Since the last newsletter, we have enjoyed a lot of events and activities! We participated in the first Primary School Assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. At the assembly, we sang songs and each first and second grade class, along with teachers, recited parts of the picture book, This Is the Dream, by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander. It was really lovely.
We also celebrated the arrival of the whooping cranes in Florida with a Whooping Crane Dance Party, a delicious cake, grapes and blue crab juice - a whooping crane favorite! Thanks to the Room Parents for helping make this special event possible. See the Gallery for more whooping crane photos.
Miss Cindy taught us about the seasonal differences between Sydney, Australia and Chicago; and how the earth tilts on its axis. We learned some fun riddles and also enjoyed a wonderful before school performance of "Duets." Congratulations to our two classmates who performed!
FAMILY MESSAGE JOURNALS
Family Message Journals were sent home on Friday. Please respond to your child's letter and return the journal early this week. We will write again on Friday. Thank you.
MLK Jr. SERVICE PROJECT
The first and second grade students are doing a COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT in honor of MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY. Every child in the Primary School at Earl Shapiro Hall is asked to bring in a specific school supply. Our class has been assigned to bring in:
2-3 spiral notebooks (with 50-100 pages)
The deadline has been extended and we will accept donations until Tuesday, January 27th. We will create school supply bags for 100 1st and 2nd graders at John M. Smyth School. Along with your school supply, you are asked to send in a hat and a pair of mittens or gloves. These will be included in the bags with the school supplies. The bags will be delivered to the school before the end of January. Thanks for your participation!
Please remember to sign-up for a Parent-Teacher Conference in February. The sign-up link is available on the FOR PARENTS page of this website and was also emailed to you. We look forward to talking to you about your child's progress. Progress Reports will be available to you on Monday, February 23rd.
For the last two weeks, we have been exploring biographies. Last week, we learned about Helen Keller and her teacher in the book Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colon. Ask your favorite second grader what interesting facts he/she learned about Helen. We watched a video of Helen and Annie from the 1930s, learned how to say good morning in sign language and practiced spelling our first names with the sign language alphabet. The children also noticed all the braille around our school, located on various signs throughout the building.
Have a great week!
It was a wonderful transition back after the holidays and so nice to see everyone. After several days of indoor recess, we are all looking forward to some relief in the temperatures and time to enjoy the snow. There was only one day last week when it was safe enough for us to go outside and even then, we were only outside for a short time. See the Gallery for pictures of our snow play on the roof. We'd also like to wish Caden a very Happy Birthday!
Last week, we again met with our Kindergarten Buddies. Ms. Stowe-Grant read a story of kindness called The Spiffiest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson and we decorated bookmarks. The bookmarks contain a message that reads:
This bookmark is for you!
Kindness is Contagious!
Pass it on!
From the Kindness Kids,
Ms. Stowe-Grant’s Class and Ms. Harrison’s Class
Next week, we will hide the bookmarks inside of books in the Lim Family Library for others to find. Stay tuned for photos from that kindness mission!
In math, we practiced making change. For most children, we started with $1.00 and practiced counting up, just like cashiers do when giving change back to you at a store. If a candy bar costs 45¢, we practiced counting by 10s -45, 55, 65, 75, 85, 95, and then by 5s to 100. The change is 55¢. We encourage your favorite second grader to practice this strategy at home. Make up real world number stories for him/her to solve and remind your child to pay careful attention whenever a cashier gives you change. For children who were ready, we had them make change from $5 or $10. Transitioning up to the next dollar is confusing for some children and this next level offered a good challenge!
We are beginning to talk about about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement by reading, sharing and discussing picture book biographies. We will be learning about the features of biographies and introducing the comprehension strategies main idea and determining importance. Determining importance is a strategy that readers use to distinguish between what information in a text is most important versus what information is interesting but not necessary for understanding. This practical reading strategy enables students to distinguish between the most and least important information presented in nonfiction reading.
Last week, we learned about Ruby Bridges, the brave six-year old girl who was faced angry crowds and empty classrooms as she became the first African American child to attend an all-white school after a court-ordered desegregation in New Orleans in 1960. We read The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles and viewed this slideshow of photographs from that time in our country's history. We spent time talking about why Ruby was so brave and because she was close to their age, the children really connected to her story. Be sure to ask your child about brave Ruby. On Thursday, January 15th, we will participate in the Primary School MLK Jr. Assembly.
NEW READ ALOUD
Be sure to ask your child about our latest read aloud, Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. Here is a short summary from the author's website:
In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.
So far this book is keeping the children engaged and on the edge of their seats as we end each chapter!
PS ART NIGHT
Please see the flier below with details about this week's PS Art Night. We hope you can attend with your child!
You should have received an email from Sign-Up Genius inviting you to sign up for a parent-teacher conference on February 6th or February 12th. This sign-up link can be found under the FOR PARENTS page as well. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your child's progress.
Enjoy your week!
Happy New Year! We are looking forward to seeing all of our favorite second graders back at school on Monday!
We ended the Fall Quarter with several highlights, including birthdays celebrations for Sonali, Sebastian and Ms. Harrison (what a wonderful surprise!). We'd like to thank Lucy's grandma for making latkes with us and to teaching us about Chanukah with a story and some songs.
We also wrapped up our gingerbread man unit. After comparing several versions of this traditional tale, the children decorated gingerbread man cookies. Our study also included a gingerbread man tasting and graphing activity, and discussions/comparisons of story elements (setting, characters, refrain, and story ending). We will also share a reading of one of our favorite versions, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, with our video pen pals in India this week.
Finally, we finished our study of the whooping cranes by watching most of the movie Fly Away Home. This movie is roughly inspired by the life of Bill Lishman. As the Operation Migration website describes,
In 1993 Bill Lishman asked Joe Duff to join him in an attempt to conduct the first ever human-led migration of birds. At the time, Duff was a fellow ultralight pilot and a successful commercial photographer. The two artists-turned-biologists imprinted 18 Canada geese and, in the fall, they used two ultralights to lead them from Purple Hill in Ontario, across Lake Ontario, to the Environment Studies Division of Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia. Sixteen of those birds survived the winter and thirteen returned on their own the following spring.
In 1994, Bill and Joe founded Operation Migration. You can read more about their story and the making of Fly Away Home here. Fly Away Home makes such a meaningful connection to our study of the migrating and endangered whooping cranes. We skipped over some sensitive parts (such as a car crash at the beginning of the movie that claims the life of the main character's mother) but otherwise it is a lovely family film. You can read a review at Common Sense Media:
Winter Quarter is a busy one and we have lots of events planned, including Whooping Crane Dance Party, Valentine's Day, Lunar New Year, a field trip to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and a trip to the Indiana Dunes to learn about how maple sugar is made. We will send you more details about these events as they approach.
Special classes and the Extended Day Program begins tomorrow. We will receive an updated enrollment list from the Extended Day Office. Please let us know of any other changes in your child's dismissal plans.
WINTER WEATHER TIPS
Just a reminder that we go outside almost everyday and we want your child to be comfortable outside. Winter has arrived and we are bracing for snow and cold temperatures this week. Here are a few tips:
WHOOPING CRANE UPDATE/PARTY
The whooping cranes arrived in Florida right before our Winter Break on December 11th. The seven cranes are now at their winter home at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and are free-flying and wild! The young cranes will be briefly caught just once again tomorrow to receive their permanent tracking bands/colors on January 5th. Journey North describes their release,
After this first joyful burst of freedom, crew member Colleen led the birds around their expanded world. First she showed them the feed shed and the familiar feeders holding crane chow. They finished their tour at the oyster bar—the causeway of oyster shells covered by a few inches of water reaching one-third of the way across the pond and where the familiar plastic crane decoy was stationed. The oyster bar is where the birds will be called down at roost time each evening by the speaker playing the crane call. Surrounded by shallow water, they would hear the splashes of any approaching predators in time to fly to safety. Colleen and pilot Brooke Pennypacker will check on the cranes twice daily throughout the birds' first winter at St. Marks NWR in Florida.
In honor of the whooping cranes arrival at the winter home in Florida, we will celebrate with a Whooping Crane Dance Party on Friday, January 16th. Please help your second grader think about what black, white and red clothing he/she may have at home to wear for the celebration. We will invite everyone to dress in the colors of the whooping cranes! This can include hats too. Stay tuned for upcoming details about our celebration.
Ms. Harrison also carried several pounds of coins and paper money to the bank for the official total of our Change 4 Cranes fundraiser. We raised just under $1000! Bravo second graders! Tomorrow we will compare this total to our estimate. The children counted all the coins and bills by hand and it is common for their estimate to be different from the total. This wonderful math activity encouraged the children to figure out the most efficient way to sort and count so much money. There was lots of cooperation and problem-solving involved!
MISS CINDY RETURNS
We are happy to announce that Miss Cindy, the graduate student from UIC, will return to our classroom to complete her student teaching. Miss Cindy will be with us through April and she will work with Ms. Harrison to design and co-teach lessons. It will be wonderful to have a third teacher in the room!
Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming up at the beginning of February (2/6 and 2/12). Look for an email with the link to the online sign-up later this week. Progress Reports will be available online toward the end of February or beginning of March.
Be sure to check out the Gallery for many new photos. Enjoy your week!
Look here for weekly summaries of classroom activities, projects, events and other important information.