick on Tuesdays between now and the trial.  Let’s be honest, we all know I wasn’t really joking.  Load up on the Vitamin C, folks.  We’ve got work to do!  (***Editor’s Note:  Of course kids should stay home if they are sick.  Please don’t take enthusiasm for this unit as a directive to send your ill child to school.)

Students should practice their “lines” over the next few weeks.  Play the witness and let your child question you (or the other way around, if your child is a witness).  The kids did take home their questions (and they are in the previous blog post about this unit, if somehow they did not make their way home).

For Mock Trial #1, roles are as follows:

Jack: Christiana Doolittle

Nora:  Lydia Sturgill

Opening and Closing Statements:  Ashwin Colby

Direct Examination of Jack:  Preston Lieu

Direct Examination of Nora:  Ben McMillen

Cross Examination of Martha Giant:  Mya Taheri

Cross Examination of Inspector Morse:  Alex Vennebush

Martha Giant:  Grace Kummer

Inspector Morse:  Charlie Taylor

Opening and Closing Statements:  Eli Vennebush

Direct Examination of Martha:  Hartwell Craig

Direct Examination of Morse:  Flora Pelton

Cross Examination of Jack:  Anand Colby

Cross Examination of Nora:  Abby Fred

Mock Trial #2:

Jack: Mina Jun

Nora:  Charlotte Tornell

Opening and Closing Statements:  Molly Mostow

Direct Examination of Jack:  Elena Clark-Wilson

Direct Examination of Nora:  Elia O’Hara

Cross Examination of Martha Giant/Inspector Morse:  Liam Ross

Martha Giant:  Liliana Santos

Inspector Morse:  Yahya Ahmad

Opening and Closing Statements:  Mercer Colby

Direct Examination of Martha/Cross Examination of Jack:  Abby Berg

Direct Examination of Morse/Cross Examination of Nora:  Olivia Thenhaus

Second Grade Humanities — Questions Coming Along

Second grade humanities makes me want to cry.  With joy, I suppose I should point out.  You should hear these kids as they prepare for their mock trial.  The questions they have written and the theories they have crafted are as good as those put together in any law school.  I wasn’t quite sure this unit was going to work; I’ve never attempted this with kids younger than third grade.  I’m still a little nervous about the logistics for our trials, but any doubt I had about the second graders not understanding what to do or how to do it has long been eradicated.

We are in the home stretch at this point.  We have three more class meetings before our trials (11/18, 11/25, and 12/2).  The trials will take place on the mornings of Tuesday, December 9th (Smith, Neubert, and Custer) and Wednesday, December 10th (Will, Quinn, Cunningham, Manalac, Stillwagoner).  Location TBA, most likely my room at TJ, as there aren’t a lot of other options.  Parents are welcome to join us.  It will be crowded, but we’re all friendly (I think!).  We will also video the trials and post to You Tube, for anyone who cannot make it (or wants to re-live the glory).

This week, we will assign roles for the trial.  I know I sound like every two-bit director, but ALL roles are important.  The kids will either be witnesses or lawyers.  Each student will contribute in a crucial way.

I have attached the defense and prosecution questions.  Yes, this means that you have access to materials for both sides.  Your children, however, do not.  I’ve put the questions here so that you can take a look at the questions for the side your child is working on. I trust you not to share the confidential documents for the other side with your child.  I wouldn’t object if your child wants to work on this at home!  We still need a bit of refining and we are missing opening and closing arguments in almost all cases.  Each team also needs sample cross examination questions for its own witnesses (defense for Jack and Nora, prosecution for Martha and Morse), so that we can use these during trial preparation.

Defense Witness Questions CONSOLIDATED

Prosecution Team One Questions CONSOLIDATED

The kids should be proud of all of their hard work!

First Grade Math — Guesstamation

In first grade math this week, we completed our second subtraction challenge.  Almost everyone increased their score from last week.  Hooray!

We then talked about estimating.  We did an estimation paper together in class.  Wow, these kids really don’t like to estimate.  The idea that they might be (GASP!) wrong is totally paralyzing for some of them.  I explained how an estimate is an educated guess and you’re simply trying to be close to the actual answer.  It’s okay if it’s not exact — that’s the point.  But knowing how to estimate helps us check our “exact” answers because we can see if they seem reasonable based on our estimate.  This was not welcome information for many of the students.  Not being exact is painful for them.  It’s a process!

Homework is a paper where the kids need to estimate how many gumballs are in a series of bags.  As I passed out the papers, one student exclaimed “IT’S SOOOO TEMPTING TO COUNT!!”  I hope they resist this urge.  Estimation is a skill that will come in very handy for them.

Again, I missed Room 17 because of their field trip, and Room 12 was STAR testing when I arrived, so they received a much-abbreviated version of the lesson.

Stay warm!

First Grade Reading — Journals, No Talking Day, Mystery Parts of Speech

First Grade Reading fell on No Talking Day and I wasn’t about to mess with that long-standing tradition, so we did our lesson without talking.  A lot of writing, throat-clearing, and gesticulating.  It was probably interesting to watch!

I “talked” to the kids about their Journals.  I have received about one third of the Journals back, and I am usually able to respond and return them the same day I receive them.  The responses have been thoughtful and well-written.  I’m so proud!  Two kids have started new books.  I asked the students to let me know when they finish their books so that I can help them choose new ones.  Please, please, please don’t forget to return the books when they are finished.  I lose about a book per set per year, which adds up to dozens of books and lots of $$$ that my $100 yearly budget can’t even begin to cover.  Thanks in advance for seeing them safely home to the Cloffice!

We worked on an assignment with Mystery Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives.  Since this was the first time we’ve discussed parts of speech, it was a bit challenging with no talking.  We managed pretty well, but I kept the papers for us to finish and talk about next week.

I missed Room 17 altogether because their class was participating in a demonstration lesson for our new literacy program, and I couldn’t pull them out of the classroom.  Next week!

Keep on reading — and writing in the Journals!

Welcome to Kindergarten Math!

I met with kindergarten math groups for the first time this week. To begin, I explained that they would be coming to see me once each week for enrichment math. I told the kids that the math they do with me is supposed to be hard, and that if they don’t get it right away, that’s okay. We also talked about “Rule Number One.”  Ask your child what that rule is!

We then took our first Five Minute Challenge — trying to correctly complete 100 addition problems in five minutes. No one completed all 100, nor did I expect them to, but several students came close. We noted the starting scores and the kids will try to beat their scores in the coming weeks.

We then spent some time talking about even and odd numbers. We talked about how even numbers end in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8, and odd numbers end in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9. I told the kids that even numbers have best friends and can be divided into pairs so that everyone has a “BFF.” Odd numbers don’t all have best friends and there is always one left without a BFF. Or, as a kindergarten student explained, there’s always “an odd man out.”

Homework this week is an even and odd packet. Homework is always due one week after it is assigned. Your child can give the homework to his or her classroom teacher and it will find its way to me.

First Grade Math — Estimating and Rounding Can Be Perplexing

Many first grade mathies have been working diligently on their first Perplexor Packets, in a mad rush to join the illustrious Perplexor Pack.  So far, we have eight members of the Pack, and we are anxious to welcome more!  There is no deadline to join the Pack.  As soon as a student turns in his or her first Packet, I will hand over the second Packet, check answers and (if they’re all correct), extend membership in the Pack and teach the secret handshake.

This week in math, we talked about estimating and rounding.  I drew the kids a picture of Rounding Hill, and we talked about how numbers less than five are on the round DOWN side of the hill and numbers more than five are on the round UP side of the hill.  Even though five is in the middle, it’s a round UP number, too.

We did a series of practice problems, rounding to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand.  We talked about how any answer to a rounding problem should have all zeros after the number that was rounded up or down.

This was a lot to cover in half an hour and we moved very quickly.  Most of the kids seemed to get it, but definitely check in to make sure your first grader understands.

We also did our first Subtraction Challenge — attempting to correctly complete 50 subtraction problems in three minutes.  Four students correctly completed all 50 problems.  Next week, they will try to beat their time.  Everyone else will try to beat this week’s score next week.  They are only competing against themselves!

Have a wonderful weekend!