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From cuisenaire rods to base-ten pieces, manipulatives are a CRITICAL part of our primary classrooms. They offer students a real, hands-on way to explore a mathematical concept and build their own meaning. The CRA model of mathematics has us moving students from the concrete to the representational to the abstract when introducing and teaching new material. When students are struggling at the representational/abstract level, we always move back and build concrete experiences with mathematics. Students need hands-on ways to interact with math.
Out of all the math content taught in 1st grade, data and graphing is some of the most hands-on and fun. While I love place value and making 10 to add (and they play SUCH a huge role in later grades), towards the end of the year it's nice to mix in 'lighter' content. Today I've shared my go-to ideas and centers for mastering data collection and graphing! 
Just a few months ago we welcomed our first-grade friends and they were able to write a few words and if we were lucky, a complete sentence. Since August we have worked oh-so-hard to develop interesting stories, taught our friends with how-to writing, and written letters to our favorite authors.

Then comes the Spring and it’s time to embark on paragraph writing. One of the three main writing strands for 1st grade, our six-year old friends are expected to be able to introduce a topic, give and explain a detail, and then, wrap-up their thinking. In summary, 1st graders should be able to independently write a cohesive paragraph by the end of the year. So, the question is - how do we get our friends there?
Friday was one of those fun, engaging, awesome days of learning. It was play-based, rigorous, and had my operating room of 1st grader doctors begging for more. Today I wanted to share with you more about Contraction Surgery - a morning filled with hands-on contraction fun!

So, you've found the perfect Science Kids video to launch your writing unit or a just-right song to review that phonics skill, you hit play on the video and allofasudden you see Hedi Klum's body in a bikini rolling on a beach, a man taking a little blue pill to "get in the game" and YOU DIE. Your mind starts panicking and you jump in front of the projector only to realize your body is now projecting an ad for the morning-after pill. Your brain can't work fast enough, and you hang your head in shame. Rookie mistake, you tell yourself; I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. You tell your colleagues and they start taking bets about how many parent emails you are going to receive. 

Sound familiar?! Today I'm sharing with you 3 free resources for circumventing the internet-cycle-of-shame and protecting your friends from things that you don't want to talk to a 6-year old about! Protect students from pop-ups and ads when using technology. These 3 FREE online resources are perfect for the primary student.

We love music in 1st grade. We sing in every transition, in all of our spare moments, and in our efforts to master tough skills. Music is perfect for focusing, energizing, and setting the pace within the classroom. This week we've launching our Compare and Contrast reading/writing unit, and I was so frustrated when I couldn't find any video or song to practice our learning. I ended up writing my own song and wanted to share it with you all today!
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