News from Room 3

September 14, 2014


We have spent the first few weeks of school introducing routines and expectations for Daily 4 in the classroom. To introduce read-to-self, we spent time reviewing three ways to read a book, which include reading the pictures, reading the words, and retelling a story. Students worked hard to build their reading stamina each day during read-to-self time, as we aimed to read for 20 minutes or more.

We have spent a lot of time discussing how to pick a good-fit book from the library. To help teach students how to select an appropriate book, we introduced the I-PICK poster.

I PICK Good-Fit Books

I - I select a book

P- Purpose (Why might I want to read it?)

I- Interest (What type of books/genres do I like? Does it interest me?)

C- Comprehend (Do I understand what I am reading?)

K- Know most of the words (Do I know most of the words on the page?)

We have spent time reviewing the I-PICK poster to guide students as they pick out books for their book boxes. When students select a book, they should look it over, inside and out. They should think of their purpose for choosing a book: to learn something, to be entertained, to build our schema, and so on. They should also think about their interests, as they need to be interested in what they are reading. To teach the last two steps of the I-PICK poster, we have students read the first page of a book. In order to be a good-fit book, students should know most of the words. We teach students that if they do not know 3 or more words on the first page, it is not a good fit. We really want students selecting books to read with 99% accuracy, as this highly successful accuracy rate leads to greater fluency and greater comprehension. After reading the first page, students should answer the comprehension question "Who did I just read about and what just happened?" as a way to check if they understand what they are reading.

I encourage students to select a wide range of books for their book boxes, including picture books, chapter books, biographies, and nonfiction books to expand their reading interests and knowledge. Have your child tell you how to pick out a good-fit book using the steps from the poster, and model how to do the steps with a book at home. We will continue to work on selecting good-fit books with the I-PICK poster in school, and I encourage you to check in regularly with your child about their books they are reading at home.

Additionally, we have introduced work-on-writing time as part of Daily 4. Students have practiced writing lists, poems, recipes, stories, and letters. Students have choice in what they write about and have worked hard to increase their writing stamina each day.

This past week, we focused on the skill of identifying characters and setting in a story, and practiced retelling a story using details. We focused on the following vocabulary words for the week: tomorrow, different, groan, excited, carefully, and whisper. We created actions for each word to help reinforce the meaning. Ask your child to show you the actions and tell you the meaning of each word.

Our Word Wall Words we are focusing on include: because, than, too, what, said, again, their, house, who, and when.


We are wrapping up Unit 1 in math this week. Unit 1 has focused on the following key topics:

  • Number Lines
  • Coins
  • Number Grids and Number Scrolls
  • Quick Looks Routine
  • Equivalent Names for Numbers
  • Combinations of 10
  • Even and Odd Number Patterns
  • Comparing Numbers Using <, >, and =

We have spent time reviewing patterns in the number grid, and have focused on what happens when we move up and down and right and left on the number grid. Additionally, we have reviewed nickels, dimes, and quarters, and have practiced skip counting by 5s, 10s, and 25s and adding combinations of coins.

We introduced combinations of 10 as two numbers that add to ten. Students learned how to play "Fishing for Ten" to practice identifying combinations of 10 and build fact fluency. Later in second grade, children will build on their knowledge of combinations of 10 to develop mental strategies for solving addition facts.

One of the big mathematical ideas that second grade children explore is how any number can be named in a variety of ways. For example, 4 + 6 and 15 - 5 are equivalent names for 10. Children practiced creating equivalent names for numbers by solving broken-calculator problems.

We will wrap up Unit 1 with a review of is less than, is greater than, or is equal to. We will review the <, >, and = symbols and students will use the symbols to compare numbers and money amounts.

Unit 2 will focus on the following key topics:

  • Place Value
  • Number Stories
  • Helper Facts
  • The Commutative Property of Addition
  • Even and Odd Numbers
  • Equivalent Names for Numbers
  • Frames and Arrows

Writer's Workshop

We have spent the first few weeks of school launching Writer's Workshop in the classroom. Our first unit of study will be personal narrative. We have been reading a variety of mentor text picture books that are personal narratives. We have discussed that personal narratives are memories, happened in the past, use the words "I, me, we", and is about yourself. We will continue to add to our list of "noticings" about personal narratives as we read more mentor texts this week.

Students have spent time writing about some personal narrative prompts to begin to think of ideas for the unit. Last week, students wrote about a time they were brave, the first day of school, a time they broke the rules, and a time they were either happy or disappointed/had their feelings hurt. We introduced the editing checklist, and reviewed the symbols to use when editing with green pens. We will practice editing our writing this week and learn about revising.

A Few Reminders

  • Please review your child's homework each night.
  • Please sign the homework sheet AND behavior sheet each night to help reinforce behavior expectations.
  • As the weather changes, be sure to send your child to school prepared with a jacket, sweatshirt, gloves, or a hat for the chilly mornings, as they have gym at 9:55.
  • Please send your child to school with a healthy snack each day.

Specials Schedule:

Monday- Art

Tuesday- Library

Wednesday- None

Thursday- Drama

Friday- Music

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 25: No School

Tuesday, October 21: Fall Conferences

Wednesday, October 22: Fall Conferences