Interactive Writing Journals

I have started using Interactive Writing journals with the students. Basically it’s a two way journal in a notebook that the students and I write back and forth in. They write to me and I respond by asking questions and making comments. They then read what I wrote and write back again. It is a great way to strengthen both reading and writing in a meaningful way. I love how much I already know about your children after just a few entries. Here is one example that made my day! I hope this child will always feel that “math is so much fun” and “reading is the best thing in the world!”


Needs and Wants!

Today in Social Studies we discussed needs vs. wants. This was challenging for some of the students to distinguish between the two.  They had trouble realizing that though they might really, REALLY want a video game, they didn’t actually NEED one to live. This might be an interesting discussion to have at home too. Speaking of Social Studies, I had a few children ask me if I was sending home another social studies tutor sheet. I do not want to waste paper and I told the children to just practice reviewing with the completed tutor sheet that was sent home last Friday. If you need a new copy because it was recycled or is missing, please let me know. Our first social studies test will be on Friday.

Thank you to the parents who had their children try out Xtramath yesterday or after school today! Those children will be getting a PAW tomorrow for trying out the site at home. I hope you will all find the time to check out this resource for your child.

Thank you to Mrs. Khera for being the first to post a comment on my blog. It is so helpful to me to know if this blog is useful for the families. Since we are learning about needs and wants, here is something I “want”. I want to know how many parents are reading my new blog.  if you read this blog entry tonight and post a reply, you child will receive a surprise tomorrow.

Xtra! Xtra! Xtramath! and a “Powerful” Community Social Studies Lesson

I would like to have our students use the math site Xtramath to improve their speed and accuracy with addition and subtraction facts. It is a free Internet-based program that was designed by teachers. I have used this website in the past and the children have enjoyed using it. Unfortunately at the present time, neither of the computers that I have in my classroom that are working can access the site due to browser issues. I have requested assistance from the tech department but until the issue is resolved, we can not do Xtramath in the classroom. I have printed up instructions to help you sign your child onto Xtramath to do it from a computer at home. I strongly encourage that you make it a part of your child’s routine. It only takes about 10 minutes and really strengthens their computation skills. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Today I showed the children a powerpoint about their community of Dracut and how the community has changed over the years. They saw that the original inhabitants were Native Americans and they lived in the part of Dracut where Brunswick Bowling is now in Pawtucketville in Lowell.  They also learned that Dracut used to have more than 20 dairy farms, an amusement park, a ballroom, a race track and even a stop on the Underground Railroad. Talk to your child to see what he or she remembers from the powerpoint!  Please continue to review the vocabulary on the social studies tutor sheet that went home last Friday. We will have our first social studies test on Friday. One last friendly reminder…the class has Physical Education tomorrow so they need to wear their sneakers!



Scholastic Book Club and Pirates!

A great many papers went home today with the children. In addition to the “Thursday Packet” materials from the office, I sent home the Scholastic Book Club order forms. I sent home both the 2nd and 1st grade forms because there are some great books on each form and many of the books on the first grade form are actually second grade reading level and of interest to second graders. I have a cover sheet detailing exactly what you need to do to order books either through me or online if you choose to participate this month. Please note that each form has one book that is only $1.00!  I will need all orders place by Thursday, Sept. 26th.

Today is International Pirate Day! We read a pirate story, answered questions about it, and the children even tried writing their own pirate adventure. Ask your child about it!!

Thank You!

Thank you to all the parents who attended last night’s Orientation Night. It was so nice to see all of you. If you were not able to attend, I sent home all the papers you missed. Please review my presentation when you get the chance.

Today we started doing partner houses in math and we learned how to choose “just-right” books for our independent reading bags. We talked about how some behaviors support us reaching our second grade hopes and dreams and some behaviors get in the way of us or our classmates from reaching our hopes and dreams. Then we wrote a “Class Constitution” that we as a class community will use to remind us of what we need to do to be successful in second grade. We will all sign our constitution tomorrow.  We also had a visit from “Zero the Hero” and he brought the class a treat. We read a story about Zero and learned a lot of math concepts along the way.  Oh, we were so busy today that I forgot to stamp the tutor sheets. (Sorry!) I’ll catch up on stamping them tomorrow!

Rainy Days and Mondays in Second Grade!

We had to be flexible today because we had an assembly to introduce the children to the Jeanne D’Arc Banking program that is offered through the school and recess indoors due to the rain. We did reader’s workshop and talked about anchor charts. We read some stories and made an anchor chart about the different types (genres) of books. We did a lot of math with counting coins today and the children brought home the paper coins we used so they can use them if they need them to do their homework. You may keep these coins at home so they have them available for nightly homework.

I passed back last week’s spelling test that was a review test of words they had last year. If your child had a pink sign and return slip, please send it back signed tomorrow. Based on the spelling assessment I used, the children were given a spelling list that meets their specific needs at this time. Your child got either a blue, pink or gold spelling tutor sheet. Please practice these words nightly with your child. All children will take a spelling test based on the words they practiced.

In second grade, the social studies instruction is more formal than last year and they will be having a test on the concepts we are studying. I gave each child a social studies vocabulary word tutor sheet. Please practice this nightly with your child. I suggest starting with giving the definition to the child and having the child identify the vocabulary word. When they get more sure of the words, try giving your child the word and having him/her tell you the definition. Please keep both of these tutor sheets in their homework folder so I can check them each day.

Remember that school picture day is tomorrow. It is also their physical education class. Please wear (or bring) sneakers. Our Orientation is tomorrow night from 6 to 8 pm. At Orientation, you will have the opportunity to sign up for Parent-Teacher conference appointments. You will also have a chance to shop at the Scholastic Book Fair fundraiser in the library. I look forward to seeing everyone then!

Our First Seven Days of Second Grade Together!

What a difference starting the year with second graders! They really are more independent than first graders and I am truly enjoying teaching second grade.  We spent the first seven days setting up routines, getting to know one another better, and lots and lots of assessment! I am trying to get to know each child as a learner so I can better meet their needs this year!


Giving lots of assessments will help me determine what each learner needs! Now to get correcting!

This is not only a new grade level for all of us but a new method of teaching and learning. We are going to be doing even more with balanced literacy and less with our basal textbook. We will differentiate our spelling and phonics work even more than last year. We will be doing more centers this year. We even survived sweltering heat and our first fire drill (while the students were at art in the art room). I’m really excited about this year and I am looking forward to seeing all the parents at our Orientation Night next Tuesday!!


The Night Before the First Day of School!

Well, it has taken a lot of work this summer but I think C-8 is just about ready for the first day of school! ! Ms. Smith joked that she was going to have a ribbon cutting when the room was FINALLY finished!

This way to second grade!

Here is the view from the doorway! There is just one thing missing…..oh yeah, the students!

Welcoming the class of 2013-2014!

A few more hours and it’s time to begin a new school adventure teaching second grade! I can’t wait to welcome some old friends and make some new ones.

A preview of coming attractions!l                                  

Well, it’s almost time to welcome those second graders and start learning together! Ready or not….tomorrow’s the day.