Building Strong Readers!

The most common question I was asked during our parent conferences was about what types of books second graders should be reading. This was a great question because second grade serves as a transition year for many young readers. The students go from reading lots and lots of pictures books, to sticking with one chapter book for a longer period of time. This is a new skill for children who are used to the immediate gratification of saying, “I’m done!” each time they finish a book. This week, we had several lessons on picking out “just right books,” and filling up our “bag-of-books.” The students practiced picking out books and deciding if they were too easy, too hard, or just right. Our bag-of-books should come back and forth between home and school each day. I recommend that the students use these books for their reading responses. Next week, we will talk about the right times to switch out books from their bags.

Here is what their bag should contain:

5 books total!
Out of those 5 books 1 must be nonfiction and 1 must be a chapter book. 3 of the 5 should have a level written on their cover and 2 should be “just right.” The purpose of these guidelines is to expose the students to a variety of texts that they may not have tried out on their own.


This week we practiced asking questions in our head as we are reading. This strategy worked out perfectly with our new chapter book read aloud, Charlotte’s Web. We also looked at text features like headings, captions, charts, titles, and bold words. We realized that text features really help us understand what a piece of nonfiction is all about! We studied plural nouns that end in “es” instead of “s,” like box, bench, dish, and class. After studying the plural nouns the students checked their work using QR codes and the iPad (see picture below!)

plural nouns and QR Codes

Next week, we will read the realistic fiction story “Those Ugly Vegetables” and the nonfiction piece “They Really are Giant!” We will work on drawing conclusion to analyze and evaluate the text. Our vocabulary words will be: blooming, muscles, nodded, plain, scent, shovels, tough, and wrinkled. We will look at proper nouns like Jessie Felter, Charlotte Jewish Day School, and Charlotte, North Carolina! 

Reading (2)reading 3

Spelling: The students did a wonderful job practicing their words with the short “e” and short “o” sound. The expectation is that they now spell these words correctly in their writing. Next week we will study words with the short “u” sound and the long “y” sound. Words like: duck, under, money, and sway.

Writing: This week the students learned about the importance of organizing their writing by putting things in order. We looked at crazy out of order stories and recipes. The students got to write step-by-step recipes of snacks they know how to make. I read great recipes on how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nachos, soup, and more! We began talking about starting our writing with a strong lead and next week we will practice this skill more deeply.

Math: Our biggest focus in math this week was creating “ball park” estimates and adding partial sums. Both of these strategies help students practice their addition skills. The students are encouraged to check to see if their ball park estimates are close to the true answers. If the estimates are not close to the true answers then the students need to go back to see where they made a mistake. We also began exploring shapes by sorting them and using them to tile surfaces. This will lead us into Unit 5 on Geometry. Mrs. Felter’s class will begin Unit 5 on Monday, and later in the week Mrs. Tracey’s class will begin the unit. Unit 5 has many engaging and hands on activities for the students, but also a lot of new vocabulary. Here are some of the math vocabulary words we have coming up:
quadrilateral and quadrangle
line segment
pentagons, and hexagons, and octagons oh my!

Here we are exploring shapes!

Shapes 2 Shapes 3 Shapes 4 Shapes

I was completely blown away by the amazing work going on in our building this week! Morah Donna and Kitah Aleph created an amazing Hebrew alphabet quilt. They unveiled it this morning at our Judaica assembly and it is wonderful!

Judaica 2 Judaica 5

Mrs. Gamlin, Mrs. Inna, and Mrs. Lerner held the culminating events for the first and second grades’ first unit of study in Project Based Learning. The first graders gave us a peek into the past with their projects and we learned what life was like long ago. The second graders taught everyone about how to be good citizens! I was so impressed with their hard work on these projects! Our class sends a big thank you to these amazing teachers for leading us through this project!

First grade teaching second grade:

first grade 2 first grade (2)first grade 9 first grade 17 first gradesecond grade 8

Second grade teaching first grade and third grade about being good citizens!

second grade 6 second grade 5second grade 7    second grade 11  second grade 13   second grade 21  second grade second grade3


Only 11 nights until Hanukkah! 🙂