Thursday, September 29, 2016

Conservation Fair

We had beautiful weather for the field trip today.  We spent a whole day learning about Earth related themes through kid-friendly info talks, singing and hands on activities.  Highlights for the group included learning about wild blueberry cultivation, aquaponics, decomposers and ecosystems.  We also found the horse track and ran all the way around it!!!!  The kids were so on their game that they earned 200 dojo points today.  I love a field trip for the opportunity to step up to more responsibility and build our classroom team.  Here is a link to a handful of pics.

Conservation Fair

The famous GSB Ecosystem Chorus.
Hmm.....Rot, Rot, Rot, Grow, Grow, Grow, Munch, Munch Munch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Science Monday

At the end of every month, on Monday, 2nd graders will be celebrating science.  Mrs. Hanna, Mrs. Fake and I will each be offering an afternoon of science.  The classes will rotate through 3 different activities over the next couple of months.  We are fortunate to have community members help us out. Mark Ferraro will be working with Mrs. Hanna on Water Systems.  Chuck Dinsmore will be working with Mrs. Fake on plants and animals at Hidden Valley Nature Center.  I will be working with Sarah Gladu on Earth Systems.  Next month, my class will go with Mrs. Hanna, Mrs. Hanna's class will go with Mrs. Fake, and Mrs. Fake's class will go with me.  This is an exciting collaboration that allows us to offer a hands on science program to all 2nd graders.

For Earth Systems, we explored maps, where water is on earth and then we built models of rivers and erosions.  Please check out the pictures.  I think I got everyone this time.

 Earth Systems

Please remember that picture day is on Friday - send smiling faces and forms.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Today you will find a number of items in your child's folder:

Agriculture Program

Did you know that we have an agriculture program at GSB?  Your child has already benefitted from the program when we harvested pumpkins.  We also will be learning about compost this week and enjoy a taste test Tuesday in October.  Please consider purchasing some bulbs to help us continue to grow the program.  You can fill out the pamphlet in the folder or go to the following website:

Picture Day

Picture Day is September 30.  Make sure to get your forms in!  I want to make sure everyone gets a class picture.  If this is a financial burden, please contact me.

Tech Letter

I have sent home a letter describing the 3 programs we will use for skill building in math and literacy. In this letter, I have provided information on how to access each program.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Welcome Back Dinner Volunteer Sign UP


Here is a link to sign up.  Sue Schumaker is running the dinner.  She has a Senior at Lincoln Academy now.  She is a peach.

Welcome Back Dinner Sign UP

Community Build

In 2nd grade at GSB, we study community.  We have had many discussions about what makes a community.  We started with the statement:  Our classroom is a community because we live, work and play together.  Then, our classroom community is a part of the 2nd grade  They very much enjoyed how our bullseye did not even fit on the page.  We then talked about what we'd need to build a community.  We had lots of conversations about corporations vs. local businesses and ventured into some discussions about the local economy.  I followed up by a favorite story of mine, Roxaboxen, the story of a group of children that build a community play space in the desert.  The children in this story have all of the community essentials, including a town mayor and a jail.

We then took to building.  We have been building Gem Salt Bay Town.  The origin of the name is that I have tons of gems in the classroom which represent our people.  This has been a great project to launch our year because it has required decision-making, prioritizing needs and wants, collaboration and communication.  We are building a paper community and a classroom community all at the same time.  I do hope you come to see it on Tuesday at the Open House.  By this time, we'll be ready to hand out brochures for our town.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Homework and Pumpkins!

I realized how much homework was sent home on Friday when it ALL came in this morning.  Wow! I will try to spread homework out across the week.  We have only established 2 homework routines so far:  reading log and share sheet.  Please notice that the reading log is open.  The Reading Log is a communication between home and school about what is being read at home.  There are lots of lines to write more, but the title of the book and about how many minutes would be great information.

We have gotten a good start on Share Sheets.  Right now, I am asking that students write one sentence with capitalization and a period.  Next week, we will move to a 3 sentence rule in second grade.  I am noticing that I have some writers that have great ideas, but not a lot of stamina.  The share sheet is a great way to work that writer's muscle and ELABORATE.

We are still establishing math routines so I haven't really got a math homework routine, yet.  If you are a family that likes homework, encouraging your child to become a calculator and practice math facts, addition and subtraction, first with 1 digit numbers and then with 2 digit numbers would support our work in the classroom.  This practice can be flipped too.  In other words, ask your childhow many ways they can add to 10 gets them thinking about how different combinations can equal the same answer.

I see homework as a great way for students to share with you and include you in what they are doing in school.  Please keep me posted if there are nights that homework just doesn't fit into your evening. I get it.  When there is space in your evening, I told the kids to think of it as an opportunity and most importantly it should be fun for them to "show off" for you.

Today, we helped out in the school garden by harvesting penquins...I mean pumpkins!  Just seeing if you were paying attention.  Here's the link.  I must have had my finger on video because each picture gives you a half-second of movement.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pics

Friday, September 9, 2016

Community Build

We are talking about community in our classroom.  First we talked about communities from small to big, then we talked about what communities need:  we came up with different ideas, but to sum it up, a community is a blob of people that live, work and play in the same place.  We have started the process of designing a community with "places to live."  Please follow this link to see some pictures. I did not get everyone YET.  Thanks for your patience.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Bus Safety

Today the entire 2nd grade met with Debbie Newell to talk about bus safety.  What makes this different than other bus safety talks is that they are a year older and SO IMPRESSIVE!  For me, they are actually 2 years older.  As many of you know, this group marked my first year of teaching at GSB.  It was an uber-treat to see them all together.

Watching children grow and learn, not just over the year, but even longer, is a sincere privilege of working at GSB.  For those families, who are new to GSB, welcome.  I look forward to weaving your child's story into our community.

First Day

We have had an awesome start to the school year.  I am pleased to be a part of your students 2nd grade year.  What stood out for me yesterday was the level of responsibility each child showed for their work, their things, their jobs and each other.   Here are some reminders and updates. 

·      We talked about the 3 strikes rule in my classroom.  Three strikes means that a student has been given multiple reminders and needs to step out of the group to get back on track. 

·      Class DoJo is a way that I will use to support and highlight positive behaviors.  Well get that going on Tuesday when the technology will be ready.

·      Please encourage your child to bring in a drawing from home to put on our welcome board.  The ones that have come in are perfect!  There are no requirements.  Students have been asked to draw a picture for me.  It can be about their summer, their family or simply something that they like to draw.

·      You will find a list of high frequency words in your childs folder.  We will be working on building your childs knowledge of sight words and hope to see a years growth in June.  Please disregard the grade level, especially if your child is still developing as a reader.  I encourage you to find a handful of words and make flash cards that you could tack up on the refrigerator.  Seeing new words on a regular basis will build confidence and strengthen memory.

·      Every Friday, your child will receive a reading journal sheet.  You will notice that the journal marks Monday through Thursday.  A child can add their weekend hours to a different day if they choose.  The purpose of this journal is to give me more information about your child as a reader. 

·      Every Friday, your child will also get a share sheet.  Children are encouraged to take a turn once a week to talk in front of the class about a particular theme.  This first weeks theme is All about Me.  Please find a paper bag in your students folder that gives the details of this first week of share.

Thank you very much for taking the time to stay updated!  Dont hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

Chewonki Visit

We had the pleasure of a visit from the Chewonki Outreach Program.  We talked with our presenter about Vernal Pools.  If you don't know,...