Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays

We have been so blessed with all of the gifts we have received this week. The biggest gift we get everyday is your children. We cherish them and give them our all. Thank you to all families for everything you do to help your child grow. Please have a fun and safe holidays. Try to read some everyday and practice counting your presents under the tree. See you in January!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Party

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chet went to Oregon

Hi, Ms. Cothern and Ms. Ellis

Chet and I had a wonderful time in Oregon. We went to Portland, Newport, the Pacific coast, Eugene, Bend, Sisters and back to Portland. We landed in Portland.
We went to Powell's, the world's biggest bookstore. It was Chet's first time to see that many books! Next stop was Newport. There were so many sea lions just laying on the dock!! Chet and I made friends with them.

In Eugene, We met our relatives. Playing with uncles, an aunt and a cousin was lots of fun. We left Eugene and went to Bend. We had so much fun hiking at the Deschutes river surrounded by nature and animals. The water fall was beautiful.
On the way back to Portland, we stopped at Sisters. The snow capped three sisters' mountains were such an awesome view. Chet and I saw and did so many amazing things. It'll be a life-time memory for me.

A and Chet

Rekenrek - Mental Images

Today we had another lesson using the rekenrek. We talked about making mental images of things we see. For example if you close your eyes and think of an elephant a large gray animal with big ears comes to mind. You can see that image in your mind because you have seen one before. Well in math we want students to also create mental images of numbers. If we say the number 4 to students, they should have a mental image of what that would look like. We use the rekenrek to help with that image.

Today each student had a blank paper divided into four squares. I had 9 rows of our rekenrek covered, so only the top row could be seen and used. I held a paper in front of the rekenrek and pushed 4 beads over to the other side. With all eyes on the rekenrek, I flashed them the beads. They only saw it for 2 seconds before I covered it again. The students next wrote what they saw. It should have been 4 balls. They could have also written the number four. The students next had another chance to see the beads before we check their thinking.
With the beads still hidden, I asked "What did you see?" Bryce raised his hand and said he saw 4 beads. I asked him, "How did you see them?". He said, "I saw two red beads, then two more red beads. I know that two and two more is four."

Next I asked, "Did someone else see something different?". Courtney said she just saw four red beads because she counted them.

Finally I asked Lainey, "What did you see?" Lainey explained that she noticed that not all of the red beads were used. She saw one left on the other side, so she knew that there were only four beads. Each student was correct. They all had the right answer but saw the beads in different ways.

We continued to follow the same routine with the numbers 5, 7,10, 11 and 15. The conversations continued to sound the same, with students seeing the same number but having different mental images of those numbers. With the numbers 11 and 15 we used two rows of beads. Even though you would think the higher numbers would be more difficult the students said it was easy because you don't have to count the first row if you see that all the beads have been moved over, you only have to count how many beads are on the second line. Because you just add the second row with 10 from the first row. Already the students in our class have a clear understanding of numbers and how the rekenrek works. When we finally get around to introducing addition the concept will have deeper meaning since the students will have a deeper understanding of numbers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Auction

It is time for the annual Holiday Auction here at Chets Creek. Each class makes a decorative item to be autioned off to the hightest bidder. They are hanging in the lobby. We are very proud of our wall hangings this year. They have been lovingly made by hand. We hope that you will be able to stop by to see our fabulous creations. Here is a sneak peak at them.

Two Vowels Walking

Did you know that when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking? Now your child knows this valuable language rule. Two vowels are side by side in words like rain, read, coat, pail and seat. The first vowel says the long sound and the second vowel is silent. Thinking about this language rule or pattern will help children begin to read. Here are two pages in a "B" level book from our leveled library.

The students have been taught lessons that support this text and they should be able to apply what we have learned in class and read the text. There are 3 sight words that we have introduced in class - I, and, my. There is one word with a bossy "e" - take. There is one word with two vowels walking - pail. There is one word that does not have a bossy "e" or two vowels walking so the students have learned that the vowel must be short - net. Because the kids have learned all consonant sounds, all vowel sounds, and these important language rules, they should be successful reading books at this level. Ask your child to show you examples of these kind of words when you are listening to him or her read the book-in-a-bag each night.