Kindergarten Enrichment Math: Subtraction with Borrowing

This week in kindergarten enrichment math, we tackled double digit subtraction with borrowing.

I taught the students the rhyme “More on top?  Don’t stop!  More on the floor? Go next door!”  Ask your child to explain what this means!

The kids did a great job and really seem to understand the concept of trading tens for ones.  (At least they did in class!)

Homework is a sheet of 25 (!) subtraction problems using borrowing.  Don’t save it all for one night!

Second Grade Enrichment Language Arts: Book Parodies

In second grade enrichment language arts, we’ve moved from song parodies to book parodies.  First, we read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

goodnight moon

We followed that with Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd.

goodnight ipad

Goodnight iPad keeps the rhyme scheme and story structure of Goodnight Moon but changes the theme to illustrate how the beleaguered grandmother deals with her screen-addicted family.

We talked about how good parodies retain enough of the original so that the source for the parody is clear to the reader immediately.  A parody also usually centers around a unifying theme (and doesn’t just replace parts of the original with random words).

Now, it is the students’ job to select a theme and rewrite Goodnight Moon as a parody.  Some of them had an easy time choosing a theme and some of them are struggling with this.  Stay tuned to see how their parodies turn out!


Kindergarten Enrichment Reading: Research with Disgusting Critters and (Not at all Disgusting) Mr. Spindle

For the balance of this session of kindergarten enrichment reading, we will be undertaking a special research project.  I’ll be meeting with the two kindergarten enrichment reading groups as one.  Normally, this wouldn’t be possible because the cloffice just isn’t big enough to accommodate all of us — but for this project, it doesn’t need to be!

Luckily for us, Mr. Spindle, our amazing librarian, has agreed to team teach a research unit with me, and we’ll be meeting with kindergarten enrichment readers in the library.

Last Thursday, Mr. Spindle and I introduced the unit, which uses the Disgusting Critters series by Elise Gravel as a springboard to talk to the kids about nonfiction books (and other sources) and research.

To begin, we read one of the books in the Disgusting Critters series, The Worm.


All of the books in the series follow a similar format. They introduce the critter, and then tell facts about where it lives, what it eats, and how it reproduces.  The facts are delivered in a humorous tone and accompanied by Gravel’s engaging, funny drawings.

The students will be working in pairs or groups to use use one of the Disgusting Critters books as a source to create an infographic.  Tomorrow, the students will choose a book and begin filling out a graphic organizer with facts from that book.  We’ll work on the forms again next week, and then the students will begin work on their infographics.

I’m really excited about this and am thrilled to have the opportunity to work together with Mr. Spindle on this project.  I can’t wait to see what the kids create!

Kindergarten Enrichment Math: Regrouping

This week in kindergarten enrichment math, we started with another five minute challenge.  The kids have become very competitive with themselves!  Some asked for a copy of the challenge to take home so they can practice.  This is not homework (and neither is completing the five minute challenge problems they didn’t finish in class).  If they want to practice, that’s great!  If they don’t, that’s okay, too.

We then talked about regrouping.  We reviewed tens and ones and practiced a slew of addition problems with and without regrouping.  Homework is a short page with addition problems that require regrouping.   Next week, we’ll be talking about carrying and borrowing.  That’s a little more difficult, but I know they can do it!

Second Grade Enrichment Math: Strategic Thinking with Othello and Gobblet

Last week in second grade enrichment math, we played Othello (also sometimes known as Reversi).

Othello is a game played with colored chips.  One player uses the white chips and one player uses the black chips.  To make a move, you need to surround at least one of your opponent’s chips with two of your own.  The chip(s) you have surrounded then turn to your color.

When playing Othello, the corners are crucial because they cannot be flipped to another color.  So the best strategy is to go for the corners as quickly as possible.  As we said in class, S/HE WHO CONTROLS THE CORNERS, CONTROLS THE GAME.

You can play Othello online here.  I definitely don’t do that in my free time.  There’s also an Othello app.  You can find it here.

This week, we played Gobblet.

The kids immediately compared Gobblet to Tic-Tac-Toe.  They definitely have similarities.  Gobblet is played as follows:

  • The object of the game is to get four in a row of your color.
  • Each player starts with 12 pieces: three large, three medium-large, three medium-small, and three small.
  • Each player’s pieces are initially arranged into three stacks off the board, and only visible pieces can be moved onto the board. The initial stacks prevent playing a smaller piece before a corresponding larger piece.
  • When a piece is moved from off-board onto the board, it must be moved to either (1) an empty space, or (2) a space to gobble an opponent’s piece that is part of three in a row (for the opponent). In other words, a new piece can gobble only an opponent’s piece, and only to prevent an immediate win on the opponent’s next turn. These restrictions do not apply when a piece that is already on the board is moved.

That’s it!  Simple to learn, challenging to master.  The kids had a great time challenging their classmates and gobbling their pieces.  Before we started, we discussed two primary strategies:

  1. Gobble a smaller piece if you can (unless, of course, it will cause you to lose)
  2. Look for 3-by-3’s, where you can place a piece to have two three-in-a-rows together.

The kids did a great job of using the strategies.  We had some tense games!  There is, of course, a Gobblet app.  You can find it here.

First Grade Enrichment Reading: Advertising Techniques

Last week in first grade reading, we talked about advertising techniques.  We discussed a list of different techniques, including:

  • Association
  • Call to Action
  • Claim
  • Fear
  • Games and Activities
  • Humor
  • Hype
  • Must-have
  • Prizes, sweepstakes, and gifts
  • Repetition
  • Sales and price
  • Sense appeal
  • Special ingredients
  • Testimonials and endorsements

In class, I gave each student an ad and we discussed which of the ads used which of these techniques.  For homework, the kids needed to choose an ad of their own and figure out which techniques were used in the ad.  All of the techniques and their definitions were listed on the back of the homework paper.

This week, the students will be tasked with creating an ad of their own.  We’ll go over all of the requirements in class (and spend a little time brainstorming), and they’ll need to complete the rest at home for homework.

First Grade Enrichment Math: Penguins and Pascal

This week, the first grade enrichment math students and I read the book 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet.  This quirky book is about a family who receives a penguin each day for a year.

365 Penguins

As you can imagine, the possession of so many penguins leads to numerous problems — how to feed them?  how to store them?  — and the book is full of equations associated with solving these problems.  In the end, the family discovers that the penguins have been sent by an eccentric uncle looking to smuggle the birds to a safer habitat.

After we read the book, I introduced the homework to the students.  They have two problems to solve at home.  First, they need to figure out how many penguins the family had on the last day of June.  Next, the kids need to calculate on which day the family received the 250th penguin.  The solutions require addition, but one also needs to know how many days are in each month. It’s not as easy or straightforward as it sounds.

On the back of the worksheet was the super challenge:

I gave the kids this image and asked them to fill in the numbers on the blank penguins.  I let them know that the missing numbers were greater than zero and smaller than ten, and that they should be able to find a pattern or equation to help them figure it out, but that’s all I told them.  Eventually, I filled in the two penguins in the fourth row — both have 3’s on their bellies.

Only one student solved the problem on her own in class (a thousand hive fives for you, Sophie!!)  Most of the students worked diligently.  Many expressed frustration.  One student quit after a few tries, said “I give up,” and put his head down on the desk.  But the others kept trying to figure out the solution.  Did they come home wondering about the answer?  The problem was optional so they aren’t required to do it for homework (but of course I’m hoping that they will).  We will discuss the answer during our next class time — which will be two weeks from today, because next Wednesday all of the first graders will be participating in Ghana Day, and we will not have enrichment math.