Maple Room

Children at Work 12.14.15 - 12.18.15

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We Went to the Whitney!

On Tuesday, the Maple class took the subway(!) to see the Frank Stella: A Retrospective exhibit at the Whitney Musuem of American Art. The kids had a wonderful time and were in awe of the size and composition of Stella's work, and even got to experiment with making their own abstract art inside the museum. We also took a trip up to another gallery to view Alexander Calder's Wire Circus and observed how Calder recycled all sorts of materials to make the parts of the circus.

After our visit, we came back to school and made more art inspired by Stella. Check out our creations on the bulletin board inside of our classroom!

All of the children were sent home with an activity book and a Whitney museum "Friends and Family" pass, which is valid for free admission for two adults and all accompanying children under age 18. We encourage you to take a visit! Click here for more information about visiting the museum.

A big thanks goes out to our class parents and our many chaperones who accompanied us to the Whitney! It was a great support.

Highline Fun

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After our visit to the Whitney, we walked along the Highline and had lunch at the Tenth Avenue Square. Children enjoyed looking at the shadows their bodies projected onto the street and delighted in seeing the cars pass over their shadows.
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This Week's Reading Workshop

We practiced strategies for negotiating unfamiliar words in our texts this week, including using pictures, looking at beginning and ending letters and sounds, sounding out words in chunks, and breaking apart words into familiar chunks and "crashing" the sounds back together to figure out the word. The kids talked about how readers don't just rely on one of the strategies to figure out an unfamiliar word; sometimes, they use the strategies together to be sure that they've figured out the word correctly and that it makes sense.

At home this week, you can ask them to show you how they figured out an unfamiliar word in the book they're reading. If you are reading with your Maple child and they come to a word that they don't recognize, ask them to see if any of the strategies above might help them figure out the word before telling them the word that is there.

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Math: New Unit

Children began a unit called "The Double-Decker Bus" this week. This unit uses the context of a double-decker bus with 10 seats on the top deck and 10 seats on the bottom deck to explore strategies for composing and decomposing numbers up to 20, solve "missing addend" problems through addition and subtraction, and use landmark quantities of 5 and 10 to count on from and add onto to find a total.

This week, Maple kids used rekenreks to find different arrangements for seating the same number bus passengers on the top and bottom deck. They also found ways to quickly and efficiently count passengers on the bus before the bus drove by, using strategies like counting by ones or twos, or seeing 5 or 10 and counting on to find the total. Students also played the game "Passenger Pairs," in which they had to find two cards in a deck with the same number of passengers, but in a different arrangement.

Some of us also began to solve word problems using a "jumbo bus" with 20 seats on the top deck and 20 seats on the bottom deck, and explored how the bus driver could know how many passengers were on the top deck from knowing the number of passengers sitting on the bottom deck.

For more information on rekenreks and their use for building number sense, helping children to subitize quantities, and practicing counting, addition, and subtraction, click here.

Activities to do at home:

  • To help your child compose and decompose quantities, ask them questions using household items, like "We have 10 utensils in our kitchen. Some are forks and some are spoons. How many spoons and how many forks could I have each? What are all of the possible amounts of spoons and forks I could have?"
  • Play "Passenger Pairs." Card sets and directions coming home on Monday.

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Project Time: Creating Living Systems and their Parts

The Maple kids delved further into their study of systems this week, thinking about examples of living systems and their parts. Children read a book called "I am a Leaf" and observed that living systems are parts that work together to support a whole. When brainstorming examples of living systems, the kids decided that trees, flowers, monkeys, raccoons, fish, leaves, owls, ant hills, and humans were examples of systems. They made collages of the living systems they thought of in groups, with each student making parts and then putting them together to make a system.
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This week, the Maple kids worked on resetting the practices of exploration including making a choice, taking care of materials, and cleaning up the classroom space through playing at small-scale exploration stations of MagnaTiles, Unifix cubes, table blocks, and drawing. As a group, kids discussed how to work together, share materials, and share in the responsibility of cleaning up the quickly and completely at the end of exploration time. It was exciting to see children making plans for building, using their words to negotiate the sharing of materials, and building structures together to maximize the usage of materials, and telling stories and playing with what they created. After winter recess, we will begin to talk about expectations and care for larger-scale choices and reintroduce them into the choices for the day.

Announcements and Important Upcoming Dates

  • Winter Recess begins on Tuesday, December 22nd. School resumes on Monday, January 4th. Have a safe, relaxing, and fun break and see you all in the new year!
  • Friday, January 8th: Fall Birthdays celebration (Look for a sign-up coming shortly)
  • Monday, January 18th: No School: Martin Luther King Day
  • Friday, January 22nd: Trip to the American Museum of Natural History