Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dear Families,
     It's hard to believe that April will soon be upon us!  The kids are eager to get outside and enjoy some of their favorite springtime activities.  During our morning meeting this week, the kids shared things they most enjoy about spring.  Some of their ideas included playing baseball in the mud, drawing with chalk in the driveway, playing in a hammock, climbing trees, going hiking, and going for bike rides.  Our morning meeting provides a wonderful opportunity for us to continue to learn about one another.
     We continue to focus on series books during our Reader's Workshop.  Series books are designed to hook children into characters.  I am truly enjoying watching my second graders discuss characters and recommend books to one another, working to build their own "reading lives".  Hooray!
     The kids learned earlier this year that they could discover more about the characters in their books by watching what the characters were feeling, doing, thinking, and saying (internal characteristics).  These characteristics can be referred to as "lenses".  This is a tool to help children closely examine the text and its characters.  This week, the kids used this tool independently to track their series characters closely.  The kids began by choosing a "lens".  I substituted "lens" with the kid friendly word "goggles" for the students.  As they read a passage, the kids watched the character closely using their chosen lens/goggles.  For example, if a child chose "doing", they would read a passage paying close attention to the things the character was doing.  When the child felt that the character was doing something that was very important, that was an indication for them to stop and jot on their record sheet using the sentence frame, "_________ (character name) is ______________ (brief description of what they were doing).  This makes me think ____________."  Next, the child would continue to watch the same character closely, but choose a different lens/pair of goggles and jot on their record sheet.  The kids should be extremely proud of their work on this challenging task!  I am thrilled with with the level of comprehension the kids are showing in their reading!  I have included some samples of the kids' fabulous work below:
      "I think Annie is delighted to see Teddy and Kathleen.  I know this because she threw her arms     around Teddy."
      "Judy is bringing her kindergarten lunchbox that has princesses on it to school.  This makes me think that Judy does not care what other people think of her."
      "Nancy is looking in the lockers.  This makes me think that she is trying to find the hoodie.  Also I think Nancy is trying to find the hoodie before Deirdre Madison, and Kendra.
       "Ruth dropped the snowballs and walked over to the new kids.  This make me think Ruth is friendly and cares about other people."
       "I think Mallory is feeling heartbroken because she is crying on stage.  She is worried her best friend will not be her best friend anymore."

     We began Unit 10 in math this week.  This unit will focus extensively on counting money and making change.  Please refer to the letter sent home earlier this week for more information regarding this unit.
     We will begin a unit of study on matter next week.  I am really looking forward to engaging the kids in several hands-on experiments!

     We are looking forward to seeing you all next Thursday, April 2nd at 9:00 in our classroom for our end of unit writing celebration.  The kids can't wait to share the reviews of their very favorite books!


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