Thursday, December 16, 2010


It is SO cold outside these days!! I hope you are all finding ways to stay warm and toasty! We have had indoor recess all week so far, due to the cold temperatures and the wind chill - but students may be going out next week, so please make sure you send them with appropriate "gear!"

Book Swap
The Book Swap was a success!! Many students donated LOTS of books and all students returned from the library today excited with their new "treasures!" Thank you for your help with this!

Project Just Because
As most of you know, Elmwood School is collecting toys for Project Just Because. The bin is located in the front lobby and toys, books, etc. can be dropped off any time. We all appreciate your generosity this time of year!

Here is our week in far!
The story from our anthology this week was There’s Nothing Like Baseball, by Angela Johnson. The children made many wonderful connections throughout this story – some about playing baseball/softball, some about going to different games, some about having nervous dreams (e.g. before the first day of school) and more. Ask your child to tell you about the story!

We continued to refine our inferential thinking skills this week. Students are getting pretty good at “figuring out” what the author is trying to say, using clues from the story. Keep practicing this at home!

This week, most students worked on spelling words with the long o (ohhhhhh) sound. Students already know that long o can be spelled using o_e (o-consonant-e), like in home and nose. This week, we focused on other common spellings:

oa              oe              ow              old               ost
                          boat           toes            show           cold             most
                          toast          foe             below          mold             post

Be on the "look-out" for words with these spellings!

We took a break from plural nouns this week and moved on to apostrophes! Apostrophes really have two purposes in the English language – to create contractions and to show belonging (possession). This week, we focused on using apostrophes to show possession.

Note:  This is a VERY tricky concept - one that will require a lot of practice, review, and explanation.  Please be patient with your child as you watch him/her sprinkle apostrophes throughout his/her writing!!

When showing possession, we usually add ’s to the end of the person/thing that owns the object.

Examples:       Billy’s hat           Jane’s gloves             the dog’s paws

However, when the word/noun is already plural, we just need to add to the end (after the s).

Examples:     two boys’ backpacks           my cousins’ noses           four rabbits’ ears

When we say these words, they sound the same so it is difficult to distinguish between them – and even more difficult to determine which to use and when! We will continue working on this skill throughout the year. Please support your child with this when writing at home!

Students are writing up a storm these days!  In addition to letter-writing (which is still going strong in Room 13), students have been introduced to procedural writing.  The introduction was made through a little sandwich-making activity earlier today - one that left me covered in jelly and them rolling on the floor in laughter!! Ask your child about it!

In second grade, procedural writing is also known as writing a “How-To.” A How-To Article is a short, direct piece of writing that explicitly explains to the reader how to do or make something. Good How-To Articles include specific steps and usually use time-order words that help the reader do things in the correct order. Some time-order words include:

first            before         later           next           in the beginning
second        after            soon           then           at the end    
while         during           finally         last            in the middle

*list created by students in Room 13*

Students have worked to put their new knowledge to good use as they draft their first  How-To Article! What is your child writing about?

On Wednesday, we kicked off our new math unit – Geometry! Our geometry unit is a lot of fun and provides students with many hands-on activities. This unit is great for students that are good visual/spatial learners!

This week, students have been busy learning about points, line segments, and parallel lines. Here is a brief description of what they should now know:

Points and Line Segments
A point is an exact spot/location. We usually label points with capital letters so they are easy to identify. Points at the end of a line segment are called end points. Line segments are part of a line. Lines can go on forever, so a segment is just a piece. Line segments should always be drawn with a straightedge/ruler. We can name line segments by telling the endpoints.
       Example: line segment AB or BA

Parallel Lines
Parallel lines are lines that will never meet/intersect – in either direction, no matter how far they go. They do not have to be the same length. Parallel lines must come in pairs or sets.  One line cannot be parallel to itself! Students are fairly good at identifying parallel lines in the real world, but they have difficulty deciding whether or not certain shapes have parallel sides.

       Example: A rectangle has two pairs/sets of parallel lines. (The top and bottom are parallel and the sides are parallel.) Some students think that because the top and bottom lines intersect with the sides, there aren’t any parallel lines. Others get confused with the idea of a “set” or “pair.” Help your child look for parallel lines in the real world – door/window frames, books, rugs/carpets, billboards, etc.

More geometry to come!!

This week, students solidified their understanding of symbols (pictures that represent, or stand for, something else) and map keys/legends.  As they now know, all good maps have a key (sometimes called a legend) in which all of the symbols are displayed and labeled. 

Tomorrow, we will talk about maps that are drawn from a "birds-eye" view.  Keep an 'eye' out for a special homework assignment!!
This week, we also did a biographical study on Jackie Robinson – the first African America to play professional baseball. Not only did this tie in nicely with our reading program, but it is a great opportunity to discuss with students the importance of accepting and appreciating people of all colors and cultures. Ask your child to tell you some important/interesting facts about Jackie Robinson!

That's all for now!!  Check back in tomorrow for pictures from our Math Lab! :)

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