Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

I just wanted to take this time to wish all of my families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I am so grateful to work and live in a community of people that care about each other and the children's education.

Enjoy your holiday break. Make fun memories together.

Mrs. Wells

Friday, December 16, 2016

Polar Bear Week

This week the second graders have been researching polar bears.  They listened to books and used the internet to find many facts and interesting information about them.  Did you know that polar bears have 42 teeth?  They put the information they gathered into a polar bear report.

Our memoirs in writing are finally complete.  Thank you for sharing your stories and making this a fun experience for the students.  They took a lot of pride in telling the stories about their loved ones.  

In math we are continuing to subtract.  We are moving toward learning how to regroup when subtracting. (I'm sure you are all thrilled about that!)  

This week in science, with the help of our FABULOUS technology teacher, we created a video about the golden lion tamarin.  This video will be shared with the rest of our school to teach them about the animal we have chosen for our campaign for the UNLESS contest.  When the final copy is ready, I will provide a link to parents who may be interested in seeing it.  Thanks Mrs. Selby.

In social studies, the students have been learning about different Christmas customs around the world.  This week they learned about the Netherlands and England.

Our elf had a bit of a war this week with the Grinch.  But, by the end of the week they appeared to be friends again.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Around the World

This week Mrs. Taylor's elf traveled to both Germany and Italy and taught us about the Christmas customs in both countries. In Germany, people put a pickle on the Christmas tree and the person who finds it gets to open the first present.  In Italy, LaBefana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children.

We read poems this week in reading about animals and why we love them.  We read about camels, bats, and turtles.  We practiced finding key details to support the main topic.  We also used clues to define multiple meaning words.  

In math, we learned some more subtraction strategies. We will be having a test next week on the strategies we have learned so far.  

Our classroom elf, Candy Cane, has been up to no good.  He put a mustache on the Grinch this week.  I don't think the Grinch liked it very much because he got him back today.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Skype Session

This was an exciting week in second grade.  We have begun work on the UNLESS project sponsored by the Philadelphia Zoo.  We choose our focus animal: the Golden Lion Tamarin and our cause: water conservation.

On Tuesday, the second graders received a Skype call from Brad from the Philadelphia Zoo.  He told us all about the project.  Then he told us all about the four focus animals that are endangered.  We learned about the guam kingfisher, the rodrigues fruit bat, the panamanian golden frog and the goldne lion tamarin.  He gave us information about how climate change and deforestation are destroying the areas where these animals live.  He then answered our many, many questions we had about the project and the golden lion tamarin.  Stay tuned to see our progress.

This week our essential question was "How are offspring like their parents?"  We learned about such animals as penquins, wolves, gorillas and eagles and how they take care and look like their young.  We focused on finding the main topic and the key details.  We practiced defining multiple-meaning words and the suffixes -ful and -less.  

The students began working on their memoirs from the stories they were told by their family members.  Thank you for you participation. 

We started subtraction this week using similiar strategies that we learned for addition.  Please keep in mind that again with subtraction we will be learning several strategies to subtract.  Some students may struggle with one strategy but thrive with another one.  That is to be expected.  

Probably the most exciting news this week is that our classroom has been visited by an elf.  

As you can see, he did not have a name so this morning each students put a name on a piece of paper and the name that was randomly drawn was:  Candy Cane.  So, welcome to our classroom, Candy Cane!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week compared two stories:  The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  The students then had to write an opinion piece about whose side they were on: the pigs or the wolf.  The winner was: the pigs!!

We took as assessment for Topic 4 and the students performed very well.  Look for these to come home next week to be reviewed and signed.  Next week we will begin learning several strategies for subtraction.

In writing, we first read a story called Turkey Trouble.  The turkey tried disguising himself so that he wasn't eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.  So we did a writing assignment called:  How to Help A Turkey Escape from Thanksgiving Dinner.

Of course the highlight of the week was our compliment party.  The students earned 20 marbles (compliments) and therefore they were able to watch the movie of our favorite book, The Witches.
Last but not least, I would like to wish all of my families and very Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for many things, one of which is the great community that I live and teach in!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

"Things" We are Thankful For...

This week we did a writing assignment about things we are thankful for. BUT, we didn't do the traditional things like family, friends, food, shelter, etc.  Each student was given an everday object and wrote about why they were thankful for that thing.  Did you ever think how important or thankful you are for such things as shoes, band-aids, mittens, sand and even the alphabet?  Those were just some of the choices the students had.

This week our essential question was "What are features of different animal habitats?"  We read about the coral reef.  Did you know that it takes one year for the coral reef to grow one inch?  We also read about the life of a sea turtle.  We looked for the main topic and supported it with key details.  We also practiced using suffixes and prefixes.  

In math, we started adding double digit numbers using the old tried and true algorithm.  Please keep in mind that some of the language we use when teaching may be different that you are used to.  We use the term "regroup" instead of carry.  

We finished up our Earth Systems unit in science this week.  Stay tuned for an exciting announcement for what we will be doing starting next week for science.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Ugly Pumpkin

This week we read a book called The Ugly Pumpkin.  The ugly pumpkin is left out because he looks different from the other pumpkins.  As it turns out, the pumpkin was actually a squash. The students then did a writing activity and wrote about a time when they felt "squashed."

In reading this week, we read fables.  We read the stories and discussed the lesson that the story was trying to teach us.  We also identified the problem and solution in the stories.  Next week, we will be continuing this theme and comparing Cinderella stories from different cultures.

We finishe up Topic 3 in math.  Look for the Topic 3 test that was sent home today to be reviewed and signed.  In the upcoming topic, we will be continuing to add using different strategies including the traditional -carry the 1- way.  Today we played some fun math games to practice skills.  

The students have been busy the past few weeks writing a personal narrative.  Next week, they will be putting the finishing touches onto their story.  Then we will do a "writer's chair" to share with the class.

In science, we took a walk around the school to find erosion.  We found some bark worn off trees, gulleys in the ground, hills, and a tree even fell in the distance while we were out there.  The students' task was to come up with a way to prevent the erosion from happening.  We had some pretty clever ideas such as: build walls, fill in areas with soil, cover the trees, etc.  Great ideas, class!!

Keep in mind that there are only two days of school next week for students!!

Friday, October 28, 2016

What Should I Be For Halloween??

Keeping with tradition in second grade, the students were asked to dress me in a Halloween costume. There were some interesting choices.  Three students decided that I should be a cat.  Take a look at some of the fun ideas...

This week our essential question was "How can animals survive?"  We read about desert animals and how they adapt in the hot temperatures.  One of the reading groups read about geese and how they migrate during the winter months.  We practiced finding the plot and making predictions.  Then at the end of the week, the students were given an assignment through google classroom (love our chromebooks) to research some polar bear facts.  

In math, we continued to learn different strategies to add.  The purpose of teaching many strategies is to help the students have options when adding.  That way the students can use whatever strategy works for them when solving a problem.  Envisions math program offers a great app that you can put on your phone/tablet. This app can aid in helping with your child's homework.  It will show you a video that was shown in class.  Information about the app and your child's username and password will be coming home today.

We are still learning about erosion in science.  This week we did an experiment to show how water erodes land.  We used eye droppers and drop water onto our "mountain".  The students began to observe cracks and holes in the land.  

In our next lesson, we learned about glaciers.  Then we did an experiement to show what happens when glaciers move.  Our "glacier" had some sediment that settled at the bottom and as it moved across the "land" sediment was left behind as well as cracks and rocks.

Don't forget to come to our annual Halloween parade on Monday at 1:45.  Hope to see you there!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wind Erosion

Second graders this week learned about weathering and erosion.  Ask them to sing a song to you that helps them remember.  Some types of erosion we learned about were wind and water.  To demonstrate how wind erosion works, we tried a fun experiment.

The students produced the wind by blowing on a "mountain" through a straw.  They began to notice cracks forming in the mountain and sediment falling to the ground.
Wind erosion starting

After wind erosion

How do families work together was our essential question this week.  We read several stories about how families work together by doing chores, trading household jobs, helping with the family business and choosing to buy something the family needs before something they want.  We worked on asking questions while reading and finding key details.

In math, we practiced different strategies to add two-digit numbers.  We used an open number line and jumped by 10's and we learned about the break apart strategy.  Learning different strategies is important because not everyone is comfortable with just one strategy.  Eventually the students will choose the one that works best for them.  

Please let me know if your child is struggling with any homework. Homework should not take anymore than 20 minutes to complete.  I do not want the students to be frustrated at home and then get discouraged about their learning.  

Today we had our second week of Footprints.  This program is sponsored by the Woodbury Heights Municipal Alliance,  The program uses puppets to tell stories about such things as bullying, conflict and drugs/alcohol.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Since we had a short week, we took a break from Wonders and did a research project on bats.  We started by reading the book, Stellaluna.  We then compared bats and birds using a Venn diagram.  Throughout the week, we read other books about bats and took notes.  The students used the information they gathered to write a research report.

In honor of Fire Prevention Week, we took a trip to the Woodbury Heights Firehouse.  We were greeted by several fire fighters.  We were shown and told all about the ambulance and the fire truck.  We would like to thank them for their service and for giving us the tour today.  

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 7, 2016

October is here!

This week we celebrated our first "Lunch with the Teacher."  Congrats to the September winners: the Erasers.  This month's groups look like this:

This week in reading, we read stories about caring for animals.  We read about how people help whales that are stranded on the beach.  We also read about a boy named Jack who takes care of his horse, Pepper.  We practiced writing reading responses and finding key details in the photos and captions.  

We finished up our first narrative story in writing. The students were each given a chance in our Writers Chair to share their story.  Next week, we will be having a "visitor" and writing letters to him.  
In math, we practiced finding even and odd numbers and learned about arrays.  We used repeated addition to solve problems with arrays.

To further explain landforms and how they are formed on the Earth, we did a fun experiment with graham crackers and cool whip.  The graham crackers represented the plates in the Earth and the cool whip the mantle.  We moved the crackers around to show what effects it has on the Earth.  Of course, as a special treat, we got to eat the leftovers. (Not the ones we used in our experiment.)

A mountain is formed on the crust

Have a nice holiday weekend.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Landform Models

This week the second graders created models of the landforms they had been learning about.  The requirement of the assignment was to include three water landforms and four land ones.  We had several volcanoes, mountains, rivers, lakes and glaciers. 

Painting the landforms 

Still painting

The students will be labeling the parts of their landforms next week.  

We finished up our first math unit this week with an assessment.  Overal the students did a great job.  This new math program has been an adjustment and the students are learning the expectations.  For the first test, each question was read to them.  I will not be doing that for each test, but I am trying to help them along to feel comfortable with the new program.  Look for these to be sent home next week to be reviewed and signed and returned.

In reading, our focus was asking and answering question and finding the character, setting and events in a story.  We read stories about pets and how we care for them.  

Today was our first t-shirt day.  We are celebrating "Being Determined" by wearing read shirts.  Keep on the look out for information each month about what color shirt to wear for that month.