Happy New Year Families and Friends! I hope that the beginning of your year has been filled with a ton of fun already. We have been having a great time in 2012 so far and have definitely been experiencing times where it is very obvious to me that we are now approaching the second half of second grade, as crazy as that is to think about!
First things first, thank you for all of your help with the Chores for Change fundraiser. The kids were really excited about it and worked hard to earn $350.00 in all! With this total we voted on which animals to purchase and ended up buying 1 goat, 1 llama, a trio of rabbits and 1 flock of chicks for Heifer International. These animals will help multiple families and it was all thanks to the combined effort of your support and your hard working kids!
One sure sign that I have noticed that they are now "second half of second graders" is the increased excitement and willingness in the kids to accept challenges. We have begun a few new units in Reading, Writing, and Fundations, where I have seen a new desire to become masters in these different areas.
We have a new design and routine in Readers Workshop that the kids are really enjoying. This part of our day is now broken up into two times, work time and just-right reading time. Work time is now where the students are all focused on a task surrounding the unit, in this case, each student is doing a character study of their choice. At the sound of the chime the kiddos can switch to reading their just-right books or continue working on their work time activity. Our character study is all about reading a series to get to know all about a character's internal and external traits as well as how that character may be similar or different to you. This unit has been going really well and I encourage you to ask your student about which character they are learning about, they've picked some great ones!
Last week in Writers Workshop we began a unit on writing constructed response pieces and I was immediately blown away by how successful they were with this right off the bat. We began by talking about topic sentences and how to make smart topic sentences that introduces what the piece will be about without giving away all the information in the first sentence. In order to successfully do this you have to answer a question by flipping the question around and using key words from it. The question that they were answering is, "What are your Hopes and Dreams for the rest of second grade?" The new challenge also needed for this type of writing was coming up with three hopes and dreams instead of just one. Some of the wonderful topic sentences shared were:
"I have several hopes and dreams I want to accomplish for the rest of the year."
"I hope to complete all of my hopes and dreams this year."
"I have a couple of hopes and dreams I want to reach for the rest of second grade."
Without giving away all of their writing, I will just say again, wow, I have been so impressed with what they are coming up with and am looking forward to seeing what comes next in their pieces!
In Fundations last week we just began a new unit on multi-syllabic words and learning the different rules on how to divide the words into their syllables. The students welcomed the new challenge of the multiple rules involved and it was the most successful Fundations unit kick-off we have had yet! It's been just a couple of days with this, but I encourage you to look on our wiki and have the kids share their new knowledge with you.
I hope that you are having a restful long weekend!