Room 113 News September 19th

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From Ms. Thomas, Grades 2/3 Counsellor

Dear Family,

We want your child to be as successful as possible at school. Success in school is not just about reading and math. It’s also about knowing how to learn and how to get along with others. We will be using the Second Step guidance program in your child’s classroom to teach these critical skills.

The Second Step program teaches skills in the following areas:

  1. Skills for Learning: Students gain skills to help themselves learn, including how to focus their attention, listen carefully, use self-talk to stay on task, and be assertive when asking for help with school work.
  2. Empathy: Students learn to identify and understand their own and others’ feelings. Students also learn how to take another’s perspective and how to show compassion.
  3. Emotion Management: Students learn specific skills for calming down when experiencing strong feelings, such as anxiety or anger.
  4. Problem Solving: Students learn a process for solving problems with others in a positive way.
  5. Safety: Students learn self-protective skills designed to reduce children’s vulnerability in dangerous or abusive situations.

Your child will be learning a lot this year, and he or she will need your help! Throughout the year, your child will be bringing home Home Links that go with several of the Second Step guidance lessons. Home Links are simple, fun activities for you and your child to complete together. They are a great way for you to understand what your child is learning and for your child to show you what he or she knows.

If you have any questions about the Second Step guidance program, please do not hesitate to contact me for more information. Thank you for supporting your child in learning the skills that lead to success in school and in life.


Ellen Thomas

School Counselor, grades 2 & 3


We will start a new unit of study in reading this week. Our class will shift our focus to nonfiction. Students will practice new reading skills in nonfiction books they choose during reading time each day. Your child may or may not choose to read nonfiction at home during this time.

Mr. Hagen has given each child a comprehensive reading assessment and discussed strengths and goals with each student. Self selection of texts and enjoyment will continue to play a large role in our reading program.

What we will cover in the coming weeks:


To make a strong connection between the spoken and written word, our class will complete our personal narratives and move into nonfiction writing. Each day's reading lesson and independent practice will serve as immersion; this will help students to mimic the structures present in nonfiction when they write. We will spend the first week studying nonfiction texts as mentors and also generating lists of topics we know a lot about. Discuss this with your child at home to generate more confidence. To make this unit of study about stamina and the production of writing, there is no research component. Students write about things they know. Sometimes, students will read information about a topic and then incorporate it into their books, but this is NOT an expectation.


We will begin a new unit of study in math this week. In this unit, students will be exploring the ruler, estimating and measuring lengths using various tools and units, and finally, relating addition and subtraction to length.


Using a ruler is more efficient than iteration (the repetition of a process).

Measurement is a way of comparing objects.

There are different units with which to measure length and they will give different amounts.

Addition and subtraction can be done with units of length.

The purpose for the measurement will determine the level of accuracy needed.

Essential Questions:

What should we use to measure?

How can measuring help us compare objects?

How does what we measure affect how we measure?

How might we add and subtract units of measure?

When does accuracy matter? How can we use tools to make measuring more accurate?


Last week, our class started a scientific study of solids and liquids. We will observe the properties of many solids and liquids, comparing how solids and liquids are alike and how they are different; organize the results of our inquiries; and communicate both orally and in writing the things we discover.

These processes (observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing) are the basic thinking processes students need at this age to develop a scientific understanding of the world around them.

Your child may ask you for help finding solids and liquids at home. You’ll want to discuss and compare the different characteristics of those you find. (For example, how are salt and sugar alike? How are they different?) You may find yourself observing what happens when solids and liquids are put together. Making lemonade or salad dressing can provide interesting observations when solids and liquids are mixed. Watching an ice cube melt is a way to observe a solid change to a liquid.

We’re looking forward to lots of fun and lots of learning as we explore a world full of solids and liquids! You can get more information on this module by going to

Mr. Hagen will be gone on Thursday and Friday, September 22-23

I'll be attending an exciting conference about mindfulness. Ms. Barness and Khun Pornthip will co-teach the class these two days. I can be reached during this time as well.