September 15, 2018
It was wonderful to meet with you at our Back to School Night last Thursday. I hope you all found the evening to be informative and enjoyable. Emma and I loved showing you a bit of our first grade life. I sent home packets for those of you who were unable to join us.
As you know, we have been learning about water. Last week, we went to Lighthouse Beach to look at the lake and make some observations about what we saw. This week, we engaged in discussions about what we think about water. Here are a just a few musings from the children about how water moves naturally.
I think the moon makes water move.
I think the wind makes water move.
I think the earth makes water move.
These ponderings led to us coming up with some essential questions to guide our unit as we head into learning about the water cycle and weather. One of the questions we formed was: “How do we get water into our homes”? We then experimented with connecting PVC pipes with joints and using a hand pump to see how people could move water.
At first the children worked in small groups to fit their pipes together and pump the water. This entailed some minor frustration as they tried to configure their pipes to get the water to move the way they wanted it too. However, the children persevered and were eventually successful. One challenge was that the children wanted to make a longer and wider pipe configuration but found they were limited by the supplies. The teachers then asked some questions to guide them to their discovery. Eventually, one student declared, “I have an idea. Let’s put all our pipes together so we have more!” And so they did. Alas, they discovered that it was more complicated to get the water to move the way they wanted with so many additional routes for the water to go. It’s back to the planning stage for us.
In other happenings, we had our first puppet show in the classroom. This came up organically during choice time as a group of students discovered our puppet theater and wanted to put on a show. A story was created and tickets were printed for the grand opening. Storytelling through puppet play is strongly correlated with reading habits in children. Students are developing characters, settings, and creating a narrative to tell their story.
The audience is settled.
And now for the show!
We were also visited by Zero the Hero on the 10th day of school. I have no idea what the children were talking about but apparently Miss Naden-Johns snapped a photo as proof that Zero really did show up ; ).
While this may seem like just a silly activity to an outsider, we actually use the character of Zero to help make the abstract concept of place value concrete to the children. Understanding zero (0) is an important mathematical concept especially when learning about place value. Zero the Hero comes along every ten days as we count the days we’ve been in school in school. Thus, when we got to the 10th day of school on Thursday, we placed a tenth object (a straw) in the ones place of our counting chart. Since we can’t have more than a single digit in each place value column, Zero the Hero came along to scoop the straws up, bundle them into one unit of ten, and “move them over”. Now, (0) holds the place in the ones column until our next count of school days. Zero the Hero was introduced to me by my Master Teacher Hatsuko Mary Higuchi way back when I was learning to be a teacher in her classroom. I have used the character ever since and I feel so thankful to have been instructed by this phenomenal educator. Zero will show up every ten days of school as we learn about place value and patterns on the Hundred’s Grid.
Emma and I hope you all have a restful weekend and we will see you on Monday. Please remember to that there is no school on Wednesday, September 19 in observance of Yom Kippur.
Melissa and Emma