Thursday, March 17, 2016

A FABULOUS Afternoon with Kat Gillies

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Math Fluency Practice

     The kids have been working hard both here in the classroom and in our computer lab to develop fluency when solving addition and subtraction math facts.  They have all done a fabulous job strengthening their "addition fluency muscles", and continue to work on building subtraction fact power.  I have listed some resources below that will help with this skill at home.

Xtra Math
Big Brains:  for more information go to our school website (; click on the "Students" Tab; then "Educational Resources"; next click on 2nd Grade; then "Math".
Fact Dash: see our school website
Addition Machine:  see our school website
Subtraction Machine:  see our school website
Sum Sense:  see our school website

      You will also find activities that support each unit of study in Everyday Mathematics on the YES website.  This is a wonderful resource!

Happy March!

     It's hard to believe that March is already upon us! We are certainly enjoying the sunshine that is finding it's way into our classroom earlier and earlier each morning! 

     Here is a look at what's been happening in our classroom...

     As you are aware, our classroom had "chicken duty" last week, and will continue through the end of this week.  The kids have had a fantastic time taking care of the Y.E.S. chickens!  Each morning two children head out to the chicken coop with a parent volunteer.  Their job is to refill the chickens' grain, scatter food scraps collected from the cafeteria during lunch, change the water, and collect the eggs.  On Fridays, the kids also change the straw in the chickens' nesting boxes.  The kids wash the eggs in the classroom and deliver them to the cafeteria to be used in our school lunch program.  The kids have learned so much about chickens in the short time they have cared for them.  In collecting food scraps during lunch, the kids learned that chickens enjoy eating cucumbers, bread scraps, lettuce, chopped fruit, and even PB & J!  They also learned that chickens should not eat meat, cheese, citrus fruits, or bananas.

     We learned that the color of the chicken shell depends on the breed of the chicken that laid the egg.  Chickens with white feathers and white ears lay white eggs.  Chickens with brown feathers and red ears lay brown eggs.  Special breeds, such as the Chilean Araucana lay pale blue eggs.  The flavor of the eggs is based on both the chicken's diet and age.

     During Reader's Workshop, the children filled their book boxes with fiction books as we began our next reading journey, which focuses on the characters we meet in our books.  In this reading unit titled, "Characters Face Bigger Challenges and So Do Readers", the children will learn how to be a “character detective”.  The kids have learned that they can get to know the characters in their book well by looking at the title and the blurb on the back of the book and asking themselves, "What kind of problem will this character face?" and "What does this character want?" before they even begin reading.  The kids jotted their thinking on posts and are using their answers to these questions to help guide their observations as they read. 
     The kids have also learned more about the characters in their books by identifying attributes that describe the characters on the outside...things thy can "see".  The kids sketched and jotted the things they noticed as they read the first chapter of their character book.  It is important to delineate between these types of observations and character traits, a topic we will dive more deeply into in the coming weeks.
     I am absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm the children have for books and reading!  Be sure to ask your child about their current favorite character.

     We have shifted our focus during Writer's Workshop from writing nonfiction books to composing book reviews.  The kids are learning how to write about their favorite book in ways to persuade others to love it as much as they do.  We spent much of last week learning about the components of a book review - an introduction, summary, information about the main character, their favorite part(s), and a conclusion.  The children are doing an amazing job of drawing the reader into their piece with a captivating introduction.  Over the next couple of weeks we will focus specifically on gathering as much text evidence as possible to support their opinion about their book.  We look forward to inviting you to our classroom and sharing our work with you in the coming weeks.  Stayed tuned for more information about our "end of unit" book fair!

     Our focus during theme time has been on the Inuit Native American tribe and animals in the Arctic.  The children learned that the Inuits live in an area of the world known as the Arctic.  The Arctic is an extremely frigid area near the North Pole that sees very little sunlight in the winter, and very little darkness in the summer.  We also discussed the differences between the Inuits of "long ago" and the Inuits of today.  Although Inuits of "long ago" used igloos as shelter, this is not a practice that continues today.  Inuit people live in houses today, much the same way we do.  The kids are learning that both the Inuits and the animals that live in this habitat require many adaptations for survival.