Friday, February 9, 2018


     Have you heard your child singing this song?  Thursday was the 100th day of school.  We had fun with our hat fashion show.  The kids did some great writing about their hats.  I'm sending all their drafts home.  Using the standards from the Common Core (CCSS), I focus on what my students can "own" in their writing.  Your child should be able to tell you the parts of an informational paragraph (the second grade CCSS).  An interesting lead, (3) facts, a stretch of a fact, and a concluding statement.  You'll notice the kids hand write their first draft.  A teacher types it just the way the student wrote it (as much as we can).  Then the student gets it back for proofreading and revisions.  Depending on how soon your child gets their first draft in, they will have had 2-4 times to rework their paragraphs.  You can get an idea of what your child is doing automatically (starting capitals, ending punctuation, and spelling) and the kinds of mistakes they can catch by looking at the different drafts they have.  For the final draft I correct all the spelling, starting capitals, and ending punctuation but the writing is all theirs.
     In math we did a mid-year check-in that was done over three days.  The class as a whole scored well.  I will share the results at the March conferences*.  We also continue to work on problem solving and showing models or representations of our work, with more of a emphasis on subtraction.  The exchange we did this week is in the folders.  If your child used an open number line ask them to explain it to you.
     This Wednesday is Valentines.  Your child doesn't have to pass out Valentines, but if they do there should be a Valentine for each student in the class.  There is a class list in the folder.
     Also in the folder is a two-sided game board for practicing math facts.  (If your child is already fluent with addition math facts I didn't put it in their folder--don't hold me to 100% accuracy with who is and who is not fluent, I'm not done assessing that.)  I think the games are well explained in the directions, but you should know I did not introduce it in class.
     Our Colonial Day will be on Friday, June 1st.  If you are not familiar with Colonial Day, you should know that you will want to be there for at least part of the day.  We do three "reenactments" that all take place in the morning.  I'll need about 14 volunteers to help with the morning and about 7 in the afternoon.  Much, much more on that later, but I wanted to get the date out.
     *We have March 13 and 15 as noon dismissals so that we can do conferences.  I will get a sign-up genius set up for conferences either this weekend or next.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy MLK Day!

     If you read Ms. Sjostom's "Rays of Sunshine," you saw that our class was featured regarding our study of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Inspired by my time at Teachers College last summer, I used parts of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech for reading warm-ups.  We have been using MLK to kick-off our biography unit for a while, but this was the first time I used this speech.  It was great to see the kids' understanding of the history and the person grow.  I am regularly struck by the gift of diversity that we have at Ray.  An illustrator from one of the books we read talked about how he sees stained glass as a metaphor for MLK, because of the diversity of color.  That was the inspiration for our "hands" picture.

     Over the next several weeks we will continue reading biographies, doing book clubs on biographies, and then a final project where your child will pick a person to study.  Their studies will include reading two different books about their person.  They will write an informational paragraph and then make a poster of their person.  In the classroom, the kids have been eating up the biographies that are on hand.

     A week ago I had the opportunity to observe our math coach, Ingrid Stallsmith, teach a lesson about math representation in Mrs. Vashel's 2nd grade class.  I took a few days this past week to specifically focus on that.  I was struck (again) by how complicated it is.  That actually motivated me to revise the second grade problem solving checklist and make it more second grade friendly.  I'm eager to try it out this week.  I will post the revised checklist on this blog--under math and also on the Seesaw account.  In addition, (pun intended) I have a link to a PDF put out by North Carolina schools about the Math Common Core Standards.  It gives a lot of examples of what the standards mean.  Keep in mind these examples are for North Carolina, but it is similar enough to what we do that I thought it might be helpful to you.

    We have begun discussions about all things Colonial.  I will let you know when our dates are confirmed.
P.S.  I had a parent ask if I really send these blogs out in the middle of the night.  I absolutely do not--thanks for asking!


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Let it Snow!

Lots of information for you with all the holiday festivities coming up.  First, on Tuesday we have our holiday concert for 2nd and 3rd graders.  They will perform at 9 am for the school and at 10:30 for parents.  Students often dress up for this and Ms. Luce and Ms. Sherlock ask that at a minimum students where a plain shirt (as opposed to one with pictures on it).  After the 10:30 concert you are invited back to the classroom for lunch.  Jacki Smith sent out a sign-up for that.  Your kids can still order from the cafeteria, or eat what we have for the luncheon.  I think we will be back to the classroom and eating by 11:15 ish, and when the kids seem done (ie start getting wild antsy) they will go to recess.  I imagine that will be around 11:45.
On Friday we will see the 4th and 5th grade concert at 9 am and those students will perform again at 10:30 for parents.  At both of the concerts (and through-out December) we do an all-school collection for the Haven.  Usually it's socks and underwear, however, this year the Haven is more in need of food.  They have suggested soup.  There will be boxes for donations in the lobby and at the concerts.
In our classroom we had a discussion about "First World Problems" and the kinds of things that are problems in other countries.  We read a book called Beatrice's Goat.  It is about a girl who would like to go to school but her family can't afford it...until they get a goat from Heifer International.  The students made wreathes and wrote their wishes for the world in the middle.  They are up in the hallway from the art room to the gym.  We also decided to collect money as a class, for Heifer International.  I know everyone gets asked to give in a lot of different directions at this time of year, I don't want to just add to that.  I would like the money to come from your kids.  If everyone gave between $5 and $10 we could afford a goat.  Thanks for considering.
This past week the students did a crayon resist picture of the moon.  I then introduced "I Poems."  I hope to have them up by Tuesday.  They are beautiful!
In math we continue to work on problem solving, representations, and showing our math thinking.  This week we will start a unit on money.  Second graders are expected to be able to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  They are expected to be able to do addition and subtraction with money amounts either in cents OR dollars.  They are not expected to understand a decimal point, although we do lay the groundwork for that.
Wishing you peace and joy throughout the holiday season,


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Happy November!

     I hope you were able to look at the pictures I posted on Seesaw.  We had a great start to the outdoor desk project on Friday.  This coming Wednesday for our Building Workshop we will be sanding.  I'd like to have a couple more power sanders, if you have one we can borrow let me know.  So far there are two parents signed up, it would be nice to have one or two more.  No worries if it doesn't work out.  We're flex. 
     A reminder that Jr. Rangers was rescheduled for Monday, Nov 6th  Please have your kids be dressed to be outside for most of the day.
     The weeks feel like they are just flying by.  Conferences are not this week, but the week after.  If you haven't signed up, here's the link:
Monday, Nov 6th:  Jr. Ranger Program (I have all the permission forms)
Wednesday, Nov 8th:  Building Workshop (12:30-1:45) Sanding
Friday, Nov 10th:  No school--Veterans Day Observed
Tuesday, Nov 14th & Thursday, Nov 16th:  Noon Release

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (14, 15, 16):  Conferences