Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh! My Goodness!

WOW!! What can I say? You are all the most phenomenal group of parents to work with, I consider myself to be truly blessed! One of my favorite things to do when I am not at school is to get into my kitchen and cook with my children. The gift you have given me will make that even better (Makayla loves the orange). I have even decorated my kitchen to match this line, so it is a perfect fit into my household. As this is a wonderful gift, I hope that you all know that my true present is that I get to come here and work with your little miracles every day. They continually amaze me, and I am so honored to be able to call you all part of our classroom family.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Our New Math Explorations!

We have new math games! Yay! First of all, a GREAT big thanks to Mrs. Mathy and Mrs. Szymusiak for getting the games for us! We received a total of 6 new games, and I introduced 3 of them today.

The first picture is one called Shapes and Shapes and is used to recreate pictures using puzzle pieces.

Our second game is called Pete's Pike , and is a strategy game where you are trying to get the mountain climber to the top of the mountain by knocking off the goats.

The last game I introduced today was called Hoppers, and it is a strategy game where you have the frogs "hop" over each other to knock them out (like in checkers). The goal of the game is to have the red frog be the last one on the board.

We will introduce the other new games next week, and I know the kids are thrilled because I am! There is nothing like new games in our room!!
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh, Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding

So, we completed our reading of Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher. What an amazing story! This story is one that is filled with the ups and downs of a family's life, and how they go through a healing process. The family's holiday traditions are based around the making of fig pudding, and this tradition eventually leads the family to healing. So, today the class got the chance to taste fig in the form of Fig Newtons. We then used words and phrases that described what we thought. Here are a few responses:

-It was heaven!
-Yuck! I didn't like it!
-It tastes amazing.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Signs of Celebration Assembly

Today, we were very lucky to have a choir come to visit us who preforms thier songs in sign language. It was absolutely beautiful! I just wanted to share a little bit of their holiday cheer with you! Enjoy!

We WON A Pizza Party!

Thank you so much to all of the families in our class who have been going to CiCi's for family night! Because our turnout from our room was so high, we have WON a class pizza party! Yay! We are going to step it up a notch and ask any parents who would like to send in extra "yummies" such as juice bags, chips, dessert, etc., can do so. Our party is scheduled for Friday at 11:30, so don't worry about sending your child in with lunch (unless they don't want pizza). What a great way to start our weekend!
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Regrouping in Subtraction

We have stared topic 9, which focuses on regrouping in subtraction of 2-digit numbers. We brought out our "trusty" workmats to be able to create a physical representation of the steps in our problem. The kiddos are still struggling a little with this concept, but yesterday was our first day so I know we will have a lot of "ah-ha" moments in the days to come!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Letter Writing

We have started learning about friendly letters! What fun! To introduce the students to this new topic, I have taught them a song that they can sing.

I Know What's in a Letter (sung to "The more we get together")

I know what's in a letter,
a letter, a letter.

I know what's in a letter.
It's easy to write.

You start with the date.
And then comes the greeting.

The body and the closing
are the last things you write.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Acrostic Fun!

We have taken a look at acrostic poetry in our classroom, but this time, we are trying to view it from a different angle. In the past, we have written a one or two word phrase on each line to describe our subject. Now, we are transitioning to writing a phrase or sentence, which is a little bit trickier. We started by working with our name, which is typically a very easy subject for us to write about. They really seemed to have a great deal of fun with this! I can't wait to see the finished products!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Learning to Regoup

Today, we had one of those collaborative "ah-ha" moments that truly define our classroom activities. I love moments like these. We were working on regrouping, focusing on adding a two-digit number to a one-digit number to see if we need to regroup and what that looks like. We brought out the workmats and double sided counters, and worked our way through the problems. There were so many times today that I heard "Oh! I get it!", or "so that's what she meant". It truly makes me smile to come to work with such wonderful, bright, talented students every day. They are amazing, and I can't wait to dive deeper into regrouping!!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving and Other Trimmings

Hello! I would like to start off by saying how surprised I am that Thanksgiving is here already! I am enjoying every day with this wonderful group of students; they truly make my day! Just to keep you up to date on a few things:

-I finished up all of the information on ProgressBook today for report cards. They will be coming home next week. PLEASE remember to keep checking with your log in id. If you need any help logging in, don't hesitate to contact me.

-Last week, we did some Reader's Theater performances based on Thanksgiving. I used the flip camera to record them, and I have emailed them out to everyone I had an address for. If something happened and you did not get the mp4, please email me and I will resend it to you. I am also working on getting you a copy of your child's book commercials. They did a fantastic job!

-I will not be here tomorrow, so I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Haiku's

Today we got out the laptops and published our haiku's about Thanksgiving. We reviewed how haiku poetry follows the syllable pattern of 5-7-5 (which they have all become comfortable with). Here are a few samples of their poetry.

I like Thanksgiving.
I like to jump in the leaves.
I go to my aunt's.

I like Thanksgiving.
We eat some corn and carrots.
We have a big feast.

I love Thanksgiving.
We gather around to eat.
I really love it.

What amazing poets we are!!!
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day! We read a fantastic book called The Wall by Eve Bunting. This book tells a story of a little boy going to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. with his father. It lead to some great conversation about sacrifice, duty, honor, and what it truly means to be in the military.

Seeing that we have been talking about government, we also focused on the word Democracy. We talked about how that word has incredible power and grants us rights and responsibilities as American citizens. Some things we discussed were:
-We have the right to vote for our leaders.
-We have the responsibility to stay informed of voting and other issues.
-We have the right to express our opinions and beliefs freely (including the freedom of religion).
-We have the responsibility to respect the opinions of others.

How powerful that one word is!! Your children gained a definite understanding about what a fantastic country they live in, and a true appreciation (at least I hope) for the freedoms that are granted to them.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Great Big, Juicy Words!

"I know some Big Words.
I'll teach them to you.
Although you are small,
you can use Big Words too.

Big Words aren't scary.
They're big fun to learn.
I was taught once
and now it's your turn."

During our adventure through words this year, we are talking about those wonderfully wonderful words that make our writing "yummy". We have read this book earlier in the year, but we decided to revisit it as a basis for our discussion of juicy words for our writing. We worked through some of the following words:





While these words reflect more action than anything else, they were a great start for where we are going to go during our adventure. Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

America Is...

Today we read the book America Is by Louise Borden. The students seemed fascinated as we worked our way through some of the many things that make our country great. They were then given sentence strips and asked to write one thing that America meant to them. Here are some of the responses they came up with...

America is...
-love and peace.
-free and peace.
-a united community.
-the place we call home.
-my home and my freedom.

How inspiring!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Math: Going Digital

We had so much fun in Math today! We worked with the E-Tools program on the Pearson website. The students were using place value blocks to represent a multitude of different numbers. It was a great experience to see the students understanding the relationship between the written number and the quantity that it represents. I am re-sending home the log-in information for the Pearson website, so you can explore and practice at home as a family! Have fun!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Makes the Seasons?

Today the students were examining the question of "what makes the seasons change?". They were given a small ball representing the Earth, and using a pencil as a directional guide for the tilt of the axis, they helped it orbit around our sun (the light). They really were able to conceptually understand why the seasons change and how the Earth's tilt effects the weather and temperature.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Observing, Sorting, and Classifying

As a follow-up from yesterday's activity, the students were able to take out the insides of the pumpkin. We talked about what it felt like, as well as how it smelled and how these "slimy" parts are vital to the continuation of the life cycle for a pumpkin plant. We then counted up all of the seeds from each pumpkin, and found our class average. It was a pretty exciting, albeit messy, activity. What fun!
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Our Yummy Journey to the Moon!

To help the students further understand the phases of the moon, we did a delicious activity involving vanilla wafers. We read the book The Phases of the Moon by Gillia M. Olson. This book had wonderful real-life pictures as well as a level of vocabulary that the students could understand. We then selected one of the charts that was presented in the book, and displayed it on the ELMO/TV. Using the vanilla wafers, the students "ate away" the parts of the moon that were dark during that phase of the lunar cycle. I heard a few students exclaim "Oh! I get it!" as we were completing the activity. What a yummy day!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Perfection of Pumpkins

We have been talking a lot about pumpkins, and today we took more of a "hands-on" approach. The students made a few observations about their pumpkins, and then we talked about how there are MANY different varieties of pumpkins. I took a large pumpkin and cut it in half vertically, so that they could get a cross-cut view of what the inside really looked like. We then talked about how it looked, smelled and the parts that we saw. Students then created labels and were asked to label the 5 different parts of the pumpkin (stem, skin, seeds, pulp, and meat). They really enjoyed this activity!

We then did a cross-cut of a "baby pumpkin" and talked about how the two varieties were similar and different. Tomorrow, we are going to cut the other pumpkin open, gather, and count all of the seeds. I can't wait to see if their estimations were close for how many seeds were in their pumpkin!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pajama Day!

We have had a wonderful few days here in our second grade classroom! To celebrate, the students have spelled their reward words, which were P-A-J-A-M-A D-A-Y. Tomorrow, they will be permitted to wear their pj's to school, as well as bring a blanket, small pillow, and a stuffed animal that can fit in their book bag. We look forward to a very fun day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Does the Moon Appear to Shine?

We talked, in Science, about why when you look at the moon it seems to "light up" like the sun. In reality, the sun is being reflected off of the moon (that led to a great discussion of the "dark side" of the moon). Our experiment was to recreate the moon using common objects (Styrofoam ball, Popsicle stick, and foil). We then looked at how the "moon" looked in the dark, when there was no light shining on it. These results were then compared to what happened when we turned on a flashlight and shined it on the ball. I think it really gave them some clarity about what the moon is really like!

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