Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Word

Reader's Workshop
This week we focused on the nonfiction genre--Informational.  Students read several bat books with a partner and gathered facts in their own bat booklet.  Students learned how to take notes from the books they read.  They recorded their notes on sticky notes.  Then I taught students how to turn their notes into an informational paragraph.  Students had a choice to write a paragraph about what bats eat, where bats live, what bats look like, or interesting bat facts.  We talked about how to start a paragraph with a topic sentence, include at least three supporting detail sentences, and finish with a closing sentence.  I was very impressed how well students gathered facts from the nonfiction books this week!  Our classroom is full of bat experts!

Writer's Workshop
Students committed to one personal narrative from their Writer's Workshop folder this week.  Then we focused on working hard to make the piece even better.  Students learned how to make revisions to their piece with their partner.  We also focused on trying our best to spell words correctly.  Students learned to use their resources--spelling dictionary, word wall, spelling patterns, and partner.

Math Workshop
We wrapped up Unit 2 this week and took our unit test.  We continued to practice addition and subtraction basic facts.  Students have learned several different strategies to use if they don't yet have their facts memorized--doubles, doubles plus one, +0, +1, +8, +9 shortcuts, and Touch Math.  Keep practicing the facts at home.  We will take another basic fact assessment next week for a report card grade.  I also gave a brief introduction to estimation and nonstandard versus standard units of measurement for a bat activity.  We will revisit these math skills later in the year.

Science & Social Studies
Although we are still waiting on our waxworms to turn into adult moths, we finished up our insect science unit.  Students did an excellent job on the insect test!

Because of the upcoming election, we are jumping ahead in our social studies text.  This week we learned about voting for community leaders.  We learned to vote for leaders who want what we want.  We also learned about what community leaders do, such as make laws, pay for services, and decide what to build within a community.

Batty about Bats!

To start off bat week, Miss Michelle brought a few bats from the Bat Zone at the Cranbrook Institute of Science. Second graders learned some fun facts about bats, such as bats are the only mammals that can fly. Students were challenged to differentiate between bat facts versus myths. One myth is that bats are blind, but they are actually not blind! We learned ways to help bats, like building bat houses in our backyards or planting gardens to attract bugs. Students accessed their prior knowledge about bats from the Think, Puzzle, Explore routine they created on Friday. We sat very quietly and were even able to hear a bat using echolocation (or radar) to figure out where things were located in the room.

For more information visit the Bat Zone

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Addition & Subtraction Facts

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule last week to meet with me for Parent-Teacher conferences!  I had 100% participation!  I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you about your child and his/her current progress in school.

As I mentioned to some of you during conferences, we are working on quick recall of our basic math facts in second grade.  There are many different ways to practice addition and subtraction facts.  I taught students how to use Touch Math, which I wrote about in a post previously.  The top 3 apps currently listed under "iPad Apps We Love" are great apps for practicing addition and subtraction facts!

Visible Thinking

Throughout this school year we will be engaged in various Visible Thinking routines in our classroom. These thinking routines will provide opportunities for students to generate deeper thinking and understanding through their learning.  The first routine we tried in Room 8 was Think, Puzzle, Explore.  This routine asks students to access prior knowledge (schema), wonder about the topic, and make plans to explore wonderings.  Below is a picture of our Think, Puzzle, Explore routine we completed together about the topic of bats.  I was really impressed about their thinking and wondering!  They also came up with some good ideas for exploring the topic of bats further.  Students are excited to learn more about bats.  We get started tomorrow with a visit from the Cranbrook Institute of Science.  Thank you for supporting bagel sales and thanks to a donation from our PTO for this wonderful opportunity!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Science Test Review

Today your child brought home his/her insect file folder, the Insect book from our science kit, and a science review. Just in case he/she loses the review before the test on Wednesday, October 24, I've uploaded the review below. Also, the Insect book needs to be returned by next Wednesday. Happy studying!

Science Insect Review

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Word

Reader's Workshop
We added more reading strategies to our CAFE board.  There are several decoding strategies on our board now.  We talked about how readers have a toolbox full of strategies which they can use while reading when they come to a tricky word.  These strategies will help them read more accurately.
We also talked about a couple of comprehension strategies good readers use.  We learned that readers get their minds ready to read before reading by looking at the cover (title and picture) and by taking a picture walk through the book.  We also learned that readers need to check for understanding.  If a reader is not understanding the text he/she is reading, then the reader should reread the text.
Writer's Workshop
This week students have learned to use a revision checklist.  The checklist consists of various items which writers can try to revise in his/her writing piece.  Some revision decisions include:

  • Reread and ask yourself, "Does it make sense?"
  • Reread, revise or try different leads.
  • Reread, revise or try different endings.
  • Reread and add to the picture plan.
  • Reread and ask yourself, "Did I try my best to spell words correctly?"
  • Reread and ask yourself, "Did I write complete sentences?"
Writers also learned to include the "heart of the story" in their personal narratives.  Writers include the heart of the story to share a strong feeling, important message, or special event.

Math Workshop
This week we focused on subtraction number stories and fact families.  Students learned two different types of subtraction number stories--change number stories and comparison number stories.  Students wrote several fact families and practiced addition and subtraction facts using fact triangles.  Yesterday students were exposed to multiplication through an exploration.  Students rolled a die to determine the number of pumpkins they needed to lay out and again to determine the number of candy corn pieces to lay on each pumpkin.  A student may have ended up with 5 pumpkins laying in front of him/her and 3 candies on each pumpkin (5x3=15).

Science & Social Studies
Two new types of insects arrived in our classroom!  We now have milkweed bugs and waxworms.  The milkweed bugs are sharing a habitat.  They have hatched from their tiny eggs and are crawling around the habitat.  We have given them food (sunflower seeds) and water.  Each table has a cup of waxworms.  Students need to be more careful handling the waxworms than the mealworms.  The waxworms are softer and squishier.  Students also learned the waxworms produce silk.  We are waiting for the waxworms to pupate and then turn into moths.

We wrapped up chapter two in social studies this week and took our first social studies test.  For the first test, I walked your child through answering an essay question.  I would like for students to learn to use part of the question to begin their answer and write a complete sentence.  Your child will bring his/her test home Monday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Raz-Kids & Spelling City

Please read the Raz-Kids letter by clicking on the "reading" tab above.  As soon as I finish up reading assessments I will have each student's reading level updated (some have been updated already).  If you have an iPad, you can download the free Raz-Kids app!  You'll just need to type in my username: kwoodaap.  Then click on your name and type in your password to get started.  I will send home your password next week if you've forgotten it from last year.  The great thing about the iPad version is that students can switch back and forth between the quiz and the text if they need to go back and reread a part to answer a quiz question (students are taught to go back to the text to find the answer).  The website version does not allow students to do that.

Last week in computer lab your child visited the website Spelling City.  This site is a great place for students to practice his/her spelling words.  They can choose to play a game or take a quiz to help them prepare for their spelling test.  To get started your child can either type in his/her spelling words or he/she can search for Miss Pronovich...she types all of the spelling words in for the students ; -)

You can easily get to both Raz-Kids and Spelling City by clicking on the website name on the right hand side of the blog.

Weekly Word

Reader's Workshop
Every Monday morning your child shops for books in the classroom.  He/she is able to keep about 10-12 picture books and 1-2 chapter books in his/her book box.  If at anytime throughout the week your child has finished reading his/her books, he/she may shop for more another morning.  Students have learned how to fill out a reading log, which is kept in his/her book box.  The reading log is an important tool for your child and I.  During an individual conference, I can look over the reading log to make sure  your child is reading just right books and a variety of genres.
Students were also introduced to the CAFE board this week.  We discussed various strategies good readers use to figure out a tricky word.  We added these strategies to our CAFE board.

Writer's Workshop
This week we focused on practicing our "storyteller's voice" using picture plans.  Students drew sketches across a film strip to tell their story.  Then they practiced rehearsing their story using their "storyteller's voice."  Students also wrote their first draft of a small moment, which is called a discovery draft.  We also brainstormed ideas to stay productive during Writer's Workshop time.

Math Workshop
Please be sure to read the previous blog post regarding Math Magician.  We have been working on our basic addition facts this week.  Students were introduced to the facts table, and we discussed shortcuts for +0, +1, and +9.  We also learned about turn around facts (8+2=10, 2+8=10) and our doubles facts 0-9.  I showed students Touch Math points to help them quickly add basic addition facts rather than using their fingers.  Our goal is for students to have basic facts memorized, but Touch Math is a great strategy to use to help students quickly answer basic facts.  Ask your child to show you how to add using these touch points...
Science & Social Studies
This week we finished the mealworm/beetle section of our insect packet.  Some students took home their darkling beetle.  Some students are still patiently waiting for their mealworm to become a beetle.  Students learned that some insects, such as the butterfly, have a complete life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult), and some insects, such as the milkweed bug, have an incomplete or simple life cycle (egg, nymph, adult).
In social studies we have been learning about the differences between three types of communities: urban, rural, and suburban.  We will finish up our second social studies chapter and take our first social studies test by the end of next week.  Your child will take home his/her social studies text book next week to reread chapters 1 and 2 to someone at home to review for his/her test.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Math Magician

Dear Parents,
In computer lab this week I introduced the students to a website called Math Magician.  This website is another great tool to help your child practice his/her basic addition and subtraction facts at home.  It is timed practice, which gives continued work with recalling these facts quickly.  Please encourage your child to visit this website regularly.  His/her knowledge of these facts builds the foundation for other second grade math concepts.  If you click on the "Math" tab you will find a record sheet that will help your child keep track of his/her Math Magician level at home.  As always, I appreciate all the work you do to help your second grader grow.
Have fun, and enjoy building FACT POWER!  Check out this website now by clicking on it on the right side of the blog under "Our Favorite Sites."
Thank you!
Mrs. Wood