## The pencil challenge

Can you balance a pencil on its point? First grade scientists can! They used what they have learned about balance to meet this challenge–take a look!

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Can you balance a pencil on its point? First grade scientists can! They used what they have learned about balance to meet this challenge–take a look!

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Mathematicians in Room 123 recently began exploring teen numbers, focusing on different models to represent the ten and the ones. As they worked with these models, they gained fluency with adding ones to a ten.

Then, students used their understanding of teen numbers to learn a new addition strategy: Make a Ten. This new strategy is a more efficient one to use when adding larger numbers. Students used either a bead string or an open number line when they apply this strategy.

Mathematicians compared the two models, noting important similarities and differences.

To develop a deeper understanding of teen numbers as well as fluency with teen addition, students often play a teen number matching game.

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Readers in Room 123 are continuing their study of folktales, recently reading *The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf*.

After reading and analyzing this story, they identified important lessons that they can apply to their own lives. Take a look!

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How can you create a balanced mobile? Scientists in Room 123 found the answer as they began our Balance and Motion science unit!

As they did so, they also began learning about the scientific process: making, testing, and revising predictions. Take a look!

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Winter is here and Junior Kindergarten teacher Madame Jacque had a problem! She wasn’t sure her four-year-old students all know how to build snowmen. First grade writers offered to help her out!

They each used what they learned about how-tos to plan, write, and illustrate How to Build a Snowman articles to share with their younger friends. Then they visited Madame Jacque’s classroom to share their expertise!

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Fact fluency is a critical component of math learning. In Room 123, this work does not involve rote memorization of facts. Rather, the focus is on developing mental math strategies.

One of our favorite ways to develop these strategies is a game called Two Dice. To play, I roll two dice which include numbers through nine. Students find the sum of the two dice and signal that with a thumbs up. Students then share their addition strategies while I record them on the board.

Students use a variety of strategies to solve the problems. Early in the year, they may use counting all or counting on. As the year progresses, they begin using more efficient strategies, including doubles, doubles plus or minus one, and making a ten. Students are able learn strategies from each other and discuss how and when to use them.

Students also play lots of games to practice math facts. Many of these games focus on finding partners of numbers through 10, facts which will enable them to use more efficient mental math strategies. Take a look!

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As part of our unit on folktales, readers in Room 123 enjoyed and then analyzed Jan Peck’s *The Giant Carrot.*

Students also began to explore figurative language through Peck’s writing.

One simile intrigued students: could carrot pudding possibly be as sweet as sweet Little Isabelle? Students in Room 123 and in 1B made and then sampled carrot pudding–take a look!

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Readers in Room 123 began a new unit of study during Language Studies: folktales. They started by listening to and then analyzing *Grandma Lena’s Big Ol’ Turnip*.

This text also served as the introduction to a new type of writing: how-tos. First grade writers worked as a class to help the Grandma Lean teach the others how to grow turnips. Below you can see writers sketching the steps, the first step in the writing process.

Here is the final draft!

Next week, students will use the same process to write their own how-tos.

After exploring daily life for children around the world, each first grade class learned more about a different country. Then they wrote and illustrated information presentations about their countries to teach the other classes. Last week, students gathered for these presentations.

Students learned about Ghana from Miss Vollmer’s class…

…about Russia from Mrs. Bornheimer’s class…

…about Vietnam from Mrs. Schaapveld’s class…

…and India from Room 123!

Here is our complete presentation:

Mathematicians in Room 123 often solve real-world problems. They might figure out how many books they can get with $20 to spend or how many students will be at each table when we get our new one.

But they also engage in the real work that mathematicians do. They wonder about numbers and operations, notice patterns, and use models to prove why the patterns work. This type of work expands students’ understanding of what mathematics is. It also lays a foundation for algebraic reasoning and proof.

Take a look at mathematicians engaged in this real work!

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