Thursday, February 9, 2017


Mathematicians:  follow these mathematical practices!

I took a SELFIE…

Showed my work
Explained my answers
Lots of math vocabulary used
Found multiple solutions
I persevered through the problem
Eliminated careless errors

Besides the content standards, there are mathematical practice standards that students are working to master.  Taking a “selfie” will help with that mastery.  


Writing is an essential skill and habit.  It is more than just putting words on paper. Writing is a process of communication that plays an important role in your child’s life—both in and out of the classroom. You, as parents, can make a big difference in helping your child develop writing skills by encouraging writing activities that are simple and fun.  Listed below are activities that you, as parents, can do with your child to help him/her learn to write well and enjoy doing it.

Resource: Put it to Paper: Tips for Parents to Improve a Child’s Writing Skills by Audrey W. Prince, M. Ed.    

·         Thank you notes
·         Journal/diary
·         Blog
·         Letters to Santa, Tooth Fairy, and/or Easter Bunny
·         Pen-pal letters (relative or friend)
·         Postcards
·         Madlibs
·         Grocery list
·         Recipes
·         Menu
·         Invitations
·         Science experiment (write about the process and the results)
·         Place cards for dinner parties
·         Plan parties
·         Babysitting activities
·         To do list
·         Instructions
·         Script for youtube video
·         Movie/book review
·         Magazine article
·         Scavenger hunt with clues
·         Newspaper article
·         Publish a story online (Little Bird Tales)
·         Joke book
·         Cartoon
·         Script for Skits or Puppet Shows
·         Travel Log
·         Poetry
·         Math problem
·         Message on family chalkboard/message board
·         Year in review notebook (ongoing record of family’s life)
·         Story to give as a gift
·         E-mails
·         Book review
·         Prompts (pretend you are the 1st person to create a flying car)
·         Copy song lyrics, a poem, or a short book

·         Open mic night (read poems or stories that have been written)

Homework Routines

It may be the time to get back into effective homework routines.  It is common to slowly slip away from these about mid year.  It is even more important to maintain these routines at this time of year because of the workload.
  • Establish an after school routine
    • Snack & beverage
    • Homework
    • Studying
  • Electronics Rules
    • TV
    • Cell phones
    • Computer/ tablet
    • Limits and parameters
      • After homework is completed
      • Only for educational purposes
  • Homework Station
    • Necessary materials
    • Organized for easy access

(“Study Tips for Tweens” by DM Vollmer, October, 2016)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Master your Math Facts

Master your Math Facts
Here are 9 easy ways to practice those addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division facts.  
When students know their math facts by heart, they have more brainpower to think about the actual mathematical processes and concepts being taught rather than spending time thinking about the fact computation.

Sing Skip Counting Songs

Mr. DeMaio -Youtube channel

Have Fun Teaching - skip counting songs for all digits

* skip counting is especially beneficial when memorizing multiplication facts
Stick Math Fact Post-its on the Bathroom Mirror
Use Flashcards
Revamp JENGA!

Rule of 5
Only start with 5 facts to focus on and add additional facts once those are mastered

Don’t focus on the clock
While the goal is to become fluent with math facts quickly, at home just practice without emphasizing the time
Use Online Practice Sites

(mobile app available)

Play Games

Online Game Sites

Practice In the Car
Your kids can’t get away while you’re driving! What better time to quiz them on their math facts? ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Writing Process Tips for Writing Workshop

At Richmond, we approach Reading and Writing Workshop following Columbia University Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project in NYC led by the educationally renowned Lucy Calkins. This model allows teachers to maximize instruction in reading and writing in a way that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

For Reading and Writing Workshop, each period follows the same basic format:

·         Mini Lesson: The teacher introduces a specific concept, also known as the teaching point, explicitly models or demonstrates the concept for the students, and provides students with a chance to practice the skill or strategy on their own or with a partner (5-15 minutes).

·         Independent Practice:  Students work independently while the teacher confers with students individually and/or meets with small groups of students in guided practice, strategy lessons and/or clubs (20-45 minutes).

·         Share: Students reflect on their work and share with their peers about what they have learned about themselves and how they have progressed towards their goals (5-10 minutes). 

With Writing Workshop being implemented school-wide this year, we thought it would be helpful to share a document outlining the writing process, as this is a key component to the Writing Workshop approach.  The Writing Workshop approach views writing as an ongoing process in which students follow a given set of procedures for pre-writing/brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing/proofreading, and publishing their writing.  This approach allows students to be at various stages of the writing process at one time with student choice and collaboration with peers and teachers being inherent in this model. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Technology - Sites and Apps to Avoid the "Summer Slump"

While most summer days are spent enjoying the nice weather and playing with friends, there are always a few days that the weather doesn't cooperate. These are perfect days for students to spend some time using some of the educational apps and sites they've used at school. We provide our students with many different online services for math and reading.

Some of these services include:

- IXL allows students in grades 2-8 to practice math anytime! It is available online and on iOS and Android devices. They already have a login so they can continue the progress they've already made at school.

- Dreambox allows kindergarten and first grade students to practice math. Dreambox is available online and have iOS and Android apps.

- Big Universe allows students to access a large collection of books online. There are also apps available for iOS and Android for reading on the go!

Many other resources can be found on the Richmond School website. There are many fun resources that students are familiar with that will be available to them all summer long!

RtI - Fun Educational Activities for the Summer

With summer right around the corner, here’s an article from Education World that provides 25 fun ideas of how to keep your child’s brain active. The activities span all different subject areas and provide a variety of hands-on experiences. Here are some of our favorites:
  • Make homemade Bubble Solution and experiment with such unique Bubble-Blowing Tools as strings, milk containers, and garbage can lids.
  • Catch a firefly and then go to The Firefly Files online, or read a book, such as Fireflies by Sally M. Walker, to help your child learn more about them. Then invite your child to complete the Education World Firefly Facts worksheet.
  • Start a rock collection. Collecting Rocks, a Web site by the U. S. Geological Survey, offers advice to help the novice collector gather, identify, and store neat rock specimens. The Audubon Society Pocket Guide Familiar Rocks and Minerals North America will help children identify and label the rocks and minerals they find.
  • Hang a white sheet outside at night and shine a light on it. Observe the variety of insects it draws. To identify some of those nighttime visitors, see The Orders and Selected Families of Insects or read the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders.