2Welcome to Second Grade… and to an important year in your child’s journey through school. I look forward to getting to know you better as the year goes on and to understanding your child as an individual and as a learner. The children in our classroom come with a wide range of abilities, talents, and interests, so I expect we will have a busy, exciting year! Much of my curriculum is based on the broad concept of “Change.” Using a central theme like this helps connect all curriculum areas, requires higher-order thinking, and leads to more meaningful understanding for everyone.
3The Concept of ChangeIn the first semester, we will explore the concept of change through a unit called “Connections of the Heart.” In the second semester, we continue the concept of change through a unit called “Journeys and Destinations.” In these unit, students will have opportunities to:Judge relationships among objects, places, ideas, and people.Formulate original relationships among objects, places, ideas, and people.Categorize connections as intellectual, physical, emotional, and/or social.Identify and provide evidence of how and why connections change or stay the same over time.
4Our Class Bill of Rights and Responsibilities As citizens of the Learning Lodge… We have the right to learn.We have the responsibility to study, listen, and do our best.We have the right to make friends.We have the responsibility to be kind, fair, and honest.We have the right to be safe.We have the responsibility to solve problems peacefully.
5LiteracyLiteracy instruction is based on a block approach to teaching reading, language, and writing. Our reading block is from 9:30-11:00. This block of time will incorporate: -Mini lessons on targeted skills: This is done as a whole group, then students work with a small group on reading material at an instructional reading level. -Read to Self: During this time, students will be engaged in reading books in which they are interested, at their reading level. Some of these books will integrate Science and Social Studies themes. -Read to Someone: Students will read with a partner, using active questioning techniques. Reading aloud strengthens fluency. -Work With Words: Phonics and word decoding is an essential part of learning to read "bigger words." Students will use a variety of activities to sharpen these skills. Grammar instruction will occur directly after the reading block. This consists of a mini lesson and practice. Integration of grammar skills will occur in the reading block (response to literature), the writing block, and even math! Our writing block will be from 2:50-3:20 in the afternoon. This is when writing skills are taught, with lots of time given to practice those skills in authentic writing.
6“Students will use a variety of materials to aid in the learning of essential reading and writing skills. These include (but are not limited to):National Geographic “Reach for Reading”Basal anthologies, of which we have several to choose at various reading levelsLiterature units (like Journeys and Destinations” and “Connections of the Heart” based on novels/chapter booksJunior Great BooksScholastic Reading CardsComprehension Toolkit with accompanying trade books“Studies Weekly”"Jacob's Ladder" reading comprehension program6+1 Writing Traits materialsShurley EnglishGrammar Island
7SpellingOur spelling lists consist of 20 words from our Intensive Phonics lessons. Also, there are usually a few “Most Common Words” in each list. These are words that children are likely to see and use most frequently and do not always follow “the rules.”I will begin (on August 22nd) giving a pretest each Friday for the upcoming week’s spelling list. Those students missing 2 or less on the pretest will be given a “Challenge List” of words for the following week. The “Challenge List” will have 18 words on it. If a student misses 1 or 2 words on the pretest, these words will be added to the “Challenge List,” so a student taking the “Challenge List” might have 18, 19, or 20 words. The final test will be given on Friday during computer lab (or in the classroom when the computer lab is unavailable).Lists can be found on my website, as well as on Spellingcity.com. I will send out an that will direct you to either the regular spelling list page or the challenge spelling list page, depending on which list your child has for that week. You will only be able to access your child’s correct list on Spelling City.
8MathI believe that all students can succeed at and enjoy math. By improving a child’s success in this area, future success is assured. My goal is to help each child in my class think mathematically- and enjoy doing it!Through a method called “guided discovery” students will eagerly participate by:raising their hands to answer questions posed by me and by classmatesconferring with each other to arrive at multiple strategies to solve problemshelping each other understand concepts and skillspersevering to solve problemsA typical math lesson will begin with a quick review of the previous day’s skill. A problem or question is posed to set the stage for the current day’s whole group lesson. Students are encouraged to solve the problem or answer the question on their own, then discuss solutions with a partner or small group. As a whole group, these solutions are discussed and analyzed as to creativity as well as efficiency and accuracy. Following discussion time, a mini lesson is presented incorporating some of the solutions. After the mini lesson, guided practice is provided, at a level of each child’s understanding. While students practice the day’s skill/concept, I collaborate with individuals or small groups who are experiencing some difficulties, and check in with those who are ready for enrichment or further challenges.
9Math GroupsI am very excited this year to be able to partner with another second grade teacher, Ms. Cope, to provide math instruction to both of our classes. To better meet the needs of all students in this area, we will divide our classes into two groups based on current achievement levels in math.Ms. Cope is enthusiastic in her math instruction (she was a temporary STEM teacher when Mrs. Compton was on maternity leave). We share many of the same philosophies and teaching methods. We will collaborate throughout the year to ensure that our curriculum is providing the highest quality learning experiences for all our students.Both Ms. Cope and myself will use a balanced math program. We will use Everyday Math materials (our adopted math series), but will also use other quality materials when needed. Some of these include:Harcourt MathMath PentathlonMath in FocusNCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) materialsProjects, games, inquiry, and collaboration will be an integral part of our math instruction.
10Learning Math FactsWhy is it so important for children to memorize math facts in order to succeed academically? According to Margaret Groves, M.Phil., M.Ed, “a lack of fluency in basic math fact recall significantly hinders a child's subsequent progress with problem-solving, algebra and higher-order math concepts. This can have a serious impact on a child's overall self confidence and general academic performance.” We have several tools to help your child succeed in this area. At school, we will use a computer program called FASTT Math (Fluency & Automaticity through Systematic Teaching with Technology) and some written practice to help learn facts. Everyday Math has a Facts Workshop and Facts Dash game, which will soon be available to you. At home, you have been given an instruction sheet on how to use Splash Math. I will be checking your child’s progress on this program. Another site for worksheets is Spaceship Math. Later in September, we will begin a program for learning math facts called Rocket Math.
11ScienceIn Second Grade, we will learn that a scientist uses many tools to observe and record changes. We will explore the world around us by using our 5 senses and other tools such as thermometers, rulers, magnifiers, and balances. Students will learn about the forces that regulate the physical world and how scientists use that knowledge to manipulate and manage change.Our scientific investigations will be based on learning about patterns and cycles:We will observe how organisms change their forms and behaviors during their life cycles.We will observe that properties of materials can change, but not all materials react the same way.We will observe the motion of an object and how it changes when a force is applied.We will recognize patterns about weather over days and seasons.We will observe how the position of the sun-moon and the shape of the moon change.We will describe how technologies have been developed to meet human needs.
12Social StudiesIn social studies, we will focus on 4 main areas: history, civics and government, geography, and economics.History: Students will differentiate between events that happened in the past and recently, recognize examples of continuity and change in local and regional communities, and consider ways that people and events of the past and present influence their lives.Civics and Government: Students will explain why communities have government and laws, demonstrate that people in the United States have both rights and responsibilities, and identify individual actions that contribute to the good of the community and nation.Geography: Students will locate their community, state and nation on maps and globes; identify major geographic characteristics of their local community; and explore geographic relationships between the physical and environmental characteristics of their community.Economics: Students will describe how people in a community use productive resources, create a variety of businesses and industries, specialize in different types of jobs, and depend on each other to supply goods and services.
13When a child misses problems on schoolwork, I usually ask that he/she correct or “re-do” those missed problems. The corrected problems are then turned back in to me to be checked again, and I will place an “OK” by the original score when the work has been correctly completed. I believe it is important that your child sees his/her errors and corrects them him/herself. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but many errors alert me to potential problems and give me a chance to help your child if he/she does not truly understand the concept being taught. Credit will be given for corrections made.
14I look forward to an exciting, busy, fun-filled year I look forward to an exciting, busy, fun-filled year. You will be amazed at how much growth your child makes during this important year-academically, socially, physically, and emotionally! Please explore and make use of our classroom website for updates and information. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns.
15I hope all my students are able to make their own trails through life! "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”Ralph Waldo EmersonI hope all my students are able to make their own trails through life!