February Newsletter

What We Are Learning in Second Grade

Upcoming Events

Thursday, Feb. 4th: Family Culture Night 5:30-7:00

Friday, Feb. 12th: Field Trip!

Monday, Feb. 15th: Snow Make Up Day

Thursday, Feb. 18th: Delayed Opening

Field Trip

Thursday, Feb. 11th, 8:30am to Friday, Feb. 12th, 1:30pm

433 West Murray Avenue

Durham, NC

We have an exciting field trip planned to the Museum of Life and Science. Students will be exploring the many exhibits in the museum. They will also get the opportunity to build Lego sound robots!

Please make sure your return your permission slips by February 5th.


We have just wrapped up a non-fiction book clubs reading unit. Students split into small groups to research a country of their choosing (India, Mexico, Russia, or China). We reviewed how to find information in non-fiction books, and how to take notes to share with our book club. Check out our writing section for more information on how students then created books about their country.

This month we have began our characters fiction reading unit. We are currently "studying" the characters in our books. Students are learning to pay close attention to the characters in their books to make predictions, anticipate problems, and think about their character's feelings and personality traits. Students will also be looking across several books in a series to compare and contrast the characters. All of this work closely supports the goals of the Common Core State Standards. Specifically, it sets children up to be able to “describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges” and “acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.”

Here are some suggestions for great character series to check out:

-Scaredy Squirrel

-Mr. Putter and Tabby

-George and Martha

-Henry and Mudge

The "Write" Stuff

Second graders just wrapped up one of our non-fiction writing units. We began the unit by having the students dust off their maps and compasses and grab their passports so they could navigate their way to (4) different and exciting countries. Each student took their passport with them as they “traveled” to different second grade classrooms to learn about India, Russia, China and Mexico. Once they landed safely back in their classrooms they were prepared to research more information about the country of their choice. They communicated their ideas with their classmates during their daily book club meetings, as well as learned about the characteristics that are included in most non-fiction stories. (Ex. table of contents, photographs, captions, etc.)

As students researched more about their country they became experts and were able to work with the book club members to locate what they thought was the most important facts about their county. The steps that led to them becoming experts about started with the teachers modeling how they should use their thinking strategies to read and comprehend texts. Students learned the importance of determining key ideas and supporting details and how to summarize them orally and in writing. We are so proud of them as they worked incredibly hard on their books! We know they are looking forward to sharing them with you.

Personal narrative writing is our next unit of writing! This unit touches on what Second Graders do best…sharing about themselves! During this unit, students will focus on important stories (or small moments) from their lives. We will model how to start their story with a catchy phrase in order to “hook” the reader. Their stories will include characters, a setting, and a time order with a beginning, middle and end. Students will be encouraged to use details to tell: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Classroom instruction will focus on teaching students how to “zoom in” on the most important parts of their stories.

During our Personal Narrative unit, students will also begin to make simple changes (editing) to make their writing more readable to an audience. This is a chance for writers to develop their writer’s voice. When writers tell how they feel or including a personal reaction, we are more connected to the story.

Students will begin to learn and implement how to:

  • Reread writing and add details or take away parts to make the meaning clear.
  • Edit writing for capitals, ending punctuation and spelling.
  • Focus on handwriting by using spacing and lowercase letters.

· You can help your child by talking about the small things that happen at home. Students often need a chance to verbally rehearse what happens first, next and last. Having your child tell a story and break it into these three parts will be helpful. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Sounds All Around

We have finished up our Social Studies unit on countries around the world which integrated reading, writing and social studies. After a brief lesson on each of four countries (Mexico, Russia, China and India) which included folk tales, culture, history and fun facts students chose a country to research and write about. They also met in reading groups with other students who had chosen the same country to discuss and share their research, things they had learned and things that surprised them. The final project was an illustrated book that students were able to share with students from another class. Ask your second grader about their country. They should be an expert on it!

We are now beginning our new Science Unit on Sound. We will be learning what makes sound and how our ears hear sound. We will also be learning about different kinds of sound all around in our world from musical instruments to animal sounds. We will also be making instruments to hear the difference in plucking, hitting and blowing sounds. The sound unit is new to even the second grade teachers and we are all enjoying learning along with our students.


In January students learned about geometry. This short unit included 2-dimensional shapes and their attributes (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and more multi-sided polygons). Students learned about parallel lines, vertices, angles, and sides. We also included 3-dimensional shapes such as cones, rectangular prisms, cubes, spheres, and pyramids. Students mastered vocabulary like edges, faces, and vertices in regard to these 3-D shapes.

In February students will work on developing fluency with efficient strategies to add and subtract 2-digit numbers. We will also move into 3-digit numbers toward the end of our unit. We will concentrate on other efficient strategies BEFORE teaching the addition and subtraction algorithms. This way students will develop strong number sense and will fully understand what they are doing numerically while adding and subtracting before they begin to regroup using the algorithm. The strategies students will master are using the 100 board, open number lines, using tens and ones, and finally the addition and subtraction algorithms. Please assist us in developing your students' number sense by not teaching them the addition or subtraction algorithms before we discuss them in class. Thank you in advance! By the end of this unit students will be adding and subtracting within 1,000 fluently!