Last Wednesday, we helped to assemble bags for the John M. Smyth School as a part of our MLK Jr. Primary School Service Project. The children also decorated personal tags for each box with their photos and messages like "Stay warm!" or "I hope you have fun!" The donations were overwhelming and it was a wonderful, rewarding activity. We are grateful for your and your child's participation.
We had a fun visit from two World Language teachers on Friday, Ms. Diane Jackson and Ms. Fracesn Spaltro. The children asked lots of wonderful questions. Your first and second choices for language are due on Monday, February 2. Use this form: http://goo.gl/forms/S7XUqZ3eQ0
On Friday, Ms. Atiya attended an all-day workshop across the hall in the Learning Lab. Ms. Atiya was continuing her professional development with the Responsive Classroom approach and we are excited to see what ideas she will bring back to the classroom. The children enjoyed see her through the glass windows as a student, instead of their teacher!
We have been working to create digital portfolios of student work using an app called Evernote. This is the first time I have used this tool for digital portfolios and it has taken some time to set it up and add documentation and artifacts. Each student has an individual notebook where we will put work samples from the various curricular areas. We will include writing samples, math work/assessments, pictures of various projects and more. Many of the iPad apps the students will use for creation provide an option to share and can be stored in Evernote. Your child’s portfolio will be shared with you so you will have the opportunity to see your child’s progress throughout the year. Parents will only have access to their own child's work. In the next few days, we will share the link to your child’s portfolio via email. Please keep that link safe as you will need it for the rest of the year. You do not have to have an Evernote account to be able to view your child’s work. We will send out emails letting families know when work has been added to Evernote but you can feel free to check it at any time. We will provide support with Evernote as needed. Please do not hesitate to ask questions or let us know if you are having trouble. This is a work in progress and we welcome your feedback.
You may have heard about all the visitors we've had lately. The visitors are second graders whose families hope to have their child attend Lab in third grade and their visits are a part of the admissions process. Each candidate spends a half day with us. Your children deserve a compliment for how warm and welcoming they have been. Each candidate has enjoyed his/her visit and is often disappointed to leave after lunch.
During math, we introduced the algorithm called partial sums for solving double-digit (and larger) addition problems. In this algorithm, you separate the problems into "parts" by place value (hundreds, tens, ones). Children practice using expanded form and then add the parts together first before finding the sum to the whole problem. Below is an example. This method really gets kids thinking about place value and helps to build their number sense. For children who are still working on a concrete level, we used base-ten blocks to build the numbers first. This is a new algorithm for most children and it has felt a little frustrating to those children who are already very comfortable with regrouping (carrying). With some practice, all the children are beginning to understand the steps to the algorithm. Ask your child to show you!
We are learning all about different kinds of snow crystals and wishing for snow so we can use the the snow catchers we made last week. We read a book called The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder by Mark Cassino and learned that all snowflakes begin in very high, very cold clouds. They begin from a speck of dust, dirt, ash, bacteria,or pollen. That speck becomes the center of the snow crystal. Water vapor in clouds attach to the speck and form water droplets. The droplets freeze and grow into a hexagon-shaped ice crystal. We also learned that a snowflake stops growing after it leaves the cloud. See if your child can tell you how/where snowflakes form. We read a biography about Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, the first man to photograph snow in the late 1800s and looked at modern day photographs taken by Kenneth G. Libbrecht at Cal Tech with a special photomicroscope. While we wait for the snow to fall, children can enjoy making virtual paper snowflakes at Make-A-Flake (for use on a computer) or the free My Flake app (iPhone app). Stay tuned as we learn more!
We are looking forward to a simple and sweet Valentine's Day celebration on Monday, February 16th. If you signed up to bring decorating supplies, please send them in by February 9th so we can begin decorating our Valentine's bags. Many of these supplies can be found at Michaels or JoAnne Fabrics. Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to make this day fun and special!
If your child is planning on giving Valentines, we ask that he/she have one for each student in our class so that no one feels left out. We have included a class list as well as a list of teachers and staff in case your second grader would like to give them Valentines too (download pdf below). We will not be able to deliver Valentines to students in other classrooms. We will pass out the Valentines on Monday during our celebration. Feel free to send finished Valentines in early if you'd like.
Ms. Cindy, our student teacher from UIC, will return to our classroom on Monday after recovering from the flu. She has been missed these last two weeks! Cindy has been in the classroom since October and has had the chance to work with all of the children. I am hoping she can also participate in some parent conferences as an added perspective and for her own professional growth. She will simply observe and will maintain the utmost professionalism and confidentiality. If you are uncomfortable having Cindy attend your conference, please email me and we will hold the conference without her. Thank you for your consideration.
Conference Schedule for Friday, February 6th
Have a wonderful week!