Monday, January 14, 2019

January Update




IMPORTANT DATES:
  • January 18th: NO SCHOOL- Professional Development for Teachers
  • January 21st: NO SCHOOL-Martin Luther King Day
CURRICULUM UPDATE

READING
In this next reading unit, a major focus is on reading fluency as they encounter longer texts. Students will focus on reading in phrases with appropriate expression, at a just right pace. Students will also pay attention to literary language in texts. They will notice when an author plays with words or uses comparisons. We will explore some poetry as we dig into literary language. As students encounter longer texts, it is important that they “hold on” to the different parts of the text so they are able to understand the book as a whole. Continuing to jot thoughts down on sticky notes, sharing ideas with a partner, and rereading are critical reading behaviors. Students will continue to set goals and monitor those goals.

WRITING
We will wrap up our Informational Writing Unit during the first two weeks of January, then move on to our Opinion Writing Unit. In this unit students will:
  • Form an opinion about a book
  • At least two reasons for the opinion, and write sentences to support each reason
  • Try to convince the reader of the opinion
  • Write an ending to remind readers of their opinion
As students edit their pieces, they should use correct punctuation, appropriate capitalization, and correct spelling of no excuse words and words from their weekly sorts.

MATH
Our study of place value, addition and subtraction has continued this month. Students and classrooms are diving into the hands-on practice of building and decomposing numbers through place value, utilizing addition and subtraction stories to combine, separate and compare. 
  • Using a place value model to represent a 2-digit number as tens and ones
  • Finding as many combinations of a 2-digit number as possible, using only tens and ones
  • Recognizing that different combinations of tens and ones for the same number are equivalent ie. 4 tens and 6 ones, are equivalent to 3 tens and 16 ones
  • Identifying and using coin equivalencies to compose 2- digit numbers
  • Determining the difference between a number and multiple of 10 up to 100

HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH MATH

WORD WORK/SPELLING

It is so exciting to see the progress students are making in their spelling. Students were given a spelling inventory before Thanksgiving break and some students moved into different groups based on the results of their assessment, weekly spelling test scores, and spelling quizzes. Spelling groups were formed based on their understanding of spelling patterns. Please continue to support your child by making sure that their word sorts are practiced daily along with the 5 “No Excuse Words” and challenge word of the week. Using the sorts throughout the week helps your child develop the spelling pattern they are working on for the week.

SCIENCE & SOCIAL STUDIES
In science, wrapped up our learning on forces and motion and are moving on to weather. We will focus on:
  • Conducting weather experiments
  • Observing changes in weather over time
  • Becoming familiar with instruments meteorologists use to monitor weather conditions
  • Exploring the various types of clouds and the the weather they bring
  • Gaining an understanding of the water cycle
  • Gaining an understanding of how weather and changing seasons impact people, animals, and plants
  • Gathering and analyzing data on the weather in different locations and in different seasons
  • Analyzing the ways severe weather contributes to catastrophic events (floods, wildfires, etc.)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December Update



IMPORTANT DATES:
  • December 7th: Recycle Material Due for Force and Motion toy project
  • December 18th: Wrapped book for Book Exchange Due 
  • December 20th: Holiday Party 
  • December 21st: NO SCHOOL
  • December 22nd: Progress Reports available for viewing
  • December 21st-January 6th: WINTER BREAK!
  • Students return to school on Monday January 7th. Have a wonderful winter break! 
THANK YOU!
Thank you for your generous contribution to our classroom library through the purchase of a new book at the Scholastic Book Fair. The books you purchased have added more great books for our students to enjoy! Thank you!

HOLIDAY PARTY
We will have our class holiday party on Thursday, December 20th. We will be having a simple celebration and a book exchange. A letter regarding our holiday party will be sent home in your child’s Homework Folder.

ELEMENTARY PROGRESS REPORTS-FIRST SEMESTER
Progress reports are available for parent viewing on Saturday, December 22rd. Log on to your parent portal to view your child’s progress report. You will also find a first semester wrap up of your child’s academic learning in second grade. Please take the time to read all the learning, growth and success we have had thus far in second grade. The following rating system is used to determine your child's level of performance:

Exceeds
Indicates a high level of achievement. It indicates a student has a strong understanding of the content/concepts/skills taught and it implies a student can demonstrate understanding independently and with very few errors.

Meets
Indicates that a student demonstrates an understanding of content/concepts/skills most of the time and with limited support. Students who are meeting standards make few major errors or omissions when demonstrating a concepts or skill.

Approaching
Indicates that a student requires moderate support to demonstrate an understanding of concepts/skills. Students' ability to demonstrate their understanding of a concept or skill is inconsistent or infrequent, which indicates a partial understanding of the content, concept or skill. Students demonstrate more frequent errors or omissions.

Does Not Meet
Students who do not meet standards seldom demonstrate an understanding of concepts and skills taught. The student requires considerable support to demonstrate learning and makes frequent major errors when demonstrating his/her understanding.

CURRICULUM UPDATE

READING
During Reader’s Workshop we have been deeply emerged into Non-fiction texts. We began digging into our non-fiction texts with understanding how our books go, what we notice, what we can earn and asking questions about our books. We then very diligently study keywords and began talking the lingo of our topic. We used strategies such as, using context to build knowledge around unknown words and learning to be flexible thinkers to discover tricky keywords. We read our books like the experts we became with our non-fiction knowledge. The last part of our non-fiction unit was centered around reading across a topic. We used several non-fiction books about the same topic to deepen and grow our knowledge around our topic. We worked on being able to retell topics not just retelling books. Lastly, we celebrated our learning by preparing a simple presentation of all the knowledge we gained on our topic. Students shared their learning with reading partners and shared with family members through Seesaw. In addition to our non-fiction reading skills we continue to work on reading fluency, building stamina as a reader, and making sure that we are working with a book that we can read with 98% accuracy.

WRITING
We are continuing our work with writing scientifically, writing lab reports and ending with “how to” writing. Below are important parts of writing that we are working on:
  • Writing as scientists do
  • Procedural writing
  • Designing and writing about an experiment(s)
  • Constructing question(s), writing a hypothesis, writing explicit procedures, sharing results and writing a conclusion that refers back to our hypothesis.
  • Plan informational books
  • Integrating scientific information into our writing
  • Using checklist/rubrics to self assess and plan for next parts
MATH
Our study of attributes of shapes and fractions is coming to a close and we will be moving into Unit 3: How Many Stickers? How Many Cents? before winter break. During the first session of this unit, students will focus on the following:
  • Introduced to Sticker Station, a store that sells stickers singly, in strips of 10, and in sheet of 100. The Sticker Station provides a model for representing and making sense of place value.
  • Using a place value model to represent a 2-digit number as tens and ones
  • Finding as many combinations of a 2-digit number as possible, using only tens and ones
  • Recognizing that different combinations of tens and ones for the same number are equivalent ie. 4 tens and 6 ones, are equivalent to 3 tens and 16 ones
  • Identifying and using coin equivalencies to compose 2- digit numbers
  • Determining the difference between a number and multiple of 10 up to 100
HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH MATH
WORD WORK/SPELLING
It is so exciting to see the progress students are making in their spelling. Students were given a spelling inventory the last week in November and some students moved into different groups based on the results of their assessment, weekly spelling test scores, and spelling quizzes. Spelling groups were formed based on their understanding of spelling patterns. Newly formed groups will start the week of December 3rd. Please continue to support your child by making sure that their word sorts are practiced daily along with the 5 “No Excuse Words” and challenge word of the week. Using the sorts throughout the week helps your child develop, concretely, the spelling pattern they are working on for the week.

SCIENCE

In science, we are continuing our work with Force and Motion. We have been conducting some experiments and building our background knowledge about friction, gravity, force and motion. Students have done some work with catapults and understanding the way in which it changes a force or a motion. We will also be working with Mrs. Fleet before Winter break on lego building and how force, motion, pushes and pulls all affect the way objects move. To wrap up our understanding of force and motion, students will be creating their own toy that moves.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November Update



Upcoming Dates:
  • November 6- No school, Election Day Professional Learning for Teachers
  • November 12th-16th Book Fair (you can also shop online)
  • November 14th- Celebrations of Learning/Thanksgiving Feast
  • November 19-23- No school, Thanksgiving break
Curriculum Update:

WORD WORK/SPELLING:
Your child has had several weeks of getting into our routine of Word Work and Spelling. Please continue to do the daily practice activities with your child. The important thing is that your child learns to identify the pattern (through sorting) and transfer the pattern into their daily writing.

MATH:
We are currently in Unit 2: Attributes of Shapes and Parts of a Whole. During this unit students will be focusing on the following:
  • Identifying, describing, sorting, comparing and drawing 2-D and 3-D shapes
  • Learning vocabulary for shapes
  • Understanding equal parts of a whole
  • Partitioning shapes and using fraction vocabulary
  • Continuing with fluency within 20
  • Describing a rectangular array of tiles in terms of the number of rows, the number of tiles in each row and column and the total number of tiles in the array
Some math vocabulary we use in Unit 2:
  • Polygon, Vertex, Angle, Quadrilateral, Pentagon, Hexagon, Octagon, Angle, Right angle, Arrays - rows, columns, Congruent, Fraction - and fraction related vocabulary (halves, thirds, fourths)
Resources to help your child with math:
READING:
Children are growing knowledge as they read non-fiction text. The following are skills that students are learning and practicing in this unit of study:


WRITING & SCIENCE:
Students are learning to write like a scientist as we learn about FORCE AND MOTION:
  • Question
  • Hypothesize
  • Experiment (writing procedures and steps to test the hypothesis)
  • Collect data
  • Make conclusions
We are conducting some experiments and building our background knowledge about friction, gravity, force and motion.

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Update





Upcoming Dates:
  • Thursday, October 4th- Parent Teacher Conferences
  • October 8-12th- Fall Break
  • October 15 or 16th- Vision & Hearing Screening
  • October 25th- Legend Family Trunk or Treat 5:00-6:00
  • October 31st- Halloween Breakfast Parties 8:45-9:30 and Costume Parade 9:30-10:00
Curriculum Update:

READING:
We will wrap up our first Lucy Calkins Writing Unit Reading Growth Spurt after fall Break and begin a new Unit called Becoming Experts. This unit is devoted to reading Nonfiction. During Reader’s Workshop students are working on the following:
  • We continue to build our stamina to be able to independently read for longer periods of time
  • Notice and learn about the difference between fiction and nonfiction
  • Notice, learn and question
  • Identify “What is this book teaching me?”
  • Characteristics of Nonfiction (text features)
  • Building knowledge of unknown words
  • Strategies for solving unknown words
  • Adding info across books
  • Retell topics not just books
  • Lifting your level of thinking
WRITING:
We will be wrapping up our Narrative/Small Moment Writing Unit after fall break. Student have written several stories up to this point. We will choose a piece to edit, revise and publish. We will:
  • Collaborate a partner to help make a story better (revise by listening)
  • Word choice- make our readers be able to visualize our story
  • Revising and editing rough drafts
  • Fix conventions
  • Use word wall to fix spelling
  • Fix and Fancy up our writing
It has been absolutely delightful to hear the narrative stories students are writing about their special memories!

MATH:
We will be wrapping up our first Investigations Unit right after Fall Break. We will then begin Unit 2 Attributes of shapes and Parts of a Whole. During this unit students will be focusing on the following:
  • Identifying, describing, sorting, comparing and drawing 2-D and 3-D shapes
  • Learning vocabulary for shapes
  • Understanding equal parts of a whole
  • Partitioning shapes and using fraction vocabulary
  • Continuing with fluency within 20
HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH MATH
SOCIAL STUDIES:
We are completing our unit on Civics this week. Students identified what our Roles, Rights and Responsibilities are in various parts of the school and playground. During our Technology Time with Mrs. Fleet we learned about an App called Adobe Spark. Students then collaborated with a partner to create a video describing one pace in our school. Please look at your child’s Seesaw account for the video.

WORD WORK/SPELLING:
Your child has had several weeks of getting into our routine of Word Work and Spelling. Please continue to practice these words with your child (see yellow word study page in homework folder). The idea is that your child learns to identify the pattern (through sorting) but is also able to accurately spell the words as well. So far, the children are making good progress!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September Update


 

Upcoming Dates:
  • Monday, September 3 - No School (Labor Day)
  • Monday, September 18th- Parent Teach Conference window opens Conference Sign Up
  • Thursday, September 20th- Digger Dash
  • Friday, September 21st- No School (Professional Learning for Teachers)
  • Thursday, September 27th- Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Thursday, October 4th- Parent Teacher Conferences
  • October 8-12th- Fall Break
Curriculum Update:

READING:
During Reader’s Workshop students are working on the following:
  • Learning the routines and rituals that will make Reader’s Workshop successful
  • Choosing Just Right Books- Books that we can read most of the words without difficulty or can use strategies to figure out the hard words
  • Building our stamina to be able to independently read for longer periods of time
  • Recording our thinking while reading
  • Stopping, thinking, and retelling a story to check for comprehension
  • Reading more and more to continue growing
  • Strategies to use when words are tricky
WRITING:
Our first writing unit is Narrative Writing. During this unit students will write short stories based on true events from their lives. By the end of the unit students will be able to: 
  • Discovering small moments that matter-generating ideas
  • Tiny Topics- using a notebook to remember topics for writing
  • Stretching out small moments- learning to plan a story by touching each page and saying what they will write
  • Writing a good beginning, middle and end
  • Writing with detail: Magnifying a small moment
  • Bringing characters to life by using talk, feel or actions
  • Setting goals and making plans for writing time
  • Using checklist to self assess and plan for next parts
  • Close Reading: Looking closely at how mentor authors write and trying it
  • Collaborate a partner to help make a story better (revise by listening)
  • Word choice
  • Revising and editing rough drafts
Conventions are a big emphasis:
  • Capital at the beginning of each sentence, for the word ‘I’, and proper nouns
  • Punctuation at the end of each sentence
  • Quotation marks when using dialogue

MATH:
Our first Investigations Unit is called: Coins, Number Strings and Story Problems. During this unit students will focus on the following:
  • Introduce Math Tools and classroom routines-using Number Lines and The 100 Chart
  • Understand if order matters when adding two or more numbers together
  • Adding and subtracting within 20 using known facts to solve problems
  • Begin to develop fact fluency within 20
  • Compare two quantities
  • Coins
  • Time
  • Solve addition and subtraction story problems, share strategies for solving and ways to record
SOCIAL STUDIES:
Civics- Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of responsible community members.
  • During this unit we described important characteristics of a responsible community member. We learned that people can express their ideas respectfully within a community. We also explored the idea that responsible community members influence the rules, policies, and laws in their communities (including classrooms).
  • Communities - We are exploring how communities change, reasons for living in a specific community, and the different types of communities. 
WORD WORK/SPELLING:
Each student was given a spelling inventory to identify areas of strength and areas to work on. Students were then divided into groups based on their unique needs. Each week your child will come home with a list of words based on a spelling pattern. Please practice these words with your child (see yellow word study page in homework folder). The idea is that your child learns to identify the pattern (through sorting) but is also able to accurately spell the words as well.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Welcome to 2nd Grade

Dear 2nd Grade Parents,

Welcome to Gold Rush Elementary! My name is Catherine Graham and I will be your child’s 2nd Grade Teacher. My goal as your child’s teacher is to foster a love of learning while valuing individuality and striving to meet the needs of each student. I am committed to ensuring a quality of instruction that is both developmentally appropriate and challenging for each student.  I am very excited to meet you and your child.

This will be my 18th year teaching in Douglas County. I graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science and an emphasis in Exercise Physiology. I then went on to complete my Masters Degree through the University of Colorado (Denver) in Curriculum and Instruction and obtain my teaching license.

This August I will have been married to my husband Kelly for 20 years. We have three beautiful daughters McKenna, Kendall and Delaney. McKenna is 15 years old and is a sophomore at Legend High School. Kendall is 13 years old and is an eighth grader at Cimarron Middle School. Delaney is 7 and is a 2nd Grader here at Gold Rush. We also have Dakota a Gold Retriever Puppy! Our family enjoys outdoors activities such as camping, hiking, swimming and skiing. All three of my girls are soccer players so we spend a great deal of time on the soccer field! In my spare time I enjoy running, going to Orange Theory and one of my favorite hobbies is to scrapbook. 

Please mark your calendar for the following important dates:
·       Families are welcome to come visit our classroom, meet me and drop off your labeled  school supplieson Monday, August 6th. Please sign up for a time slot by clicking here for the  On Line Scheduler use the password digger and then use the student look up tab
·    Our First day of school is Thursday, August 9th
.   Wednesday August, 15th Back to School Night for Parents Only. We will offer 2 sessions 6:05-6:35 & 6:40-7:10
      
.   We will not have class on August 28th. Each student will come to school for one hour to complete reading and math assessments. Please sign up for a day and time between July 18th and July 31st by clicking On Line Scheduler.  Because we value the information we are obtaining on these days, it is mandatory that all children complete the assessments on this day.  Please bring your child to the gym and teachers will bring students to their testing locations. Students will conclude their assessment day by having you accompany them to take their school picture.  Our Before and Afterschool Enrichment program (B.A.S.E.) will be available on both August 28th.  Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are limited.

I also believe that in order for success to occur the student, parents, teacher and the school must collaborate to provide an optimum learning experience.  I look forward to forming a partnership with you that is positive and supportive.  If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to contact me via email Catherine.graham@dcsdk12.org. I look forward to meeting everyone!

See you soon!
Sincerely,
Mrs. Catherine Graham