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Looking for Patterns

"Wow, it's like a superhero movie."

"There's the flag again."

"He keeps smiling and shaking hands with people."

The first through sixth graders were watching presidential campaign ads with me this past week. I told them we weren't talking about whether we agreed with a particular candidate's political messages, but we were looking for patterns. They noticed similarities and differences in the ads. They commented on how each of them used music, different types of people, and pictures of beautiful landscapes. We talked about how they might use similar images for the presidential ads that they are creating.

We encourage our kids to find patterns in word spellings, in tree leaves, in the hundreds chart, and in history. They use these patterns to help them remember information and to find common ground. They also notice when something is different and doesn't follow the pattern they might expect. It's an opportunity to dig a little deeper and find new connections.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* The children and I made cinnamon play dough! The children loved how it smelled.

* Used the play dough to work on letters and numbers. Used scissors for cutting it and helped develop those important small motor skills.

* Worked on copying shapes with straight pretzels, counting the sides, then eating them after all the shapes were finished.

* Worked on a Thanksgiving "I Spy" paper and made "Thankful Turkeys"

* Joined the first through third graders to practice "Stop and Go Counting" and play "4 Corners"

* Sang "Willoughby Wallaby Woo" with different things we found around the room to practice isolating the first sound in words.

* Explored blocks, Wikki Sticks, sticky foam, new books being switched into the Pre-K room, "The Turkey Pokey"

Tracy's 1st-3rd Class

In math, our first grade class worked with tallies, finding unknown hops with a number line, and frames and arrows problems where we see how a rule like +10 makes a series of numbers. The second and third graders were working with this same concept using "function machines." Our second graders have sorted all of their triangle fact families into ones they know and ones they need to keep working on. The third graders are using fraction circles, comparing liquid volumes, and working with area.

In reading and writing, we have been looking towards Thanksgiving. We read A Turkey for Thanksgiving, Over the River, and The Hedgehog Feast. We have been talking about what makes us feel thankful and are making thankful turkeys.

Theresa's 4th-6th Class

It was another simple, low-key week at Country Classroom.

The kids' essays were about birthdays. Some kids wrote why they are important to celebrate. Some kids had to write an essay explaining why some people do not. Arguing a point of view that you do not necessarily agree with is a struggle for many of the students. That said, it is a skill worth struggling for! The kids are also working on fiction pieces that will be revealed on Tuesday morning at a publishing party. I will be opening school at 8:15 to try to accommodate parents who have to get to work.

In reading, we are working on really looking at words that are difficult and trying to recognize the sounds made by different combinations of letters. This is the exact opposite of the way I was taught to teach reading in graduate school, but times change! The latest research around literacy stresses the importance of looking closely at the whole word and not guessing.

In math, our oldest kids are preparing for their second test. The younger kids will get one after Thanksgiving.


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