PBL Math

We use the Think Math! program and workbooks to practice and build our math skills. Some days we have “Game Day” or work to design our own independent math projects. We try to “find the math”. Can you find the math in these projects? Here are some videos of our work!
Look at this work that started out with printing numbers on a paper:

Look at this math invention discovery!

Look at how these pencils have been grouped and counted! How much do 4 groups of 5 equal?

Watch this project evolve:

This student came to me showing 4 identical towers of 16.

A student nearby was engaged in a completely different project in which she suddenly needed to know how much 11 was four times. See how one project changed to support anothers:

Further dialogue yielded this


While we were playing today we noticed there were lots of birds on the playground. Then we noticed one was a bluebird! Then someone else saw another bluebird! We spent a long time being quiet and looking out the window at the birds. We used binoculars to see them. You have to be quiet when looking at birds. We found bluebirds on the Peterson’s App and heard their beautiful song.

Homework: Can you draw and label 10 different kinds of birds? More on birds here.
Do you have a feeder at your house? Here’s a site that will help you turn your backyard into a place where more animals will come to visit you so you can watch them and learn about them!

Computer Language

Computer Language

Did you know computers have a language? They do! You have to learn computer language if you want to invent games for kids to play.

Mr Wees is a math expert friend of Ms Echternacht’s. He lives in BC. BC is very different than DC. BC means British Columbia and it’s in Canada. DC means where the boss of the USA lives.

Mr Wees knows computer language. Mr Wees invented these games by writing the computer language:


photo used with permission courtesy of David Wees

Click the address to get to the game: http://davidwees.com/javascript/blockly/demos/draw/

Click here to see triangles inside of triangles or Roll the dice

There are lots of computer languages. Do you want to learn how to write computer language? You start with CHERP and SCRATCH

Math Projects

We are working to “crack the codes” of math. Did you know that math has lots of secret codes? It does! Instead of sounding out “plus” or “minus” you can just write “+” or “-“. There are lots of patterns and discoveries to be made in math! We chose to work on these projects and worked to make math discoveries.

It all started when someone made this on the counting board:


We talked about the beads on this counting board for a long time. What numbers do you see? Where are they? Can you write them? How many beads are on each line? Can you “crack the code” and find some of the math patterns in this design?

We went off to make our own projects.

Take a look at our work!

A fire to keep you warm in your log cabin

In olden times the only way to keep warm was by a fire. We made a pretend log cabin and used this fire to help us pretend we were living in Laura Ingalls Wilder and Abraham Lincoln times.

Our Fifth Grade Big Sisters

At our school we have “Big Sisters.” They are in 5th Grade. They said they liked our blog! They blog too! Click here to visit their blog!



Mr Ben and the Orangutans in Indonesia

KinderPRIS   Mr Ben and his class live in Indonesia. They live where the orangutans live. We like to tweet tweet messages to them sometimes.

We told them about Gouter. They don’t have Gouter at their school! But they do have a blog, just like us! Mr Ben and his class made a post for us telling us all about how to make and fly kites! Want to see? Click right here! 



French Advent Calendar

French Advent Calendar

Chester works to be brave

Chester had a problem w Froggie today. Chester was playing the maraca and Froggie came up and tapped the maraca. Chester started crying and said Froggie was mean to him. Chester started wailing. The whole class worked with Chester to help him see that Froggie just wanted to play and he had to not cry all the time about things. The class helped him take some deep breaths, be a big raccoon and ask Froggie if he wanted to play the maracas together.

After Chester and Froggie worked it out, we all got the maracas out and played them together! Come on, Chester, listen to this song! You can do it! Be BRAVE! BE STRONG!

We listened to this song today that some friends in Calgary sent to us. It’s from Madame Amy’s class!

The Long Story of US Thanksgiving

The short story of Thanksgiving is about being thankful. It’s a time to be together with our families and our friends. But there is a long story too. It’s a little sad, but it’s important too. Do you want to hear the long story? Well here it is!

Once upon a time a long, long, long time ago there was a lady named Sarah Hale. She had an idea to make a holiday to help people say “Thank You”. She wrote the President of the USA and asked him if there could be a “Giving Thanks” holiday. He said “NO”. That President got voted out and the next President came. She asked him “Can we have a holiday to say “Thank You”? but he said “NO” also. While Sara waited and wrote her letters,  she made up the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and started a magazine. She kept asking Presidents about the holiday until she was an old lady, but they all said “NO.”

Portrait of Sarah Hale by James Reid Lambdin

Then there was a big fight in the USA. It was a war called the Civil War. It was a long time ago. It was a really sad time in the USA and lots of people were angry and hurt, even after the fight was over. Sarah had the idea that if people could have a holiday to say “Thank You” together, maybe they could work to become friends again. This time the President was a man named Lincoln. He’s famous. He’s on the penny and on 5 dollar bills. Sarah asked President Lincoln “Could we have a holiday to say Thank you to help us all be friends again?” President Lincoln said “YES!” That is the story of the how the USA Thanksgiving came to be celebrated every year.

“Abraham Lincoln” by Howard Pyle

Most people think the Thanksgiving story is about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native American Indian Tribe, but it is not. Someone saw a picture in a magazine and the whole story grew and grew so big that now most people think it’s the truth. That story started out happy, but ended very sad. It was such a sad story for such a long time people didn’t even want to tell it. Every time we tell the story it gets a little happier because people start to know the truth about how it really happened. Do you want me to tell you the story?

Once upon a time there were people who lived in the woods. There were no grocery stores or cars or computers or telephones. This was a long time ago. They lived in houses called wetus and cooked their food on the fire. They went hunting and fishing and made their own boats. They didn’t have any garbage because they used everything and made everything from nature. They took care of nature and were experts at living in the woods.

Frank E Schoonover

Frank E Schoonover

Frank E Schoonover

On another part of the earth, in the land of England, there was a bossy king. He was bossing everyone and said “You have to think about God the way I do or you are going to jail!” Some people didn’t like it, so they left. They are called Pilgrims. They got on a boat and sailed away. There were no airplanes. They had a boat and they got sick and threw up on the boat and they weren’t even sure how to get where they were going. Then they got to the place where the Wampanoags were living in the woods.

Howard Pyle

But when they got to the Land of the Wampanoags, the Pilgrims didn’t know how to live in the woods at all! The Pilgrims got sick and very cold and started dying. Everyone was crying and wanted to go back home. The Wampanoags found them and helped them and taught them how to live in the woods.  Most people end the story here, because this is where it gets sad. Do you want to know the rest of the story?

The Pilgrims and the Wampanoags had one party together, but then after that party the Pilgrims hurt the Wampanoags and took their houses. They pushed the Wampanoags into a corner of the woods and chopped down the trees. More Pilgrims came and they pushed all of the other Native American Tribes into little corners of the USA.

While they were pushing all of the Native American Indians away, they also captured people from a land called Africa and made them work all day for no money. They sold people to get even more money. It was a really, really, really, really bad and sad thing called slavery. This happened a long time ago and it’s real. This is what the big war was about because people said it was bad and sad and they wanted it to stop.

Howard Pyle

There was fighting for a long time but then it was over. After the fighting was over, Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Hale wanted all the sad and bad to be over so they made a holiday to say “Thank You that the fighting is over”. They gave Thanks that the USA could start to work together and be friends.

  • Why is saying “Thank You” so important?
  • How can teaching kids to say “Thank you” help people?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • Why is it important to tell this story?
  • Why is it important to say you are sorry and tell the truth about things?
  • How do you think people feel when the whole story doesn’t get told?
  • Why is it important to remember all the people in the story?

The happiest part of the story is that the Wampanoags are still here! See this movie about how they are working to learn the Wampanoag language again since it was almost lost long, long ago:

for further reading:

Plimoth on the Web

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Thank You, Sarah

Mashpee Wampanoag Website

Wampanoag Homesite at Plimoth Plantation

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head

The Art:

Howard Pyle

Frank E Schoonover Fund

Ian Schoenherr

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Voting in the USA

Today is Election Day in the USA. We vote to decide who is the President of the USA. The two main people are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. They are boys. Girls can be President but there has never been a girl President in the USA before. Maybe the first girl one will be YOU!

At rest time, we were tweet tweeting on twitter talking to our Kindergarten friends in Canada about Halloween. Then we saw some different Kindergarten friends from Massachusetts said their numbers were O=14 and R=8. We asked the friends in Canada if they had any numbers from voting. They said they didn’t have any numbers because they don’t vote today.

The kids in Canada didn’t even know who Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were! They said they vote later. They told us they vote for Prime Minister.  The one they have now is named Harper. We know they live up north and it’s cold where they live. Some people have Kings and Queens or Presidents or Prime Ministers. The USA has a President.

Then we saw Mr Gomez had some data numbers. His class is in Texas. We counted his numbers. Their numbers were O=10 and R=8. This is the picture Mr Gomez sent us to show his kids numbers:

Owly Images
We decided to vote too. First we had to register by writing our names. When our polling place opened, we crossed off our names and made our choice. The numbers from the Poppers and the Snappers all together were O=14 and R=3. We live in New Jersey.

We had so many numbers to keep track of. It’s data. We ran out of fingers. We sorted the numbers and wrote them all down and got the abacus. An abacus comes in very handy when you run out of fingers.


We counted the numbers again and again. We got three different answers so we had to re check. We put one peg in the board for each number.

Then we went to gym. When we were there, a Kindergarten class from Tennessee had numbers. Their numbers were O=15, R=1

Then we went home! Numbers are still coming in! Numbers from Montana just came in! Their numbers are O=17, R=3

What can you use to help you check how many there are all together? Can you find all of these places on a map? Stay tuned to this blog for updates as more classes send in their numbers!

Kindergarten polls close at 7PM tonight New York time!



Wow! We have not had school for eleven days! Our pattern is usually 5 days school, 2 days no school, 5 days school, 2 days no school. But now we have had 11 days no school!

2 days of the no school were so that the teachers could talk with your Moms and Dads about how well you are doing in school and about how you are being kind to your friends and waiting your turn and sharing.


Then we had a weekend. But then something happened! A big storm came. A storm so big they call it a hurricane. Hurricanes have names. This one’s name was Sandy. Did you know the really big storms have names? They do!

Click here to read the story about why they have names. 

The science people who keep track of all the storms in the USA work at a place called NOAA. These scientists also work to help the oceans. They make maps of the oceans and of the weather. Why do you think ocean and weather science people work together?

Click here to see NOAA’s science graphs and maps and pictures.

Click here to see NOAA’s pictures of under the ocean.

Most hurricanes blow away into the ocean and we don’t even know their names. Not this one, though! This one made an emergency for lots of people. Sandy knocked down lots of trees and poles with wires. What are all of those wires for? What happened at your house when the wind knocked them down?

Sandy also knocked down trees. Some old beauties got knocked down in the big winds.

Rescue teams went to work fixing the poles and helping people. Sandy made water come right into some people’s houses! The storm wrecked lots of houses near the beach because the beach is right near the ocean and hurricanes are born in the ocean. Rescue teams went to work helping people pump the water out and giving them food and blankets to keep them warm.

Now we are ready to get back to school! Most people have their lights back on, but some do not! It will take a while to fix all the things that got knocked down in the wind. As soon as the lights come back on at school we will get back to our play and work! What are you most excited to work on when you get back to school? The teachers are most excited to see YOU! We will see you SOON!

“Heave-ho!” Our friends in New Hampshire

We saw these kids on our tweet tweet messages. They are from New Hampshire here in the USA. We could drive there. They said they played in the woods. They made a movie for us to watch!

We liked this so much we went right out and played in our woods! We worked together to move big logs- “heave-ho!” just like they did! Check back for pictures!

Bom dia

These kids say “Bom Dia” to us. They are from the land of Portugal. We like to say “bom dia”. Listen to their teacher tell the story of their pictures. What do you think she is saying?

You can listen to the voices of our friends in Portugal on one of their blogs here!