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Monday, February 6, 2017

Classroom Summary January 23 - February 3, 2017

Never give up!
Here's what we did this week...

In math we worked with regrouping in subtraction. We began by reviewing how to regroup ten ones into one ten and then introduced the idea of breaking a ten to make ten ones. We practiced subtracting one digit numbers and graduated to subtracting double digit numbers. We will continue practicing our subtraction skills (as well as addition skills!) over the next few months.

In Miss Varrell's Fundations class we finished our work with Unit 8, learning about the r-controlled syllable type when /ar/ and /or/ are part of the syllable. We will continue to work with the r-controlled syllable in Unit 9 using the vowel combinations /er/, /ir/ and /ur/. Learning how to choose from three different spellings for the same sound will be practiced using the "spelling option" method: writing the word with all of the spelling options and using visual memory and dictionary skills to check for standard spelling.

In Miss Varrell's reading group, children worked on inferring when listening to the read aloud, The Adventures of a South Pole Pig: A Novel of Snow and Courage by Chris Kurtz.

We also worked with contractions, making them and breaking them down, in our Working with Words center. We know that a contraction is a word made up of two words joined together with up to four letters missing. An apostrophe is placed where the letters are missing.

CAN NOT ---> CAN'T       SHE WILL ---> SHE'LL       HE WOULD ---> HE'D

In writing workshop we have been working on paragraph writing of course! Over the past few weeks we have practiced writing topic sentences and detail sentences. We have written sentences that begin differently (to keep us from falling asleep when we read) and that use juicier words (to keep us interested). We have learned that a shorter paragraph with interesting sentences sounds and reads much better than a longer paragraph that doesn't really tell you anything at all. Here's an example:

This paragraph has 11 sentences:

I love Pine Glen School. It is really fun. It has a lot of cool teachers. They teach you a lot. It has a lot of cool students. You can make friends with them. There are many things to do. You can go to school programs. You can have a class pet. You can learn a lot. Pine Glen is the best school.

This paragraph only has 7 sentences:

I love Pine Glen School! The teachers there love you and want you to do your best. The students are friendly and welcoming. Sometimes there is so much to do I can't decide which I like best! There are exploding science programs, famous author visits, and jazzy music presentations. Some classrooms even have gerbils as class pets! If you are looking for somewhere to learn, Pine Glen is the best place to be.

Which paragraph do you think is more interesting to read?

In science class we began working on our new Matter and Materials unit. We have been learning about solids, liquids and gases and their properties. Part of our learning has been getting a chance to observe and touch real solids. We have used a digital notebook, produced by Mr. Musselman (of the Burlington Science Center), to record our observations. Making observations and predictions, completing charts and tables and participating in experiments will all be part of our science experience over the next few weeks. We will continue to work in this unit throughout February!

As always, we continue to learn how to keep ourselves organized for our daily tasks. Learning to keep our desks neat and clean not only keeps the germs at bay but keeps us in "ready to learn" mode during the week. Here is Jeziah's fabulously clean desk!

And of course, when we complete projects, they must go home!

"We are the world!"

And just because we are some memories for a Monday...

Parent F.Y.I.
  • STMath (otherwise known as Jiji Math) is available for use at home. If your child is looking to do some extra math practice at home that is not math fact focused, STMath is a good choice! If you have lost your login from the beginning of the year, I can send you a new one. Just let me know!
  • Keep those reading corps slips coming in! 

  • Please be sure to have your child check out the lost and found area if you have noticed any missing hats, gloves, mittens or scarves. :)
  • February vacation begins Monday, February 20.
  • Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 1 for the Pine Glen Carnival! (Volunteers will be needed!)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Classroom Summary for January 9 - 20

Gwyneth and Kenzie showing global pride!
Here's what we did this week...

In math we have been working on our subtraction strategies for double digit numbers. We reviewed our previous learning about addition strategies (e.g. breaking apart numbers, using a hundred chart, making open number lines, applying compensation, etc.) and applied similar strategies while solving subtraction problems. Next week we will start our new unit on subtraction with regrouping.  Children will first be introduced to the concept of regrouping with concrete learning materials (breaking apart a ten to make ten ones with cubes/manipulatives) before learning how to implement the traditional algorithm. If you are an adult who learned subtraction via "borrowing" you should know that we do not refer to it that way any more! We call it regrouping because it more clearly defines what is happening to numbers when you are subtracting large place values.

In Miss Varrell's Fundations class this week students learned about the open syllable rule. An open syllable is a sound 'chunk' in a word where the vowel is not closed in by a consonant nor is there silent e "pinching" its sound. Here are some examples of words that are also open syllables:

he          she            why          me          by            try             flu            emu (e-mu)

Can you think of any others? And just like the other syllable types we've learned about, an open syllable can be combined with other syllables. Here are some examples:

ho-tel                 co-lon                 bing-o                 co-ag-u-late

Besides learning about open syllables, we also learned about three new suffixes: -ty, -ly, and -y. As soon as we learned about them, suddenly we started noticing how many words have them in our reading books!

In Miss Varrell's reading class we finished our winter i-Ready reading assessments and Miss Varrell introduced us to a new comprehension skill known as visualizing. We practiced using our visualization skills by listening to some stories without seeing the illustrations. We drew what we saw in our minds. It was amazing to find out how similar our drawings were after we compared them to what was printed in the book! Miss Varrell explained that as we get older and we read longer and longer texts, the books we read will have fewer and fewer illustrations. We will not be able to rely purely on pictures for our comprehension. We will need to start visualizing and looking for other clues that authors leave us in the text.

In writing workshop we have been hard at work learning about paragraphs. We know that a paragraph is a form of writing that is used for many other longer forms of writing. We have learned what a topic is. We have learned what a topic sentence is and we have begun learning about how detail sentences help us explain more specifically what we are writing about. We know that a paragraph in second grade in January is about 4-5 sentences long. A paragraph in second grade at the end of the year should be about 6-8 sentences long. There will be some homework assignments in the future where we will practice writing in paragraph form. Here are some mini lessons that will be coming up (have not been taught just yet) in writing workshop:

What is a paragraph?
What is a topic?
What is a topic sentence and what does it do? How is it different from a title?

What is a detail sentence? Why do we need them? What is a piggyback or “follower” sentence?

What is a closing sentence? Why do you need to “wrap up” a paragraph?

Punctuating a paragraph: the indent!

In Social Studies we have begun wrapping up our unit on landforms and bodies of water. We have learned about continents, oceans, maps and globes and now we are finishing up learning about particular landforms and bodies of water that can be found in and around those continents and oceans! Our paper mache globes were a wonderful learning experience for us not only as we learned the names of our major continents and oceans, but also when we tried to make sure our continents and oceans were placed correctly on our Earth models. Room 211 would like to thank Mr. Lyons for allowing Pine Glen to have its annual "Innovation Day" in December so that we could plan, construct and complete such a creative opportunity. Thank you, too, to Ms. Anderson for suggesting her idea for making social studies be the highlight of our Innovation Day.

Paper mache globes

In the upcoming weeks we will be learning a new science concept: Matter and Materials. Mr. Musselman has been hard at work writing and developing the unit to add to the second grade science curriculum based on the changes made within the Next Generation Science Standards (i.e. the science equivalent of the Common Core in ELA and Mathematics). Miss Anderson, Mrs. Beaulieu and Miss Varrell have been trained in the new unit and will be implementing the new lessons over the next month!

At the end of the week we spent some time organizing and cleaning our desks as well as reviewing our class jobs. "Spotters" are required for some jobs!

F.Y.I. for Parents

  • If your child appears to be missing any winter clothing items or accessories, please be sure to check out the Lost and Found area when you are at Pine Glen. Items not claimed at the end of the year will be donated to a local charity.
  • Please be sure your child is continuing to fill out reading corps slips to achieve star stickers on our reading chart at school. If you are in need of more slips, just let me know!
  • Enjoy the unusually temperate January weather!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays from Room 211!

To all who have helped us this year, we thank you.
To all who have read to us this year, we appreciate you.
To all who have waded through homework with us, we applaud you.

Thank you to all our families and friends who make us the extraordinary Pine Glen citizens that we are. May you find a little bit of relaxation in the upcoming days so that you can enjoy this season with your loved ones both near and far.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
From Room 211

Secret Santa goodies! Thank you Secret Santa!

Door Decorating Contest Participant Room 211

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seasonal Sunprints Activity for Home!

Today Pine Glen students will be bringing home a "Seasonal Sunprints" activity provided by the Burlington Science Center. Here's a short video for more information about how to have fun with your sunprints!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Science Center Animals Looking for Travel Plans!

Vacation Visiting Animal Program

Gerbils, Hamsters, Turtles and more!


The Science Center is looking for homes for some of its animals over winter vacation.
  • The Science Center will provide cage, food, shavings, and care sheet for the animal.
  • CALL MS. WENDY PAVLICEK AT (781)-270-2928 if interested.  
  • Animals are distributed on a first come, first serve basis.  
  • All animals must be picked up at the Science Center (BHS) by making an appointment with Ms. Pavlicek. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beanie and Boo Need a Vacation!

If there are any Room 211 Families who would like to host a Spa Vacation for our classmates, Beanie and Boo, during the upcoming winter break please let Miss Varrell know by this Friday, December 16. Names will be drawn Friday afternoon and the chosen family will receive an email Friday afternoon. Please know that if your name is not chosen as a host family, there will be plenty of other opportunities later in the new year!

Host family responsibilities include:
  • Maintaining a safe and secure environment for Beanie and Boo
  • Feeding twice a week (Tuesday and Friday) with food provided by the Burlington Science Center
  • Fresh water daily
  • Maintaining a clean tank (shavings provided by Burlington Science Center)
  • Providing play time inside the tank (be sure there are cardboard items to keep B & B occupied and happy)
  • Pick-up from PG and Return to PG by car at a mutually agreed upon date/time
Beanie and Boo come to visit with:
  • A tank with mesh-top enclosure and attached wheel
  • water bottle (will be empty when transporting)
  • food bowl and food
  • wooden house
  • cardboard
  • gerbil ball for optional "travel excursions" (to be prearranged with permission with an adult in the house)
  • Gerbil book
  • Gerbil journal
  • Gerbil fact/information sheets

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Soles 4 Souls

Image result for Soles 4 Souls
Pine Glen Student Council Fundraiser!

    Have shoes hanging out in the back of your closet taking up space? Soles4Souls can help solve that problem for you!

Soles4Souls is a foundation that donates new/gently used shoes to people in need.   Shoes donated are shipped to people whose communities have been destroyed by disasters. Some of these disasters include hurricanes and tsunamis. This fundraiser is a great way to give hope to people who have lost everything!

What to donate:
  • Sneakers
  • Boots
  • Dress Shoes
    *All gently used*

When to donate:
We will be collecting donations until Wednesday, January 18th.  

Where to put donations:
Donation boxes will be located outside the gym. If your shoes have laces, please be sure to tie them together before placing them in the box.  

For more information, check out the Soles4Souls website  or ask a student council member!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Classroom Summary November 21 - December 2

Gwyneth's Go Noodle Turkey Character

Morgan's Go Noodle Turkey Character
Here's what we've been up to...

In math we have been working very hard learning different strategies for adding two digit numbers. We have learned to break apart addends into tens and ones and then add those tens and ones separately before putting them back together again. We also learned how to keep one addend whole and break apart only one of the addends. We used cubes, place value blocks (a.k.a. base ten blocks) and open number lines too. We even learned a strategy called compensation (Miss Varrell calls it the Robin Hood strategy) where we subtract a small amount from one addend and immediately add it onto the other addend to make the two numbers easier to add.

This week we learned some new math vocabulary words: compatible numbers,  partial sum and regrouping.  We know that two addends that are easier to add are called compatible numbers. For instance, would you rather add these ---->     28 + 49  or these ---->     27 + 50?    If you would rather add the second equation, that's probably because those numbers are more compatible. It's much easier to add two addends when one of them is just a group of tens! We also learned that the word partial means 'part of' so we were pretty excited to find out that we have been doing partial sums when we broke apart numbers into tens and ones to add them! We will learn about regrouping next week.

In Fundations this week we learned some new suffixes. Our list has now grown from six to thirteen! Here are the suffixes that we are now responsible for spelling in our writing and decoding in our reading: -s, -es, -ing, -ed, -er, -est, -less, -ness, -ment, -ful, -able, -en, and -ish. Here is a group playing a suffix game to help us differentiate the sounds of the suffix -ed:

In Miss Varrell's reading group students have been working on learning how to retell, or summarize, a fiction story. Students used a graphic organizer to collect story notes about an independent text and used them to create a short summary 'paragraph' [N.B. formal paragraph writing will not be taught until the new year]. We spent a lot of time discussing the elements of a story (characters, setting, problem, solution, ending, and sometimes a moral or author's message) and how details included in a summary are usually the important events that move the story forward to its conclusion. We will practice more written retells/summaries in the future. Next week teachers will be assessing children on their reading progress to date to provide data for administration and to inform teachers for instructional purposes.

In social studies we have begun working on our unit about continents, oceans and cultures. We will be studying about maps, globes, landforms and bodies of water while learning about various cultures around the world. Next week please be on the look out for a cultural survey that will be coming home as part of a homework assignment. We will use the information brought back to school to help us understand about our own family traditions and cultures and how to appreciate our unique differences and worldwide similarities.

Parent F.Y.I.

  • Thank you to all of my fabulous Room 211 parents for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend Parent-Teacher Conference Day today. We are partners in education and I appreciate all you do at home to support learning every day. Thank you for time and your undivided attention. :)
  • Please remember to send in your child's field trip permission slip and money as soon as possible. Can you believe it is December already?! If you are  unsure whether or not you sent in the slip, just drop me a line and I will either send you another permission slip to be filled out let you know that you are all set!
  • The first term report cards are yours to keep, but if you could please return the green folders to school I would be very grateful (I will reuse them in March when the second term report cards are sent home).
  • Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy these unusual warm temperatures for December!
  • Our next book order form will be going home next week. Order forms and payment will be due Friday, December 9. If you would like me to hold any books ordered for you (as a secret gift) just send me a note with your order next week. :)

Tree Projects Part Two!

At they are, the second installment of tree videos! (Apologies that these are so tardy. Miss Varrell didn't hit the publish button!)







Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tree Projects Part One!

Room 211 has been working super hard over the past few weeks to write and produce short videos about trees. With some sentence writing coaching from Miss Varrell and some app training from Mr. Donoff, our computer specialist, we used the Explain Everything app to create these short videos showcasing some tree facts. More videos are on their way. Stay tuned...