We are off to a great start in second grade! We have a terrific class of second graders and despite the terribly warm temperatures, they haveare doing so well getting used to all the new procedures and routines. They are eager to make new friends and help out their classmates already! It’s going to be a great school year!
I am excited to finally have a full five-day week with our class. We will be off and running this week with a nearly “normal” schedule. I say “nearly normal” because we will not have our regular computer lab schedule as the students will be going to the lab two times this week, but for longer sessions in order to take the STAR reading and math assessments.
Our school wide behavior calendar (PBIS Calendar) is to be kept in the outside sleeve of your child’s red folder. Please make it a nightly habit to check the red folder for any check marks and teacher notes on the calendar. If something is noted, please sign/initial the calendar and discuss with your child the importance of being a good citizen while at school. It is our goal that each child keeps a “clean” calendar each month and earns the monthly reward for their positive behavior – meaning they have followed Highland Drive’s building rules:
*Be Respectful * Be Responsible *Be Ready to Learn *Be the Difference
In addition to checking the behavior calendar, please make sure to check inside your child’s red folder every day. Remove those items on the “Home” side, and return those on the “School” side. Homework sheets should stay in the “School” side until the week is over.
We work hard in second grade, so I allow the children to take a healthy snack break. This snack is intended to take the edge off the students’ hunger. The snack must have nutritional value, therefore it should exclude items such as candy, chips, or cookies. Some healthy snack suggestions include yogurt, a cereal bar, applesauce, pretzels, cut up fruits or vegetables, crackers and cheese. This nutrition break will ensure we have the “brain power” to do our best in second grade! Please ensure that snacks do not contain any peanuts or tree nuts. Snacks should be packed separately from lunches as they are stored in the desks until snack time.
Please send in a water bottle each day. This should be separate from the drink in the lunch box. Only water please! Juice can spill and be very sticky!
Here is what we’ll be working on this week:
- This week we will begin to learn spelling words for a test on Friday. This week’s words are color words. In the future, the spelling words will usually focus on the phonics skill. We will pretest on the spelling words and students who spell all of the spelling words correctly will be given an Enrichment list of words to study for the test.
- This year we will be incorporating The Daily 5 into our day. It is a structure that helps students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working independently that will lead to a lifetime of literacy independence. The Daily 5 is made up of 5 components. They are; Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work. We will have three 20 minute sessions where students will be working on these five areas. Between the three sessions, we will meet together on the carpet for mini lessons and to reflect on how our sessions went. While students are working on the Daily 5, I will be meeting with reading groups and doing individual conferences with students. This week we continue to add to our Daily 5 reading routines and procedures. We have been working on reading stamina. We have discussed how to know if we have picked the right book to read during choice time, and practiced using some comprehension skills as a class.
- We are learning strategies to use when we are adding and subtracting.
- This week we will take our first timed fact test. A goal for second graders is to be able to fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. Fluency means to be able to do each fact within three seconds. Very much like students know their sight words without thinking about them…that is how we want students to know their math facts. By knowing facts fluently, students free up their working memory to work on more difficult steps and tasks.
- Take time to practice with math flashcards, apps, or computer programs at home on a regular (if not nightly basis to build that math fact fluency).
- Simple Solutions Books will go home for Homework this week. All of the pages in this book contain second grade skills, however some problems on the page may not have been taught to your child at this time and may be difficult. If your child has difficulty with a skill, simply have him/her attempt the answer or circle the problem number on the page. We will go over the problems in class and will continue to review throughout the year.
- We are learning about People and Communities in our first unit. We are learning that communities are places where people live. Communities develop in urban, rural, and suburban areas. In communities people help each other and follow rules. Transportation and communication in communities have changed over time.
My goal is to have an open line of communication between home and school. If at any time you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Did you know one of the most prominent indicators of a successful reader is the amount of time spent actually reading? Let’s figure it out — mathematically!
Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night…or not at all!
Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes
Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.
Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.
Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.
By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same reading habits,
Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days.
Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.
One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?
Some questions to ponder:
+ Which student would you expect to read better?
+ Which student would you expect to know more?
+ Which student would you expect to write better?
+ Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
+ Which student would you expect to be more successful in school….and in life?
No matter how busy parents are, there are things they can do to help their children. Parents of first- and second-graders in the “School Transition Study,” conducted by the Harvard Family Research Project, have discovered creative ways to stay involved in their children’s learning and development. Researchers conducting the survey learned important and useful tips to share with busy parents.
Use Your Time Well
- Organize your time. One single parent of four who is going back to school tries hard to organize her class schedule so that she has time with her children. She is able to be home with them in the afternoons on most school days. In another family where the mother and father both work full time, they are able to organize their work schedules so that one of the parents is always at home with the children. One day a week after school, the children walk to their mother’s workplace where they wait a short time with her until their father picks them up.
- Do a few things at once. One father arranges to do quiet household chores right beside his daughter who does her homework at the kitchen table. Then the father is there to answer questions. Another mother has her daughter start her homework in the family’s car while they are waiting for her older brother to get out of school. The car is a quiet place where they can talk together.
- Find other people to help. One single parent who cannot be home in the afternoon or evening has the babysitter help the children with homework. Another single parent who works two jobs during the summer arranges for her son to get taken to his neighborhood summer program every morning by his grandfather, who lives nearby. When the program is over, the mother’s friend takes the child to football practice and then back home, where the mother serves everyone a late dinner.
Balance Work Schedules and Family
- Do some school things at the beginning of the day. One single father in the study who works a late shift uses the morning when he is home to check over homework with his son. Then he takes him to school. Sometimes he will sit in the classroom and watch or chat with the teacher before he goes to work.
- Make breakfast the big family meal. Another mother who also works late has her high school-aged daughter make a simple dinner for the younger children. Then the mother cooks a big hot breakfast every morning when she is home before the children go to school.
- Do things differently on the weekend. One mother leaves for her job every morning before the children are up. But on Sundays she wakes them up early, so she can share time with them before she goes to work. A special thing for this family is eating lunch at the restaurant where the mother works.
Ways to Stay Involved with Your Child’s School When You Are Busy
Being involved with school is an important way to show you care about your child’s learning.
- How busy parents stay involved at school. One mother, who cannot volunteer because of her work schedule, finds it easier to go to meetings at night, and has been to some school council meetings. Another mother volunteers to help keep things organized in the halls at the end of the school days, when she is there picking up her child. In a family where the mother is taking care of a baby, the father is able to help out in his older son’s classroom two hours a week.
Source: Early Childhood Digest, Sept. 1999, National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education, and U.S. Dept. of Education, 202/219-1935.
Everyone knows that a little praise goes a long way. But a little praise really needs to be something more than the same few phrases, repeated over and over. Students need more than the “traditional” teacher comments (good and very good), especially if you are trying to encourage a student. These are phrases that parents can use, too! Try these……
That’s really nice.
Wow! That’s great!
I like the way you are working.
Keep up the good work.
That’s quite an improvement.
Keep it up.
What neat work.
You really outdid yourself today.
I am pleased by this kind of work.
Good for you!
I’m proud of you.
You’ve got it now.
You make it look easy.
Your work is coming along nicely.
I am impressed.
You’re on the right track now.
Now you’ve figured it out.
You’ve made a very good point.
I appreciate your effort.
That’s “A” work for sure.
You put a lot of work into this.
That’s the right answer.
Very interesting ideas here.
You should be proud of this.
Congratulations on the good score.
Quality effort went into this work.
* Source: N.S.E.A.