Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mindfulness in the Classroom

Your child may have come home recently and talked to you about mindfulness or turning on their "mindful body", and left you wondering what they were talking about.  Our class (along with five other classes at our school) is currently participating in an eight-week mindfulness curriculum.  Ms. Sarah (H.) comes into our classroom for 15 minutes, twice a week, and teaches us about tuning in to our breathing, and being mindful of how our bodies feel.  Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, and pausing before impulsively reacting to a situation.  In second grade, we discuss turning on our "mindful bodies" or sitting quietly and still to calm down or relax.  We have discussed ways to pay attention to our breathing to calm down or help fall asleep.  We will be discussing how to pause and think about how we feel before we react to a stimulus (such as a friend pushing into you while leaving the classroom).  At the end of each 15 minute session, the students are left with a couple journal questions to connect what we are learning to their own experiences.  If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness please visit Mindful Schools or check out a sample lesson.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Fun

The Second Grade class has had a lot of fun things going on lately.  We are wrapping up the third chapter in math, and will be taking our test later this week.  The students have been reviewing addition and subtraction strategies learned in First Grade to prepare for 2-digit addition and subtraction with regrouping.  Ask your child what doubles facts are, or how they can make a ten when adding or subtracting to make mental math easier.  You can help your child be successful in these upcoming units in math by practicing addition and subtraction facts at home.  Daily practice on IXL will also help reinforce concepts that we are learning in class.

In writing, we have been working on Autumn poems.  We brainstormed lists of things that are Fall colors, and used descriptive language to write beautiful poems that capture the colors of the season.  We mounted these poems with leaf pictures that we worked on with Ms. Catherine, and had the opportunity to share our poems with the Sixth Grade class.  These poems will be on display at Dead Horse State Park for an upcoming art show featuring student artwork from the Charter School.

Since my last blog post, we have had a field trip to Dead Horse, and in-class visits from Ranger Jordan and Ranger Miriam.  Ranger Jordan taught the class how to identify scat and tracks, helped us create field guides (along with Ms. Catherine's help), and showed us how to use our field guides on a hike up at Dead Horse.  Ranger Miriam introduced the three types of rocks to the class, and provided a wonderful introduction to our geology unit.  Please remind your child to bring in 5-10 rocks this week for science.

Who Pooped on the Colorado Plateau?

Looking for scat and tracks along the trail. 

Learning about igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. 

Sharing our Autumn poems with the 6th graders.

A visit from Jack Jackson, the guinea pig.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Field Trips and Other Fun Stuff

These last couple weeks have been very busy in Second Grade.  We had our first in-class visit from Ranger Jordan, and went on our first field trip to the Youth Garden.  There is a lot going on this upcoming week, as well.  Please join us for the Back-to-School BBQ on Tuesday, October 1st, at 6 pm.  The school will provide the hotdogs and hamburgers, but our class has been asked to bring side salads/dishes (think pasta salad, quinoa, hummus, etc.).  The Second Grade class will be going on two field trips this week, and will be in need of chaperones for Thursday and Friday.  If you would like to accompany us to Dead Horse State Park (10/3) or Balanced Rock (10/4), please let me know.  The more, the merrier!

Ranger Jordan teaching us about looking for wildlife in the park 

Learning about soil at the Youth Garden 

Tasting some delicious lettuce 

Are there any eggs today?

Thank you to all the parents who met with me for Parent-Teacher Conferences, and a big thanks to all of our classroom volunteers and chaperones.  We are off to a great start!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chapter 1 Math Test

Tomorrow is our first chapter test in math.  Students have been learning about describing 2-digit numbers in various ways, displaying even numbers as two equal groups and writing corresponding addition problems (18 = 9 + 9), skip counting by fives, tens and hundreds, and showing 2-digit numbers as different combinations of tens and ones (52 is the same as 5 tens and 2 ones, 4 tens and 12 ones, 3 tens and 22 ones, etc.).  Please look over your child's review sheet completed in class today, and go over any problems with them that they missed or still had a question about.  Thank you for all you do to help your child!

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Week

We have had a great first, full week back at school.  We have started our first math and science units, and are building stamina with the Daily 5 (more on that in a minute).  This year we are very lucky to have Music AND Art two days a week, P.E. once a week, Spanish with Ms. Melissa once a week, and Dance with Ms. Carrie Ann every other week.  Today we had our first assembly at HMK.  Ask your child about the Native American musicians we saw, or if you would like to see them live, check out The Wisdom of the Earth performance on Sunday, September 1st.  I was very impressed with the performers, but even more impressed with how great of an audience this class was.

In math we are beginning to discuss place value and number concepts.  This chapter is the foundation of everything we will be doing this year.  Students are representing/describing numbers in various ways including the number of tens and ones, the value of each digit or expanded form (56 is the same thing as 50 + 6), drawing quick pictures, and using base-ten blocks to model.  We reviewed ways to figure out if a number is odd or even, and are reviewing skip counting to 100.  We are using the GO MATH! curriculum which is aligned to the Common Core Standards.  In addition to the text, I use a lot of math games and hands-on activities to reinforce concepts.

After asking your child how their day went, you may be left wondering what the Daily 5 is.  The Daily 5 are the five things that we do every day during our Language Arts block; Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work, and Work on Writing.  This is not a curriculum, but rather a framework that helps students to build the daily habits of reading and practicing literacy skills.  Right now we are building stamina with the various components of the Daily 5, but soon the class will be ready to be completely independent in these activities.  While I am leading reading groups, the students that I am not working with will be completing a session of the Daily 5.  Each day the students will rotate through working in a small group (or one-on-one) with me, and all of the components of the Daily 5.  For reading groups I will be using a variety of books including our Houghton Mifflin curriculum and sets of novels.  For Word Work the students will be doing Words Their Way spelling sorts and activities with word wall words.  For more information about the Daily 5 check out this site.

                               Drawing underwater scenes with Ms. Catherine.

                                       Practicing observation skills in science.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Welcome back to school and welcome to Ms. Liz's Second Grade Blog!  I would like to use this blog as a way to let parents peek into what we're doing in the classroom and on field trips.  The first few weeks of school are a busy, exciting time spent getting reacquainted with friends and learning all the routines of a new classroom.  I hope that everyone had a great summer and is excited for the year ahead!