Thursday, November 19, 2015

Math Games Galore!

     The kids had an opportunity to play several math games this week to help reinforce a variety of skills.  These skills included fact automaticity and addition/subtraction fact strategies we have been working on during daily instruction.
     On Tuesday, we traveled to the Computer Lab where Mrs. Wolinsky introduced the math game Big Brainz.  Big Brainz was an instant hit!  This game helps kids master their core math facts, while differentiating content to meet the needs of each individual student.  Many students asked about the possibility of playing this game at home.  I have included instructions for playing Big Brainz at home below.
     The kids are also enjoying the card game Name That Number.  I have included the directions for this game below as well.  The kids have discovered this game provides excellent opportunities to "push their math thinking"!  Name That Number is also available as an app.

Big Brainz:

Name that Number:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mark your Calendars - Our First Writing Celebration

    We are very excited to announce our first Second Grade Writing Celebration in Room 208!  We would like to invite you to our classroom on Friday, December 4th, 2015 at 1:00 to join us in this celebration.  We have spent the past several weeks learning the craft of narrative writing under the guidance of some of the best children’s book authors.  We look forward to sharing our work with you on the 4th!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Monarch Migration

Great News!  The monarchs have reached their destination!  Please follow the link below to read about their arrival at the winter sanctuary in Mexico.

A Peek at Word Work and Spelling in Room #208

     We have certainly found our groove during spelling and word work time!  Each afternoon I am delighted to hear the kids cheer when I announce it is time for word work/spelling!  The kids are incredibly focused as they work both independently and in small groups to build their spelling and letter/sound knowledge.  Their hard work is certainly paying off, as I have already seen significant gains in their daily writing.  Bravo! 
     Throughout the week, the kids practice both high frequency words (Rebecca Sitton Spelling) and   letter/sound patterns (Words Their Way) based specifically on individual needs.  I meet with small groups to provide instruction on letter/sound patterns.  We call these groups "Word Work Groups".  These groups work on teacher guided activities over the course of a two week period.

     Please take a look at word work/spelling in our classroom...

     As you are aware, the kids are introduced to new spelling words each week.  The kids typically participate in a couple of activities that focus specifically on these high frequency words, and then select an activity from the Spelling Menu.  The Spelling Menu currently includes the following choices:  1. Stamping your Words.   2. "Writing" your words with a Q-Tip onto the surface of a tightly sealed ZipLoc Bag filled with paint.   3.  Writing your words on a Spelling Grid.  4. Practicing your words with a triple tip Crayola Marker.  5. Writing your words with Crayola Gel Markers (that have a very cool effect when used on dark paper).  These menu choices change slightly every few weeks.

                                                         Menu Choice - Paint in a Bag                                         

                                                           Menu Choice - Gel Markers

                                                       Menu Choice - Letter Stamps

                                                Menu Choice -Triple Tip Crayola Markers

Word Work Component (Words Their Way)

1.  The kids are introduced to a letter/sound pattern during small group instruction.  The children participate in a word sort that will help them practice their specific pattern. 

            A completed sort after small group instruction.                 Practicing the letter/sound pattern

                                                          Working on a word sort.

2.  The kids participate in a Build and Blend activity based on the letter/sound pattern they are currently working on.  This instruction is provided in a small group setting.  We work together to combine onsets and rimes.  The "onset" is the initial phonological unit of any word (ex.: c in cat) and the term "rime" refers to the string of letters that follow, usually a vowel and final consonants (ex.: "at" in cat).  

                                              Build and Blend - working in a small group.

                                               Working independently on Build and Blend.

                                                                    Build and Blend

3.  The kids glue their word sort to a sorting page and add it to their portfolio.

I plan to mix the Word Work activities up slightly throughout the year to keep the work fresh and the kids engaged.