Friday, December 18, 2015

It's That Time of the Year

Yes, it is that time of year.

The students are a buzz with holiday excitement.  They have even decided to make decorations for the room and many great notes and letters for me.  Thanks class.

We learned about holiday traditions in Holland and the USA this week.  Did you know that in Holland kids put on their wooden shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with special treats? We made and decorated some wooden shoes of our own.

We all know that in the USA people string lights from trees and houses.  We wrote about our family tradition and strung some lights here in the classroom.

This week in reading we read the story The Polar Express.  We wrote about the character traits of several of the characters, visualized our favorite parts and practiced putting the story in proper sequence.  

This week we started addition with regrouping.  The students adjusted nicely to this new procedure.  We will continue to practice often so that the students are very comfortable adding this way.  

Report cards went home today.  Please look out for them in your child's take home folders.  Be sure to sign the envelope and send back next week.  One more week to go....I hope all of your shopping is done!! 

Buddy was tricky today...the students had a hard time finding him.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Where in the World is Buddy...

This week Buddy the elf traveled to Italy, England and Mexico. Of course, he was still up to some mischief in the classroom, too.

When he traveled to Italy, we learned about La Befana the good witch that leaves treats for children.

We made a Yule Log living room scene like it would look in England.  In England, Santa is called "Father Christmas."
We did another research report this week in reading.  This time we researched polar bears.  Did you know that polar bears are the most feared animal in the Arctic?  They can weigh over 1,000 pounds. 

In writing, the students wrote a persuasive essay about why they should be Santa's Head Elf.  Some of the reasons why were:  they are good at being sneaky, they are good at being bossy, and they must LOVE Christmas.

This week we were treated to a fantastic assembly sponsored by our wonderful Home and School Association.  It was called NED.  It was all about believing in yourself.  NED is an acronym for N-Never Give Up, E - Encourage others, and D- Do your best.  We saw a few cool yo-yo tricks, too!!
One more full week until the winter break...Hang in there!!




Friday, December 4, 2015

Buddy is Here!!

An elf has arrived in our classroom.  The class named him Buddy.

The students filled out elf applications to apply for an elf job with Santa. Buddy brought our applications to Santa and all of the students were approved!! Buddy wrote us a letter with the approved applications.  

Buddy is on a secret mission from Santa.  Santa has asked him to travel around the world and report back to us about the Christmas traditions in different countries.  So far he has traveled to Germany.  In Germany, they call the Christmas tree a Tannenbaum.  We created some Tannenbaums of our own.

This week in reading our essential question was "What do we love about animals?"  We read several poems about animals.  We discussed how the author of each of the poems felt about the animal the poem was about.  We looked for key details in each poem and multiple meaning words.  We took a reading test at the end of the week to practice some of these skills.  Look for these to come home this weekend to be signed. 

We started our two digit addtion/subtraction unit in math.  We started by adding and subtracting 10 and then 100.  Next week we will be reviewing adding 10 and 100, then adding with a number grid and base 10 blocks, and then...we will be learning the algorithmn for adding two digit numbers. 

We had our first Health lesson with Mrs, Visalli today.  The students were shown the proper way to wash their hands to help keep them and our classroom germ free.  We also had our last Footprints lesson.  Thank you to the Woodbury Heights Municipal Alliance for sponsoring this program for our second graders.  They learned a lot about the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs through stories using puppets.  

Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Roller Coaster Crazy!!

This week the students participated in the roller coaster challenge.  Using information they learned in science about motion, the students were given a challenge.  With their runways and a marble, the students needed to create a roller coaster with at least one hill and one loop.  The marble had to start at the beginning of the runway and run all the way through to the end without falling off.  All three groups were able to complete the challenge.

I mentioned last week that the students were researching sea turtles.  This week the project was completed.  We created sea turtles and typed up the reports during computer class.  The students did a great job on both.

This week in reading our essential question was "How are offspring like their parents?"  We read about several animals and how the adults take care of their babies.  The students were fascinated to learn about the emperor penquins and how the dad stays with the egg for two months without eating.  They also thought it was funny to learn that the adult wolves will chew food and spit the chewed food into the pups' mouths.  

We finished our Place Value unit in math with an assessment.  I will be showing you the results of this test at conference.  After Thanksgiving break, we will be starting our new unit, Two Digit Addition and Subtraction.  

To celebrate the upcoming holiday we had some fun making Turkey Glyphs.  The students created a turkey that they colored according to how they answered certain questions.  Can you guess which turkey is your child's?

Today was our annual JDRF walk.  Our school is committed to raising money for juvenile diabetes.  Hopefully, we will have raised enough money to do our annual teacher dances.

Remember half days next Thursday and Friday.  Have a great weekend. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

All About Sea Turtles

This week our essential question in reading was "What are features of different animal habitats?".  We read about the coral reef and prairie dogs.  We also read a story about sea turtles and how they  face many dangers, especially from humans.  We used this information and read several other books about sea turtles.  The students took notes from the books we read.  They will take this information and turn it into a report on sea turtles.  Look for these reports when you come for your conference.

We continued to practice skip counting and counting within 1000 this week.  We practice each morning by playing an around the world game where we count by 5's, 10's and 100's.  For several of the students, counting by 5's seems to be the most difficult.  To help your child, you could practice counting by 5's at home starting at various numbers like 250 or 455.

For two days this week, we had our CAP program.  The topic of this program was bullying and how to stop it from happening to you and how to help others that are getting bullied.  The presenters acted out scenarios that would happen at school and gave the students strategies to stop it.  They also learned a fun song to sing.  The lyrics are here:

Don't forget...conferences start next week which means we are on a half-day schedule both Thursday and Friday.  I look forward to speaking to you in person.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trick or Treat

This is my favorite week of the year...Halloween week.  We did some fun activities to prepare for the holiday.  We finished up our Best Costume Ever writing project with some AWESOME illustrations.  Who knew this class was such talented artists?

We also read one a book called The Ugly Pumpkin.  The book was about a pumpkin that looked different from the other pumpkins and was treated unfairly because of it.  In the end, it turned out that he was a squash and he found other squashes who welcomed him. The students created their own ugly pumpkins and wrote about a time when they felt "squashed."

My favorite activity this week was asking the students what they thought I should be for Halloween and why.  A few suggestions were a monkey (because she likes monkeys), bat girl (because she's cool) and an angel (because she already is one!)

In math this week we starting looking more closely at numbers and different ways to represent numbers.  We wrote numbers in expanded form and number form. Then we made models for numbers using drawings like base 10 blocks.

We finished up our community unit is social studies with an assessment this week.  Look for that to come next week to be signed and returned.  In science we continued "rolling" using cups down our ramps.  We had challenges like the "park the car" challenge and the "fall on your face" challenge.

You may have heard that there are some funny videos out there of the students.  If you would like to see the links, email me and I will forward them to you!! 

Here's a good one for you to see... Mrs. Wells is Hungry!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Rolling, Rolling

This week in science we started investigating a new motion...rolling.  The students were given "wheels and axles" and had to put them together in a way that will make them roll down a ramp.

Then the students were given challenges like making the wheels wobble and making them roll to one side using a smaller wheel.

We started our new unit, Place Value, in math this week. To practice Place Value we played some math games.  

Our essential question this week was "How do animals survive?"  We read about a second grade class that visited the swamp and learned about how the swamp animals adapt to their habitat.  We practiced finding the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Thank you for your help by sending in the Halloween pictures for our writing project this week.  The topic of our writing assignment was "The Best Costume Ever."  We had to support our opinion with reasons why we thought this costume was the best.  Here's a glimpse of the costume I used....

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Guess Who?

This week as a fun activity for the upcoming Halloween holiday the students made ghosts.  But these were not ordinary ghosts….they were mystery ghosts.  The students had to write 5 clues about themselves.  Each student's photo is hiding under their "ghost sheet."  Look closely at the photos…can you guess who your child is?

To end our first unit in reading this week, we did a research project.  The students were given the task of creating a pet sitting business.  They needed to first research online how to care for two kinds of pets.  Then they needed to name their business and make a brochure to promote this business. 

This week in math we have been working on number stories.  We focused on three different types of word problems.  This is a difficult concept for several students.  When working on at home, try to look for the clues in the number story that help solve the problem.  For example, "how many more" is usually subtraction and "how many in all" is addition.  We will continue to practice often throughout the year these concepts.

In writing, we wrote a fictional narrative about meeting a silly scarecrow.  We had some crazy stories with some silly scarecrows.  In social studies, we continued learning about the three types of communities.  One of the most exciting things we did this week was in science.  We continued discussing the "spinning" motion.  We created three different types of twirly birds.  And thanks to our new playground with lots of high places to climb, we were able to test them out. Here's one of our twirly birds sailing through the playground.

Please remember to send in those Halloween costume pictures!!!

If you haven't already…get out your winter clothing.  I hear you may need it this weekend.  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fire Prevention Week

This week we took a walk over to our new community firehouse.

The firefighters gave us a tour around the firehouse and showed us all about the fire trucks and the ambulance.

We even got to cheer on Firefighter Molly as she practiced getting all her gear on.  Did you know that in order to pass the fireman's entrance exam, you must be able to get your gear on within 2 minutes?

We met with our Book Buddies this week.  The fourth graders helped us put together our Ivans that we painted.  Then we wrote newspaper articles about Ivan.

In math, we added and subtracted zero and then we built fact family houses.  As a fun addition to this idea, we created Haunted Fact Family Houses.  Thanks to my dear old friend who designed these for us.  

Our essential question in reading this week was "What happens when families work together?"  We read about how families can share jobs within the household, how different family members have jobs outside the household and how families work together in both.

In social studies, we began our unit on the three types of communities.  We even read a Scholastic News article which emphasized this lesson.  In science, we ZOOOOMED... We created zoomers to demonstrate the motion of spinning.  The students had a great time.  Next week we will be twirling!!

Keep in mind that Friday is a Teacher's Inservice day and Monday school is closed for everyone.  Enjoy the long fall weekend.  

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Friday, October 2, 2015

October is My Favorite Month

I love October.  I love seeing the leaves changing colors. I love Halloween.  It's also my favorite month for making desk groups.

So far, the bats are in the lead.  There is still a lot of time left for the other groups!

We started subtraction facts this week in math.  We practiced using different strategies. One strategy would be to count up or down on number grid or number line. Of course, practicing and knowing the subtraction facts would be best.  We took a subtraction facts quiz today and the students did great!!

Our essential question this week was "How do we care for animals?"  We read about different kinds of vets.  Some vets take care of pets, while others take care of farm animals or zoo animals like the ones shown in the picture.

The students were introduced to Ivan this week.  We watched a video of the real Ivan who lived in a shopping mall.  We started a project that we will be finishing up with our book buddies next week. Stay tuned for pictures...

In social studies, we finished up our first unit on community.  After designing a community badge, the students took their first social studies assessment.  Look for those to come home in the Friday folder.  

The students had a blast this week in science.  We moved from balance to the motion part of the unit.  Their task was to create a top with a green straw and a few plastic discs.  This was to demonstrate the motion of spinning.  Then the students were given different design to put on the top and made predictions about what would happen when the design was spinning.  

The students had REACH today.  They have been learning about ocean animals.  Today they listened to a book about vertebrates and invertebrates.  Then they were asked to identify which animals were which.  

I hope no one had any big plans for the weekend as it looks like it may be a washout!!