PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 1: Taking Inventory

Family Friday is this Friday, February 9th from 9:25-10:10.  We will be learning a new math game and you will have the opportunity to check out your child’s research project on jellyfish or stingrays.  We hope to see you there!

Valentine’s Day is coming soon.  Your child is welcome to bring in valentines on February 14th.  He/she must bring in a valentine for every student in the class.  


How many tens are in 247?  The answer: 24!  This is a big idea we are exploring on our new math unit on place value.  Place value means that the value of a number changes depending on where it is in a number.  For example, the 5 in 53 represents 5 groups of 10.  We began with a classroom inventory.  Students worked in partners to count large amounts of items in the classroom.  To make counting easier many students grouped their items in packs of 10.  We then created a chart listing how many how many groups of 10, how many loose, and the total number for each item.  Place value patterns emerged as we studied the chart.  This week we are investigating what happens when we add two digit numbers.

Note:  We do not teach students the standard algorithm for adding two digit numbers in first grade. (This is the method most of us learned in school when you stack the numbers, add the ones and carry numbers to the tens column.)  Research has shown that children often use this method in a rote way without a deep understanding of what they are doing to the numbers.  It is more beneficial for students to understand addition (and all operations) conceptually and later they can learn to use the algorithm as a shortcut when appropriate.    



In reading we are focusing on characters.  Students are learning to “spy” on their characters while reading.  We are learning about our characters by paying attention to what they are saying, doing and by looking carefully at the pictures. We are then using what we know about a character to predict how we think that character might act.  Please read with your child every night.  As you read here are some questions you can ask your child about the characters in the book:

  • Who is the main character in your book?
  • What does the character like and dislike?  How do you know?
  • What do you think the character is thinking right now?  Why?
  • How do you think the character is feeling right now?  Why?
  • If you were the character, what would you do next?
  • Has the character changed?  What is making him/her change?