Friday, December 18, 2015

Dec. 18th

Dear Families,
It is hard to believe that we are approaching our winter break. It is amazing how quickly the beginning of the year goes! Please be aware that there is no school from Wednesday 12/23 through Friday 1/1. All students will return to school on Monday, January 4th.

Here is a recap of what we've worked on these past couple of weeks:

Reading
Reading groups worked on a summative project - this is the "big learning" in which students can show their understanding and application of the essential learning targets. Readers showed us that they understand story elements and the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when and why) of fictional stories. We will move on to nonfiction texts in mid-January. Students will learn how to use text features (i.e. glossary, index, table of contents, etc.) to locate facts and information. You can give your children a head start on this learning goal by reading nonfiction texts at home.

Writing
Students spent an incredible amount of time writing and illustrating The Important Things About My Family. These books are designed to be gifts for you this holiday season. Students designed the front and back covers, wrote several pages of text and a poem for the book. They will bring these home to you next week. They truly did their best work for these books - I know you will enjoy them very much!

Math
Students continued to learn about grouping and skip counting by 2s, 5s and 10s. They looked for patterns and rules in these sequences. We used our knowledge of grouping to solve word problems about arms, legs, fingers and toes. Students had to decide what type of grouping would make sense to solve the problem efficiently. For example: "There were 34 ears at the lunch table. How many people were there?"

We revisited coins and coin equivalencies with a game called "Collect 50 cents." Partners had to roll two dice and collect coins to match the roll. They traded in coins as they went along. The game was over when both partners collected 50 cents. Students have a solid understanding of coin names and values. Our next goal is to understand coin equivalencies and counting coins to find the total.

Junior Achievement
Mr. McHugh visited Thursday to teach our final lesson. The students learned how money "moves" using a song and posters depicting different "stops" money makes as it travels through the community including businesses, banks and the U.S. Mint. We are very grateful to Mr. McHugh and the Junior Achievement program for a wonderful experience!

A Note About Homework
Students are not bringing home their homework folders today. Instead, they will bring them home on Tuesday with a special 100 Minute Reading Club recording sheet for vacation. There will be no spelling words or spelling homework sent home until after they return from vacation.


Enjoy your winter break!

Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dec. 4th

Reading
Reading groups read new books and used these to retell major events in order and identify character and setting. These are learning targets that can be worked on at home, too. When your child finishes a book at home, ask them to tell or write what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story. They should be able to name the characters and setting as they are retelling.

Writing
Writers engaged in a special writing project that encompassed the full writing process. We used the story Someday to inspire our own stories of something wonderful we would like to do "someday." Students wrote a first draft, edited their drafts and rewrote a final copy. These are important skills that we will continue to practice as the year goes on.

Math
We continued our work with story problems this week. In addition, students began learning about even and odd numbers. By introducing the concept using a "Partners and Teams" analogy, students could see how even numbers meant everyone had a partner or groups could be divided into equal teams. We looked at even and odd numbers on the 100 grid and saw many patterns. The even numbers all had 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 in the ones place and the odd numbers had 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 in the ones place.

Social Studies 
We learned about goods and services in our community. We defined a "good" as something that somebody makes or prepares that you can buy. A "service" is something that somebody does for you. We looked at a community map and found different goods and services offered by various businesses. Some examples of goods include: jewelry, cupcakes, books and cat food. Examples of services in our community include: carwash, visit to the dentist, protection by police officers. The students have a solid understanding of these concepts!

Reminders

  • There is an Early Release on Wednesday, Dec. 9th.
  • Students are bringing home new spelling words today. There is a December spelling homework sheet for you to use with your child to practice the spelling words. Enjoy!


Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet




Friday, November 20, 2015

Nov. 20th

Reading
Reading groups are focused on retelling the beginning, middle and ending of stories. We are working on decoding strategies to figure out unknown words and building our fluency through repeated readings of familiar texts.

Grammar
We have spent lots of time learning about three parts of speech: nouns, verbs and adjectives. We have listened for examples of each in stories, sorted parts of speech and built silly sentences. You can ask your child to tell you about each of these parts of speech. They should be able to identify examples within their books at home!

Writing
Authors have been very engaged in the writing process. We have written stories about likes/dislikes and pets this week. In December, we will focus on taking a writing piece all the way through the process by editing and finalizing a couple of different pieces.

Math
Students are using combinations they know to solve number strings. For example, a number string can look like this: 4+3+6+3 = ?
They should be able to see a doubles combination (3+3=6) and a combination of 10 (4+6=10). By figuring out these known combinations first, they should be able to efficiently solve the number string. You can help your child practice this learning goal with a deck of cards - ask them to turn over 3 or more cards and add them using combinations they know!

We have revisited addition and subtraction story problems. Students should be able to read a story problem and tell it again in their own words. They should be able to say if the problem is asking for addition or subtraction. Then, they should be able to solve the problem and explain how they arrived at their answer. Strategies for solving story problems can include: drawing pictures, making tally marks, using place value (tens and ones) and counting forward or backward. There are many steps involved but they are getting the hang of it!

Social Studies & Junior Achievement
We have begun a new social studies unit on Communities & Community Helpers. We have begun by defining "community" and talking about our neighborhood and school communities. We have identified important landmarks and places in our South Portland community and helpful people at those places. Students created All-Star Helper cards for important members of our community including teachers, custodians, bankers, police officers and taxi drivers. All of these people have jobs that help us in some way.

Mr. Brian McHugh is visiting us each Thursday for the next several weeks. He comes to us through the Junior Achievement program. The focus of his lessons revolve around community, business and saving money. As you can see, it ties in nicely to our social studies unit.

Important Dates
  • Tuesday, November 24th is an Early Release day
  • There is No School on Wednesday (11/25), Thursday (11/26), or Friday (11/27)


An important note about homework:
There is no spelling homework for the next few weeks. Students will be given a spelling assessment the week after Thanksgiving so I can have an updated spelling profile for each child for the second trimester. Students will receive new sets of spelling words in December. Please continue to have your child read at home because we will still send home the "100 Minute Reading Club" homework! In addition, there is a blue sheet titled "Ideas" coming home today. This is for parents or adult family members to fill out. This sheet will help your child complete an important writing project in December. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 6th

Reading

  • Second grade reading groups have begun! All second graders have been placed into flexible reading groups (this means students can move between groups as needed based on their individual reading goals). Students will receive 45 minutes of targeted reading instruction at their reading levels each day. The focus for all reading groups at this point is to work on telling beginning, middle and ending events of a story in order.
  • We read picture books titled Possum's Harvest Moon and Frederick and used these to discuss the who, what, where, when and why of a story.

Writing

  • Our focus this week  was "adding more" to our stories by rereading and including important details. Writers had fun telling about a fantasy trip they would like to take. 
  • We are also focusing on using punctuation at the end of sentences. They even helped me with punctuation in our morning messages!

Math
  • We wrapped up our geometry unit this week. Students did a wonderful job sorting and comparing 2D and 3D shapes. They became experts on building and describing rectangles as well!
  • We reviewed fact families - a fact family is a group of numbers related through addition and subtraction. For example: 3, 5 8. Ask your child to show you the equations that go with this family.
  • We spent lots of time practicing addition and subtraction facts with single digit numbers. 

Science

  • We wrapped up our Insects & Spiders unit with a presentation by Phil Gavin from the Honey Exchange. He taught the second graders all about honeybees and even brought a beehive and two varieties of honey for students to sample. They really enjoyed his presentation!


Upcoming Events
  • We will begin a social studies unit on Communities next week.
  • There is no school on Wednesday, November 11th as we observe Veteran's Day.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet


Friday, October 23, 2015

Oct. 23rd

Literacy
  • We are in full swing with our spelling program. Your child will bring home a list of 10 words (plus 5 second grade "core" words) each Friday in their Homework Folders. Please help them practice their spelling words at home. You will find lots of ideas to practice spelling on the back of the "100 Minute Reading Club" sheet.
  • Readers have been busy at work reviewing decoding strategies, retelling stories and reading aloud in groups. Students use their leveled reading books for word work and repeated reading to build fluency.
  • Our shared readings this week focused on telling the "who, what, where, when and why" of a story. We worked together to identify these important key details of two books and then students created a story flag based on one of the books. 
Math
  • Students continued to practice Combinations of 10 facts. 
  • They described, drew and sorted 2-D and 3-D shapes.
  • They were introduced to quadrilaterals (any shape with 4 sides and 4 angles) and a more formal definition of rectangles (a quadrilateral with 4 right angles). They also learned that a square was a special kind of rectangle and they found that very surprising!

Community Meeting
  • Second grade shared insect and spider facts at our Skillin community meeting on Tuesday.

Science
  • We learned facts about spiders and compared/contrasted spiders and insects.
  • A beekeeper will visit second grade next week!

Thank you for reading,
Mrs. Bradstreet




Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 8th

Hello Families,
We are really into the swing of second grade now! Here are a few of the important things we've covered these past couple of weeks...

Literacy
  • We explored nonfiction text features in insect-themed books.
  • We practiced identifying story elements including main character, problem, solution and sequence of major events.
  • We continued our spelling program with -all/-ell/-ill word sorting and other related spelling activities.
  • We continued to get ideas for writing by making lists. We also used "sound" words in our writing to make it more interesting and fun to read.
Math
  • We practiced combinations of ten with card games such as Tens Go Fish and Make 10.
  •  Students cut their own sets of addition combination cards to keep for practice with fact fluency.
  •  We learned how to find important information in story problems and how to solve them.
  •  We reviewed doubles facts (2+2=4, 4+4=8, etc.) and played card games to practice these facts.
Science
Several butterflies have emerged from chrysalises these past couple of weeks! The students were so excited to see a life cycle in action. We created a Butterfly Life Cycle book to go along with our observations. Students were able to feel the chrysalis once the butterfly emerged. We will wrap up our insect study soon and move on to spiders (your child should be able to tell you why a spider is not an insect!)

Special Events
Kindergarten Book Buddies - we will meet with Miss Anton's Kindergarten class on Friday afternoons this school year. This is an important time for the students to build peer relationships within the school community as well as encourage the second graders to set positive examples for the younger students. I know they will look forward to this time each week!

Peace Assembly - the school gathered together on Tuesday to celebrate International Peace Day. Each student decorated a peace flag and placed it outside. We reflected on ways we can show peaceful behavior at school and home.

Chewonki - The students were treated to a special presentation on Mammals. They helped classify Maine mammals in a few different ways. We even got to see a living brown bat! Ask your child to tell you all about it.


Announcements
  • No School for students on Friday, October 9th (staff in-service)
  • No School on Monday, October 12th (Columbus Day)
  • Parent-Teacher conferences have been scheduled and confirmation notices have been sent home. I look forward to sitting down with you to set goals for your child's second grade year.


Sincerely,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sept. 25

Dear Families,
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our academic open house. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of your child's quality work and participating in math and science activities. We have really dug into some more in-depth learning over the past couple of weeks. Here are some highlights:

Spelling
We began our spelling program this week. Students will receive spelling instruction in small groups, based on their own "spelling profiles." The focus of this program is to identify patterns in words through word sorting and other related activities. Repeated practice with sorting helps students develop automaticity with their spelling words. This week, all students focused on contractions.

Reading Workshop
This is an important time of the day when students are working independently in centers while I work with guided reading groups. This week was only a practice round of centers to ensure students knew what was expected of them. They practiced working independently and quietly. I think they will find this to be an enjoyable time of day! Centers include a variety of hands-on learning experiences including creation stationpuzzles & games and computers. Ask your child to tell you what his/her favorite center is!

Shared Reading
We read The Little Red Hen and the Ear of Wheat and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse and used them to recall important events that happened in the beginning, middle and end - an important skill all good readers can do!

Writing Workshop
Students learned how to sketch as a method of getting ideas for writing. They practiced sketching and turning those sketches into interesting stories.

Math
We worked a lot with coins this week! Students observed and described each coin and practiced naming and saying the value of each. Your child will need to know the names and values of all coins so please help them practice at home. We explored coin equivalencies with a game called "Collect 25 cents" where students had to roll a die, collect pennies and eventually trade pennies in for other  coins.

Students practiced some in-depth mathematical thinking through an activity called "Enough for the Class?" They were given a bag with a number of cubes inside. They had to use strategies to determine if there was enough cubes in the bag for each child in class to have one. Then, they had to decide if there were any leftover cubes, or if we needed more. It required a lot of heavy thinking but they did well!

Science
Students explored the question: What makes an insect?
They know that an insect must have 6 legs and 3 body parts (head, thorax, abdomen). They created an insect-mini book that helped them identify these body parts.
We are also patiently awaiting the arrival of our butterflies. We have several healthy chrysalises in our classroom. We expect to see the final stage of the butterfly life cycle sometime next week!

Announcements
Parent-Teacher Conference sign-up sheets are coming home today in your child's homework folder. Please fill it out and send it back in as soon as you can. Times will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. You will also need to fill in the goal-setting sheet that accompanies it.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sept. 8 - Sept. 11

Hooray for finishing our first week of second grade! We spent lots of time getting to know each other, practicing respectful listening and creating a set of classroom rules. Here is a quick rundown of some of our highlights:

  • We held a daily Morning Meeting beginning on the first day of school. The students learned two greetings and read daily morning messages. We will add a sharing component to our meeting next week. This provides us with a good foundation for building a strong classroom community.
  • We practiced procedures such as lining up, walking in the hallway and fire drills. 
  • We created a chart of classroom rules. These will be the guiding expectations in everything we do this year. The rules will be reviewed and reinforced often.
  • We read many school-themed stories such as If You Take a Mouse to School, Chrysanthemum and Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes.
  • We decorated our big bulletin board with a special project. Students reflected on their summer and made goals for second grade. You will see these during open house!
  • In math, we began calendar routines, "played" with the 100 grid and explored important math tools such as pattern blocks and geoboards.
Our Specials:
Monday - P.E. (please wear sneakers)
Wednesday - Music
Thursday - Art
Friday - Library (remember to return your books)

We will also have computer and kindergarten book buddies each week.

Thank you for a great week!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Bradstreet