Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week of December 13,2010

Just a week before Christmas, and we are busy as usual around here in second grade. We are still working on reading and math skills, but we did find time for GINGERBREAD HOUSES! What fun we had!

We had parents (that even included a couple dads!) and other relatives donate their time to help the kids make their beautiful creations. We want to thank Mrs. Kleinbeck, Mrs. C., and Mrs. West for taking time out from math skills to help us. we also want to thank Mrs. Jensen's student teacher, and even one my former students, now in college, for stopping in! Thank you to all the parents who donated materials to our houses. We couldn't have done it without you. Check out our website for a link to more pictures ( - click on 2nd grade, scroll down to find gingerbread houses).

While we are speaking of websites, I want to remind the kids about a new link on the second grade site called Fun and Games. It has a link to Dance Mat typing and some fun math learning games. If the kids find themselves bored over the holidays, have them get on there and have fun practicing their math and typing skills. If you run across any other learning links, please email them to me, and I will add them to our list.

With all the fun we have had, we did take time the last couple weeks to help others. The kids did chores around the house to earn money to buy back packs for kids in Uganda, Africa. These kids' lives have all been touched by AIDS, war, or both, and are in great need. The kids walk to school every day and many do not have anything to carry their books in. Carol Adams, the director of Youth Encouragement Services, said she would be able to purchase about ten backpacks with the money the kids earned and sent over. We were so glad to be able to help kids who do not have the things we do in the United States. To learn more about her mission, find her link on our website.
With the holiday season here, we want to take time to be thankful for all the many blessings we have!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week of December 4th

Christmas is just around the corner, but it hasn't slowed us down in second grade! We have been learning what to do when we do not know a word, and we have continued to practice regrouping in math. We made pancakes Friday afternoon after "reading" Pancakes for Breakfast (this is a wordless book) by Tommie dePaola. It was kind of funny, because that is what was served for breakfast at school that morning. Our Flat Stanleys have been writing back to us and one even has a facebook account. If you would like to see all the wonderful things Crystal's Stanley has been doing and you have a facebook account, do a search for Flat Stanley Flat from Murray and you should be able to find him.
We continue to have our store every other week, and we could sure use any donations to our classroom store. Items do not have to be new - they could be toys in good shape that your child does not play with anymore. You know the old saying - one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Next week will be a busy one as we will be making gingerbread houses - oh what fun we have that day!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Week of November 29. 2010

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is gone and Christmas is just around the corner. We have begun decorating our tree in Second Grade (we call it a Charlie Brown Christmas tree because he is not much to look at - until he is decorated). We have our beads on and will begin our ornaments soon.
In math, we are working hard on regrouping with addition and are doing very well with it. In reading, we are working on strategies to do when we don't know a word. We have finished our Flat Me's and our reports. They are out in the hall so stop by if you are in the neighborhood and take a look. We are anxious to see the return of our Stanleys and learn of his many adventures.
We switch "gears" next week and begin our study on simple machines and magnets. Needless to say, we continue to stay busy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Week of November 22nd

This might have been a short week, but it was a full week. We practiced our bartering skills as we used popcorn as our "money," and we bought and sold all sorts of things-from candy, to toys, to Christmas silverware, and even Emu eggs shells. It was so much fun.

On Tuesday, we invited the "Indians" (the first graders) to our village (the second grade room) and celebrated our nontraditional Thanksgiving feast. We had LOTS of good food to share. We made pots to give the Indians, and the Indians gave us Pilgrims dream catchers. It was a wonderful time of sharing.
On Wednesday, we had "turkey" day, where we read about turkeys, watched a video about turkey production in Iowa, and even made turkey snacks to eat.
We also sent out our Flat Stanleys around to all parts of the United States. We began getting our Christmas cards ready for our Christmas card exchange. We send cards as far as Germany and British Columbia this year. We are so excited! We are also working on cards to send to our epals in Australia. So even though our week was short, it was packed with activities and learning!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week of November 15, 2010

What a week we have had. We are just beginning to learn how to regroup (all you oldies probably called it carrying) and will be adding using regrouping the week after Thanksgiving. We have begun our Flat Stanley projects. We read a story called Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. Poor Stanley has a bulletin board fall on him and makes him flat as a piece of paper. He has many adventures, but our favorite one is where he goes to visit friends in California in an envelope. SO we mail our own Stanleys to friends and relatives across the United States (and to our epals in Australia). We can't wait to see what kind of adventures he runs into. We have also started a Flat Me project which we are making ourselves and writing biographies.
We had two cooking projects this week. We wanted to taste what it was like to be a Pilgrim coming across the ocean, so we made hard tack. We liked it okay, but decided it might not be so good weeks from now - especially if it had bugs in it. We also made deviled eggs after reading Chicken Sunday and watching Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco. We are pretty good egg peelers!
We will be creating our gingerbread houses later this month and could sure use your help. Our school no longer uses the little half pint milk cartons and this is what we use for our house. If you use those (whipping cream, half and half, buttermilk, etc. ), please rinse them out and send them to school. We could also use the pint and quart containers as they are the same size around, and we can cut them down. You are welcome to drop them off at the office and tell them it is for second grade. I did notice that buttermilk is only 33 cents.
Another thing we could use your help is with is our store. We have a store every other week where the kids are paid for the jobs they do in our room. They cash in their checks and total their credits. After making purchased, they complete their credit and debit sheet in order to keep track of their money. We could use any donations of items for our store - anything you think second graders would like to "purchase" - from candy bars, little cars, little notebooks, anything a second grader would like. It it a wonderful and fun way of teaching twenty-first century life skills. Finally, we wanted to remind you of a couple activities coming up this week. The kids are bartering on Monday and could use anything they can "sell" to their classmates. Secondly, our Thanksgiving Feast with the "Indians" (first grade) is Tuesday, and kids need a snack to share during our feast. Thank you, parents, for all you do. We could not do many of our projects without your help and donations! It helps to make learning fun!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our weeks just keep flying by! Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. As usual we had a very busy week. We finished up our unit about data and graphs this week and will begin to learn how to regroup when we add very soon. In reading, we are studying about communities; rural, urban and suburban communities. We decided we are definitely a rural area. We began our year long project of composting this week. We put red worms in our compost container and began feeding them. Their first meal was old lettuce and cabbage. We can't wait to use their castings for our greenhouse plants next spring.
We were so glad to be invited to the gym by the high schoolers as they honored our veterans this week. We are so thankful for what they have done for our country.
We also had a cooking project this week. After reading Thundercake Patricia Polacco we made our own (it was even a rainy day when we made it - although we didn't have any thunder). It had a secret ingredient in it (tomatoes) that made it look a little gross when we were making it , but it turned into a nice chocolate cake when we were done. MOST of us really liked it.
We do want to get a "shout out" to our epals in Australia. We have enjoyed getting our emails and look forward to corresponding throughout the year. We hope our blog will let you get to know us just a little bit more.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Week of November 1, 2010

What a great week we have had. We are reading a historical fiction book (and we know what that is:) called, Where's Kitty. It is a great story about a much earlier time in our country. We really liked the part where one of the characters tells a man stuck in the mud with his automobile to "get a horse!" and that "automobiles will never replace horses." In math, we are still working on gathering and showing data with graphs. Friday, though, we took time out to open our classroom bank and store. Trayvon was our banker, and what a great time we have shopping. We are looking forward to November and studying the beginnings of the United States - with the pilgrims. We also want to especially thank Bob Fisher, one of our bus drivers, for making us a bench for one our book nooks. It was made from an old church pew.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Week of October 25, 2010

It may have been a short week, but it was an exciting one. Our heads changed into pumpkins and we wrote stories that explained how that happened! We made ghosts, and we had a fun Halloween party. We even had witch's brew! Thank you to all the parents who donated their time and goodies!

Probably most importantly, we had parent-teacher conferences. It was good to share with you the "data" our students have been collecting to show you the progress they have made. It was also exciting to show parents the results of our MAP testing (measures of academic progress). We are a really smart group of kids!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Week of October 18th

We had a great week of learning and fun. We had a lot of fun during red ribbon week where we wore crazy hair, red hats and shirts. In reading, we are learning about our nearest star, the sun. Ask one of us why the sun looks so small, even though it is huge (it would hold a million earths). We really enjoyed having Rawley and his mother bring in their mastiff dogs. They helped us see what the real Mudge would look like in Cynthia Rylant's Henry and Mudge books. We liked hearing about their obedience training and seeing the dogs in action!

We are working on graphs in math and learning how to record our data on pictographs and bar graphs.

In science, we are continuing our study of the sun. We watched as solar cars run strictly on the energy from the sun, and we watched as our HUGE solar bag floated in the air because the sun warmed the air in the bag. What fun we had. (Sorry! Our pictures of this did not turn out)

We are looking forward to next week and parent/teacher conferences. We have our data folders ready to go to share the progress we have made sp far this year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week of October 11, 2010

Our weeks continue to fly by, and we continue to work hard (with a little fun thrown in!). We are reviewing odd and even numbers, and we are working on using correct punctuation when we write. We work every day on our reading, trying to become better readers, and, in the process we are learning about our nearest star, the sun. Our major fun consisted of our O.R.E.O. project where we tried to see how high we could stack OREO cookies and then to see what we could make out of OREOs. Check out our website at to see more of our creativity!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week of October 4th, 2010

What a week we have had! Homecoming week means a lot of craziness! We had some wonderfully creative costumes this year. I'm sure the judges had a very difficult decision to make every morning. The parade was fun as always, and we love seeing all the Murray fans out to show their support!

We have finished our basic reading inventories and the results will be discussed at conferences. Mrs. Miller was VERY pleased with the results---what a smart bunch of kids in Second Grade this year!!! We have finished our computer testing as well, and those results will be shown at conferences also.

In Science, we really did a good job demonstrating the phases of the moon. Just give us a flashlight, a pencil, and a Styrofoam ball and we will be happy to show you what we discovered.

Our annual O.R.E.O. project is this next week, and we look forward to seeing how high we can stack our OREOs and what kinds of things we can create with them. If we have any leftovers, we are going to make OREO dessert! YUM!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Week of September 27, 2010

What an exciting week we have had. We have begun our computer MAP testing, and we are excited to try to reach the magic number on each of our tests. We have also taken our Basic Reading Inventory Test where we read stories and answer questions with our reading teachers.
But probably the most exciting thing this week was to finish our family research and our Heritage Taste Fest! We had many different dishes to sample; from family favorites to dishes from the countries we have researched. What a tasty way to end the week. We had passports to make sure we did not miss a country, and we had recipes of our dishes to share with everyone. We want to thank all the parents who provided the food and came to see the students' hard word and share in the fun.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week of September 20

What a great week we have had this week! We have been busy with our family research. We have learned how to do a google search to find information. We can't wait to share what we have learned this next Friday at our Heritage Food Festival.

We are also practicing our math facts at home. We are working toward a chocolate party, and if we get 600 practice sheets back, Mrs. Miller has promised to kiss a pig! We are up to 70 practice sheet ---we have a LONG way to go!!!

We continue to work on our reading skills. We have lots of helpers for this. Mrs. Bower works with our fluency and Mrs. C helps us with our phonics skill. Mrs. West also helps us build speed in our reading with timed readings and sight word card practice. Some of us even go to MRs. Kleinbeck and Mrs. Risser. As you can tell, we are VERY busy reading.

We had great time on Friday! We had a camp out in our classroom just like the book Baily Camps Out - complete with smores (thanks to the donations of several parents). We combined that with our marble party we had earned because of our good behavior and bringing back our spelling sheet.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Math, Math, and More Math!

This has been a very busy week, even though we didn't go Monday and we had an early out. We continue to work on our addition and subtraction. We learned a new game this week - tens go fish. Instead of asking for matching cards, we ask for card with numbers on them that make a ten with a card we had. You can see we had a really good time. Mrs. West comes into our room during math time to help us play our math games and get better at our math facts and problems.

You probably have noticed that we are going to be practicing our math facts a lot at home. We are trying to earn a chocolate party like they did in the book we have been reading, Mr. Klutz is Nutz. AND, like the book , the kids thought they would like to see Mrs. Miller kiss a pig! Well...they have to come up with a pig, and they have to return 600 of our practice sheets. Parents, please don't forget to sign it or it won't count.

We are going to begin our family research soon. Remember, unless you are an Indian, your relatives probably came from a country across the ocean - although it was probably many, many generations back. We are so excited to do our research on the internet, and we get to use some of the new books we are getting for the library.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We had a very busy week this week getting back in the routine of school. We have reviewed addition and subtraction (keep practicing those facts at home). We have reviewed our daily 5 routine and are ready to begin our groups this next week.
We had cheesy snacks and did M&M division.

One thing some of us did to make our writing more personal was to add pictures to our writing journals.
You can see we have wonderful pictures to show special things about us!

Happy Birthday to Katie who had a birthday this last week. Thanks for the cupcakes!

During our next week or two, we will be doing some research about where we came from. All of us have distant relatives who came from other countries, and we will be researching information about those countries. We will be sending home information about this very soon!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our First Days of School

We have been busy in our first two days of school. We played Turn Over Ten. We play it like memory match only our two numbers have to equal 10. We drew self-portraits and hung them on the wall. We have read several books. We liked First Day Jitters because we did not know it was the teacher who was scared. We have a wonderful new playground, and we got to play on it. It has a bridge, monkey bars, talk tubes, tires to climb, and slides. We love it. We can't wait to do science and begin our reading. We love cooking projects and can't wait to start them. We can't wait to start our new year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last day of break

Kids, I just wanted to wish you a great day tomorrow - your last official day of summer break! Can't wait to see you all!

Monday, August 9, 2010

School is just around the corner! Where did the summer go? Second Grade is ready to go and begin a new and exciting year! A quick heads up for kids and parents: your second grader will be encouraged to bring pictures to decorate and make their writing journals more personal. These must be pictures that will not be returned and can be cut and glued on their journal.