Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February 4, 2019

Hi Parents~
Pictures tell a thousand words so this update will be short and sweet. 
Report Cards- You can access the report cards online this Thursday. Remember they are standard based and the standards are designed to be met by the end of second grade.
Fire Safety- Firefighter Todd covered many important safety lessons during his visit. He wanted to be a firefighter when he was in fifth grade.  I know that because he was in my class!

100th Day- We'll be celebrating this Friday.  Time flies when you're in second grade.
Valentine's Day- Please find an empty rectangular Kleenex box for a Valentine Mailbox project and send it to school by Monday 2/11.  The children should have a valentine for everyone in our class to give on 2/14.  We'll have a little celebration.
iMovie Project- A groups of delightful 8th graders came to lend a hand with our public service announcements about environmental concerns.  Pat's visit and further research activated some strong feelings,  opinions, and solutions that are finding their way to our writing. It's empowering. 





States of Matter- A big thanks to the PTO for sponsoring this science presentation to complete this unit.  The children loved it.  













SNOW FUN!





Cameron Rose, a talented third grader, was a super mystery reader last week.  Please sign up if you can join us.  We love a good story or two.
Have a wonderful week!
Gretchen

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pajamas, Patriot's Gear or Both!

The Student Council has declared tomorrow an official... 
Spirit Day!  
Get your spirit on! 



Sunday, January 20, 2019

January 20, 2019

Hi Parents~
Days in Room 4 are filled with continuous interaction, and most of it involves me. I'll never complain about monotonous or predictable days. They are never the same.  However, each day, in some fashion, we care for our minds, our hearts, and our bodies. We've had talented people guide and teach us to use our informed minds and open hearts to connect and take care of people and things we value.  Recently we've focused on our peer relationships and our planet.


Open Circle: Ms. Santomenna taught us how to use " I feel............. because.............." statements to navigate disagreements or manage big feelings.This strategy encourages students to use their words to respond instead of their bodies to react.  You might try it at home encouraging dialogue to problem solve.  It takes a lot of practice, but it's well worth it.

Writing: In order to write an opinion piece, you have to have an opinion about something. Pat Conaway, local environmentalist and Miriam Morrison's father, was more than willing to share his opinions about what we need to do to take care of our planet.  Pat told the second graders that it should be their mission for their planet.  Pat has strong opinions about plastic, styrofoam, and other materials that fill our landfills and oceans.  Some trash takes over a million years to decompose (plastic jug) or quite possibly never disappears (glass, styrofoam). There are solutions by refusing, reducing, reusing, and recycling.  We want our children to feel empowered and to bug us.  These are mindset and lifestyle changes.  We're asking students to have an opinion about an environmental issue of interest, research, and write about it. Next Friday teams will meet with 8th grade volunteers to make an iMovie to reach a wider audience. It's a wonderful project.

Math: Ms. Lepow helped us think about adding larger numbers on a number line. Our mathematicians thought about place value and adding to numbers that end in 0 (landmark or friendly numbers).  We are learning several strategies to add and subtract two digit numbers.  I'm sure you see this when you play the games at home. Students continue to practice explaining their thinking.
We have been so blessed with a consistent flow of Mystery Readers.  Thank you!  There are many open seats in 2019.  Family, friends, come one and all!  Sign up here.

Rafa and her mom shared some beautiful stories.
Laura's cousin Caitlyn is studying to be a teacher!
The children met with their fourth grade buddies on Friday and designed posters for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration scheduled for next Friday, January 25 at the Wayland Middle School. Ask your child what they remember about the quote they received. You may spark a timely conversation.
Enjoy the weekend. Bundle up!
Take care~
Gretchen



Thursday, January 3, 2019

January 3, 2019


     I wanted to share this reflection I captured in words on Friday before vacation: 
     " I'm not sure what our plan is just yet," I responded to a child asking about our movie treat Friday morning.  I was in a meeting when Whitney orchestrated the vote the day before.   
     "We picked The Wizard of Oz!" another child exclaimed adamantly.
     " Well, I heard that some students have some feelings about the movie," I replied.
     "Are you talking about the wonderful Wizard of Oz?" questioned DJ's sister, Skyler, a wise fourth grader from across the hall.  She was just what I needed at that moment.
     Skyler proceeded to provide a quick summary of the story.  I wish I had taped it and recorded her every word. In essence, she explained to the small gathering around her that the story is about this girl who travels this really cool yellow brick road and makes some awesome friends.  They're off to see a wizard to help them get what they think they are missing.  They learn a lot and they help each other.  It's awesome.
     Skyler convinced the naysayers that the movie was a classic and thus became our entertainment that day.  What was it like to watch The Wizard of Oz with 19 seven and eight year olds, a third of the group watching the film for the first time? 
      I found myself doing a little commentary along the way. 
      "No, Dorothy is not seriously hurt, the hit from the window just caused her to lose consciousness so she can experience her dream." 
     "Yes, that is Ms. Gulch on the bicycle. In Dorothy's dream.  Remember when Dorothy called Ms. Gulch a mean witch after she took Toto?  Look for some familiar faces in Dorothy's dream.  Watch and listen carefully.  The actors in this movie are stellar, especially that witch!" 
      The house finally lands.  Dorothy holds Toto close as she makes her way to the moment that transforms the movie from black-and-white Kansas all the way to Emerald City in full, bright color.  As the door slowly opens and the land of Oz appears, a small voice from the rug announces, " I think she's in Europe!"
     That's when I decided that my narration could and should be sporadic. I needed to listen.  I don't know what you heard about the movie at home, but I'm confident that every second grader walked away with some lasting memory.  My lasting memory will be when a child told me later that the scarecrow was his favorite character. 
     "Why?" I wondered aloud.
      "He thought he didn't have a brain," the child explained, " but he did because he was so kind to his friends." Smart is multifaceted for sure.

Farewell to Ms. Moorman- We will miss her! The children made a beautiful ABC scrapbook and she joined us in her pajamas for the movie and a festive day all around. 

We finished our Author's Chair celebration of delightful narrative stories. Such pride!




Maddy and her mom completed our Friday-before-vacation afternoon with a Mystery Reader surprise and some wonderful stories.  Join us by signing up here! Contact me if you'd like to read at another time.
Next Share:  The outlines and share dates will come home next Monday.  Basically, I asked the children to think about someone they admire or who inspires them.  They share a picture, a quote, and one or two questions they might ask that person if they could. If your child does not have someone in mind, they may want to start with a quote.  Click here for a helpful quote website for kids.  Images are easy to find on Google Images. Thank you for your support from home!
Enjoy the weekend!
Gretchen

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December 19, 2018

Seasons Greetings~
The Give Light performance was a perfect start to the week. Several people in attendance shared that they were overcome with emotion.  It's hard not to get choked up when young children sing about giving light, teaching peace, standing together, and giving love.  The experience also offered all the children a chance to be brave and present in front of a large audience. Such proud second graders!


Friday's Celebration: Please remember to send in a Party in a Bag with your child on Friday.  We'll be watching a G rated movie selected by popular vote tomorrow.  I'm rooting for Finding Nemo - just keep swimming. Children are invited to wear PJ's, bring a small stuffed animal, and look forward to the fruits of their labor earned from making Room 4 a fine place to be.
A Special Message: Happy Holidays! I have loved working with your children these past couple of months. I am so happy and lucky to have been able to do my student teaching at Happy Hollow! I grew up in Wayland and also attended Happy Hollow, so it was wonderful to be able to see the school again and share some of my happy memories with your children. I will miss all of the kids very much and will be sure to come back sometime and visit! :)
-Whitney Moorman
Mystery Reader: Olivia and her mom shared some terrific stories including Amelia Bedelia who is always entertaining readers with her silly antics.  Join us in 2019!


Author's Chair: We'll be sharing the narrative books the children published in the next few days.  They love writing books and being called authors.  If your child brings the book home, please make sure it ultimately finds its place in the portfolio at school.  The stories are just priceless.
We continue to listen to Ariana read her book with wide eyes and interest.  Some students have notebooks and pencils at the ready.  They ask thoughtful questions and share insights.  She has inspired more writing with every visit. She's a third grade author.
Enjoy your winter break with these wonderful children.
Peace,
Gretchen

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 12, 2018

Hi Parents~
Good Wednesday morning!
Ms. Morrison shared these pictures of our chemists in her lab last Friday.  They were exploring what happens when a solid (Alka Seltzer tablet) meets a liquid. Next stop Ms. Niles' room this Friday.


December Assembly: Our annual Give Light assembly featuring all of the second graders is scheduled for Monday, December 17. The assembly begins at 9:00 AM.  Please join us if you can.
Math: Ms. Moorman is taking the lead with our  time and fraction unit.  The children should be practicing with an analog clock out in the real world whenever possible.  We also started new math shuffle groups this week. The focus is on place value.
Writing: We are publishing our personal narrative stories and writing up a storm with new small moment memories.  Ariana, a third grade author, came for a visit yesterday to share her new book called The Written World.  She's reading it to us and we're recognizing the beautiful craft and flow of her story.  What an inspiration!
Celebration: Yesterday we filled our marble jar so it's time to plan a party!   We also earned the coveted classroom gold star.  We are officially a courteous, industrious, and thoughtful team.  The children are excited about these milestones. We'll let you know the plan.
It's a Mystery!: Not one, but TWO special mystery visits last week. Ayehu's family arrived on Thursday afternoon to celebrate his 8th birthday with a read aloud.  On Friday, Miles, Shayna, and Nora shared a few stories and ended with a riddle book.  Such fun reading! Join us!

Stay warm and calm,
Gretchen


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4, 2018

December Greetings!
I'm hoping your week is off to a great beginning.   Happy Hanukkah to the families celebrating the holiday.  There is magic in the air this month along with a multitude of learning opportunities. We're excited! 
Ms. Moorman, our faithful student teacher, will be staying with us until winter break. Hurray!
Science: Check out our scientists conducting their first experiment in a series.  Our class will rotate to Ms. Morrison's laboratory this Friday.  We're exploring states of matter so last Friday we used water to separate black and green ink. So cool! Ask your child what transpired.


Math: I hope you can play the fraction game at least once this week.  Some students may recognize "equivalent fractions" and it might be an opportunity to talk about that concept. 
Second Grade Presentation: All of our second graders will be performing at Assembly on Monday, December 17.  The assembly begins at 9:00.  If you can't make it we will be sure to videotape it.
Compliments: This is the BEST gift- a shot of affirmation every time they are read.  Thank you for helping with this project.  Please return them to me by Friday. I have some typing to do.
Mystery Reader: Cherish Dixon rocked the house last week with a few stories and an impressive rendition of Simon Says.  Thanks to Cherish, DJ, and Noel for spreading the joy of reading. Sign up or contact me.
Have a wonderful week!

Gretchen