Full Steam Ahead!

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Posted by annieomeara | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on October 19, 2018

Hello Families and Friends!

We have had a great few weeks here in 2B! We are “cooking with gas” after feeling refreshed from Fall Break! My family and I went to San Diego, found 63 perfect sand dollars on the beach, and visited Sea World. We all had a blast! I came back to school with bronchitis and an ear and upper respiratory infection, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? 😉

We wanted to thank our room parents, Nova Burns, Angie Martinez, and Monica Gonzales, for planning a fun Fall/Halloween party for us! The students may wear their costumes to school that day (the 31st). There will be a costume parade beginning at 2:45 that your child may participate in if he or she wishes to do so.

Spelling

We have been working on a variety of sounds: sh, ph, wh, th. Sometimes, knowing when to use these consonant digraphs is tricky, but the more the students work with these odd spelling patterns, the more familiar they will become with some of the “rule breaker” type words. We have also spent some time on studying abbreviations. I wanted the students to see them because we run across them daily and they’re everywhere! The students understand that we are to read the abbreviation as if the whole word is actually there. We understand that there is also a time and a place to use abbreviations…like in a quick note to a friend, but not necessarily in a formal report.

Writing
We pretended we were botanists and worked on writing a friendly letter to our non-growing seeds using proper letter-writing formats. We also worked on where and how to place quotation marks to signify a character speaking in our writing. This is a tricky concept, but the students grasped it well. We worked on story sequencing using the words first, next, then, and last. This will help the students to organize their thoughts in a more systematic way when they are asked to write a story or complete a summary and/or book report. Speaking of book reports, the haunted/fall/mystery house book report projects were absolutely spectacular! The students chose a variety of books to read and every project is uniquely fun and different. They are all displayed in our room, so please come by and take a look. I can tell the students enjoyed doing this project and they were all so proud to present their work to us. The next project will be a winter holiday book report…stay tuned for details 🙂

Reading

We read several interesting selections; one being “Living Lights” by Dr. Dennis Desjardin in which we learned about plants and animals that use light to attract prey, hide, communicate, and reproduce. Another cool selection was “Clever Creatures” by Douglas Florian which included three poems describing animals with special features that help them survive. We have been working on making inferences when we are reading. By definition, an inference is “the process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.” In 2nd grade terms, we take information that we have read, combine that with information that we already know about that fact, then put those two together and formulate an inference based upon these facts. This is a great comprehension strategy and also is helpful in creating a dialogue about a story that your child may be reading at home.

Mathematics

We have been working on a chapter which concentrates on adding numbers in base ten. We have also been using basic aspects of algebraic thinking as far as patterning and finding missing addends. We have a small portion on each day’s math lesson where the new concept is practiced in the form of the dreaded word problem. We have discussed the fact that math problems can be solved in multiple ways such as drawing pictures, using counters, writing a math problem, etc.  Everybody thinks differently and we are figuring out how to make math work best for each individual.  Please keep reviewing rounding numbers to the nearest 10 and 100. Rounding is one of those concepts that needs constant review and practice for complete retention (and it never goes away :). Please encourage your child to continue working on his or her basic addition and subtraction skills as well.

Science

We are coming to an end of our unit on studying plants. Our garden in the church yard is looking very…bare. Nothing new has sprouted, and the church-yard bunny has successfully eaten the one last sprout that we had! We talked about how pollination needs to occur in order for there to be growth of new seeds. We will continue talking about pollination, pollinators, and the anatomy of flowers next week. We did, however, discuss how all living things consist of many parts that serve different functions vital for survival such as the different parts of a plant that are consumable by humans and animals: seeds, roots, and leaves. This lead to some wonderful studies about about fruits and vegetables and how we should “eat a rainbow” of foods in order to obtain all of the nutrients we need to benefit our health. We made rainbow collages out of magazines which contained different colored fruits and veggies, and then we learned about what vitamins and health benefits each color of food has. What colors did YOU eat today??

Social Studies

We completed studying the differences between urban, suburban, and rural communities. We are now discovering what a map is and we are learning to use its basic features. We are becoming familiar with the compass rose and with map keys. Through different activities and our social studies text book, we will discover the purpose of maps and we will apply our knowledge in a few processing activities by drawing our own maps.

A member from Tucson Electric Power’s education team came to talk to us about electrical safety and usage. This went along perfectly with our ongoing talks about our community responsibilities of reducing usage of different resources.

 

Teaching Time

We had many informational teaching times over the past few weeks!

Jady – sang songs from Frozen, bird facts

Michael – history of candy corn (with samples!), 3 different states of matter

Twyla – her family, ancient Egypt

Max – grasshopper facts, Harris’s Hawk facts

Ava – black Mamba facts, her family

Sami – history of Barbies

Tate – basketball, shark facts

Nikolas – Great Wall of China, history of Halloween

Elia – 2 headed snake, lion facts

Izayah – bat facts, shark facts

Joshua – spy tools, being a ranch hand

Sienna – puffer fish facts, whale facts

Elizabeth – unicorns, green sea turtle facts

Ife – Nigeria facts, recited two poems

Evan – race cars, Legos

Great job to you all!

 

Important Dates

Wed, Oct. 31: Halloween party, costumes may be worn to school. Parade at 2:45pm

Looking ahead

Friday, Nov. 9th: Field Day, noon dismissal

Monday, Nov. 12: no school

 

Happy weekend!

Annie

Blessing of the Animals Mass

TEP presentation

Happy Birthday, Ava!

Learning about Pollination from the good old Magic School Bus!

Happy birthday, Jady!

Book report projects 🙂

Fall is Here!

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Posted by annieomeara | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 28, 2018

Hello Families and Friends!

It is finally beginning to feel more and more like Fall everyday!  We have had a great few weeks together here in 2B! Progress reports will be going home next week. We have been in school for 30 days, so these grades are a collection of both formal and informal assessments to date. If you have any questions on your child’s progress reports, please email me. Don’t forget that the fall house/haunted house book report is due on Wednesday, October 17th . Let me know if you have any questions on that fun project. Also, the students have really started doing a nice job in tracking all of the books they are reading on their 100 Book Club logs! Good luck on your road to the 100 Club 🙂 And finally, we are in need of magazines/ads/newspapers/flyers with colorful pictures of different fruits and vegetables for a STEM project next week. Please and thank you!

Spelling

We have been working on several consonant blends.  I already see a difference in the students’ spelling when they are writing – they are really remembering the spellings of long vowels and words!  They are also using syllables to more accurately sound out and spell longer words. We continue to review the high frequency words of the second grade.  These are words that constantly pop up in our reading and may contain unconventional spellings – like the words because, people, were, their, etc.  Have your child point out nouns and verbs during your nightly reading!

Writing

We had a lot of fun in our writing over the past 2 weeks! We started to write full paragraphs using a topic sentence, 3 supporting detail sentences, and one concluding sentence.  Paragraph writing will be our main focus for the next long while. The students  were able to pick any animal and write about its unique camouflaging abilities in paragraph form. We revised and edited our paragraphs and had a great time sharing them in our “author’s chair!”

We also worked on making inferences by doing a fun writing activity: we each drew a picture, then we passed the pictures around, we next used our inference-making skills to write a sentence on back of the picture stating what we thought was was going on. This was a great activity, though I should admit that I basically ripped this idea off from the super-fun party game called Scribblish 😉

Reading

“What does it take to survive?” That’s the big question we are exploring in this unit. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about animal adaptations and how they help animals get what they need to survive. In our small reading groups, we worked on leveled readers.  We focused on using character voices when we come across quotation marks in our reading.  We worked on locating action and helping verbs in our reading and in our workbooks.  We took a test today which checked comprehension, writing, spelling, and vocabulary skills. A few stories we read were: “Twilight Hunt” by Norelle Oliver where animals use camouflage to hide as a Screech Owl hunts for food, and “Hide and Seek” which is a science article that tells how animals use color, shape, and size to hide in their habitats. Some new vocabulary words that have popped up in our reading are: adaptation, defend, habitat, insects, safe, and survive.

Mathematics

We have been focusing on place value for the past couple of weeks. Understanding place value is an important tool for solving problems and checking that solutions make sense. The students were introduced to the value of a digit (7 in the thousands place = 7,000), standard form of numbers (only digits), word form (words to express digits) and expanded form (showing the sum of the value of digits). The students also compared and ordered numbers and rounded to the nearest 10 and 100. Whew! These are tricky concepts that are practiced every day during our “daily math” session based on the day of school. We took a few short math assessments on these concepts over the past week. Overall, the students did extremely well. If there were mistakes, they were mostly reading mistakes, not mathematical errors. We have practiced reading all parts of math questions while underlining pertinent information as well.

Science

We continued learning about the life cycle of plants. We planted all of our germinating lima beans into the planter outside of Mrs. Stalkfleet’s classroom. Out of 17 seeds…..about 4 have sprouted into a pretty decent sized little plants which my leaders ever so lovingly water very day. This led to some fun writing: we wrote a R.A.F.T. (stands for Role, Audience, Format, Topic).  So, the students pretended they were plant scientists (role) who are unhappy about how most of our science class’s seeds aren’t growing.  They wrote a letter (format) to the seeds (audience) explaining why they should start growing (topic)!! These got quite creative! I will display them next week.

September 26th was Johnny Appleseed Day, so what better day is there to have an apple taste test with different types of apples? We discussed and charted color, texture, and taste differences and talked about how cross-pollination (more to come on that) leads to different variations of fruits.

Social Studies

To further our knowledge of our community and its workers, we visited Tucson’s fire station #1! We were able to see many of the special tools that firefighters use and we also got to go on one of their engines and spray their hose! We were able to see where they sleep, eat, study, and workout! They let us ask all the well thought-out questions we wanted to and we were able to fill out some question forms as well as complete a station scavenger hunt. Thank you to those of you who drove us there: Max’s dad, Ava’s mom, Elia’s mom, Sami’s mom, Noah’s mom, and Sienna’s mom! I gave the students a fire flipbook to complete regarding safety tips for the students and their families. Please take time to fill those packets out with your child. I hope the packets create a dialogue for you and your child about fire safety in your own unique home environments.

We are continuing to work on our community unit. We are “building” a whole city ourselves, and are discussing all of the necessities of a healthy and well-functioning community. A large part of the students’ social studies grades are based upon their effectiveness and use of collaborative skills during these types of teamwork activities.

We have also been focusing on three different types of communities: urban, suburban, and rural. We are discovering the similarities and differences between all of these different places.

Job well done on the community and culture projects! We discovered that even though we are from different families and cultures, we share many similarities. We learned a lot about each other and our families and I trust that it led to some fun conversations at home.

Teaching Time

We had many informational teaching times over the past few weeks!

Jady – step dancing, karate moves

Michael – astronomy, Hawaii facts

Twyla – her family lineage, Jane Goodall

Max – spider-eating butterflies, saguaro birdhouse

Ava – played the violin, her doggie

Sami – tuxedo cat facts, luna moth facts

Tate – history of pencils, hockey

Nikolas – Trinity icon, Willis Tower

Elia – Santa Monica, England

Izayah – how to crochet, wasp nest

Joshua – hockey, exercise board demo

Sienna – how to use a hammock, her family

Noah – how adoptions work, how airbags work

Elizabeth – clay, history of electricity/lightbulb

Ife – played piano, book report on Sarah Noble

Evan – how to yoyo, baseball

Important Dates

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd: Blessing of the animals mass – each student can bring a stuffed animal to have blessed
October 8-12: Fall break
Thank you and have a nice weekend!

Annie O’Meara

 

 Jady teaching a Step Dance Fire Station #1  Culture box sharing!  Happy Birthday, Noah!

Watering and taking care of our plants

 

 

News from Camp Wanna-Learn-A-Lot!

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Posted by annieomeara | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 14, 2018

Hello Families and Friends!

We have had a busy couple of weeks here in 2B! Since we are talking about communities and what communities need in order to function, if anybody knows a doctor, police officer, business owner, etc. who can come to school (or let both 2nd grades visit them) to talk to us about how they help the community, please let me know! 

We are excited to have our first field trip of the year coming up next Friday, Sept. 21st. We will be heading to Fire Station #1 downtown to learn more about firefighters/paramedics and their jobs in the community. Not only is this the largest station in town with a museum to boot, but it’s also the only station here with an actual pole! Very cool! Thank you to Sami’s mom, Monica Gonzales, for signing up to drive us to the field trip. We need more drivers so please join us if you’re available!

 

Reading

In a large group setting, we studied several non-fiction stories which spoke about how communities work together in order to achieve a goal that will make life better for everyone around. “Be My Neighbor,” by Maya Ajmera and John D. Ivanko, is a photo-essay which shows neighborhoods around the world and how people live together in them. “My Favorite Place” is an Internet bulletin board story where different students from around the country wrote in to tell about favorite places in their communities. In our small reading groups, we worked on trying to make our diction more clear when reading aloud.  We also worked on locating possessive and proper nouns in our reading and in our workbooks. Some of the vocabulary words that we worked into our reading and writing lessons over the past few weeks were: area, building, identify, library, locate, and population.

At the end of each week, the students are tested on the reading comprehension, grammar, writing, spelling, and vocabulary skills that were taught throughout the week.

Spelling

We have been working hard on several different vowel sounds.  As we know, these many vowel sounds are spelled in a variety of ways (English is crazy!)  One way to remember the long vowel spelling pattern when two vowels are together (as in ‘ai’),  I always say, “when two vowels are together, the first one does the talking, and the second one does the walking,” meaning that you hear the long A sound and the I is silent. Please continue to encourage your child to use his or her sounding out and proofreading skills when completing his or her nightly homework!

 

Writing

We worked on several different writing strategies during the past two weeks.  One strategy focused on using more adjectives in our sentences.  We practiced this numerous ways, but the favorite way was by writing a “guess who” list where we wrote sentences with several adjectives describing ourselves in the form of clues. We then crumpled up our papers and had a “snowball fight” which allowed us to anonymously trade papers. We then shared them with the class  and according to the adjectives used, we tried to make guesses as to who the author was. This was super fun and I’m sure the kids will be trying to think of other ways to have snowball fights in our class 🙂   We also have been challenging ourselves by writing stories using random words from phonics word sorts in our reading workbooks. I have encouraged the students to think about writing spelling stories with their spelling words instead of writing their typical 10-18 spelling sentences each week. I know it’s a challenge, but it can be fun and maybe even a little more interesting!

Mathematics

We continued to review skills learned last year: double and triple digit addition and subtraction involving regrouping (otherwise known as “borrowing” and “carrying” back from the days of yore, which yes, I use these terms with the students in addition to the new terms). We are also working on comparing numbers (least, greatest, equal to) and ordering numbers.  

We were able to spend a bit of time practicing basic math facts on our iPads after we had a quick lesson on appropriate iPad usage and basic care (each student has his or her own set of earbuds provided by St. Michael’s, so nobody has to worry about sharing too many germs). We also took our first 5-minute timed test of the year. In case you forgot, the students are expected to be able to complete 100 basic addition facts in 5 minutes or less with at least a 95% to pass on to the next test. Flashcards are the tried and true method for mastery of facts, just FYI 🙂

 

Social Studies

We are continuing to work on our community unit.  The past two weeks, we have been planning and building our own models of communities.  We created our community ideas in small groups and we are in the process of building them and pulling them all together to make one big city!   In the coming weeks, we will be assessing our city to see if there’s anything that we need to add in order to enable the communities to function properly.  We are also working very hard on knowing the cardinal directions (NSEW)! We also had a great time sharing our family trees and I hope it led to a fun dialogue between you and your child about your family history. I always loved hearing my own parents tell stories of their parents and grandparents.  We look forward to hearing what our fellow students learn in the next culture packet assignment: the “senior” family-member interview!

Science

We continued learning about the life cycle of plants!   We dissected a lima bean to see what was on the inside of a seed (have your child tell you his or her discoveries!).  We also created “greenhouses in baggies” where we placed lima beans with a wet paper towel inside a baggie and then hung them outside on the poles in the breezeway.  After about 2 days, most of the seeds germinated (hey, ask your child what “germination” means!) and some even grew shoots…we’ll just have to wait and observe to see what happens next!  We understand that not all of our seeds will grow (variances in sunlight and how wet their paper towels were, etc.), but we know that science is at times not perfect and/or uniform! We plan to plant these sprouted beans in the planter outside of Mrs. Stalkfleet’s class and see how far we go in the plant life cycle! Warning: there is a rogue “church yard bunny” who ate all of our plants last year.

 

Teaching Time

We had some great presentations over the past couple of weeks:

Jady – gorillas

Michael – strange facts about different foods

Twyla – Sacajawea

Max – praying mantis facts, how to play the didgeridoo

Ava – American girl doll history, how to make a pasta pencil holder

Sami – scorpion facts, fox facts

Tate – football book, performed a piece on his ukulele

Nikolas – Hoodoos Mountains, being an acolyte

Elia – Portland trip, performed a piece on her violin

Izayah – how to make a paper car, Chinese stress balls

Joshua – his bunny Coal, being a pirate

Sienna – The Blue Bunny Bubbit story, played the harmonica

Noah – fossil impression he made, rock facts

Elizabeth – grizzly bear facts, seashells

Ife – performed “When the Saints Go Marching” on piano, Jamaica

Evan – geode facts, Korean bird calls

Great job, everyone!!

 

Important dates:

Tuesday, Sept. 18: Family member interview due

Wednesday, Sept. 19: Noon dismissal

Friday, Sept. 21: Fire Station field trip – red shirts and khaki bottoms please

Tuesday, Sept. 25: Class picture day (red shirts and khaki bottoms please)

Also Tuesday Sept. 25: Culture box due

Wednesday, Sept. 26: individual picture day (free dress)

Happy weekend!

Annie

Joshua’s bunny, Coal!

Word sort gamesIfe playing the piano!

Apostles

Family Tree sharing

Elia playing the violin!

Sienna playing the harmonica

Learning how to jump rope

Checking out our greenhouse baggies 🙂

 

Camp Wanna-Learn-A-Lot is in Full Swing!

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Posted by annieomeara | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 2, 2018

Hello Everyone!

I finally got our classroom blog all set up!

We have had a very exciting first 2 weeks here at St. Michael’s in the second grade! It was wonderful to meet you all during our intake conferences and to see you at Curriculum Night. I can already tell that we have a great group of involved parents on our team. I wanted to thank Sami’s mom, Monica Gonzalez, Twyla’s mom, Nova Burns, and Elia’s mom, Angie Martinez, for volunteering to be 2B’s room parents. And, thank you to all of YOU, the parents, for your support at home during these first couple weeks of school! All of the students have adjusted well and (besides the heat) everyone seems very comfortable in 2nd grade.

Reading

“What is a community?” That is the big question we are exploring in this language arts unit. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about the people and places that make our neighborhoods special. In a large group setting, we have studied several short stories regarding our community and what makes a community thrive.“Quinito’s Neighborhood,” by Ina Cumpiano,” is a realistic fiction story where the main character, Quinito, tells about his family and friends and the jobs they do. “Working Her Way Around the World” is a photo-essay by Explorer Annie Griffiths Belt which shows people around the world working at their jobs. These stories created much room for personal connections, discussion, and reflective writing. In our small reading groups, we worked on leveled readers which reinforced the topic of life in a community. Also in small groups, we reinforced the reading and spelling of the weekly vocabulary and spelling words which were also practiced in the workbooks and then tested through a comprehension and vocabulary test.

Spelling

We have been reviewing all of the short vowels.  We continue to reinforce spelling patterns by making rhymes with same-vowel spellings and completing word sorts.  We are still practicing our sounding-out skills and we will be working on locating words in the dictionary (which can be practiced at home too!).

Writing

We have done much reflective writing on the topic of community. Also, we are continuing to practice our proofreading skills – a skill that even adults have to do (or should do!) on an everyday basis. We are working on creating longer, more descriptive and interesting sentences rather than simple 4-5 word sentences.

Science

We will be using our scientific method skills of making predictions, testing, analyzing, and synthesizing results as we venture into the exciting topic of plants!  We will start this unit by bringing in something from home that comes from a plant. That homework will be going home next week.  There will be lots of fun ahead while we study the lifecycle of plants!

Mathematics

We have been reviewing and developing place value concepts through the thousands place as well as addition skills and basic facts.  To practice our math skills in class, we use our Smart Board as a whole class to view and practice the lesson, workbooks to practice the skills independently, and skill games on the Smart Board and soon on the iPads to reinforce the concepts in a fun way. To the right of this blog is a link for your online math curriculum. Soon you will be given your passwords and usernames. This site contains access to your math books, homework, skills games, etc. Please check it out! Nothing, though, beats good, old fashioned flashcards to solidify those 0-12 addition and subtraction math facts.

Social Studies

We have been studying the topic of “community.”  Through reading multiple texts and discussing our community, we are becoming more aware of our surroundings and what is necessary in order for a community to function properly.  We will be working in small groups on building our own communities. Currently, the small groups are in the pre-planning stages where they have been practicing communicating effectively with each other to come up with lists of businesses, buildings, etc. they feel are important to include in their communities. Next week, in the spirit of acknowledging that there are many different cultures within a single community, I will be sending home a “Culture and Community” project packet. The first assignment is a family tree. I always found it fascinating as a child to sit down with my parents and learn more about my ancestors; my hope is the students of 2B will love these special family discussions too. This family tree is due Tuesday, September 11th.

 

Teaching Time

We are practicing our oral presentation skills daily on our designated “teaching time” days.  As I have said before, I would like the students to prepare and teach something to the class during their teaching time.  A few examples of some great things that we learned from our friends:

Jady – Tasmanian devil facts

Michael – Italian fan and Italian points of interest

Twyla – seal facts

Max – Harry Potter facts (and a costume!)

Ava – Venus Flytrap facts

Sami – report on Disneyland trip

Tate – football

Nikolas – canoe safety

Elia – Baliwood dance, India facts

Izayah – peppermint herb

Joshua – violin-uke

Noah – homemade cactus project

Elizabeth – ball python pet snake (who everyone got to touch!)

Sienna – absent

Ife – Sea World

Evan – homemade Korean flower project

We learned a lot of interesting new bits of information from each other!

Important Information

I will be placing a volunteer sheet on our outside bulletin board.  There will be times to help with being a “Friday Friend,” which entails coming in and reading to the students for 15-20 minutes every Friday morning.  Thank you in advance for your time and help!

Important Announcements/Dates

  • Monday, Sept. 3rd: no school
  • Friday, Sept. 7th: coffee corner in morning
  • Friday, Sept. 21st: 2nd grade field trip to Fire Station #1

Thank you all for a great beginning of a successful year!

Miss O’Meara 🙂

 

 Teaching Time!

Enjoying silent reading time

Math games in pairs

Elizabeth, her dad, and Spot the python visiting 2B

Happy Birthday, Nikolas!!

Working on our community planning

Have a nice rest of your weekend!

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