Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hello Families,
Can you believe that the end of October is almost upon us?  It sounds like you are all enjoying a wonderful fall, as I have heard many stories of apple picking, camping, celebrating birthdays, and playing lots of soccer!  I love to see the smiling faces coming down the hall each morning, eager to share their adventures with me!  Here is a look at what has been happening in our classroom.
Our Reader’s Workshop minilessons have centered around reading strategies.  Reading Strategies are skills kids can use independently to help figure out unknown words.  I liken reading strategies to tools a person might have in a toolbelt to use for a job.  We discussed how in second grade they have their own “toolbelts”, full of strategies to use independently when reading.   This week, we specifically discussed that skipping the word and reading to the end of the sentence can often help when they are stuck.  They discovered that by skipping the word and using the context clues, often the tricky word will “tumble out of their mouths”.  I also used this as an opportunity to discuss how to “cross check” when reading.  Cross checking is when a child asks themselves, “Does my guess look right?  Does my guess sound right?  Does my guess make sense?” when figuring out a word.  This is quite a complex skill, as it requires a child to use more than one tool to help them solve the word.  They continue to work on integrating strategies when they are stuck.  Be sure to ask your child about their very own “Reading Toolbelt”. 
     During our Reader’s Workshop, the children have also been “posting” during independent reading.  Posting is a way for children to record what they are thinking as they are reading.  When readers monitor their thinking as they read, comprehension deepens.  The children have been choosing from a variety of ways to post each day.  Their choices include the following:  jotting about a character’s feelings (“I think __________ is feeling ___________ because _______________”), jotting to check their understanding (including Who? and What? in the post, followed by “This makes me think...”), and a prediction post (“I think ___________ because ______________”).  They have been working very hard to “leave tracks of their thinking” as they read independently.  
The kids have been working really hard to improve their reading skills.  I am thrilled with their efforts!  I am having a wonderful time listening to them read to me and watching them apply the strategies independently that they are learning in minilessons!  Bravo!
As an extension to an Everyday Math lesson last week that focused on the relationship between multiplication and (repeated) addition, the kids have been hard at work creating Math Monsters.  To create their monster, the kids flipped a card and recorded groups of four based on the number that they flipped.  For example, if a child flipped the number 3, they recorded the fact, 4x3, 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 the spooky activity!  Be sure to check out these wonderful creations in the pictures below.

**  We will be visiting the book fair on Thursday morning, October 23rd.  Your child will have an opportunity to shop for books during this time.

** We will be celebrating all the wonderful choices we have been making in second grade with a pajama day on Friday, October 24th.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hip!  Hip! Hooray!  We have Painted Lady Butterflies!
     We had the WONDERFUL opportunity to observe two of our Painted Lady Butterflies emerge from their chrysalis' right before our very eyes!  Last Thursday, as we were preparing to begin our day, we noticed the shell of one of the chrysalis' begin to split near the bottom (head end).  We watched as the butterfly reached out with its legs and grasped the outside of the chrysalis. The head appeared, and then the abdomen and wings were pulled free of the chrysalis shell.  We observed as the fresh new butterfly clung to the chrysalis shell with its soft, crumpled wings hanging down.
     Eventually, the butterfly pumped fluid into the veins of the wings, expanding them to their fully extended shape. During this time the butterfly ejected a splat of red liquid.  We learned that this liquid is a waste fluid that the butterfly unloads as it prepares for its new life.
     The children were fascinated as they observed this amazing transformation, as reflected in their fantastic Science Notebook entries that day!
Hello Families,
     Tomorrow, October 7th, our class is heading to Wolfe's Neck State Park for our field trip.  A park ranger will guide us during our visit.  We plan to leave Y.E.S. at 8:45 and return to school by 11:30.
     We recommend that each child bring a large snack and a drink, which they will eat at the park.  They should wear warm clothing, as it is often quite chilly by the water.
     We are looking forward to a great trip!