The Egg Tower

As KB students progress in their counting skills we’ve introduced this open ended task that is challenging and allows all students to represent their mathematical thinking in various ways.

Students started by looking at the pictures below and commenting on what they “See, Think, and Wonder”. Then we set off to solve one of their toughest wonderings, “How many EGGS are in the tower”.

I.P. gave the class the idea that they should figure out how many boxes are in the tower first then they can count how many eggs! Each student set off to solve this question in ways that made sense for them.

Students counted 12 eggs in each box. So a lot of their thinking on Day 1 showed their knowledge of different representations of 12.

Another representation of 12. Ss were asked to focus on how they can show their thinking.

This student quickly began representing the eggs and the boxes within the tower, even on day 1

Then students shared their thinking with the class. We came to the conclusion that mathematicians in our class used numbers, words, counting strategies, addition, symbols, and made models to help them figure out the question.

Students have now been working for 5 days to figure out this same question: How Many eggs are in the tower?

As the days go on students changed their representations and the way they showed their thinking. This student drew each egg and the tower on day 2.

Each day students find more information that gets them closer to the answer. Sometimes they start over and use different strategies to help them figure it out. Some choose to work in groups on one day and then by themselves on another day.

No matter how they choose to work our focus is on HOW the mathematicians are thinking and HOW they are showing their thinking and getting it out of their brain. Each day ends with students sharing how they tried to solve the problem. Although we may not get the answer, we are all using our skills, learning new skills from friends and teachers, and are building our stamina as mathematicians.

By the 4th/5th day students moved into making models to represent the tower. Using their knowledge of what they already know about the tower to construct an ACCURATE model.

After each math session students shared their thinking and their findings. Each day we started the task with more information and more ideas then the day before.

Today’s GO WORD is “struggle”. KB students have discussed the importance of struggling to sovle a problem, but continuing to try as a way to build connections between the synapses in our brains. Finding the answer to a problem is not always the most important part and this challenging tasks serves as our reminder. We might not find the number answer to this task, but we are growing our brains every single time we try.

This task requires collaboration a lot of times. Sometimes we need the skills of others to help us progress our thinking. Being social during math allows us to see different perspectives and to build communication skills.

On Day 5 students were encouraged to not only make accurate models of the boxes in the tower, but to also think about representing the eggs on/in the tower so they can get one step closer to solving the problem.

Forces and Motion

KB has a new area set up in our classes that allows students to inquire about and research Motion. This NGSS standard requires students to recognize pushes and pulls. Additionally, KB students are encouraged to use vocabulary related to motion such as: speed, slow, fast, push, pull, roll, spin, reach, jump, etc.

KB has been hard at work playing with ramps and balls and constructing simple mazes to make the ball change it’s motion.

We identified K. as being an INQUIRER and RESEARCHER. After his ball “blasted off” in the middle of his structure he said aloud, “Now I need to find the problem and fix it. I think I know. I think I just need to move this over a little bit”. After adjusting the structure and giving it another trial, his ball made it all the way to the end and pushed over the block.

After building a complicated structure, this group created a step by step guide in how to use their structure.

This group was given the challenge of getting the ball to change directions at the end of the structure. Many ideas were tested (tape, holding the tube, cutting the tube, putting another block in front etc.). None of these ideas worked, but the group continued to test and explore what could possibly get the ball to change directions on it’s own.


This motion play area will stay set up for quite some time. There will also be provocations coming up to encourage students to see motion in art work using paint.


Ruby’s Wish

Before the holiday we read the book Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges. We have since read the book about 3 more times. Each time noticing something different about the book. This book takes place in China in the past when girls did not learn to read or write. It is a true story about the author’s grandmother who was the first female to attend a certain university in China.

Some KB friends have been intrigued with Ruby and decided they want to do rearch about Ruby. In our other shared research about Dodos and Mammoths we have used books and the internet resource – Pebble Go.

For this inquiry, we are reaching out to the author herself- Shirin Yim Bridges. Below are the questions students came up with to ask the author. Then those who choose will write their informational book about Ruby herself. We reached out to the author using the internet and the social media site- Twitter. We’re hopeful she will respond to our questions!  (Some questions have a name indicating that that person wanted to know that information specifically. If it says all it means that multiple friends asked that question and we’re all wondering it!)

Our number one question is- IS RUBY ALIVE! In the book we see a real photo of Ruby and we know it’s set in the past, but we’re wondering if she is still alive today!


Our “tweet” or message to the author asking her to answer our questions.

Book Week is coming up the week of March 18th. For book week one of the activities is creating a classroom door decor based on your class’ favorite book. We’ve chosen to decorate based on Ruby’s Wish. You will see our door is covered in Red, Ruby’s favorite color. A small group of students collaborated today to begin making Ruby’s face and hair. There were many problem solving skills and communiation skills involved in this mornings’ group work to make her head, her skin color, and her buns! Hopefully tomorrow more friends will join us in creating the Ruby for our door.

Creating the “buns” served to be one of the hardest things about this morning’s creation

M. cutting out Rubys head

Information Books/Non Fiction

As per our last post we are being resarchers, asking questions and finidng informaton about topics from the past.

Once we gain knowledge about our topics we will become writers who write true information. In order to become writers of information we are looking into what features do information books have. How do we know it’s information and not a story? What is the difference?

Today your child will take home their library books and 1 of their books should be an informational/non-fiction book.  When reading this week’s library books you can spark conversation with your child by asking about how they know which one is non fiction and which one is not. The 2 non-fiction featuers we have talked about so far are: table of contents & headings.

We have defined table of contents as: everything that is in the whole book and what page to find it. And Headings are the names for each page that tell you what will be on that page.

As much as we are researching topics we are also being researchers as we learn about a new genre of literature and will use our knowledge of informational books when we write our own.

Research Project

As we explore the past KB students are beginning to use their new questioning skills to become researchers. Below is the process we are going through together to do research and write an informational book, part of the Kindergarten Common Core Literacy standards.

Before beginning their research students chose topics related to the past that they are interested in. Examples include: mammoths, sabertooth cats, various dinosaurs, and even people from the past including Princess Diana and Ada Lovelace.

As a class we chose the topic of Dodos- an extinct species of birds. Together we will go through the research process shown in the image above. Today, we did the first two steps: asking questions about the topic and then finding answers in a book. On Monday we will do those first two steps AGAIN for another topic- Mammoths. Doing this together lets students practice those two skills beore they’re released to do it on their own.

I.P. showed great use of vocabulary by asking the question, “Who are their predators?” After reading the book together students learned that at first the Dodos had NO predators, but then as time went on humans became the predators and became the reason why Dodos no longer exist.

Then, as a a class we will use the answer to our questions to craft a shared informational book about Dodos and Mammoths. As part of comprehension and understanding you can ask your child what new information they learned about Dodos.

Lastly, students will attempt to independently go through these steps using books and additional internet resources such as PebbleGO and YoutubeKids.

Before finishing our informational writing we will dive deeper into the parts of informational books including titles,headings, table of contents, and labelled diagrams so that students can better craft their own information books.

100s Chart Puzzle

Yesterday your child brought home a cut up 100s chart in their blue folder. This puzzle is for your to keep at home and play with your child.

As a class we began to identify what patterns we saw in the 100s chart. We defined pattern as: something that repeats itself or something that happens again and again.

Students pointed out that in the second row there is a 1 in front of every number, in the third row a 2 in front of every number etc. They noticed the same type of pattern for each column. They also noticed in some areas the numbers counted up from 1-9 and in other areas the numbers counted down from 9-1.

Use the image below to talk to your child about what patterns they see.

Additionally, use the patterns to help your child put together the 100s chart puzzle. Once the puzzle is put together you can:

-create a game with your child which requires the use of the chart (additional items you might want for this are dice!)

-Point to numbers and have your child say the number in home language + english

-choose a row or column to focus on for the day and say the names, count that many objects, etc.

-Help your child with directionlity words like up, down, left, right, over, above, a little, a lot in both home language and English by playing this game:

  1. Ask your child to close their eyes
  2. You say a number & your child keeps their eyes closed and tries to point to the number without looking
  3. You help your child navigate closer to the number by using words like “move up a lot” or “move down a little bit” etc. until your child’s finger makes it to the number
  4. Then switch and have your child be the navigator!


Asking Questions Continued

After practicing forming questions orally students have moved into making question books.

Based on their interests and set in the past, KB students chose pictures that interested them and wrote questions they had about the image.

This put them to the test as they had to form questions and use their writing skills at the same time. This task is setting them up for our upcoming research project where they will choose a topic from the past, form 3 questions about the topic, and then do research to find the answers.

Students have various writing skills, but the basic goals are similar: beginning sounds in words, finger spaces, and some words spelled correctly.


Most students are confident in asking “Why” questions, so they are being pushed outside their comfort zone to use different question words.

3 Way Conferences

On Wednesday you will join your child in reflecting on and setting goals for their learning. Here are details about what your child will share with you and how you can be involved in the conversation.  Conferences will be 20 minutes which means that each section of the conferences takes about 5 minutes. We will look over: our growth as a writer, how we can be a better friend/learner, what math skills we have worked on thus far, and a quick parent-teacher [only] debreif for quick questions or reflections.


Here is what you will see in each student involved piece:

  1. How we have grown as writers 

Student have prepared two reflection mats. The first shows your child’s writing at the beginning of the year + their most recent narrative writing. Students will identify ways they have grown as a writer. You can be involved in this part by asking questions/prompting like:

-What can you do now that you couldn’t do as a writer before?

-Tell me about all the pieces of your writing

-What do writers do to make their writing easier for others to read?

-What do you think is your next step as a writer?


2. How to grow as a friend/learner

On this page students have brainstormed ways they are already a good friend and ways they can become even better. As a class students identified good friends as people who: are helpful, share, play with more than one friend, and communicate using eye contact and body language. You can be involved in this part by asking/prompting like:

-What makes you a good friend?

-What is something you like about your friends?

-What is something you don’t do, but you think you should do as a friend?


3. How to grow as a leaner

Students are working on brainstorming what makes a good learner. This could be classroom safety things like: listening with your whole body and listening to others, but it also extends to the PYP Learner Profiles to include things such as: taking risks, communicating, thinking, inquiring, caring, being principled, and being knowledgeable to name a few.

You can be involved in this part by asking/prompting:

-Can you tell me about a time you were  [insert PYP learner profile word here]. For example, ” Can you tell me about a time you were a thinker?”

-What are some of the ways you keep yourself and others safe in class?

-How can you show respect as a learner?

-How do you think you can be a better learner?

4. Mathematical Thinking

Students are prepared to show you their math skills in a variety of ways. They will use manipulatives, their math notebooks, and other math tools to share you one skill. On the report card you may have seen a section based on mathematical practices. You can encourage your child to share their math thinking and get a view into their math practices by asking/prompting:

-Tell me more about how you know that is true

-How can you/have you documented that thinking?

-Can you show me that thinking in a different way?

-How do you know that is true?

5. Parent-Teacher Time

This will be a brief 5 minutes (max) at the end of the conferences given their is time within our scheduled times. Your child will play in the shared area and you can ask a question or two you have about your child’s growth moving forward.

Thinking Conceptually About Math Symbols

This week KB started to explore Symbols. As we approach the time of year where we begin to ask students to use mathematical symbols such as + and – , we first wanted to approach these symbols from a more broad perspective. Some objectives from this week’s inquiry has been to :

– figure out what symbols are

-identify symbols we already know and use in our environment

-learn about the history of mathematical symbols

-think critically about why certain symbols represent certain meanings

-identify the meaning of the + and = symbol and why they are the picture that they are

-use the + and = symbol correctly without numbers, but simply as: + means joining together, = means the same as

Exploring these ideas before writing equations with numbers or just solving them from memory allows students to understand the meaning of the symbols they are using so that when they come to challenging problems later on they have a deeper understanding of what they are doing and why and can apply this understanding to new problems.

We went through a process together to explore, learn, and create using mathematical symbols. On SeeSaw you will see your child has posted one of the creations they thought of using these two symbols. Below are photos of the whole class process. You can click this link to see the video we watched which gave us some understanding as to why mathematicians began using symbols (vpn required):  

Our class was particularly interested in learning about currency symbols from different countries

upside down 🙂

As a whole class we created this mystery problem that also showed our knowledge of what things need to grow. If you know the answer, dont tell your child!

Students went off to write their own combinations. “Baby plus mommy equals love”- I.P.

“Ice cream plus ice cream equals giant ice cream”