Friday, April 25, 2014

Rules, Rules, Rules

This week our essential question in reading was "Why are rules important?"  This led to great discussion this week in class.  We discussed why rules are important in the classroom and in school.  We listened to a story called "Town Rules" about rules in a town. Those rules included leashing your pets, wearing your bike helmet and keeping your public parks clean.  We read about the government and how our country established the Constitution.  In our Government Rules book, we learned about how the government has rules for food, medicine and even fishing.

In math, our focus this week has been on subtraction, subtraction, subtraction.  Earlier in the year, we learn the trade-first algorithmn and this week we have been practicing it again.  When helping at home, please remind your child of our poem "More on top, no need to stop, More on the floor, go next door and get ten more."  This is a great reminder to the students what to do when subtracting.  
We practiced writing letters again this week.  We even wrote letters to Mrs. Taylor's class.  In social studies, we continued to talk about San Francisco.  This week we learned about a devastating earthquake that took place in 1906. We listened to recordings of the earthquake and saw some pictures of the damage that was caused by the earthquake and the fire that followed.  

In science, we began our unit on the rainforest.  We read a book called The Great Kapok Tree.  In this book, a boy was about to chop down one of the trees in the rainforest.  He then takes a nap and all of the animals whisper to him while he is asleep that he should not harm the forest by cutting down a tree.  The animals all have a good reason why and how it would affects them.  In the end, the boy decides not to cut down the tree.  

Next week, we will begin to identify the layers of the rainforest and some of the animals that can be found there.

Today we had a health lesson with Mrs. Visalli about digestion.  It was pretty gross!!!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Break is Finally Here!!!

Did you ever think we would get to this week?  Spring break is only a few days so go out and enjoy this nice weather (finally)!!  The students should come back after a long weekend and be ready to sail on through the end of second grade.

It was really nice seeing so many of you at our annual Best of Heights Night.  I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the hard work your child has done.  It was great to see so many proud faces as the students showed their parents around the classroom.

In math this week, we made a place-value book.  The students practiced identifying numbers up to the ten-thousands place.  We introduced using parentheses in a math problem this week as well. This is just an introduction to a skill the students will see again in the future.  It is not a skill that many have mastered yet.

This week was all about the Earth.  Our essential question is reading was "How can we protect the Earth?" We read a story about a class who used recycled materials to enter an art contest, about how a woodcutter turned an old tree into a zoo, and also about a girl who feared for the animals who were living in her local river because the factory was polluting the water.  We focused this week on fictional stories that had a problem and a solution.  We also practiced making predictions and confirming or revising those predictions.

We continued with the Earth day celebration by making Earth books in science.  Inside the books are ways to help the Earth.

One of our traditions in second grade is making Easter baskets and dying Easter eggs.  The students had fun trying to dye their eggs with two different colors.  They came back from music this week to find some candy stuffed into the Easter basket they made.  

The countdown is still on...only 44 days left!  Please enjoy your long weekend.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Save the Earth

To kick off our Earth Day celebration, we did some fun activities.  We first talked about ways to give the Earth a helping hand.

We read a booklet about Earth day and about how it began.  We brainstormed ways to help the Earth. Then we participated in the Earth Day Groceries Project.  This is a nationally known project to bring awareness to Earth Day.  Bags are "borrowed" from a local grocery store.  (Our bags are from our local Acme.)  Then the students decorate the bags with special Earth Day messages and the bags are then returned to the store to be used to bag groceries.  Take a trip to Acme and check out the bags.

This week in reading our essential question was "What do heroes do?"  We read several stories about heroes.  We read about Diana Golden, a skier with one leg.  We read about Cesar Chavez, a proud farm worker that helped improve conditions for people working on farms.  I think the favorite story of the week was about Rudy Tolson-Garcia.  He is a young man that was born with birth defects which led to the removal of both of his legs.  Not letting this bring him down, he challenged himself in many sports.  He soon became an incredible athlete and was the first amputee to complete in the Ironman triathlon.

The skills we focused on this week in reading were summarizing and sequencing.  We also practiced identifying synonyms.

In math this week, we focused a lot on money.  We used a "Good Buys Poster" and practice estimating costs to purchase more than one item.  We touched briefly on making change.  By the end of the week, we were reviewing place value.  Next week, we will be creating a special book to continue to practice place value.

The students were introduced to the city of San Francisco this week in social studies.  We viewed some images of what San Francisco looks like now and what it looked like in 1846.  Next week, we will discuss how the gold rush changed the city of San Francisco from a rural community to an urban one.

Of course, one of the highlights of the week was Jump Rope for Heart.  The students with the other second grade class participated on Monday.  The students had a great time and definitely got their exercise in for that day.

Everyone at school has been busy preparing for one of our most favorite days of school, Best of Heights Night.  This year it will take place on Tuesday, April 15.  I would encourage you to come to our classroom to see many of the projects your child has done.  This is also a great opportunity to visit other classrooms and see what things might in store for the students in the future.

This weekend is Opening Day for baseball...Hope to see you there.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The countdown is on...

Since all of the students have gotten a chance to be Top Banana, we have started our countdown to the end of the year.  Before you know it, this school year will be coming to an end.

This week our essential question was "How do people get along?"  We talked about cooperation.  We read stories about how children can cooperate with each other.  We even read a story about another school and how the students created a bully-free zone.  This sparked quite a conversation about what bullying means and what it looks like.  

We practiced summarizing this week in reading and in writing.  We also learned about idioms.  Some of the idioms were unfamiliar to the students, like "hit the hay" or "letting the cat out of the bag".  

This week in math we focused on money.  We practiced putting money amounts in a calculator and played a fun game called Pick-a-coin.  This can be easily played at home.  You can draw a chart like this one.  The students should be able to explain how to play.

We have been working on poetry in writing.  This week we learned about two different forms of poetry, an acrostic poem and haiku.  Then we started drafting poems about our favorite character, Humphrey and his friends.  We will be participating in a school wide poetry contest.  The students will be submitting poems about our one school, one book...Friendship According to Humphrey.  

In social studies, we are learning about how communities change.  They get bigger and smaller based on the communities' needs.  This week, the students were given a picture of a community that was run down.  They had to decide in groups what to do with the buildings in the community.  Should the building be fixed up or torn down?  Look for these at Best of Heights Night.

We continue to learn about solids, liquids and gas in science.  To demonstrate how the particles are packed in these three states of matter, we created posters using cereal.  

Next week is Jump Rope for Heart.  Our class will be jumping on Monday.  Please make sure your child is wearing comfortable clothing and sneakers.  This is a fun activity that the students look forward to every year.  

Have a nice weekend.