Matter Mysteries

IMG_3109In first/second grade we have been learning all about matter and the different ways to categorize and describe matter by various properties.  In our first science mystery challenge, Why do we wear clothes?, students explored the different properties of materials used for clothing. They were told that they had landed on a deserted tropical island and were asked to select materials they needed to construct a hat that protects them from the sun.  In our second science mystery, Can you really fry an egg on a hot sidewalk?, students will consider the insulating and conducting properties of different materials.  They will test different materials to determine which material is best for making oven mitts.  We’ll share our results after we finish the experiment on Monday!

Posted in Science

Special Guests

IMG_3084First/second grade students had some special guests visit our classroom this afternoon to teach us sign language.  We learned the alphabet and how to say “How are you?” in sign.  We also learned how to sing a beautiful song about sunshine.  Thank you to our very special guests; please come back and teach us more soon!

Posted in Life in Second Grade


We used colored tiles to measure different sized rectangles.

In first/second grade math students are learning all about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.  Some of the big math words you might hear your child use in casual conversation now include angle, vertex, right angle, polygon (and row, column, array, and area by next week).  Yesterday, students worked with their thinking partner to develop rules for many different 2-dimensional shapes and sorted them accordingly.  This morning, students worked in groups to categorize 2D figures according to whether they had right angles.  After some very lively discussion and debate, students discovered that they could cover each angle with plastic colored tiles to determine if they were indeed perfect right angles.  This is such a mathematical class!

Posted in Math

Small Moments

IMG_3053During writing workshop, first/second grade students have spent the past several weeks turning small moments from their lives into very detailed personal narratives.  As a class we have talked about how to s-t-r-e-t-c-h one moment across several pages of writing with lots of details, interesting words and dialogue.  We are also working on rereading and editing our writing to make it even more interesting.  Students have amassed quite a collection of small moment pieces in their writing folders!

Posted in English Language Arts

Learning About Ourselves As Friends


The Weird Series by Erin Frankel

In first/second grade this week we continued our social studies unit-of-study by focusing on three different books written by one author; we read and discussed the Weird series by Erin Frankel.  The three books are important in that they not only focus on a single situation of bullying but that they also tell the story from three different perspectives: the bully, the bullied, and the person who sees the bullying but is reluctant to help.  As a class we read the three books and looked closely for clues in the texts, illustrations and dedications in the front of each book to better understand the author’s message.  We also wrote responses to our reading and used vocabulary we learned in the books, including bully, target and bystander.  We had lots of interesting conversations, including why the bully may have been symbolized by a heart and that there is always more than one perspective to any situation.

Posted in English Language Arts, Social Studies

Reading Workshop

After several weeks of discussion, practice and preparation, reading workshop is now officially underway in first/second grade!  Reading Workshop is composed of a 10-minute whole-class minilesson about a reading strategy, genre or text element followed by a variety of approaches to reading.  Our reading workshop schedule differs day by day and may include small, flexible reading groups with me, opportunities to read independently (with books or on the iPad), time to respond to reading in reader’s notebooks, and/or word study work.   It takes a lot of practice and coordination to get reading workshop going but it seems to quickly become many students’ favorite part of the day!

Posted in English Language Arts


Our first unit-of-study in first/second grade is “Taking Charge of Ourselves as Learners and Friends.”  As part of the unit, we shared the book Ish by Peter Reynolds this week.  In the story, the main character learns that the art she creates does not have to be perfect, just ish (as in flowerish, or oceanish, or self-portraitish).  We talked as a class about how we should be ish thinkers, mathematicians, writers, and readers before we ever become perfect (which no one ever will!).  We also talked about how in our classroom it is always better to try and maybe make a mistake than to never try.  Here are the students “Yet” poems, which address what they are already great at, what they are currently ish at, and what they can’t do, YET.

Posted in English Language Arts, Life in Second Grade