Friday, December 20, 2013

Busy Little Elves...

The elves...I mean the students have been very busy this week. Our classroom elf continues to travel the world and report back to us about the traditions in other countries.  This week we learned about Sweden, Canada, Mexico and even here in the United States.

Canadian traditions are very similar to what we do here.  One of their customs is to bake cookies. We made a "plate" of cookies in honor of this.

To celebrate the Unites States, we made a string of Christmas lights.  All of the students put their Christmas tradition on the light and we hung them proudly in the classroom.

Our elf moved around the classroom a lot this week.  We found him under a lego bridge one day and reading the book about himself another day.

We met with our book buddies this week.  They read to us from "The World According to Humphrey" and then we made a Christmas scene that including Humphrey. Thanks Book Buddies!!

In reading this week, we learned about things we see in the sky.  In our stories this week, we learned about the big dipper, solar eclipses and how in different countries you can see different stars.  We also practiced spotting compound words and identifying the plot sequence.  The students did a great job this week writing the sequence for our story "The Hidden Sun".  

In writing this week, we started with a "four square" organizer about what I like about Christmas. Then we turned the four squares into a paragraph.  This was written on holiday paper and brought home.

Of course, this week would not be complete without making something special for the loved ones in our families.  Look for something special to come home today.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Best Wishes Always, 
Love, Mrs. Wells

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

The Christmas spirit has hit second grade.  Our elf continues to move around the classroom each night.  This morning we found him being rather patriotic.

The students have been keeping a "spy" journal to let Santa know where the elf has been each day.  He was snuggling in a stocking this week...probably to keep warm with all the snow.  He also was sitting comfortably on one of the monkeys' lap.  He is tricky!!

This week we were asked to complete a secret mission for Santa.  I can't tell you the mission...but I can tell you that the elf has been traveling around the world and bringing us back information about the Christmas customs from different countries.  We learned about the tannenbaum trees in Germany and how they put pickles on their trees.  We made some special trees in honor of Germany.

The elf then told us all about Italy.  In Italy there is a good witch called "La BeFana" who brings presents to children after Christmas, too.  We made a La BeFana and even learned some Italian words.

He then traveled to England and told us about the traditions there as well.  Did you know that they call Santa, Father Christmas.  One of the customs there is to burn a yule log so we made one of our own. 

In reading, this week we started a new unit about how the Earth's forces affect us.  We read about Isaac Newton and how seeing an apple fall off a tree inspired him to learn about gravity.  We read about magnets and how they work.  We tested gravity to see if objects that are heavier would fall to the ground faster.  We dropped a penny and a paper clip and they landed at the same time.  

In math, we did some exploring with blocks and clocks and built "nests" to help with multiplying. We learned how to draw line segments with a straightedge.  Today, we played a math concentration game with clocks.

This week was our annual Christmas concert.  It was nice to see so many aspiring singers turn out for the evening concert.  

More snow is predicted for the weekend.  Stay Safe....

Friday, December 6, 2013

Elves...Elves..Everywhere Elves!!

As I am sure you have heard....we have had an elf visitor to our classroom.  Our class named him "Dr. Jingle Bells."  He arrived and wrote a note on our board say hello to everyone.  The students "Elfed Themselves" and made elf bodies with their heads on them.  They completed an elf glyph, so it was colored in based on questions that the students answered. We all got a kick out of what the students looked as elves.  During the night, the elf decided he wanted to be hung up like the rest of the class and taped himself to the shade with the elf pictures.

The students also completed elf applications.  Maybe Santa will hire one or two of them...

This week in Math, we practiced and practiced adding.  The students were taught two different ways to add: The partial sums way and the traditional way. I think that most students were most comfortable with the traditional algorithm (as most of you are.)  They performed very well on the Unit 4 test which will be coming home next week. 

We finished up another unit in reading and started taking a Unit test.  This unit was all about animals.  Our next unit will be focusing on the Earth. This should be interesting for our students because they love science.

Next week, we will be learning all about Christmas traditions in other countries.  We will be doing fun crafts for each country as well. 

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

First and foremost, I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I definitely will be counting my blessings and one of them is to be teaching at our great school.  I am thankful for the students I teach and their families as well.  Enjoy your family time!! Here are a couple of the Thankful Trees we made last week.

This week we started a new theme in reading and our essential question was "What do we love animals?" We read several poems about different animals and discussed what the authors liked about each animal. We learned about rhyming poems and how they are different than regular stories.  We also practiced using apostrophes on possessive nouns.

This week in math we actually had a game show.  We played "Guess the Attribute Block."  First, the students were called to "COME ON DOWN" and then they were given a rule and needed to choose the correct attribute block.  The students had fun!  Next week, we will be starting to teach how to add double digit numbers.  We will be teaching the students different ways to add.  Eventually, as the students become more independent they can choose which way they are most comfortable.

Today was a day that many of us look forward to every year.  Our JDRF dances!!  First, we had the Cupid Shuffle.  Cupid even made an appearance.  Then, we had the YMCA.  (This was my favorite especially because I took part in it.)  Finally, the dance the students were waiting for, What Does the Fox Say?  Mr. B once again stole the show as the Fox.  We had a lot of fun and I think the students will remember it for a long time.

Have a great long weekend!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Walk for a Cause

This week we participated in our annual JDRF walk.  Our school was able to raise over $1500 for juvenile diabetes.  That's amazing.  We had a great time listening to music while exercising our bodies.

Our essential question this week was "How are offspring like their parents?"  We read several stories about animals and their offspring.  Of course, my favorite was the story about the gorillas and their babies.  We read about elephants, penguins, eagles, wolves and bears.  The students were enthusiastic while learning some interesting information.

We took another math fact timed test.  Every student improved their scores from September.  Great job, class!!  These will be coming home next week to be signed although many of you will be seeing them at conference.

We read a book about the girl who saved Thanksgiving.  Then we created "Thankful Trees."  The students drew trees and wrote on the leaves things they are thankful for.  They are displayed in the hall for you to see when you come in for your conference.

Speaking of conference...I look forward to seeing all of you and discussing your child's academic progress.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Animal Habitats

This week our essential question was "What are features of different animal habitats?"  We read several stories about different types of homes for different animals.  We learned about coral reef.  Did you know that it takes one year for the coral reef to grow one inch?

We read about prairie dogs and also sea turtles, too.

We finished up Unit 3 in math this week.  The math test will be coming home on Monday for you to review, sign and return.  In Unit 4, addition and subtraction number stories will be used to develop mental arithmetic skills.  We will be solving number stories, reading and showing temperatures on a thermometer, and working on strategies for adding 2 and 3-digit numbers.

The students have been busy writing their How-To stories.  We read some stories together to discover how these types of stories are written.  Some of our How-To topics are:  How To Draw a Snowman, How To Draw a Cat and of course, How To Make a Rainbow Loom bracelet.

In Social Studies, we started the week by learning about Veteran's Day and how it started and why we celebrate that day. Then, we began learning about different geographic features.  Ask your child if they can name any.  Which features can be found in our community?  We took a science test on Balance and Motion.  Next week we will be talking about the Thanksgiving holiday and doing some fun activities after hearing some stories about it.

You should have received your child's password to the Wonders Student Center.  You will find that this website useful and informative.

Next week is our annual JDRF walk.  Please keep sending in your change to raise money for this cause. If we raise enough money, some of the teachers will be doing dances to entertain the students....

Have a nice weekend.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween

First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween and thank those of you who came by to visit the Wells Cemetery.  My husband and I had a great night and were happy to see so many familiar faces.  In case you missed it, here's what I looked like.

A special thanks to the parents who came in for the Halloween party.  I really appreciate your help in making the party a fun time for the class!!  Thanks to the parents who came out to the parade as well.  The students love seeing people as they are parading their great costumes. 

This week we began to discuss the genre: fables.  We read several stories with a lesson at the end.  One of the stories we read was called "The Fox and the Crane."  In this story, the fox invites the crane over for dinner but does not want to share any of his food with her.  He serves the food in a bowl that Crane cannot eat from.

Crane knowing that she had been tricked invites Fox over for dinner and serves the food in a jar that Fox cannot eat from.

The moral or lesson of the story was:  Do not try to trick others because they may turn around and trick you back.

Our spelling words this week had long u and short u.  We also practiced using commas in a series and recognizing nouns, both singular and plural.  

In writing, we wrote the steps of How To Paint a Pumpkin.  Then using the steps the students got to paint their pumpkins.  

We wrapped up our Balance and Motion Unit in science.  Our final lesson was the runway challenge.  As a class, we designed runways that had loops, curves and hills.  The students discovered ways to make the challenges work.  Great Job, students!!

Also, this week we met with our 6th Grade book buddies again to design a costume for Humphrey the Hamster.  We had some creative costume winners.  

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Humphrey's Cage

This week we started reading our school book The World According to Humphrey.  We met with our book buddies who read to us from the book.  Then after hearing a description of Humphrey's cage, we drew what we thought the inside of Humphrey's cage looked like...with the help of our 6th grade book buddies.

This week our big question was "How do animals survive?", we heard a story about animals in the swamp and made some predictions about the story.  We used our "treasure chests" or background knowledge to make the predictions.  We also read a story called "A Visit to the Desert" about a boy who goes to visit his grandmother and learns about animals that live in the desert.  Today we started reading about a few puppies that are training to be sled dogs.  We will be finishing that story next week...

Our spelling words this week have used short and long "o".  We learned about nouns.  We did some practice during our Daily 5 identifying person, place and thing.

In math, we continue to practice our facts.  This week fact triangles came home for you to use at home. Please encourage your child to practice facts.  We want to improve our "fact power."  We had an assessment on Unit 2 which will be coming home next week.  Next week we will begin Unit 3.  In Unit 3, we will be practicing with time and money.  These are skills that could also be practiced at home as well.

The students shared with each other the personal narratives that they wrote.  This week we started discussing writing a procedural text.  We brainstormed some ideas that the students felt they were experts in and could write a Hoe-To book about.  As a class, we wrote a "How-To Make a Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwich."  Next week we will use the materials and try to create the sandwich together to see how well we gave instructions.

In social studies, we continue to discuss maps and how they are helpful.  This week we practiced using a map grid and coordinates.  In science, we are wrapping up our balance and motion unit.  We had some fun rolling marbles on our ramps and trying to meet certain challenges.  

The Halloween parade is Thursday at 1:45.  Hope to see many of you there...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ugly Pumpkin

This week we did one of my favorite projects...Ugly Pumpkin.  We read a book called The Ugly Pumpkin.

In the book, the ugly pumpkin does not get included with the other pumpkins because it looks different from the others.  At the end of the book, it turns out he is a squash and finds a group of squash to fit in with.  We then created our own ugly pumpkins.

This week our big question in reading was "What happens when families work together?"  We read several stories about different families and how they work together.  We talked about how some families have different chores and how some even swap chores with each other.  Our spelling words and phonics practice included long and short i.  Thank you for your help in getting your child to complete the homework every night.  We continue to read books independently and add leaves to our hallway tree.  Good job students!!  Our trees is beginning to look like a fall tree.  Thanks again to Mrs. Moran our awesome art teacher who created our tree for the hallway!!

In math, we learned different ways to name a number and played a game called Name that Number. This game can easily be played at home with a regular deck of cards.  We also created Haunted Fact Family Houses.  Each house has three facts in the window and then the fact family inside the doors. 

In social studies, we began a unit on map skills.  We started out the unit by trying to find a "treasure" in the classroom.  What we found that without a map it was impossible to find.  We then created a map of the classroom and marked the spot where the treasure could be found and everyone got to share in the treasure.

We are still working on motion in science.  This week made more twirly birds and then introduced one of the elements of rolling....wheels and axles.

We are still reading the book "The Witches".  In keeping with this theme, our door is now decorated for the season. 

Have a great weekend....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fire Prevention Week

This week in honor of Fire Prevention Week, we had a visit from some of our local firefighters and the fire truck.  The students were shown what the firemen looked like when dressed in all of their gear.  They even got to hear their "Darth Vader" voice.  They got a tour of the fire truck and all of the special tools and equipment.

If you haven't been in school to see the display that our custodian put together...check it out.

We continue to work on our "fact power" in math.  We learned several shortcuts like adding 0 and 1 and 9.  The students have been working diligently to improve their fact scores.  I'm so proud of the progress they have made.  Of course, there are many ways to practice at home.  Flash cards can be purchased inexpensively and you can play math games, such as Top-It, which can be played with a regular deck of cards. Ask your child how to play...

This week our big question was "How do people take care of pets?' We read a story about different kinds of veterinarians.  

We practiced asking and answering questions when reading.  We looked for key details in the story. These are strategies that you can help your child do at home when reading.  We read other non-fiction narratives about how a boy takes care of his horse and how a girl became friends with a rhinoceros.

You probably are aware (since they brought them home) of what we did this week in science.  Yes, we make twirly birds.  The students had a great time outside making their twirly birds spin.  This was in conjunction of our motion unit in spinning.  We finished up our 3 communities unit in social studies.  Believe it or not, the students in this class voted on which community they would like to live in: a rural, urban or suburban, and the majority choose to live in a rural community.

In writing, we have been practicing writing a personal narrative.  We have been going over different elements and trying to add them into our writing.

It seems like fall is finally here.  Keep in mind that the weather changes throughout the day, therefore, it is helpful if the students have a light jacket to wear at recess or other times that we go outside.  Also, please make sure your child is appropriately dressed on gym days with the proper shoes.  We have gym on Monday and Wednesday.  If they do not have proper shoes, they are usually not permitted to participate....and that's no fun. 

Please enjoy the long weekend ahead and have some quality family time.  See you soon!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

One School, One Book

This week we launched our One School, One Book initiative.  We had a visit from the author and illustrator, Lee Harper.  Lee is a Pitman native and has written and illustrated several books including my favorite:

Mr. Harper even signed a special copy given to me by a generous parent.  Thank you!!  During the assembly, Mr. Harper showed the students how to draw one of his beloved characters, a turkey.  Here are a couple of our drawings: 

He also showed them how to draw the main character of the book we will be reading together as a school.  Can you guess what it is? 

Did you guess a hamster? Well then you would have been correct.  The book that we will be reading together as a school is The World According to Humphrey

You should have received a letter home telling about the book.  We will be doing fun activities with our book buddies from 6-Gloeckner throughout the year.

So this week in reading our big question was "How can a pet be an important friend?"  We read stories about special pets.  We listened to a story about a police officer and how her special partner, Echo was missing.  We also read a story about a boy who went to the animal shelter to get a dog. That dog became a special friend to him.  Our favorite story of the week was "Not Norman."  Norman was a goldfish and a boy got him as a present for his birthday.  The boy did not think in the beginning of the story that having a goldfish for a pet was fun.  By the end of the story, the boy realizes that he has a special pet and friend in Norman. 

This week we started writing personal narratives.  I used the analogy of a watermelon and a seed to talk about writing a small moment.  We want to focus on a seed topic, just a small portion of time. We talked about how the story should be written the same way you would tell the story.  We also practiced uses a "catchy lead" so that we can HOOK the reader. 

You should have seen and signed the first end of unit test in math.  The first test was basically all review.  We have started focusing more on addition facts this week.  We practiced writing and reading addition number stories.  We played several math games to help us get "fact power".

In social studies, we are still talking about communities.  We began to look and the three kinds of communities:  urban, suburban and rural.  We saw photos of the different communities and talked about the characteristics as well.  This week in science we had a lot of fun.  We made designs for tops and then spun them to see what would happen.  We also made zoomers.  Some of us had trouble getting our zoomers to work...but we still had fun.

Today we started our Footprints program.  You will be receiving a letter home to explain the program.  The children have a good time learning about the program especially since there are puppets involved.  

We also had a guidance lesson today with Mrs. Fletcher.  She came in to talk about respect and how next week is "Week of Repect." We have special things planned for this week.  Click here to see what to do each day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

How Do Friends Depend on Each Other

This week in reading our questions was:  How do friends depend on each other?  We listened to a story about a New Kid and how she met a friend who made her feel better about starting at a new school.  We also read a story called Help.  This story was about a snake helped a mouse out of a tough situation.  Our stories this week were all fantasies.  We know this because many of the characters were animals and they talked to each other.  We practiced making pictures in our heads while reading.  We also reviewed our first vocabulary words and spelling words.

In math, we continued reviewing skills from last year.  We talked about how to work in groups and play games with a partner.  We played a few math games that can be easily played at home.  One of the games was played with 10 pennies and a small plate.  Take some pennies and place under plate and the rest on top of the plate.  Then the child must figure out how many pennies are under the plate.  This game helps the students to learn their 10 facts.

We finished up our first unit is social studies about communities. The students should now be familiar with what kinds of homes are in a community, where you can work in a community and places to play in a community.

In science, we continued to learn about balance.  We actually balanced a pencil tip onto a craft stick. Ask your child about it!! It was a lot of fun.  We had a few students who were able to figure it our with out any help from me.  Good job!

Several of the students participated in the summer reading activity.  These students got to play a fun game at the end of the day today!!  Soar to new heights and...READ!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

So nice to you see you...

It was so nice to see many of you at Back to School night on Thursday.  We have a great community with such great parent support.  I encourage you to continue to participate in your child's education.  I hope you received valuable information at Back to School night.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions that may arise.

We had a great week.  So far all of the monkeys have remained in the green this week.

This week we started slowly introducing our Daily 5.  The students jumped right in since they were familiar with the routines from last year.  We also started our new reading program.  Our theme of the week was "What makes us special?"  We read the story of "The Lion and the Mouse".  We learned how even a small little mouse can help a big, fierce lion.  We also read a story about two second graders with extra talents. Lai May is a talented pianist and Marcos Estrella an actor who has won awards.

We also practiced using short and long vowels sounds. We blended words using the vowels and spelled words as well.

In math, we reviewed some of the skills that were learned last year. The students were reminded of the math routine.  We start every day with a Math Message.  We reviewed the tools used during math.

In science, we began to talk to about balance.  Can you believe we balanced a crayfish on our fingertip?  During Social Studies, we began to talk about communities.  In honor of September 11, we talked about how we love our country and made hearts to show this.

Of course, we had to do some fun activities as well.  We read "How Full is Your Bucket?" and created our own personal bucket filler.

We also read a book called "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."  We then shared (on a suitcase) one thing we did on our summer vacation.

I am looking forward to the cooler fall temperatures.  I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Mrs. Wells

Friday, September 6, 2013

Our First Week of School.......

We had an exciting couple of days.  The students and I are getting to know each other. On the first day, the students entered and were shown around the room.  All of the classroom jobs were explained and demonstrated if necessary. 

We, as a class, came up with the rules for the classroom.  The rules are as follows:
1.  Respect
2.  Be Kind to Others
3. Follow Directions
4.  Raise Your Hand
5.  Always Try Your Best
We read one of my favorite books, First Day Jitters.  We then had some "jitter juice" to help us to get the jitters out.  14 out of the 17 students liked the "jitter juice."  

The students wrote a reason they think second grade is going to be super. They drew pictures, too.  Some of the reasons are:  You get to have lunch with the teacher, We do lots of arts and crafts, We get to read books, We like gym class, etc.

On Friday, we talked about ways to be a great student. Some of the students demonstrated the right way and the wrong way!!

We also read the book "How Full is Your Bucket"

We talked about what bucket filling looks like and what bucket dipping looks like...ask your child about it.  It is really a great concept and the students understand the meaning.  We began working on a self-portrait of a bucket filler which will be available for you to see at Back to School Night on September 12.  

Finally, our last activity of the day was our "Soar to new heights...READ" assembly.  At the assembly, Mrs. Lizza explained our new school wide theme...reading.  We got to see a slide show of my of the staff members reading in all different places.  We also got to meet our book buddies. Our book buddy class is 6-Gloeckner.  We will be meeting with them often to do some fun planned activities.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  See you next week!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome Back to School

Welcome to Second Grade and to 2-Wells.  I am so excited to start another school year.  The classroom is ready to be filled with a new batch of eager students.  I can't wait to meet all of the students.  Here are some pictures of the classroom for you to see.....See you soon!!