It’s hard to imagine that about 30 school days ago we walked into our new second grade classroom excited, yet a little anxious, about our upcoming school year together. Through many cooperative activities and games, we have certainly gone from a classroom of students to a community of learners—ready, and more than willing, to demonstrate our Riverview core values and contribute to the success of each of our individual friends. In addition to our time with our peers, second graders are grateful and enthusiastic about our time spent with our amazing 4th grade buddies each week. In our short time together, we've witnessed many new friendships bloom. Our Daily Five literacy block is now in full swing. The children eagerly bookshop each week to fill their book boxes with high interest, good fit choices. We understand that you can read a book three ways—by reading the words, retelling a familiar story, or even by reading the pictures. While teachers meet with individualized small guided reading groups, other students are practicing the very important 21st century skill of working on productive, independent work choices. Each day students are becoming more proficient in choosing literacy choices on their work plan. These choices include practicing spelling patterns during word sort and word family work, sight word work, authentic writing choices, reading to self, and buddy reading. Our Writer’s Workshop focus has been on crafting personal narratives. The children have soaked up techniques from the expert authors of our mentor texts including Owl Moon, The Leaving Morning, All the Places to Love, Fireflies, Crab Moon, and many, many more. Our young writers are now experienced in thinking about writing ideas in terms of small, detailed, powerful moments. With all our time to write, they now understand that authors write, write, write, and revise, revise, revise—all before publishing and illustrating! Our mathematics block, much like our literacy block, is tailored to meeting the needs of individual students in small groups with teacher guided instruction. We usually meet together as a whole class for a mini-lesson and/or game to warm up our mathematical thinking. We practice our math facts twice a week through a program called Kickin' It Math. Students practice math fact families with a buddy and then they are challenged to accurately solve the same facts on their own in a minute. This fluency work will help students efficiently solve multi-step addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping in the future. When students are not meeting with a math exchange, they are independently or buddy working on math work plan choices. Last week we began our place value unit and are building onto our foundational skills of thinking of numbers in terms of 10. This work is a crucial building block needed to be successful with larger numbers—into the thousands and beyond. We will continue this work throughout the year. We began our year together learning about the scientific method through many hands on magnetism experiments. We now know that all scientists wonder about how the world works, ask questions, hypothesize, plan experiments, and draw conclusions. We are currently in the midst of our second unit—The Human Body System. Much like our personal narrative study, the children are eager to talk about and to learn about themselves! We’ve enjoyed numerous experiments, demonstrations, videos, and books pertaining to the main systems of our amazing human body. Over the next few weeks we will be experts on the nervous, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. We are eager to share our knowledge and work with you during our Fall Portfolio Night on November 2nd. Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend!
We believe each student in our classroom deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged each and every day he/she comes to school. Differentiation is key in second grade as we strive to teach the whole child, but we also encourage everyone to feel that he/she is part of our total community system. Our integrated units of study all relate to SYSTEMS to include: Magnets, Human Body Systems, Community Systems, Weather Systems and Eco-systems. Our Daily 5 approach for literacy gives students choices while they work independently to include read to self, read to someone, work on writing, word work and listen to reading. Students are then able to work in small groups or individually with the teacher for guided reading, assessment and conferencing. Our writer's workshop is inspired by Lucy Calkins. We focus on personal narratives, informational writing, opinion writing and poetry. We follow a rigorous mathematics curriculum based on "EngageNY" that nurtures a solid understanding of key mathematical concepts. We appreciate the support of our families as we have fun learning and growing together as 21st century citizens!