The second graders have finished their first full week of school and I am very proud of the way they are mastering the rituals and routines of our classroom! They are doing a fabulous job recording their homework in their planners, switching out their books, participating in our lessons, and taking beginning of the year assessments!
In second grade, our day begins with a morning meeting. During this time I share our schedule for the day with the class so they know what to expect. We talk about how we are doing as a classroom community and act out the ways that we could do better. We also play “wake up” and mindfulness games that get us ready to learn! Each day we save about five minutes for students who want to share something. The students can share items from home or tell an interesting story from their lives. We are practicing keeping our eyes on the speaker and asking follow up questions that encourage the speaker to share more. Each student may share once a week if they’d like. Here are a few of our first sharers!
This week the students participated in several lessons to help them learn how to pick out books that are “just right!” We have talked about picking books that look interesting or are part of a series you know you enjoy. The students practiced the “five finger rule” which has them open a book to any page and start counting the words they can’t read, or figure out from the context, on their fingers. If they get to five or more words that they are struggling to read, then the book is probably too difficult. The students may switch out their books whenever they need to and do not need to stress about having exactly three books in their bags at all times! They may read books from home as well. I have begun one-on-one reading assessments which analyze the students’ phonics, fluency, comprehension, and sight word reading ability. I will continue with these assessments next week and the students will be able to tell you their reading level by next Friday.
Here are some of our readers picking out “just right” books:
The students wrote their first story this week on something they did over the summer. We will look back at this piece in a few months and the students will be shocked to see how much they’ve grown as a writer! Next week, the students will begin their writing instruction by learning that complete sentences must contain a noun (they who or what in a sentence) and a verb (the action!) We will play games where the students have to identify complete and incomplete sentences.
The students took their first pretest this week and picked out their first list of spelling words. Each students’ spelling list is uniquly based on how they did on our pretest of words. This week we began studying words that contain the long and short “a” sound. One of the tricks the students will learn is that the long vowel words end in a silent “e”- like late and cake. The students will take their first spelling test next Friday, September 2nd, and I will staple it in their planners for you.
We began our first math unit this week. We are reviewing how to count up coins, use calendars, and tell time. We practice several different skills using a calendar. For example, the students should be able to read a calendar and say what the date will be a week from today or tell the date two weeks from August 16th. They should also be able to identify dates when asked questions like- What is the date of the third Tuesday in August? When telling time many second graders will continue to confuse the minute and hour hands at the beginning of the school year. We looked at the clock this week and noticed that, even though it moves very slowly, the hour hand is always moving. So at 9:30, the hour hand is directly between the 9 and 10 o’clock hours. Next week the students will review basic addition facts, counting dollars, and using number grids. We will also do a fun activity called “broken calculator.” To do this the students are given a number, like 17, and told that the 7 on their calculator is broken. The students are then required to show several ways to make the number 17 without using the 7 button. So they could do 11 + 6, 20 – 3, or 8 + 8 + 1.