Monday, December 21, 2015

Skating Along

We are skating along and rolling toward a mid-winter break. Really. We are really, and honestly, truly roller skating in PE. It was super fun on Friday to strap on a pair of quads and wheel around the gym. All the students were showing great effort and working to extend their skating abilities. I must say, I was honored to be wearing my daughter, Emily's, roller derby helmet. I think the loaner helped me skate better; it sure didn't hurt! Well, maybe it hurts a little when you fall.

This week is off to a good start. As you might imagine, we are trying to wrap up big projects, continue with our daily routines, and enjoy a story or two before we say so long to 2015. During our morning meeting, we talked about how to be our best selves this week. Everyone knew the positive behaviors that help make our classroom and Woodland a safe and fun place to be. Today, the students did more than talk the talk. They used their work time productively; they said, "Excuse me," and "Thank you." They took care of their own tasks and supported the work in the entire room. Delightfully delightful.

So here's a big shout out to the kind children in our room. Here's to skaters. And here's to Seconds!

Rolling Along!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Writing Toward the Finish Line

All good things must come to an end, and we have a deadline for our writing about plants. After a brief writers' meeting this morning, we have set next Wednesday as our first deadline to complete our writing and next Friday as our final deadline. Most writers thought they could finish by then while others lobbied for the end of December. (That's going out on a limb...even for plant writing.)

The last few days have been loaded with learning. As we finish up this project, we are asking ourselves how we can make our writing clear and interesting for our readers. We noticed that when we say facts in our own words the writing sounds more like us. That's interesting. In this way, we are sharing our knowledge. We are owning the information and recording it for others so they can learn. That's what writers do.

You wouldn't believe what we are learning from each other as well. Students have demonstrated how to write longer pieces, use paragraphs, use quotation marks, use punctuation marks, and how to make illustrations pop. Elegant writing abounds in Room 223.

So hi-ho, here we go sprinting to the finish line with quality writing in hand. Here's to writing; here's to writers; and here's to Seconds!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Growing Our Research

Reading and research has definitely sprouted in our classroom. We have selected our topics and have been busily gathering information. What is your child's topic? Is it on this list, or is it something different?

  • life cycles of plants
  • plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, seeds, flowers
  • interesting or unusual plants: cactus, venus flytrap, WOW!
  • trees
  • plant colors
  • photosynthesis (It's what makes a plant a plant you know.)
  • sunflowers
  • ???
  • how seeds are spread
Whatever the topic, I'm sure your child has a bushel of information to share. While we gather this information, we are also thinking about how to publish what we know so others can learn from us. We are working as researchers and thinking like writers. Do we have enough information to publish? When we publish, how can we make it all look like an organized book a reader will be interested in? These are but a few of the questions we are considering as we wrap up our plant unit.

What's that you ask? Are we singing a song about plants too? Why yes we are, thanks for asking. This week we learned and sang along to the Garden Song as performed by John Denver and the Muppets. So, here's to the Garden Song Link; here's to plants; and here's to Seconds!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bloom and Grow

How do roots grow? How do plants make food? What's the largest and smallest plant? Some questions, huh?

You may have heard through the grapevine that we are researching plants. Each day we take some time to read and write about plants and mix in some experiments along the way. We are working as botanists, scientists, researchers, and writers as we unearth lots of information about plants.

When we return from Thanksgiving break, we will really dig in and form several research groups. The groups will be rooted in investigations around specific plant topics. Within these groups, researchers will cultivate an understanding of their topic and share this knowledge with others. No doubt, cool and informative projects will sprout up over the next couple weeks.

We look forward to our explorations really branching out, as every new discovery is just more food for thought. So here's to plants and here's to Seconds!

Monday, November 2, 2015


Hello Families!

Ms. Muck and I are happily preparing for conferences. If you have not had a chance to sign up for a time slot on Wednesday or Thursday, please jump over to the Woodland homepage and find a day and time that works for you.

These conferences are a time to talk about your child's first few months in second grade. We want the conference to be a conversation about your child. What's going well? What are we working on? What's next? Really, it's a time to share information and think about how we all can support the important work of growing and learning in second grade. If you have questions about the year so far, please feel free to ask them when we meet. If there is something important you think we should know, please share it with us. The more we all know, the more we can all help.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday or Thursday. So here's to a great, home-school partnership and here's to Seconds!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sing Along With Seconds!

Each morning we begin our day with a song. We try to learn one new song a week. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays we sing our new song. When Thursday and Friday arrive, our classroom helpers choose their favorite from an always-growing list of tunes. You can sing along with us at home! Just click the song titles below to be miraculously, or technologically, transported to YouTube, hit play and sing your heart out. Feel free to skip the ads; we do. Here's to the soundtrack of our classroom and here's to Seconds!

If I Only Had a Brain sung by The Scarecrow

Mister Rabbit sung by Pete Seeger

My Favorite Things sung by Julie Andrews

I Won't Grow Up sung by Peter Pan

Three Little Birds sung by Bob Marley

Thursday, October 22, 2015

So Many Books, So Little Time

When we write, we are writers. This week we are 100% writers because we are publishing our personal narrative stories. Let me tell you, it's not easy publishing a book.

First, we looked through our writing notebooks and decided which story was worthy of publication. Next we thought about the book's layout: tall or small, illustrations or only text. Once we made these decisions, we set to work on our final copies. Out of respect for our readers, we are paying attention to correctly using capital letters, spacing between words, spelling, and punctuation at the ends of our sentences. Whew it's a lot to pay attention to.

The work in our publishing house this week is going well. We hope to finish our final copies in the next few days because we can't wait to share these stories with families during conferences. So here's to deadlines and published stories. Here's to writing and writers. And here's to Seconds!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Writing About Reading

Shhh. Don't tell Ms. Bolme's Second Grade class, but we are writing them a letter. The letter is about one of our favorite books, Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile.

Whenever writers write, they have a purpose. Our purpose is to convince Ms. Bolme and her students how good this book is. We discovered that before we write, we have to do a little planning. Planning is like slowing down our thinking. During our two days of planning, we uncovered some pretty fancy ideas we didn't think about right away. If we would have just started writing and quickly finished the letter, we would have missed writing about the author and the illustrator. Our whole letter would have been about our favorite part, favorite part, favorite part, and another favorite part. Zzzzz. Kind of boring, don't you think? Since we took time to think and plan, we now have a bunch more interesting ideas to include in our letter.

We can't wait to write our letter and send it to Ms. Bolme's room. Sharing books and letters with friends is way cool. So here's to friends; here's to books, and here's to Seconds!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Writing Like Readers

There's a problem. Seriously. Every story we read has had a problem. The problem happened because one or more of the characters wanted something. Getting what we want is rarely easy, so there's the problem.

As readers we have noticed these problems. Today we opened our writer's notebooks for the first time and started thinking about the stories from our lives. Guess what. There were problems:

  • dog bites
  • cuts
  • broken bones
  • accidentally left a child at home and drove away (Yes family, you know who you are.)
  • fell off a bike
  • fell into a lake
  • got sick and couldn't go outside
  • lost in the store...dun, dun, dahhh
Oh my, the list goes on. Now that we know there's a problem, we will write like authors and think like readers. We will plan our stories, just like authors do, to include characters, settings, and events that tell the story in the best way we know how. It's the way the stories we have read work, and it's the way we are working too. How nutty is this? A problem is a good thing for a writer. Ha. So here's to problems, and here's to Seconds!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Individuals as Teammates

Happy Monday! Wow, who knew we were going to have a fire drill today? No one in our room. After the drill we met to discuss how things went. We decided we lined up, walked out, and took care of ourselves quite well--even though the alarm was a big SURPRISE! During our discussion, we also decided we needed to be quieter when lining up and simply say, "Here," when we get to our safety spot. That's what a good teammate would do.

Each person in our room is a unique individual. When we come together, we are still individuals, but we also form a team. It's an odd idea isn't it? Really it's making one out of many. This idea is why we are working so hard on helping everyone be individually and independently responsible. We listen, make transitions, and do our jobs independently, so our class team can work well and learn together. It's the individual links in a chain that make it strong; it's the individuals in our room that make us a strong team.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to explore the behaviors that support our learning: getting along, listening, using our work time, being kind, safe, respectful, and responsible. So here's to great Teammates and here's to Seconds!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Odds and Ends

Did you know that all Woodlamd students have recess before lunch this year? Did you also know that all Woodland students run a lap around the Square before heading to the playground? Did you also, also know that at least one teacher runs the lap with his second-grade learners most days?

Here's one more "did you know." Did you know we had a fire drill on Thursday? Everyone exited the building quickly and quietly. The learners in Room 223 put on a great display of safe and mature behavior. We know how to take care of our business, so here's to Seconds! Thanks families for all the support you show each and every day.

Friday, September 11, 2015

What a Week

What a week it has been. You might even say it's been a strong week! We are off to a great start as we learn how to do second-grade work, how to be part of a classroom team, and how to cooperate. The Woodland Way is alive and well in our room.

This morning, we also had our first, all-school assembly. During the assembly, Ms. Carlson talked about how important the Woodland Way is for everyone when we are in school, on the playground, and on the buses. No matter where we go or what we do, it's about being kind, safe, respectful, and responsible.

Here are some things you might want to talk about as a family...things we have done this week:

  • We read Hunter's Best Friend at School.
  • We sang The Barnyard Song (and the bird went tweet-tweet).
  • We are reading Rumplestiltskin and learning about characters, wants, and problems.
  • We talked about how mathematicians work.
  • We started working in our Math Journals.
  • We laughed and learned together!
Enjoy the weekend ahead. Here's to Seconds!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Off and Running...And Learning

We had a great first day in second grade. We read a little, wrote a little, and did a little math. We also began rereading a familiar book, "Hunter's Best Friend at School." In our discussion, we talked about how Hunter and Stripe were really in charge of their choices. Unfortunately, they needed reminders from their teacher and from their friends about how to be their best selves. After only finished half the book, we already noticed how characters' choices affect other characters and other events. Who knew? More to come tomorrow. Here's to Seconds!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Open House!

What a treat to meet so many students and families last week during Summer Assessments.

Ms. Muck and I are looking forward to seeing more smiling faces Tuesday, September 2 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Woodland's Open House. Woo hoo. Open House is a great opportunity to visit school, bring in school supplies, find your child's/children's classroom, and meet all the wonderful people who are part of the Woodland community.

Here's to an energetic evening. Here's to Seconds!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It Won't Be Long Now!

I realize there are a few tasks to take care of before the new school year begins: more picnics and trips to the lake; State Fair; Labor Day; bike rides; State Fair...

But, it won't be long now. Ms. Muck and I are busy getting our new-old room ready for a year of big learning in second grade. We are looking forward to meeting and reading with everyone next week. See you soon and here's to Seconds!
Like the roads..this room is under construction!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Coming Soon

Hello Second Graders and Families!

Just a quick reminder that we will be doing summer assessments Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26 and 27. If you have not signed up for a time, click on over to the Woodland website or jump right to the PTC link and choose the slot most convenient for you.

Ms. Muck and I are looking forward to meeting everyone in the coming weeks. Here's to Seconds!

Happy Summertime Days.