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Friday, March 14, 2014

Classroom Summary for March 10 - 14

The Tweedle-Dees
(Bookapalooza Week)
Here's what we did this week...

In Fundations we began working with double vowel syllables. This week we focused on ai and ay. We learned that ay usually comes at the end of syllables and that ai usually is found at the beginning or middle of syllables. We also reviewed the spelling option procedure from two weeks ago and used it to help us spell words that had the long ā sound. Since we know that long ā can be spelled four different ways, it is important for us to know the spelling rules for the different options: a-consonant-e (v-c-e syllable type), ai & ay (double vowel syllable type), and ā (open syllable ā syllable type).

In Miss Varrell's reading group we worked on understanding the difference between facts and opinions. We know that as we begin our unit on nonfiction that we will most likely be reading a lot of informational text, including facts and in some cases scientific opinions. We learned that facts are statements that include dates or times and can always be proven to be true in some way. Opinions are statements that include what someone thinks or believes and can frequently include several adjectives. At our centers we continued to work in our reading logs and independent reading texts but we added some reading responses by writing in our Kidblogs about making inferences (as a review) and practicing our fact and opinion identification at the Working with Words center.

In Science we learned about the moon: what it's made of, how and why it changes and its importance to Earth. Before we started our research, however, we completed our RAN chart with what we thought we knew already and what we wondered about. As we began to gather our facts, we were able to move our beliefs into 'confirmed information' or 'misconceptions'. By the time we looked at our RAN chart on Friday, we were amazed how many of the facts we thought we knew were actually true!

Our Classroom RAN Chart

Adding to the RAN chart!

We learned that there are eight phases: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third (last) quarter, and waning crescent. As second graders we are responsible for knowing the major four: new moon, first quarter, full moon, last (third) quarter.

On Friday we visited the Museum of Natural History on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. We had a wonderful time exploring this working research museum and especially enjoyed visiting the fossil room.  We participated in a classroom activity that was run by the museum staff where we got to hold and touch real fossils! Here is a brief tour of the museum in case you have never been...

 Below are some pictures of our trip:

Charles comparing a deer bone to the remains of a fossil bone.
How a fossil is made...
This is really a fossil?
Pretend you're in a time machine....

Amy explains how the continents weren't joined the way they are now.
Trilobites are related to the horseshoe crab!
You can touch it if you want to....
Fossils and fossil casts.
Mammoth hair---it's true!
Kronosaurus meets Pine Glen!
"I can't believe how REAL these look, Miss Varrell!" - Shira
The artist's workbench for making glass flowers.
Minerals are cool too!
Now THAT'S a birthstone!
Joey and Matt feel "out of this world" standing next to a meteorite.

Thank you to Mrs. Davidson for her additional photographs of the day!

In our enVision math program we continued to work with three digit numbers. We reviewed some of the problem solving strategies we used when adding two digit numbers and found that we could apply them in almost exactly the same way with three digit numbers! We added using mental math (using expanded notation), models (using cubes, ten rods and hundred flats) and paper and pencil (using regrouping).

Weekend Challenge Activity: Be an engineer! With permission from your parents, use scrap materials from around your house to build a 'science observation box'. 

Purpose:  To observe small items in nature (living and/or non-living) close up. The box must be completed by the Friday before Memorial Day. 

Design parameters:
  • There must be an observation window for seeing the item clearly and easily.
  • The box cannot be larger than 12"x 9"x 6".
  • The box must be transportable and sturdy.
  • There must be an opening for placing observable objects in the box.
  • The box must close securely to keep items inside from escaping.
  • Air holes must be present in the box.
  • The box must be decorated in such a way that people know what the box is and will encourage them to use it.
  • Test your box out to see if it can be used for the purpose intended.
  • Share it with the class when you complete it!

  • Thank you to our fabulous chaperones Mrs. Davidson and Mr. Riley. We thank you for volunteering, keeping us safe and joining us on our field trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History!
  • Our next field trip will be in May. More information will be forthcoming.
  • April's Book Order forms will be due April 4 (so that the books will arrive before vacation). Flyers will be sent home a week prior. 
  • Report cards went home on Wednesday, March 12. Please be sure to return the green progress report folders when you get a chance. We will reuse them in June!
  • Enjoy the daylight this weekend!

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