Classroom Notes – April 21, 2014

Our lead story this week in language arts is One Dark Night by Hazel Hutchins. It is a sweet story about a cat and her kittens that takes refuge in a house during a storm with a boy and his grandparents. Our comprehension skills and strategies of the week include using a graphic organizer to help us retell the story in sequence, learning about the prefixes un-, re-, pre-, dis-, and using context clues to help us figure out the meaning of unknown vocabulary words. We have also been enjoying a variety of poetry to celebrate Poetry month. Several kids have brought in a few of their favorite poems to share with the class. Feel free to continue doing so!

In math, we are working on place value into triple digits, adding and subtracting an open number line, and fact fluency. We will also be learning to use the standard algorithm for adding and subtracting. Please continue practicing telling time to five minute intervals, and counting change with your student. Real life practice is definitely the best way to make these skills stick! I’ll also put in another plug for IXL Math, or any other math games that give extra practice. Just 10 minutes a night of IXL, or another similar program, can make a big difference in our mathematical practices – just as the nightly reading and writing the book summary on the reading log is helping those who practice it regularly…

Elsewhere, we are learning about nonfiction text features such as the table of contents, bold text, captions, glossaries, and indexes. For each text feature we are highlighting a different weather topic with some nonfiction writing. Weather projects are due on this coming Monday, April, 28 (or as soon after as you can manage). We are all very excited to see what kinds of things our classmates are working on!

Cheers!

 

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Classroom Notes – April 15, 2014

I hope you were able to see the drama performance last week. The kids did an amazing job! They had a wonderful time on stage and were very proud of themselves, as they should be. The class received many compliments on their hard work and performance! Great job kiddos! 

 This week we are learning several new math games to put in our Work Places. We continue to practice our addition and subtraction of double digit numbers using an open number line and base ten representations. We will begin to learn the standard algorithm for adding and subtracting, as well. Today we learned a game called “25 cents or Bust.” The objective of the game is to collect 25 cents without going over that amount. It’s a fun game that requires strategic thinking and planning about whether taking another card is safe or risky.  

In literacy we are turning our attention to nonfiction. We are exploring the differences between fiction and nonfiction, and how we read nonfiction differently than we read fiction. This week we will practice finding the main idea and details as we read the nonfiction story Fire Fighter! We will also be completing a book about nonfiction features using the topic of weather. 

Finally, I have heard back from about half the class about what they plan to do for their weather projects. There are some fabulous ideas coming back. I can’t wait to see the kids work! Please let me know if you need more information. Cheers!

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This week we are busy as bees finishing our 3rd quarter assessments and  preparing for the drama performance. I had a preview of the show last week and was very impressed – I think you will be, too. Mr. Wehrli has done a fabulous job with these young actors. Students need to be at school tonight (April 9th) at 6:00 pm in the cafeteria. The show will begin at 6:30.

In math, we are learning to use an open number line to help us solve story problems that involve double-digit addition and subtraction. We also learned two games that will help us to count by tens and hundreds starting at any number. In language arts, we are using some great children’s literature to spark our writing creativity as we work on writing our opinions about a topic. We are also using the strategy cause and effect to help us sort through our opinions.

A quick note – this beautiful spring weather has brought Pokemon fever to the classroom. The classroom policy regarding these cards is that kids can bring their collections to share at lunch-recess on the playground, but there is no trading or gifting. Trading needs to happen after school with a parent present. The cards/binders/tins need to be kept in their backpacks until lunch-recess. The only time we can have them out in the classroom is on our Free Friday afternoon. Please help your enthusiast to understand the rules regarding when they can access their cards at school, and the gifting or trading of cards. Thank you!

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Classroom Notes – April 1, 2014

Welcome back! I hope everyone had an adventurous and restful Spring Break. I have been reading about many fun trips to Seattle, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and other interesting places. We had a restful and wet stay-cation and enjoyed the family time together.

This week in Science we are learning about the three layers of cloud cover including cirrus, stratus, and cumulus clouds. We will begin looking at severe weather in the coming week. Next week the Second Grade Weather project information sheet will be coming home. Each student will choose an aspect of weather on which to complete a project. It should be fun to see what everyone creates!

In math, we are looking at adding and subtracting larger numbers. We will be using our new strategies to solve story problems involving money in the coming weeks. We will also be completing our third quarter assessments to see how each student has progressed in math.

Our new Literacy Centers are going well. Students are enjoying making Silly Sentences, matching contractions, and writing letters to their favorite characters. Many of these centers are recorded in their spiral notebooks, but some have recording sheets that you will see coming home. These are completed independently. Please talk to your child about what they are practicing and how their work shows their Personal Best work habits. Are they using neat handwriting and full sentences with punctuation and capitalization? Your interest in how their work shows their “personal best” will help them give their 100% in the classroom.

Our Drama residency is going well. The kids are working hard each morning on their production. The evening performance is next Wednesday, April 9th. More information should be coming home soon. We need everyone to be there – as every child has an important part to play! Please note that the date changed and is different than the one posted in an earlier newsletter. Cheers!

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Classroom Notes – March 18, 2014

 We had a fabulous trip to the Winningstad Theatre for Zombie in Love on Tuesday. The weather was great for walking and the play was fun and entertaining. Thank you parent chaperones for making the trip go so smoothly! I literally could not do it without you!

 On Wednesday afternoon we will spend some time in the garden working with Kathleen to make anemometers. We will also put our rain gauges in the garden so we can take some measurements at the end of the week. To wrap up our look at basic weather measurement tools we will look at thermometers and temperature later in the week.

 In math we are finishing up our geometry unit by solving and writing shape riddles. We will then be ready to move into the unit Branching Out: Money & Place Value. In this unit we will be working on problem solving with larger numbers and money. In writing, we are finishing up our personal narratives so we’ll be ready to move into writing nonfiction “All About” and “ “How to” pieces after Spring Break. In literacy this week, our main selection is a narrative poem, I  Like Where I am. We will be looking for rhymes along with practicing the sound spellings -oi & -oy. Cheers!

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Classroom Notes- March 11, 2014

This week we started our month long drama residency. The kids are spending 30 minutes each morning in a small group of 13 playing games and exploring the art of drama. They will have an evening performance on April 10. More news and details about that as we approach the date.

 In the classroom, we are knee deep in geo-blocks. We are exploring 3-dimensional shapes and the concept of area. We are striving to combine shapes to make other shapes, cover an areas with the least number of blocks possible, and exploring ratio and equivalent shapes. All the while we are working on solving spatial problems, perseverance, and creativity. 

 In literacy, we are practicing the skill of comparing and contrasting. We have read several picture books and compared them and will now use this skill to help us write about two things and tell why we like one better than the other. We have also started a new approach to our independent literacy practice. The students will rotate through a variety of center choices. The centers will give them valuable practice on a variety of skills. The aim is for students to be working independently, alone or with a partner, in a focused manner. 

 Finally, our field trip to see Zombie in Love at the Newmark Theater is next Tuesday, March 18. We will be riding Tri-Met to and from the theater. Please pack an extra dry snack for your child, if possible, as we will be eating an early lunch at about 10:00. More info for chaperones was sent home Wednesday 3/12. Cheers!

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Classroom Notes – March 4, 2014

We are having an exciting week in second grade! We had a special guest Monday morning who helped explain the Water Cycle for us. Everyone brought home a beaded bracelet showing how they precipitated, filtered, evaporated, or melted through the water cycle, to name just a few possibilities. Please ask your child to name the places they visited as a water molecule and how they moved from one to another to help reinforce the concepts and vocabulary learned. 

 We are also starting our 4 day residency with the Portland Taiko drummers. This should be a energetic and fun experience. We will be exploring the basics of this amazing form of traditional Japanese drumming. The kids will be learning how to play as an ensemble, building their listening skills, and creating and expressing themselves through drumming and movement.

 Along with both of these fabulous activities we will see the second and third graders’ drama performance. This will be exciting because we will start our drama residency next week! In between all of these activities will be learning about the mathematical concept of area, begin to take a more focused look at the genre of nonfiction, and build on the water cycle work we did on Monday. Cheers!

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