Happy Summer!

Hello Families and Friends!

It’s funny. Whenever I am going through my son’s clothes that he has grown out of, or sifting through his old toys to give away, I hear the Carpenters singing in the back of my mind…songs of happiness, sadness, loss, memories, and love. This happened to me during the entire last week of school as I prepared to say goodbye to this wonderful little class of very special students. Who knew I was such a big sap?! Despite my melancholy feelings though, we had much joyous fun together during the last couple weeks of school, albeit from a distance. One thing is for sure: I will never again take for granted the blessing of being present in a buzzing classroom where we share stories, laugh together, create art, ask questions, brainstorm, and learn together. I so badly wanted to press the ‘play’ button in my classroom which has literally stood still since the afternoon of March 13th. Soon, the campus will come alive again and it will be a day to rejoice!

This year was successful in part to our wonderful parent volunteers. Thank you to all of the numerous parents who donated their time and/or various items to the class as well as gave their time to drive to field trips. I truly appreciate the lovely Julie Bowen, my room parent extraordinaire, who was organized, fun to work with, and so creative all throughout the year! Thank you 🙂

Each year on the last day of school, I hand out special little awards to the kids. It was just as much fun writing out the awards as it was giving it to them. Here is the list of the awards:

Raj – The Puzzle Award

Smith – The Guiding Light Award

Ella – The Fashion Diva Award

Leilah – The Loving and Kind Heart Award

Kenzie – Ms. Research Award

Celeene – The Sunshine Award

Campbell – The Everybody’s Friend Award

Atticus – The Knowledge Dropper Award

Louisa – The Cheerful Cheerleader Award

Evan – The Colored Pencil Award

Kirra – The Hug Bug Award

Liam – The Impressive Butterfly Award

Nate – The Good Idea Award

Aaron – The History Buff Award

And our Soar With The Eagles Winner: Smith Bosse!

Congratulations to all for your unique and individual efforts and gifts you offered all of us all year long 🙂

On Tuesday, May 19th at 9:00am, please join us for our 2nd grade drive by end of year party! I will hand out these awards along with some other classroom items and a little gift for each student. I will need to collect the anthologies, the whiteboards, any small group readers, and any ipads borrowed from school. All items will be exchanged through your car windows in the spirit of social distancing (bummer). Also, I have been instructed to wear a mask; just know I’ll be smiling at you underneath it! And probably crying behind my sunglasses 🙁 If you’d like to drop off the anthologies and whiteboards sooner, please leave them outside on my bench and email me that you’ve done so. Mrs. O’Shell created an acrostic for each student to hang as a flag outside his or her car (if you want to). You should have received these in the mail as she sent them out a few days ago. I have been asked if people can decorate their cars and the answer is YES! Anything goes (as long as everyone stays in their cars). Thank you! It should be a fun and unique party for sure and will be nice to see you all off before summer officially starts!


Reading, Writing, Language, & Spelling

I can’t believe it, but we have officially finished our reading and language arts series! We finished up with a few great selections about what makes our country GREAT! “America Is. . .” by Louise Borden discusses the customs, symbols, celebrations, and landmarks that make up the national identity of the United States. “This Land Is Your Land,” words and music by Woodie Guthrie, were accompanied by explorer Sam Abell’s photos of the United States which, combined with these song lyrics, express this man’s love of the unique American landscape. Some of the words we have been using in sentences and reading about are: freedom, immigrant, landform, monument, seek, state, symbol, and united.

Since we have been reading and writing about our great nation, we decided it would be fun to write about a place we know well: Arizona! We came up with our own lists of things unique to our state. This list was easy for the students to create as so much of our social studies and science this year revolved around our unique desert environment. Then we wrote our own Arizona state anthems/poems using these ideas. We finished off our good drafts by coloring an Arizona flag on the back (personally I think our state has the coolest flag out of all the states!).



We pushed through and finished our entire math curriculum! Over the past few weeks the students have been solving comparison problems with a smaller unknown, playing games that involved subtracting amounts from 100 or one dollar, and solving story problems with a focus on developing efficient and accurate strategies for subtracting 2 and 3 digit numbers.

Please keep working on your math facts over the summer! 3rd graders at St. Michael’s are expected to complete 100 addition/subtraction facts in 4 minutes! A wonderful website with tons of review, especially some really great math review, is abcya.com.The kids all have access to Freckle.com and that is an amazing site. And last but not least, the tried and true WebMathMinute.com


We continued our weather study by doing more weather journaling. We learned about the 4 most common types of clouds: cirrus (the thin whispy ones), stratus (the blanket covering the entire sky ones), cumulous (the giant puffy white ones) and cumulonimbus (the big gray poofy raincloud ones). We also learned about how rainbows are formed and the color spectrum that makes them up.

Teaching Time

Check out all the cool things the kids have been teaching about:

Raj – Golden doodles, SpaceX Falcon 9

Smith – historical mysteries, Robin Hood

Ella – how to make a pizza tutorial, Popbeads

Leilah – Mt. Lemmon life zones, MadLibs/parts of speech

Kenzie – glowing pendulum kit, sunflowers

Celeene – allergies, anteaters

Campbell – Super moon, how to make banana pops

Atticus – volcanoes, Africanized bees

Louisa – Eagle huntress Aishol-pan, Minecraft

Evan – Slide Rock State Park, Ft. Tuthill bike park

Kirra – Mesosaurus, Australian Shepherds

Liam – BBC microbit, Dungeons and Dragons

Nate – Mom’s special smoothie, world’s tallest skyscraper

Aaron – Nintendo 3DS, rocks


I would like to close this final blog by saying the following:

Thank you for all of the end of the year gifts, cards, and especially the meaningful sentiments in those cards…enough to make this old gal shed big tears into her oversized American flag coffee cup, but so sweet as to make this old gal feel like I did a lot of things right this year. To know that you, the parents and kids, are happy is truly the best gift of all.

Thank you for your patience and support as I navigated through the tricky spots of online work-life and homeschooling my own child.

Thank you for trusting me with your children. Being a parent, I know, appreciate, and respect what it feels like and what it means to leave your most valued treasure with someone who is not you.

Most importantly, thank you to my students. Every day I spent with you was magic.

Have a wonderful summer and enjoy time spent with family, friends, pets, books, and nature! I will see you soon either to the north or south of Camp Wanna-Learn-A-Lot!



PJ Day! Favorite book day! Baby pictures! I felt so appreciated!! Uniform day!

Marching Ahead!

Hello Families and Friends of 2B!

April is coming to an end and I am sad to say that this school year too, is quickly coming to an end, even considering the odd position in which we currently find ourselves. We only have about 15 days left together. I’m not sure how that happened, but it did. We have had a lot of fun over the past couple of weeks and are gearing up for a strong finish of 2nd grade!

Our official last day of school is Friday, May 15th. The following week will be reserved for finishing any work the students may need to complete. On Tuesday, May 19th from 9-10:00am, the entire 2nd grade will be having a “Drive By Party!” We will end this year as all of you drive by school where Mrs. O’Shell and I will hand out end of year gifts and certificates. This is also a good time to exchange any remaining work, class items, books, school-issued ipads, etc. In the spirit of social distancing, we will not be able to exchange hugs, which I think will be the hardest part for me. I sure feel gypped since I was robbed so much precious face-to-face time with this class that I ADORE. 🙁 Anyhow, this party should be interesting. Hopefully we can figure something else out over the summer so that we can all have closure (read: so that I can have closure!!).

Every remaining Wednesday during the last weeks of school will have a theme for our Zoom meetings:

Wednesday, April 29th: pajama day

Wednesday, May 6th: St. Michael’s uniform day

Wednesday, May 13th: share your favorite book day


This past Wednesday, I introduced the kids to a website called Freckle.com. It is developed by the same entity that puts out our standardized tests. I am not making it a required assignment, however it is wonderful for extra review/challenge and is presented in a way that is interesting to kids and makes them want to do more. My own son loves it and seems to be benefitting from his work with it. I believe we will have access to this site through June. As a teacher, I receive immediate feedback on my students’ progress, changing levels, mastered standards, etc. It’s pretty great and I urged the kids to give it a try. Some already did and seemed to like it!

Thank you to those of you who could drop off the last round of work. I am currently sifting through it all and will have it ready to go back next week at some point. I always leave that box outside my room, so if you’re ever near school and would randomly like to drop things off for me to check, please do so. I am at school a lot (probably more than I really should be) so I check that box very often.

Okay, let’s take a break to see all of 2B’s adorable faces from a few past Zoom meetings when everyone was present:



We studied a few tricky spellings these past couple of weeks…the ones you pretty much need to memorize because they completely lack phonetic sense: the -le, -sion, and -cian endings (as in cable, tension, and musician). We brainstormed lists of words with these endings as well as read fun poems and short stories which contained words with these spellings.

We have also been working hard on identifying how prefixes and suffixes change the root word’s meaning. Knowing these word parts helps us to determine words’ definitions! The specific prefixes we studied recently are: dis, pre, in, and im. Suffixes were -less, -er, and -or.

In addition to our continued work with verbs, nouns, and adjectives, we were introduced to prepositions. Ask your child about my own 7th grade English teacher at Saints Peter and Paul named Mr. Adams and his “famous chair routine” to explain what prepositions were. He was just one of the many special teachers in my life who made such an impact that find myself quoting him (and several others, including my folks) to my very own students year after year 🙂


“What does America mean to you?” That is the big question we are exploring in our new and last language arts unit. To answer that question, we are reading, writing, and talking about the United States’ customs, symbols, celebrations, landmarks, and national identity. The story “Apple Pie 4th of July” by Janet S. Wong tells about a little girl who learns that she can celebrate the 4th of July with Chinese food, as well as with parades, fireworks, and apple pie. “America: A Weaving” by Bobbi Katz is a poem which tells how people in the United States celebrate diversity and embrace common American traditions. Some of the vocabulary words we have been working with are: American, belief, culture, difference, expect, language, tradition, and variety.


We have been practicing rephrasing questions and including them in our short answer responses. For example: Why did your husband bring home a PlayStation from Wal-Mart instead of lightbulbs? Answer: My husband brought home a PlayStation instead of lightbulbs because clearly he didn’t stick to the list. True story.

Anyhow, this type of short answer response will follow the kids through high school and beyond, so may as well get used to it now!

The students also were able to write paragraphs on ideas they could do to help the earth. They go through the entire writing process from brainstorming ideas to organizing them, to writing a couple of drafts, and editing those drafts. I look forward to reading these after the next work drop-off!


We started and have nearly completed Unit 7 in our math series. We focused on three main ideas:

-Investigating odd and even numbers: representing even numbers as the sum of two equal addends and an odd number as the sum of two equal addends plus 1.
-Visualizing equal groups in the structure of arrays: using an equation to model the total number of squares in an array as the sum of equal addends.
-Describing and representing equal groups as the foundation of multiplication: counting by and adding equal groups, and describing the relationship between a number of equal groups and their total.

We will take the unit test on Monday and will start the final unit on Tuesday. I realize there are several workbook pages involved with each lesson, and some are quite repetitive. I do not assign all of the super repetitive pages; however, your child is free to complete them at their leisure.

Social Studies

In addition to some mapping lessons, the students have been learning about different careers. They brainstormed hobbies they like and subjects they enjoy in school. Then they picked 3 jobs where those skills could be used. Then, they researched those jobs on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to investigate the median pay of those jobs, educational/training requirements, and available positions. Though this lesson would have been so much better in person due to the fact that I know we would have had strong discussions, I am pretty excited to hear all the ideas the students came up with and the research they completed. I hope this led to some interesting conversations with you about occupations and how to make an honest living!


The students were introduced to different weather tools that meteorologists utilize to do their jobs. They also read weather maps which brought in the carinal directions. Next up: the water cycle, cloud formations, and rainbows!

Teaching Time

Check out all the cool things the kids have been teaching about:

Raj – Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz

Smith – Beethoven, Einstein

Ella – Barb from the Trolls movie, bald eagles in Arizona

Leilah – How to paint on canvas with acrylic, Hawaii

Kenzie – How to make a fairy garden, how to heat a pool with a hose and pump

Celeene – lungs, hooded pitcher plant

Campbell – how to make bunnies (did you get yours? She put them in all of our mailboxes!!), baby elephant at Reid Park

Atticus – tornadoes, the sun

Louisa – beluga whales, how to make a flower out of tissue paper

Evan – Mt. Everest, Skyjo game rules

Kirra – polar bears, T-Rex from the movie Jurassic Park

Liam – homemade roller coaster plans, how to make a go kart

Nate – mandrills, egg waffles from Hong Kong

Aaron – moose, moon facts and a model moon


That’s all, folks! Happy weekend!


Awesome April!

Hello Families and Friends of 2B!

We have been having a productive couple of weeks online together! By now, I have (most of) the technical bugs ironed out and a structured daily schedule of work for the kids that is meaningful and familiar enough so that the kids don’t feel too out of sorts (hopefully)! Our daily Zoom morning meetings/Teaching Times are the absolute HIGHLIGHT of my day! It’s also an added bonus to see the parents on there too 🙂 You are ALL missed dearly! Here are a couple of cute screenshots from the past week on the day that all of us were present!

Let me reiterate, if your child ever has a question about an assignment, something is not working properly, or they just plain need to talk to me, I am always available. You all have my number (332-5531 in case you haven’t saved it) and you all have my email address. I am very reachable and will help your child whenever he or she needs anything as quickly as I can 🙂

Spelling and Language

We have been focusing on long vowel words as well as words that we can hyphenate. We also have been learning about articles (‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’), synonyms, and antonyms. Our recent spelling patterns are: al, all, oi, oy, ow, and ou.


We have been working very hard on locating details from stories and/or articles and using those details to answer comprehension questions in written form. Rewording information is a tricky skill! We have also been writing sentences while paying close attention to verb form (past, future, present tense). The students have been using rhyming words from our spelling pattern lists to compose short rhymes. Also, we wrote another paragraph: how kids can earn money! The ones I have read so far are completely impressive and so creative! Thank you to the parents who I’m sure helped in the editing process. The kids are getting stronger and stronger at coming up with creative topic and concluding sentences for there paragraphs!

During our short Easter week, the students did some Easter bunny point of view journal entries, complete with a super cute bunny cover. I have seen photos of some of the completed covers and they are adorable!


We have finished our reading unit on dependencies in nature. The story “Odd Couples” by Amy Sarver was a science article which describes animals that form partnerships in order to survive. “Working Together” by Lori Wilkinson was an article which explains how flowers and honeybees help each other survive. A few vocabulary words that we worked with in our workbooks and used for dictionary activities were: ability, difficult, enemies, partners, respond, species, threaten, and unusual.

Since Easter week was a short one, we had some fun with the book called “The Night Before Easter” by Natasha Wing. The students were able to listen to it on YouTube and then completed some comprehension and word activities based on the book.


The students were introduced to standard measurement tools. We used inch rulers to measure familiar objects and various lengths, and also located benchmarks on our bodies that we can use to estimate lengths. We were introduced to centimeters and meters and found objects that were about equal to these units. We also continued to solve comparison problems and other story problems about lengths and made line plots of measurement data that we generated. Next up: concepts of multiplication! If you have unifix cubes, they will need those; if not, we are sending home copies of them so they can cut and use.


We have continued working on our weather unit. We have had a great time going outside to observe the weather to write in our weather journals. Not only do we (as meteorologists) have to feel the conditions, but we also have to see them as well…like seeing which direction the wind is blowing according to a windsock or flag, or observing the cloud formations. We will be taking part in more fun weather activities shortly!


Social Studies

We have been reviewing map coordinates and brushing up on our mapping skills in general. Next week, we will begin to learn more in-depth about different jobs in our community.

Teaching Time

Many of the students have been preparing some pretty awesome visual aids to accompany their presentations! Wow!

Check out all of the interesting things the kids have been teaching about:

Raj – pickle ball rules

Smith – Grand Canyon

Ella – Angry Birds 2 slideshow

Leilah – cool websites for kids (found on April 8th’s Google Classroom post)

Kenzie – African lions

Celeene – red salamander

Campbell – how to play Master Mind

Atticus – space

Louisa – whale shark

Evan – McLarens

Kirra – Wells Fargo history

Liam – stop motion pictures

Nathan – growing plants

Aaron – how to make a medical mask


That’s a wrap! Have a blessed Easter weekend!


Happy, Healthy Spring!

Hello Families and Friends!

I saw some silliness on social media that made me smile through a bummer of a time: your “quarantine nickname” is how you feel plus the last thing you ate. So, greetings from Determined Quesadilla! What’s your quarantine nickname?? 🙂

I hope this blog finds you doing well in light of our situation. I miss you and the kids so very much. This week has felt like the longest MONTH ever; yet the school year somehow continues to fly by.

I plan on asking for a collection of completed work at the end of next week or the beginning of the week after. Mrs. O’Shell bought me a huge bin with folders for each child to be placed outside our room on the bench. If you have feelings against bringing work to school, I certainly understand that choice; I will just collect the finished work when all this is over and we are back together again. I would just like to get a head start on grading and of course, monitoring progress which cannot easily be seen online for all kids in our class. I will mail out another packet of work next week. Also next week, prepare for 10:00am Zoom calls each day for Teaching Time – YAY! We will try out this time every day next week and then perhaps make changes for the following week – it all depends how it goes! It still will be nice to see each other for a short time each day!

Thank you to the lovely Julie Bowen for starting a fantastic Art Expo project with the kids! Sadly, we were unable to finish them before we left. But, we thank Julie for sharing her time and creativity with us!

Big news: Ella’s handwriting sample was chosen out of the entire 2nd grade to be sent on to Zaner-Bloser’s national competition! WOW, Ella!

The “Biography in a Can” book reports were outstanding and so very creative! The students clearly enjoyed doing this project and learning about someone new. Also, we completely loved each presentation. Job well done, class!


“How do living things depend on each other?” That is the big question we are exploring in our new reading unit. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about the partnerships some plants and animals form in order to survive. “Go to Sleep, Gecko!” by Margaret Read MacDonald is a cute folk tale where a gecko learns how much his survival depends on other animals in the forest. “Enric Sala: Marine Ecologist” by Kristin Cozort is an article where the author describes the work of Explorer Enric Sala, who studies coral reefs and the many creatures that depend on them. Ask your child about each of those books! Some new vocabulary words we have been reading, using in our writing, and looking up in the dictionary are: accept, connect, necessary, relate, roles, and vegetation.


We have been studying the short O sound spelled oo, ea, au, and aw. I am pleased to see that more and more students are remembering these odd spellings that we study week-to-week in our spelling packets. That’s the whole point! Not to mention that the students are also becoming more aware of these spellings when they view them while reading. We have also been working hard on using the rules of hyphenation. We are continuing to talk about subjects and predicates as well as present tense and past tense verbs. In addition, we studied the prefixes un, re, and mis along with the suffixes -y, -ly,and -ful.


We had a couple of big weeks full of Irish writing. We started writing some fabulous leprechaun adventure stories, but we unfortunately didn’t finish our writer’s workshop because, well you know…. 🙁

We also have been working on peer editing. This has made students much more careful in their draft writing. Also, every student has the opportunity to offer productive feedback, accept constructive criticism, and master revision.

We also learned how to write limericks! From the rhymes to the beats in each line, these are some entertaining poems to write! I can’t wait to read the limericks the kids wrote!


By now, the students know that telling time is an essential skill in their lives. Telling time allows them to relate the duration of an event in their daily routines to reading a clock. These applications provide a purpose for telling time and keeping track of the duration of an event. With the short hand, we tell the hour and approximate how close we are to the next one by where it is pointing. With the long hand, we focus on the distance traveled to tell the duration in minutes since the last hour, and how long until the next hour. We have practiced using the terms “half past” and “quarter past/til.” If the kiddos don’t have an analog watch or clock, I’m putting it on their quarantine wish list! 😉

We started a new unit on measurement. So far, we have practiced measuring accurately using nonstandard units (e.g., shoe lengths, craft sticks, paper clips, paper “bricks”). We recorded data and were able to compare measurements. Next up: using real rulers and learning the basics of the metric system.

Social Studies

We have been reading about how people use and misuse the natural resources in various environments. We also discovered some of negative effects of pollution caused by misuse of the environment. We brainstormed how to solve the world’s trash problem by understanding the adage: “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

We enjoyed a recycling presentation called “Too good to throw away” given by the City of Tucson. We learned about all the things we can and cannot recycle. Ask your child about it!


A new science unit has commenced: air and weather! So far, we have discussed the interactions of air, water, and energy which we call “weather.” Weather is more than windstorms, but weather is always directly or indirectly something going on with, or in, the air. We will practice being meteorologists by observing the day’s weather and notating it in our weather journals! We will also be discussing all of the different types of cloud formations.

Teaching Time

Check out all the cool things the kids taught us about:

Raj – soccer rules

Smith – marsupial lion

Ella – gems

Leilah – sharks

Kenzie – robot building

Celeene – pollution

Campbell – how to make earrings

Atticus – camel spiders

Louisa – Big Bang Theory

Evan – Roblox

Kirra – how to wash your hands properly

Liam – how to draw Pikachu

Nate – dodgeball

Aaron – Cthulhu

Have a healthy and safe weekend!


Making “leprechaun attractors…” did they work???

March is Here!

Hello Families and Friends!

Good day to you all! I hope you have had a great start of March – we sure have here in 2B! Love of Reading Week was fun with guest readers, a visit from a famous author (Jennifer Stewart), and of course, several visits to the book fair!

Jennifer Stewart

Kristen Bennett, Realtor, guest reader, best realtor ever…give her a call today! 820-1000 🙂 

Our super cool door!

Wilbur loves to read!

We celebrated Mardi Gras with a pancake lunch and a steel drum band! This has always been my favorite tradition here at St. Michael’s!

For Fine Arts Night (April 3rd), Ms. Allen is asking each student to send a photo of themselves in nature. Please email these photos ASAP to Ms. Allen at Kallen@stmichael.net.

The “Biography in a Can” book reports are due on March 10th! Please have your child send in his or her rough draft if they need help proofreading them.

Also, thank you to Ella’s mom Julie, for planning our class’s Art Auction items. They are going to be awesome and I can’t wait for you all to see the finished products!


We have been working on contractions. The students know that contractions are used mostly when speaking, however they can be used for more informal types of writing. We have also been working on locating pronouns. For a refresher, pronouns take the place of a noun…I, you, he, she, it, and they are examples of pronouns. Finding and using possessive nouns and plural possessive nouns were also a focus of ours this week (example: dog’s or fairies’).

Our spelling patterns included “r-controlled vowels” spelled ir, er, ur, air, are, ear, eer, and ear.


We have been coming across some heavy-duty words in our reading, so we have started to brush-up on our dictionary skills so we can look up these hard words and learn their meanings, as opposed to just skipping over them! Once the lightbulb clicked as to how to use a dictionary, the kids were so excited!

Speaking of reading, let me remind you that it is just as important for your child to read aloud to you as it is for you to read aloud to him or her! By hearing adults read, the children will be exposed to more elevated vocabulary, they will hear your voice inflections, and also it can’t hurt their listening skills!

We finished our current reading unit with a few cool stories. “In a Mountain Community,” by S. Michele McFadden, focused on how an explorer named Losang Rabgey witnessed how a community came together to build a school that ensures a good future for its children. “Mi Barrio” by George Ancona was a photo-essay which showed how a boy helped his community by painting beautiful murals that reminded people of their heritage. Some of the vocabulary words (which we also looked up in a dictionary) were: education, opportunity, organize, project, result, and success.


We have been practicing writing directions for various activities in list order such as writing a recipe, retelling our daily schedule, etc. Another skill we have been learning about in writing is how to use examples from stories without plagiarizing. This is a tough concept, but we are getting better at restating ideas.

We also had fun writing some cause and effect books based upon the story pattern that is used in the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake. They will be proudly displayed in our class library author box!

We have been working hard on improving our basic paragraph writing. Writing interesting topic sentences, adding details, and a fun concluding sentence has been our focus. We also started peer editing our work. Knowing that our fellow classmates are going to read our rough drafts before I get to them has helped many students step up their writing, spelling, and grammar games!

Peer editing


We have been continuing work on adding and counting within 100 and 1,000 through workbook pages and partner games. Story problems, including comparison problems with a larger unknown, and story problems with more than one step have been our major focus during this past week. The students have focused on developing efficient and accurate strategies for adding larger numbers, specifically those that involve adding hundreds, tens, and ones and having to regroup.

Playing “Capture 5…” ask your child how we play!


Question: you have plain water and water with salt mixed in. Which one will evaporate first and why? We completed this very experiment! Annnnnndddddd….the fresh water evaporated more quickly! The salt crystals create more of an obstacle for the water molecules to pass through during the evaporation process. We finished up our matter unit by making something that is not really a solid, but not really a liquid – it’s called a suspension (which in a molecule sense is too tough to explain in this small paragraph – ask your child). We made “oobleck” out of corn starch and water to experiment with this type of matter. Next science unit – weather!

Social Studies

We had a wonderful time learning about our Sonoran Desert region through our field trip to the Desert Museum. Each student was able to present facts about his or her animal that they researched and then found in their exhibits. Such excitement occurred all day during the field trip.

In class, we have been discussing what types of products we use for basic living and where those products come from. We have also been studying about pollution and its effects on our environment and lives.

Desert Museum fun!

Teaching Time

Check out all the cool things the kids have been teaching about:

Raj – tarantulas, how to make ice cream

Smith – peregrine falcons, animals of the ice age

Ella – big horn sheep, how to draw a dog

Leilah – Anna’s hummingbirds, fashion plate creations

Kenzie – coyotes, wind turbines

Celeene – mule deer, April Fool’s Day history

Campbell – mountain lions, how to pitch a softball

Atticus – black tailed prairie dogs, black widows

Louisa – Gambel’s quails, marine iguanas

Evan – javalina, leprechauns

Kirra – great horned owl, Japanese fortune cats

Liam – diamondback rattlesnake, Blackjack

Nate – bark scorpion, Devel 16

Aaron – North American river otter, how to draw a dragon

Happy birthday, Campbell!

Have a nice weekend!


Happy Rodeo Break!

Hello Families and Friends!

We made it to Rodeo Break! I explained to the kids that Tucson is the only place in the WORLD that gets days off for the rodeo. Unique, to say the least! 🙂

We had a couple entries from our class in the “edible car race” last week and I am excited to announce the 1st place winner: Ella and her sister Quinn’s car “Mighty!”

Ella with “Mighty”

All 2nd grade contestants

Speaking of Ella, she also won our class handwriting competition! It was a close race, but her letters were formed and spaced most accurately according to the Zaner-Bloser penmanship standards. Check out her paper:

The good news is: now that I saw just how well everyone who participated in the competition can actually write, I can expect that same level of handwriting accuracy on every assignment from here on out…right!!?? 😉

We had our Valentine’s Day celebration/Hoedown where we created some super cute Valentine baggies, exchanged Valentines with our class and 2A, enjoyed yummy treats, and learned how to do the country 2-step and the “Cotton Eyed Joe” (everyone needs to learn these dances at some point in their lives, right? And for that, you’re welcome!). Thank you to Julie Bowen for bringing the treats!

Does everybody understand the expectations of next month’s book report? If not, please let me know and we’ll talk. The students seem to be excited about working on their “biographies in a can” and we are all looking forward to learning about a numerous amount of notable people!

Our Desert Museum field trip is Friday, February 28th. The kids need to bring their own lunches as we will be there the whole day. Red shirts, khaki bottoms, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are all needed that day as well! The week following Rodeo break, each student will be presenting information on a Sonoran Desert animal during their regularly scheduled Teaching Time slot. If you can drive on the trip and spend the day with us, please let me know or sign up on the sheet outside our door. Thank you!

Ms. Allen is requesting a photo of your child enjoying nature (hiking trip, beach, desert hike, etc.) to be part of our Fine Arts Night slideshow. Please email a picture to her no later than March 20th. Her email address is kallen@stmichael.net. 


One way that we work on our spelling words in class is by playing a game called “Word-O” which is much like Bingo. In each square, the students will write a spelling word and much like Bingo, when the word is said, the student will place a marker on that word. When a student reaches 4 words across, down, or diagonal, he or she will yell “Word-O“ and will read us the four words. We have also been working on identifying nouns, verbs, and adjectives in sentences and paragraphs. Included in our noun work, we are practicing changing singular nouns to plural nouns and are observing how at times, the spelling can completely change when doing so. We are working on locating and using singular and plural pronouns (I, me; them, us) as well as subject and object pronouns (she, it; him, her). Our spelling patters for the past few weeks have been the ‘ar’ sound and the ‘or’ sound spelled OR and ORE.


We started a new reading unit: “Why do people work together?” That is the big question we are exploring at the moment. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about cooperation. The story “Domino Soup” by Carmen Agra Deedy was a play where neighbors cooperate to make soup from just one domino. “Stone Soup” by John Forster and Tom Chapin was a cool story that talked about a soldier who uses stones to make soup for an entire village. All stories weighed heavily upon teamwork and the benefits of cooperation. Some vocabulary words we have been working with during the past two weeks are: cooperate, enough, possible, society, teamwork, and together.


We have observed various liquids and have discussed their densities, how they move, and if they are transparent, opaque, etc. We learned that the closer the molecules are in a piece of matter, the harder, or more dense, it will be. So, for instance, a liquid like honey is made up of more closely-packed molecules than the molecules in water. We performed an experiment to solidify this concept: we tried to mix water and oil together, but no matter how hard we tried, the liquids would not combine! That’s because they have different levels of density! It seemed like the students had a great time making their “magic potions!” They used their recent knowledge of liquid densities and vocabulary in order to make some pretty interesting concoctions!

Mad scientists!

Social Studies

We began a new study on geography. We are learning that communities have different geographic features and that physical maps show these features: mountains, deserts, rivers, valleys, oceans, lakes, islands, plains, etc. We have practiced identifying geographic features and locating them on a physical map. We also practiced drawing the different geographic features on our own physical maps to show understanding.


We finished our Valentine’s Day stories: some were romcoms, some were tragedies, some were downright silly; but all were wonderful! They are in our classroom author’s library box. We also learned how to write a proper recipe (in the spirit of the “Stone Soup” book we read). We looked at examples of real recipes (read: we visited my eclectic Pinterest recipe board to find these). We noted that there are ingredients and their amounts, plus there are steps on what to do with those ingredients and for how long. We had some pretty unique recipes from good old chicken soup to Unicorn Rainbow soup and Animal soup. Ask your child about his or her recipe!


We have embarked on Investigation 2 of place value in the hundreds. The students have been focusing on strategies pertaining to +/- 10, +/- 100, and numbers through 1,000. One fun game was called “Close to 100,” where the students used their knowledge of place value and known combinations of sums to find pairs of 2-digit numbers that add to 100 or close to it. We played several rounds of “Guess my Number” up to the 1,000s! That’s a game you could totally play at home if you have a number chart; ask your child how to play. More math fun to come soon!

Adding, subtracting, and counting, oh my!

Teaching Time

Check out all the cool things the kids have been teaching about:

Raj – London Eye, community service

Smith – Galileo, Easter Island

Ella – hacky sacks, how to make a pinch pot

Leilah – Helen Keller, Arizona facts

Kenzie – sea turtles, duck decoys

Celeene – iguanas, weasles

Campbell – how to play Labyrinth, how to make pillows

Atticus – Gem and Mineral Show, black widows

Louisa – Trash card game rules, how to draw a mountain landscape

Evan – Henry Ford, how to draw a spaceman

Kirra – armadillos, cacti

Liam – betta Fish, Wright Brothers

Nathan – lacrosse rules, squirrel monkey

Aaron – Saturn 5 rocket, tanks

Nice work, everyone!


We had such fun at the Fox Theater on Friday. We loved the show Miss Nelson Has a Field Day!

Happy Birthday, Celeene!

Happy ½ Birthday, Leilah!


See y’all soon and blessings for a safe and happy Rodeo Break!

Miss O’Meara

(Almost) February Fun!

Hello Families and Friends!

Happy (almost) February from 2B! We hope that you have had a nice couple of weeks. Interesting weather, wouldn’t you say? It is still a bit chilly in the mornings, so please make sure your little one comes to school with at least a sweater or some other type of layer.

Thank you for all of the love and prayers for my husband during his surgery. Recovery is going very well, he has been a great sport, a pretty good patient, and now he has what our sons lovingly refer to as a “cool robot neck.” 🙂

The students had a successful Math-A-Thon! We appreciate all of your pledges…please see the packet that went home today 🙂

Our 100th day of school was fabulous! We created pictures out of the number 100, wrote some funny books based on 100, and participated in a fun STEM challenge involving floating 100 pennies in homemade tin foil boats!

Did you float your boat?


I am sure by now you have noticed that our spelling lists have grown to be 20 words long. This is in preparation for 3rd grade spelling/vocabulary expectations. There are still phonetic pattern/syllable pattern words as always, but now there are more difficult words included from our reading text and also some words from our science and social studies units. A few of the vowel spellings we have been working on during spelling time are: the ‘OO’ sound spelled oo, _ue, ew, ui, and ou; and the ‘YOO’ sound spelled ue and ew.

We have also been working hard on correct placement of quotation marks. Boy, do we “love” grammar and punctuation 😉


We have finished our unit on different cycles in nature. It was the students’ favorite reading unit so far as it contained so many interesting and thought-provoking selections. “What Makes the Seasons?” by Megan Montague Cash was a cool poem-story where the speaker described the four seasons and explained why Earth has them. “A Winter Wonder” by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. was an interesting science article where explorer/scientist Tyrone Hayes explained how the American wood frog adapts to changes in the seasons. Some vocab words we have been using in our reading and writing during the last couple of weeks were: affect, autumn, explain, measure, and reason.


We have been completing some fun writing assignments lately! One was another “snowball fight.” The students had to use descriptive language to write clues about their favorite season by describing how a tree looked during that season. We then crumpled up our papers and threw them across the room a couple of times. We picked up a “snowball,” read the clues, and guessed based upon the language used what season the author was talking about.

We also have been refining our writing to flow a little better for the reader. This includes understanding how compound sentences (2 simple sentences joined together with the words ‘and’ or ‘but’) and compound questions (2 simple questions joined together with the word ‘or’) work. We practiced writing compound questions by pretending we were waiters and waitresses. We wrote mini-plays where we pretended to take a customer’s order and wrote compound questions such as: “would you like fries or apple slices?” The kids had such a good time pretending to be servers! They also did a similar activity in their Spanish class using content vocabulary and conversational Spanish phrases. Very cool!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we have just started writing the rough drafts of some V-day stories. According to some initial story outlines, we will be having some Valentine’s Day tragedies. The students are getting pretty creative with their writing!


We completed our introduction work with line plots and bar graphs and have moved on to Unit 5 in math. This unit has a focus on the place value of three digit numbers, fluency with addition/subtraction within 100, and identifying, reading, and writing numbers up to 1,000. Weaved in an out of each unit are randomly placed time-telling sessions. The students have been getting more comfortable with how to use the terms ‘quarter until’ and ‘quarter past’ in addition to ‘half past.’ If your child doesn’t have an analogue clock or watch, it may be a good time to purchase one!

Graphs and math games!


We continued our study of solids and used our senses to decipher which properties different solids share in common. We completed an activity including a “sorting circle” where we sorted objects according to common properties, and we also had fun with “guessing bags” where we used our sense of touch to feel properties of a solid and hypothesize what the solid was based upon the properties we felt. We “solidified” our knowledge of solids by creating an object which represented a property which is unique only to solids, i.e. bumpy, rough, pointy, etc. We had a great time creating these solids and they are displayed on our room for all to observe! Next matter up: liquids!

Working with solids and representing their properties 

Social Studies

We reviewed how to use map grids on a larger scale. Then we tried our hand at making our own grids…which we quickly found out was harder than it looks, but still a fun challenge! We practiced using our cardinal directions in pairs by playing a fun game. We had a game board and some cards with directions such as “take 2 steps south and 1 step east.” The goal was to get to our specific house on the game board through all these directional steps. Finally, the students are feeling much more comfortable with NSEW direction-giving. Practice makes perfect 😉

We have also been completing some logic and “following directions” activities. Such important skills to practice!

Teaching Time

Check out what the kids have been teaching each other (and me) about!

Raj – how to field a ground ball

Smith – chess rules

Ella – how to make a mosaic

Leilah – sushi

Kenzie – how to make a blanket, black bears

Celeene – Venus flytraps

Campbell – how to make an ice cream cone out of clay

Atticus – A-10 Warthogs, citric acid

Louisa – weaving

Evan – prickly pear cactus, Thomas Edison

Kirra – coyotes, baseball players

Liam – Disneyland, Pluto

Nathan – red pandas, velociraptors 

Aaron – pirates, UFOs

Important dates:
Friday, Feb. 7th: red tops and khakis for a Fox Theater play field trip (going by bus), also STEM Night at school. 5:30pm

Feb 7th and 8th: Uniform Exchange

Feb. 12th: “Fee Dress” (WIRES Charity) / Math-a-thon pledges due

Feb. 14th: Relaxed dress day

That’s about all of the big news for the past 2 weeks! Have a great weekend!

Miss O’Meara


Smith doing a chess demo

Happiness in the New Year!

Hello Families and Friends!

Greetings and happy 2020! We started the new year strong here in 2B! The students seemed to all be excited to get back to the grind and are doing quite well.

Thank you for attending your child’s conference. If you have any further questions or concerns that we did not cover, please do not hesitate to let me know!

My dear husband will be having a neck fusion next Wednesday, so I will be out that day and the following day to put on my nurse hat. Mrs. Bly will be in my place taking care of business in 2B. You may see me around campus at pickup and drop-off like a “normal parent” though 🙂

We will be exchanging Valentines with 2A and 2B on Valentine’s Day. I will send a name list out soon, but for planning purposes, there are 26 students in total.


“Why is nature always changing?” That is the big question we are exploring in this new reading unit. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about cycles in nature, including weather and the seasons. When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow was one reading selection where a mother explained that things in nature don’t end; they only change or move on to another place. Day and Night was an article and experiment by Glen Phelan which explained what causes the patterns of day and night. While discussing our reading, we have tried to use our new vocabulary words: appear, motion, observe, pattern, repeat, and shadows, to name a few.

Spelling and Language

Here are all the various spelling patters we have studied over these past two weeks: long I spelled I, ie, igh; long E spelled e, e_e, ie, y, ea; soft G spelled gi and ge; soft C spelled ci and ce; the N sound spelled n, kn, gn; the R sound spelled r, wr; and the M sound spelled m, mb. Many of the kids think it is cool to point these spellings out when they are reading independently. You can encourage them to do this at home too. Strong reading and strong spelling go hand-in-hand. In language, we focused on complete sentences with correct subject/verb agreement, adjectives, and antonyms.


We have been practicing persuasive writing. This group of bright students is already good at being convincing; however, we can always use practice on using stronger words in our writing paired with details to support out thoughts. We read the book Dear Mrs. LaRue and wrote a persuasive letter to the main character (Ike the doggie) where we used persuasive language to convince Ike to stay at his obedience school. The students had such a great time with this assignment, so we decided to do more persuasive writing: they were given a chance to try to persuade me to take them on a field trip to a place of their choosing. The students had to provide enough concrete examples as to why their field trip would be best and most useful for our class to attend. Boy your kids are wonderful at finding reasons to help them convince others! They also must think I have sacks of money sitting around my house or something…read: proposed field trips to see Aztec ruins, the rainforest, the bottom of the sea etc. Haha!


We have started a new chapter called “Working with Categorical Data.” We kicked off the new unit with a game of “Guess My Rule.” During this game, we sorted our classmates into two groups according to a secret attribute or rule. They made representations of the data for one rule, compared different representations, and were introduced to the conventions of picture graphs. We have started learning different ways to collect data and how to organize that information into a picture graph or bar graph. I love this chapter and I’m sure the students will be creating their own surveys and graphs at home soon!


Social Studies

We are continuing to work on making and reading maps. During our Social Studies block, we also discussed how we can do our part in society to make things better. We wrote some touching word poems for MLK Day where we named things we wished to improve about the world “with our two hands.” They are displayed in the classroom. We also learned a lot about each other by doing a little snowman hieroglyphic activity. Those are also on our East bulletin board; come see!

We had a guest speaker from Tucson Water come to talk to us about being “water smart” in our desert community. We learned that Tucson’s main sources of water are groundwater, the Central Arizona Project, and reclaimed water. We learned about aquifers and groundwater as well as the value and importance of water. We completed some writing activities on how we can be Water Smart kids and brainstormed different ideas on how and why to conserve water.


We dove into a new science unit of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. We learned that everything in the universe is made up of matter. This past week, we focused on solids. We analyzed several different solids and observed their properties. We played a guessing game where our partner had to guess what property two chosen solids had in common. The students are looking forward to more fun projects and experiments having to do with matter!

We also were treated to a class with 8th grade science teacher, Ms. Sanders. We took part in an experiment called “Can you Spot the Dot” which involved testing whether or not we can take advantage of the way our eyes and brain talk to each other to make dots on a page disappear. We learned about how saccades (fast eye movements) can help us see the edges of where one object begins and where another ends. What a great activity and a big thank you to Ms. Sanders for sharing her time and expertise with us!

Teaching Time

Raj – how a Perplexus works, frog facts

Smith – Iceland trip, Northern Lights

Ella – how an instant camera works, how to draw animals

Leilah – Bob Marley, Tae Kwon Do

Kenzie – javalina facts, giant Triton snail facts

Celeene – Statue of Liberty, koala facts

Campbell – panda facts, how to draw an ice cream cone

Atticus – Uno rules, NERF

Louisa – Word Round game rules, Amelia Earhart

Evan – homemade “how-to” videos on basketball moves, Tesla cars

Kirra – Pokemon rules, the water cycle

Liam – Dash robot game, Scott Kelly

Nathan – Japanese anime

Aaron – Spartans, whirlpools


Important dates:

Friday, Jan. 7th: TSO field trip by buses…please wear khaki and red!

Friday, Jan. 7th: STEM Night 5-6p


What a great start to the New Year! See you soon!

Miss O’Meara


Happy birthday, Evan!

Happy 1/2 birthday, Liam!

Awesome TSO brass quintet plus one cool percussionist

Holiday Happiness in 2B!

Hello Families and Friends!

Season’s Greetings to one and all! We just passed our 81st day of school, which means that we have less than 100 days left together…get ready, because it’s going to (sadly) fly by. The second half of 2nd grade is much more demanding as far as the level of difficulty in the curriculum, and also in the area of personal responsibility. By this time, the students should be able to complete tasks on their own without the constant reminders to get the jobs done. They are also expected to be able to better work on projects in collaborative groups in terms of communication and positive participation. I appreciate your support in these areas, and of course, I’m here to support you as well!

Bravo on the St. Nicholas Day performance. Didn’t the kids sound great? It was a wonderful performance and I was proud to be a part of it! We also had a visit from St. Nicholas (my buddy Mr. Paul Vernon) who gave us chocolate coins and a historical reenactment of the life of St. Nick!

RehearsalWaiting for the boys to change

St. Nicholas’ visit

Thank you to Julie Bowen for planning a fun Christmas party for our class and thank you to the parents who contributed their time to help out! A wonderful time was had by all!

Speaking of thank yous, I loved all of the Christmas gifts and cards that I received! I feel like a very loved and special person! Benjamin is especially thankful for the cookies and candies 🙂 Thank you so very much!

We hope you like your homemade decorations. 15 years from now as you hang those on your trees, I hope you fondly remember old Ms. O’Meara and our wonderful second class 🙂


We have been reading several non-fiction texts which have illustrated our theme of responsibilities towards each other. We read, wrote, and talked together about community members far and wide who have done heroic things to help others. In one story, “Giving Back” by William Albert Allard, explorer William Allard described how a photo he took inspired people to help a boy in need. “Iraqi Children Get Wheelchairs— and Big Smiles” was a web-based news article which reported about a charity that donates wheelchairs to Iraqi children who cannot walk. These are just a few of the examples of texts we have been reading to explore community responsibility. Some vocabulary words that popped up were: aid, decide, example, generous, heroes, leaders, serve, and support.

Spelling and Language

We worked on a few different types of words this week: long o spelled oa and ow, and compound words. In addition to our spelling word work, we read stories and poems that contained words with these spellings. Through much exposure, the students will recall the spelling of these words when writing and reading them. We also have been working on subject/verb agreement i.e. how verbs need to change depending on the subject. Example: She digs vs. We dig. Understanding what parts of language are needed in order for sentences to make sense and be complete makes us stronger writers!


We have been working hard on writing Christmas stories. The stories are written in the voice of an elf who has to save Christmas because Santa is sick! We are getting used to organizing our writing better by first listing our beginning, middle, and ending ideas then creating a fluid story using those thoughts. This makes for better stories with smoother transitions which is something that all of the 2nd graders need to work on! We also had fun writing in a different format: we wrote a R.A.F.T. This stands for role, audience, format, and topic. So we looked at a picture of a town getting hit by a blizzard. We pretended that we were snowflakes in that blizzard (role), who were writing to another object in the picture (audience) a letter (format) about the damage that was about to happen to that object (topic). FUN! This is something that the kids may enjoy doing at home…be creative!


We have been continuing working on adding multiples of 5, 10, and 20 up to 100 and 200. A couple of fun games to help us practice are in the pictures below. At home, if you’d like to play these games (called “Get to 100” or “Get to 200”), simply mark on some dice with a sharpie the numbers 5, 10, and 20. Roll and write down the numbers and keep a running addition problem with each roll until you get to 100 or 200! We are in the process of developing efficient strategies for adding and subtracting 2 digit numbers including drawing pictures, using 10s and 1s sticker strips, using hundreds charts, and good old regrouping. Also, we have been working hard on solving two-step story problems involving larger numbers and money amounts. When solving story problems, the students are given opportunities to explain their solution strategies to another student so that we are all seeing different routes to the same answers. Explaining math reasoning is a tricky thing, but we are all improving in this process!

Social Studies

We are still continuing to work on making and reading maps. We also created our very own maps of the North Pole. We were given a few places to include on our map like a runway for the sleigh, Santa’s house, and the elves’ workshops. Each map of course included a map key. They turned out super cute and creative! The students also worked on special Christmas coordinate grids which revealed hidden holiday-themed pictures. These grids introduced the students to trickier grids using a numbered X/Y axis. Now, we need to continue practicing giving directions on how to get from place to place only using the cardinal directions!


We finished our spider study up by touching a real skin shed from Harry the tarantula, my faithful class pet who was with me for 12 years and brought much happiness to many of my past students. Rest in peace, sweet Harry.

We completed some Christmas-themed STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) challenges over the past 2 weeks. The first one was a “STEM Christmas Tree Building Challenge.” Can you build a 3-D Christmas tree that will stand up by itself, using just paper, 2 popsicle sticks, and tape? Well, maybe you adults can’t, but the kids sure did! They had a fun time, lots of trial and error, and loooots of tape. The other project was “Build a STEM Shelf for the Elf!” Working in pairs, the students had to build a sturdy shelf for a paper elf using popsicle sticks and a very small amount of clay. These shelves served as wonderful lessons in planning, communication, and teamwork. I was proud of how well the students worked together to successfully build strong, tall shelves for their Christmas elves!

Teaching Time

We learned a lot from our peers this week:

Raj – Eiffel Tower, soccer tournaments

Smith – Mr. Rogers, emojis

Ella – Christmas mosaics, tapeworms

Leilah – Disney princesses

Kenzie – reindeer, hedgehogs

Celeene – her family, rabbits

Campbell – space

Atticus – Dan Aykroyd, how to use a compass

Louisa – Mindcraft, sharks

Evan – making a dollar paper airplane, Native American pottery

Kirra – Frida Kahlo, magic 8 ball

Liam – card game War rules, escape rooms

Nathan – saber tooth tiger, Chinese dragons

Aaron – St. Nicholas history, Mt. Rushmore

Great job, everyone!

Important dates:

January 6th: first day back at school – happy 2020!

January 13-24 – conferences – stay tuned for a SignUpGenius invite!

January 15th: noon dismissal

Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season! See you soon and enjoy the break!

🙂 Miss O’Meara

Happy birthday, Kirra!

Playing games with our 8th grade buddies!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Hello Families and Friends!

Greetings and happy St. Nicholas Day! What special surprise did your child find in his or her shoe today from St. Nick? This is just another one of the many wonderful traditions we have here at St. Michael’s! The students have been working very hard with Ms. Allen to deliver a fine performance on Friday, December 13th at 2:00. Please plan on arriving by 1:30 as parking and seating can be hectic. Students are expected to look their best for the show! Please have your child come to school in their uniform attire, and bring a bag with a change of clothes for the performance. Clothing should be “fancy” or “Sunday’s best!” Thanks!!

Did you love your little pinecone turkey friends that the students made? I have made one for each year I’ve been teaching in the classroom…that’s now 13 pinecone turkeys to store…and counting!



The holiday book reports were amazing! Another wonderful project completed by my hard working students! We will finish the presentations next week as we ran out of time today due to our rocket building and launching (see “Rocket Day” explanation below).

Book reports



We have had some great stories in our reading series that lend themselves quite nicely to the writing projects on which we have been working. “What are our responsibilities to each other?” That is the big question we are exploring in this new reading unit. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about good deeds and things people do to help others. This week we read “Aesop’s Fables” retold by Shirleyann Costigan. These two fables show that when you do a good deed, help can come from unexpected places. We also read “Wisdom of the Ages” which were proverbs from seven cultures reminded readers to do good deeds. Some vocabulary words of note: character, choice, citizenship, courage, grateful, respect, responsible, right, and thoughtful.

The few days prior to Thanksgiving (since it was a short week), we took a little break from our language arts series and instead, we did a fun language arts activity that I love! It’s called a reading “tea party.” We used the book “The Snowman Storybook” for our tea party. It goes like this: on the first day of a tea party, I make copies of just the text portion of the specifically selected book. Each student receives a portion of the text. Just like at a tea party, the students go around the room and “mingle” while they would read their story portion to another person. Then that person would read their part to the other person, then switch people, etc. The goal of this portion of the tea party is for the students to work on using the information that they are hearing about the story and then putting that information into an order that makes sense as a story. After this, we fill out a character, setting, plot chart where we make predictions about the story elements. The 2nd day consists of matching each individual sentence/story part to a picture from the book by using comprehension, inference, and critical thinking. Each student then has to explain why he or she picked that picture to illustrate their story part. After doing this, we try to write a story about how we think it is actually written, now having a more clear picture due to words and illustrations being brought together. Then we actually read the story and compare our predictions to what really happened. Tea parties make reading fun and different. Also, they help students to realize that understanding stories takes time; however, an understanding can be reached through taking what has been read, analyzing the information, and then making inferences and predictions. So fun!

Tea party!


Spelling and Language

We worked on a few different spellings over the past few weeks: Long A spelled with ‘a,’ ‘ai,’ and ‘ay.’ Also, Long E spelled ‘e,’ ‘ee,’ ‘ea,’ and ‘ie.’ At this point, all students are strong in spelling phonetically. We just need to retain the odd vowel spellings and that comes with more consistent visual exposure to all of these words and spellings through reading! We are getting pretty good at locating nouns and verbs in sentences, as well as complete subjects and predicates.


Our new reading unit has provided wonderful topics for us to write about. We have been describing good citizenship through several different writing forms: lists, paragraphs, and short stories. Within these writing exercises, we have been practicing finding all of the subjects and predicates in our descriptive sentences. We also wrote rough and good drafts of letters to Santa. Going along with our “lend a helping hand” theme in reading, we not only asked Santa for items for ourselves, but we also requested items for others. Did you know that I am privy to Santa’s personal information? As in…I have his address?! Knowing this information helped us learn how to address a proper envelope complete with the correct location of a stamp.


We have been working hard on understanding place value and also representing and solving problems involving addition and subtraction. Throughout our year, the students are asked to make sense of and solve different types of story problems, including adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing. They are also introduced to more complex problem types such as those involving an unknown change or unknown start. Tricky, tricky.

Recently, the context of stickers that come in the form of singles, strips of 10, and sheets of 100 has provided a model for representing and making sense of place value. Students have used this sticker context to represent numbers with hundreds, tens, and ones; consider how the value of a digit is determined by its place in a number; and compare numbers by place. This understanding helps students develop computation strategies in later units and grades. Ask your child how to play “Last Number Standing” – it’s quick, easy, fun, and an effective to solidify place value!

Playing “Roll a Square” to practice place value


Social Studies

We had a fun and educational field trip to Fry’s! We enjoyed learning about the different areas of the grocery store and what the workers do there. We also enjoyed learning about nutrition (and eating lots of free samples!). We are able to talk to a worker in each different section and ask them questions about their particular job. What a wonderful way to appreciate these community workers – by learning all about how they help US!

Produce dept.BakeryMeat dept.Loading dockRx

We have been reading several selections and have shared in many discussions regarding good citizenship and how it effects our communities. From the small community of our classroom to the large community of our state and country, every good deed counts. We also learned how to read grid coordinates on maps. The class LOVED map coordinates – like A LOT. Now these kids will all be Battleship masters! We will certainly do some more of this because I just found some fun Christmas coordinate projects! Another map-reading skill we touched on but certainly have not mastered yet is giving directions using the cardinal directions (NSEW). I personally revolt every time someone tries to give me directions to a place using language such as “turn south on Wilmot, and west on Broadway…” no thanks. RIGHT OR LEFT, PEOPLE! But, it is an important skill and I recognize that maybe I’ll become proficient along with the children whilst teaching them 🙂



We started studying the life cycle of spiders by learning all of the arachnid body parts. Have your child sing you the super cute spider body part song! We will be learning about the 5 different types of webs that spiders weave: orb, tangled, sheet, triangle, and funnel. Ask your child about some spider facts that he or she learned from our many informational texts.

The 2nd graders were treated to “Rocket Day” thanks to our beloved former St. Michael’s parents (both of their boys have graduated!), Merle and Deidre Crutchfield, and their Raytheon counterparts and fellow rocketeers, Steve Lubliner and Jerry King. We built our very own model rockets, learned the physics behind rocket propulsion, and then launched them! How exciting to be part of this process! Thank you, Deidre, Merle, Steve, and Jerry, for volunteering your time and expertise yet again!

Building rockets

Finished products


Teaching Time

We sure do love learning new things from our friends!

Raj – how leaves change color, Coca Cola facts, history of Christmas lights and trees

Smith – Pluto, the Grinch, Niagara Falls

Ella – 3D model holograms, hummingbirds, Koosh ball inventions

Leilah – Sleeping Queens game, parrots

Kenzie – flamingos, wild turkeys

Celeene – ostriches, mice, Arizona facts

Campbell – coral reef, how to make a PlusPlus spinner

Atticus – ravens, silverfish

Louisa – leafy sea dragons, horse facts

Evan – making a rain cloud, history of candy canes

Kirra – hour glasses, macaws

Liam – Lego Robotix, how to draw a mountain

Nate – hockey, shonisaurus

Aaron – Star Wars, rattlesnakes

Great job, everybody!


Important Dates

December 11: “Fee” dress day…bring in $2 which goes towards our mass collection and you can wear free dress to school this day!

Dec. 13: St. Nicholas’ Day 2:00 in gym, students are to bring their “Sunday’s best” to change into before the show

December 20: last day of school before Christmas break, noon dismissal, no aftercare

January 6: school resumes

Happy birthday, Atticus! 🙂


String quartet concert

Evan making rain clouds in a cup

Learning how to set a proper table

Have a nice weekend 🙂