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February 16, 2015

Hi Everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this three day weekend with your children.

First of all, welcome Aisha, Ahmad’s new baby sister! She was born last week, healthy and happy!

We have an exciting week planned. This Thursday is the Lunar New Year, celebrated by much of East Asia and many in the United States. We would like to do our part in preschool. If your family celebrates the Lunar New Year and you would like to help us with our celebration, please let Ms. Jane know as soon as possible. We’ll try and build in as many family traditions as we can. Ray School is planning a school-wide celebration as well.

Lunar New Year – the Year of the Ram

To start, we have a story book that explains the story of the animals of the zodiac called “What the Rat Told Me.” Every year this book catches the imagination of the children in our classroom. Since we are also exploring shadows with our overhead projector, I thought it would be fun to make some shadow puppets of the animals. I have printed out pictures but now I need help transferring them to black cardstock and cutting them out. If you would like to help with this project and have time to do it this week, please let me know and I’ll get you the materials. We need it done by Wednesday so we’ll have time to play with them.

Another Lunar New Year favorite is the story of “The Runaway Rice Cake,” which as you can imagine, is similar to the story of the “Gingerbread Man” which the children read earlier this year. If you can bring in some rice cakes this Thursday that would be a wonderful addition to our celebration.

Other things we have done to celebrate over the years: one year a Korean family dressed their children in tradition Korean outfits. One year a Chinese father brought in pen and ink to help our students make some Chinese characters. One year some families made Chinese dumplings with the students. Do you have other ideas? Let me know.

YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S FIRST TEACHER

Math Games for Home

Some of you came to our parent-child activity last week and learned about some math activities you can do at home with your children. There are so many! It just takes a little imagination and understanding of what math is. It doesn’t have to be that scary thing that comes in a giant indecipherable textbook. For young children, we can break it down into some simple ideas.

Numbers: there are numbers all around us. Our phones, our addresses, the sizes of our clothes, recipes we follow when making food. Help your child see the numbers around them and talk about what they mean.

You may have noticed that I do not have a traditional calendar on the wall. The reason for this is that time is an abstract idea to children and when they are just learning that numbers represent quantities, calendars can be very confusing. So we focus on two meanings of numbers. First, they are quantities. Our younger children have a hard time with this idea. The first step to understanding this is “One-to-one correspondence” which simply means that when we are counting things, we count each thing without leaving any out, and we count them only once. In other words, each object is given a number. Look at our number line in the classroom with the attendance cards. Each card is over one number and only one number, and we never skip any numbers.

The next big idea about counting is the idea of quantity. That is, the last number we say when we’re counting is how many there are. This may seem very easy to you but believe me, it’s a huge leap when young children get this idea. It takes a lot of practice to finally get this. Be patient with your child and keep counting with them. They’ll get it.

Once they get the idea of how to count, we can do many things with numbers. We can learn about the pattern of numbers; we can split quantities into parts and then combine them again (addition and subtraction); we can count how many of something and compare whether there are more or less than something else.

While we are learning about counting and quantities, we also learn about ordinal numbers, or how we use numbers to order things. First, second, third are ordinals. It’s just a way for us to keep things in order. We have breakfast first, lunch second, dinner third. We live on the third floor. We read stories that have three parts (beginning, middle and end). What comes first? What comes second?

Keep it simple! Stay with small numbers and play with them until your child really understands how numbers work. Do lots of “rote counting” – counting to 10, to 20, to 30. And remember, just because they can count to 50 doesn’t mean they understand what 50 means. For that we work with small numbers.

Please share with us your experiences teaching your children about math. That will help us a lot in the classroom.

WISH LIST

Labels in non-English languages (Chinese, Korean, Hungarian, Urdu, etc.) – we need them large enough to put up so the children can see them. Suggested words:  bathroom, fish, door, music, books, library, house, family, school; please be sure to put the English word on the back so Ms. Green and I will know what they are.

Volunteers to cut out animal shapes (by Wednesday)

 

 

 

 

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