Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adding

This week we began our unit on addition.  I am trying to be very explicit in my teaching of math vocabulary this year.  So, for this chapter, our math words were: part and whole.  I had these words on our pocket chart and briefly introduced them to the class as the words for the week. 


Then, I showed the students my apple.  I explained that I had a whole apple.  Then, in front of the class, I cut the apple and asked what I had.  Some said, a half, a piece.  Finally, one little girl said, "A part."  She must have realized that I was trying to get the class to think about our math words.  Smiling, I said, "Yes, I had a part."  We talked about if I put the two parts together I make a whole.  The kids repeated this line:  I put two parts together to make a whole.   Using this same analogy, I then, showed them the workmat they would be using.


It was amazing how well they understood the concept of adding two parts to make a whole.

Some of the things I do to help keep order in lessons like these is to tell them we always start with the red side of the counters.  Then, we use yellow.  I even had them color the left side red and the right side yellow on their workbook page to help them remember.  Luckily, by the second day most students were using the red side of the counter first. 


Little things like this, help them to see the pattern as we begin to how to make 10 or 5.  More on that soon!

Happy teaching and Learning!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wallets

I like to teach money all year long with my first grade class.  We live in an era of "virtual money;" ATMs, debit cards, and credit cards, all make it appear that money comes from thin air. 


Many of my students have very limited exposure to money.  Most do not receive an allowance and some do not have parents who earn a living working.  I think it is vital that I teach them that money is earned for working hard.  So, my class earns a wage for coming to school on time, helping with a classroom job, and completing homework.  They can loose money for being irresponsible; asking to go to the bathroom right after recess or changing their behavior cards for not following directions. 

Every week, we count our money from our wallets and trade our nickels, pennies, and dimes for quarters.  Once a child has 4 quarters, they trade it once more for a dollar.  If you have a dollar, you can purchase items from our classroom store.  I like to keep my store items educational so these treasures include books (from my bonus points), pencils (Target dollar section) and lots of 99 Cent Store finds. 



These are the wallets I made for the class.  It is a pencil box purchased from Staples for $1.00 and a Avery business label.  Each wallet has the student's name and number.  I think they turned out quite cute.  The kids were so excited to get them!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Classroom Tour and More

Well, I survived the first day of school. I love my class! It is so refreshing to have the first day of school go so smoothly. It also helps when they are the same kids as last school year. I only have one new students, plus, my two mainstreaming kids from special ed. We'll see how the kiddos do tomorrow.

For now, here are some pictures of my classroom. I really love the color scheme!

I found this great decal at Khol's on clearance.  I just wrote the kids names with Expo marker. 

Our word wall.  I kept the words from kindergarten.  In first grade many of these will become spelling words. We'll learn about 100 by the end of the year.

This is the room from the front looking back.  I've been trying to declutter the last few years but it is hard; especially after teaching from 12 years.
This is my big book storage, a small portion of teacher read alouds, and our writing reference posters.  We made these in kindergarten for the letter of the week.  The kids use them often!

This is a small portion of my math focus wall.  Our first unit is numbers to 50.  We'll use the number chart for skip counting, one more, one less, ten more, and ten less.  The number line will be used for adding and subtracting.  The money chart will be used for the date. 

Here is the rest of the math wall.   I'll keep calendar short and focus on math routines.


This is our whole group meeting area.  Note my Daily 5 pocket chart.
Here is our Help Box.  I got this idea while attending a workshop for teaching children with autism.  My kids really like it and refer to it!

One of our seating areas.  We don't have assigned seating.  I like to have large community tables. 


When not in use by students, this table doubles as my Guided Reading table.  During my summer purge, I downsized to 2 kidney tables, 1 trapezoid table, and 4 rectangle tables for student seating.  My room is not large but it looks open.

Well, I'm off to get ready for tomorrow's art lesson.  We're drawing self portraits using oil pastel. 
We're going to read this book first Visiting Vincent Van Gogh (Adventures in Art).  Wish us luck!