Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Telling Time Tuesday!

In an effort to incorporate more math into our daily routines, we've begun new daily math activities.  Tuesdays are for telling time, so I wanted to share with you some of what we've been doing.  We'll be getting to that unit soon enough with our math program, but telling time is a valuable skill for students to have, so we're beginning to introduce it and familiarize ourselves with analog clocks.  Today we worked together to create a clock using number cards and snap cubes.  Each child was responsible for joining five cubes and placing them around the clock.  We made sure to count by fives as we made our way all around the clock.  Then we built an hour hand and a minute hand and practiced telling time.  We're still getting tricked on which hand is which, so we're trying to remember that the word "hour" is shorter than the word "minute," so the hour hand is shorter than the minute hand.  Please try to incorporate some telling time practice at home! :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Oreos and the moon!

Over the last two weeks our theme in literature has been all about what we can see in the sky.  We decided to focus on the moon this week and watched a video explaining the different moon phases.  We learned that the moon itself doesn't actually change, even though it looks like it does!  It just depends on where the moon is in relation to the sun.  We also read a book and then finished off our topic with a hands on model building with Oreos!  It was lots of fun...and tasty, too!  Look below for some pictures of our finished products and of our current bulletin board (though not related to the moon!).

Have a great weekend!  And don't forget to check out the moon each night.  Can you identify what phase it is? :)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Read Across America

Welcome back from vacation!  I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing week off!  The kids certainly seemed to have enjoyed their time off from school and are transitioning well back to the routines of our school day.  As you may know, Dr. Seuss' birthday was on March 2nd, as was the national celebration of Read Across America.  Our school decided to celebrate this special week before we went on vacation, and we had a wonderful week celebrating Dr. Seuss and the many joys of reading! Some highlights were reading with our sixth grade reading buddies, Crazy Hair Day, PJ Day, and lots of guest readers!  We were so fortunate to have had so many parents take time out of their busy schedules to share a book with us.  Thank you to Ms. Hosmer, Mrs. Roy, Mr. Frye, Mrs. Frye, Mrs. Johnson, and Mr. Carri!  We loved having you read to us!  It was truly very special for your child and his/her classmates.  We were also lucky to have had adults from our school stop by as guest readers including Ms. Young, Mr. Alford, Ms. MacDonald, and Mrs. H.  And although Read Across America is now over, we like to celebrate reading every day in our classroom!  If you did not have a chance to come in and read to us, please feel free to reach out if you'd like to stop by.  We welcome guest readers all year round!  :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Classroom Update

Hello Families!  I apologize for the delay in posting another update.  It's been a while, so there's a lot to share!  The students have been very hard at work recently.  Whether working on reading, writing, phonics, math, or anything else (!), they're doing their best to have their "minds on" during learning time and aiming to consistently be responsible learners.

Each day we begin with developing our math skills.  This includes working on mastering addition facts and learning to apply new concepts.  We continue to use our cuisenaire rods to practice our addition facts.  Your child should also be practicing these at home.  As I've said to the students, we learn the strategies and use our rods to help us understand the addition problem, but eventually we want to be less dependent on those tools and work on making the facts more automatic.  Since the goal is math fact mastery, students take frequent timed assessments to track their progress.  But there is more to math than just knowing the facts!  We also spend time each day to develop our understanding of math concepts.  We spent quite a bit of time learning different addition and subtraction strategies we can use to solve problems, and we're currently working on solving repeated addition sentences, which will lead to understanding multiplication down the road.

In phonics, we've completed Unit 3 in Fundations during which we learned about the five exceptions to the closed syllable rule.  When a word or syllable ends in ild, ind, old, olt, and ost, the vowel makes its long sound, even though it's closed in by consonants.  We're currently working on Unit 4 and we're learning various suffixes that are added on to the end of a word, such as -s, -es, -ed, -ing, -er, and -est.  As we continue learning about these suffixes, the students should be able to apply their knowledge consistently to their reading and writing.  We're also continuing to learn how to read and write trick words.  Just as a reminder, the goal of our phonics curriculum is for students to achieve mastery.  So it may seem that we are spending quite a bit of time on particular concepts, but it is because we want the students to become more proficient readers and writers.

During our reading block, we're working as a whole class and in reading groups to develop various comprehension skills.  We've recently been focusing on determining key details, asking questions while we read, and making predictions both before and during reading.  Each week we also have an essential question that all of our stories help us to answer.  We are currently trying to answer the essential question, "How do animals survive?"  By reading stories of various genres and learning new vocabulary words, we should be able to answer the question.  This also lends itself to many different writing activities.  Furthermore, we've been heavily focusing on finding text evidence when answering comprehension questions.  In second grade, we will be spending a lot of time on "proving" our ideas and answers by finding the evidence in the words and pictures of a text.

I know that's a lot of information at one time!  I do hope it provides you with some insight into what your child does when s/he is at school.  I will do my best to update this more frequently, but I also encourage you to speak with your child everyday about what s/he did at school.  Please also remember that your child should be reading every night at home.  This can include reading with you and listening to you read them a story aloud.  Sharing books with your child is a crucial activity that has been proven to impact a student's success!

Practicing the 5 exceptions to closed syllables:

Did you know skip counting is a crucial skill?
Practicing skip counting by 2s to 120:

We wrote Halloween math stories to display on our bulletin board:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Classroom Update

Happy Fall, 2A Families!  I wanted to share some updates about our classroom learning since the last post.  The second graders continue to work hard and are settling in nicely to our classroom and school routines.  We continue to work on building a positive classroom environment with our Morning Meeting.  We are also promoting positive behaviors by rewarding individual students and the class as a whole for jobs well done.  In fact, our class has already earned ten stars and enjoyed their class prize of an ice cream snack to end our week on Friday!  Hopefully your child has filled you in on our Star Jar, but if not, please ask him/her about it!

Along with building our classroom community, we're staying quite busy with learning!  The second graders are currently working on the +9 addition strategy with their rods, which is a review from first grade.  We've also focused on adding 1 to a number, making ten, and teen numbers.  As we continue to review and reinforce our addition strategies from first grade, we're preparing ourselves for learning subtraction strategies to help us master our facts.  Our Envisions math program is also helping us to learn how to problem solve, and decide when we need to add and subtract.

We're becoming word experts with our Fundations program!  The students have been hard at work with Unit 1, which has helped us review trick words, learn how to use finger tapping for reading and spelling, and how to mark up words and syllables to help us read them.  This coming week, we'll be diving right in to Unit 2 and words with bonus letters (double consonants) and glued sounds, such as  -an, -am, -ing, onk, etc.

During our reading block (whole class and reading groups), we read various fantasy stories, making sure to discuss what made each story a fantasy.  We also discussed friendship and how we can depend on our friends, and they can depend on us.  Our grammar focus began with identifying what makes a complete sentence, and then had us practicing identifying statements vs. questions.

As you can see, we've been very busy in Room 142!  Please take a look at the pictures below to see our students hard at work!  This week, we'll keep up the momentum - and try to squeeze everything in to a short, four day week!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Week One in the Books!

Second grade is off to a wonderful and busy start!  The students have been hard at work learning all of the different routines and expectations that will help them to be successful this year.  Hopefully they've all gone home excited to share with you everything about their days at school!  But if not, I thought you might like to know how we spend our time.

Each and every morning we begin with Morning Meeting.  We greet each other, read a message about our day, and then do an activity to get to know each other better and to build a happy classroom environment.  We then transition into our math block where we spend time discussing the calendar, practicing our visual cluster cards for number recognition, and practicing math facts with our cuisenaire rods.  We will be spending time at the beginning of the year reviewing the addition strategies they learned in first grade before we move on to subtraction strategies.  We've also done various partner activities that they've enjoyed quite a bit!

After snack, we dig right in to our literacy block.  We've been reading many books about how we should treat each other, being proud of who we are, embracing differences, and working hard to achieve our dreams.  All of these will help to set the tone for a positive classroom environment.  We've also been busy reading independently and working on writing.  We're so fortunate to have a few other teachers spending time in our classroom to help us out during our ELA block!

Following recess and lunch, we have more ELA time, then Related Arts, and we finish our day with our brand new phonics program, Fundations.  We're every excited to dig deeper into this program, which will help us to become stronger readers and writers!  Please encourage your child to use sound tapping at home if they get stuck reading or writing a word.  We are practicing this daily and soon it will become second nature for them.

I know that's a lot of information!  I hope it gave you some insight into what your child does each day at school.  I look forward to sharing more with you at our Open House on Tuesday, September 13!  Please stay tuned on the blog for future posts with the students hard at work!

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Welcome to our Classroom Blog!

Hello Families!  I'd like to introduce you to our new classroom blog.  I'll be using the blog to keep you updated on what we are working on in class.  Please check often for news, pictures, and more!  I will do my best to update the blog frequently.

For now, please take a look around at the different links at the top of the page and widgets along the right side.  You will notice a link to my email, important dates, and an option for you to subscribe by email.  If you subscribe by email, you will be automatically notified when the blog has been updated with a new post.  

I look forward to keeping you up to date with our classroom happenings! :)