Names, Names, Names!!

One of the most important words a first grader knows (how to read and how to write) is their name.   We have done lots of work with this, including making sure everyone knows how to write it neatly with only 1 capital letter.  Along with knowing the letters in our names, we will soon officially begin to focus on the SOUNDS in our names, as well as the chunks, blends and patterns in our names that can help us read other words! We practiced in many different ways with many different materials.  We are getting SUPER good at names now and are using beautiful handwriting in other places, too!

Check out our work from the last few weeks!


Just like when we use our pencils, using our “pinchers” to make the Playdoh into sticks and curves is a challenge.  Our goal was to make the Playdoh letters look just like the name on our name tags.

Inch Tiles

Who’s Name is Longer?

This one was a name practice that we used as a math investigation.  Each kiddo made their name on inch tiles and groups worked together to figure out who’s was longest, shortest, and how many letters their group had altogether.



Boo…so I just realized that most of the pictures we have of this activity are on kiddos’ iPads. 😦  Maybe I’ll come back and add them after I get them transferred to me, but for now, trust me that this was a challenge!  I had to nudge many kids to create 3D versions (to actually connect the Legos, rather than just lay them on the floor) and that up’ed the ante on the thinking.  Plus–it was a really fun and totally engaging way to practice letters and names!  Goodness, what can you NOT use Legos for?

Good ‘Ole Fashioned Handwriting Practice


Math Warm-Ups January 22-25, 2013

This was a short week because of the MLK holiday on Monday, so we only had four warm-ups this time around.  Most were related to our current geometry unit, except for the last one from yesterday.  I’ll explain that one at the end.


IMG122Besides just knowing polygons and their names, a major focus of this unit is being able to figure out unknown angles using information that is already known.  That septagon that I made is actually created from 3 separate triangle pieces (that we know and have figured out the angles of), so then here I was asking them to use that known information to determine the measure of this new angle.  Many of them also used the idea of a “right angle + some more”, and the fact that it was an obtuse angle in their calculations.  We also focused on the way this question was worded: many went right to telling me WHAT the angle was rather than HOW they figured it out, which is what I was actually asking.  This is an important test-taking strategy that we were able to highlight, as well.


                                     IMG123     IMG124

This question was an extension of what we had just been talking about the day before.  Our focus was on all the different names that one polygon could have, as well as the continued use of known angles to determine unknown ones.  The “G” refers to the way that rhombus is labeled in the set of Power Polygons we use as manipulatives.


IMG125This warm-up was a review of old knowledge, but then we used it to connect to our new concepts from this unit.  I reminded them (since of course this seemed like something they did AGES ago!) that area is just like all the work they did with arrays during our study of multiplication.  We also were reminded of how we could use our knowledge of order of operations to correctly write the equation of how we figured out the perimeter.  The lesson following this asked them to be able to create new rectangles based on this one, but with different area/same perimeter  or different perimeter/same area.


IMG126Hopefully you’ll notice the difference in this one.  This week we were looking at winter benchmarking data noticing that our 5th graders seemed to have a hard time showing that they are solid in computation skills.  It’s clear that we need to do more practice with computation even when it’s not the unit we’re in, as well as more practice with timed situations (the benchmark we use asks them to complete a certain number of problems in 8 minutes).  Other than the benchmark and standardized testing, they aren’t asked to do this.  Simply having more opportunities like that could be helpful.