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Friday, September 25, 2015

Classroom Summary for September 21 - 25

Here's what we did this week....

In math this week we finished our first topic which reviewed addition and subtraction. We worked with joining and separating problems, learned about sums and differences, and practiced turn around facts. Our second unit will focus on addition strategies. We will continue to work in this unit for a couple of weeks. We also worked with two math apps this week: Xtramath and Reflex math. Xtramath is a website and app that is accessible for free and targets math fact practice with 4-5 minutes of daily no-nonsense practice. Reflex math is fact practice website and app paid for by the district that approaches practice in a different, more game-like way. Children have access to both programs at home (login instructions have been sent home) for reinforcement of skills.  We will introduce more math websites/apps throughout the year, but Xtramath and Reflex are favorites.

In Fundations we completed our first unit. We practiced working with short vowel sounds, closed syllables (parts of words that have a vowel sound closed in by a consonant), digraphs and blends which were all review skills from first grade. We also reviewed how to 'mark up' words. Marking up words is a way that we demonstrate our phonemic awareness within words. Ask us to show you how we mark up syllables, short vowel sounds, blends and digraphs!

In Miss Varrell's reading group we began using reading logs, leveled book baskets and reading responses. We discovered where reading supplies are in the classroom and began to form routines for the transitions we make at reading time.

In writing workshop we began getting into writing routines: creating writing partnerships, looking for good writing ideas in books that we read and using our writing folders to keep our writing in. This week our writing focus was how to get ideas for our writing. Our strategy was to draw a picture and write about it! Here is the picture Miss Varrell drew for the beginning of an interactive writing experience:

In science we have been learning new facts about trees. This week we learned about deciduous trees, coniferous trees and chlorophyll. We second graders don't let silly things like long words keep us from learning about science! We learned that deciduous trees are trees that have broad, flat leaves that fall off in the autumn, have blossoms that often bear fruit or nuts that house their seeds. Coniferous trees have needle-like leaves that rarely fall off unless the tree is unhealthy and their seeds can be found in cones. We learned that chlorophyll is the substance in leaves that 'masks' their true color and make them appear green in the spring and summer. In autumn, when the days are shorter and temperatures are cooler, the tree no longer needs the chlorophyll and the leaves appear to change color when the tree stops producing it. Several students brought in examples of leaves that were going through this change. Here are Ashley T's leaves:

Notice the small amounts of green chlorophyll in Ashley's leaves.

This week we also had technology instruction with Mrs. Ardizzoni! She talked to us about digital citizenship and the proper use and care of our iPads. We will continue to work with Mrs. Ardizzoni throughout the year.

We also had two new classmates arrive last week! Snowball and Brownie (gerbil brothers) will be staying with us throughout the year as long as our behavior remains responsible and we are able to focus on our schoolwork with out gerbil-distractions. :) Each of us will have a turn being the classroom zoologist. At that time we will be free to observe, care for, hold and feed the gerbils. At times of celebration Miss Varrell will allow the gerbils out so they can get some exercise and we can observe their movements, but until then, they will remain in their cage safe and sound.

Weekly Challenge Activity: Do a leaf rubbing that shows the two different tree types we learned about this week! Don't forget to write your name on your paper and bring it to school on Monday to show us your art work! You will need:

  1. a piece of drawing paper, unlined
  2. a deciduous leaf
  3. a coniferous leaf
  4. crayons
  5. pencil

Parent F.Y.I.
  • Thank you to Mrs. Capparelli and Mrs. Russo for being our co-room parents for this year. Be on the look-out for their emails regarding classroom celebrations this year.
  • Thank yous also go out to those parents who sent in their field trip permission slips, etc. this week. Our first field trip is scheduled for October 30 so we need those slips in as soon as possible!
  • Book orders were placed on Friday. Books take about 2-3 weeks to arrive. October book order flyers will go home in a few weeks. Thank you for supporting our class library by making your book purchases through Scholastic Book Clubs.
  • Look out for Homework Packet #2 this Monday. There will be no cover sheet this week but the packet will show "Week 2" in the upper right hand corner. enVisionMATH reteaching/practice sheets often come home each day of the week and are to be completed and returned to school the following day. Weekly packet homework is due on Thursdays (or before Thursday, if your child finishes his/her quality homework earlier than scheduled). 
  • Have a great fall weekend!

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