Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Fair Celebration

A special thank you to families for making our "Book Fair" such an authentic experience for the children yesterday.  They had a fabulous time "selling" their favorite books to you!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Book Character Project

     The kids have been hard at work on a culminating project to our reading unit, "Series Book Clubs." They began this unit working within book clubs, becoming detectives, as they tracked the main character throughout a series, closely watching what the character was feeling, doing, thinking, and saying.  When the child felt that the character was doing, feeling, thinking, or saying something that was very important, that was an indication for them to stop and jot on a Post It.  On the post, the kids used an adjective to describe the behavior and then supported their thinking with evidence.  For example, "Nancy Drew is thoughtful because she offered to help her friend clean up after lunch."  The kids used these posts as "talking points" when they met with the members of their book club.

     Students collected these "stop and jots," all focused on the main character, throughout the series.  Once they completed a book in the series, the kids removed the posts and added them to a poster.  This allowed the kids to easily see patterns in their character's behavior.  The kids learned that patterns in a characters behavior are called Character Traits.  Character Traits are words used to describe how characters act during certain situations or what kind of people they are.

     Finally, the children entered the trait words they had collected on their poster into a Wordle.  If a student had 3 "curious" posts, then they typed the word "curious" 3 times into the Wordle document.  The size of the word in the Wordle changed based on how frequently a word was repeated.  In looking at the Wordle above, the personality trait that most describes the character Daisy is persistent, based on this student's data.

      Finally, the kids created an art piece to accompany all their fantastic character detective work.  The kids should be extremely proud of their work on this challenging task!  I am thrilled with the level of comprehension the kids are showing in their reading!  Bravo!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Half a Metric Me!

     As a culmination to our measurement unit, the kids spent some time before vacation creating their very own "Mini-Me".  They began this project by measuring a variety of body parts with a partner, recording their data, then working to find the half measurement of each actual measurement.  As a class, we discussed strategies they could use to calculate half measurements.  The kids decided they could use the doubles fact strategy.  For example, if the measurement was 6 centimeters, they could ask themselves, "What is the doubles fact for 6?". This would lead them to 3, which is the half measurement.  Another strategy the kids decided upon was to fold their tape measure in half once they determined the actual measurement.
     In keeping with Everyday Math instruction, the kids were given the option to round their measurements to the nearest centimeter.  This method was also applied when calculating the half measurements.  For example, if the actual measurement was 35 cm, the half measurement would be 17 1/2 cm.  The kids were given the option to use either 17 or 18 as the measurement.

      I was thrilled with how completely engaged the kids were in this project.  
The Mini Me Second Graders look fabulous!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Exploring with Google Expeditions

The kids had a FANTASTIC time this morning exploring the world with Google Expeditions.  In this morning's voyage, we "traveled" to the Arctic.  Be sure to ask your child about this amazing experience.

I have included a few pictures and some information from our technology teacher, Cathy Wolinsky, below.

Students have had the experience of using Virtual Reality (VR) viewers to visit places around the world using Google Expeditions. Here are links to more information about this experience:

Beach Day!

Please enjoy a few pictures from our highly popular beach day...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Reading and Writing Workshop

     We recently launched new units of study during both Reader's and Writer's Workshop.  In Reader's Workshop, the kids are currently engaged in "Series Book Clubs," learning to form opinions about the books they read, and thinking deeply about characters within and across a series.  They are learning to craft persuasive letters about favorite books and characters during Writer's Workshop.
     The kids began our new reading unit by learning how to collect information about the main character in their series books.  We focused significantly on the question, "What kinds of trouble does the main character encounter and how do they respond to that trouble?".  The kids then pushed themselves to "have a thought" about what this information told them about the character.
     We first practiced this skill together using the book, Days with Frog and Toad.  In the first chapter of the book, Frog arrives at Toad's house, only to find that the house is a disaster and Toad is in his nice, warm bed.  Frog suggests that Toad get up and clean his house.  Toad responds by saying, "I'll do it tomorrow," and promptly pulls the covers back over his head.  The kids shared that the problem is that Toad's house is a mess.  He responded to the problem by saying he'd clean it up later and then went back to sleep.  The kids then pushed themselves to "have a thought" about Toad, concluding that Toad seems a bit lazy, and even a bit irresponsible! 
     The kids have worked to apply this new skill to their own series books and have begun "book club discussions," talking to peers about the opinions they are forming about characters.  I have been absolutely amazed with the level of comprehension from these second graders!!  The kids are discovering that when they slow down their reading (read closely), they discover lots of new information about their character that they did not notice initially.  
     Our current writing unit aligns quite nicely with the reading unit.  The children are working on drafting letters to their peers about the characters they have met in their books.  They are learning to formulate opinions and use details and examples from the text to support their claims.  They have also learned how to write about their favorite parts, providing reasons explaining why it is their favorite.  Once the kids complete a letter, they tuck it inside an envelope, and place the envelope inside the book where the "character lives."  The book is then placed back into our classroom library, ready for classmates to enjoy when they book shop during Reader's Workshop.  I have been thrilled to see the level of engagement in this activity!  It absolutely warms my heart to see the kids quickly trying to take a peek in our classroom library at newly added letters throughout our day.

                                                     Our Reading Anchor Chart - Series Books

Sharing our opinions and thoughts about the characters in our books and providing evidence to support our thinking. 

Letters in our classroom library just waiting to be read!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Arctic Animal Research

We have put the finishing touches on our Arctic animal research project!  Last week, the kids used their "dot jot" research to compose a report that taught their audience about an Arctic animal.  I was absolutely amazed at how easily the kids used their notes (dot jots) to compose complete sentences in their reports!  This is quite a sophisticated skill for a second grader.  Bravo!

After the writing was complete, the kids created two different art pieces to accompany their research, an Arctic explorer and a clay sculpture of their animal (compliments of Miss Kat). 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Fabulous Morning with Miss Kat!

The kids had a wonderful morning sculpting arctic animals with local artist Kat Gillies.  Be sure to ask your child all about this engaging, hands-on experience!