WHAT I LOVE ABOUT AUTUMN
by Douglas Florian
Cool crisp nights
Trick or treat
(Sweets to eat)
Clear blue skies
Football games --
I love that autumn has two names.
GOOD FIT OR JUST RIGHT BOOKS
Did you know that choosing a book is like shopping for new shoes? We recently used this analogy to help the children recognize that it’s important to read books that are a good fit. I came to school with a bag of shoes: my husband’s very large dress shoe, a soft-soled baby shoe, a girl's pink soccer cleat, and a boy's rain boot. None of these shoes were a good fit for me. We also talked about how we choose certain shoes not only because they fit well, but also because they have a purpose. Soccer cleats are different from bowling shoes. We wouldn’t wear our flip-flops to go sledding. The same is for books. You may choose a book to learn about a certain topic or just to read for fun. Books, like shoes, also reflect our interests. Finally, it's not all about being able to read the words. Good fit books are also ones we can read fluently and understand. Second graders often become focused on the number of pages in a book instead of thinking about whether they are really understanding they story.
It's important for parents to make sure the books their children are choosing are also content appropriate. Many books may be geared toward older children and the content may be beyond the life experience of a second grader. Just because a child can read all the words does not mean the book is a good fit. It may helpful for you to read these books to or with your child so if there is confusion you are there to discuss it. Our Librarians are also a wonderful resource if you have questions about appropriate second grade books. I also encourage you to read book reviews on Common Sense Media. A great site to find books that interest boys is called GuysRead.com.
When helping children choose good fit books, we focus on the IPICK method (see below). We spend more of our time helping children find good fit books than simply choosing books at their appropriate reading level that may not be of interest. IPICK gives children a tool for choosing books independently whether they are at school or in a bookstore or library. We will check in often with each child and help guide them toward good fit books that match both their interest and reading ability. Next week, we will give them some strategies for deciding if books are a good fit.
We are working with the children to explain their strategies for adding one digit numbers. Second grade is the year when we help children build automaticity with their single-digit addition facts and subtraction facts up to 20. We call this "fact power!" Once these facts are memorized and can be solved quickly, computation of harder, multi-digit problems becomes easier. For many children, these facts are already automatic or their fact fluency is developing so we find other ways to appropriately challenge them. The strategies we have reviewed include:
counting on: This is usually the first mental math strategy that children are taught in kindergarten or first grade and it's the easiest. In the problem 8+ 6, we tell the child to "hold" 8 in their hand and count on 6 more using their fingers. They say the number 8 then count on six more: 9,10,11,12,13,14. 8 + 6 =14
renaming: When renaming a math problem, children use the idea of making friendly numbers. A friendly number is simply a number that is easy to work with. This normally refers to multiples of 10.
For example 6 + 7 becomes (6 + 4) + 3. The seven was renamed 4 +3 so we can easily make 10 and add accurately and quickly.
doubles facts: We eventually want children to have their doubles facts memorized. If the problem is 5 + 6, the doubles strategy says "I know that 5 + 5 =10 and 6 is one more than 5 so 5 + 6 =11."
As children get comfortable with these strategies, they can choose the one that works best for them.
We also began a review of fact families. A fact family is a series of three related numbers that make two addition equations and two subtraction equations. For example, the numbers 3, 7, and 10 are a fact family:
3 + 7 = 10
7 + 3 = 10
10 - 3 = 7
10 - 7 = 3
Your child was introduced to fact families in first grade. It's important for children to not simply have their math facts memorized but to understand the relationship between numbers. Fact families are also used with multiplication and division in the third and fourth grades.
Ms. Atiya read a lovely book called Little Apple: A Book of Thanks by Brigitte Weninger and Anne Moller to introduce our apple study and talked about adjectives. An adjective is a word that describes a noun. The children then worked with a partner to think of as many adjectives as they could to describe apples. They came up with quite a list including yellow, red, green, sweet, mushy, scrumptious, sour, crisp, and more!
We will dive into our apple study next week. We will study the life cycle of the apple tree, learn about pollination, have an apple taste test and get ready for our field trip to the orchard on Thursday. All the available seats for parent chaperones on the bus have been filled but you are welcome to drive if you'd like to join us. Please let me know. Specific details will be included in the email announcing this newsletter. Here is some general information to prepared you child for the orchard:
- Please pack a snack, lunch and water bottle securely in a paper or plastic bag (labeled with your child’s name) so it can be disposed of easily. Also, there are wasps at the orchard so we ask that children only bring water. Wasps are attracted to sweet juices and soda. No plastic storage containers please. All of your child’s lunch should be disposable. We will eat outside in the orchard at a picnic table or on the grass. Children should also bring a snack to eat on the bus. Since we will be sharing the bus with children from other classes who may have allergies, snacks/lunches must be peanut/tree-nut free. Thanks for your cooperation.
- Be sure to have your child dress for a day outdoors. Gym shoes are the most appropriate footwear. Sunscreen should be applied before school. Your child should also bring a manageable backpack to carry his/her lunch and belongings. At the end of the day, the backpack will hold all the apples your second grader picks! Backpacks with wheels are not recommended.
- The children may bring books to read, notebooks for drawing, Mad-libs, strings for the cat's cradle game, etc. We ask that toys, Pokemon cards, electronic devices, etc. be left at home. Thank you!
Please let us know if your child is prone to car sickness. We will be crossing our fingers for good weather, but be sure to check the forecast as Thursday approaches so you child can be dressed appropriately.
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Have a great week!