Learning can be fun and exciting, but it can also be challenging at times. Mrs. Marko, our school counselor, visited our class and helped us to start our year with an open and growth mindset. After Mrs. Marko shared some information, examples, and even a very entertaining video, 2nd graders were quick to realize that having a growth or open mindset could better help them achieve any goal they had… earning more winner tickets in class, getting faster at math facts, becoming a better soccer player on their team, and even becoming an Olympic gymnast someday.
To help visualize these goals, 2nd graders built and labelled a model of their goal with everyone’s favorite building block… Legos!! Before we were done, Mrs. Marko talked with students about their goals, and we also shared our Lego creations and goals on our class’ Seesaw blog. Students may now continue to share comments and encourage each other. With a growth or open mindset, 2nd graders are more ready to face the challenges that come their way.
The First Grade celebrated Johnny Appleseed’s birthday and the first day of autumn with a fun-filled day of apple activities! “This is the best day ever!” remarked one of my students as they were busy writing out the recipe and then making their very own Apple Pizzas, sampling the ingredients along the way. This day was the perfect way to put all our learning into action as we have been studying our 5 senses and how to describe what we see, feel, taste, touch, and hear using adjectives: sour, sweet, crunchy, smooth, round, juicy, yummy, red, yellow, and green. Our students also compared the tastes and textures of 3 different apples. They decided which one was their favorite, and then we collected the data by creating a picture graph. 15 students chose Red Delicious apples as their favorite in my class which was by far the most liked apple. We sang apple songs, read apple books, and watched a fun video about Johnny Appleseed. Finally, all 3 First Grade classes met up at the picnic tables to enjoy eating our Apple Pizzas together.
In Mrs. Nelsons kindergarten class, we had a great time creating our “Friendship Flower.” We did this the 2nd week of school when the students were still getting to know each other. The importance of socio-emotional development is something I am extremely passionate about. Kindergarten is a particularly important period for this area of development; it’s where the foundational skills for appropriate social behavior are learned and embedded. I like to focus on various milestones and incorporate them into our lessons throughout the year.
Creating our class friendship flower gave each student the chance to connect and converse with their new classmates. They all learned new things about their peers and were able to feel comfortable asking and answering questions. It was wonderful to see them begin to build healthy, mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships.
What is a Friendship Flower?
We started with 13 large flower petals that were cut in half like puzzle pieces. Each child was given a blank ½ of a petal. They designed and created their own petal however they wanted. After the decorating was done the students had to walk around and find which one of their peers had the other matching half to their petal. When they found their partner, they sat down and asked their partner 3 different questions. Their partner then asked them 3 questions that they answered. The students then got to “introduce” each other to the class and give one new fact that they learned about their new friend. We taped the petals together and put them up on a bulletin board and created our class flower. The mismatched patterns and colors make for some very cool art! We love looking at our flower every day and are thankful for all our new friends!
“Ms. Forrest, what do systems of equations have to do with anything outside of our math class?” “When will I ever use this math?”. These are not uncommon questions in a middle school class. My typical response is, “Well students I am glad you asked!” To make our most recent chapter have meaning to our 8th graders I brought in something I know they like. It is not an unusual sight to see students show up to school with Starbucks cups and treats in the morning or walk into any teacher’s classroom and you are likely to find some coffee, usually a venti! So we combined our study of systems of linear equations and coffee to get some answers!
After our chapter on systems of linear equations we were curious to see if it would be better to purchase a Keurig machine and make your own coffee at home or stick with the convenience of a Starbucks trip. We took the real life Starbucks order of some of our middle school teachers and the cost of purchasing supplies at a grocery store to make that drink with a Keurig machine and started collecting data. Students calculated the cost of tax on the items and the machine and came up with a cost equation for both Starbucks and Keurig per cup of coffee. They tracked these relationships of a cup of coffee a day on a graph over the span of three years. Our results were confirmed using substitution and elimination.
Our data overwhelmingly showed that if we are looking at our coffee addiction from a financial standpoint Keurig is the way to go after about 3 months. However, most students agreed they love the menu options and convenience of a Starbucks coffee! We were able to take this strategy and see how it applies to business in the real world and comparison of cost effectiveness. Math really is EVERYWHERE!
The 5th graders were presented with a real-world problem and challenged with the task of finding a solution to the problem by using the engineering design process. The problem? Work in small groups to redesign the front of school to improve the areas where students are dropped off and picked up before and after school. They were given almost unlimited options. The only limit was that they could not move buildings.
The students created a detailed map that outlined their plans which they presented to their classmates at the end of the project. There were many great solutions, including adding turn lanes on Almond and Shaffer streets, creating a pedestrian walkway over Shaffer street, using Moreland Drive as a pick-up area, and adding a stoplight at the intersection of Almond and Shaffer to help with traffic flow. It is always fascinating to see these young minds create awesome solutions to the challenges they are given, especially one that we experience on a daily basis.