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Friday, January 10, 2014

Classroom Summary for January 6 - 10

Here's what we did this week...

In Miss Varrell's literacy group this week we focused our energy on persuasive writing, using a travel brochure as our model. We looked at a travel brochure about Washington, D.C. in our Big Book of Mentor Texts and identified categories that were used and juicy words and phrases that made the writing more persuasive. When we had finished looking at the model, we did some online research using Fact Monster, Elementary Britannica and Kids Infobits. Although we did not find a lot of research to help us gather facts about Boston, we learned some very important lessons about what research is. We learned that research is....

  • long
  • hard
  • not always productive the first time you do it
  • requires patience
  • sharing
  • communicating
  • questioning
  • identifying
  • fact-gathering
  • picture-sorting
  • frustrating
  • fun
Here we are doing some online research using our four iPads and three Chromebooks:

Later on in the week we used real travel brochures from attractions around Boston to help us gather ideas and information to put in our own brochure about Boston. We were amazed at home many fun things there are to do in our own capital city!

On Thursday we went down to the computer lab to do our mid-year i-Ready reading assessment. All second graders in Burlington take part in this web-based 'universal screening'. Although the testing is very serious and we take our time to read all the passages before answering the comprehension questions, it is important to note that this assessment is only one part of a collection of assessments that are used to find strengths and weaknesses in students' reading so that teachers can better target reading lessons for their specific reading population.

In math this week we began a new topic about addition with two digit numbers. We learned to use models (cubes and base ten blocks) to demonstrate regrouping (i.e. 'carrying') and then moved from using models to using pencil and paper to do the same thing. We steadily progressed from adding two digit and one digit addends to adding 2 two digit addends! We are VERY proud of our accomplishments and learned a very important lesson about adding these types of numbers: if you don't know your math facts really well, you tend to make more errors in these types of problems. KEEP PRACTICING AT HOME! Below is a video of Henry showing us how he uses the paper and pencil way to solve a 2 digit addition problem. Notice how quickly he knows his math facts as he completes the problem...

In social studies this week we introduced the concept of culture. The family survey that was sent home at the beginning of the week will help us learn more about our own background as we begin to learn about cultures around the world. We will mesh our persuasive writing skills with our cultural understanding to work on an independent writing project about culture over the next several weeks!

Weekend Challenge Activity: Choose a country from one of the continents below. Find the capital city of your chosen country and write three facts about it. Use your 'persuasive' writing skills to convince a reader to visit that city. If you can print some pictures of the city to attach to your writing that's even better! 

South America          Africa         Europe        Asia        Oceania     


  • Keep practicing math on Reflex Math, and/or flashcards
  • Read, read, read and read some more! 
  • Talk about what you read with an adult or older family member OR write about what you read in a journal or notebook!
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 20 (no school)
  • Happy New Year!

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