Mrs. Kristi Smith's Second Grade

Weekly Update - March 18, 2016

Reading Workshop

*** There has been another strategy sheet added to the "Strategy Resources for Parents" folder under the "Content" section of my Edline page. New this week is a strategy sheet for helping children read nonfiction books.***


This week we continued the work we started last week with our clubs. Students worked with a small group of children who had chosen the same goal. Goals were focused around three of the charts we had created throughout our unit...Making Your Reading More Fluent, Keeping Track of Longer Books, and Understanding Literary Language. Students worked on their goals during their independent reading time and then met as a club to share strategies they were using to reach their goals. We ended the week by creating "Breaking News Reports" informing other students about what they can do to become better readers. This was the activity to end this reading unit. If students are still reading in a same book partnership - they are working to wrap them up. Next week we will move into a nonfiction reading unit. Students have already started shopping for nonfiction books in the library as we began our nonfiction writing unit this week. Next week we will be in full nonfiction mode!


In honor of St. Patrick's day we shared two special books. One about leprechauns whose job it is to leave the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the other about a man who tricks a leprechaun (or was it the leprechaun who tricks him?).

Writing Workshop

We were so excited to kick off the nonfiction writing unit that we are piloting for Teacher's College this week. The students are so enthusiastic about the important work that they are doing to help the authors of this new unit.


We spent the week focusing on what good nonfiction writers do. One of the first things we talked about is how when we wrote our fiction stories we looked to mentor authors and studied the "moves" they use in their writing. We then tried to utilize those moves in our own writing. In the past when I have asked the children to name their favorite fiction authors the room is buzzing with many author names being called out immediately. So when we started talking about nonfiction writing moves - we were all surprised to find out that when I asked who some of your favorite nonfiction authors are...no one had a name to say. We have plenty of topics we love to read about - but not specific authors! (No worries - this was the exact outcome the new unit anticipated - which is why a mini lesson was created around it.) I took the opportunity to introduce students to two nonfiction authors - Seymour Simon and Gail Gibbons. We read a little bio clip on each one and I shared the titles of some of their books. We have made it our goal now to become more aware of nonfiction authors not just topics. I have already seen the students paying close attention to the authors of the books they are reading. I have also challenged them to be on the look out for "About the Author" sections of books so they can become more familiar with the author.


We then studied some nonfiction books under the document camera and made a list of some of the "moves" we could be using in our own nonfiction writing. We added some of these to our classroom chart so we have a visual reminder in case we need inspiration! The students went off to write and to incorporate the "moves" (a.k.a text features - diagrams, charts, bold words, glossaries, definition, steps, etc...) we studied into their writing.


Our next lesson reinforced rereading early drafts of books and squeezing your brain to add more. We have to ask ourselves...do I know more about this topic that I could add to this page of my book.


We ended our week by analyzing the "Information Writing Checklist" that is used to assess nonfiction writing. We discussed the expectations for second grade writers on the checklist and I gave them examples so they would understand what it looks like in an actual piece of writing. Students then looked through their own writing to find examples of the expectations. Each student then picked two goals based on what was found and not found in their own writing. The other part of this lesson involved looking at a photograph of an actual author's workspace. We looked carefully to see what tools the author had in their space and talked about how we thought those tools help them as an author. We also noticed lots of photos, pictures and papers tacked to the wall in front of the desk. We learned that one of the papers had a quote which read..."A goal without a plan is just a wish." I connected this to the goals we had just worked on in reading workshop. I asked the students if when they picked a goal club for their reading did they have to plan how to reach their goal or did it just happen automatically...like a little fairy sprinkling pixie dust to make them read more fluently automatically? Although they found it quite funny to visualize a fairy doing that in our classroom - they said "No!!! You have to work at your goal!" So just like we had goals in reading and found a way to work on them - we are now making plans for meeting the goals we chose for our writing.

Math Workshop

This week in math I spent several days working with small groups of students to strengthen skills based on the unit six assessments and daily work. When I met with students we would do some work together and then before sending them off I had them correct the errors on their math tests. Everyone worked very hard! Students used Aleks and Connect Ed when they were working independently. They chose math games to play based on skills they feel are more challenging for them and skills they need extra practice with.


We were also able to complete some work in unit seven. We recorded scores for a basketball game using a twenty sided dice and then students used these scores to practice adding multiple two digit numbers. They also had to compare scores and find the differences between numbers.


We began our school wide fact fluency challenge this week. More specific information and our scores from this week can be found below in the Interesting Tidbits section.

Social Studies

We read a wonderful book this week titled The Name Jar about a young girl who moves to America from Korea and thinks she needs to change her name. The girl is worried that no one will ever pronounce her name correctly and so her classmates begin to help her find a new name. In the end the little girl keeps her name "Unhei" which means grace in Korean and along the way she makes new friends. Students were then asked to find out information about their own names for their homework assignment. We will be sharing our name stories next week. We also spent time this week finishing our Family Treasures posters.

Interesting Tidbits...

Last Friday you should have received the following papers in your child's backpack. If you have already returned everything - thank you! If you have not returned them yet please do so as soon as possible. Jump Rope for Heart is happening Tuesday and students will not be able to stay after school without the signed permission slip.


  • Information and Release Forms for the Pilot Unit
  • Parent Conference Confirmation Slips
  • Jump Rope for Hear Permission Slips



This week we began the Fact Fluency Challenge. The children at Allgrove School will be tracking their math fact computations from March 14th through April 8th. Each classroom will be keeping track of the number of math facts the students in the classroom complete correctly. We will be creating paper chains with each link representing a certain number of facts completed. These will be posted on the bulletin boards outside each classroom. We can't wait to see how many facts we can collectively complete over this time period. It will also present a great opportunity to visually represent very large numbers. Help by studying your facts!


Here are the number of facts completed correctly when combining the everyone's timed tests...

Monday - 543

Tuesday - 578

Wednesday - 530

Thursday - 524

Friday - 938 (more students reached the 100 problem timed tests)

Week #1 Total = 3,113

Upcoming Events...

Hot Lunch for the week of March 21st...
  • Wednesday - cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza
  • Friday - No School


Jump Rope for Heart

  • March 22nd - after school event - signed permission slip needed to stay for the event.


Spring Parent Conferences
  • March 30th, March 31st, and April 1st - these are all early release days for students.


Fact Fluency Challenge

  • March 14th through April 8th - be sure to check out our paper chain when you come for parent conferences!