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Class News

Happy New Year! It’s been another busy week in 2-312. Many thanks for all the donations of cardboard boxes and poster board. We’re all set for now! Subway projects are underway and kids have been super excited about their creations.

A few reminders…

  • No school Monday, January 15, MLK Day
  • Library is Thursday, January 18, please return books to school before then
  • Field trip to ride an elevated train (J from Fulton to Marcy Avenue) is on Thursday, January 18

This week, we spent some time learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. We read two books – Martin’s Big Words and Happy Birthday Martin Luther King – and used them to start conversations about what we know about him, what we wonder, and why he was so important. Children talked about how he wanted love, not hate, and about his dream for a better world. On Friday, kids had a chance to do some thinking and writing about their own hopes and dreams for the future.

In math, second graders are learning about subtraction. They are playing games to further their understanding of part/whole relationships (a key big idea for subtraction), such as Close to 100 and Unroll a Square. They have explored story problems that can be solved using subtraction and are using the bead string as a model to think about subtraction as either adding up or removing (ex: 100-75=? is the same as 75+?=100). Keep practicing those subtraction fact cards at home!

In reading, each child started their own “personal library.” You’ve probably seen this come home in your child’s blue reading folder. Each week, the kids shop for new books on Monday. This week, they started setting reading goals by recording their chosen books. Once a book is finished, they can color it in and watch the library grow over time. Discussions this week about reading process have touched on the importance of reading one longer book at a time, giving a book a real go before deciding you don’t like it (the class decided reading half was fair), and how to use personal libraries to keep track, motivate, and inform future book shopping decisions.

In writing, we’re continuing to work on non-fiction. This time, writers are focusing on subways. They began by gathering all the facts they know about subways and sorting them into groups with headings and guiding questions (ex: Jobs: Who works on the subway? or Fare: How do you pay?). This week, they’ve expanded their notes into longer form writing and learned how to write introductory sentences at the beginning of each section (ex: “New York City is lucky to have the subway,” and, “Do you want to know what New York was like back then? I will tell you!”). They also continued to use but, because, and so to elaborate on facts.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thea and Gretchen

Homework Choice Boards are here!

Second Grade Homework Choice Board

15 minutes of Dreambox15 minutes of a board game (SET, Yahtzee, Scrabble Jr., Boggle, Monopoly, Bananagrams, Zeus on the Loose)15 minutes of a card game with chips (Poker or Black Jack)Write a thank you note, wish list, shopping list, or list of favoritesPractice tying your shoes and zipping your winter coat
Write a letter to a family member or friendMake dessert for your family following a recipeRead a book to a family member or friendMemorize a poem you loveRoll coins of loose change
Play charadesSet the table in a fancy way with place cards and menusMemorize your phone number, address, and parents’ full namesPlan how much money you need to take a trip to the grocery storePlan a walking trip or subway trip in the neighborhood
While reading, talk to your parent about what you know and what you wonder about your bookWrite a blurb or review for a book you’ve readRead a review (restaurant, book, movie, activity) to make a plan for  the weekendWrite a review for a movie, TV show, or restaurantWhat coins are in my pocket? Choose an amount and figure out what coins you could have.


Class News

Important events:

Winter Break 12/23-1/1… See you back in school on 1/2/18

Family Morning 12/21 at 8:45-9:15

Here’s a fantastic task to try over break: Shoe tying! Seriously lots of practice over break will save a ton of time down the road!


Another exciting 2 weeks full of learning and just enough silliness. Since we last wrote, we have had two interviews with MTA employees: one Subway Operator and one Station Agent. We learned all about the work they do to keep the subway running and got a chance to construct meaningful questions and to think about their answers.

In math, we have finished out our work with story problems for now. Students wrestled with non-combining and non-removal problems and were able to think about what they knew, were trying to find out, matching an equation to the problem and then solving. If you want to practice at home, it can be fun to give your mathematician a problem and have them write a story to match, then solve. Or you can write it and have them match it. Here are some equations to get you started: 82+ ? = 102 (Thea had 82 friends over to a dance party, then some more came. In the end there were 102. How many more came over), or ?-37=16 (Gretchen baked some cookies, but the teachers at school ate 37 of them. In the end there were only 16 left. How many did she bake originally?)

In writing, students have continued to research and have begun to write their nonfiction books. They have sorted their known facts into categories and started to think about interesting ways to explain their information. Students have also been thinking deeply about how readers learn from nonfiction. First they prime themselves and think about what they already know. Once they start reading they look out for facts to learn, ideas to be confirmed, or change, and new questions to arise. In reading they have practiced looking at nonfiction with open minds and tracking their ideas and how they have changed.

Stay warm everyone! It’s freezing out there.

Thea and Gretchen

Class News

December is here! A few important reminders…

  • December 7, Transit Museum Field Trip
  • December 12-14, Book Fair
  • December 14, Library (make sure kids bring books back to school)
  • December 21, Family Morning, 8:45-9:15 in 312
  • December 25-January 1, NO SCHOOL for winter break

In reading and writing, we’re moving into a unit on nonfiction. This week, kids began to explore nonfiction books about a variety of topics. They learned about features that help the reader navigate the book and learn more (table of contents, headings, diagrams, text boxes, labels, glossary, and index). When kids begin their own nonfiction books, they’ll try out the same features. To work on comprehending nonfiction, station groups practiced starting with prior knowledge (what you already think you know about a topic) and then reading on to figure out if those facts were confirmed or changed. Readers began learning how to differentiate new information from prior knowledge. Kids used Post Its to track their thinking and sorted them on our reading/writing wall.

In math, we’ve continued working on story problems. Kids are practicing thinking about the action in the problem and using that information to generate a sketch and equation that matches the story. Towards the end of the week, second graders “oops” problems where teachers “forgot” to write a question at the end of the story problem. They wrote their own questions that partners then had to interpret and solve. In morning math routine time, kids have been practicing counting forwards and backwards by tens from non-landmark numbers and subtracting two and three-digit numbers using an open number line model.

In subway study, we had an exciting visit to the Tenement Museum last week. Children were able to “go back in time” and see what it was like to live in New York City before the subway and shortly after it opened. In the classroom, they’re learning more about subway jobs. Ask you second grader who works on the subway and why their job is important. In the coming weeks, they’ll be meeting and interview a real subway operator and a real station agent here at school.

Have a warm and restful weekend!

Thea and Gretchen

Class News

Hello parents! Another busy two weeks on the books. Mark your calendars for these upcoming dates: Our family morning is Thursday, November 16th from 8:30am to 9:00am. November 16 is a half day. Lunch is optional for those who are being dismissed and not attending after school. Dismissal is 11:40. Please note that we love you all, but there are so many of you! So, we will be quite strict about sticking to our parent teacher conference schedule. Each slot is 15 minutes so if you’re running a little late in arriving, your conference will still end at its allotted time. Please plan to arrive a few minutes beforehand and then knock on the door when it’s time for your conference to begin. November 20th we have our trip to the Tenement Museum. Please have your children eat a big breakfast and come clothed for a little walking to and from the subway (which could be jackets and hats or shorts and tees at the pace we’re going).

In content study we have been watching some videos of NYC before the subways were built. Students have been thinking deeply about what that meant for city residents of the time as we prepare to visit the Tenement Museum to learn more about that time period.

In math, we have been continuing to think deeply about problem solving, asking ourselves what information we know, what we are trying to find out, and matching an equation to problems that have a story context. Later in the week we began to think about problem solving where there is an unknown change (ex: I had 14 candy bars and then I got some more. In the end I had 42. How many did I get?). This has pushed your mathematicians to think about the relationship between addition and subtraction in new ways as we begin to explore adding up to subtract as an option when problem solving.

In reading, we have continued to read the Little Prince and do some thinking about “what we know.” and “what we wonder” to check for understanding at the end of each chapter. Some of their ideas have been: “The Little Prince regrets leaving his flower and feels lonely,” and “Why isn’t the lamplighter selfish like the other adults the Little Prince meets?” During independent reading time kids have been reading from their “just right” series books to continue thinking about the problems in the books and why they make sense with the character and their traits.

We are rounding out our first series book attempt in writing. Students have conceptualized, planned, written, revised (alone and with a peer), and edited to create their own series book. Throughout this process they have had a chance to confer with teachers and to study student models as they attempted to add details, illustrations, and dialogue to their stories.

Thanks for reading!

Thea and Gretchen

Class News

Dear families,

It was lovely to spend time with so many of you on Tuesday evening. Many thanks to our class parents – Camille and Pilar – for organizing.

A few reminders…

  • There will be another permission slip going home on Monday, please sign and return promptly
  • Tuesday is Halloween and our annual Halloween parade!
  • We have Library on Thursday, November 2, so kids should bring in their books to be returned
  • There is no school for kids on Election Day (Tuesday, November 7)

We had our first subway study trip on the subway today! Kids focused on observing signage and MTA workers. Back in the classroom, we talked about the kinds of signs we saw and what information they give subways riders.

In reading and writing, second graders are learning about series books. Everyone is reading series books and thinking about character traits and types of problems/solutions that stay true across different books in one series. Writers are planning characters and problems for their own series book. Kids had to think about what kinds of problems would make sense with their character. Next week, they’ll start to write.

In math, we focused on geometry this week. Kids learned about 2D shapes and their  attributes. They learned about right angles and the defining features of a rectangle. Many were surprised to learn that a square is – in fact – a special kind of rectangle. On Wednesday, station groups had lively debates about whether or not a 3×4 rectangle and a 4×3 rectangle are the same shape or not. At home, it would be helpful for kids to practice identifying and naming some common 2D shapes (ex: triangle, rectangle, square, rhombus, trapezoid, and hexagon). You can also continue to practice counting by tens from non-landmark numbers (ex:37, 47, 57, 67, etc.)

Enjoy the fall weekend and early Halloween celebrations!

Thea and Gretchen