We have had a busy, but fun last few weeks of school. We wrapped up some big projects and had some special activities to celebrate the end of the year. Two big projects we finished up and shared last week were the board games kids designed and created based on a favorite book, as well as our country research projects. We finished up our science unit on soil by looking at the contents of our composters and trying to find the worms we put in them. We also had some special activities to celebrate the end of a wonderful year together- pajama day, a picnic lunch, and board games!
Reading: As we get ready to head into the end of the year, we are revisiting some important skills taught previously related to reading longer books. Second graders are working on thinking about the text (connecting, reacting, predicting) while reading and reflecting on the book when done. Second graders are continuing to work to maintain their reading stamina that we worked so hard on this year, with our current in-class goal being to read for 30 minutes.
Writing: Second graders have finished publishing their poetry books. These will be going home today. We spent a bit of time connecting our writing with our prior reading unit and wrote “fractured” stories. This means that writers thought of a story they had read in reader’s workshop and changed parts of the story- for instance, making Three Little Pigs into the Three Little Monkeys. We kept the basic story lines, but changed the details to make a fractured story. This past week we began working on a research project in which each second grader is studying a different country. Using various research websites through our Media Center webpage, second graders were able to gather information about different countries.
Math: Can you believe that we have been busy learning all about multiplication and division? Wow! We connected multiplication to skip counting, repeated addition and arrays. We also used arrays to learn about division. We learned how to write multiplication number sentences and even created our own multiplication table!
Fundations : Our new D syllable is ou and ow. Our trick words recently have included all the days of the week. “Wednesday” is an especially tricky one!
Science: Second graders are loving our study of soil. We had so much fun learning about earthworms and how they are important to soil and plants. We also had a special visit from Ms. Huber in the science center and she taught us all about composting.
Second Step: In Second Step we’ve been focusing on nonverbal cues that people give to show how they are feeling. We then talked about how we might use these cIues to know how someone is feeling when we are playing a game with them. We also read the book My Mouth is a Volcano to discuss how we can control ourselves and wait our turn when we have something to say, rather than interrupting others.
Second graders participated in our World Bazaar last week. Thank you so much to our volunteers who helped to make this event possible. I am putting together some pictures from the event and hope to send home a slideshow soon.
Here are some photos from field day. Thanks to Ms. Smith and Ms. Sweet for an awesome day!
What country are you researching? What is an interesting fact you’ve learned?
What strategies could you use to solve 6 x 7?
Reading: Second graders are working on paying close attention to characters in fairy tales, folktales, and fables. We’ve been thinking about how characters act and how characters react to problems and have used this to make predictions. We’ve also started noticing patterns of behaviors in characters. Finally, we've learned that fables are short stories that have a moral (lesson).
Writing: In writing we’ve continued to work on a variety of strategies for writing poems as well as poetry structures. Second graders have written color, shape, and story poems. Shape poems were a favorite type of poem to write. This entire unit we have actually not written any rhyming poems so we spent a few days this week learning about writing couplets and poems with a rhyme pattern.
Math: Second graders continued to practice skills from this unit, with a particular focus on three digit subtraction. We are wrapping up this unit, and an assessment will go home at some point next week.
Fundations : Our current spelling pattern is the D-syllable with a long O sound. We are working on words with oe, oa, and ow.
Science: Second graders are learning more about the particles that make up soil. We explored both wet and dry particles of sand, clay, and humus. Second graders are continuing to work on writing detailed observations in their science notebooks.
Second Step: In Second Step we discussed the importance of focusing on ourselves and not worrying about or getting involved in the problems of others. (“Worry About Myself”) We discussed how often when getting involved in the conflicts between other classmates, we have good intentions, but it is best to focus on ourselves. When listening to teacher directions, instead of telling others what they should be doing, kids should make sure that they are following the directions themselves and setting a good example for their classmates.
Here are some photos from our field trip to the Peabody Museum:
Thank you to our PE teachers and all the volunteers for a wonderful Mayrathon event. Here are some photos from the Mayrathon:
Reading: Our current reading unit is called Reading and Role Playing. Our focus in this unit is on reading fairy tales, folktales, and fables. We worked hard this week on reading with expression, feelings, and gestures. We also had a visit from storyteller Len Cabral. He tells stories with such enthusiasm and was an inspiration to second grade readers and storytellers!
Writing: Room 120 is full of amazing poets. I am constantly impressed by the poetic language these second graders are using in their writing! We’ve worked on using techniques such as alliteration, repetition, and writing with a comparison to make our writing sound more poetic. Additionally, we’ve written in different structures such as acrostic poems, haiku, conversation, and list poems.
Math: This week we have been focusing on three digit subtraction with and without regrouping. We first began by solving problems without any regrouping. Then we solved problems where only the ones needed to be regrouped. Finally, we worked on solving problems where we needed to regroup both the ones and tens. We worked to remember to always start subtracting in the ones column first. We’ll continue to practice next week!
Fundations : We are currently spelling words with oi and oy. This is another d syllable or double vowel spelling pattern.
Science: Second grade scientists have begun a unit on Soil. We began by collecting soil samples and observing our samples. We categorized the materials we found by living, nonliving, and organic matter (once living things).
Second Step: We have been focusing on problem solving during recess. As we continue to practice our problem solving steps in the classroom with realistic situations, the hope is that second graders become more and more independent with the problem solving process when a problem occurs.
Here are some photos from our reading picnic. It was a beautiful day to read outside!
Who are your new reading and writing partners? How have you worked to be a good partner to him/her?
How do you know if you need to regroup in a subtraction problem?
Reading: Readers in room 120 have been working on studying author’s craft in their series book clubs. Readers paid attention to things such as how authors choose specific words to paint a picture in the reader’s mind or how authors use literary language (language in a playful way). Second graders continue to develop their skills for having conversations about books with their peers. To wrap up this unit, second graders are debating opinions about characters. Second graders chose a character in their book series to focus on and developed arguments for whether or not the character is a good friend. Partnerships worked together to collect evidence to prepare for the debate and then debated the topic in front of their classmates.
Writing: Second graders have continued to write opinions about books. We have transitioned to writing book nominations. Second graders are writing about why certain books or characters are award worthy. Our goal is to be still writing three reasons to support our opinions, but we are taking our writing to the next level by adding evidence. Second graders are using the text to support their reasons, in our writing we’re working on quoting the text to give a specific example. We are getting ready to celebrate our writing, we’ll be using the green screen for our final project! We’ll be sharing our projects electronically with families for this unit.
Math: We have been working on problem solving with larger numbers. Second graders have been carefully reading problems that involve multiple steps and missing addends. We are emphasizing the importance of creating a number sentence that matches the problem that helps us to find the solution to a problem.
We have spent the last week reviewing our math facts. It’s important to continue to increase our confidence in our math facts as we continue to review double digit addition and subtraction strategies. Soon we’ll be learning how to add and subtract three digit numbers. A favorite activity to practice our facts was math mats!
Science: We wrapped up our magnet unit a little while ago, but I wanted to share the results of our design challenge project. Second graders had to create a design that in some way uses magnets and could transport books from our classroom to the media center. Second graders created a model of this, therefore their designs were able to transport a few books from one end of the classroom to the other. Here are the designs they came up with! One group continued the challenge at home and we were able to use their final design to bring a pretty big pile of books up to the media center!
Social Studies: Second graders have continued to explore geography and map skills through a variety of stations. Some map skills include using a compass, map grid, or road map. Second graders have also learned about the continents, using a map of the United States and have studied famous monuments around our country.
Fundations: We are learning about a new syllable type called the D syllable. D stands for double vowel. We have learned that ai and ay can both make the same long A sound. We have begun to learn about the long E sound, which can be made by the vowel teams ea, ee, ey
Second Step: In Second Step we’re learning all about problem solving with our peers. Our steps are:
S: Say the problem without blame
T: Think of solutions (Brainstorm ideas to solve the problem)
E: Explore consequences (what would happen if…)
P: Pick the best solution
Why is it important to say the problem without blame when you are problem solving?
How did you show a two digit number on the math mats? What happened when you added or subtracted 10 to a number on the math mat?
Reading: We have begun working in Series Book Clubs. Second graders are working to closely study the characters they read about and see how characters act in similar ways and respond to problems across a series. We are continuing to work on having conversations about books within our group. During these discussions, group members need to show they are listening by making comments and asking questions. It is also important to make sure that everyone gets a turn to speak.
Writing: Our current writing unit is a persuasive writing unit in which students write their opinions about books. We have begun by writing opinions in the form of letters. Each letter is written to the reader, contains an opinion and three supporting reasons. The letters are then placed in envelopes and into the corresponding book in our classroom library. During reading time, second graders have enjoyed finding letters in the books they choose and finding recommendations from their classmates. We have also been writing letters to specific classmates and keeping our audience in mind while we write.
Math: Second graders have learned the strategy of breaking apart numbers to add and subtract. We have begun to work on adding two digit numbers using the strategy of breaking numbers apart into tens and ones by using a cross number puzzle. This is a strategy that will be used for three digit addition as well as subtraction problems with large numbers. I will teach other strategies as well, but this strategy is a main focus as it connects well with the traditional algorithm that is taught in later years. We have just begun to work on subtracting two digit numbers and will continue to solidify this skill next week.
Science: We have been having so much fun learning about magnets and are sad that this unit is coming to an end. To wrap up, we explored toys that use magnets such as Wooly Willy and a Space Wheel. We are ending our unit with an engineering design challenge. Students are working in small groups to solve the problem “how can we more easily transport books from our classroom to the media center?” The only requirement is that magnets must somehow be used in the design. Students worked together to imagine, plan, create, and improve their designs.
Fundations: We are continuing to study the r controlled syllable and practiced spelling words with ir, er, and ur. This unit was challenging because all three r controlled vowels make the same sound. We practiced the strategy of spelling words in multiple ways and identifying which one looks right.
Second Step: We have learned about the strategy of using positive self talk to calm down. This is saying things to yourself like “I can do this” or “This is not a big deal”. We talked about how negative self talk can make the problem worse and can make us angrier or more upset.
Describe your design for the magnet engineer challenge. What materials did you use? How did you improve your design?
What book did you write a letter about this week? What was your opinion about the book?
How can you use a cross number puzzle to add 27 + 39?
Reading: Second graders have been working in same-book partnerships to strengthen comprehension skills and overcome common challenges while reading longer books (keeping track of characters, remembering different story lines, thinking about how the book fits together). Partners made a plan for how much to read during independent reading time and then came back together to talk about their books. Next, students formed goal clubs. Second graders chose a goal to work on related to the three main parts of the unit: reading fluently, understanding literary language, and keeping track of longer books. Second graders made a plan with their group members for how they would work towards their goal each day and then checked in and gave each other feedback. All of our work over the past few weeks has helped to set the stage for our next reading unit, Series Book Clubs.
Writing: In writer’s workshop we have continued to work on writing realistic fiction stories. We added details to our stories by writing with dialogue to show what characters are saying or thinking. Additionally, we worked to build tension in our stories by adding events that keep the reader wondering if the character will ever solve the problem. We continued to work on keeping the audience interested throughout the whole story by writing an interesting beginning and ending our stories with a lesson that the character learned. We wrapped up the unit by fancying up one of our stories.
Math: We’ve been studying geometry in math over the last several weeks. We have learned the rule that in a polygon, the number of sides equals the number of angels. The shape names we have learned are triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, and hexagons. We used several materials such as geoboards and wikki stix to create shapes before practicing drawing shapes using rulers. Second graders studied fractions and learned to identify and represent halves, thirds, and fourths. We connected this to our work with geometry and two dimensional shapes. Now we are studying three dimensional shapes. Second graders enjoyed creating models of 3D figures out of toothpicks and model magic. They also created models out of paper of five different three dimensional shapes. We have learned that faces are the flat surfaces of a 3D shape, edges are where faces connect, and vertices are where three or more edges meet.
Science: In science we've continued to explore magnets with a variety of experiments. Second graders experimented with magnets and paper clips to explore what part of a bar magnet is magnetic. Second graders discovered that the poles are where the magnet's strength comes from. We also observed the magnetic field using viewers that contained iron filings. Second grade scientists determined in another experiment that the size of a magnet does not determine its strength. Finally, second graders experimented with the law of magnetic attraction by having a magnetic car race. Be sure to ask your second grader about this activity!
Fundations : We have begun to learn about the r controlled syllable. The first two sounds we worked on were “ar” and “or”. The r changes the vowel sound slightly so it is neither a short nor long sound, which is why the syllable type is called “r controlled”
Second Step: In Second Step we have begun a new unit on Emotion Management. We have learned that when we have strong feelings, it’s hard for our brain to think. The feeling part of the brain can take over and we can lose control of the thinking part of our brain. We learned the following steps to manage strong feelings.
Thank you to the PTC for organizing our Understanding Different Abilities program. Second graders participated in four different stations to better understand deafness and hearing loss.
What was your reading goal? How did your group plan to meet the goal? Do you feel that you met your goal?
What is your "stop signal" for when you need to calm down?
What is your favorite magnet experiment you've done so far? What experiment has been the most challenging? How did you work together with your classmates in science?
Reading: Second graders have been working on identifying literary language in fiction texts. They have worked to notice language such as comparisons, alliteration, and playful language in read aloud texts and also in their independent reading. One series that has a lot of “playful” language is Amelia Bedelia. This is quite an impressive skill! Second graders are also reading with their partners in a new way- we’re meeting in same-book partnerships to prepare ourselves later to start book clubs. Second graders , together with their partner, need to decide on which book to read, decide on a stopping point for the day, then go off to their smart spot to read independently. Most recently we’ve worked on jotting down thoughts about the book to share with our partner. Second grader partnerships then worked on having a conversation about the book. We’ll continue to strengthen these conversation skills about books.
Writing: We are ready to share our nonfiction stories with you next Tuesday! You may also have noticed all nonfiction writing (except for the published story) was sent home earlier this week. We’ve started a new unit on realistic fiction. These are stories that are not true, but sound like they could have actually happened. We have worked on coming up with a small moment story, deciding on two characters (too many characters can lead to confusion for the reader), thinking of a problem and solution and strong feelings that the characters have throughout the story. It has been fun reading all of the stories so far!
Math: We have been busy learning all about graphing these past two weeks. We’ve learned about picture graphs, bar graphs, and line plots. Second graders learned how to represent data using all three of these graphs and also worked on asking and answering questions about the data. Our assessments from this unit will go home next week.
Science: In science we’ve started our unit on Magnets. We had some time to explore magnets and see how they interact with other magnets. We also tested materials to see which materials are magnetic and which materials are not magnetic. Second graders learned that magnets are attracted to some types of metal. We continue to work on writing our thoughts about our explorations in a science notebook and sharing our thinking aloud to our classmates. One big vocabulary word we are working on using is saying “attract” instead of “stick”.
Fundations: Our current unit focuses on the open syllable. Open syllables end with a vowel and have a long vowel sound such as flu or cry. We learned that y can make two different sounds “i” or “e”. In multisyllabic words sometimes the consonant needs to be doubled like in the word “puppy”.
Second Step: We have finished up our unit on bullying behavior, though these conversations are always ongoing. We continuously reinforced these steps:
We’ve discussed what to do if we encounter a bullying situations personally or if we are a “bystander” meaning that we witness a bullying situation happening to someone else. We discussed how it is always important to let a trusted adult know if you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe.
We’ve read three different books about bullying:
Howard B. Wiggle Bottom Learns about Bullies by Howard Binkow
Bully Blockers Club by Theresa Bateman
Say Something by Peggy Moss
What is one of your realistic fiction stories about?
What is your favorite type of graph to make?
How did you work cooperatively to explore magnets this week?
Dates to Remember:
January 29 at 9:00 AM: Writing Celebration
Reading: Our current reading unit is called “Bigger Books Means Amping up Reading Power”. We are currently focusing on reading fluently. We have worked on making our voice match the mood of the story and talking like the characters talk. Readers are also working on reading at a just right pace. Second graders have also begun to write in a reading journal. This will help us to take our thinking about books to the next level, by a writing paragraph response to a question that can be applied to any fiction book. We’ll continue to work on this weekly. Second graders were excited to get new reading partners for this unit!
Writing: In writing we’ve continued to work on writing nonfiction stories. Second graders learned that there are many types of nonfiction stories- all about books, how-to books, stories, that teach and question and answer books. We continued to work to keep the reader’s attention through all of these different types of stories. Now we are getting ready to publish and look forward to sharing these stories with you!
Math: Our current math unit is all about telling time. We began by talking about relationships of time such as how many seconds in a minute, days in a week, months in a year, etc...We also continued to build understanding of time by describing things that take about one minute to do or one hour to do. Second graders worked on telling the time on an analog clock first to the hour and half hour, then to ten minute intervals, and finally, to five minutes (this is the goal in second grade- time to the minute is not a second grade expectation).
Social Studies: Second graders have been working on a special project using ChromeBooks, Google Slides, and Google Earth. Second graders used Google Earth to capture images of our world, continent, country, state, and the town and address of our school. Then they used different features of Google Slides to “fancy up” their slideshows and add color. I will be sharing these projects with you as soon as they are posted onto the technology website.
Fundations: We are studying the v-e syllable. These are words with a vowel, consonant, and an e. The silent e makes the vowel say its name. We also learned how to write with this syllable type in multisyllabic words.
Second Step: We have been learning all about bullying behavior. Bullying behavior is defined as when someone is purposefully mean (with words or physical actions) to someone over and over again. When dealing with bullying we have practiced using the steps of saying in a strong, firm voice “Stop it I don’t like that”, if the behavior occurs a second time, say “Stop that or I’ll tell a teacher” and then if it happens a third time, go to a teacher. We have also talked about how some circumstances in which we feel very uncomfortable or unsafe, we need to go to a teacher immediately.
We’ll be starting a science unit on Magnets next week. As a sneak preview to this unit, the Museum of Science visited Newman school with a special program on magnets and electricity. Thank you to the PTC for funding this event!
What does it sound like when someone is reading fluently?
What was one challenge you had while creating your Google Earth Slideshow? How did you overcome this challenge?
Dates to Remember:
January 21: No School
January 29 at 9:00 AM: Writing Celebration
Reading: In reading we’ve been working on reading more than one book on the same topic. With reading partners, kids thought about how books were similar and different. They also thought about how we can retell topics by using multiple books to provide details in our retells. Now we are working on project to wrap up our unit- second graders will bring home these projects next week!
Writing: We have been thinking all about our audience in writing. As we write about nonfiction topics that we are experts on, students are keeping their audience in mind. Second graders are thinking also about how to include information with detailed descriptions and comparisons. At the beginning of a story, we are introducing our topics in an interesting way and making sure that each section also has a “hook” or a sentence to capture the reader’s attention.
Math: Our current math unit is measurement. Second graders have worked on measuring with inches, feet, and yards as well as centimeters. We’ve used rulers and yardsticks as measuring tools. We’ve also worked on converting measurements, for example, 2 feet is equal to 24 inches.
Social Studies: Since we have wrapped up our tree unit, it’s now time to study geography! Our first unit is called Me on the Map. We began by reading a book called Me on the Map which talks about our place in the world and our individual maps. We began by looking at our own home and our address. We then zoomed out and talked about our town. We discussed how some children and teachers in our class live in the town of Needham and others do not. The goal by the end of this unit is for children to identify the name of their town, state, country, and continent. Later on, we’ll study the seven continents and oceans and students will work on correctly labeling a world map.
Fundations: We have continued to study multisyllabic words and have also learned several new suffixes such as ish, ness, less, en, able.
Second Step: In Second Step we continued to work on empathy and showing compassion for others. We learned that when a classmate does something to us that hurts or upsets us, we need to figure out if it was an accident or done on purpose. We also discussed how when we hurt someone by accident (such as accidentally tripping them), we still need to apologize.
Our class enjoyed counting up all of the items to donate to the food pantry. Here are some photos of kids recording data about amounts as well as our visit to the food pantry.
Here are some pictures of second graders participating in the Hour of Code:
What is a gift of kindness? What gift have you given to a classmate? What is a gift of kindness someone has given to you?
What activity did you do with your fifth grade buddy this week?
Mrs. Hedstrom is a second grade teacher in Needham, MA.