How Many Fives Around the Clock?

I came across this video earlier today, and I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the voice of Genevieve Goings of Choo Choo Soul, who I know from a freeze dance song I frequently use for my children’s dance classes. I was excited to find Genevieve’s educational video of counting around the clock by fives, which is something my second graders and I practice each day during our math “calendar routines” and spiral review. I will be sure to show them this video before calendar routines when we get back from the winter beak!


Tens Partners

At this time in our second grade classroom, we are focusing on the following addition strategies:

  1. Solving word problems by finding the given information, determining what the problem is asking us to find, and identifying key words or phrases
  2. Solving addition problems with up to 4 addends vertically

While there are number of strategies my students know how to use, I’m a big fan of the “spiral review”, which includes going back and reminding ourselves of some addition tips and tricks we may have picked up in first grade. I recently discovered fun educational hip hop videos created by Flocabulary, a Brooklyn-based company that creates educational hip hop songs and videos for students in grades K through 12. Below is a video that we watched on Monday to remind us of our “tens partners” which will help us add (and subtract… which we will be delving into when we return from the winter break in January) more quickly!

Fact or Opinion

This week in English Language Arts, my class is learning about facts vs. opinions. I found some fun online resources that allows students to participate in an activity while learning what facts and opinions are. The students really got a kick out of some of the opinion statements in the second video.

School Shopping MaxI came in this year as a mid-year teacher, so I did most of my “back to school shopping” at my regular, go-to places where I knew I would find the items I wanted: Lakeshore Learning, Target, and Dollar Tree (which is a new love of mine). I’ve been meaning to get some sheet protectors to use to display students’ writing for the past few weeks, so I went to my local Office Max tonight. While there, I stumbled upon the teacher section of the store (it was the same aisle where the sheet protectors were), and I realized that Office Max has a lot of great deals! The woman who assisted me also let me know to meet her back at the store in the next day or two because she would give me a couple of items for free since I’m a teacher! Of course now, I’ll be going back to Office Max for quickie classroom needs in the future. Where do you do most of your teacher shopping?


contractionsThis week in second grade, we will be practicing with contractions. Below are some videos that might help your child become more familiar with contractions. The first video features a first grade class performing a rap about contractions and the second video gives a lesson then provides the typed lyrics to the Kidz Bop version of the Bruno Mars song “Just the Way You Are” so that the number of contractions used can be counted by students.

See you tomorrow bright and early!


What’s Up Wednesday

Hello Families,

This week has been packed full of reinforcing our school culture and learning new routines that we will be doing for the rest of the year! However, we finally had time today to get to our class and independent writing time. I may have mentioned before that we will be focusing on 3 types of writing this year in second grade:

  • Narrative Writing (tells a story)
  • Expository Writing (explains something)
  • Persuasive Writing (tries to convince reader that writer’s opinion is correct)

Today, I modeled writing a story about a time when I found a dog (true story!) using my Topic Sentence Starters and Closing Sentence Starters (found in your child’s Take Home Binder). Remember, this is the format we will be using to write in our class this year:

  1. GREEN – GO! Topic Sentence (Grabs the reader’s attention and tells the main idea.)
  2. YELLOW – SLOW DOWN! Big Idea (Give a reason or a fact. Use a transition word.)
  3. RED – STOP! Detail (Give a detail or an example that supports your big idea.)
  4. YELLOW – SLOW DOWN! Big Idea (Give a reason or a fact. Use a transition word.)
  5. RED – STOP! Detail (Give a detail or an example that supports your big idea.)
  6. GREEN – GO BACK! Closing Sentence (Go back and remind the reader of your topic.)

As students advance beyond the 6-sentence paragraph, I would like them to focus first on adding more “reds” or more details. Below is the helpful video that we watched in class today. I will also link additional helpful videos below.

Is your child a “reluctant writer”? The following article explains how the Step Up to Writing “Traffic Light Paragraph” model is simple for students to visualize and use to construct a solid paragraph. While the article explains how to write a 4-sentence paragraph, we will be writing at least 6 sentences for our paragraphs in second grade: “Step Up To Writing: A Tool For The Reluctant Writer”


Mid-Week Notes!

Hello Families!

I hope you and your children are settling back into the routine of school nicely. One important piece of information I will generally post on Mondays (and in our Weekly Newsletter) is the tests and quizzes for the week!

This week on Friday, we will have the following tests and quizzes:

  1. English Language Arts Test (reading comprehension, phonics, & vocabulary)
  2. Spelling Test (12 words; find them typed in our child’s Take Home Binder and also posted here)
  3. Target Vocabulary Quiz (the 8 words that your child writes each morning as part of Morning Seatwork; also on the Spelling List posted here and in their Take Home Binder; students should be generally familiar with the definitions of these words-we have been discussing them each day in class and they are in this week’s story)

Also on Friday of this week:

  1. Share Day — Students have the option to bring a small stuffed animal or toy from home to share during Morning Meeting. They should not bring anything that they are afraid might get lost or ruined.
  2. Student Store — Students who have earned at least 25 cents will be able to shop at the student store or “trade out” their money (e.g., trade 5 pennies for 1 nickel) if they would like to save for a future Student Store day

This week as a class, we are working to make our Study Hall time more productive and less chatty. My goal is to have most of the children complete their “Must Do” work by the end of Study Hall each day. Students who want additional practice may always work on the “Should Do” options with parents at home.

Have a great evening!