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First Grade Math Enrichment


First graders are divided into ability groups for math so that their instruction can be targeted to their particular educational needs.  This allows appropriate pacing for students who need to review concepts more before they master them, and provides teachers the opportunity to move more quickly and include enrichment beyond required grade level skills with students who advance more quickly in math. 

Mr. Kendall co-teaches with Ms. Burguieres' on Friday afternoons during the normally scheduled math time.  Weekly activities with Ms. Burguieres' math team will include beginning to develop problem-solving strategies through the use of multi-step word problems from the Techniques of Problem Solving (TOPS) series that are targeted for 2nd graders.  (Students who completed some of the 2nd grade problems in pull-out groups as kindergartners have begun at the point they left off last year).  Each deck in the TOPS series has 200 problems.  If students complete all 200 problems in the second grade deck they move on to Deck A, which is designed for high-ability second graders and third graders.  While some of these problems are more easily solved through multiplication or division students are taught strategies for breaking down larger numbers to work with them through repeated addition or subtraction.  Any students working in Deck A are doing very well.

The emphasis throughout the TOPS program is on accuracy rather than speed, and each child should work at a pace that helps them to be accurate  His or her accuracy may be far to superior to other students working at a fast pace.  We continue to emphasize the importance of reading the question carefully and breaking down the multi-step word problems to one step at a time.

During first grade "tech time" students are introduced to on-line computer games that have varying degrees of difficulty.  The link below provides a list of links to the games and descriptions of the games.



Students will learn the game "Knock Out" (if they did not learn it in kindergarten) which improves fluency in addition and subtraction skills .  The students roll three dice, add the total of all 3 dice (or add 2 and subtract one), and then place marbles on the board on any numbers that add up to that total.  Each numbered space from 1 to 18 has two marble holes and when a player controls both holes his or her marble cannot be "knocked out" by an opponent.  If the player has only one marble on that number his or her marble can be knocked out by an opponent who chooses to take that number. available from for those of you looking for a good family game - get the "two-sided" game that includes "Knock Out" and "Muggins", a Mensa Award-winning game that uses all four operations -   Later this year students will learn "Fudge," which is the transitional game from "Knock Out" to "Muggins," that uses similar strategy to Muggins, but only uses addition and subtraction.

In the spring the students will do somw work in the "Problem Solver" series from Creative Publications.  The Problem Solver series emphasizes instruction of particular problem-solving strategies so that students learn to be more systematic in their thinking and don't rely too heavily on a "Guess and Check" method.  Suggested problem-solving methods include "Act Out or Use Objects," "Make a Picture or Diagram," "Use or make a Table," "Make an Organized List," "Work Backwards," "Use Logical Reasoning," and "Make it Simpler."  Depending on how these lessons go we may also introduce some matrix logic problems.