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Friday, October 22, 2010

Classroom Summary for October 18-22

Happy Friday! Here's what we did this week:

During math this week we began a new unit on geometry. We will be looking at two dimensional and three dimensional shapes. Some new math vocabulary words that we posted this week were face, prism, surface, polygon and three-dimensional. We played a game called "Find the Block" where we had to locate one block that if stamped (like a stamp on a stamp pad) would show certain specific shapes. We enjoyed getting to manipulate, turn, flip and rotate the blocks so that we could see them from all different sides. At number corner time we continued to work on our math fact knowledge by using patterns of number to help us answer new math fact problems. We also began looking at numbers in tens and ones. We will continue to look for tens and ones all year long. We also tried out some new math activities in the computer lab this week. We had a great time practicing our math facts by competing against other children around the world. How cool are we! Mr. Callahan made sure our computers have those same math activites on the computers in our classroom so we will be able to access those games all year long. Thanks, Mr. Callahan!

In FUNdations phonics and spelling this week we worked on learning three new vowel teams: oa, oe, ow, and ow. We know that the vowel team ow has two sounds. One can be found in the word snow and one can be found in the word plow. On our vowel team poster we use the pictures boat, toe and snow plow to help us remember the sounds. Also this week we continued to work on building our trick word spelling by introducing three new words: animal, their, and even. Those words have been added to our "trick word" bank and we removed three trick words we learned in first grade: I, a, and as. Whenever we need to use trick words in our writing, although we cannot always sound them out (because they're trick words!) we are still responsible for the correct spelling. Also, this week we continued to work on understanding suffixes. We know that a suffix is an ending that is put on a baseword to change its meaning. Some examples of suffixes we learned this week were ~s, ~es, ~er, ~est, ~ing, ~ed. We know that some suffixes make a baseword mean more than one, some help the baseword compare one thing to another, and some suffixes help us to understand the time that something happened.

In reading this week we worked on being more "connected" with the texts we read independently. We practiced making connections by using yellow "stickies" and placing them next to passages that we read in our independent reading books and sharing those passages with our reading partners. We not only had to read the passage in the book that we connected with but we also had to explain to our partners and the class WHY we connected to that part in the book. Miss Varrell explained that sometimes we don't have a connection with something we read, but often there is something that reminds of something that is in our own life too.

During writing time we worked on another topic for deciding what to write about: friends. We added a list of friends and a fond memory about them to our writing ideas section of our writing notebooks. The skill we applied to our writing this week, however, was adding describing words to our writing. For instance, we read the book Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray.

In Miss Tizzy we read an excerpt from the book where the author included words that helped make the writing more interesting and visual. We practiced coming up with some describing words for our classmates when they wrote their stories. For example, Liam decided he would add "piping-hot cheese" in front of the word pizza. Alex C. decided to add some sound words at the end of his story to describe what a hockey game sounded like at the end when the kids won 6-4: "Yay!" "Yipee!". Describing words are very important to our writing.

For science, as you know, we worked on our tree necklaces. Below you'll see some of the stages we went through with our cross sections of wood to get the necklaces to where they are today!

We also finished our unit on trees and took our tree test on Friday. The next science unit we will start is phases of the moon. A nightly moon calendar project will be sent home in a couple of weeks to chart the progress of the moon. Before that we will be learning some moon vocabulary and understand some basic concepts of the moon so that it is easier to understand when the projects get started.  (The second grade teachers decided to try to get the moon project done as quickly as possible before the poorer weather prevents visibility at night.)

In social studies we took some time to talk about Christopher Columbus and how he found the New World by accident. We discussed that he was trying to find a shortcut to a place in Asia called the Indies where there was a lot of gold and spices that were very valuable to people at that time. Christopher Columbus thought that if he could finder a quicker way there, he would get richer faster! Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for us, he never found the Indies. He found San Salvador (in between North America and South America) instead!


  • School pictures were taken this week. Pictures usually arrive shortly before the holiday break in December. Make-up pictures will be announced in November for any students who were absent for picture day.
  • Our classroom Halloween party will be on Friday, October 29. Our room parents, Mrs. Girouard and Ms. Reppucci, will be calling/emailing families to ask for donations. Please know that if you are not contacted for a donation this month, I'm sure there will ample opportunities for you to participate in donating. :) Thanks to all! Please DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL WITH ANY COSTUMES OR COSTUME PIECES ON FRIDAY. We do not have a second grade Halloween parade so there will be no need to risk the loss of your child's costume by bringing it to school. Thank you.
  • Cookie and Cupcake will be notifying November long weekend families next week. If you do not get a phone call by Wednesday, your name has been kept for a spa weekend later on in the year!
  • October book orders were sent home Friday. November book order forms will be going home in a few weeks.
  • Please be sure to send back the conference cards that were sent home on Thursday, October 21 with a check in the "yes" or "no" box. If a time doesn't work for you, after checking the "no" box, please write down an alternate time on the back of the card and I will do my best to honor your request. I have contacted all teachers who have a sibling in our classroom to coordinate conference times!
  • Enjoy the autumn leaves before they all have to be raked up!

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