Monday, April 9, 2018

Half a Metric Me!

     As a culmination to our measurement unit, the kids spent some time 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 2, 2018

Arctic Animal Research Project

     We have spent the past several weeks learning about the Arctic and the animals that inhabit this part of our world.  The kids recently completed a culminating project, showcasing their learning during this unit.
     Our initial lessons were spent learning about the geography and climate of the Arctic, as well as the people and animals who live there.  Using their newly acquired background knowledge, the kids then had an opportunity to choose an Arctic animal they were most interested in researching for a special project.  I was absolutely amazed at how focused and engaged the kids were, as they used iPads, books, and articles to gather information about their chosen animal.  The kids learned how to use "dot jots" to help them record their learning as they gathered facts about the animal's physical characteristics, its' predators, its' prey, and a variety of other interesting information.  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 an "Arctic Explorer" art piece to accompany their research.  The kids recorded their Arctic Reports on SeeSaw and then attached a QR Code to their "Arctic Explorer" for all to enjoy!  Please be on the lookout for an Arctic Explorer post in your child's SeeSaw portfolio!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Maine Maple Sugaring

     Our classroom was brimming with excitement Friday afternoon as we were treated to a fabulous hands-on learning experience, courtesy of Odin and Alexander, 4th graders here at Yarmouth Elementary.  Odin and Alexander spent time teaching us all about maple sugar season.  They began by reading a picture book, teaching the details of maple sugaring - the process of sap collection and making maple syrup.  Once they finished the story, the boys shared the numerous tools they brought along used in maple sugaring and demonstrated how to tap a tree for sap.  Finally, we traveled outside to a maple tree Odin and Alexander had chosen to tap with our class.  With the help of Mr. Gleason, we tapped the tree and were absolutely thrilled when the sap began flowing from the tap immediately!  VERY EXCITING!!
     We plan to check our bucket, with the guidance of our 4th grade friends, early next week.  A very special thank you to Odin and Alexander for taking the time to share their expertise with our class!
     Many of the kids were excited to learn more about Maine Maple Sunday, scheduled for Sunday, March 25th.  Below, please find a link, outlining the many festivities planned across the state to celebrate this New England tradition.

About Maine Maple Sunday

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Fabulous Afternoon with Miss Kat!

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

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reading Workshop

     The kids were busy filling their book boxes with fiction texts this week, as we launched a new unit in reading.  In this unit, titled "Bigger Books Mean Amping Up Reading Power," instruction focuses on three important foundational skills: fluency, literary language, and tracking longer stories.
     This week the focus was on fluency.  Now that children are reading substantially longer books, practicing fluency is especially valuable, as it is key to comprehension.  The kids learned that rereading, especially out loud, is the best way to change the reading voice inside their heads.  "Reading with a clear, smooth voice inside one's head is a key to reading better, stronger, longer, and with more understanding." (Lucy Calkins)
     The kids were reminded to use all the clues the author provides to read with their best reading voice.  The kids practiced scooping words in phrases, noticing punctuation, using dialogue tags, and paying close attention to the characters and matching their voice with the appropriate tone.  I am pretty sure that our minilesson on dialogue tags was the favorite of the week!  Be sure to ask your child about this fun activity.
     Next week, my instruction will shift to providing kids with the tools they need to tackle the figurative language they are beginning to encounter in their books.
     I continue to be absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm the children have for books and reading.  I am especially impressed with the growth in their reading stamina since September - something to be proud of for sure!  Bravo!

Friday, February 16, 2018

STEM Challenge - Take Three!

     Our classroom was brimming with excitement once again this morning, as the kids tackled their third STEM challenge of the school year.  As with the first two activities, the children worked with a partner to design, build, test and evaluate their solution to a challenge, as they became "Engineer Scientists".
     We began the lesson by reading the book, The Biggest Snowman Ever, by Steven Kroll.  This is the story of two friends, Desmond and Clayton, who work together to build the tallest snowman in the town Mouseville.
    This was a wonderful lead into "the challenge" the children would be charged with solving.   Working together with a given set of materials, the kids designed and built the tallest snowman possible.  They were given the following materials and 35 minutes to construct their snowman.
                   Materials:  4 pieces of thick paper,  5 pipe cleaners,  4 drinking straws,
                                     4 large smoothie straws, 2 feet of masking tape, and scissors                            
     We concluded this lesson by discussing why some snowmen were able to stand longer and stronger than others.  We "pushed our thinking" by looking carefully at the structure of the snowmen and discussed what was unique about the designs.  We concluded that a strong, wide base was a key to success!
    Each child posted their drawn design and model to their SeeSaw portfolio.  Be sure to ask your child about the snowman they created as they became a second grade engineer.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter Reading Celebration at HMS

Second graders were treated to a morning immersed in literacy, as we participated in a Winter Reading Celebration with 6th grade students at HMS.  The children participated in a variety of activities, including buddy reading with a "big kid," listening to a read aloud in the school library, and creating a snowman bookmark.  Please enjoy the photos below of our time together at HMS.

Monday, February 5, 2018

One Fabulous Friday!

     Thanks so much for joining us for our Learning Celebration on Friday.  The children thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to share their work with you in the classroom.  I have included pictures below from both our celebration and the earned "board game time" that the kids enjoyed in the afternoon.
     I look forward to seeing you over the next couple of weeks for parent conferences.

Games Galore...