Monday, April 16, 2012

M is for Math

Most of my teacher friends have heard me say at one time or another, "There's a reason why I teach kindergarten math." The fact of the matter is, math has never been a favorite subject of mine, at least growing up. My brain just does not work that way. I have a vivid childhood memory of sitting at the kitchen table while my grandfather "tried" to help me with math. Let's just say he was a very patient man.               
  Do you need an essay written, I'm your go to girl, but algebraic equations? Not so much.When my kids hit high school (maybe even sooner) their math homework became a mystery to me. I'd hear "Mom can you help me with my math homework?" "Nope, go ask dad." It's not that I didn't want to help them...I couldn't! 
Even though I'm not a big math fan, I still enjoy teaching it, at least to kindergarteners! We have a lot of fun with math in my classroom.

One of my favorite lessons to teach each year is the Marshmallow lesson! What's not to love about a sticky marshmallow? Of course my kids would much rather eat them than build with them, so every few minutes I shout out, "you may eat two marshmallows!" They love that! They are pretty creative with their marshmallows and toothpicks and I'm always amazed at the structures they are able to build.

I also love finding fun and interesting ways to teach graphing. We graph everything from gingerbread men, who will win the Superbowl, which of us like Green Eggs and Ham, and how many fish of each color we can catch. I try to make our graphs as fun and visually appealing as possible.

I think the best thing about math is that it's universal. It doesn't matter what language you speak, math is math. I find that those kids who struggle with phonemic awareness, letter id and phonics can be and usually are successful with kindergarten math concepts. Succeeding gives them that little bit of confidence that struggling kids so often need. 
Math makes kids feel smart!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I is for Imagination!

Along with being a kindergarten teacher to a great bunch of 5 and 6 year-olds, I am lucky enough to work with an amazingly creative bunch of 4th and 5th graders in a  program called Destination Imagination.

D.I. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year 100,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries work for months to solve open-ended challenges and present their solutions at tournaments.

These seven amazing kids worked hard to create a movie trailer based on a movie of their creation. They had to write a script, make costumes, build props, solve problems and overcome challenges as they showcased poise, teamwork, ingenuity and creativity. Their final performance could be no more than 4 minutes long.

Each time I watched them perform I became more and more impressed and not only was I impressed, but so were the judges! 

Our team recently competed at the state level at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. WPI houses this event each year, hosting the best teams in Massachusetts. Our team earned our spot by coming in first place at the regional competition at Beverly High School just two weeks before. In Worcester the team earned second place out of 19 teams!

In addition to their amazing first and second place achievements, the team earned the very prestigious DaVinci award at both competitions for their “outstanding creativity and ability to think outside the box!” Because of their achievements they have earned the right to compete at Global Finals in Knoxville, TN May 23rd-27th!

This is quite an honor. However, for a team and their coaches to travel and compete in Knoxville, TN is expensive! We have a lot of money to raise in a little time. This is an experience of a lifetime for these 7 children and I know that with the effort of our parents and community we will achieve our goal.

I ask that you help, by sharing this blog post with those you know, every little bit helps!
You can "like" us on our Horace Mann DI 2012 facebook page, and on-line donations through Pay Pal can be made here: How Can I Help?

Thanks for spreading the word! Wish us luck!