Curiosity Crew!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 1/23/2021
LAST WEEK OF JAN. ALREADY??!!!
Welcome to another edition of The Amazing Adventures of Shoreham Second Grade. Your students are the "writers" of our days together: I may give them an introduction to 'the story' but your students 'design the day's plot' from there! Learning goals are posted on the white board for each part of the day in the form of student "I Can..." statements. Often student ideas, creations, and wonders take us down paths I did not anticipate...AND THIS IS TERRIFIC! But we do have to look at our goals and ASSESS if we achieved them, and then adapt them, rewrite them, or CHECK THEM OFF as done! Hopefully, this is modeling how to set, assess, and reflect on personal goals as well.
THAT SAID, those new paths we take sometimes get us in places I don't anitcipate. THE GREAT BEAN GRAB for our SAVING THE PLANET unit on Friday was one of those events. I try to finish each week with a provocation activity that is fun and gives kids something to think about over the weekend. This provocation was meant to model the inequal distribution of resources on our planet and what scarcity or inequality can make us feel and do. I could see lots of thinking and confusion about what this all meant and we discovered together that there are lots of feelings when our resources are not equally distributed. Also, there were LOTS of interesting actions from wanting to share with everyone, to wanting to share with friends, to thinking about how much to keep and how much to share,... to hoarding! It was the GAMUT of the human experience with finite resources...all with beans! But I don't think a lot of this was clear to the 2nd graders so we will continue with more time and discussion on THE GREAT BEAN GRAB on Monday. (I think it was fun, though!)
We did some review this week of our understandings on what we have learned this year on Earth and Sun. We will continue to have reminders on Earth and Sun details as we continue our march toward spring! In addition, a map went home this week (with an atlas) that I hope your student completed and has posted somewhere obvious at home for their study. In a review, it was clear students need more time with looking at our world on a map understanding compass directions, and recognizing continents and oceans. (We'll do much more with geography in the coming weeks.) Many came to school Thursday with LOTS of things to share that they found interesting in that atlas outside to the assignment; it was exciting to see the independent learning taking place!
You might have noticed in homework assignments this week that math and writing activities (not including spelling corrections) were obviously absent from the nightly expectations. I am trying to keep those subjects in class so I can more closely monitor student understanding, encourage more student questions on confusions, and support the individual needs of each child. I hope you have found the explicit HW instructions I am including useful; preparation as practice, modeling and extended instruction accompanies ALL work that goes home. Please continue to let me know of challenges your student encounters with HW...and PLEASE let me know if there are things they really loved and got involved in! I would like to send home learning activities that they ENJOY doing!
TODDLE: I know using the Toddle Learning Engagements (LEs) have been challenging for some. We have practiced accessing them in class and for the most part, all students have been able to get into the LEs. I appreciate your comments and empathize with your frustrations. I have felt the same way, but I keep working on it so I can get better at it and I hope your child can too. We ARE using Toddle in our school so it must be something your child begins to get used to. I have designed the LEs to be accessible to ALL - if some of the writing portion of the engagements feel like too much, then have your child JUST complete what they can; EVERYONE can watch the videos! We will ALWAYS discuss our learning from the LEs together so no one will be left out of the learning no matter what is or is not completed. It is, like all work sent home, very important your child try to do the work independently; the development of independence and confidence in their own capabilities is a huge focus this semester for us. (I have seen SO much growth here already!!)
NOTE: We will work on the Toddle document submission process on Mon. 1/25 together in class.
We now begin our second semester of learning together! I am typing in green to signify the tremendous growth I see in your children. I feel so fortunate to be given this opportunity - to witness and participate in the curiosity, growing confidence and skills of your children is quite remarkable- those great "A-HA" moments are what keep me grounded and open to the beauty of life around me and remind me of the wonderful potential of every day! I am GRATEFUL that you SHARE your children with me!
1/2 and 1/2Posted by Nancy Wollum on 1/18/2021
Time feels so odd these days! We left last week on Tuesday so we missed W-Th-F. Now this coming week with MLK and a day for Progress Reports, we are starting on Wed. missing M-T. It's almost like a week was just wiped out! We'll treat this coming week as the continuation of last week - the kids are just further along in their skills with a week of homework done that was sent home, time on Ms. Abby's Media Google Classroom, and hopefully some time on Saving the Planet on Toddle.
TODDLE: Per parent requests, I am trying to move much of the information from Google Classroom to TODDLE. All website links we use frequently are now in the Folders column on the left of your page with easy access links. IXL Action last week was impressive! IXL is a terrific practice opportunity with skills we have already learned; it is REALLY beneficial for your student in solidifying their skills and practicing using technology independently.
SAVING THE PLANET: We are struggling to get started on this unit with all the time with testing and this recent lost week. I hope your student has been able to access and work on the SAVING THE PLANET learning experiences (there are two) so we can jump right in this week.
SPELLING: We will continue this week using the packet sent home with review word-work skills and trickwords. Please continue to review! Many of the dictations are from our FUNDATIONS program but some I create to assess a combination of skills. EXAMPLE: the word 'Ownership'. This probably seemed like a crazy word for 2nd grade spelling but this word covers a lot of assessible ground: 'OWN' is a trick work, -ER and -SHIP are suffixes your student should know. Putting these all together in one word shows me a lot about how your student breaks apart works for reading and writing.
ZOOM was VERY successful last week; I'm not sure of the success you had with whole class meetings in 1st grade, but I am very impressed that 90% of our class attended at least one ZOOM. Our remote learning skills are growing by leaps and bounds!
See You Wed. - Please remind your student to make sure ALL materials are in their backpacks on TUESDAY NIGHT: homework papers (math, spelling corrections, and Aesop's Fable reading response) and a charged laptop.
MANY THANKS!! ;-)
SUCH growth!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 1/9/2021
Hello ALL! Your students have returned ready to go! There doesn't seem to be any loss of learning from the winter break...maybe a little loss of motivation at the beginning of the week and incredible increase in physical energy throughout the week. We had lots of outside time to mitigate those changes and some quieter entry activities every day. READING skills have really begun to move! It is very exciting to move children to new guided reading groups this coming week, some moving 3-5 full levels since Sept.! REMINDER about reading: daily/nightly practice is CRITICAL to growth. 30 minutes of reading nightly is where we will see the most growth but ANY time reading is going to contribute to growth. PRACTICE IS ESSENTIAL! In Math, we are working with story problems to identify equations and various strategies for solutions. Friday, your student should have brought home some work evidence on this - ask them to explain what it all means. As I mentioned in last week's post, class participation is more and more essential as we are learning new skills; it requires serious focus and some risk-taking to try new skills. Your help in reminding your student that "personal effort and attention to the lesson are essential to learning" is MUCH appreciated. Our previous IB unit packet of evidence came home this weekend as well; this was 6 weeks of learning and I hope you can spend some time with your student reviewing their experience. Hopefully they will express the same excitement most of them expressed to me about the unit. Please note their personal reflection - I was very impressed with the time and energy most students put into their self evaluation. This week we gently move into our new unit SAVING THE PLANET which is all about investigating how and why we need to share our planet's finite resources. I use the word 'gently' because much of this coming week is about mid-year assessments and screenings so time will be limited for a 'deep dive' into the unit.
REMINDER ABOUT HOMEWORK: I am working hard to respond and react to your comments about homework (THANK YOU for your thoughts!) I hope you are noticing a more organized homework assignment page with limited time on the practice. Students are encouraged to get started on homework during independent work time in class so some students may be coming home with more/less HW than others due to his/her individual classtime productivity...many more students are completing homework in class now; this is exciting evidence of their growth in self managment skills! Many of you have requested that incomplete/late work come home. I am doing that but please remember that the HOMEWORK due for the next day, is JUST the homework listed for that night. The incomplete work is available to your student to complete (and would be to their benefit to do so!), but is not required unless there is a special note about it to you.
Please keep those notes coming, team, so I know how things are going and how I can further help your student!
Happy New Year 2021!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 12/29/2020
Happy New Year Everyone!
Best Wishes for a healthy and wonder-filled new year!
Before we kick 2020 out the door, I wanted to share some of our final activities of the year in our classroom. The weather allowed us to have some really pleasant time outdoors. Mr. Lenox took us tracking in the woods and we found LOTS of track evidence of animal activity...some even found spiders in the snow!
We celebrated the winter solstice with atraditional solstice activity: a mini "bon-fire" and with original solstice activity: writing our private wishes for enlightment and for the world and throwing those notes on the fire to send out to the world.
We continued with our ENLIGHTENMENT theme this month with crafts that included a candle and a star mobile (I hope these came home in one piece!). We learned about Light Celebrations in different cultures around the world - Divali, Kwanzza, Hannuka, Christmas -I hope your student shared their reflective art on these celebrations.
As we enter 2021 together - in less than a week, you will see some changes in our activities. Our new IB unit is SHARING THE PLANET with an emphasis on SHARING. The transdisciplinary theme: Rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things.
Our Word Work homework will look alittle different in January: it will have a spelling focus. We have learned a LOT about digraphs, letter blends, and diphthongs; working on the spelling in these phonetic families will help us with our reading fluency. Word family spelling lists will come home as well as the TRICK WORD (sight words) spelling list. In a two week cycle, week one will have daily spelling quizzes from a sampling of the study list, and week two will have daily dictation quizzes with samplings from the current word study, the spelling list theme, and trick words. ALL this to say, spelling practice will become a regular HW activity beginning in Jan.
Students will begin working on daily prompts in Google Classroom to practice keyboard awareness and typing skills, to work on creating complete sentences, and develop stronger independent editing of our writing for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
Of course, we all know Jan. brings reflection for growth, more practice time with our new thinking skills developed in the last 3 months and more independent application of our classroom expectations. Class participation will become a much more integral and essential part of our daily learning. Jan. also means mid-year assessments, screenings, and progress reports so we are entering a different kind of busy this month. The homework planner will continue with space for your comments; I really appreciated comments from those of you that shared any daily successes and questions about homework. Please continue to communicate with even the smallest concern or suggestion (or THRILL...) that occurs to you and we can consider adaptations (or celebrations!) together.
Week 14 - Festive FeverPosted by Nancy Wollum on 12/12/2020
The energy level is high as the holidays approach so we have been weaving some festive activities into our days to decompress a bit.
SYMME-TREES were a big hit and I hope you are enjoying your child's hard work. They really spent THOUGHTFUL time with them and each tree is an example of individual creativity and devotion to the craft. It is also MATH!! In using these ISOSCELES triangles, we explored the connection between art and math with symmetry.
We read A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens (children's version) and each child creatively recreated the key events in illustrated panels; those should be home too...please help them retell the story for you with their work. We are using the word "enlightened" in our reflections and several kids did an amazing - and moving - job sharing the lesson from this book that enlightened them.
I briefly introduced our solar system to your kids to lead into the big event in the sky beginning now and culminating Dec. 21: the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Maybe we can get a cloudless evening soon so we can actually see the southwestern sky and this once in a lifetime (last time was 800 years ago!) event! The kids have a chart to sketch what they see and we practiced "finger-measuring" objects in the sky from the horizon. If this is something your child enjoys, I encourage you to continue exploring the sky with the NASA website and click on "Where is the Space Station?" We might be able to see it 'shooting' across the sky here in Vermont at some point.
Academically, we started something new with our word work. I noticed with spelling lists students might be able to write/read a word accurately after studying it but could not apply writing/reading that word in context. Since Thanksgiving break, we have been reviewing the phonetic patterns we have learned since Sept. Students no longer have spelling lists; instead, they have daily work with phonetic patterns and sight words. Instead of having THREE (exhausting!) dictation sentences AND a spelling test on Fridays, we now have daily review of 2-3 spelling patterns and then apply those to a dictation sentence EVERY day. I think it's a more realistic way of assessing spelling application and reading/decoding awareness. I hope you have been seeing these sentences coming home; I have encouraged students to STUDY their own errors so this activity is more tailored to individual spelling/reading needs. Let me know what you think about this new activity! Your kids are really adapting well to it and learning that attention to the review/preview before the assessment is CRITICAL.
BEST WISHES on staying healthy - rules/actions seem to change every day but it shows me our school/district/state is determined to try to keep everyone healthy and our kids in school. I am so grateful for that: special gratitude to Ms. McDonough!!! I hope you can share your gratitude for her with her - your kind words can make a huge difference in this overwhelming work she is doing.
Week 13 - We Return...with energy!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 12/6/2020
Hello Families of Shoreham Second Graders!
We are so glad to be back in school after our lovely restful, healthy and safe Thanksgiving Break. Thank you for all the familial sacrifices you have had to make to help us all stay well and be in school! Our return came with LOTS of energy and some interesting new behaviors so we have gotten back to practicing our core routines for safety and kindness:
1) masks at all times unless eating and when we are eating without masks, we can not be socializing. (I do a read aloud at lunch to make this a little easier.)
2) Distancing - especially in our classroom in some of our tighter spaces (including cubby spaces) and keeping our hands to ourselves.
3)Remembering to respect others' learning time. If you are needing a break from your work, you have a choice to sit and rest if you need to, but it is not a time to disrupt your classmates' learning. We do not have the right to take learning time away from others.
4)Kindly sharing our toilet facilities: limiting time in the bathroom and keeping it clean.
We are experimenting with motivators to help us with following directions and completing our homework. An extra recess in the morning is a positive consequence of completing homework. We are also earning 'bee' cards for every time we are following directions the FIRST TIME and being actively engaged in our work time. 5 Bee cards = extra free time outdoors.
There has been so much progress in 13 weeks! Many of us are able to be fully productive in a 20-25 minute work time in class! Writing skills (including spelling) and completing our writing assignments are much improved and everyone is showing significant growth in their reading skills.
We will be celebrating the upcoming holidays all this month. This week we learned about The Nutcracker -we watched a bit of the ballet, listened to the story and some of the music, and then responded to this audio event with a short reflection. I hope you have been able to enjoy your student's reflection at home! In the coming weeks, we will focus on how LIGHT is a common theme in celebrations all over the world and create some light inspired art and crafts to bring home.
As Always, I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions, ANY time. A Zoom Conference is always an option at your request and convenience.
Week 10 - Moving Forward!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 11/15/2020
What a beautiful, unusual start to Nov. in Vermont! And we took advantage of it! Our e A R T h day was a huge success. We learned so much about working together and creatively problem solving. We learned about ITERATIONS of thinking and creating and that maybe, just maybe, the first time around is NOT the best iteration! Hopefully, this will be something we can continue to apply to our work in the classroom: speed is not the goal, editing our work will always make it better!
Math this week continues with addition and subtraction strategies (working on efficient strategies beyond counting by ones on fingers) and working with place value into the hundreds...all using 'iterations' of the Jack in the Beanstalk story! Reading development continues with practicing sounds from glued and blended letters, digraphs and diphthongs. We have also started adding suffixes and exploring some of the Greek roots in our words that come up in our reading (mono-, -arch/y, spec-, lit- to name a few). Writing this week was introducing the expository, basic 5-sentence paragraph...with some amazing results from these kids that are really growing in their writing confidence! Our IB unit - WWAIPAT - has moved to migrations; we continue to look at the connections between resources (or lack of) and migration.
THANK YOU for some really productive conference conversations. I hope these will continue. I will be making changes to homework that I hope you will find address some of the thoughts you shared with me. If not, or if the changes are not working for you, PLEASE contact me (email is best) and we'll keep working on this together.
Week 9 - photos/conferencesPosted by Nancy Wollum on 11/6/2020
When I reflect on the quarter we have finished, I am amazed at the progress the children have made: understanding of class routines and expectations, level of production and appreciation of each other!
This last week we had several outdoor classes in the tent: *In word study, we worked with suffixes, continued with vowel digraphs (vowel pairs with single stronger vowel sound) and began with dipthongs (vowel pairs that make new sounds). We are continuing to use syllabication to improve our reading and writing. *In math, we are using the Jack in the Beanstalk story as a base for learning more about place value, measuring, and perimeter. *Our writing prompt this week centered around using First Person Point Of View and beginning work with adjectives and adverbs. *We continue with our new unit WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE AND TIME in the understanding and deep thinking about natural and renewable resources: what living things need and what happens when we do not have what we need in our place and time.
The first round of conferences are completed and I just want to express a HUGE THANK YOU to all I have spoken with: your appreciations and kind words, your candor, your ideas and suggestions for your child will all be part of adaptions to improving our classroom and team work.
ENJOY THE PICTURES OF YOUR AMAZING LEARNERS:
Our class of INDIVIDUALS; looks like they are swimming up stream! ;>
Our INDIVIDUAL mask art for Halloween!
After a stimulating discussion about earth, maps/globes, and continents; Cylas gives his rendition of Earth in space: a spectacular demonstration of new learning!
WEEK 8 - end of first quarter!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 10/31/2020
Welcome to the Second Quarter- the time when our 'brilliant' students light up the darkest time of the year!
Our 'Five Little Pumpkins' video is the perfect conclusion to the first quarter of our little community working together to produce something VERY special! Special thanks to Ms. Abby for her technology talents. (click below...)
I am looking forward to conferences this week. We have begun new guided reading groups that include Ms. Bashaw and Ms. Foley for super-power support! AND... our WIN (What I Need) time has been rescheduled so some of us can spend more time with Ms. Bashaw and Ms. Foley: we are really working on building those reading skills at school. HOW CAN YOU HELP? Prioritize reading practice at home!
Maestra Koretz has shared a Day of the Dead Spanish/English book to help you and your child experience this very important cultural holiday in many parts of the world (Nov.2)
REMINDER #1: days are becoming colder but that does NOT stop us from being outside (keeps us healthier!) Please be sure your child comes to school with clothing that will help him/her be comfortable outdoors.
REMINDER #1: MATH BOXES (and ALL the parts) should now be at school. I do not have extra parts to share (health guidelines) so your child misses important hands on learning if his/ her tools are not in school.
Week 7 - End of Oct. already!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 10/24/2020
So very hard to believe we will be reaching the end of our first quarter. I asked your students if they felt they were already 1/4 done with 2nd grade, (and after a short visual description of what 1/4 looks like), they were shocked. We talked about how much growth I have seen in just the short time we have been in school and, with personal effort and active participation, that it is only going to grow more...and by leaps and bounds. In math, Unit two begins with counting and grouping in place values, using an open number line to add double digit numbers. Perhaps your students have shown you their own discoveries of arrays and the connection to multiplication! We have started our weekly prompt response writing. Each Monday a new prompt will be introduced, and students will select the level of writing activity they believe they are ready for; there will be a week of writing with a due date on Friday. Our first write this week came home if it was incomplete on Thursday. Starting this week, it will not come home; it is simply due on Friday in whatever degree of completion it is. Working toward a due date will be part of the learning in this activity. We are starting our new IB unit: WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE AND TIME. Students will be exploring why anyone lives where they do, why we are where we are, and how and where our planet supports human beings. Migration and earth's resources are important basic topics in this unit. Covid cannot dampen a child's energy and excitement around Halloween! We are preparing a Halloween poem performance that will be filmed (THANK YOU, Ms. Abby!) and shared with Kindergarten students on Friday. Students are encouraged to bring costumes to school on Monday so they can dress up for the filming!
Dee working with "24" array model.
Fun Puppets from Art Class.