Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Fabulous Afternoon with Miss Kat!

The kids had a wonderful Friday afternoon sculpting arctic animals with local artist Kat Gillies.  Be sure to ask your child all about this engaging, hands-on experience!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reading Workshop

     The kids were busy filling their book boxes with fiction texts this week, as we launched a new unit in reading.  In this unit, titled "Bigger Books Mean Amping Up Reading Power," instruction focuses on three important foundational skills: fluency, literary language, and tracking longer stories.
     This week the focus was on fluency.  Now that children are reading substantially longer books, practicing fluency is especially valuable, as it is key to comprehension.  The kids learned that rereading, especially out loud, is the best way to change the reading voice inside their heads.  "Reading with a clear, smooth voice inside one's head is a key to reading better, stronger, longer, and with more understanding." (Lucy Calkins)
     The kids were reminded to use all the clues the author provides to read with their best reading voice.  The kids practiced scooping words in phrases, noticing punctuation, using dialogue tags, and paying close attention to the characters and matching their voice with the appropriate tone.  I am pretty sure that our minilesson on dialogue tags was the favorite of the week!  Be sure to ask your child about this fun activity.
     Next week, my instruction will shift to providing kids with the tools they need to tackle the figurative language they are beginning to encounter in their books.
     I continue to be absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm the children have for books and reading.  I am especially impressed with the growth in their reading stamina since September - something to be proud of for sure!  Bravo!

Friday, February 16, 2018

STEM Challenge - Take Three!

     Our classroom was brimming with excitement once again this morning, as the kids tackled their third STEM challenge of the school year.  As with the first two activities, the children worked with a partner to design, build, test and evaluate their solution to a challenge, as they became "Engineer Scientists".
     We began the lesson by reading the book, The Biggest Snowman Ever, by Steven Kroll.  This is the story of two friends, Desmond and Clayton, who work together to build the tallest snowman in the town Mouseville.
    This was a wonderful lead into "the challenge" the children would be charged with solving.   Working together with a given set of materials, the kids designed and built the tallest snowman possible.  They were given the following materials and 35 minutes to construct their snowman.
                   Materials:  4 pieces of thick paper,  5 pipe cleaners,  4 drinking straws,
                                     4 large smoothie straws, 2 feet of masking tape, and scissors                            
     We concluded this lesson by discussing why some snowmen were able to stand longer and stronger than others.  We "pushed our thinking" by looking carefully at the structure of the snowmen and discussed what was unique about the designs.  We concluded that a strong, wide base was a key to success!
    Each child posted their drawn design and model to their SeeSaw portfolio.  Be sure to ask your child about the snowman they created as they became a second grade engineer.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter Reading Celebration at HMS

Second graders were treated to a morning immersed in literacy, as we participated in a Winter Reading Celebration with 6th grade students at HMS.  The children participated in a variety of activities, including buddy reading with a "big kid," listening to a read aloud in the school library, and creating a snowman bookmark.  Please enjoy the photos below of our time together at HMS.

Monday, February 5, 2018

One Fabulous Friday!

     Thanks so much for joining us for our Learning Celebration on Friday.  The children thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to share their work with you in the classroom.  I have included pictures below from both our celebration and the earned "board game time" that the kids enjoyed in the afternoon.
     I look forward to seeing you over the next couple of weeks for parent conferences.

Games Galore...