Monday, October 23, 2017

Exploring with Google Earth

      This afternoon Mrs. Wolinsky introduced the kids to the website, Google Earth.  This integrated technology lesson connected nicely to our study of monarchs.  Mrs.Wolinsky began by sharing a wonderful YouTube video on the migration of monarchs that connected directly to the work we have been doing in the classroom with Journey North.  The video shared the locations of multiple monarch sightings observed on the Journey North migration map throughout the fall.  These locations included New York, North Carolina, Texas, and finally Mexico (although to date they have not yet arrived at the winter sanctuary).  Mrs. Wolinsky then showed the kids how to use Google Earth to "travel" to these locations and a variety of others.  It was exciting to see the level of engagement as the kids "traveled" to Mexico, Paris, Mt. Everest, the White House, and the Great Wall of China, just to name a few!
     The kids were absolutely fascinated with this website!  Be sure to ask your child about this highly engaging technology lesson.  Thank you Mrs. Wolinsky!








Friday, October 20, 2017

One Fantastic Friday!

Please enjoy these pics from our fantastic day together.  We had a wonderful time playing board games with friends, and snuggling with a favorite stuffie while becoming "lost in a book" during Reader's Workshop this morning.  We spent the afternoon learning about fire safety from our guest firefighter, Mr. Gautreau (Mrs. Gautreau's husband), and then ended the day by saying goodbye to our painted lady butterflies, as they fluttered away into the YES garden.

I feel so fortunate to have the privilege to spend my days teaching and learning with this amazing group of second graders! 

Have a fabulous weekend!



























Thursday, October 19, 2017

Math Monsters in Room 208!

     As an extension to several Everyday Math lessons that have focused on skip counting, doubles facts and touched on the relationship between multiplication and (repeated) addition, the kids have been hard at work creating Math Monsters.  To create their monsters, the kids flipped a card and recorded groups of four based on the number they flipped.  For example, if a child flipped the number 3, they recorded the fact, 3x4, and then recorded 3 groups of four.  They solved the fact by using repeated addition, 4+4+4=12.  Finally, the kids looked on the class Math Monster poster to determine what body part to add to their very own monster.  It was so exciting to see how completely engaged the kids were in this spooky activity!  Be sure to check out these wonderful creations both in the pictures below and displayed in our classroom.







Thursday, October 5, 2017

Reader's Workshop

     The kids are reading up a storm here in the classroom!  Each day, we begin Reader's Workshop with a minilesson that instructs around a skill the children can draw upon when working independently.  I am continuously impressed by the kids ability to immediately apply these newly learned skills to their own work.
     Our first reading unit is divided into three parts: Taking Charge of our Reading; Working Hard to Solve Tricky Words; and Paying Close Attention to Authors.  Today we wrapped up the first "bend" of this unit, "Taking Charge of our Reading".  In this bend, children learned that growing up doesn't just mean getting taller, it also means growing to be stronger readers.  As second grade readers, they get to make lots of decisions about their reading, such as how their reading will sound, how much they will read, and how to make sure their reading makes sense (that reading is thinking).
     Our minilessons have focused on taking charge of our reading by choosing what to read (book shopping) and by deciding how the books we choose want to be read.  The kids learned that when second graders preview a book, they think, "How does this book want to be read?"  Is this a funny book?  A sad, serious book?  The children learned that by studying the cover carefully, reading the back blurb, and by exploring the table of contents, they are able to predict what the characters might want, what might get in the way, and how the problem might be solved.  Learning to preview in encompassing ways now will help lay the groundwork for the larger thinking of synthesizing later in the year.
     Our beginning of the year literacy assessments are complete and I am using this valuable information to create a reading goal with each student.  I have begun meeting with children one-on-one for goals conferences.  During these conferences, I begin by talking with each child about how they are feeling about themselves as a reader.  I next share the things I notice that the child is doing well in their reading - strengths.  We end the conference by working collaboratively to establish their first reading goal of the school year, a skill that will help the child grow stronger in their reading.  I will use these goals to individualize instruction moving forward, as I plan for strategy groups.  I plan to complete these conferences by next Wednesday.  Be sure to ask your child about their own personal reading goal!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Growth Mindset - Flexibility

  We continue to work on building a classroom culture that fosters a growth mindset here in Room 208.  As you may recall from an earlier post, mindset is an idea credited to Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck after many years of researching achievement and success.  By definition, if you have a growth mindset, you believe that your skills, habits, and abilities are growing and changing and can improve with effort.  In contrast, a fixed mindset is defined as having the belief that your abilities are already set, or fixed.
     A few weeks back, I introduced our first trait that supports a growth mindset, optimism.  The kids are living this trait daily both in their work and play.  It warms my heart to hear them chatting with one another about their own moments of optimism when attempting a new math strategy, or trying something new on the playground.  Music to my ears!
     I recently introduced a second trait that supports a growth mindset, flexibility.  Using the book, The Most Magnificant Thing, by Ashley Spires, the children learned that flexibility is seeing and trying many possible actions within a task.  In this story, the main character decides that she is going to make the most magnificent thing. She knows exactly how it will look and work.  Unfortunately, making her magnificent thing isn't so easy, and the girl repeatedly tries and fails.  She eventually manages to get it just right.  After reading this book, I introduced a "second grade friendly" definition of flexibility: when one thing doesn't work, you try a different way
     I continue to be awed by the ways the kids are showing both optimism and flexibility here in our classroom community.






Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Journey North

The kids also have a hard copy of the information below in their school folder.


In a unique partnership, this fall our class is joining students and scientists across North America to track the monarch butterfly's migration to Mexico. As the migration progresses from September to November, students will learn about migration mysteries. They'll discover that a fragile butterfly can travel hundreds of miles to find its winter home deep in central Mexico. Students will witness how monarchs connect people across North America as they migrate across international borders.

Our Class Will Travel With The Monarchs

Our class is tracking the migration online and we invite you to join us. JOURNEY NORTH/SOUTH is an educational website that engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal changes.

Our Class Will Send an Ambassador Monarch to Mexico
Next week, our class will make symbolic monarch butterflies to send to the children in Mexico who live beside the monarch's winter sanctuaries. The symbolic butterflies build bridges of communication between children across North America, and serve as ambassadors that represent our shared interests and common conservation goals.

Join the Journey!
Here’s how you can join our journey and support your child’s learning:
    • Tour Journey North online at www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/index.html
    • Watch for migrating monarchs: Be citizen scientists by observing and reporting your
       sightings of monarch butterflies.  Please feel free to let us know of any monarch sighting you
       have and we will gladly report it on the Journey North website here at school.
    • Learn More: Read booklets or view slideshows about monarch butterflies with your child on the
       Journey North website.



Monday, September 25, 2017

A Visit to our Y.E.S. Garden

    During science, we are learning that an ecosystem is a community of both living and nonliving things that work together.  We discussed a variety of ecosystems that exist in the world, including forest, ocean, desert, and rainforest ecosystems.  I used this discussion as an opportunity to introduce the ecosystem that exists in our own backyard, the Y.E.S. Garden.  The kids discovered that our garden community consists of many living things, such as ants, butterflies, caterpillars, and plants, as well as many nonliving things, such as soil, water, a fence, and rocks.
     Our observations in the garden led to a wonderful discussion about symbiosis.  Symbiosis is the relationship between two different living things.  These AMAZING second grade scientists discovered that symbiosis exists in our Y.E.S. Garden...both the good and the bad!  They observed several small insects feasting on their favorite leaves.   The kids determined that this was an example of a bad symbiotic relationship (parasitism).  They also were able to observe an example of a positive symbiotic relationship (mutualism), as they watched a bee pollinating a sunflower.        
     I was truly impressed with the kids' focus and enthusiasm in our first garden observation, and am thrilled with the detailed sketches and scientific thinking they included in their Science Notebooks.