Happiness in the New Year!

Hello Families and Friends!

Greetings and happy 2021!  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. They are all becoming very technologically proficient – BUT –  let’s hope it won’t have to last much longer as the adults here on campus are all rushing to get vaccinated so we can hopefully BRING THE KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL!  

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!

We will be exchanging Valentines within our class for Valentine’s Day. Here is the list of names for our cute little group: Adam, August, Charlie, Elena, Eli, Leo, Nathaniel, Nora, Reagan, Scarlett, Surya. More V-day details to follow…I just wanted you to know the names of the kids and how many cards you would need far in advance because if your child is like my son, they are VERY specific about the types of Valentine cards they want to send out, thus needing to be special ordered 🙂

 

*******IMPORTANT INFORMATION******

We will be taking our online standardized “Renaissance” test next Wednesday and Thursday. I have posted the website and login directions on our Google Classroom. I strongly urge you to do a trial run with your child over the weekend to ensure login capabilities and understanding so that the day of the tests will be smooth. (Please don’t take the test until we are together as a class on Wed/Thurs.) Thank you!

**For art class next Friday, Ms. Allen has requested that each family supply their child with a 6”x6” piece of tin foil in order to finish a car project. Thank you!** 

Reading

“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 patterns 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, synonyms, and antonyms. 

Writing

We have been practicing persuasive writing. This group of bright students is already proficient in 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 Defy, the farm, ice cream factories, planetariums, the beach, doggie day care, the turtle pond, the rock and fossil museum, an art museum, a history museum, and Antarctica. Haha! If only… 😉

Mathematics

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, line plot, 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 will be displayed in the classroom. We also learned a lot about each other by doing a little snowman hieroglyphic activity. Those are currently displayed on our East bulletin board.

Science

 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 the class 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!

Teaching Time

August – Legos, pretzels

Adam – solar/lunar calendar, planetary conjunctions

Scarlett – African egg eating snakes, how to crochet

Charlie – grapple hooks, his drum kit

Leo – T-rex, fidget spinners

Nathaniel – Quidditch, bikes

Nora – snow globes,  starfruit

Reagan – lightning, koalas

Surya -birds at Reid Park, rare US coins 

Eli – volcanoes, his cats

Elena – thunder, VanGogh  

What a great start to the New Year! See you on Tuesday as there is no school Monday 1/18/2021!

Annie

My crazy campers!My workspace & sleeping coworker Amazing New Year sign from Adam and Agnes – thank you!My serious coworker 

Holiday Happiness in 2B!

Hello Families and Friends!

Season’s Greetings to one and all! We just passed our 77th 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! 

Thank you to Adam and his mom Agnes for putting up the beautiful winter decorations in our hallway! They are so festive and really put us teachers on the Westside in a holiday mood! Thank thank you to Eli’s mom, Jennifer, for putting together the special holiday treat bags for the class!

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! Ben is especially thankful for the cookies and candies 🙂 Thank you so very much!

We hope you like your homemade Christmas decorations. 15 years from now as you drag them out from storage, I hope you fondly remember old Ms. O’Meara and our wonderful second grade class during the “year that kept on giving.” 😉

We have a new member of our class: Navy Mae the German Shepherd! She will attend class with the Happy Campers on days when my husband is on duty 🙂

Reading

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!

Writing

The students have been working hard on writing formal paragraphs. So far, they have written one narrative and one opinion paragraph. The students are guided through the process of taking their ideas from their brainstorming and organizing them into the elements they will need to write their paragraph. The way we break down each part of the writing process has been fun and effective. More great writing to come!

 Mathematics

We have been continuing working on solving story problems with unknown changes and unknown starts and recording our solutions so that someone else can understand our unique strategies. Story problems help students to consider the relationship between addition and subtraction to arrive at an answer. Often, our book asks the students to solve the problems in 2 different ways; so we see different representations using numbers, symbols, pictures, and/or words to find the solutions. We also have been practicing our number sense by playing the beloved  “Guess My number” but at this point in the year, we are starting to play using larger numbers up to 500!

If your child hasn’t done so yet, please take a look at all of the games and supplemental guidance I have added to the math section of our Google Classroom. There is some very useful and meaningful stuff there for the kids!

Social Studies

We are still continuing to work on making and reading maps.  We have been working on different map grid coordinate activities where we either had the goal of finding places with a grid or creating fun pictures with the coordinates.  Now, we need to continue practicing giving directions on how to get from place to place only using the cardinal directions! 

Science

We finished our spider study up by learning about the 5 different types of webs that spiders make. Have your child explain how spiders eat insects. Also ask them how tarantulas are helpers and why we should let them live in our yards!

We completed a Christmas-themed STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) challenge this past week. The kids “Built a STEM Shelf for the Elf!” 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 and trial and error.  I was proud of how well the students worked patiently to successfully build strong, tall shelves for their Christmas elves!

Teaching Time

We learned a lot from our peers this week: 

Adam – Polish Christmas traditions

August – titanium, jackets

Scarlett – owls, Christmas cookies

Charlie – stock whip, dragons

Leo – Elf on a Shelf, Pokemon

Nathaniel – half birthdays, the sun

Nora – fish ladders, ornaments

Reagan – Venus flytraps, Polly Pocket

Surya -Reid Park reconstruction, performed Christmas carols on the piano

Eli – Solar system

Elena – how to make a reindeer decoration, reindeer facts

Great job, everyone!

Important dates: 

January 4th: first day back at school (online) – happy 2021!

January 7-15 – conferences via Zoom – stay tuned for a SignUpGenius invite!

January 13th: noon dismissal

 

Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season! School will resume online on January 4th and we will be online through the entire month of January. See you soon and enjoy the break!

🙂 Miss O’Meara 🙂

Cool Christmas glasses day!

Meeting Navy Mae!

Christmas CRAZY!

Happy Days in 2B!

Hello Families and Friends!

Greetings and congratulations on completing your first week back to online schooling/synchronous learning/virtual classroom/homeschooling… whatever you want to call it! It was a positive week and the students continued to work in the same manners that they do when they are with me in class. I would like for them to continue working independently as they do when we are physically together. So, caretakers: all you need to do is provide shelter and occasional food and drink for the kids; other than that, I’ll take care of the rest during our school days together!  It is nice to see everyone’s face-in-full while being online, but other than that, I look forward to being back together (masked) hopefully in January.

Job well done on the heritage 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.

Heritage projects

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 14 pinecone turkeys to store…and counting! Also, did your child teach you how to set a proper table? Good job to Nathaniel who showed his new skills to his parents and grandparents on Thanksgiving! 

Setting tables

I am happy to report that our class surpassed our goal of 250 homework tickets and earned our first homework party which we will celebrate when we are back together. And now we are working towards the NEXT homework party! Great job!

Reading

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. These proverbs reminded readers to do good deeds and display their pillars of good character. Some vocabulary words of note: character, choice, citizenship, courage, grateful, respect, responsible, right, and thoughtful.

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.

Writing

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. 

Mathematics

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!

Loving our math games!

Social Studies

We have been reading several selections and have shared in many discussions regarding good citizenship and how it affects 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 🙂

Science

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. 

Teaching Time

We sure do love learning new things from our friends! 

Adam – hummingbirds, Christmas tree types

August – turkeys, pumpkins

Scarlett – ducks, alligator gar

Charlie – jaw harp, antlers

Leo – walkie talkies, menorah 

Nathaniel – pearler beads, Sony walkman

Nora – donuts, The Nutcracker

Reagan – Hatchimals, cheetahs

Surya -Advent, sudoku 

Eli – Hawksbill sea turtle, axolotls

Elena – how to make ornaments, how to draw 3-D art 

Great job, everybody!

Important Dates

Each Friday, starting today the 4th, please come to school to drop off your child’s work and pick up their work for the next week. Thank you!

Thursday, December 17th: last day of school before Christmas Break!

 

Have a nice weekend 🙂

Annie

All dressed up for picture day!

Packing up our things

My online command center plus doggie cage for soon-to-come puppy!

Falling into the Holidays!

Hello Families and Friends!

The Holidays are just around the corner and the year is really flying by for us!  It is now sweater weather…I miss the pre-air conditioning days when our old wing of the school had to turn on our archaic radiant floor heater and see crayons melt and children lay all over the warm floor haha 🙂 

Welcome to our new Happy Camper, Elena Campos! We are so happy that you have joined our class and look forward to spending more fun days with you here in 2nd grade! We also celebrated her birthday today! 

Happy birthday, Elena!

Thank you for all of the canned good donations given to our Thanksgiving food drive and for the hard boiled eggs for Casa Maria!

Egg march to the fridge!

Report cards are coming home today. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. We will have parent/teacher conferences in January to discuss the tail-end plan for the rest of your child’s 2nd grade year.

November 20th is the day we are looking forward to when the students will all bring in their heritage projects! Every year that I do this activity, I get a new collection of tasty family recipes! And we all learn so many things about each other including differences and commonalities 🙂

Next week will be our last week of in-person learning for a while. I’ll be sending the kids home with their belongings on Friday. I purchased bins this time so it should be easier. Please let me know if you need your child’s email address and password. They are all still subscribed to our Google Classroom, and nothing has changed schedule-wise since our last online go-around. Pray for a return to on-prem learning after Christmas break!

 

Reading

We have been reading some very interesting stories together as a whole group as well as in our small reading groups. We finished our unit called “Water for Everyone.” A few recent selections we read were “PlayPumps” by Catherine Clarke Fox which was an article that describes the PlayPump, an invention that has helped millions of people in Africa get clean water. Another selection, “The Mighty Colorado” by Mimi Mortezai, introduces Explorer Jon Waterman, who works to preserve the Colorado River, a source of water and power for millions of people. Some interesting vocabulary words that kept popping up in our reading were: healthy, invention, machine, pipes, provide, pump, require, source, and wells. Our next reading unit will focus on reaching out and lending a hand to those in need. 

Spelling

We worked on words with long e and long u during the past two weeks.  One way we worked on these spellings is by playing a “making words” game.  This is where I give the students a whole bunch of random letters and they put the letters together to make several small words. In these cases, the words had many of the sounds that we were working on.  At the end of the game, all of the letters spell one big word. This is yet another “trick” to get kids to learn even when they think they aren’t doing so! 

Writing

We were able to write another R.A.F.T. (role, audience, format, task): the students assumed the role of a piece of Halloween candy. Their task was to write a persuasive letter to the trick or treater who owns them to talk the trick or treater out of eating them! We went from being stale to being poisonous and every reason in between! These were incredibly funny! 

We are all actively working on using more descriptive language in our formal and informal writing. We are currently going through a writers’ workshop session with a fun Thanksgiving story. The students all are assuming the role of a turkey who is narrating the story. So, while writing in the voice of a turkey, the students are able to write a fun and interesting Thanksgiving adventure. When finished, these books will be displayed in our classroom library along with the students’ self-written Halloween books. Spoilers: some of the turkeys don’t make it out of their adventures unscathed.

Ask your child about our “snowball” writing fight!

 Mathematics

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 concept 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 concept 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 way to solidify place value!  

Math games!

Social Studies

We had a blast learning about the presidential election process. We were so interested in elections that we held our own 2B election: a fierce battle between Mrs. Pretzel and Mr. Grape. Each candidate had different and unique platforms pertaining to school life, and the students had to weigh out what was most important to them to make a choice. There were also a few school related propositions to vote on too. We had so much fun expressing our feelings in respectful and meaningful ways. 

Voter handbook

We are still continuing to work on making and reading maps.   We worked on making maps of our bedrooms making sure to add all of the permanent fixtures. We realize that maps don’t have details, such as people and cars. Rather, maps include large objects that are stationary. 

We have also been discussing the first Thanksgiving and how it is important to reach out to our community during this time (thank you for showing your generosity by donating the hard boiled egg and canned food). . We focused on Thanksgiving and the history of this holiday.  We will be continuing to learn many facts about the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Next week, we will use Native American symbols to write our own stories. The students will also learn the lost art of setting a formal dining table. I’m hoping they’ll use their knowledge of place settings nightly! 🙂

Science

We started studying the life cycle of bees. We learned so many facts about these amazing little creatures; ask your child what he or she found to be most interesting about bees! We learned various facts about the hexagonal shaped cells that the bees make in their hives, the three different types of honeybees: drones, workers, and queens, and the different body parts of bees.  Did you know that only female bees have stingers? Next up: the lifecycle of spiders!

Teaching Time

We had many interesting teaching times during the past few weeks:

Adam – jokes and riddles

August – mudskippers

Scarlett – chickens, soccer

Charlie – crocodiles vs. alligators, his dogs

Leo – glow sticks, twins

Nathaniel – dinosaurs, sharks

Nora – foxes, cotton candy

Reagan – art kit, brachiosaurus 

Surya – sang original piece, aardvarks, played aardvark duet

Eli – grasshoppers, elephants

Great job to you all! 

 

Important Dates

Nov. 18th: noon dismissal

Nov. 19th: school picture day, free dress!

Nov. 20th: heritage project due

Nov. 23-27: Thanksgiving Holiday, no school

Nov. 30: online learning begins, 8am-2:00pm

 

Have a nice weekend!

Annie

 

Happy together!

What Fun We’re Having!

Hello Families and Friends!

Happy (almost) November! A lot of excitement took place this week when we celebrated Halloween!  Thank you to the many parents who donated items and their time to our Halloween celebration, especially Jennifer Wolert, for the planning and putting up the festive decorations, and Agnes Bialas for the extra special treat bags!   Check out all of the photos of the 2B Happy Campers in the Halloween parade! This is one of my favorite traditions here at St. Michael’s (though it was VERY different without parents here). Happy Halloween! 

Happy Halloween!

The haunted 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.  I can tell the students enjoyed doing this project and they were all so proud to present their work to us. 

Nice Work!

I hope the students are enjoying working on their family culture/heritage projects and I hope it has 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.  I look forward to seeing all the finished products on November 20th! 

Writing

We continued to work on our Halloween/Fall stories from last week’s pre-writing stage.  When we finished up publishing our good drafts, we then proudly shared our work during an “author’s chair” session where each author read his or her story to the class.  We did this on Halloween day with the lights out and candles lit, just to have an extra special spooky effect! These stories are being kept in our class library for all of our classmates to read. 

Reading

We started a new theme in reading called “Water for Everyone!”  “Where does water come from?” That is the big question we are exploring in this unit. To answer it, we are reading, writing, and talking about the water cycle and water as a natural resource. We read “Frog Brings Rain” by Joseph Bruchac. In this traditional Native American tale, Frog helps First Woman when he turns Water into rain and puts out Fire. We also read “Make Rain” by Mimi Mortezai. This science experiment book demonstrates how rain forms and falls from the sky. In addition to the weekly class stories, we also worked in small groups on leveled readers.  We reinforced the correct usage and spelling of the weekly vocabulary and spelling words which were then practiced in the students’ workbooks and later tested through a comprehension and vocabulary test. Some of the current vocabulary words which we are focusing on are: absorb, become, carry, cycle, and change.

Spelling

We have been working on words that contain the long a, long o, and long I sounds spelled with the “magic silent e” on the end. In addition to our weekly spelling homework, to practice these different vowel spellings, we read poems, short stories, do workbook pages, and complete word sorts that contain words with these long vowels. As I have said before, the more times the students see these spellings in words, the better they will be at reading and/or spelling them during applied spelling times.  

Mathematics

We have been “all about” fractions over the past 2 weeks! We began by discovering the meaning of one half. The students solved story problems in which they partitioned geometric shapes (which we studied in the past investigation) into halves. Through discussions and exploration, the students have examined the idea that halves can be equal size, but different shapes. The students also worked with fourths and thirds by creating fraction flags and working with the ever-so-fun Geoboards. The students understand that fractions are equally partitioned parts of one whole item. Next up will be Unit 3 which provides students opportunities to engage with ideas that lay a foundation for algebra – cool!

“Fraction Flags”

Science

We ended our study about plant life cycles this past week. We talked and read about pollination, photosynthesis, and osmosis. The students really enjoyed our lily dissection project! We each were given a lily  so we could see all of the reproductive parts of flowers.  We learned to identify each part of a flower and what its purpose is by dissecting and by color coding a flower part diagram.  We also saw osmosis occur in front of our eyes: we placed celery stalks in red water and left them overnight. The very next day, we saw how the colored water traveled through the veins of the stalks and into the leaves! After this process, transpiration begins (which is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere). This has been a lot of fun to study!  

I have noticed through observation that many of our happy campers are deathly afraid of bees. We are most afraid of things we don’t know much about, so this is the perfect time to learn about the life cycle of bees (goes along with pollination anyhow!). We will also learn a bit about spiders, speaking of things “we” are afraid of!

Flower and celery dissections

Social Studies

We have been doing several small group activities where we focus on completing a task while using effective teamwork strategies such as positive communication, asking questions, dividing jobs equitably, staying on task to complete the goal, etc.   Teamwork is a big part of the social studies and science grades in the second grade. Also, these are such important skills for life in general, don’t you think? 🙂 We also continued to work on maps and understanding map keys. 

Teaching Time

We had many interesting teaching times during the past two weeks: 

Adam – pinecones, ostriches

August – snakes, owls

Scarlett – hermit crabs, performed on her violin

Charlie – stingrays, fossils

Leo – circuit boards, eucalyptus trees

Nathaniel – surface tension experiment, baseball

Nora – tarantulas, jack-o-lanterns

Reagan – how to make candy, Marvel

Surya – hummingbirds, English coins

Eli – narwhals, how to make a Halloween ring

Important Dates

Friday, Nov 6th:  Noon dismissal/First Trimester Ends

Monday,  Nov 9th: No school/Grading Day 

Friday, Nov. 13th: all 2nd Graders to bring a dozen hard boiled eggs for Casa Maria Charity

 

Have a nice weekend!

Best,

Annie

Full Steam Ahead!

Hello Families and Friends!

We have had a great few weeks here in 2B!  We are “cooking with gas” while we have been gearing up for Fall Break! My family and I will be camping in our trailer somewhere much cooler than here! This time next week, I will be swinging in my hammock, reading a good book, and watching my children, husband, and dog run around like crazy people. I wish you all safe and fun breaks!

We wanted to thank our room parent, Jennifer Wolert (Eli’s mom), for planning a fun Fall/Halloween party for us on the 30th! The students may wear their costumes to school that day as well. There will be a costume parade that your child may participate in if he or she wishes to do so. I will be taking copious pictures of the parade so you won’t feel too left out! 

Thank you to Adam’s mom, Agnes, for making fun Fall treat bags for us in lieu of our usual Field Day activities! She decorated the outside of our classroom beautifully and also sent in some yummy treats for the class to enjoy! We played some activities of our own so we didn’t miss Field Day fun too much!

Fall mazes and word searches – Thanks Adam!

Loving our St. Michael’s Strong shirts!

Playing “Fire on the Roof!”(ask your child!)

Our “standardized” Renaissance testing was completed this past week. Students in the 2nd grade take both a literacy and a math test.  We use these initial assessments to identify student competency and to guide instruction. Renaissance is a computer adaptive test, which means the test adapts to each answer a student provides. Students will be taking these tests three times this year – October, January, and May. The students get a kick out of taking these tests because they are done on the ipads…unlike the days of  yore 😉

Standardized testing in 2020

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 house reports are due on October 23rd! Let me know if there are any last minute questions.

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 completed our initial investigations into solving addition and subtraction story problems. During our class lessons, the students learned strategies for understanding, representing, and solving word problems. We shared numerous ways to solve problems and had time to discuss how the different problem solving strategies each student came up with were related to each other. 

This week, we started a new investigation: attributes of 2-D and 3-D shapes. So far, the students have enjoyed describing and drawing, sorting, and studying these shapes and their attributes using the following vocabulary words: polygon, features, face, vertices, edges, congruent. This will set the foundation before moving on to learning all of the different polygons, arrays, and equal parts of a whole.

Friendly reminder: please encourage your child to continue working on his or her basic addition and subtraction skills 🙂

Science 

We had fun and were able to create greenhouses in baggies, or “sprout houses,” 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, many of the seeds germinated (hey, ask your child what “germination” means!) and some are even close to growing 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.

Our sprout houses

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. 

Teaching Time

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

Adam – Eiffel Tower, double decker buses

August – flamingos, kiwis

Scarlett – her dogs, snakes

Charlie – dancing milk experiment, how to play “Shut the Box”

Leo – Shofar horn, rocks and minerals

Nathaniel – his dog, a book he wrote

Nora – the solar system, fawns

Reagan – koalas, Tabby cats

Surya -how to wrap a gift, steam engines 

Eli – platypus, echidnas 

Great job to you all!

 

Important Dates

October 12-16: Fall Break

October 23rd: Halloween Book Report due

October 30th: Costume day at school/class party

 

Happy weekend, happy break!

Annie

Happy birthday, Reagan! 🙂

Happy Birthday, Nora! 🙂

 

Playground fun!

 

Fall is Here!

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 snapshot from the 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 Friday, October 23rd . Let me know if you have any questions on that fun project. I am also available to help proofread your child’s rough drafts.

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 their 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, which is another process we will be working on all year.

We also worked on making inferences by doing a fun writing activity: we each drew a picture, then we showed the pictures to our neighbor, then we used our inference-making skills to write a sentence  stating what we thought was was going on in the picture. 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

Over the last two weeks, we started and completed a new math investigation: comparing quantities and counting by groups. We worked in a large group setting, partners/small group settings, and independently on the following skills and activities: 

-Solving “enough for the class” problems where the students discussed strategies for finding the difference between two quantities.

-Subtraction facts and investigations into whether order matters within this operation.

-Coin equivalencies combined with addition. Ask your child about the “Collect 25/50 cents” game where  partners rolled dice, added the dice roll numbers together, and then collected that many cents. The first partner to collect 25/50 cents wins! They would also try to make that amount with fewest coins. Great game which can be played at home! These games are also posted on our Google Classroom so they can be played online.

-Grouping a set number of cubes into towers of 2s, 5s, and 10s, charting the numbers of whole towers that can be made, while focusing on remainders when different quantities of towers were made. This was challenging but led to some great discussions!

Next up in math: attributes of 2-D and 3-D polygons!

Socially distant groupworkWorking with geoblocks and not touching them is tricky, but we did it!

 

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 learned the stages of seed growth from seed to germination to shoot to flower. Make sure to ask your child to see his or her flipbook showing their seed knowledge. 

This past Tuesday, Reagan’s uncle from Washington State took us on a special Zoom tour of his silk worm farm. We learned about his job and all about silk worms’ contributions to society. Did you know that it takes nearly 3,000 silk worms to produce enough silk to make one kimono? Did you also know that the silk is created out of the cocoons after wetting them and spinning them on a loom? There were several interesting facts that we all learned that day which connected to our community worker and animal adaptation topics that we have been covering in our reading, science, and social studies curriculums. Thank you, Mr. Remington, for sharing your time and expertise with us! And also thank you to Reagan and her family for arranging this special field trip!

Meet Adam Remington!Mulberry tree farm = food for silk wormsone of several boxes of silk worms eatingThe loomSpun silk!The cocoons

Social Studies 

September 26th is Johnny Appleseed Day, so we read some books on his history and contributions to society. Thank you to Adam’s mom, Agnes, who purchased special apple Eegee’s for our class on this special day!

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. 

Nurse Huff came in to talk about social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing. She squirted some pretty interesting stuff on our hands which mimicked germs which could be seen under her blacklight. The kids had to wash their hands VERY well in order to pass her blacklight test! Ask your child how many times it took him or her to wash hands before getting all the “germs” off!

Teaching Time

Great job on the first week of Teaching Time presentations! Here is what we learned about from our friends:

Adam – the Fall equinox

August – penguin facts

Scarlett – Rubix cubes

Charlie – how a compass works

Leo – how cameras and film work

Nathaniel – how to use a rainbow loom

Nora – gymnastics

Reagan – African mbira 

Surya – ground and rock squirrels 

Eli – turtles

Important Dates

October 12-16: Fall break

Friday, Oct. 23: Halloween book report due

Thank you and have a nice weekend!

Annie

Beautiful fall decor created by Adam and his mom!Playground panoRecess!My Happy Campers 🙂

First REAL day…HOORAY!

Hello Family and Friends!

 

Just a quick note to tell you how wonderful it was to be together today! It was a nice day with several procedures to get into place. The kids were excited to be here together, patient with their teacher who had a TON to say today, and successful in learning their new routines!  Here are a few pictures from our day:

First of all, Adam’s mom, Agnus, surprised all of us with this beautiful handmade welcome sign:

Thank you, Agnus! This certainly brightened up the West Wing!

Happiness in Camp Wanna-Learn-A-Lot

Lunch in the Labyrinth

See you tomorrow!

Annie

 

News from Camp Wanna-Learn-A-Lot

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 host some sort of online field trip/Zoom presentation to talk to us about how they help the community, please let me know! Thank you!

Important Information

Our first day back to in-person classes is this upcoming Monday, September 14th! I am excited about being together and EXTREMELY passionate about keeping it this way. Please make sure to continue your daily at-home health checks before sending your child to school. We will be incessantly washing and sanitizing our hands and belongings. We will be wearing our masks the correct way at all times and keeping appropriate distances from each other. Please send your child to school on Monday with all of the class materials I sent home at our initial conferences including this week’s blue folder of completed work.  This will be a wonderful “official” start together in Camp Wanna-Learn-A-Lot! YAY!

School still starts at 8:00am (students may arrive between 7:45-8:00am) and will dismiss at 2:00pm.  In the morning, the 2nd graders are to be dropped off and will walk themselves to our classroom. Please see the picture below for our class’s designated pickup area for the end of the day. Our area is literally right outside the building where our classroom is on the southern sidewalk curving around slightly behind Mr. Gould’s and our classroom (we are 2B on the map). We will be there standing in a line awaiting your arrival at 2:00. Whether you stay in your car or get out, I need to make eye contact with you in some way before I safely send your child over. After 2:15, the remaining children will be escorted to aftercare. I am making this sound way more difficult than it actually is…my son who is in first grade has done it 2 days now and it is a smooth operation for all involved, so don’t let my wordiness confuse you! 🙂

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.

 

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 homework! 

Many parents have shown interest in learning about different ways to practice spelling words. Please see our Google Classroom for the link to my class Spelling City site. All of the spelling lists for the year are there, organized by the week of school. There are several games and activities with each specific week’s spelling words. Have fun!

Writing

We worked on several different writing strategies during the past two weeks.  One strategy focused on using more adjectives in our sentences.   We also have been challenging ourselves by writing stories using random words from phonics word sorts in our reading workbooks. We have also been writing a lot of reflections on our community, the places we like to visit, and jobs that we may find interesting.

Mathematics

The past couple of weeks have been busy mathematically, but FUN! We have been working on developing addition and subtraction fluency with numbers 0-20 by using “number strings” (ask your child what those are), and by grouping addends in different ways to make adding easier (i.e. making a 10, adding doubles, breaking down numbers into smaller addends, etc.). A fun math game we have been playing on our white boards to develop number sense within 100 is called “Guess my number.” Ask your child how we play that and what types of math questions they ask in order to decipher the teacher’s secret number. Another game we played was called “How Many Pockets.” This game showed us that we can count quantities in numerous ways and represent that counting data in various forms such as charts, tallies, pictures, number strings, etc. Another game was was an addition and subtraction game which involved students rolling number cubes, dice, and creating their own number strings to either add or subtract. And the favorite game: “Beat the Calculator!” One partner (the kids) was figuring out a flashcard with a number string while the other partner (me) figured out the problem on a calculator: whoever figured out the answer first got a point! Working under pressure = such a great skill to practice for LIFE! These math games can be played online during your child’s own time. The game links are found in our Google Classroom. Yes, math is fun and there are countless (get it…COUNTless haha) games to play, but we also practice these skills individually in our workbooks as well as have opportunities during discussion times to share our thinking and mathematical reasoning. There is always more than one way to arrive at answers in math; being able to explain how an answer was achieved is the key to mathematic success! 

Social Studies 

We are working very hard on learning and using the cardinal directions (NSEW)! We also have been discovering different parts of a map and what maps are in the first place. The students created some pretty cool maps called “Noun towns.” Not only did they have to create individual maps, but they also had to label all the nouns on their maps. I love it when lessons/activities are cross curricular!

Science 

We have been discussing 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 created a list of different colored foods and then learned about what vitamins and health benefits each color of food has to offer. What colors did YOU eat today??

Social Skills

We read an excellent Scholastic Newspaper this past week about kindness vs. bullying which led to wonderful idea sharing and discussions on our treatment of those around us. We have had several talks so far this year about exclusion and how that feels. We have come up with many great ways of being inclusive in class and especially out on the playground. 

Important Announcements/Dates

Monday, Sept. 14th:  back to school in person – yay!
Thursday, Sept. 17th: Back to School Night via Zoom 6pm ( an email invitation will be sent for this event)

Happy weekend!

Annie

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

Hello Everyone!

We have had a very different but nice first 2 weeks here at St. Michael’s in the second grade! It was wonderful to meet you all during our intake conferences. I can already tell that we have a great group of involved parents on our team. If anyone would like to volunteer to be my room parent, please let me know – I am allowed to have just one so I will take the first volunteer! Thank you to all of YOU, the parents, grandparents, family members, and friends for your support at home during these first couple weeks of online school! It has been a large learning curve for all of us (me included!), but we all seem to have adjusted well to online learning thus far. 

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!). Be sure to check out your child’s Monday pretest and Friday post test every! We practice our spelling lists in various ways including word and sentence dictation with self-editing work, ABC order, and simple spelling word projects and games. It has been lots of fun for us in class while yielding some pretty great results!

Writing

We have done some 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 finding something in your home that comes from a plant.  There will be lots of fun ahead while we study the lifecycle of plants!

Mathematics

Our big focus during the past couple of weeks has been understanding and extending the counting sequence and fluency within 20 (basic facts). Our class sessions have included using number lines and hundreds charts, counting sets of 100 objects, counting quantities in more than one way (grouping), identifying coins and dollar bills and understanding their values, combining coins to equal certain amounts, skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, developing and analyzing visual images for quantities up to 20, telling time to the half hour, basic fact fluency, and using known facts to add two or more numbers. I have been extremely proud of the math discussions that have taken place during our sessions. One important fact that has become clear to all of us is: there is always more than one way to solve a math problem! If you have some good old fashioned flashcards to solidify those 0-12 addition and subtraction math facts and would like to practice at home, that would be a welcome idea! There are a few math games from our curriculum that the students can play online. They are posted in our Google Classroom. Check them out!

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 have been working on identifying details about our own smaller neighborhoods and communities. Soon, in the spirit of acknowledging that there are many different cultures within a single community, I will be sending home a family heritage project packet.  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 is a long-term project, so the due date will not be until the end of September/beginning of October.

Important Announcements/Dates

Monday, Sept. 7th:  no school

Monday, Sept. 14th: Back to school in person day!!!!!!

Thursday, Sept. 17th: Back to School Night via Zoom 6pm

Thank you all for a great beginning of a successful year! As always, please feel free to contact me via email or by phone if you have any questions or concerns. Have a pleasant evening and end of your week!

Best,

Annie O’Meara