Saturday, June 17, 2017

School's (Almost/Still Not!!) Out for Summer

June 17th, 2017
Hello All,

Just finished the first draft on report cards.  Although they are time consuming it is nice to reflect on all the progress.  This class had the biggest range of academic ability I have ever had.  I learned a lot about teaching reading.  I think we all learned a lot about ourselves academically and socially.  I have to fight my natural tendency to say "woulda, coulda, shoulda" and instead focus on all the progress and work to get better at teaching every year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support this year.  From attending open house/information night, to helping with all things colonial, your care for your child's education and well-being and your support for me were felt the whole year through.  Special thanks to Ally for being the room parent and to the Fellows for all the work they put into the Jacob's Ladders!  Thanks to everyone again!!!

This week we have some special events.  Monday we have an author visiting, and if it weren't past 5 on Saturday I'd look up who it is :)  Tuesday will be our class end-of-year party.  It's a beach theme (which means we don't actually go to a beach).  Your child can wear a swimsuit to school.  Boys should also wear shirts, girls can wear shorts with a one-piece or tankini or a cover-up over a bikini.  They should also bring a towel.

Wednesday is Buddy Day.  Our team t-shirt color is white.  Also your child should wear sneakers.  If your child wants lunch from the cafeteria, they need to make a choice of sandwich type by Monday.  They can choose from Tuna, Turkey, or Sunbutter & Jelly.  Salad bar is finished for the year.  I have to hand-in the sandwich choices for Buddy Day by the end of the day Monday.  You can email me, or make sure your child knows.

Thursday we have the 5th grade send off, lunch and recess, then a noon dismissal.  Monday is the last teacher day, however, I will be in NYC all next week at a conference at Teachers College.  Report cards go home with your child on Thursday.  Placement letters for next year will go out sometime this summer.

Hopefully I covered all the important stuff.
Thanks again for everything this year,

Caren

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Colonial Times

Greetings Colonial Parents,

We had an exciting week in Colony 207.  From taxes to a tea party and dark day, there were very few dull moments.  We have just three more days to prepare for our big day on Friday.  We are done with the reading and math logs for this year.  I expect that your kids will still read for at least 15-20 minutes, but I will not be sending home logs.  The class has made good progress with reading.  We've had lots of help to meet the goal of having more students reading at or above grade level.  We will be doing reading assessments before the end of school, so any practice reading out loud will be helpful.
We did an extended math assessment this week and I have been running through flash cards with kids to see how they are doing with fluency for addition and subtraction facts to 20.  Most kids are doing well with addition.
This week/weekend you have a few deadlines to keep track of.  First, socks for a stick horse and spoons to eat with were due Friday.  We didn't get a lot of socks or spoons, I have enough extra spoons, but I'll be short for socks.  If your child hasn't brought in a sock, please check out your unmatched socks for any that you could send in.  A reminder that the socks need to be adult sized and long.  No holes!  Second, the sign-ups for stew items and colonial day volunteers have some deadlines.  Stew supplies need to be here by Wednesday, May 31st.  Baked goods need to be here by Thursday, June 1st.  Hopefully this is a link to the sign-up http://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040d4faea628a13-colonial6
And finally, if you can help out on colonial day, please sign-up by tomorrow, Sunday, May 28.  So far 7 families have at least one parent signed-up for the morning.  I need about 15 volunteers for the morning.  This, I think is a link for that sign-up http://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040d4faea628a13-colonial7
One more sign-up: Erin Umphry is the only parent signed-up to help with the stew Thursday morning, I'm sure she'd love some help if you are available from 8:15-9:30 ish.
 I will be working on the volunteer placements for our colonial day on Monday.  Thanks for all your help.  There are lots of details, and it always comes together to make for a memorable day.  Remember, Colonial Day takes place rain or shine (fingers crossed for shine).
Best,

Caren

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring!

Happy Day before Vacation!!!

The students have been enjoying the warmer weather, and I'm ready for consistently 80 degree days too.  A little update before we are all more concerned about vacation than school.

I will send homework papers tomorrow, they will not be due until Friday, April 28.  The kids do not have to do homework over vacation (although I hope they do read).

We had a special guest speaker today.  Mr. Woolsey, a father of a student in Mrs. Richardson's class, came in and talked to us about his vision impairment.  I wasn't able to be there the whole time, but the kids were very interested in what he was saying, especially because we just finished reading about Laura Bridgman.  He brought in some of the tools he has that help him see and read.

The students are finishing up their opinion paragraphs about Laura Bridgman.  Ask your child about Laura Bridgman.  The writing assignment was to answer the question of whether they agree or disagree with Dr. Howe's decision to have Laura's parents leave right away when they dropped her off in Boston at Perkins School for the Blind.

The work we did this week on reading was with informational texts about geometry.  It was a great opportunity to practice scooping up a lot of words at a time, use strategies for reading larger words, reading the punctuation, practice writing complete sentences and learn more about geometry all the while--I love it when that happens!

Wednesday I introduced arrays by reading the book, One Hundred Hungry Ants.  Arrays are the way we introduce repeated addition (multiplication).  On their own or with a partner they set up a line of one hundred hungry ants.  One little ant in the story kept stopping the others and rearranging the line(s).  We went through 1x100, 2x50, 4x25, 5x20.  One of the things I learned at the math conference I went to in November, was to provide the concrete (their own ants--kidney beans, dominoes, etc.), the pictorial (the illustrations in the book and my dots on the white board), and the abstract (numbers, 1x100) all at the same time.  Previously I was taught to first use concrete materials, then move on to pictures or representations, and finally, students would be ready for abstract (numbers, letters, symbols) with the implication that students shouldn't "need" manipulatives anymore.  Teachers are now encouraged to have manipulatives available all the time.

When the students return after vacation we will be working with arrays (putting objects in rows and columns).   Then we will move onto fractions.

We will also quickly dive into all things colonial.  Look for a permission form for our trip to The Fort at Number 4.  Please make sure to read and sign both sides of the permission form.  The trip to the Fort is scheduled for Thursday, May 11th.  Over vacation I will set up a Sign-up Genius for our craft workshops.  More details to follow.

We're in the home stretch...Colonial Day and the preparations are such an exciting time for second graders.  I enjoy being with your children every day and look forward to this special time of learning.

Enjoy the vacation!
Best,
Caren

Friday, March 31, 2017

Out Like A Lion

Here are some of the goings on in room 207...
Language Arts, we have been learning about opinion or persuasive writing.  There a four main parts of opinion writing that we try to teach to second graders, 1. Interesting Lead, 2. State your opinion, 3. Give reasons, 4. Have a Compelling Conclusion.  A fifth part that we also emphasize is to use linking words to connect reasons to the opinion.  We read a book called, Hey Little Ant.  In it the reader is asked whether they think the boy should squish an ant or not.  As a class we wrote a paragraph saying why we thought he should squish the ant.  Then they wrote a paragraph about why the boy should not squish the ant (in partners or on their own).  Today we read about the pros and cons of cats and dogs as pets.  The students then did a quick write about which one they thought made a better pet.  I am sending those paragraphs home today.  I indicated which parts your student had, but they do NOT have to be corrected and returned.  It is just feedback.  See if your child can tell you all the parts of opinion writing along with the motions.

We have finished our biography posters and paragraphs.  They will go up in the halls after the Japanese Festival next week.  (The Japanese Festival needs all the wall space it can get.)  Every student has presented his or her poster to the class.  They all did a great job remembering the important information about the person they studied.

We just started Geometry in math.  I put a picture and some of the standards on a separate page on the blog.  From geometry we will move into fractions and repeated addition/multiplication.

Upcoming Dates:

Our Colonial Day will be Friday, June 2nd.  If you are not familiar with the second grade colonial day, you might not know that you definitely want to plan to be there for at least part of the day.  If the most time you can come is a long lunch, you will want to do that.  I will need about 14 parent volunteers in the morning and 6 or so in the afternoon.  It's a fun day and will be a special memory for your child.  MUCH more information to come!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Baby it's Cold Outside

March 3rd, 2017
Hello All,

We are about to complete a five-day week, we haven't had a lot of those since the first of the year.  It was nice to get back into our routines.  One big piece of news is that we are tweaking the homework a little bit.  In the folders this week you will find a single page log.  It's the same as the pages from the log book.  The first one is due next Friday, March 10th. 

We still expect kids to read 5 times a week, 15-20 minutes with 10 of the minutes being out loud.  We also continue to expect math practice 3x a week.  We will include one worksheet for review/extra practice.  The other two math practices can be the fact strategy practices from before, games from the sheet included this week, Xtra Math, or Symphony Math.  Many kids are ready to work on subtraction fact strategies.  We learned the Salute game this week in class.  We played it with just two people.  The hope is that all second graders will be fluent with addition and subtraction facts to 20 by the end of second grade.

We have continued our measurement unit in math.  Second graders learn both US Customary measurement and metric measurement.  They are expected to be able to use a number line to solve problems.  They are also expected to be able to gather measurement data and put it on a line plot.  You will see some line plot work from this week.

For Language Arts we have continued our work on informational texts by reading biographies.  Each student has been reading two sources about the person they chose.  We plotted all the birth dates on a timeline.  Next week they will begin writing an informational paragraph about the person they choose.

Looking forward to meeting with you for conferences.
Best,

Caren