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)

Friday, September 29, 2017

September went Fast!!!

     It was so great to see so many of you at the Open House/Parent Information Night on Wednesday.  The homework logs are in the folders.  You will keep track of reading and math practice next week and the log is due Tuesday, October 10th.  Normally it will be due on Mondays, but is Tuesday the first time due to the holiday.  In the future I will assign the math practice, this week counting and skip-counting my only suggestion.  It is especially helpful to skip count backwards!  We spend so much time skip-counting forward and then we wonder why kids have a harder time with subtraction.  Second graders are expected to be able to skip count forward and backward by 2s, 5s, 10s, & 100s, and 10s & 100s from any number within 1000.
     In Language Arts we did more work on narrative writing and then tried out a list poem about fall.  We also read a story called, The Rich Man and the Shoemaker.  After our first reading we talked about what surprised us and what words were repeated (worry, happy, singing).  After reading the story again we discussed why the Shoemaker would give back the gold that the Rich Man had given him.  This is the groundwork for comprehension work and book clubs.  Your kids are doing a great job noticing what is going on in a story and thinking about the characters' motivations.  It was a fun discussion! 
     I'm adding some pictures to the blog in science.
A few lot of dates:
Monday, October 2nd:  Me Collages are due (I will post the information I sent home on the blog.)
Wednesday, October 4th:  Walk and Bike to school day
Friday, October 6th:  No school, Teacher In-service Day
Monday, October 9th:  No school, Columbus Day
Tuesday, October 10th:  First Reading/Math Log due date
Friday, October 13th:  PTO Dance, 6 pm
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 will come home closer to the date)

Tuesday, October 31st:  Halloween Parade 1:30 pm Snack in the room to follow, parents are invited (Jacki Smith will be in touch regarding volunteers for the snack.)  (Jacki I'll get you the information this weekend.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

First Five Day Week

Our first whole week completed!  We have a couple things coming home in the folder this week.  There is a permission form for a show at the Lebanon Opera House in October.  (Oops this didn't make it in!)

The second item coming home in the folders is the Judy Moody Me Collage Homework information.  The Me Collage is due Monday, October 2nd.  Feel free to send it in earlier if it is finished.

We have had some amazing work and reading times this week in school.  The third day that we practiced "Read to Self," the kids read for 15 minutes!  It might not sound like a lot, but consider that it was 19 students on task for 15 minutes--no one got up, no one was talking with the person next to them.  I was blown away!  I love the sound and feel of productive hum in the classroom and we've already had a good share of it--makes me excited for the year.

Below you will see that I listed the Parent Information Night/Open House.  From 5-5:30 the teachers will meet with the parents and the students will be in the music room.  At 5:30 the students will come to the classrooms to show the parents the classroom.

A few dates for your calendar:
Tuesday, September 19th  Picture Day
Monday, October 2nd Me Collage due
Wednesday, September 27th 5-6 pm.  Parent Information Night/Open House  This will be a night for you and your second grader, please make other arrangements for other children you may have.

Have a great weekend,

Mrs. Whaley

Friday, September 8, 2017

Week Two

Our first four-day week is complete.  Next week we will have our first Monday of school.  This week involved a lot of learning of routines again, and also some assessments.  It's nice to get a feel for where the kids are at before jumping into curriculum work.  The students did narrative and opinion writing.  Next week they will do informational writing.  They also did a spelling inventory and a math pre-assessment.  It takes a long time to get the routines down, but it's worth the time now, so that things will go smoothly (more smoothly?) later.
In math we learned about subitizing numbers.  This is when you just know an amount because you recognize a shape or pattern.  Think about dice, you don't need to count the dots, you just know.  We will specifically use ten-frames to emphasize numbers' relationship to 10.  This will also help the second graders to talk about and "show how they know" when they solve math problems.  Being able to communicate your math thinking is so important.
Next week I will start individual reading assessments.  They are time consuming, but sooo valuable.  This will help me to have a good idea of good fit books as well as good fit next steps in reading.  Good fit books are ones that your child can read with 98-99% accuracy.  Good fit books are the fastest way to get better at reading.  We discussed good fit books by comparing them to shoes.  Different shoes are worn for different occasions and they reflect a person's interests.  However, if I need sneakers to play a particular sport, I can't just grab a pair of my husband's sneakers, the sneakers need to fit me.  The discussion about good fit books goes on all year.  I appreciate your help in finding and reinforcing reading good fit books.

We have a visiting author in two weeks.  This week in the folder there is a form if you are interested in buying a signed copy of one of Katherine Roy's books.  Also, in the folder is picture ordering forms.  Our picture day is Tuesday, September 19th.
We met the new student who is joining our class on Monday.  She is from China and doesn't know much English yet.  The students were SO friendly when they met her!
Have a great weekend,