Monday, September 30, 2013

A Difficult Day... Made Better

So... Today... Today was a difficult day. We've all heard the news, we've shared our grief, comforted each other, and then we had a whole school day ahead of us. As we mourn the sudden loss of Principal Merritt we will continue to answer questions, lead with grace and purpose, and care for each other. We will continue to experience "big feelings... strong emotions" in light of our loss, and that's ok... Please know that your students, and teachers... your school and community are being lead with strength and compassion by our district administrators. Even in this difficult time, we still remain focused on our essential question... what is best for our students... how can we best serve our children. After a brief meeting sharing news and talking about what will happen next... we were ready for math. Today we reviewed our learning about odd and even numbers. We remembered what we learned about patterns with odd and even numbers... like odd plus odd equals even, even plus even equals even... and odd plus even equals odd! We remembered what we learned when a number has more than one digit, and how to look in the ones place to tell odd or even! We watched a quick video showing how even numbers can be split in half (with 2 equal amounts) and odd numbers can not, because odd always has a left-over! And then we practiced! Adding numbers and noticing odd or even sums in equations! We practiced our "pinky hand shake" greeting at morning meeting and sang our new favorite, "Hello To All the Children of the World"! We also sorted words, did some quiet reading and wrote about our thinking in reading workshop. We practiced buddy reading and introduced our new spelling pattern: short vowel sound e! So, while today had challenges, your children made it better! I heard so many teachers mention how the day was better... "as soon as the children arrived"! Thank you for preparing your children so well on Sunday with extraordinarily difficult news. They reminded every one of us why we love what we do! Take care of yourselves, your children, and each other. Thank you Principal Merritt... principal, teacher, father, musician, writer, friend.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Open House!!

What a busy day... and night! Thanks for coming to Open House and taking a close look at our wonderful little classroom! AND BIG SHOUT-OUT to PTO for a fabulous tasty free dinner too! Wow! A perfect night proving yet, again, how amazing and special Sunderland Elementary school truly is!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

As Promised....

OK Friends... here's your question... as promised... How can you prove a number is odd? What makes an odd number odd... Why is it "odd"? Deliver your answer to me tomorrow. Tomorrow night... Open House!! Free dinner at 5:00 and presentations for parents in classrooms at 6:00!! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Odd and Even Numbers... Pairs!

Greetings Friends! Another busy Tuesday started with Phelgay's math meeting! That's where we reviewed what we learned about the 100's board and number patterns, and introduced our learning for today... odd and even numbers! We learned about how important it is to know what "pairs" are and how to tell if a number is odd or even. Every number is either one or the other (odd or even), and today we started our learning about the importance of odd and even numbers, how they work together, and about all the patterns they make! Phewwwww! A lot to cover, and we'll continue with our learning tomorrow! We continued working in our handwriting notebooks and talked about "frog-jump" capital letters. We learned how important capital letters are, and when we need to use them! Next, we practiced! Slow, neat, letters that land on the line! In reading workshop we reviewed our learning about how to think while you read and how to retell a story. We also practiced using our "transition words" which are very important when you retell a story that you've just read! With what little time we had left in our morning, we were rewarded with... more reading!!! Only with a buddy! This might be our most beloved activity in 2W... reading with a buddy, while talking about your reading, and all with a shared enthusiasm about the topic and what you're learning!! WOW! Now that's a "win-win"!! Tuesday meant day 2 of learning our new spelling program, and our work and learning continued, courtesy of short a vowel sound! We talked about rhyming words, word endings, and played games making phonetic substitutions!! Fun! Then we practiced writing our spelling words on our recording sheets! Well done! In the afternoon we continued our read aloud story, Frindle by Andrew Clement! A smart, irreverent, fun loving boy faced with the challenges of school, homework... and Mrs. Granger! So far we love it! Friends couldn't help but notice what good care Ethan is doing keeping our pencils sharp! Last week Royal was on pencil duty, and he did a spectacular job! This week, Ethan has taken his pencil-duties seriously, and our pencils never looked better! Jobs and responsibility is another important part of being a second grader in 2W!! Tomorrow is Wednesday... PE... sneakers please.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What a beautiful beginning to the week! We started our Monday with Phelgay's math meeting, and he did a great job! We quickly followed with a lesson on the 100's chart. How to use it as a problem solving strategy while noticing and finding many cool patterns on a 100's chart! Next we made our own 100's chart puzzles and wrote all the numbers from 1 to 100 on a blank 100's chart! Great practice and using your 100's chart is a great strategy to help add, subtract, and problem solve in math!! Thank you 100's chart... we LOVE you!! Snack is after math, and nothing like finding a customized, personal note on your very own napkin... courtesy of Mom! How nice! After snack we were on to morning meeting and the scarf greeting! We sang our new favorite, Rockin' Robin, and played the clothespin game! Well done friends! Great meeting! We launched handwriting last week, and today we reviewed upper case and lower case letters! We remembered how important it is to "sit like a writer" with your helping hand and writing hand, big and tall in your chair. We love our handwriting books and will continue to practice forming our letters and writing neatly so friends can read our writing! In reading workshop we practiced quiet reading with a book of our choice. Next, we wrote about our reading... independently. Students remembered what we practiced when we write the title and author's name, along with what we can think about or question while we read! We also officially launched our spelling program today, and began with short a vowel words as our first spelling pattern! We will practice short a in a variety of ways while we learn about how our spelling routines work. Spelling words went home with homework, but students may practice their words any way they want (simply read or write... more on that later). We ended the day in writing workshop and more small moments! Writers remembered small moments that they experienced over the weekend and wrote about them. We also used our own, personal word walls that we can keep at our desks and learned how to write words by saying the word and listening to the sounds in the work! Great tools for great writing! Our week's off to a great start!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fantastic Friday!!

What a great week! My camera has technical difficulties, so no new pictures today (will fix over the weekend). In Reading we continued learning how readers think while they read and how to write about our reading. There are many different ways to write about what you read... you can retell the story (with important transition words). You can write about what you learned while you were reading, and you can even wonder about things and have questions while you read too! Many of us like writing about our favorite part of a great story too! We also took care to use capital letters in the title and the names of the authors, as well as when we begin a new sentence! In math we learned all about doubles facts and how knowing doubles can be a good strategy to solve problems. We took it a step further and learned about "doubles plus 1". If you know 5 plus 5 equals 10... then you know that 5 plus 6 equals 11!! Add one to the addend of the double means adding one to the sum! When you know this, you can even go further and think about doubles minus 1... and doubles plus 2! We played a fun game to go along with our skills practice and even used our learning to practice "doubles fact families"!! Doubles fun, all week in math, and we loved it! In writing workshop we launched our first unit on personal narrative and writing "small moments". Every writer writes about what they know, and the small moments in their lives, and that's just what we did! We learned how to persevere the way writers do when they feel like they have no stories, or if they get stuck in the middle of a story. We also learned how important writing workshop time is, and how writers never waste a single moment of writing time. We even learned how to go back to a story from yesterday, and add MORE!!! Which is exactly what writers do!! When you think you're done (you've only JUST BEGUN!)... Add more to the words, or add more to the picture, or start a new piece! Every friend, every writer has small moments in their lives, and I can't wait to uncover your student's noteworthy small moments! Help your young writer NOTICE when small moments happen in their lives... chances are, there's a great story hiding inside that small moment!! We also wrote letters to our new friend and classmate, Lucas! Welcome Lucas, we're so glad you're here with us! We ended fun Friday with our new tradition, the 2W 2B sing along! And I must say... we sounded gooooooood! We learned some new songs, and sang some old favorites and the room was jam-packed-full of joyful, smiling happy singers! Now that's how to close a fun Friday! Enjoy your weekend! I hope to see you at Open House here at SES on Thursday, September 26th. Come at 5 for a free dinner courtesy of our PTO and Teacher presentations in classrooms from 6-7.