Thursday, April 20, 2017

April Update

I have seen a plethora of toys come into the classroom in the last two days. As you might imagine, they have the potential to interrupt the flow of our days and disrupt our learning. Students are encouraged to play the variety of group and partner games/activities that are available to them here during our short morning choosing and snack time. I would so appreciate you reminding your child to keep toys at home. Thank you!

It has been fun to observe my students so excited about our country study research!  I was impressed by how thoughtful each child was when choosing a country to learn more about. Some students have traveled to destinations such as Chile, many have relatives/ancestors in places like Denmark and Turkey, and one or two have even lived in another country, such as Australia! 

We spent some time gathering resources from the library to begin fact-finding. All country study books that your child needs (usually 2-4) have been/will be checked out in his/her name. Some students are already interested in taking their books home, which is great! It would be helpful if you see a library book at your house that is obviously a country study resource to remind your child to take it back to school right away...we will be using these books daily until the end of our study.  

I'm hoping that we'll be completely done with our research and poster boards by May 5. Children will then need to prepare and practice the short presentations they will give to classmates and their own parents. I'd like to plan for children to present during the week of May 8. Speeches will only last about 5 minutes. Please watch for a schedule to go home with your child shortly (I'll also email it). If you can make the time I will schedule for you, awesome!  If not, we can certainly find a time during that week that will work. If you can't make your child's presentation, he/she can give an encore presentation to you at home. 

Tomorrow we will spend some time reviewing the elements of a non-fiction text that will be most helpful to us as we read to learn about "our" countries, such as tables of contents, bold words, pictures/images and captions, indices, etc. Students will also be encouraged to think about how they have learned to paraphrase and take notes as the fact-finding flurry begins. Please watch for more info!

Second grade writers have almost finished their information books and the Lucy Calkins writing unit titled Lab Reports and Science Books, during which students learned about information writing that scientists are apt to do. They also were taught about force and motion and about the Scientific Method. During Writer's Workshop, children often divided their time between engaging in experiments and writing for the purposes that scientists write.

During the final portion of the unit, children wrote informative/explanatory texts in which they introduced a topic, used facts and definitions to develop points, and providing a concluding statement, all in order to teach others what they have learned.  My students wrote about topics such as polo playing, fun moves to try on a yoga ball, gymnastics, making a model of a hand using tape and saran wrap, :) and how to perform circus acts. SO delightful! These texts will be shared with you during our class' Open Portfolio, which is scheduled for May 26 from 2:00-3:00. 

Ms. Simonson (our STEAM teacher) notified teachers today that there are several Earth Day marches happening in the metro area that Breck students and families are being encouraged to attend.  One is the Kids' Climate March on April 22 that begins at the Science Museum.  Another scheduled march is the March for Science, which is also scheduled for April 22 and begins at Cathedral Hill Park in St. Paul.  I'll be sending more information from Ms. Simonson home with students tomorrow. 

Severe weather season is almost upon us. Similar to practicing a lockdown drill or for a fire drill, all Breck students will experience their first tornado drill of the year this Thursday at 1:45. After we are given the signal over the intercom, my class will walk quickly and quietly to our assigned safe zone, which is the girls' locker room. We will share this space with the other second grade classes while we wait for the instruction to head back to our rooms. Many students are nervous during the time leading up to a tornado drill, so I haven't discussed it with my class. We'll talk during Morning Meeting tomorrow and take a practice trip to the locker room so we're all set for Thursday.

All second graders and teachers will meet in the US Library on Friday morning for a technology demonstration that will introduce students to the world of 3D printing!  The presentation will begin at 9:30am and last approx. one hour.  This opportunity comes our way via Michel Rosenman (parent of Sara and Julia, who are second grade twins in Ms. Thorne's and Ms. Merrill's classes).  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Geography Unit Information

Today we began a study of the world’s continents and oceans. Your child will not only learn about the locations of the seven bodies of land, but also facts about them:  weather, major physical features, languages/customs, major cities, historical/famous places.

Your child will be asked to commit to memory the names, locations, and spellings of the seven continents and four oceans of the world. Students will be given a written test on Monday, April 24. The test will look exactly like the map on the back of this page...students will need to label continents and oceans with their correct names (yes, capitalization and spelling count!). We will practice frequently in class, but additional practice at home may be necessary.

In conjunction with our continents/oceans unit, students will soon be conducting research on countries of their choosing. This research project begins next Monday. I will suggest that students choose countries from where their ancestors came, countries they have traveled to or would like to visit, or countries in which they have friends/relatives living. Please look for more info in your child’s take-home folder on Friday.

After the research has taken place, students will be putting together informational posters to share with their classmates (and you, hopefully!). Each student will need a poster board, which they will purchase at the Breck Bookstore (each poster board costs $3.15). I will assist with the purchasing of the poster boards...please know your Breck account will be charged. If you do not wish for your child to purchase a poster board at the Breck Bookstore, please let me know and other arrangements can be made.

Students may need help at home with the typing/printing of their research facts and images at the end of our study. Please watch for more info to come.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

January 2017 Classroom Calendar

Click on the link below to access the January 2017 classroom calendar!

Game Day!

Room 19 students met with Ms. Tonkin's first grade class this morning to play math games and practice basic math facts!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bulb Lesson

Mindy from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum came to Breck today to teach second graders all about BULBS! We learned about the parts of the bulb and how bulbs grow in Minnesota. We were able to explore some bulbs firsthand and plant Paperwhites to take home.

Mindy reviews the parts of the plant.

Examples of bulbs and their flowers

Do you know that we eat bulbs?

Mindy teaching the inside parts of a bulb

Ellorie and Taylor




Sophie and Oliver


Abby, Sara, Alex, and Cormac


Taylor and Maddie


From Mrs. Bailey

At the end of this week, your child's first semester progress report will arrive in your home. It's always a great time to reflect on all that our students have accomplished; both as learners, friends, and classroom citizens. You may notice that there are several markers in the math section of the report that are marked as "not introduced". As you know, we've shifted our curriculum to Math in Focus, which has a different emphasis in content and sequence. We will be revisiting the math section of our progress reports for next year, giving us this year to implement Math in Focus and identify our priority learning objectives in the curriculum. Please refer to the narrative comments to gauge your child's progress in math this year.

On another note, there will be a change for morning arrival...students arriving by car between 8:00 and 8:15am will now be asked to go to the 1/2 or 3/4 Commons instead of going to the library. Students in grades 1-4 who arrive by car between 7:30 and 8:00am will continue to go to the LS Library.