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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Junior Rangers and Halloween

Hello All,
         Some exciting events at Ray.  We all looked great in our tie-dye t-shirts at the Kids and Community Assembly yesterday.  Many of the community members on trading cards this year were able to attend.  We played volleyball (with beach balls), sang, and danced.  A fun time was had by all.  Special shout out to Beth Phillips-Whitehair and Clare Brauch who work so hard to make this event possible.
      Some kids took home ten-grid cards for their math homework.  The ten-frame is one of the crucial visuals I want second graders to have ingrained in their brains.  They know a couple of "Friendly Tens" games to play with them.  The cards can also be used just to "quiz' a certain fact strategy.  For example, put a 9 out and then just go through the deck to practice the +9 strategy.  Five is also a good number to add on to.  Anchoring on five is an important skill in being flexible with numbers.
         Monday we are going to Woodstock for the Jr. Ranger program.  It is essentially about being stewards of the forests around us.  I'm looking forward to spending time outside with professionals.  However, it does look like it will rain.  Please have your kids ready for the weather.
         Tuesday is Halloween, please see the previous post with details about costumes, the parade, and the special snack back in the classroom. 
         As you probably know by now, I'm hoping to start the building of our outdoor table/desk/benches this Friday.  Check out the Sign-up Genius to volunteer to help.
         Hope to have a Sign-up Genius for conferences by the end of this weekend as well.
Monday, Oct 30th:  Jr. Ranger Program (I have all the permission forms)
Tuesday, Oct 31st:  Halloween Parade & Snack (Parade starts at 1:30, snack following in the classroom.

Friday, Nov 3rd:  First Building Workshop (10:20-11:45)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dear Families,
         A quick update from Room 207.  Your kids did a great job at the The Money Tree on Wednesday (the show at the Lebanon Opera House).  The story was about a girl whose father loses his job and then the parents have to cancel some of the fun things they had planned for her birthday party.  One of the themes was about wants versus needs.  On Thursday we had this question on the board in the morning.

We had a great discussion about the fact that some of the needs we have cannot be bought with money--friendship and love for example.
         I again sent math work home to give you an idea of what we are doing in the classroom.  Please don't be concerned if it looks like your child has much room for improvement either in understanding what's going on in a problem or in showing his or her work--we're just at the beginning of the year.  Your work on skip counting, fact strategies (within 20) and conversations you have about numbers and problem solving are the most helpful things you can work on with your kids.
         I'm thinking about offering a time for parents to come into the classroom and see what we do for fact fluency practice and general flexibility with numbers.  If you would be interested in this let me know and I'll work on finding a time.
         If you haven't let me know about whether you want me to buy a t-shirt for your child or whether you will send one in (for tie-dying), please do so by Monday during the school day.  That way I can have the correct sizes ready to go for Tuesday.
         For the Halloween Parade, your children are welcome to wear their costumes all day or change into them before the parade.  In second graders we ask that the costume be something with which they can be independent.  We let them know that they can have all the bells and whistles of their costumes when they go trick-or-treating, but for the school parade they might have a toned down version of their costume.  For those of you that might not be familiar with the parade, it starts in the K-1 pod at 1:30.  They make their way to the second grade pod (10 minutes?), then we all head down to the gym where parents tend to gather.  We parade through the gym in a serpentine fashion.  Then we head back through some key parts of the school and catch as many of the upper grade students as possible.  I think we'll be back to the classroom around 2 pm.
Thursday, Oct 26th:  Student Flu Clinic
Monday, Oct 30th:  Jr. Ranger Program (field trip permission in folders)

Tuesday, Oct 31st:  Halloween Parade & Snack (Parade starts at 1:30, snack following in the classroom.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hello Fall!

Dear Families,
         It's finally starting to feel like fall.  If you are in the building check out the list poems I mentioned last newsletter, the kids made a tissue paper fall tree to go with their poems.  This week we also wrote (persuasive) letters to either Home Depot, the PTO, or Ms. Sjostrom to ask for donations of money or materials for our outdoor table/bench project.  We read an informational text first to get ideas about good reasons for outdoor learning.  As we read, we marked places in the text we thought were good reasons for an outdoor classroom with post-its so we could refer back to that evidence in the text when we wrote our letters.  I have a feeling we'll be able to obtain the supplies we need.
         I'm not sure when the materials will be delivered.  We are working on a parent survey about any skills and time you might be able to provide.  A parent from Mrs. Wilson's class will be in touch with you about that.
         We have been learning about marking our thinking and using evidence from the text with stories put together by Jr. Great Books.  Recently we read, Nail Soup which is a version of Stone Soup.  We talked about who we thought was more dishonest, the old woman or the soldier.  We had a great discussion.  This lays the groundwork for Book Clubs.  Later in the week we read another version of the story and then compared the two.
         You should find two kinds of math problems coming home in most of the folders.  One is a little more concrete than the other (the one that is more open is the "Legs in the barn/forest" problem.  Right now we are working on figuring out what is being asked in the problem and then how we might show our math thinking so someone else could understand how we solved it.  I find that the window for good fit numbers with second graders can be very small.  If the numbers are too easy, they might not have to do the thinking I was hoping for and, conversely, if the numbers are too hard they might feel they are not good at math.  When the numbers are good fit, it is easier for students to talk about what they did to solve a problem. 
         We started our math exchange work in the last few weeks.  During math exchange I work with small groups.  The goal is to have the kids talk with each other about how they solved a particular problem and hopefully they can "exchange" ideas about what they did and thereby learn new ways from each other.  So far we've worked on a couple of problem types and we've focused on ways we might show our work.  Many kids start second grade showing their work by "counting all."  This means they make some sort of representation of all the objects in the problem.  We'll work to find more efficient ways to solve.
         Homework logs are in the folders.  Please send them back on Monday.  It's your option about whether to record what your kids did this past week.  Hopefully with a couple of five-day weeks we'll be in more of a routine.
Have a great weekend!
Upcoming Dates
Wednesday, October 18th:  2nd Graders to Lebanon Opera House to see "The Money Tree"
Thursday, October 19th:  Picture Retake Day
Thursday, October 26th:  Student Flu Clinic (permission forms in the folder)
Monday, October 30th  Jr. Ranger Program (field trip permission form coming soon)

Tuesday, October 31st:  Halloween  (Parade starts at 1:30, snack following in the classroom)