HoME HoME
oUR CLAssRooM oUR CLAssRooM
CALENDAR CALENDAR
GAMEs GAMEs
ABoUT ME ABoUT ME
CoNTACT CoNTACT
MRs. HALsE's 2 CLAssRooM GRADE ND

9.14.12

Off to a Great Start

 

What a terrific first week we have had in 2nd grade!  We are having a ball getting to know one another through games, activities, and All About Me bags, and we will continue to do so over these next weeks.  In fact, our main focus for the first several weeks of school will be on building a classroom community of self-directed learners and establishing the routines that will enable us to have a successful year.  We truly are off to a great start!

 

Thanks so much for sending in a healthy snack with your child each day.  We have been noticing that healthy snacks really help us to “refuel” and keep our brains and bodies ready to learn.  We have had fun tallying up our healthy snacks, and have been pleasantly surprised at just how healthy our community is!  I would encourage you to also send in a water bottle that your child can bring in each day to have on his/her desk.  (Water only, no juice/Gatorade/lemonade).  We will send it home each night for a wash and refill!

 

Readers' and Writers' Workshops

 

We have been reading many books and are enjoying them a lot!  The 2nd graders are reading during Readers’ Workshop every day.  We’ve discovered that we already know a lot about the things good readers do.  I’m happy to report that we have a room full of children that are eager to learn more about reading!

 

In Writers’ Workshop we have learned that good writers write about the things they love and are interested in.  We have all started our first piece of writing!  We have spent some time thinking about the kinds of things we’d like to write about this year.  Over the weekend, try brainstorming with your 2nd grader about possible topics.

 

Science

 

Next week we will begin to dig deeper into our study of Nutrition.  We will take a look at the USDA’s Food Pyramid and MyPlate to learn about making healthy and balanced choices when eating.   This is a great study to go along with Tesago’s Healthy Steps Program.  More information will be coming home in your child’s Home Folder about Healthy Steps, which begins on Monday.

 

Computer Lab Begins Next Week

 

During our treasure hunt through Tesago on the first day of school we traveled all the way down to the Library Media Center!  The 2nd graders are looking forward to our first Computer Lab time on Monday.  If you would like your child to have his/her own pair of headphones, please send them to school in a Ziploc bag with his/her name clearly marked.  We will store them at school and use them during Computer Lab.

 

Thanks

 

It was great to see so many of you at Open House last night!  Thanks so much for coming out to learn more about 2nd grade!  One important thing I forgot to mention was that you can contact me through www.MrsHalse.com by clicking the “Contact” tab to the far left of the page.  Also, many thanks to Mrs. Smith for setting up our class’s Scholastic Book Ordering online!  To take a look at the available books and to order, go here (Our Classroom Page) and click on the “Book Orders” tab on the left-hand side.

 

top

9.21.12

Readers' Workshop                                                                                                          

 

In Readers’ Workshop this week we have practiced finding books that are JUST RIGHT for us.  We ask ourselves

 

• Does this book interest me?

• How many words are on the page?

• What is the size of the font?

• Do the pictures help me with the words?

• What was my “score” for the Five Finger Rule?

 

We have learned that to become better readers we need to challenge ourselves in our reading, but not become frustrated because our book is TOO easy.

 

Writers' Workshop

 

We have had a wonderful time during Writers’ Workshop this week!  Some highlights of the week included making a chart to show what Writers’ Workshop LOOKs like, SOUNDs like, and FEELs like.  We have also discovered that choosing a topic to write about isn’t so hard because we can write about ANYTHING!  We can even write completely different stories about the same topic!  One of our favorite times of Writers’ Workshop is when we have the opportunity to share our fantastic writing and compliment our friends’ work!

 

Math

 

This week in Math we have focused on Addition Strategies to help us in knowing our facts “like we know our name.”  Please continue to practice Doubles Facts (like 3+3 or 6+6) if your child does not already know them.  Knowing Doubles will enable your child to easily complete “Next Door Neighbor Numbers” also (like 5+6 or 9+8).  Next week we will be moving onto Subtraction, but we will continue to work on the addition facts since Subtraction and Addition are related within their Fact Families.

 

Science

 

This week kicked off our study of Nutrition in Science! We have spent some time learning about the 5 Food Groups (6 if you count oils and fats). We are learning that it is important to select a variety of foods from each group EVERYDAY and we are working on doing just that! Each of us have a Healthy Journal where we categorize the foods we eat at breakfast, snack, and lunch, as well as the way we moved our body at recess. It's been interesting for the kids to see which groups they are great at choosing from and which groups need to be chosen more often. At home, talk about the foods you are eating and see if your 2nd grader can tell you which food group they belong to.

 

Spelling

 

We had our first Sentence Dictation test today and the kids did a great job!  Please remember to practice the sentences as much as needed throughout the week, brainstorm possible Shock Words, and help your child remember to pack his/her homework sheet to turn in on Fridays.

 

top

9.28.12

Readers' Workshop                                             

 

The kids in Room 32 have been learning about SCHEMA this week during Readers’ Workshop.  We are learning that schema is all of the things we know about.  It’s like we have a big filing cabinet in our brain that has lots of folders holding all of the experiences and memories of our life.  When we experience something brand new (maybe like visiting a farm!) we get a new folder in our brain that holds the sights, smells, sounds, feelings, and tastes of that new thing.   As we experience more or learn more about something we add more to our folders.  One important thing we learned is that everyone’s schema is different because everyone’s life experiences are different.  So what’s so great about schema?  Our schema helps us understand the books we read and helps us make connections to our texts!  Our schema helps us to become better, more thoughtful readers!

 

Writers' Workshop

 

Writers’ Workshop has been a hoot this week as we have explored different ways to begin a story.  Gone are the days of starting a story with “One day…”  The 2nd graders have been getting creative with their BOLD BEGINNINGS and we’ve all realized that an interesting lead to a story makes our readers want to read on.  Next week we will have the difficult task of choosing just one of the pieces we’ve worked on to begin publishing for our first writing celebration!

 

Healthy Kids

 

Our Healthy Journals are filling up with many wonderful and healthy foods that the kids are eating each day.  Many of us are making a real effort to choose foods from each food group every day.  Way to go!  This week we have learned more about what important things we get from each food group and we are seeing why these foods are so important for maintaining a healthy body!  Next week we’ll be taking a look at ingredients labels and learning a little bit about them.  If you can, please send in an ingredients label or two for us to study next week.

 

Special Program

 

The PTA brought an awesome show to Tesago yesterday!  The Tardy Brothers are a juggling group that presented a fast-paced, entertaining show that we were all ooing and ahhing over!  Not only did we enjoy watching them, but these two silly guys also taught us about working hard, making good choices, setting goals, and being responsible.  Big thanks to the PTA…and a reminder to join PTA if you have not already!  They do so many great things for our kids!

 

Important News

 

Next week is Bully Prevention Week!  As part of this week we are encouraging students and staff to wear specific colors to show support for a kinder, friendlier and safer school.  Information is included on Tesago’s bulletin board and posters are located in the lobby. 

 

Here are the colors for the week:

 

Monday- YELLOW- Golden Rule Monday

Tuesday- BLUE- Loyal Blue Tuesday

Wednesday- RED- Red Madness Wednesday

Thursday- WHITE- Peaceable White Thursday

Friday- GREEN- School Spirit Friday.

 

top

10.05.12

Readers' Workshop                                                                                                        

 

We continued our work with SCHEMA this week during Readers’ Workshop.  We practiced making text-to-self connections with the books we read together as a class.  A text-to-self connection is when we find something in a story that reminds us about something from our own life.  In your reading at home with your 2nd graders, talk about the text-to-self connections you are making while you read!  It’s so much fun when a book reminds us of fun and special memories!  Another important part of our Readers’ Workshop this week was building stamina for reading to ourselves.  The 2nd graders are doing a wonderful job with this and are always asking for MORE time to read!

 

Writers' Workshop

 

Our 2nd grade writers worked in partnerships this week in Writers’ Workshop.  We helped one another choose our favorite piece to share at next week’s Writing Celebration.  We learned that a writer is never satisfied with their first attempt at a piece, but that there is always room for improvement!  Our writing partners were instrumental in helping us make our pieces better by EDITING them (finding capital letters, punctuation, and spelling mistakes).  Next week we will finish up the publishing process and share our terrific, first pieces of 2nd grade!

 

Healthy Kids

 

Now that these 2nd graders have become experts on the types of foods in each food group, we spent some time this week studying our school’s lunch calendar and we even created our own versions of a healthy, balanced meal.  Thanks to all who have sent in ingredients labels!  We learned three important principals to help guide us in making good choices: 1) The first is the most! 2) Can you read it?  3) Less is best!  We were sometimes surprised when a seemingly healthy food ended up being loaded with sugar, and tons of ingredients we couldn’t even pronounce!  We were reminded that fresh fruits are loaded with natural sweetness and that they are a healthier alternative to other desserts that are often chosen.   Of course, we also learned that BALANCE is key—enjoying a “treat” every once in a while is not a bad thing, as long as its not what we mostly choose.

 

In Other News

 

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to our Gift Certificate Basket!  Wow—I’m putting ALL of my tickets in that one!!!  All certificates should be sent into school by Tuesday, Oct. 9th

 

We’re all looking forward to our field trip to Liberty Ridge Farm on Tues., Oct. 16th.  Please have your child’s permission slip and $15 cash returned to school ASAP.   We would love to have as many parents who would like to chaperone come, so if you are interested in that please send in your Volunteer Form and $9 as well.

 

October’s Book Orders came home this week.  Please visit www.scholastic.com/bookclubs to order your books online.  They will be sent directly to school and then sent home with your child.

 

 

top

10.12.12

Readers' Workshop                                                                                                          

 

While we continued to practice making text-to-self connections during our reading this week, we also focused on Narrative Story Elements.  We reviewed (from first grade) what most stories include: characters, setting, problem, and solution.  We are all REALLY good about determining who the characters are in the story!  Knowing the WHERE and the WHEN of a story can sometimes be tricky, but we are learning that the author AND illustrator give us many clues throughout a story that help us to figure out what they are.  We also had fun deciding what the main problem in our stories were and how they got resolved (solved).  Please encourage your children to include this information in this week’s Reading Log entries!

 

Writers' Workshop

 

As promised, we finished up the publishing process for our first celebration pieces this week!  We learned about how to make a final copy and fantastic, detailed illustrations that add to the words of our stories.  Some of the kids even had time to begin practicing reading their story with fluency and expression.  Since this was our first time publishing, and a shorter week we ran out of time and were unable to share our pieces like we had hoped.  No worries though, we will share and celebrate next week!

 

Math

 

In Math we have started a new Unit of Study on Place Value and Patterns.  We are learning that numbers represent values.  In this unit we will determine the value of each digit in a 2-digit number, compare numbers (greater than, less than, equal to), estimate, and find patterns. 

 

You also may have noticed that our Mad Minute sheets look a little different since the beginning of the year.  We have decided as a grade level to do a graduated Mad Minute program.  In other words, the kids will begin with problems that have one addend that is less than 2.  Once they are able to do 30 of those in 1 ½ minutes then they will move onto problems that have one addend that is less than 3, and so on and so on.  Take a look to see what sheet your child is on, and focus on those problems for your week’s fact practice.

 

In Other News

 

The 2nd graders will get a chance to show me (and you!) what they have learned about Nutrition on Monday’s test.  Please look through their Nutrition Packet that was sent home on Thursday with them to help them think about the different things we learned about.

 

We enjoyed a short program from some friendly firefighters this week, as it was Fire Prevention Week!  We learned about ways to prevent fires and important things to do if there IS a fire.  The boys and girls were very serious about the presentation and asked many great questions.  Over the weekend ask your child what he/she learned and talk about your family’s plan if there ever was a fire emergency.

 

We also kicked off our first Social Studies unit this week!  It’s all about our government and community.  With the elections just weeks away, it is a timely unit that the kids will enjoy learning more about!  Some of the vocabulary words that we are learning are: community, citizen, law, right, responsibility, consequence, government, tax, government service, judge, mayor, governor, President, election

 

Our field trip to Liberty Ridge Farm is this coming Tuesday!  We are all looking forward to having some farm fun while we experience some parts of a Rural Community.  Keep your eye out for a reminder to come home on Monday afternoon.

 

 

top

10.19.12

This Week In Second Grade                                                                                                          

 

What a fantastic week we have had!  The boys and girls did AWESOME on their Nutrition test this week and we celebrated with our delicious and fun Fruit and Vegetable Party on Friday!  I was so proud of the kids since so many of them tried every single food that was offered!  For some I know that is quite a big deal! 

 

On Tuesday many of you were able to join us for our terrific field trip to Liberty Ridge Farm!  The kids had a wonderful time and are still talking about it.  I have been impressed reading their personal narratives about the trip as they have included many interesting and specific details, as well as remembered to use sequencing words (First, Then, After that, etc.) in their writing pieces.  It certainly was a memorable time!

 

Math

 

In Math we have continued our study on Place Value and have gone a little deeper in our understanding of the VALUE of numbers.  Did you remember to practice addition facts with your child this week?  Remember to take a look at his/her current Mad Minute to see the number he/she should be focusing on during practice times.  There seemed to have been a jump this week in many kids’ scores, so keep that practice up!

 

Writers' Workshop

 

We were so excited to have the opportunity to share our small moment writing pieces with Mrs. Cusack’s class this week!  The 2nd graders read with fluency and expression, and remembered to turn their volume way up so that their 1st grade audience could hear them.  We were also lucky enough to get to be the audience for our 1st grade friends as they shared their first small moment writing piece!  The kids loved listening and were amazed to think of how far they have come as writers since last year.  Next week begins a new Unit of Study in Writers’ Workshop!

 

Readers' Workshop

 

In Readers’ Workshop the kids were able to choose books from their own personal book box this week.  While we thought about the story elements in our fictional books, we continued to work on reading with fluency and expression.  During our “Read to Someone” times this week each 2nd grader was paired with a friend and practiced reading aloud in different ways.  What a fun week in Readers’ Workshop!

 

top

12.14.12

Readers' Workshop                                                                                                        

 

We have begun one of our studies on Nonfiction this week.  The 2nd graders impressed me with their knowledge of what nonfiction is, what it has, and why it’s important…way to go, first grade teachers! =)  We focused our week on investigating the nonfiction texts in our classroom to find out what they had in common and have started to create our own nonfiction reference book all about Nonfiction Text Features.  We are noticing and learning that these important text features (diagrams, labels, captions, photographs, maps, cut-aways, etc.) help the reader gather information about the topic being presented in a really clear way.  We will continue our investigation over the next few weeks at school.

 

Writers' Workshop

 

Our Kevin Henkes-inspired stories are complete and fantastic!  We spent our week editing and revising our stories in small writing groups.  We all agreed that it is so helpful to have a friend or two listen to our stories to help us make them even better!  When our printed copies of our amazing work were presented to the 2nd grade writers they were quite excited—seeing our writing actually look like a real book is such a cool feeling!  We will finish up the publishing process this week, share our stories with another lucky classroom of kids, and then wrap them up for you to enjoy during your own Holiday celebrations next week!

 

Math

 

We have been working hard on a new unit in Math, all about adding 2-Digit numbers.  This is a brand new concept for the kids, but they have mastered it with flying colors!  There were two very tricky parts of the unit:  “estimating to find the sum,” when they had to first round the addends to the nearest ten and then add the numbers and “problem solving,” where many of the word problems involved multi-step questions that required starting from the end and working backwards.  Yikes!  We did much of this work together, but our 2nd grade mathematicians had a few problems like this to work through independently on the end-of-unit test.

 

Social Studies

 

We are currently working through a unit in Social Studies, learning that our country is made up of many different people and cultures.  We are learning about what kinds of things make up a person’s culture (food, language, music, clothing, beliefs, etc.) and that traditions are passed down from generation to generation.  I hope that you had some sweet conversations with your little one about some of the traditions you have this time of year in your home while you completed the Holiday Traditions homework.  We are all looking forward to sharing them this week and hearing about how our families are both similar and different. 

 

As part of our Holidays Around the World program, the kids “traveled” to Israel to learn about some of the holiday traditions going on right now.  In the coming week we will be heading to Africa, Germany, Mexico, and China.  Be sure to ask your kids each day what they learned about the country they visited!

 

top

1.4.13

Before Winter Vacation

 

Our week before Winter Vacation was filled with learning and FUN!  In Readers’ Workshop we continued to learn about the important text features found in Nonfiction books.  The kids have become experts at locating these features, comparing them within different texts, and explaining how each of them help the reader learn more about the topic being presented.  For Social Studies, all of Tesago’s 2nd graders took their passports and traveled the world during our Holidays Around the World program!  In total, we visited 5 interesting countries (Mexico, Israel, Africa, Germany, and China) to learn about some special cultural differences and how kids celebrate different winter holidays this time of year.  We also had some extra fun as we made special holiday gifts for you (we hope you enjoyed them!), had our Holiday Party, rode on The Polar Express in our p.j.’s, and went to the school-wide sing along!  What a super-fun time of year!

 

This Short Week

 

Our short week after Winter Vacation was filled with learning and FUN also!  We have finished up our Nonfiction Text Features book and are now ready to do some Nonfiction writing of our own!  Over the next few weeks we will be focusing in on how to use nonfiction texts and digital print to research, take notes, and get information.  The students have been working in groups to complete some research on a country they chose.  With the help of Ms. Pierce and Mrs. Lavicska in the Library Media Center, we will be using our research and notes to create a PowerPoint presentation all about our country.  This week we have also been thinking about some important goals we would like to set for ourselves.  The 2nd graders have worked hard to decide on a goal they would like to accomplish, as well as create and write a plan for achieving that goal.  Talk to your 2nd grader to find out how you can be a part of helping him/her reach their goals in 2013!  Our Mathematicians are very excited to be starting a new unit on subtracting 2-Digit numbers.  There are a lot of steps in this process (including a fun poem to recite!), but they are getting it!  We will continue to practice over the next week, and throw in some real-life problem solving too!  Check in with your child to see how he/she is doing with this new skill.

 

I truly hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that you are looking forward to all this new year will bring!  Many blessings to you and your family in 2013!

 

Website Update

 

My amazing husband has updated the website over break! You will now be able to access optimized versions on your smart phone or tablet devices! If you have already been using a tablet or smart phone to access the website, then it may be necessary to clear cookies and data in your browser settings area in order to view the new optimized versions.

 

top

1.11.13

Readers’ Workshop

 

This week in Readers’ Workshop we took a break from Nonfiction texts and did a mini-unit on Fables.  We learned that fables are short stories that always teach a lesson.  One of our favorite features of fables is that they usually include a character or two who have human characteristics.  Can you think of a wolf who walks on two legs and speaks to little girls, or some mice that wear clothes and live in a fancy house?  We learned that authors sometimes use “personification” to help make their characters more interesting and relatable. Over the weekend share your favorite fable with your 2nd grader and see if he/she can articulate the moral of the story!

 

Writers’ Workshop

 

Writers’ Workshop and Social Studies have melted together this week as we continued our research of a country.  After working together with their groups to determine who was in charge of each part of the project, the kids have had to organize their notes in order to write a paragraph that makes sense about each of the given topics.  We learned that a nonfiction paragraph, like all paragraphs, need to begin with an opening sentence that lets the reader know what he/she will be learning about.  Likewise, it needs to end with a closing sentence to wrap the information up.  Next week we will begin the next portion of our project—making a movie!

 

Math

 

We continued on with Chapter 6 in Math this week, practicing 2-Digit Subtraction.  Many of the students are forgetting to “Say the Poem” when they subtract, resulting in some silly errors.  Thank goodness we learned how to check our subtraction problems by adding!  Hopefully you heard about our fun Math-gymnastics lesson when we learned that subtraction problems can do a cartwheel to turn upside-down to be checked.  This was some serious fun!

 

Science

 

Your child is probably most excited about our new unit in Science!  We have started a very hands-on unit, filled with tons of experiments all about the three states of matter—solids, liquids, and gases.  This week we conducted our first three experiments and have learned that scientists make good observations by using all of their senses. Talk to your kiddo to find out what he/she learned about how solids (like an Alka-Seltzer tablet) and liquids (like water) can be mixed together to create a chemical reaction, or how applying cold or heat can cause matter to change states (from liquid to solid, solid to liquid, or liquid to gas).

 

top

1.25.13

Readers’ Workshop

 

We had a blast this week in Readers’ Workshop as we learned about and practiced another fantastic comprehension strategy—creating Mental Images. We learned that one way to “keep our head in the book” while we read is to be intentional about creating a picture in our mind. We can do this by using the author’s descriptions, which oftentimes includes something for all five of our senses. Making Mental Images comes naturally, as long as we are paying attention to what we are reading, so it is a fun thing to practice! This week we also learned that even though we can all read the same detailed passage in a book, our Mental Images are always a little (and sometimes A LOT) different from everyone else’s. That’s because our schema is different! Can you believe how smart we are getting?!

 

Writers’ Workshop

 

Over the last two weeks our Writers’ Workshop times have included two different types of nonfiction/informational writing— writing in our Science Discovery Journals and writing How To’s. The 2nd graders have noticed that both of these require a lot of thinking and slowing down to make sure our reader gets a FULL picture of what we are trying to explain. We are learning that while there is a formula for this kind of writing, it is not as simple as it seems.

 

Math

 

I have been blown away this week by the amount of students who are enthusiastically making a beeline to my desk in the mornings to ask “Can I take a Mad Minute today?!” It seems that a little healthy competition has inspired many kiddos to get serious about practicing their “fast facts” at home…and it’s paying off! Our Mad Minute Rainbows are getting very colorful and everyone is feeling proud! If your child hasn’t yet caught the “fast fact fever,” please continue to encourage him/her to practice, practice, practice!

 

Science

 

Last week our friends from The Scotia-Glenville Children’s Museum came to enrich our Science unit on solids, liquids and gases. The kids had a wonderful time observing and exploring a variety of common kitchen ingredients, and then combining them to create interesting reactions, changes and new art materials! The experience got our budding scientists even more excited for the experiments we are conducting in our classroom. This week we made mixtures and tested a variety of methods for separating them, including using a sieve, a funnel, filter paper, and even evaporation! We’re having a ton of fun in 2nd grade!

 

Don't Forget!

 

Just a quick reminder to be filling out your PARP calendars, as well as logging your hours read for your FREE Great Escape ticket! These are both excellent programs to help motivate your fantastic little readers!

 

Also, see you THIS Thursday, January 31st for our annual K-2 PJ Reading Night for PARP! We will begin at 6:00pm in Tesago’s café…don’t forget to wear your pj’s!

 

Registration for Saturday Scholars (presented by SAGE: Shenendehowa Advocates for Gifted Education) will be on February 2nd at Acadia Middle School. For more information, the course brochure and registration forms are available at www.sage4students.org.

 

top

2.1.13

Readers’ Workshop

 

We continued to practice and dig deeper into Creating Mental Images this week. Through poems, plays, short stories, and chapters from longer books we found our mental images becoming clearer as we focused in on the details of the words. We noticed that if we stay actively engaged in the text our mental images change and become sharper as we read on. We also learned that there is a lot of value in talking about our mental images because our shared understanding of the text can often make the pictures in our minds more vibrant. Our 2nd grade conversations about books are becoming really interesting!

 

Writers’ Workshop

 

We spent another week focusing in on writing How To paragraphs. The 2nd graders worked with a writing partner and acted out building a snowman to help them remember to include ALL of the important details before they sat down to write. We also enjoyed a special treat of GUM to experience all of the steps of blowing a bubble before writing a How to Blow a Bubble with Gum paragraph! We paid close attention to what our mouths were doing and even brainstormed a list of terrific adjectives to include in our paragraphs. Many 2nd graders blew a bubble for the first time, thanks to some great directions from friends! Those that didn’t are determined to keep trying!

 

Math

 

This week’s Math has been a review of number skills like determining the value of particular digits, writing numbers in standard, written, and expanded form, comparing numbers with greater than, less than, and equal to, and ordering numbers. In the past we have practiced each of these skills with 2-digit numbers, but this week we have added the challenge of working with number all the way up to 1,000!

 

Science

 

Science continues to be a highlight of everyone’s week in Room 32! We learned about an important scientific word—variable, with the two experiments we conducted. We had two separate dissolving races to determine the variables that influence how fast a solid can dissolve in a liquid. In our first experiment all of the variables were the same except for the shape of our solid (a sugar cube vs. sugar grains). In our 2nd experiment all of the variables were the same except for the temperature of the liquid (warm water vs. cold water). Talk with your 2nd grade scientist to find out what he/she learned!

 

Parp

 

It was so fun to see so many familiar faces at PJ Reading Night this week! We all had a terrific time—especially my 3 year old, who was the source of a few laughs from his 2nd grade buddies (and their parents)! You all remember having a 3 year old, right?!

 

top

2.28.13

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful February Break! I so enjoyed the pace of life slowing down a bit and getting to spend lots of wonderful time with my family. I always feel like the school year whizzes by at an unbelievable rate after February Break, so buckle your seat belts because we have lots more fun and learning ahead…with only 74 more school days to go!

 

Readers’ Workshop

 

Have you talked with your 2nd grader about what reading is lately? You might be surprised at what they have to say! Through our study of comprehension strategies the boys and girls in Room 32 are recognizing that reading has as much to do with thinking about and connecting to a text as it does to how fluently you can decode the words. Good readers are readers who decode, think, and are able to have meaningful conversations about the books they are reading. This week we practiced yet another strategy for becoming better readers—asking questions. We learned that we can get engaged and stay engaged throughout a text (fiction or nonfiction) by asking ourselves or our reading partners questions BEFORE we read, DURING our reading, and even AFTER we finish. Try this new strategy at home!

 

Writers’ Workshop

 

Our Writing Unit, “Writers Write for MANY Reasons” is proving to be quite fun for our whole class. As we wrapped up writing How-to’s last week, this week we brainstormed TONS of reasons why kids and adults write, and have been learning about what makes each of these different kinds of writing special. This week we focused on writing invitations, postcards, and greeting cards. Our Writing Folders are getting full with so many cool pieces!

 

Math

 

Can you believe your 2nd grader is learning how to do Math problems that involve SO many steps?! It has been fun for me to watch puzzled little faces transform into proud grins this week as almost-visible light bulbs snap on over their heads during our Math times. The kids have worked hard to transition from adding 3-digit numbers (with regrouping!), to estimating and rounding, to subtracting 3-digit numbers (with regrouping!). This is tricky stuff, people!

 

Science

 

Since my last newsletter (I know, it’s been awhile!) we have conducted many fun and interesting experiments to broaden and develop our understanding of solids, liquids, gases, and how they change. We used our ever-increasing knowledge to separate a mystery mixture by using a variety of methods including using a sieve, a filter, attempting to dissolve the solids, and using the technique of evaporation. We’ve also experimented with creating chemical reactions—changing salt grains into salt crystals, as well as creating a new substance (gas) by combining the ever-popular baking soda with vinegar. I’m sure some of our budding scientists will be itching to try that again…and maybe some other experiments of their own creation.

 

Reminder

 

Just a friendly reminder that you can check out our class calendar at www.mrshalse.com/calendar.html for important updates on things going on in our room and at Tesago. I try to keep this updated on a weekly basis.

Parents As Reading Partners (PARP) is still going on! Be sure to be filling out your PARP calendars as you read with your cutie-pie each night. Head over to Ms. Pierce’s site at www.shenet.org/tesago/mediacenter/mcmain.htm for additional information.

 

top

3.15.13

Readers’ Workshop

 

Our Readers’ Workshop times have been full of rich conversations lately as we have delved into some complex texts with interesting themes, tricky vocabulary, and not-so-predictable story lines. We have learned about what it means to have a real book discussion, where every person is free to (and encouraged to!) contribute new ideas to the conversation, as well as piggyback off of what someone else has brought up. We are using the many comprehension strategies we have learned so far this year to act as a springboard for the kinds of things we think about and talk about. So far our book discussions have been class-wide and mostly led by me, but soon these awesome readers will be joining up with their peers in small groups to have similar conversations independently.

 

Writers’ Workshop

 

We finished up our “Writers Write For MANY Reasons” unit with our first friendly letter to our new pen-pals from Saratoga Academy. We are eagerly awaiting their response and are all looking forward to finding out how to become friends with someone through the written word. You have hopefully already heard that our new unit of study on POETRY is underway! The 2nd graders are captivated during our mini-lessons as we study other kid-authored poems. Some of our discussions this week have been about how to choose an interesting topic, choosing words carefully to make your reader feel a certain way, and how to see ordinary things through “poets’ eyes”…have you ever thought of a pencil sharpener as a hungry monster looking to devour wooden objects with his sharp-as-a-shark’s-tooth teeth? I bet not, but we have!

 

Math

 

There is a sense of excitement each day during Math as we have started our unit on MONEY! Something about money that gets kids all excited! =) We have reviewed some concepts from 1st grade like coin names and values (pennies to half-dollars) and have moved onto counting up coins by putting them in order from greatest to least value. This is a fun and easy thing to practice at home and your kids will love wowing you with this sometimes-tricky skill.

 

Social Studies

 

We definitely had some sad faces last week when I announced that we would be conducting our final Science experiment, but thankfully our new unit in Social Studies has captured the boys’ and girls’ attention! Maybe because it’s also about money…economics, to be exact! This has to be one of my favorite Social Studies units because of the important and interesting concepts the kids are learning about—needs and wants, producers and consumers, goods and services, supply and demand, occupations and income, saving and budgets, and the idea of free enterprise. The best is that after all of this great learning your children are going to get to dream up a business of their own and actually make it happen right here in our Classroom Mall! More to come on that! =)

 

Reminder

 

Just a friendly reminder that you can check out our class calendar at www.mrshalse.com/calendar.html for important updates on things going on in our room and at Tesago. I try to keep this updated on a weekly basis.

 

Parents As Reading Partners (PARP) is still going on! Be sure to be filling out your PARP calendars as you read with your cutie pie each night. Head over to Ms. Pierce’s site at www.shenet.org/tesago/mediacenter/mcmain.htm for additional information.

 

*Family Library Night is THIS Wednesday, March 20th from 6:00-8:00 pm. This is a super-duper fun night that 2nd graders ALWAYS enjoy!

 

*Don’t forget that your child’s Community Project is due on Thursday, March 21st.

 

top

4.7.13

Moms and Dads, I am SO sorry for the lack of newsletter updates the past two weeks! Please don’t think my silence means we have just been hanging around doing nothing…on the contrary! We have been busy, busy, busy and loving every minute of it! Our days are full of so much learning and fun we can barely stand it! =)

 

Readers' and Writers’ Workshop

 

Quite possibly the best part of everyone’s day over the last several weeks has been our study of Poetry! I’ve been receiving MANY requests for “more time to read!” and "more time to write!" which, of course brings a great big smile to my face! As we have continued to enjoy and analyze others’ written work, we have become inspired with wonderful ideas of our own! We can’t wait to share a few of our favorites with you THIS FRIDAY(!) at Poets’ Café! I just know you’re going to be impressed with the fantastic ways these 2nd graders turned ordinary topics into masterpieces by using things like personification, imagery, similes, dialog, structure, interesting punctuation, colorful word choice, and emotion—and that’s just to name a few of the things we’ve been learning about.

 

Math

 

As you know our unit on Money is ended and the 2nd graders rocked out on their End of Unit Test! The class averaged the highest test score of any unit of study we’ve had yet this year. Apparently money is a very motivating topic, even for 8-year-olds! We have moved onto another attention grabbing topic—Telling Time. In the week before Spring Break we focused on telling time to the hour and half hour, as well as the sometimes-tricky skill of figuring out elapsed time. As we continue this study we will learn to tell time to the quarter hour, including such terms as “quarter past,” “half past,” and the hardest of all “quarter to”. Please practice these with your child at home.

 

Social Studies

 

We have enjoyed two very special activities in Social Studies, the first has been the sharing of our Community Projects! It is always so fun for the 2nd graders to see and hear about their friends’ perspective on the awesome community we live in, and this year has been no different! We’ve loved learning about what makes our community special through the eyes of our friends and have been impressed by all of the creativity we’ve seen. We don’t want you to miss it, so we’ve been creating a video for you to see (complete with commercials you’re sure to get a kick out of!).

 

The 2nd special activity going on in Social Studies right now is the start to the Junior Achievement program. We have been so lucky to have Zoe’s mom joining us to lead some interactive lessons to teach us more about what makes communities work. Throughout Junior Achievement the students will learn about jobs, business, banking, choices, goods and services, government, interdependence,

productivity, money, and taxes. Do you remember these concepts from your 2nd grade experience?! =)

 

Hopefully you were able to read the information I sent home last week about our Classroom Mall. We will begin brainstorming possibilities for our own businesses, so feel free to start chatting about what your child might be interested in doing for a business (good or service) if you haven’t already.

 

In Other News...

 

The kids are so happy to finally know who will be taking over for my maternity leave at the end of the month! Mrs. Lydon has been coming in frequently to become familiar with our routines and the kids are enjoying getting to know her! She has SUCH a wonderful group of students to be working with, I know she is getting very excited to be with them full-time!

 

Please join us in Room 32 for Poets’ Café THIS Friday at 1:00 pm! Get ready to relax with a cup of coffee or tea and a treat, and be amazed at our talented group of poets!

 

Also THIS Friday is Tesago’s Spring Carnival beginning at 6:00 pm! It’s sure to be a fun family night for all to benefit our PTA…see you there!

 

top

4.19.13

Readers' and Writers’ Workshop

 

It’s time for another author study! Like our study of author Kevin Henkes, we have been delving into many books by another wonderful author, Robert Munsch! Our workshops have included many wonderful conversations around some of his most well-known stories and Mrs. Lydon and I are noticing that the 2nd graders are just loving his over-the-top plots. They were excited to learn that Mr. Munsch gets many of his ideas from kids just like them, and it has helped them to realize that they can also come up with their very own Munsch-like plots. We’ve noticed that many of his books include similar features like main character kids with helpful parents, ordinary problems that become very extraordinary with Mr. Munsch’s hilarious exaggerations, dialogue between characters, repeating lines, characters with varied and interesting character traits, and even onomatopoeia! We are all looking forward to the challenge of trying to include as many of these features into our own Munsch-inspired stories next week!

 

Math

 

Math continues to be a highlight of many students’ days as we have been working on concepts surrounding telling time and temperature. While we have all become quite skilled at telling time, the concept of “elapsed time” continues to be a challenge for many 2nd graders in room 32. Being able to read a thermometer is another important skill that we have been practicing in Math, as well as thinking about appropriate outside activities and clothing for particular kinds of weather. One of our favorite undertakings has been graphing the temperature throughout the week (and even hourly one day) and noticing patterns. Of course, our weather seems to be quite unpredictable lately so this can sometimes be a challenge! Up next in Math is Fractions!

 

Social Studies

 

We have had a blast preparing for our Classroom Mall, which by the way is this coming Monday! The students have earned quite a lot of Kids’ Cash over the past few weeks, felt the pain of paying taxes, but are excited about all that they have in their wallets to spend on Monday. Not only were we able to brainstorm the kinds of businesses we were planning to include, but we also delved into the ideas of setting our prices based on supply and demand and the quality of our goods and services. Many of our young entrepreneurs had to make some choices (and sometimes compromises) about their prices in order to keep up with the competitive 2nd grade market! Some were very torn with the idea that as producers they want their prices to be high, but as consumers they’d rather have low prices.

 

Reminders

 

*You are invited to attend the performance of “Seussical the Musical” on Monday, April 22nd at 8:20 am in Tesago’s café! The kids have been working hard in Music with Mr. Lotano to prepare a fun show for you!

*Thanks to those who have turned in the field trip permission slips and money already! Please have those in by the end of the week, and don’t forget to let us know if you’re interested in chaperoning. If we have more than two volunteers we will pull names out of a hat!

Finally, I wanted to give another HUGE thank you to all of you for all of your support and encouragement (and adorable Baby Shower!!!) as I head out on my maternity leave. Of course it is a bittersweet feeling as we are over-the-moon about welcoming another precious son into our family, but very sad to be leaving your sweet, sweet kiddos whom I just love to pieces! I just know they are going to have a fabulously fun and productive end to their 2nd grade year with Mrs. Lydon and I will be SO excited when opportunities come up for me to visit my awesome 2nd grade friends! Please encourage your child to send me emails or letters if they would like—I always love having pen pals!!! Thanks so much for sharing your precious kids with me this year…I have absolutely loved being their 2nd grade teacher!