Thursday, October 15, 2015

Literacy

     We have been busy reading and writing up a storm in Room #208!  Each day, we begin both Reader's and Writer's Workshops 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 taught skills to their own work.
     During our Reader’s Workshop, the children have begun “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.  In a recent minilesson, we discussed the importance of getting to know the characters in our books.  One way we can get to know our characters is by closely watching the character's feelings.  We learned that characters in our books often show strong feelings, and when this happens we should stop and jot about what we notice.  The kids have worked diligently to not only jot about these feelings, but also provide evidence to support their thinking using the following sentence frame:  "I think _____________ is feeling ___________ because __________________".  For example:  "I think Poppleton is feeling frustrated because Cherry Sue keeps asking him to come over for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and he wants to just stay home.  Poppleton sprayed her with the hose."  I have been thrilled with the kids ability to "push their thinking" by including more than one piece of evidence to support their thinking.
     During Writer's Workshop, we continue to create Personal Narratives, also known as Small Moment Stories.  In today's minilesson, we focused on how to satisfy our readers with a great ending.  I began by sharing four examples of story endings written by second grade students.  Examples included:  1.  All the way back to the car, the pumpkins were bumping in the wagon and I was thinking of what I would carve on mine.  2. We kept going down the hill even when our socks got wet!  I wondered if my brother was having as much fun as I was on this snowy day.  3. I licked the marshmallow goo off my sticky fingers, as I felt the last flames of the campfire warming my cheeks.  4. I opened my eyes and smiled at John. We both giggled, thinking about all the fun we had had at our sleepover.  I challenged the kids to find a pattern among the four endings.  The kids discovered that each ending stated the last thing that happened in the small moment, and then shared what the author was feeling or thinking at that moment.    We coined this, "The secret recipe to a great ending"!  I was THRILLED with how quickly the children followed this secret recipe to create their very own satisfying conclusions! 
     





Friday, October 9, 2015

Our Thursday Morning Meeting

Dear Families,
    Yesterday morning we had special visitors during our Morning Meeting.  Maya’s mom and dad, Mr. and Mrs. Advani joined us to share information about our classmate Maya.   They read the story,  A Bad Case of the Stripes, an engaging book that explores the risks of trying to be like everyone else and learning to respect and accept differences in others.
    The book helped spark a discussion around this very topic.  Mrs. Advani shared that we all have things that make us different and unique, ranging from singing talents to being funny.  She shared that just like all children, Maya has things that make her unique, and that one of the great things about Maya is that she’s herself, not matter what.  Mr. and Mrs. Advani did a wonderful job of sharing ways that we can be a good friend to Maya in our classroom and school community. 
    Thank you to both Mr. and Mrs. Advani for sharing in our Morning Meeting.

                                                                                                                            Sincerely,
                                                                                                                            Mrs. Moll

Friday, October 2, 2015

Journey North

     What an exciting day we had in Room 208!  During our science/social studies lesson this morning, we learned what it means to be an ambassador.  The kids discovered that an ambassador is a goodwill representative or messenger.  The role of an ambassador is to cultivate friendship and build cooperation.  In keeping with our Garden Ecosystem and Butterfly theme, students worked together to design and create a Class Symbolic Butterfly that will travel to Mexico as an ambassador.  We brainstormed the types of things we could include on our butterfly to teach children in Mexico about life in Maine.  The kids ideas included pine trees, lobsters, lighthouses, snow, skiing, the American flag, and also monarchs and milkweed.  Please see our final product below.  Next week, we plan to mail this package off to school children in Mexico who live directly beside the monarch winter sanctuaries.
     We also used the Journey North website today to report a monarch sighting here in Yarmouth.  A family in our class sent pictures of three monarch butterflies enjoying the flower garden in their backyard yesterday morning.  We used this as an opportunity to "report a sighting" that would be added to the nationwide map used to track migration.  Together, we drafted the report and were extremely excited when the sighting "went live" after lunch.  I have included the link to this map here:  http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/monarch_all_fall2015.html.  I am truly enjoying the enthusiasm the kids have for learning!  I am so lucky to be their teacher! 

In other news, we completed our "Goal Setting Conferences" during Reader's Workshop today.  Be sure to ask your child about their first reading goal as a second grader.  I plan to begin working with reading groups next week.  Please check back for more details.

Have a wonderful weekend!



Dear Families,
    
     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
Today, our class made 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.
    • Learn More: Read booklets or view slideshows about monarch butterflies with your child on the
       Journey North website.
Thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email.

Yours respectfully,
Melanie Moll