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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Columbus Day Weekend

 I hope you are enjoying the long weekend.  Thank you all so much for coming to the parent info night/open house.  The time with the parents felt too short, but I guess there’s no perfect way to get everything in during the Fall.  I had meant to talk about math fact strategies a little more.  Check out the math page on the blog to see what we mean when we talk about fact strategies.  This is the kind of “over and over” work that can be done at home.  If you haven’t read the first 6 pages of the math/reading log, please do so.  It’s worth reading a few times—as your child’s understanding of what we are doing in class progresses and he/she develops fluency with the strategies.  I hope to send games home for you to use for fact strategy practice (I might need to set up a volunteer day to have parents make them).  I will begin to assign strategies for practice starting next week.  Please remember that your child should not be timed/drilled on math facts until they know the strategy and have had time to develop automaticity.  (Have I said that enough times?!)
I mentioned at the Parent Information night that our class has a wide range of ability.  This is especially true in reading.  In the past I have been able to do whole group spelling lessons, that is harder this year.  The best way to get better at reading and spelling is to…read good fit books.  This is also “over and over” practice that can be done at home.  Listen to your child read out loud.  Can she read 99% of the words accurately?  Understanding what you read, being able to catch the humor or the inferred information is what makes reading enjoyable.  If your child is putting brain energy into decoding words, he won’t have brain energy for the comprehension.  On the Language Arts page of the blog I posted some of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.  I hope these are helpful for you to see what kinds of comprehension we are working on in class.

A few dates for your calendar:
Tuesday, October 11th   Reading & Math Log Due
Friday, October 14  Student Flu Clinic (permissions went home last week, no nasal spray this year, only the shot)
Friday, October 14, PTO Fall Dance
Enjoy the holiday!

Mrs. Whaley