Conflict Resolution . 6 Word Memoirs . The Little Prince . Visual Thinking in Mathematics

This week we began our work around peacebuilding and conflict resolution. This involved digging into the definition of conflict and our relationships with it. We listened to words associated with conflict and what it meant to us and then clapped, snapped or refrained to demonstrate our connection. As many students observed, negative words received the strongest connection. “Normal” was observed to be oddly silent.
Students then used these words to define “conflict.” Many focused on the negative words while some also shared a different perspective, focusing on the way conflict can lead to growth and new understandings.
We also began looking at 6 Word Memoirs, in connection with our exploration of identity. The students used a See-Think-Wonder Routine to describe what the noticed, what it made them think they knew about the author, what connections they made and what questions they would ask. From here, we began to craft short stories around these initial offerings.
To follow, students will then compose short stories around their own identities and then finally, an illustrated 6 Word Memoir.
Also connecting with the theme of identity, we began reading The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Before reading we spoke about the benefits offered by returning to a book as some students were already familiar with the story. We talked about how we might notice things that we missed the first time and how since we are changing over time, the book might take on different meanings to us.
The author dedication also offered an opportunity for discussion as it was dedicated to a close friend, as he was as a child. While reading this and the first chapter, students noted what it means for a child to grow up and forget what it feels like to be a child, losing a child-like spirit and adopting a more serious tone about things.
In math, we continued our Singapore work. Some worked on long division, using base 10 blocks to explore the algorithm in a concrete way. Others used fraction blocks when working on problems involving parts and wholes.

We also thought about the importance of visual representations in math using a series of patterns that represented the numbers 1 – 28. Students identified the numbers and then made connections between numbers through repetitions of patterns in numbers. They also did a gallery walk, observing the connections others made based on how they marked up their work. This activity is good for reinforcing the visual aspect of mathematical thinking as well as an introduction into factors and multiples which they will work on in greater depth later on.

Our First Week Back

Happy First Week of School! This week we spent time settling in and getting to know each other and our space. We began with a game called The Great Wind Blows which helped us learn more about our interests. Academically speaking, the students have been reading independently daily while I conducted informal reading assessments.

Academically speaking, the students have been reading independently daily while I conducted informal reading assessments.

In math, students have worked on Singapore Math Assessments as well as their Singapore Math books. We also played the math game Four 4s which challenges students to find numbers 1 – 20 using only four 4’s and any operation (ignoring the Order of operations which comes later.)
The beauty of this game is that students can begin by simply playing with combinations to see what they come up with. As they did, we began to make observations of patterns we noticed. For example, we looked at the instances where our solutions were greater than 20. What we found was that the last operation in all of these was multiplication. We then concluded that if we were going to use multiplication, we should use it towards the beginning and not the end.
The students have also spent ample time playing games together (Zeus on the Loose, Mille Bornes, and Rope Escape) as well as creating games together. We have also spent time outside during recess where kids have explored, discovered a skeleton and looked for clues as to what happened, as well as other imaginative play. These have provided ample opportunities for communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution. This time together has been essential as we work towards building a classroom. The building of these connections helps students feel safe enough to engage with content and take academic risks.