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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Common Core and Christmas

Sometimes it can be difficult to see the big picture when your child is bringing home things that seem disconnected to what it seems they should be learning. Take the domino math for instance. There could be concern that your child is being asked to do addition too early unless you know what the actual expectation is. Students put the dominoes face down on the desk, when they turn one over, they place is above the box on their paper. First the count the domino dots on the left side and then create the number in the box. Next they do the same thing on the right side of the domino and place the number in the right side of the box. Finally, students count all the dots, the dots on the left side and on the right side of the domino and then put the number in the box on the right side of the paper on the right side of the = sign. It may be difficult for some to write the number and I have been asking them to correct the numbers if they write them backwards.  Each desk has a number line taped to it so that students can see what the numbers look like and can count up to the number if they do not have number recognition yet. Students do practice some addition in this activity and they are expected to add and subtract fluently within 5 before the end of Kindergarten, but because they have the domino on the paper in front of them, the activity mostly involves counting. Students must be able to write numbers 0-20 and to be able to count 0-100 by the end of Kindergarten, so the more counting they can do, the better! At this late date in the year, students know that if Ms. Horn hands work back, they should correct it and put it back in the basket. The biggest "pros" of this activity include increasing familiarity of + and = signs and what it means to join numbers together, connecting the concept that the dots they count can become numbers and the numbers can be joined together are huge pros in this activity.  Students are not doing a lot of addition yet, they are mostly learning about counting and number orders. Connecting this to addition is an important key in Kindergarten. I want to encourage everyone to look at the Common Core Standards or Education of the State of Oklahoma. Here is the link to the standards. Scroll down to the standards, and then click on Kindergarten. It is on the same line at the Pre-K standards following a slash. This will open a pdf file that lists the Kindergarten Common Core Standards.  Looking at these Common Core Standards will help parents understand how much Kindergarten has changed since you were in Kindergarten. 

Cheesy, I know, but I could not resist these lights when I was in search of lights to decorate our classroom with. And the picture is not the best, but I hope you get you a glimpse of what they look like! The students have not seen these yet, I could not find a long enough extension cord in the morning, so I put them up last night after all students were gone. The truth is that for me, I am more excited about the beautiful tree pictures that are posted up on the chalkboard. 

In the hallway we have a bulletin board we are responsible for. I plan to add to it all month. I put up a fireplace hearth. Students are coloring and cutting out stockings and we are adding those as they finish them, we are also adding silver bells at the top and gifts at the bottom. So far, we don't have a lot of progress, but here is how it looked when I came home last night. 

I was going to try to find a Christmas tree to put up in our room that we could decorate with all the things we have been working on, but I decided against it because of how small our classroom is. I made a tree on the bulletin board using green bulletin board paper.  We put our ornaments on it and hung our bells at the top of the bulletin board. Beneath the tree are our cans for the food bank. Please keep bringing donations until the 19th! 

I put up clings on the windows.  We really only have one "open" window, a window that does not have a screen on it, or an air conditioner in it. I put most of the clings on the window and some clings on the window on the door to our classroom. Here is the photo of the clings on the window. It was cold when I put them up, so I don't know if they will be on the window Monday morning when we get to school. It's a mystery. 


  1. Great! Love the pictures. The info for parents about Common Core is spot on! I may steal that in a newsletter home!