PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

This Week in 301

Happy October, everyone!

This week in 301 we’re going to be choosing Seed Ideas from our Writer’s Notebooks. A “Seed Idea” is the nucleus of an idea that can be developed into a full-fledged piece of writing. We’ll be looking through our entries and picking out one that we want to develop further, and deciding what we want to develop it into: a story? A poem (or set of poems)? A feature article about a non-fiction topic? A first person narrative? It’s interesting how a seed idea can grow in any number of different directions. A child might have observed something when we were writing in Seth Low Park that could become a fictional story, that might trigger a memory from his or her own life, that could become a poem – or that might become an opinion piece related to public parks!

In Math we’ve been working on an extended problem: how many combinations of coins can you find that make 37 cents? The real challenge lies in finding ways to organize your thinking that will help you find more possible solutions and that will help you be able to know for sure if you’ve found all the possible ways or not. Today I asked the children to plan with their partners how their could organize their work, and if necessary to go back to the drawing board and start over so that they could find solutions in an organized way. This can feel a little frustrating for students, but it’s an important habit of mind to cultivate. We want our mathematicians to be able to think flexibly, and if one solution to a problem is not working, it’s important to be able to go back and start over with a fresh approach.

We’ve also been playing a game called Close to 1,000 or alternatively, Close to 100. If you’d like to play this game at home, here are some resources:

Close to 1,000 Directions  (Note: Close to 100 is played the same way, except that you deal out six cards to each player, and then choose four of those cards to make two 2-digit numbers whose sum is as close to 100 as possible.) Here is the link to print your own Digit Cards   We will use these cards for many games this year.

In Community Building, we’re ready to start developing Rules for our community. The children have all identified their personal hopes or dreams for this year: the things that, if they came true, would help make this this best year yet for them. I’ve really appreciated their honesty and thoughtfulness in thinking about this! So now we’ve started brainstorming about what Rules will help us all feel happy, safe, and able to learn – because if we have that, then we will all have the chance to make our hopes and dreams come to be. It’s very important that students feel that the Rules were developed and determined by them, rather than imposed on them by the adults; it makes them take them seriously. (I will of course be guiding them in choosing good, fair Rules that can really help us!)