Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Writer's Workshop

     We are hard at work during our Writer's Workshop in Room 208.  Our first writing unit focuses on improving narrative craft (small moment stories) by studying the work of master writers.  We have looked closely at the books, Owl Moon and a class favorite, The Night of the Veggie Monster.  Each of these books is a wonderful example of how writers can use details to stretch an important moment across pages.  After reading these books, our conversation led us to ponder the question, "How did these authors come up with their ideas?".  We learned that many authors get their ideas from everywhere - from things they hear and things they see, from books and songs and newspapers and paintings and conversations–and even from dreams.  The children also learned that many authors carry notepads to jot story ideas as they present themselves.  We decided that we could do the same thing with our Tiny Topic Notepads that came home today.  I was absolutely thrilled to see how quickly the kids began jotting ideas for stories in their notepads.  I am excited to see the kids stretch these ideas into small moment stories! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Journey North

The kids also brought a hard copy of the information below home today in their school folder.

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
Later this week, our class will make 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.  Please feel free to let us know of any monarch sighting you
       have and we will gladly report it on the Journey North website here at school.
    • Learn More: Read booklets or view slideshows about monarch butterflies with your child on the
       Journey North website.

Diving into Spelling in Room 208!

     I introduced our Spelling Menu and Spelling Buckets today as a way for the kids to practice their second grade high frequency spelling words.  Each item on the menu provides children with a hands-on opportunity to practice their words.  The manipulatives needed for each menu item are located in our Spelling Buckets.  The menu items included the following:  1.  Paint in a bag - I poured paint into a large plastic bag and secured the top with (LOTS) of tape.  The kids used a Q-Tip to "write" their words on the outside of the bag.  2.  Letter Stamps - the kids used ink pads and letter stamps to spell their words on paper.  3.  Grid Paper - the kids used special grid paper to write their words in the boxes, and then outline them with a marker.  4.  Rainbow Roll and Write - the children rolled dice to determine what color to write their word on the spelling page.  5.  Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check - the kids studied their word carefully, whispered it to themselves, covered the word, spelled it out on the page, then checked their work.  They continued this routine with each of their words.  6. Make, Say, Check, Mix - children used letter cards to spell their word, then pointed to each letter (and whispered the letter name to themselves), then they checked their spelling to assure the word was correct, and finally mixed the letter cards and repeated building the word two more times. 
     The kids were extremely excited about using these materials!  Definitely a great afternoon!  Be sure to ask your child about their favorite Spelling Menu activity.

Paint in a bag                                            Grid Paper

                                                                   Letter Stamps

        Rainbow Roll and Write                                         Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check     


Friday, September 9, 2016

Our Hopes and Dreams for Second Grade

     This afternoon we completed our "Hopes and Dreams for Second Grade" project.  Yesterday we began a discussion around the question, "Why do we come to school?".  The kids came up with a variety of ideas, including: "to learn how to make new friends", "to learn our math facts", "to learn how to build our writing muscles", "to read lots of books", and "to learn how to be a scientist", among many others.  This conversation evolved into a discussion about our goals, Our Hopes and Dreams, as second graders.  The children recorded their Hopes and Dreams on a speech bubble, using the sentence frame, "I hope to...".  Today, the kids created a paper face using paint, yarn, and markers to display with their speech bubble.  Be sure to ask your child about their own personal hopes and dreams for second grade. 
         I thank each of you for sharing your child with me this year.  I am honored to be their second grade teacher.  My hope for our year together is that your child will continue to grow their passion for learning in an environment where they feel both safe and valued.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Welcome Back!

     I hope you are all enjoying our last day of summer vacation.  I am REALLY looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning! 
     As many of you are likely already aware, school begins at 8:40 and ends at 3:30 this year.  Children may be dropped off at school after 8:15 and should head out to the playground upon arrival.  If you plan to pick your child up after school, please come inside to the office and sign them out at dismissal.  It would also be extremely helpful if you could send a note along with your child in the morning if your after school plans change from the typical daily routine.  Thank you!
     I will be out on the playground tomorrow morning.  Once the bell rings, the kids should come find me and we will line up and walk into the building together.  
     I look forward to seeing you all soon!