2P "Team Pikachu" Newsletter!

Newsletter: September 6 - 16, 2016

Highlights of the Week!

  • Getting to know each other!
  • Starting our 2nd grade math curriculum!
  • Identifying our Hopes and Dreams!
  • Launching our Reader's and Writer's Workshops!

Having fun making new friends and learning about each other!

  • We played lots of games and also worked with partners and in small groups. On the first day of school we worked with a partner to create a sculpture from tin foil and pipe-cleaners. In the process, we learned that good partners listen, share ideas, and are encouraging. Now, we have a small museum along our window sill!
  • They also worked independently to create a "Math about Me!" page where they thought of up to 4 different numbers that were meaningful to them. They then wrote the numbers in various ways and illustrated a related picture for each number.
  • They even voted on a team name for our class. We are now "Team Pikachu"! We talked about how it's important to think of our class as a team - individuals working together to help each other learn.

We had fun celebrating our successes! We want the children to know that we value their efforts and notice their success. Ask your child to show you the "Raise the Roof" or "Rockstar". :-)

We talked about what it means to be a good friend in class and even acted out some of the different ways that we can be kind and thoughtful to one another! They had fun exploring their dramatic side!

Hopes and Dreams and Classroom Rules

We have read "The Invisible Boy", "Those Shoes", and "Those Darn Squirrels", among other books, to learn about empathy and kindness. We then used this to think about how we can solve problems in class - have empathy, use your words, tell a teacher, take a breath and walk away.

We have been asking ourselves important questions: "What do we want to learn this year or in our life?" and "What does our classroom need to look like in order for us to achieve these goals?" We are using the answers to these questions to help us identify some Hopes and Dreams for the year and rules for the classroom. We have some ambitious students! Our dreams range from making new friends, to learning how to multiply and divide, to one day teaching history!

Math in Focus

We started our first unit, "Counting to 1,000". We will be learning how to count by 1's, 10's, and 100's; identifying place value and learning how to write multi-digit numbers in various forms. This unit builds on our knowledge from first grade and creates a strong number sense foundation.

To help everyone start the year off strong, we will be sending each child home next week with a full set of 10-frames (1-10). I will include a letter and suggestions for how to practice with your child. We are practicing with them in class. It's a simple, yet surprisingly challenging activity.

Reader's Workshop

We've also been getting to know each other as readers. We interviewed each other about our favorite books and wrote our partner's response on sentence strips. We've reviewed how to do a picture walk, learned how to pick a "just-right" book, and practiced quiet reading in class. We're doing really well!

Next week we will start asking the children to read 15 minutes a night for homework. At this point in the year, we really want to encourage the children to read books they like and to establish good reading habits. Reading should be FUN!

Writer's Workshop

As part of launching our Writer's Workshop, each of the children received a personal journal. In this journal they are encouraged to write about whatever they want! We told them the first day that they could just write "chicken, chicken, chicken" or the same letter over and over again, or even "I have no idea what to write!". It was amazing to see them light up with this creative freedom. They were SO excited to share their writing!!

We talked about how there are different kinds of writing that they can do in the classroom - during Quiet Time they can write in their journals or create stories (alone or with a partner), and during Writer's Workshop they will be learning about different types of more structured writing (small moments, non-fiction, narrative, etc.). They even practiced putting pencil to paper and writing completely independently. We already have seen some story-writing partnerships emerge and students gaining confidence and eager to share their work! YAY!

Next week: Small Moment writing! We will be focusing on one time or event and exploring how to create an interesting story for our reader.

Upcoming Events:

  • Back to School Night! September 28th: 7-8:30pm
  • School Pictures: September 28th (tentative)

Teaching Team

Suzanne Pelkey

Carolyn Rommeihs