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Friday, December 4, 2009

Classroom Summary for Nov. 30-Dec.4

Oh, my goodness it's December! Where did November go? Would you believe that we are more than a third of the way through the school year? We are working hard and it shows. In these waning days of 2009 we are getting into the meat of the second grade curriculum.

In literacy we have been working on how to use syllables to help us read longer words. We also looked at "le" endings and saw how many there are on words we see every day. In our skillsbooks we continued to practice our capitalizing skills. We were careful to use those same skills when we published our "thankful" paragraphs that are hanging over our cubbies in the hallway. Miss Varrell explained to us that we will be writing paragraphs in the new year so our "thankful" paragraph was an introduction to some of the skills we will be learning in 2010! In reading we continued to work in our guided reading groups. We also read about winter holidays around the world in Scholastic News.

In math we continued to work in our geometry unit. We concentrated on what a rectangle is. Do you know that a square is a type of rectangle? We do! We also learned a lot of interesting math vocabulary this week as well. We talked about polygons and quadrilaterals and vertices (sing. vertex) and angles. We even learned about right angles! Miss Varrell didn't learn about those until she was in ninth grade. Boy are we smart! Here's a brain bender for you: a square is a type of rectangle, which is a type of quadrilateral, which is a kind of polygon, otherwise known as a shape or figure. Can you explain that to someone? Try it! We also continued to work on our daily math facts. Miss Varrell has made our math fact practice sheets more difficult by mixing up the addition and subtraction facts each day. It is very important that we notice the math operation (+,-) before we figure out the answer.

In social studies we completed our unit on Brazil. To wrap up our focus on South America, we learned about some animals that live in the Amazon rainforest. We made some liana vines, anacondas, blue morphos (butterflies), piranhas, jaguars, tree frogs and beetles. We are turning our washing line (where we usually hang our art work) into a canopy and we will post pictures of animals that live in the understory on the walls of our classroom near the floor.

In science we continued learning about the moon. This week we focused on the phases of the moon. We know that there are eight major phases of the moon (second graders are responsible for the four in boldface). In order, they are: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter and waning crescent. The moon's cycle (its orbit around earth) lasts approximately 29 days before it starts all over again. That's why sometimes there are two new moons in a month. Did you know that's how we got the expression "once in a blue moon"? Having two new moons in a month doesn't happen very often which is why the expression means "to happen infrequently." Perhaps you can make some predictions about what your moon calendar will look like by the time it gets passed in for homework!

FYI for Parents:

School pictures were sent home Friday, December 4. Also, book orders were placed on December 4 as well. I expect them to arrive well before the mid-winter break.

If you are interested in having Jake the gerbil be your house guest over the winter vacation, please be sure to send a note to school ASAP. Shavings, food, gerbil ball, cardboard, etc. are all provided as well as a care sheet and handbook for your reference. Jake is a very sweet and attentive gerbil who is very low maintenance and loves to be read to. :)

Our classroom holiday party is scheduled for Tuesday, December 22. Our room parents will notify you if donations for goodies, paper goods, drinks are needed.

Please check out Mrs. Agati's music room blog for updates on the Pine Glen holiday concert which will be held in a couple of weeks. Times and dates are posted along with other music department information you may be interested in!

Enjoy the snowfall and read a great book together!

Miss Varrell :)

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