As this is our last large math block of the year, we have many goals to accomplish in these 4 weeks.

In first grade, I want them to be very familiar and comfortable in counting and working with higher numbers. I want them to recognize these numbers and be able to write them. I want them to be able to do addition and subtraction up to sums of 24 on their own, which means they need to be able to hold a number within and count up from that number. I want them to be familiar with multiplication and division and to be able to complete some of these problems with help. I want their rhythmic math work to be refined, so that hand clapping and counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and even 3’s are coming along. And lastly, I want them to begin to memorize their math facts under 10.

In second grade we are bringing many things together. We will be solidifying our understanding of place value, we will be working heavily in the times tables, writing all of them up to our 12’s and seeing the geometric shape they create on a circle of 0 to 9. We will be reviewing rounding numbers to different place values and we will be adding and subtracting higher numbers horizontally and working with different strategies we use in order to so do, trying to create fluidity, ease, and flexibility with these numbers.

In week one, first graders began on the ground with our mining gnomes, putting 10 gems into a bag and counting by 10’s. For example, each of them “mined” 16 gems, then we put all of our gems together, counting by 10’s up to 50 and then adding our 6 extra gems together with everyone else’s. As soon as we get to 10, we put them into another bag and add them to our 10’s. We did multiple problems like this and then had to do some on our own for book work. If you have 3 bags of 10 and 7 extra, how many gems do you have? We wrote our 10’s up to 100 and then wrote a few of these problems. The next day we did the same thing but counted by 5’s forward and backwards and we wrote our 5’s up to 80. Following this, the next day we had a new story of a shepherd and his sheep and we counted by 2’s over and over again to try to get these memorized. We wrote our 2’s in our books this day. On Thursday we remembered Happy Addy and May and we did some addition work with sums above 10. Now we can’t use our fingers in the same way, so we learned how to hold one number in our hearts and count up from there. We did some problems on our own in our main lesson books.

In week one in second grade, we went straight to the times tables, practicing them by counting aloud and hand clapping, and then by getting on the ground in a circle and throwing a ball of yarn to the numbers as we count them. We worked on our 10’s, 9’s, 4’s & 6’s this week, drawing a beautiful drawing and then writing the times and division tables – so that we start to learn that they have a clear relationship to one another. I usually write half of them, and the students have to copy this and write the rest up to 12.

In this photo you can see that if you count by 6’s, a pattern emerges – 6, 2, 8, 4, 0. If you place this pattern on a circle of 0 to 9, the pattern creates a pentagram. Inside the pentagram, there is a pentagon. We look at all of these things! It is so exciting to see what beautiful geometric shape will arise from each times table. There are many guesses each day as to what shape it will make and then surprise when it might be the same shape of another times table. For example, the opposite pattern emerges with the 4 times table – 4, 8, 2, 6, 0, and so the same shape appears!

In week two, we all worked on addition and subtraction together through the stories of Mrs. Bluebird and Mrs. Fox. These are simple spring stories I created in order to have something we are adding and subtracting, so that the work is more meaningful. First graders worked on adding such problems as 8 + 9, 7 + ____ = 15, ____ + 5 = 14, 16 – 8, 16 – _____ = 7. I used the same story to add higher numbers in second grade such as 25 + 3, 42 + ___ = 49, 85 – 4, 97 – ____ = 92, 23 + 10, 38 + 40, 52 + ___ = 92, 23 + 13, 25 + 16, 21 + ___ = 35 and their subtraction counterparts of the same. In second grade we talked a lot about the different strategies we used to find these answers – knowing that most strategies are not “better” than others. Though we did talk about how counting up on our fingers from numbers such as 52 to 66 we can do, it will not be plausible once we get to math such as 52 + 45, so we need to find other ways! We are adding the tens together and then the ones. We are changing numbers slightly, adding them together, and then changing the answer slightly to coincide with the change we made before we added. It’s always so fun to see all the ways the children can manipulate the numbers! It’s some great math.

In this week we also learned about greater than and less than through the story of an alligator wanting to eat cookies. His mouth opens to the greater number! They loved this and it was also a great way to review and recognize our higher numbers. Then on Thursday we finished up some of our math practice worksheets we’d been doing all week and we played BINGO with our times tables. It was great review for everyone on how to get the answers to our times tables. First graders did their 2’s and 5’s and second graders did their 3’s and 4’s.

Week three of this block brought the first graders to more addition and subtraction, but using a number line. This is another great way to show how numbers can be written. Eyes widened when I told everyone in the room that our number line could keep going and going and going and going – all the way around the room over and over again! We used Peter Rabbit to hop around our number line both forward and backwards.

Second graders did more times tables – we practiced our 6’s again – because we’d all forgotten we’d done them already! It was as if we were seeing it for the first time! Then we did our 7’s and 8’s.

Here is what your children have been seeing each day on the board, and stories continued in first grade for Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Bluebird and Mrs. Fox.

At the end of this week we painted some geometric shapes and then reviewed by doing Dictations, where I say something aloud and they have to write it down. It can be as simple as me saying a number and they have to write it or I say a math problem and they have to find the answer. I am seeing what they can hold in their minds and then write down and I’m also seeing what they know and can do. For some reason, they all love dictations! It’s a favorite! First graders wrote higher numbers, did simple addition and subtraction, and simple multiplication. Second graders wrote higher numbers that involved place value, did some rounding to the nearest tens place or hundreds place, and did some times table work and higher addition.

I am still reading, *The King of Ireland’s Son* to everyone at the end of our math lesson. This gives us a breather from all the work. During Reading time, we continue to work in reading groups and to partner read. We are all coming along in our reading skills!

This coming week we’ll continue solidifying these math concepts and will move forward with more complicated work!