recess exploration
  • Fall 2020

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 12/11/2020

    The first and second grade classroom has been filled with hard-working students for the past five weeks since they have been in school full time.

     

    During Theme time, students have been studying the concept of friendship. They participated in interviewing another classmate to learn about their likes and dislikes. After listening to the book OK, the 1st and 2nd graders wrote a book about activities they could do an okay job at but they would still need to practice to be proficient. They also listened to the book Enemy Pie and then wrote a recipe for how to be a friend. The 1st and 2nd graders also learned about the friendship qualities of empathy and compassion.  They ended this unit of study by learning about what is a problem and learning how to solve problems.

     

    In Math,1st graders have been working on learning that addition is adding two parts to get a total. During math group, they are learning about fact families by using dominoes and number trees. Meanwhile, 2nd graders continue to work toward greater fluency in adding and subtracting facts to 20. They have learned how to recognize if a number is odd or even as well as exploring addition and subtraction strategies. So far, they have learned about adding and subtracting 0, adding +1, +2, +3  and -1, -2, -3, doubles, and neighbor numbers.

     

    In Writing, the 1st and 2nd graders have been learning about different kinds of writing. In addition to writing a friendship recipe as mentioned above, they worked on using their interview answers to write a personal narrative about a classmate. They have brainstormed about topics they know about and on occasion, during Writer’s Workshop, they will choose one of these topics to write about in their Writing Journals. As part of their learning about the parts of a letter, students wrote to a book character named Prudy to give her some suggestions about what to do with her big collection of things.

     

    During Reader’s Workshop, the1st and 2nd graders have been learning about the parts of a fiction book (characters, setting, problem, solution). They have been reading fiction books and they have been practicing finding the problem and solution in the story they have read.

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  • September - October 2019

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 10/21/2019

    September – October 2019, 1st & 2nd Grade, Mrs. Holmquist

    The 1st and 2nd graders have easily learned the schedules and routines of our classroom. They have completed assessments in Math and Literacy, and are now working in the "just right" place in these two academic areas. At the beginning of the school year, we did a classroom scavenger hunt to help students learn the location of important places within the classroom and what tasks or jobs they would do there. Ask your child about the Reset Table, the Supply Shelf, the Math Manipulative Shelf and the Classroom Library.  Read on for a summary of our recent learning.

     

    Math

    During Number Corner, 1st graders have been working on reading numbers on the ten frames and reading tally marks. They have begun to work on learning that addition is adding two parts to get a total. During math group, they are learning about fact families by  using dominoes and number trees. Meanwhile, 2nd graders continue to work toward greater fluency in adding and subtracting facts to 20. They have learned how to recognize if a number is odd or even as well as exploring addition and subtraction strategies. So far, they have learned about adding and subtracting 0, adding +1, +2, +3  and -1, -2, -3, doubles, and neighbor numbers.

     

    Reading

    During Reader's Workshop, students have been introduced to different ways of being a reader and three ways to read a book: read the pictures, read the pictures and words, and read the words. Once they select their "just right" books, students are discovering that the longer they read, the stronger a reader they will become. They are learning what it looks like and what it sounds like to read quietly to themselves.  Small guided reading groups and comprehension questions help students to check their understanding. We are looking at both fiction and non-fiction texts focusing on” How to be a Good Friend.”

     

    Writing

    Writing narratives, especially personal narratives, has been the focus of writing time. Students started by brainstorming about a special day they have experienced or a special person in their lives. Next, students are expected to create a rough draft of their special day or special person. Their goal is to have a writing piece in published format in time for parent conference in early November. We are also beginning to explore how to write an opinion piece.

     

    Social Studies

    As part of a unit on Friendship, students are learning that people build friendships and solve problems. Some other key ideas from this unit are:

    • Friends have their own likes and interests.
    • Friends have similar likes and differences.
    • Friends show expected behaviors, not unexpected behaviors.
    • Friends know and can use conflict resolution strategies to solve disagreements.

    Ask your 1st or 2nd grader what it means to be a “Peaceful Kid.” (Hint: They should mention at least a few of these qualities: acceptance, honesty, kindness, respect, patience, perseverance, and being cooperative.)

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  • January - February 2019

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 2/15/2019

    January – February 2019, 1st & 2nd Grade, Mrs. Holmquist

     

    First and second grade students continue to be hard workers in the classroom. Here is a summary of what these busy learners have been studying and exploring these past couple of months.    

     

    Math   During Number Corner, first graders have been working on solving equations and story problems with a missing number. Students learned how the known numbers in a number tree help them to recognize the missing parts. They also have been working with dimes and pennies, practicing counting a collection of coins, and finding the total amount of money in that collection. During math group time, the first graders have learned how to use the number line math tool to add and subtract by 1s and by 10s.  Meanwhile, second graders are using picture or bar graphs to read, understand, and analyze their data. Second graders also have been working on solving addition and subtraction equations with two-digit numbers, using arrays, and strengthening their knowledge of “reading” rows and columns. During math group time, second graders use number lines to add, subtract, make jumps of 10s, and make hops of 1s and 5s. They are expanding their measurement understanding to include knowledge of inches, feet, and yards. Second graders are learning the splitting strategy where they first add the 10s, then the 1s, then put them all together to find the total.

    Reading   During Reader's Workshop, first and second graders continue to read nonfiction articles. These articles have covered topics about Martin Luther King, the life cycle of a penguin, and the science of sound. They continue to learn how to read nonfiction articles by using reading tools such as bold print for new vocabulary and captions that describe pictures. Students are working on answering questions to show their understanding of what they have read. We are also continuing our work in small guided reading groups and using Reader’s Notebooks to show our thinking.

    Writing  The first and second graders have been working on how to write a fairy tale using a beginning, a middle, and an ending. The process includes brainstorming, writing a rough draft, editing, and publishing. We are exploring “outside” character traits which are attributes that they can see about the character, as well as “inside” character traits which are things that the character says or does in a story. Students will use a trifold board to present the final copy of their fairy tale.

    Social Studies  During Social Studies, we have been studying how people in a community respond to and solve problems. We read stories about a community that had a problem (i.e., Wump World, Nora’s Ark, Ada’s Violin,  and Seeds of Change). Students worked with a partner to create a poster displaying solutions for the problem that the community was facing. Students also created dioramas to show how the environment and natural resources in Addison County have changed over time.

    Science  First and second graders continue to develop their science skills. They have been participating in science investigations in order to learn what plants need to survive. They have learned about the structure of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, flower) as well as the function or job of these structures. They are learning the science skill of observation by examining a sunflower plant’s growth.

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  • November - December 2018

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 12/21/2018

    The first and second graders continue to  be quite busy learning new skills and concepts in the classroom.  

     

    Math

    During Number Corner, first graders have been working on fractions and telling time. They have learned the math vocabulary words of whole, half, and quarter.   They have worked on telling time to the hour by reading digital as well as analog clocks. They have learned that some activities happen in the morning (AM) and others take place afternoon or evening (PM). During math group time, the first graders have been learning how to add and subtract numbers to 10  using the number rack. They have been working on understanding the relationship of numbers with fact families. They are currently learning how to add two different number sentences to come up with the same answer.

    Meanwhile,  second grader students have worked on building arrays using rows and columns. They have also learned how to place shapes in certain groups based on each shape’s number of sides and corners. During math group time, second graders have been exploring the idea of place value where they have been looking at 2-digit and 3- digit numbers as groups of ones, tens and hundreds. They continue to expand their measuring skills by learning about perimeters of square and rectangular shapes. They also have begun to learn how to add on a number line by making jumps of 10s, 5s and 1s along the number line.

     

    Reading

    First Graders have been working on understanding characters actions and feelings in Fiction books. They have begun to make connections with topics they are reading with nonfiction books. Second Graders have been working on reading and understanding nonfiction books. They have learned Text Features such as:  Headings, Bold Print, Captions, Diagrams and Table of Contents. They continue to read in small Guided reading groups and they are using Reader’s Notebooks to show their thinking.

     

    Writing

    The First and Second Graders have finished up an unit of writing narratives. especially personal narratives, which  has been the focus of our writing time. They have completed two published narrative writings. One writing piece was about a Special Place and the other writing piece was about a Special Day. They were able to share their narratives with their 3rd and 4th grade Book Buddies.

     

    Social Studies

    During Social Studies, students have been working on the topic of how communities change over time based on their environment, especially in the areas of transportation, communication, schools, homes and jobs. They have learned how communities are formed because people have settled there based on the natural resources found there. They are currently studying how people in a community respond to a problem and the ways in which people solve this problem.

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  • September-October 2018

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 10/22/2018 9:00:00 AM

    The First and Second graders have easily learned the schedules and routines of our classroom. They have completed  assessments in Math and Literacy, and are now working in the "just right" place in these two academic areas. At the beginning of the school year, we had a classroom scavenger hunt to help students learn the location of important places within the classroom and what tasks or jobs they would do there. Ask your child about the Take a Break Station, the Number Corner calendars, the Supply Shelf, and the Classroom Library.

     

    Here is a summary of what the First and Second graders have been working on in the classroom:

     

    Math

    During Number Corner, first graders have been working on reading numbers on the ten frames and reading tally marks. They have also learned how to identify pennies and nickels and how to count a combination of these two coins. They have begun to work on learning that addition is adding two parts to get a total. During math group, the first graders have been learning to use geoboards, pattern blocks and unifix cubes. They are learning about addition using dominoes.  Meanwhile, second graders continue to work toward greater fluency in adding and subtracting facts to 20. They have learned how to recognize time in AM and PM time zones, identify odd or even numbers, and count by 10 to 100 on a number line. Second graders are also exploring addition and subtraction strategies. So far, they have learned about adding and subtracting 0, adding +1, +2, +3 and -1, -2, -3, doubles and neighbor numbers.

     

    Reading

    During Reader's Workshop, we have introduced different ways to be a reader and three ways to read a book: read the pictures, read the pictures and words, and read the words. Students are learning how to select "just right" books to read. The first and second graders are learning that the longer they read, the stronger the reader that they will become. They are learning what it looks like and what it sounds like when they are reading quietly to themselves.  The first and second graders have begun to read in small guided reading groups using Reader's Notebooks to check on their understanding of what they have read.

     

    Writing

    Writing narratives, especially personal narratives, has been the focus of our writing time.  Thus far, students have been brainstorming about special places they have visited. They will be choosing one special place to write about in detail. Our goal is to have this writing piece in a published format by parent conference time.

     

    Social Studies

    During Social Studies, students are working on the study of friendships.  They have learned that people build friendships and solve problems.  Some other key ideas that the first and second graders have learned by participating in activities with this unit are:

    • Friends have their own likes and interests.
    • Friends have similar likes and differences.
    • Friends show expected behaviors, not unexpected behaviors.
    • Friends show cooperation by working together.
    • Friends show assertion by standing up for themselves and others
    • Friends show responsibility by taking care of themselves and others.  
    • Friends show self-control by monitoring their actions.
    • Friends show empathy by understanding the feelings of others.
    • Friends know and can use conflict/ resolution strategies to solve disagreements.

    We are all looking forward to sharing more of our learning with parents during our Parent-Teacher conferences in early November. Watch for a notice about meeting times coming home in folders soon.

     

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  • June 2018

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 6/11/2018

    With the school year coming to an end, the first and second graders are finishing many projects in the classroom.

     

    They have been learning about the properties of sound and light as a part of their last science unit. They have explored how sounds travels (communication) and that light helps us determine whether objects are transparent, translucent, or opaque. They have experimented with lights and mirrors to study reflection, explored sound vibrations by making their own “ear drum,” and discovered how sound travels by making a paper cup phone. They have learned that every form of communication involves a transmitter, a receiver and a code. They are using this knowledge to plan, design and carry out the engineering task of building their own communication device using light and sound.

     

    During Reader’s Workshop, the first and second graders are finishing up biographies about Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. They are working on making character book reports to share information about these two great inventors.

     

    In Writer’s Workshop, students have been learning how to write a narrative piece. They have learned that they must use characters, setting, and temporal words (first, next, then, finally) to write a personal narrative. The final writing activity will be writing a memoir for an adult they have interviewed at home or at school.

     

    During our math block, the first graders have been working on reading and counting numbers to 120 on the number line. They have been practicing counting forward and backward by 1s, 5s and 10s from a variety of starting points. The second graders have been working on estimating and measuring the lengths of objects in centimeters. They have been exploring how to divide objects in 1⁄2, 1⁄3, and 1⁄4. The second graders have been developing their addition and subtraction strategies as they have been solving 3-digit number story problems.

     

    I would like to end this newsletter by congratulating our departing 2nd graders — Teagan, Maggie, Libby, Mary, Colvin, Jorgen, and Wesley — as they leave the Primary Unit and enter the Intermediate Unit in the fall as 3rd graders.

    We are all looking forward to a restful and fun summer!

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  • April 2018

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 4/9/2018

    The past several weeks have flown by in our classroom! The first and second graders have been working on our latest theme, How We Express Ourselves, through narrative writing and with study and practice of Capoeira during our artist in residency program.

     

    Writing: The first and second graders are working on fictional and personal narratives. They have explored how to write a fictional narrative to include characters, a setting, a problem, a solution, a beginning, a middle, and an ending. They just published a fictional narrative about their playdate with a character that is a rainbow. They shared their Rainbow narratives with their 3rd and 4th grade Reading Buddies. The first and second graders are now working on personal narratives which means they are writing about “one small moment” in their life. They will be publishing their narratives using a scrapbook format.

     

    Reading: During Reader’s Workshop, first and second graders have begun to study biographies. They have been reading about famous people who have worked with and made major contributions to the fields of light and sound. The first graders are reading about Garrett Morgan, who invented the traffic signal. Second graders are reading about a lighthouse keeper named Abbie Burgess. They will go on to read biographies about Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison.

     

    Math: During Number Corner, first graders are learning about symmetry of shapes. They also have been practicing their measuring skills to compare long, longer, and longest. They have also been learning how to find numbers on the 120 number chart. During Math Group time, first graders have been working on Story Problems using visual models to show their thinking. They have been reviewing addition and subtraction strategies for facts to 20. Meanwhile, second graders are learning how to read and create a line plot graph. Second graders have learned how to find the area of paper rectangles by covering them with tiles. They continue to develop proficiency with addition facts to 20 and the related subtraction facts. During Math Group time, second graders have worked on representing and counting to the number 1,000. They have developed their place value understanding as they create and count bundles of 10 and 100 using a variety of manipulatives. They have practiced counting combinations of coins with a total value of a dollar.

     

    Theme: In Social Studies, students have learned about the continent of South America and the country of Brazil. They learned about the landforms and common animals found in Brazil. The first and second graders wanted to gain background knowledge of the country where Capoeira originated. The first and second graders have participated in an investigation to learn about concepts of light. They have explored what items are transparent, translucent, and opaque. They have learned about man-made and natural lights, as well as the cause and movement of outdoor shadows. In coming weeks we will explore several key concepts of sound and waves.

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  • February 2018

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 2/19/2018

    Hard-working first and second graders continue to learn new skills and concepts in our classroom.

     

    Math

    During Number Corner, first graders have been working on solving equations and story problems with a missing number. Students learned how the known numbers in a number tree help them recognize the missing part. They also have been working with dimes and pennies and practicing counting a collection of coins and finding the total amount of money in that collection. During math group time, the first graders have reviewed doubles facts and have been introduced to doubles plus and minus one facts. They have also been working on learning the “difference model” of subtraction. During Number Corner, second graders have been working with picture or bar graphs. They have been reading and analyzing graphs and answering questions about the data on the graph. They continue to work with arrays to strengthen their knowledge of “reading” the rows and columns. During math group time, second graders continue to add on a number line by making jumps of 10s and hops of 1s. They have also learned how to use “skip-jumps” of 1, 5, and 10 to reach a given target on the number line. Second graders have been working with the splitting strategy where they first add the 10s then the 1s and then adding the 10s and 1s to get the total.

     

    Reading

    During Reader's Workshop, first graders have been reading Henry and Mudge and the Sparkle Days. They are learning how to identify and name the characters, settings, and key parts of the story. They continue to read nonfiction articles as well, including Real Snowy Day and Martin Luther King Jr. They worked on remembering key details about the articles and finding details that support the main idea of the article. Second graders have been reading fiction books titled Freckle Juice and Chocolate Fever. They are learning how to understand important details in a story and how characters act when things happen in a story. Second graders are reading the nonfiction articles, Predators on Ice and A Hero’s Story. They have worked on identifying the main idea and supporting details of a text. They have also worked on answering questions to show their understanding of what they have read. They continue to read in small, guided reading groups, and they are using Reader’s Notebooks to show their thinking.

     

    Writing

    The first and second graders have been working on opinion writing. They have been using the persuasive letter-writing format as a way to develop and share their opinion and reasons. Their first writing project was to pick a favorite activity and write a letter to a classmate to persuade that classmate to try this activity. The second writing project was to pick something that needed to be changed in our classroom (for example, caps being left off of markers or a messy coat area) and writing a letter to inspire this change in our classroom.

     

    Social Studies

    Recently students have been studying Martin Luther King, Jr. using the Learner Profile Attributes of being a risk-taker, a caring person, a thinker, and a communicator, and making a connection of how Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated these attributes in his life.

     

    Science

    Students have been conducting science investigations to learn about cycles and patterns in the natural world, especially in the sky. They made models of the sun, moon, and Earth, and reported on important characteristics and facts. They worked as partners to diagram and explain the phases of the moon. They also explored why we can only see stars at night and if stars create a pattern across the sky.

    I hope you have an enjoyable vacation with family and friends.

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  • December 2017

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 12/18/2017

    Math

    During Number Corner, first graders have been working on reading and writing the fractions of halves and fourths. They learned how to tell time by the hour as well as the meaning of a.m. and p.m. They were introduced to the addition equations called doubles. During math group time, first graders have become familiar with using the number rack to make combinations of 10. They are now exploring addition combinations that make the sums of 7, 8, 9 and 10.

     

    Meanwhile, in Number Corner, second graders learned how to tell time by the hour, half hour and quarter hour. Second grade students continue to work on understanding that an array is made up of rows and columns. During math group time, second graders have focusing on measuring lengths and how to find the difference between two different lengths. They have moved on to measuring in units of 5 and 10. These activities have helped the second graders to begin some number line work.

     

    Reading

    During Reader's Workshop, the first and second graders continue to read in small, guided reading groups using Reader's Notebooks. The second graders have been reading the book Lily and Miss Liberty, a book that supports our immigration unit of study. They have worked on vocabulary words from each chapter. In their Reader’s notebook, they have been answering Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions, by answering in complete sentences. First graders have been reading a variety of texts around the theme of healthy eating and community workers. They continue to practice answering questions to show their understanding of what they have read.

     

    Writing

    Writing reports has been the focus of our writing time. The first and second graders are writing report about a community helper. They have just finished taking notes and they are currently writing a rough draft about a community helper.

     

    Social Studies

    During Social Studies, students are working on the topic of how lights are an important part of many of the world’s celebrations, especially at this time of year. They have learned about many light celebrations such as Hanukkah, Diwali, Ramadan, Chinese Festival of Lights, Christmas, and St. Lucia Day. Science Our current science study focuses on an exploration of light. We brainstormed to come up with ideas about different sources of light. Students identified that light can be natural (as in the sun, moon, or stars) or man-made (like the light that is generated from electricity or batteries). We discussed how light affects our ability to see objects and how shadows are made. Students made posters to illustrate their learning around these concepts.

     

    Finally, as we move through the month of December, the whole school is looking for opportunities to show how we care for others. The first and second graders will be writing letters and sending cards to children at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

     

    In the students’ words:

    “We are writing cards to kids in a children’s hospital.” ~ Mary L.

    “They might be in the hospital for a long time if they have a problem with their bodies.” ~Maggie and Libby

    “Some kids have to be in the hospital and might not get to see their family for Christmas.” ~Emerson

    “They might feel sad. The cards will cheer them up and give them Christmas spirit.” ~Lydia and Teagan

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  • October 2017

    Posted by Wendy Leeds on 10/16/2017

    The first and second graders have easily learned the schedules and routines of our classroom. They have completed assessments in Math and Literacy and are now working in the "just right" place in these two academic areas.

     

    This year, at the beginning of school, a group of students learned about important places in our classroom, such as the classroom library, supply shelf, take a break station, and number corner and then became an "expert" and taught other groups about the importance of these special classroom areas.

     

    Math

    During Number Corner, first graders have been working on reading numbers on the ten frames and reading tally marks. They have also learned how to identify pennies and nickels and they have learned how to count a combination of these two coins. They have begun to work on learning that addition is adding two parts to get a total. During math group, the First graders have been learning to use geoboards, pattern blocks and unifix cubes. They are learning about addition using dominoes. Meanwhile, Second grade students continue to work toward greater fluency in adding and subtracting facts to 20. They have learned how to recognize time in a.m. and p.m. time zones, identifying odd or even numbers, and counting by 10 to 100 on a number line. Second graders are also exploring addition and subtraction strategies. So far, they have learned about adding and subtracting 0, adding +1, +2, +3 and -1, -2, -3, doubles and neighbor numbers.

     

    Reading

    During Reader's Workshop, we have introduced the concept of different ways to be a reader and three ways to read a book: read the pictures, read the pictures and words, and read the words. Students are learning how to select "just right" books to read. The first and second graders are learning that the longer they read, the stronger the reader that they will become. They are learning what it looks like and what it sounds like when they are reading quietly to themselves. The first and second graders have begun to read in small guided reading groups using Reader's Notebooks.

     

    Writing

    Writing narratives, especially personal narratives, has been the focus of our writing time. Thus far, students have written a report about their pets. They have just published a flip book which describes details about their pets. They are excited to share their flipbooks with their parents at conference time. Social Studies During Social Studies, students are working on the topic migration and journeys. of So far, we have explored how we are “citizens of the world”. We are studying 10 learner characteristics that will help us to become better citizens. We have worked on the characteristics of caring, being reflective, and being courageous. They will be learning that when immigrants come the United States they bring their cultures with them, which adds diversity to our lives.

     

    Science

    First and Second graders are learning about healthy choices and the connection between healthy choices and healthy bodies. They have discovered that they should be eating foods from different food groups such as dairy, breads & cereals, fruits, vegetables, and meats & beans. We enjoyed field trips to Sunshine Berry Farm to learn about different fruit choices, Elmer Farm to learn about different vegetable choices, and Champlain Valley Apiaries to learn how honey is made and can be used as a natural sweetener in our foods. These field trips would not be possible without support from FORS and our parent volunteers. Thank you!

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