As a final activity for our study of nonfiction, the children have been creating their own books to describe nonfiction features and their purposes. The children have been working hard and are doing a lovely job on their illustrations and writing. We hope to have their books on display soon. We invite you to ask your second grader what he/she has learned about nonfiction features and how these features help the reader to find information.
In the remaining weeks leading to the holiday break, the children will be given Individual Reading Inventories . Each child will have a session in the back room with either Ms. Holladay or myself during which he or she will be asked to read short passages and then answer comprehension questions. This will be an opportunity to gather information that will help the children choose reading materials at appropriately challenging levels.
Yesterday during our snack and independent reading time, we closed the shades, turned out the lights and read by flashlight. The kids were so excited and became very engaged in their reading. We hope to continue this activity every Friday. If your child has not brought in his/her flashlight, please do so next week. We'll let you know if we need batteries. Be sure to check out the Gallery for some flashlight photos!
In math, we have continued our work with place value and using a number grid as a tool for counting, adding and subtracting. A number grid consists of rows of boxes, ten to each row, containing a set of consecutive whole numbers. In second grade, we mainly focus on the number grid with the numbers 0-120. The grid lends itself to a number of activities that reinforce place value concepts. By exploring the patterns in the digits in rows and columns, children discover that from any number,
• moving 1 square to the right is +1 • moving 1 square up is +10
• moving 1 square to the left is -1 • moving 1 square down is -10
The number grid is especially good for helping children learn to count by 10s from any number and we encourage them to use this shortcut.
The number grid can also be used to explore patterns, such as counting by 2s, odd/even numbers, +/- 9, and +/- 11. For children who are ready for more of a challenge, the number grid can include larger numbers, i.e. in the 1000s. Attached to the end of this newsletter is a number grid for you to use with your child at home.
Ms. Holladay and I both attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference this week and we have lots of new ideas to share. One of the highlights was hearing Greg Tang speak. He is the author of several children's picture books and inventor of the math game Kakooma that we described in the last newsletter.
This week we practiced making nouns plural. Below are the rules that the children followed:
For most words, just add -s. One bug, two bugs.
If the word ends in a "hissing sound" such as ch, sh, s, x or z, add -es. One box, two boxes.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rules, such as nouns ending in -o. For potato, tomato, hero, and zero, we add -es. For piano, cello, and armadillo, we just add -s. These exceptions are confusing.
Our approach is to give children the rules and patterns, discuss the exceptions and give them a chance to practice and apply what they've learned to both spelling, writing, and reading.
From the website Reading Rockets:
Many people think spelling comes naturally to some and not to others. Actually, good spellers aren't born, they're taught.
Learning to spell is built on a child's understanding that words are made up of separate speech sounds (phonemes) and that letters represent those sounds. As they get more experience with words, children begin to notice patterns in the way letters are used as well as recurring sequences of letters that form syllables, word endings, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Nearly 90 percent of English words can be spelled if you know the basic patterns, principles, and rules of spelling. Students can use these rules as an aid to spelling unknown words. If a child can spell a word, he or she can usually read the word. Good spellers end up as better readers and writers.
Just a reminder that Change4Cranes money is due on December 10th. Also, please email photos of your child and his/her fundraising efforts!
The cranes arrived at St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge on November 23rd! We have been learning about how the cranes will spend their time at their new winter home in Florida. After their arrival, the cranes received health checks and new leg bands and transmitters. Their costumed "parents" are still present, helping the cranes adjust to their new surroundings and teaching them how to eat a favorite, important food - blue crabs. They are learning the ways of wild whooping cranes and soon they will be free to come and go as they please. When their instincts tell them to migrate north this spring, their new transmitters will help Operation Migration and Journey North follow their progress.
The children are working on a whooping crane life-cycle project. These will be complete next week and put up for display. Stay tuned...
We will meet with our Kindergarten Buddies this coming week for our next kindness mission. For this activity, we need lots of letter stickers and fun stickers to use as decorations (animals, flowers, hearts, flowers, space-themed, etc.). If you can help, please send in stickers by Thursday.
WINTER BREAK & EARLY ABSENCES
Please let us know if your child will be leaving early for the Winter Break. There are many activities and projects being planned for the rest of the month. It's helpful for us to know if children will be absent. Thank you.
Enjoy the lovely weather this weekend!