February 24, 2016

This week, during our small group math work we are working on number stories, simple word problems that we've been modeling with unifix cubes. A teacher has been telling children the number story and then children use unifix cubes to show the two different numbers and add them together. 

An example of this is: When the lunch helpers are putting lunches out, they put 3 down on a table. They get 1 more lunch and put it down. How many lunches are on the table now?

Stretching our imaginations and envisioning a pretend number situation can be challenging, but with the help of teachers and friends, children are beginning to understand the concept.

As we get ready for spring garden planning, we've been experimenting with seeds in Purple Room science small groups. This has been such a rich topic full of curiosity and possibility. We've been discussing seasons and how weather can prohibit growing. We've also been poring over seed catalogues, finding the fruits and vegetables that we do and do not like to eat. Students have been cutting out their favorites and making little garden signs with them. Finally, we've gotten to work with the thing itself, the origin point, the beginning (and end) of life; or rather that little hard package of potential that sits like a stubborn period in the cycle of a plant's life, waiting for secret ingredients to unlock it.

We've been looking in little individual cups at seeds big and small, spherical and oblong, smooth and bumpy. Seeds of all different colors. Students have been discussing what they know about seeds and expect from seeds. Kids seem to agree that seeds make plants. We've been learning together how we can help them do this and what exactly it looks like when they do. We've been using cups and containers to grow seeds in soil. The little fantasy gardens are meant to simulate the planning and labeling and care that goes into making a real, outdoor production garden. The results have been exciting!