Mr. M's Weekly Bulletin

19 Sep 2016

What's new in Science?

We have shifted focus to "Insects & Plants" this quarter, so we will be ordering insect larva for our investigations. We start with mealworms. We will need some food for our "critters," specifically mulberry leaves next month if we are to have some awesome caterpillars and butterflies. If you all know of a source for mulberry leaves in our local area, please contact me at the school, using the form at the bottom of page (please note this route is not secure) or by Thank you.

What's new in English/Language Arts?

The first part of the school year we focused on regaining skills we mastered last year in first grade, so it did appear that we were moving slowly. We tried to read through the book "Island of the Blue Dolphins" to develop skill in listening comprehension and discussing stories and characters, but the students weren't all interested in the story. I'll be switching to another story book; I've been looking at one about the American Revolution. We are looking for an example of historical fiction, so we can cover a Social Studies standard that relates to this genre of fiction. Ask your students if they can explain what "genre" means to you? This will be a recurring term for us throughout the year.

Also, we had our first spelling test, which turned out to be very easy for the students. We'll focus on more challenging spelling words by working with the website; I'll post my specific web page on that site on Monday, so the students can practice the spelling words through games, such as hangman.

We also will have writing journals that the students will practice the Writer's Workshop methods of creating content. Please note that the first two steps do not involve correcting spelling. We had some challenges getting the students to write down their ideas without getting hung up on spelling.

What's new in Math?

Folks, we are doing very well in math. The math coming home is easy for them, but we will be accelerating the pace starting this week. The ExcelMath series uses a spiral approach that touches on a concept, looks at other concepts, then comes back to go more in depth into the original concept. It brings in repetition without making the tasks repetitive and boring; these students can get bored very quickly.

We also do Math Races and challenges to gauge understanding through applying concepts learned in a challenging environment where there isn't a grade involved, yet.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions and concerns about the curriculum. Also, we will be starting tutoring this week on Tuesdays. If I spot students who can benefit from tutoring, I will e-mail the parent directly to request the student attend tutoring. Tutoring isn't limited to math but can include all content areas.

What's new in Social Studies?

We are studying communities as part of Social Studies. We will be setting up a diorama of students' neighborhoods as a class project. I hope to use lego bricks to set up the diorama because they are easy to set up and store, but it's difficult to find a cheap source of lego minifigures to represent the students along with the bricks. 25 mini figures can add up quick. I've been directed to check out the the website among other options. If you have a suggestion, please contact me at, at the school, or using the form below (please note that this route is not secure).

What else are we doing?

Robotics Club has arrived!

All students signed up for the club have met with Mr. Baker and me last week. If we can get permission from the principals, we can look at starting up another session of the club in mid-January. Those 2nd and 3rd grade students in the club will go to mid-January. Another group of 2nd and 3rd grade students would start right after. Again, I am looking at the process for the website to get us another Lego mindstorms robot for the club. If you know of a better way to get us one, please contact me at Thank you.

Mr. McClafferty

2nd grade teacher at Coral Academy of Sciences Las Vegas - Nellis branch