Friday, December 19, 2014

It's That Time of the Year

It's that very busy time of the year.  We have been really busy in second grade preparing for the upcoming holiday while still learning.

Our essential question this week was "How do the Earth's forces affect us?" We read about gravity and how it works.  We also learned about friction.  Did you know that longer grass will provide more friction and on a soccer ball and slow it down more than shorter grass?

In math we finally started adding two digit numbers.  We started by first using a number grid and then by using base-10 blocks.  Then we moved on to the "old way". The students must get in the habit of adding from the ones place first.  We started with problems that have no regrouping (or carrying as many of you are familiar with).  Again I will say how important it is for the students to know their facts.  They are practicing daily and have improved by leaps and bounds.  So far, two digit addition is a snap!!  Great job, class!!

This week our elf was a very busy traveler.  He traveled to several countries.  He went to Holland, Sweden and the United States.  In honor of Holland, we created our version of wooden shoes.

We wrote about our family Christmas traditions for the United States and strung them as lights.

After all that travel, our elf, Peppermint, needed a good rest.  Here he is hanging with the Phillie Phanatic.  

Only two more days left until break.... I hope you all have a Healthy and Happy Holiday and spend quality time together over our long Christmas break.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Where in the world is...Peppermint?

Our elf, Peppermint has been busy at night traveling around the world.  This week he traveled to England and Italy.  We learned about Christmas traditions in each of these countries.  In Italy, they believe that a good witch named, La Befana, brings gifts for children.

In England, one of the traditions is that a yule log is burnt in the fireplace and decorated.

We have found Peppermint is some funny places this week too.  

In math this week we are preparing to add and subtract 2 digit numbers.  We started by adding and subtracting 10.  We practiced changing the tens place value when adding and subtracting.  Then we moved on to adding and subtracting 100.  Next week we will begin adding 2 digit numbers using a number grid and base 10 blocks before learning the traditional addition algorithm.

Our essential question is reading this week was "What do we love about animals?"  We read several poems about animals and discussed what the author of the poem loves about that animal.  In one of the poems, the boy had a pet crocodile and he loved him so much that he wanted to keep him in his bathtub when he grows too big.

This week the students all entered a school wide writing contest.  This year our school reading theme is "One School One Author."  Our featured author this year is Patricia Polacco.  We have read several of her books throughtout this year.  In the writing contest, the students were asked to write about their favorite Patricia Polacco book.  Winners of the contest will be announced at an assembly on December 23.

Today was our annual Christmas concert.  The second graders have been practicing their songs every day and sounded great singing at the concert.  I hope you all got a chance to come out to our concert on Thursday night.

Did you see the snow????

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Elf has Arrived...

Every year my classroom gets a visit from a special elf.  This year is no acception.  Our classroom elf arrived on Monday with a top secret mission.  Apparently, Santa is clumsy and has spilled his hot cocoa on some of his important files.  He needs our elf to fly around to different countries and then report back to him the Christmas tradition from that country.  So far, our elf has traveled to Germany. When he arrived back to our classroom he gave us some informatio about Germany.  Did you know that in Germany, they put a pickle on their tree and the first child to find the pickle receives a special present.  In honor of Germany, we made special Christmas trees.
Of course, as elves can be, he was up to a little mischief as well...
My two granddaughters

This week in reading our essential question was "How are offspring like their parents?"  We read all about different animal families.  Parent wolves have to chew food for their yound and then spit it in their mouths...ewww!  We learned about penquins and gorillas and eagles and how they take care of their young.

To go along with our elf theme this week, each student wrote an opinion piece about why he or she should be Santa's head elf.  Some of the reasons were:  I am good at using tools, I am a good leader, I will help take care of the reindeer and many other creative ideas. 

And lastly along with the elf theme, we have a new classroom door.  Thanks Pinterest for all the fun ideas out there and also Mrs. Pitzo who helped get it together.

Have a great weekend...stay dry!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Walking for a Good Cause

This week we participated in our annual JDRF walk.  It was a cold, brisk day but that didn't deter us from our cause.  Our small school was able to raise over $1,600.  That's amazing! We also earned enough money in the jars for the much anticipated teacher dances.  I am sure you will be hearing all about them next week.

This week in reading our essential question was, "What are features of different animal habitats?"  We read a story about the coral reef.  Did you know it takes an entire year for the coral reef to grow one inch?  We also read a story about a sea turtle's life and how one of the biggest predators to them are people.

In math, we started practicing subtraction facts and discussed different strategies to help with subtraction.  These basic math skills are going to be essential for the students because soon they will begin adding and subtracting two and three digit numbers.

The students had a fun time this week in writing.  We discussed what a "How-To" story looks like and what should be included in a how-to.  Their topic this week was "How To Help a Turkey Escape from Thanksgiving Dinner."  There were some interesting ideas how to help the turkey including disguising the turkey, distracting the family and even using a baseball bat on the family. OUCH!! Then the students made their turkey running from dinner.

In science, we watched a Bill Nye science video about motion.  We continued to learn about land features in social studies.  We created a poster with the different land features we have learned.

Finally, this week was parent visitation day.  Thank you to the parents who were able to attend.  I hope you enjoyed your visit.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2014


This week in reading our essential question was "What can animals in stories teach us?"  We read several fables and learned some valuable lessons from these stories.  We read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and the Chinese version "Wolf! Wolf!"  Some of the lessons we learned this week were: don't be greedy, don't lie because no one will believe you when you tell the truth, and sometimes a plan is easier said than done.

In math our focus has been on math facts.  We discussed several strategies to help with learning math facts.  We practiced our doubles facts and learned a double +1 and double -1 strategy to help.  Keep in mind you can always practice facts at home with flashcards or even interactive games that can be found on the internet.  

In writing this week, we wrote about a fun topic.  What would happen if you woke up one day and you were a turkey?  I started the lesson by writing my own story.  In my story, I still decided to come to school and teach as a turkey.  This was a fun assignment and the students were very creative with their writing. 

We are winding down to the end of our balance and motion unit in science so we did some review activities.  We reviewed balance and even watched a video of the recent tightrope walk in Chicago by Nic Wallenda.  We reviewed force and push and pull.

In social studies, we finished up our unit on maps and began a unit on geography and landforms.  We will continue to talk about land features such as lakes, oceans, deserts, etc. next week.  

Please remember that conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday of next week and Monday and Tuesday of the following week.  Therefore, we will be half days for students.

Also, keep sending in change for our JDRF fundraiser,  We have a couple exciting dances planned if we can raise $300 in the change jars.  

Have a nice weekend.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Today is my favorite day of the year.  The school is filled with ghosts and goblins (and a lot of Anas and Elsas).  We are looking forward to our annual Halloween parade and party.

This week we had our final math assessment on Unit 1.  Overall, the class performed very well. Things to practice at home are skip counting and saying numbers.  We will be moving on to practicing our math facts.  The new unit begins with addition facts.  Please keep in mind that every night when math homework is sent home there should be a sheet of classwork with it.  The homework is almost identical to the classwork so therefore it should be helpful in figuring out the homework.

We also started a new unit in reading all about animals.  This week we focused on how animals adapt to survive.  We read stories about several animals and the different ways in which they adapt.  Did you know meerkats burrow in tunnels to stay cool in the warmer temperatures?

We went to the computer lab and we researched three facts about an animal that helps it adapt.  Then the students each created a poster about their animal.

This week in science the students were given a challenge to create a roller coaster with our runways and marbles.  The students were asked to create hills and loops in their roller coaster.  The students had a great time and were all able to complete the challenge.  They began to figure out how high the beginning of the roller should have been and how to manipulate the runway to achieve their goal.

In social studies we continued working on our map unit.  We began using a map grid and coordinates. We also discussed a compass rose and its purpose.

Lastly, this week we had a JDRF assembly about juvenile diabetes.  This is a fundraiser we have done successfully over the past few years and are excited again to be a part of it.  Of course the best part is the teacher dances that follow our fund drive.  The dances have yet to be announced but I am sure we will a sight to see as always.  Remember to send in change for the students to add to the jars!!!

Hang is there......

Friday, October 24, 2014

What is your best Halloween costume?

This week the second graders started opinion writing.  They were given the topic of "Best Halloween Costume" and "Best Halloween Candy."  Each student was required to support their opinion with four reasons. There were some interesting costumes with some great drawings.  I think the overall winner for candy was Reese Peanut Butter Cups (that's mine too).

We reviewed in reading this week to prepare for the Unit Assessment that was given over two days, Thursday and Friday.  The students were asked to read a story and answer several question both muliple choice and short answer.  Next week we will start a new unit in reading with a focus on animals.

We also finished our first unit in math about Place Value.  We will be reivewing on Monday the skills we have been learning and have an assessment on Tueday. Then we will be starting on our next unit which focuses on math facts, addition and subtraction.  

In social studies, we started learning about maps.  Mrs, Selby, our computer teacher, came into our classroom and showed us all about Google maps.  She even played a fun game where the students had to trace a route on a map on the smartboard.  

To continue with the motion portion of our science unit, the students were given ramps and cups. The students were given challenges:  like the park the car challenge.  This is where they had to roll the cup down the ramp and make in park itself under the ramp.  The entire class was able to complete this challenge.  Good job, class!!

Our preschool teacher, Ms. Waddell, asked for our help this week in creating a school wide pumpkin patch.  The students were asked to make a glyph pumpkin.  This is where they create their pumpkin based on how they answer certain questions.  For example, if they were going trick-or-treating this year, their pumpkin should have two vines.  They had a lot of fun making them and each one is unique.

Have a great fall weekend.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Who Is That?

This week the students got to dress up the teacher.  We brainstormed some ideas of what would be a good costume for me.  They had to dress me up in a costume and tell why they thought I should wear that costume this Halloween.

We had a really fun assembly this week.  This assembly was about setting goals and achieving them. The "Hoop Wizard" Jack Ryan came and showed off his awesome basketball skills.  He told the students how he kept believing in himself and went on to achieve his goal to become a great basketball spinner.

This week our essential question was "What happens when families work together?"  We read several stories about how families can work together.  The stories we read were all expository text.  This means they give us information and include text features.  

In math, we practiced skip counting.  We looked for patterns when counting by 5s and by 10s.  We took our first math assessment today.  Overall, the students performed very well on them.  Look for them next week in homework folders to sign and return.  

We had a guidance lesson today from Mrs. Fletcher.  She came in and discussed RESPECT with the students.  She talked about respecting others, property, environment and most importantly yourself.  

In social studies, we began our unit on maps.  The students had a fun treasure hunt in the classroom.  At first, they were given a task to find the treasure with no direction.  After searching unsuccessfully, they were given a map of the classroom and had to find the treasure based on it.  Of course, with the map the treasure was easily found by all.  In science, we started looking at a new motion...rolling.  The students were given a ramp and wheels and an axle and told to make it roll down the ramp.

For a short week...we sure were busy.  Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Week of Respect

This was the Week of Respect.  We started off the week with "Band against bullying."  Every student and all faculty and staff received a red bracelet so we all could come together as a school community and treat each other with respect.

To go along with the respect week theme, we read a story called "The Ugly Pumpkin."  The pumpkin in the story does not look like the rest of the pumpkins and is not treated fairly because of it.  In the end, the pumpkin realized that he was not a pumpkin at all.  That, in fact, he was a squash.  We discussed how it feels when you get "squashed."  The students wrote about a time when they felt squashed and then they created their own ugly pumpkins.

This week our essential question was "How do we care for animals?"  We discussed our pets and how we care for them.  We learned about the different kinds of veterinarians.  We read a story about how a girl became friends with a rhino.  Our focus is spelling was long a words and short a and we did a lot of practice making words with these sounds.  We also learned to identify root words that have inflected endings like -ed and -ing.  

In math this week we started something new.  We started using more technology in our math lessons.  We concentrated this week on numbers and different ways to read and write numbers.  We learned how to write numbers in expanded form and word form.  Next week we will be practicing counting by ones, fives and tens.

We finished up our unit on the three communities today.  We did a survey of which community the students would to choose to live in and the winner was...suburban.  In science, we discussed the motion of spinning.  We tested this motion by creating twirly birds.  We took our twirly birds outside to identify which force helps our twirly birds fly.

Lastly, we had a special visitor to our classroom this week named Shadow.  Shadow is a bat who flies around and plays at night with his twin brother (also named Shadow) in the other second grade class.  He's been leaving us letters everyday.  The students have been practicing their letter writing by writing letters back to Shadow.  
Here's Shadow hanging from our ceiling fan. 

Don't forget...there is no school on Monday.  Have a great long weekend.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thank You For Coming to Back to School Night!

Thank you to all of the parents who attended Back to School Night.  It was great to see so many parents and to know that you take a special interest in your child's education.  I hope you were able to gain valuable information about our classroom.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me any time.

This week our essential question was "How can a pet be an important friend?"  One of our stories was about a boy who had a goldfish as a pet but wished he had a different pet.  Norman, his pet goldfish, couldn't do the fun things other pets could do.  He even brings him in for show and tell but no one is paying attention to him because another pet, a snake, gets loose in the classroom  In the end, he begins to realize what a great pet he has in Norman.

This week in math we started working on number stories with addition.  We did a lot of practice reading number stories and solving them using different methods and different diagrams.  Of course, we continue to practice math facts!!

In social studies we continued to talk about the three types of communities, rural, urban, and suburban.

 In science this week, we made designs on our tops and watched what happened when we spun them.  Then we made zoomers!  You can make them at home with some string or yarn and cardboard disks.

To continue with our letter writing unit, we wrote letters to the other second grade class.  Let's hope they write back!!!!

Have a great weekend...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Families Around the World

This week our essential question in reading was "How are families around the world the same and different?"  We read and talked about different cultures and different traditions in these cultures. One of our stories was about a boy named Tommy who was having dinner at his friend, Alejandro's, house.  He was nervous about eating there because he knew his family was from a different country and they may serve food that he had not eaten before.  In the end, Tommy learned some new words and ate some yummy new food.

We have been doing a lot of number practice in math.  We reviewed the number grid, counting and finding number patterns.  We played some fun math games on Friday to help improve math skills.

In writing, the students wrote stories about my favorite time of the year, fall.  They will be illustrating these next week and will be displayed on Back to School night.

We finished up our unit on balance in science by making fall mobiles.  The students had to balance their leaves onto a straw to create the mobiles.

We started talking about the three types of communities in social studies.  Today we read a Scholastic News article about them as well.  Next week, we will be focusing on each community separately and what ways there are to live, work and play in each one.

Monkey around this weekend in the nice weather.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friends Depend on Each Other

This week our essential question in reading was "How do friends depend on each other?"

We read several stories about how friends help each other out.  One of the stories we read was about Lucy, a new kid, who meets a girl named Jade.  Jade helps Lucy adjust to the new school by introducing the class to Lucy's pet parrot, George.

The class came together at the end of the week to make posters about friends depending on each other.  They worked together in a group and drew some pictures of themselves and wrote how they depended on a friend.

In math, we have been practicing facts and number sense.  We have been counting by 5s and 10s. We practiced math using math boxes and played some fun math games.  

We finished up our first unit in social studies about communities.  You will see the first assessment come home.  Students had to identify a place to live, work and play.  In science, we practiced balancing several different objects using what we know about counterweights.

The students are practicing writing narratives.  This week the topic was "My First Day of School."  I found it interesting that a lot of the students were impressed by the fact that when they came into the classroom for the first time, there was a name tag on their desk. Next week, we will be focusing on adding more details to their writing.

I taught the students some fun attention grabbers this week.  These are fun sayings that I say when I want to get the students' attention. They are still working on remembering them. You could probably try them at home for fun too.

Go Bananas this weekend!!