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).