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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Classroom Summary for November 12-21

Happy Thanksgiving!



Here's what we have been doing...

In Fundations we have been continuing to work on suffixes and reading/forming multisyllabic words. We are now familiar with more than just ~ed, ~ing, ~s, ~es, ~er, and ~est. We also have worked with ~ness, ~less, ~ment, ~ful, ~able, ~ish and ~en . Some words we discovered look as though they have a suffix but in actuality they do not. A quick test to see if a word you are reading has a suffix is to cover over the suffix with your finger and check to see if the remaining part of the word is a real word all by itself. For example, if you cover over the suffix "ing" in the word "sing" you can see that  the "ing" is actually the glued sound ing and not a suffix. English can be very complicated!

We also spent a lot of time learning about multisyllabic words. We know that words are made up of sound "chunks" called syllables. Every syllable has a vowel in it. So if you hear more than one syllable in a word (we tap our legs to hear/count the syllables in a word) you can be sure that there will be more than one vowel in it. Conversely, if you see more than two vowel "chunks" in a word, you know that you can read each individual syllable first, and then put the syllables back together to make it easier to read a longer, multisyllabic word. Reading is a very complex skill.

In math we have been continuing to work with two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes in geometry. We have worked with pattern block shapes: hexagon, trapezoid, square, rhombus, thin rhombus, and triangle. We have also worked with standard block shapes: sphere, cube, rectangular prism, triangular prism and pyramid. After working with these shapes for a while we began to look at what kinds of characteristics each had in common with the next. We looked at sides (2-D) and faces (3-D). We also looked at angles and vertices. We learned how there are three different types of angles: right, acute and obtuse. We know that right angles make L shapes whether they are backwards, forwards, upside down or backwards AND upside down. If it makes an L, it's a right angle. Being able to rotate, flip and turn shapes to be able to see those angles is very important.

We also learned that a rectangle is a shape that has two distinct features. We USED to think that those features were: 2 short sides and 2 long sides. But now we have revised our thinking. The features that make a true rectangle are: 4 right angles and 4 sides (must be a quadrilateral). Once we learned that, then we needed to look at some of our shapes again to decide whether or not they were rectangles. One big question we asked ourselves was:

Is a square a rectangle?

Once we looked at the square's features, we were able to answer the question correctly. Can you guess? Be able to give evidence of your thinking!

In Miss Varrell's reading group the students have been working on understanding the elements of fiction: characters, setting, problem, solution. Students have been working on being able to retell a story orally from beginning to end using the story elements as well as being able to translate that information to a written summary (much more difficult than it sounds). Over the next few weeks we will focus our learning on being able to write a concise summary of fiction stories. We will start by writing some together, we will reinforce our learning by working with buddies and finally, we will work on writing them independently. The longer the story the more difficult it is to write a concise summary, so we will be starting with shorter texts and building up to longer ones as we increase our skill level.

In writing we have been working on using a "silly sentence" to kick-start the writing of a story. We have used silly animal sentences, silly brother/sister sentences and silly "Farmer Brown" sentences (from Doreen Cronin's Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type). Sometimes writing a silly sentence can really give you an idea for good story. Just imagine the books we wouldn't have if it weren't for silly sentences! Can you name some books with silly animal sentences in them? How about If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Felicia Bond? or Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell? or what about Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble With Hally Tosis by Dav Pilkey? What books can you think of?







In social studies we have been learning about maps, models and globes and of course the seven continents and the major oceans. We have been learning a new song to help us remember the continent names but we really enjoy the one Mrs. Ogren taught us last year. Miss Varrell doesn't mind which one we sing as long as we remember the information in the song! :)


Last but not least, on Wednesday we were able to be part of the audience for in Mrs. Nicholas' Turkey Trot race around Pine Glen. We were given the big responsibility of being the cheering crew for the backside of the school where the participants start to tire out as they head to the home stretch. We were very excited to be able to cheer the racers on and help them feel good as they raced in this annual Pine Glen tradition.




Special Spotlight: Music

Here we are in music class with Mrs. Agati. We are working hard getting ready for our next performance!




F.Y.I.


  • I hope everyone had a happy, healthy and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. We have much to be thankful for in Burlington. 
  • Progress reports will be sent home on Wednesday, November 28. If you would be so kind as to return the green folder to school it would be greatly appreciated. The copy of the report card is yours to keep. 
  • Parent-Teacher conferences have already been scheduled for Monday, December 3. Please understand that second grade conferences are 15 minutes long and are often scheduled to allow parents of children in multiple classrooms to meet with other teachers in a timely manner. I will do my utmost to stay on schedule barring unforeseen circumstances. Also,  please be reassured I am available to confer at any time, not just post-report card. I am happy to speak with you about your child regarding any concerns you have as they arise.  :)
  • Mrs. D'Elia's Scholastic Book Fair will be held during the first week of December. While you are at Pine Glen for your conference, please feel free to visit the book fair and do some holiday shopping! Your child will have an opportunity to purchase items at the book fair during the school day that week, but this is your chance to get there before they do! :)



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