Wednesday, April 23, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

Design and Engineering News Release:

Newly designed cars are ready for the showroom!

Students in River and Sky Class have been designing, building, and perfecting their car designs for the past several weeks in Design and Engineering classes. These young engineers will be sharing their finished projects with all Lower School students at a Makers Fair this Friday.

The Design assignment: Build a car that will transport a "passenger."

Students were engaged in many activities:
  • making a detailed drawing and written description of their ideas
  • deciding what size frame (chassis) they would need
  • measuring, cutting, and glueing wood pieces to construct their frame
  • glueing axle holders and cut axles
  • choosing from an assortment of materials to create the "cab" to carry the "passenger"
  • attaching their cab designs to complete their car
  • learning about simple circuitry, motors, pulleys, and transfer of energy

Engineers working together:

Engineers proud of their designs:


Thursday, April 17, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

Wind-up Toys with Annie

In dance class this week we began with a beautiful children's story about how you are the only person who can feel your feelings, think your thoughts, sense your body and imagine your very own dances. Next, we had a lively sharing of ideas about experiences that the children had that could inspire dances. In the warm-up we focused on the joints in our body and patterns that could be repeated.

The wind-up toys were fabulous because they inspired unique ways of moving and acute awareness of your own body. We did upper/lower body integration, movements that traveled sideways, contra lateral movement, head/tail connection and feeling your kinesphere. It was a joyous class especially when we set our patterns to music. We ended with a relaxation so all our explorations could sink into our muscles.
What a special group of dancers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

New Monday Math

Fill 'er Up - a Ten Frame Train game

This week we began a new math center time involving a variety of math activities. This 50 minute class will take place every Monday morning. It involves a mixture of hands-on math, math games, math apps, tile cards, and paper and pencil work. Each River student gets an opportunity to move around to the various math centers led by Charlie, Dee, and Ruth. Above and below you can see an example of the Ten Frame Trains. Experienced second year students show their peers how to play the games Fill 'er up and Long Trains. These games involve counting and strategic thinking. 

Playing Long Train
Fill 'er Up is a fun counting game using a spinner with different pictures of ten frames. On their spin each student fills their trains to match the spinner. The goal is to fill up your trains with as many cubes as possible. 

Long Trains (pictured left) is a game played with dice. The goal is to fill as many trains as possible until there are no trains left. Once you have ten cubes you can fill a train. However, if you roll a 5 you have to remove 5 cubes and put them back into the pot.

During this game time students are not only learning addition facts and mathematical strategies, but also how to take turns and communicate with one another appropriately. 

Tile Cards by Creative Publications

Students have fun solving the various tile card sets. Above you can see an example of a Subtract-A-Tile set. Students work hard to place all ten tiles in the correct place to make the various equations work. Sometimes this can take several attempts. Students use hundred charts, number lines or other manipulatives to help them while they work.

The tile card above is from the Add-A-Tile set. This set focuses solely on one-digit addition. Each tile set comprises of 20 cards.

Above you can see an example of Borrow-A-Tile. These cards involve two-digit subtraction with regrouping. River students quickly learn strategies to help them tackle this kind of math. 

Once a student has completed a set of cards they receive a presentation. Well done!

Math Apps

Math apps can be a lot of fun. Students are able to choose from apps such as Coin Math (as pictured above). They learn the names of coins and their values. They can even go shopping! Other helpful and educational apps include Jungle Time, Acorn Multiplication, SumStacker, and Math Ball. The ipad technology is used as a tool to help provide additional practice of specific topics. For example, after a teacher-led lesson on telling time students would spend a few minutes on the Jungle Time app to practice what they had learned.


Chess is always a popular activity during math center time. There are a number of chess enthusiasts who are willing to help other students learn the rules of the game.

Paper and Pencil Math

Students often work in their math folders. They complete a variety of exercises to help with their learning of both addition and subtraction facts. The student above is circling numbers to add up to a particular sum. The student pictured below is working out the word riddle by solving the math problems assigned to each letter. 

Math detectives