Sunday, September 16, 2018

weekly update

Our class really turned a corner last week. They have started looking less like first graders and more like second graders. It takes everyone a while to get back onto the routine, but these kiddos are doing a great job. More and more they are remembering routines on their own, getting work done on time, and just being more responsible for themselves. Responsibility is our theme for this month, and it was the theme for our assembly this past Friday.

This picture was a part of that assembly. It shows second graders from all three classes waiting to get into their rooms for Super Switch. There are so many second graders in the hallway as we get classes out, students moved around and then new groups into rooms. The second graders know to wait quietly or read a book while they wait. This way no other classes are disturbed by a noisy hallway. The second graders have been doing an awesome job remembering which group they are in and waiting responsibly for that teacher to call them in. Ask your second grader which Super Switch group he or she is in.

In our whole-class reading workshop next week we will work more on building stamina and choosing good-fit books. Your second grader should be able to read for 20 minutes or more at home, but at school there are so many more distractions! As a class we did beat our best time last week. We are working on doing that a couple more times next week too.

We met another goal last week too. The class has been working on everyone responding the first time the teacher calls for attention. We use a Whole-Brain Teaching call-and-response, and it can be hard to get used to again at the beginning of the year. So we set a goal of 10 starts - one star for each time EVERYONE responded the very first time - and we reached it! So Friday we had oreos and popcorn to celebrate reaching our goal together. We watched three short Kevin Henkes stories on DVD too. Next week I am thinking we will work on transitions during math workshop.

Math workshop is a pretty non-traditional form of math instruction. It starts with a short whole-group lesson and then the second graders break into groups to go through three work stations. There is an independent practice station where the second graders work on a page of math that was taught in the whole-group lesson. There is an activity which gives the second graders practice with skills, helps build fluency, or helps them formulate or practice strategies. Each group also gets teacher time where they get direct instruction on the learning target in the whole-group lesson. We started out slow, emphasizing the routines and behaviors necessary to make so many switches and such independent work possible. Next week we will start the shift the focus more to the math. We will still talk about how important quick, quiet, orderly transitions are, and I think by making them a focus area the second graders will do great.

So, for one more week, if your second grader comes home with the Homework side of his or her math paper not quite completely done, that's ok. Their Daily Math and Daily Language papers should be completely filled in though. We go over those as a class and anything they didn't get done on their own gets filled in with crayon as we go over it together. So you will be able to see from what is done in pencil and what is done in crayon just how much your child is getting done on his or her own.

I'm so impressed you read this far! I usually don't write this much, but I want to give you a clear picture of how our classroom runs. As always if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

September Specials

We just got the library schedule and our class will go on Mondays : )

Welcome to 2nd

This blog is the place where I will post important information about what is going on in school as well as updates about our class. Along those lines, you will be able to find our specials schedule on the blog too. I'll always send a hard copy in your child's mail too, but in case you don't have it here is the September Calendar.

Quick reminder: Book orders are due this coming Friday. There are some really good deals this month. If you need another order form let me know. You can also order online at using our class code: DLNGH

Even though it's only been a few days I can already tell this is a great class. One of the things that I stress is that we are all here to help each other. The second graders have to ask a classmate for help before they can ask me. There are just too many of them for me to be the only person in the room who can help! We have also worked on (and will continue to work on) helping by teaching, not telling answers. These guys get it and are their way to being an amazing team!

We have done two math lessons so far, but we have been working hard at getting the math routines down. We use math workshop in second grade, so that each student gets small group instruction with the teacher as well as whole group instruction every day. They also have two stations where they work independently, and we transition between stations three times. So there are a lot of routines to get figured out.

There is homework this week! Homework will be in your child's mail on most Fridays. It is then due the following Friday. At this point in the year your child may need a little help getting some parts of it figured out. If there is an area that neither of you can figure out just circle it and send it back and I can help your second grader with it. But it really shouldn't be too hard! My goal for homework is that your second grader can work independently and get a little more practice at home. It also helps start the good habits of remembering to do homework and remembering to turn it in. If you have questions let me know.

In writing we have already taken our Narrative pretest and we are working on punctuation. We took turns punctuating the alphabet and reading it. That was fun! Ask your second grader how to do it : ) We also watched Kung Fu Punctuation and then practiced reading the sentence "You need chocolate" with different punctuation. Punctuation and capitalization - the mechanics of writing - are something that we will work on all year long, but we pay special attention to them at the beginning of the year.

In reading we have been working on the Read to Self part of Reading Workshop. This might be the second graders' favorite part of the day because of our flexible seating! We are close to having the flexible seating guidelines mastered, next we will work on picking "Good Fit Books" for independent reading time.