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Friday, May 4, 2012

Classroom Summary April 30-May 4

Here's what we did this week...

In Fundations we completed our with the "double vowel" teams ou and ow. We understand that both of these vowel teams (even though one isn't a vowel!) are special because they each have two sounds that they make depending on the words that they're in. We know that ou can make the /ou/ sound or the /oo/ sound. We learned that the ow team can also say /ou/ but it can also have the same sound as long o! No wonder why learning the English language is so complicated! It is amazing how many sounds we have learned since we started school in kindergarten. Not only have we learned each individual letter's sound but we now know so many letter sound combinations it's amazing our hats still fit on our heads!

In Miss Varrell's reading class last week, Ms. Sacco, Burlington's elementary literacy coach, came to teach two reading lessons in grade two this week. While she was in our classroom she worked on finding main ideas and details with Tommy's reading group. Mrs. Lane, Ms. Anderson and Miss Varrell had an opportunity to be students and got to observe a reading teacher instead of being the reading teacher! This week in reading we continued our work learning how to take notes from a nonfiction book to create a nonfiction summary. We have practiced using index cards and sticky notes and will complete our summaries next week!

In math we finished working on fractions. Did you know that it is really hard work understanding and explaining your thinking when solving fraction problems? Below are some videos from a few weeks ago illustrating how hard we worked while we were learning about how to explain and demonstrate solving fraction problems.

This week we began reviewing odd and even numbers and what kinds of sums you get when you add combinations of odds and evens together. We also continued to review subtraction strategies with two-digit numbers.

In writing we completed our poetry unit this week. We read and listened to lots of different types of poems, from rhyming ones to limericks, to haiku to repetitive ones. We had a chance to write some of our own and we may decide to publish some of them next week. We know that poetry is very different from prose (paragraph writing) in that it is not written in sentences, but in lines, and often gives the reader a much more visual understanding of the feelings and thoughts of the poet than prose does. We wrote Million Dollar poems this week by just using the repeating line "If I had a million dollars..." and ending with the line "What would you do with a million dollars?"  We even listened to the song "If I Had a Million Dollars" to show that even songs are just poems set to music! Ask us to write some for you! We have all different ideas to share!

In science we finished our unit on amphibians and began our unit on reptiles. We have had several animal visitors over the past few weeks to help us learn about amphibian and reptile animal types. Amphibians: wood frog, bull frog, yellow-spotted salamander; reptiles: skink and musk turtle. Next week we will have a corn snake! We know that reptiles are the same as amphibians in that they both have a backbone (are vertebrates), lay eggs and have lungs as adults. However, amphibians and reptiles differ because amphibians go through a metamorphosis (change as they develop into an adult from egg to tadpole to adult), have moist skin that they can breathe through, and lay jelly-like eggs. Reptiles are different because they have dry, scaly skin, are born as smaller versions of the adult and lay leathery eggs (although some reptiles do have live young, not hatched from an egg).


  • The last book orders for this year are due Friday, May 11. Flyers went home last week. Please feel free to use the online ordering system (, link to bookclubs, parent ordering) or to use the traditional method (sending in the order with cash or check) to purchase your books. 
  • Our last field trip to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, MA is all set for Friday, May 18. Although we had many chaperones for this final field trip, unfortunately we could not draw the same number of names who volunteered. :( This field trip will be chaperoned by Mrs. McCabe, Mr. Fahey, Mrs. Murphy and Mr. Harsanyi. If you would like to be considered as an alternate in case of a last minute cancellation, please let me know and I will keep your phone number on "stand-by", but you will only be called if there is a chaperone cancellation for this trip. Please understand that all chaperones MUST have a current CORI on file at the central office at Burlington High School. Thank you!
  • Over the next few weeks the children will be working hard on their last few learning units in all subjects. Universal assessments in reading and mathematics will be administered and collected for next year's tiers/placements. Please know that although your child may be under the impression that school is finished in the next few weeks, we still have a lot to get through! :) I am asking for your help in reinforcing at home appropriate learning behaviors at school while we finish up our last month and a half of school. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to keep us on track. ;0)  Thank you again for all that you do at home to make school a priority and a place where your child feels successful and able to take risks with his/her learning.
  • Please continue to have your child work on his/her math facts on (or using flashcards). It is vitally important that the children master their math facts up to 20 in both addition and subtraction before entering third grade. can be used multiple times a day as long as there is a break of time in between each practice session. 
  • Keep those reading corps slips coming in! If you need more, please drop me a line and I will send some home on Monday.
  • Enjoy your weekend and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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