Sunday, December 18, 2016

Short & Sweet

     The week, your kids, this newsletter…take your pick.  Thank you again everyone for the wonderful class party after the concert Wednesday.  Thanks, too, for all the great gifts.  The kids are about half done with one of the puzzles already.
     The students are all reading a holiday story (Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins, Welcome Comfort, or Olive the Other Reindeer).  They are working on filling out a retell rope and then answering a couple questions about the text (author’s purpose and a place where the author drew them into the story).  We’re working on using complete sentences and using what we know about syllable types to make good decisions about spelling.  They will be meeting in book clubs this week to discuss the stories.
     We’ve been working to learn about money in math.  Counting change at home is good practice.  In second grade we learn to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  An activity the kids enjoy is to be given coins behind their backs, then identify what coins they have (without looking) and add them up.  Can you do it?  Skip counting forward and backward with money is also good practice.  The “Stores” activity I mentioned in the last newsletter will have to wait until the new year.
     The kids are in a variety of places with their fact fluency (as expected).  Some of your kids are doing Xtra Math (essentially on-line flash cards—but they ARE timed).  Some kids are working with ten grid cards or mini Rekl-n-Reks.  The visual part of the math is very important.  Also, very important not to time kids until they have strategies.  Keep encouraging your children to make progress from where they are.  Reading and Math logs are due tomorrow (Dec 19).  I will not be sending them back home over the holidays.  We’ll start back up in January.
     I added another page to the blog.  It’s called “Helpful Youtube Videos?”  More inspiration from the math conference.  I hope you have lots of fun and relaxing family time over the holidays!

Upcoming Dates:
Wednesday, December 21st  Last day of school before the holiday break.

Tuesday, January 3rd  First day back to school after holidays.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

     Or something like that.  I do love this time of year, and I need lots of reminders to enjoy what’s important and not sweat the rest.  The energy level is definitely up in Room 207.  Some of the whales in our classroom window now have Santa hats on and they are swimming through dreidels.  There are still a few black crows flying overhead, left over from Halloween, but the kids didn’t want me to take them down.
     In math this past week we worked on number lines.  An open number line is a valuable math tool for solving problems, showing your math thinking, and checking for accuracy.  It does, however, require that you are fluent with skip counting backwards and forwards by 10s and that you are familiar with the friendly tens fact strategy at the very least.  We are going to set the number lines on the back burner and start working on money.  For the kids who need more experience with the tens and ones, they will get that with dimes and pennies.  This is always a fun unit and just before the holidays we will set up stores in the classroom and students will take turns be shoppers and storekeepers.
     We finished the three stories we do in the Starting Off Strong book.  I sent the books home this past week.  I love the Starting Off Strong stories because they emphasize using evidence from the text to back up your opinions about the stories.  This leads us right into our book clubs.  We will be doing book clubs with holiday books starting this week.
     The kids have been working on narrative writing this past week.  We learned that narrative writing is about one small moment, includes details about actions, thoughts, and feelings, uses words that show the order of events (first, next, then), and has a concluding statement.  You can see if your child remembers the actions that go along with that description of narrative writing.
     For our classroom holiday party I have to make some changes to the original plan.  This year the students are doing separate performances for the school and for parents.  The snack time in between the two concerts is not enough time for a party.  If you would like to come back to the room after the concert (for parents--that starts at 10:30), we can do a potluck lunch and have a special holiday dessert.  I just sent out the Sign-Up Genius for it.  If you were signed up on the one that Ally Johnson sent out you will have to sign-up again—sorry for any confusion.  Here's the link:

Hopefully that link works!
Upcoming dates:
December 5th—Reading/Math log due
Wednesday, Dec 7th Hour of Code (our class will have an hour of code at school, this is the third year Ray has participated).
Wednesday, Dec 14th, Second & Third Grade Chorus Concert 10:30 am with a potluck lunch to follow in the classroom.
Wednesday, December 21st  Last day of school before the holiday break.

Tuesday, January 3rd  First day back to school after holidays.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving…A Little Early

     I had a great time of learning at the Innov8 Conference in St. Louis this week.  My head is still spinning with all the new information.  It was an amazing opportunity to hear from top researchers, practitioners, and speakers on math topics.  I’m eager to implement my new learning as well as share it with you and the rest of the Ray Staff.  Thanks for your support for staff to have opportunities like this one.  It was hard to be away from the classroom.  It sounds like Mr. Hadlock did well with the class and with the Miss Nelson is Missing lessons I left for him.  The milk carton pictures of me are a riot and the letters the kids wrote to me are precious.  The milk carton pictures are up outside our classroom.
     I got home at 3 am Saturday morning.  So this note is just to let you know I did make it back and, although it means another day out of the classroom, I am looking forward to meeting with those of you who have conferences on Monday.  If you have not signed-up yet, I am sure there are still spaces.  There’s a link in the last newsletter for the sign-up.
     I hope your Thanksgiving is a time of connection with those you love and a time of reflection of everything for which we can be thankful.  I’m certainly thankful for the opportunity to be teaching your children as well as the support you all provide.

Monday, November 21st Parent-Teacher Conferences all day
Wednesday-Friday, Nov 23-25 No School, Thanksgiving Break
(No Reading/Math logs for the week of Thanksgiving, I will send them home again on the 28th, to be due December 5th—Yikes! December!
Wednesday, Dec 7th Hour of Code (our class will have an hour of code at school, this is the third year Ray has participated).

Wednesday, Dec 14th, Second & Third Grade Chorus Concert 10:30 am

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy All Hallows' Eve

I hope you are enjoying some good football and the calm before the storm (of Halloween & all the candy).  We had a very fun day on Friday with our Halloween Parade and the special snack time.  Thank you to all who provided for the snack and to Ally Johnson for organizing the sign-up for all the special snacks for the year.

Speaking of sign-ups...most of you have signed up for a conference time.  I'll try to include a link for those who still need to sign-up.  It always comes up so fast (tomorrow is only our 41st day of school), but I do enjoy thinking about where everyone is at and being able to touch base with parents.

We have continued with our Mystery Science lessons.  This past week we planted radish seeds and made observations about their growth.  We saw a picture of a pumpkin that one of the first grade classes opened.  It had sprouted seeds inside it!  That made us wonder about what plants need to grow--we know they need water and minerals, and now we want to know if they need sun.  We're also hoping to get into the forest again this week to see what is different from the last time we were there.

For language arts we have done some work toward book clubs.  We tried to figure out why a poor shoemaker would give a bag of gold back to the rich man that gave it to him.  We looked at how often the author mentioned worry and singing.  The students will learn to give evidence from the text to support their opinions.

In math we had a tricky problem type this week.  It is the classic example of a problem having two numbers and a second grader adds them.  I'll put a picture on the math page of the blog.

I forgot to mention to the students they are supposed to wear orange or black tomorrow (Halloween).  I hope that's not too hard given this late notification.

Enjoy the time with your second grader tomorrow night--they grow up so fast!

Upcoming Dates:
Nov 8 Picture Retake day.  Please return the original pictures and I'll make sure your child get a do over.
Nov 9 Afternoon of conferences
Nov 11 No school, Veterans' Day
Nov 21 Conference Day
Nov 23-25 Thanksgiving Break

Friday, October 21, 2016

     Happy Friday!  It was actually nice to have the kids the whole week this week (after two four-day weeks).  We did a lot of work with doubles and doubles plus or minus one.  I think I have assigned fact strategies to be practiced to everyone.  The visual part of developing fact strategies or working toward fluency with the strategies is the important part.  That means that you should be using visual representations (ten grid cards or the mini rek-n-rek) to practice the strategies.  If this doesn’t feel clear, please let me know and I’ll try to connect with you to make it clearer. 
     I added some information to the Science and Language Arts pages in the blog.  We’ve been talking about seed dispersal in science.  In Language Arts we read two books about doubles and then compared them.  This comparing of two texts is a second grade common core standard.  We also studied ou/ow words this week.  The Sitton spelling curriculum refers to ou as the most deviant vowel team in the English language.  That quote always makes me smile.  It’s why I tackle that vowel team first.  Now that we’ve learned that vowel team, we know four different syllable types:  Open, Closed, Silent E, and Vowel Team.  Ask your child if they can give you examples of each of syllable type (in class I wrote ho, hop, hope, and how/hoe, that might help if they need a clue).
     Next Friday, October 28 we will have our Halloween parade and special snack.  The parade starts at 9:15 in the K/1 pod.  They swing around and pick-up the second graders.  All three grades then parade throughout the school.  Parents are invited to watch the parade—we go through the gym in a serpentine fashion, so that’s a good place to catch us.  Then you are all invited back to the classroom to hang out and have the special snack with us.
     Just to make things more complicated, we are also having our Kids and Community Assembly next Friday.  Our team color for that is yellow.  If your child can bring a yellow t-shirt for the assembly that would be great.  Extra credit if the costume is yellow--just kidding.  On the costume topic…second graders are expected to be independent with putting their costumes on.  If there are complicated parts to your child’s costume, please simplify it for the school parade.  We ask that parents do not come to the classroom to help with costumes—again, working toward independence.
     This weekend I will be setting up a sign-up genius for fall conferences.  I listed the dates below.
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Whaley

Friday, October 28th  Halloween parade, special snack, & Kids & Community Assembly
Tuesday, November 8th  Picture Re-take day.  Let me know if you want retakes.  I have to sign-up for a time slot if I need it.
Wednesday, November 9th Parent-Teacher Conferences (2-4ish pm)

Monday, November 21st Parent-Teacher Conferences all day