2nd graders were busy squeezing in the last of our math, word study, writing, reading and social studies lessons and play games in these areas to apply teaching points. They were all also very helpful in giving their classrooms one last inventory check while taking reflective look back at all they had accomplished and learned from each other. Class activities focused on the theme of friendship and kindness as friends shared the feelings that accompany change. Morning and closing meeting mini-lessons reminded us all that although we will all be starting new adventures in different classrooms next year, we would always have our 2nd grade experiences and friendships to build on. By Thursday morning, students were eager to attend the Primary School moving up ceremony and visit with the third grade teachers. The second grade team would like to all of the second grade parents who helped us make this year a wonderful one for all of the 2nd grade students.
Tuesday was an exciting day in Second Grade! Children returned to school after the long Memorial Day weekend full of stories and ready to celebrate our final Writing Workshop unit of the year: Poetry. Parents and special friends gathered in classrooms to watch presentations given by Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Noble, and Ms. Sarma which explained each stage of the writing process that children engaged in leading up to the celebration. Offering insight into the process behind the published poems helps to underscore the important learning that children have done in developing skills in planning, drafting, revising, and editing, in addition to practicing for the “big day” by reading poems in partnerships, small groups, and in front of the class. Following the presentation, children in each class took turns reading one of their published poems before an audience of classmates, parents, and special friends. Speaking before a large group takes a lot of courage, and we are proud of the bravery each and every Second Grader displayed in working through nervousness to present his or her poem. Following the group readings, each child had the opportunity to share a second published poem with his or her special guest. After so much work, eating, relaxing, playing, and spending time with family and friends was in order! Children, parents, and special friends continued the celebration with a picnic outside, and the afternoon closed on an exciting note with a special visit from the ice cream truck! We would like to thank all parents and special friends for your support of the hard work that the children have done all year and for taking the time to celebrate their efforts and achievements.
Second grade writers are excited about our upcoming Writing Celebration on Tuesday, May 26. For our final celebration of the year, the children will share their proudly published poems with their guests.
Earlier in our Poetry unit, children began viewing the world with a poet's eye, re-imagining ordinary objects in new ways. They began to list possible topics for poems and wrote poems collaboratively as a class as well as individually. As students' confidence grew, they tried incorporating a variety of poetry techniques, including alliteration, onomatopoeia (sound words), words incorporating the five senses, repetition, patterns, comparing language like similes and metaphors, and poems in the shape of objects. They practiced incorporating line breaks and choosing vivid words as they revised and edited two of their favorite poems to share with you. This week, children have recopied their poems and practiced reading them aloud fluently.
At our writing celebration next Tuesday, teachers will share an overview of the Poetry unit. Children will read one poem of their choosing aloud to the whole group. They will then share one poem individually with their own families. After a celebration of their work in the classroom, all of the second graders and their guests will gather on the back field to enjoy a pizza picnic and visit from the ice cream truck. We look forward to celebrating your child's risk-taking and growth as a writer next week!
Classrooms were buzzing this week as students put all they had learned during a 6 week study of Towns into action. After taking a closer look into the local history of Montclair, and using the observation data gathered from field trips around Montclair, students began to note some common elements. Students came together to share their findings from their walking field trips and noted that Montclair, and even their home towns, included certain essentials like housing; transportation; places to work and places to gather or have fun. Students were then challenged to design towns of their own in a medium of their choosing. Students were asked to consider the idea of needs vs. wants, before getting too far along in their town planning. Some students even considered sustainable features such as electric vehicles and bike paths for transportation options, recycling receptacles, and green spaces that young and old citizens could use. To share their work students used technology tools to document their town designs and share which elements they included and why those things were important to a town.
In Reading Workshop, Second Graders have enthusiastically jumped into our final unit of the year, which focuses on becoming “experts” in book series that we love. Our unit on Book Series is a perfect opportunity to practice many of the higher-level comprehension skills that we will be using more and more when we become third graders. We started our unit by thinking about what a book series is, brainstorming lists of some of our favorite series, and sharing what we love about them. Second Graders have learned that readers join together to follow and talk about our favorite series. In partnerships and small groups, we can make predictions based on how the series “usually goes,” and we can grow big ideas by probing for more information from our partners and small group members. We can also develop our skills in making and talking about comparisons among the books in a series by noticing patterns that occur among the different books. The practice that we are gaining will help us in developing our retells and reflections on the books that we read. In the final weeks of school, we will focus on getting to know both the primary and secondary characters in our series even better.
Second graders kicked off a new math unit about fractions this week. Students began learning that fractions are names for parts of a whole. Children used pattern block manipulatives to determine fractional parts of a whole. For example, if a yellow hexagon is "one," and two trapezoids fit inside it, then each trapezoid is one half. There were lots of interesting discoveries and "Aha!" moments as children puzzled out fractional parts of a whole using pattern blocks and pattern block templates. Children also began to build their math vocabulary by beginning to use the terms numerator and denominator. In the coming weeks, students will learn to play Everyday Math fraction games, such as the Equivalent Fractions Game and Fraction Top-It, to further develop their understanding of fractions.
Our second grade Maypole Dance was another highlight this week! Click the F&PA link in this week's bulletin to learn more about it.
Second grade classes took turns heading out into Montclair to make observations and record data about resources they see in and around parts of Montclair. These three field trips were the research component of our Towns unit of study in Social Studies. 2S, 2B and 2N traveled to Church Street, Watchung Plaza, and Upper Montclair Plaza area to make observations, jot notes and zero in on modes of transportation, housing, places to work and open spaces / places to gather in town. Students were focused as they walked through Montclair as field researchers. They stopped to jot notes and exchange ideas that they would ultimately share with the other classes on Thursday. The three classes pooled their collective observations and create Word Clouds to highlight town resources that stood out in Montclair. This valuable field work and jigsaw sharing of ideas between classes will help kick off culminating projects planned for students. Their mission will be to design towns of their own that include key resources they noted in their town study.
On Friday morning, students in 2S were excited to present Rainstorm, a wordless play inspired by the picture book of the same name by Barbara Lehman. Friday’s performance was the culmination of what has truly been a child-centered process in which children were given as much ownership as possible for the planning, creation, and performance of the play. Children started by responded to the prompt: “If you discovered a magical chest that led to a secret place, where would you go? What would you do?” Children let their imaginations run completely free, and their ideas formed the basis of our story line, in which small groups of children discover a magical chest leading to a magical jungle. Children created their characters, and working in their small groups, planned out individual scenes in the play. Children practiced the skills of being flexible, compromising, and perhaps most challenging, managing and dealing with the disappointment that can come when things do not go exactly as we had planned. Our inspiration for a wordless play came from Mrs. Noble, who created the wordless play Wave with her students in 2N several years ago. The children in 2S thought about how a play without words has the potential to include members of an audience who might otherwise not have been able to fully understand and enjoy a performance in which the story is communicated primarily through the spoken word, including audience members who might be deaf or hard of hearing, people who speak a language other than English, younger children who might not understand “big words,” and people who do not understand any spoken language. In preparing for Friday’s performance, children worked incredibly hard to develop the ability to tell a story without using their voices. In a play without words, we rely heavily on using our bodies and our facial expressions to communicate ideas and feelings. We also need to be really connected to each other, and have the ability to focus on what each person is doing in order to know how to respond. In the absence of a verbal cue or prompt, we need to notice something as subtle as someone raising a finger to indicate a scene change. This year, students in 2S have been learning about and practicing mindfulness. The skills that they have developed in learning to “turn off their voices” and deliberately direct their attention to a given focal point provided the foundation for the work that they did in this play. We call this “playing attention.” Our entire play process, and Friday’s performance, would not have been possible without the tremendous help and support of our Art teacher Ms. DuRant, who helped us design and paint our incredible backdrop and props, the guidance and expertise of our musical director Greg Paradis who helped us develop and fine tune our movements and sequences, and the talents and good humor of our “surprise” guest actor, Mr. Pyke, who played the part of our "jungle friend." 2S would also like to thank Mr. Brown for setting up our auditorium, and our parents, families, and friends for their love and support. Our performance of Rainstorm is a celebration of childhood – of imagination, free movement, dancing, friendship, laughter, and play. It is about curiosity, discovery, facing our fears and learning what happens when we do. We hope that you enjoyed our performance!
Second graders traveled back in time this week during our class field trips to the Israel Crane House. Second graders are beginning to study towns in social studies, so exploring a special historical place in our town of Montclair helped us to kick off this town unit. Children began the trip by making a living timeline. They learned what transportation, communication, and daily life were like hundreds of years ago. Next, they explored the historic Crane House. Highlights included visiting a working kitchen, where they tried their hands at a butter churn and made an imaginary "bucket brigade" to put out an imaginary fire. Lastly, children enjoyed experiencing life in a schoolhouse, practicing "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic" under strict rules. A visit with the chickens capped off our trip back in time. Special thanks to all of our parent chaperones for making our field trips possible!
Second grade students are independently and partner reading an array of poetry in class during writing workshop to help them get familiar with the many, different ways poetry can look and sound. Poetry center-based, exploratory reading time produces opportunities for students to partner read poems together. Partner reading poems helps to boost students confidence as poetry readers and supports them in fluently reading challenging vocabulary and rhyme schemes often present in poetry. Taking time to read an array of poems about different feelings, people, places and things early in our Poetry unit also supports our writers in zeroing in on craft techniques that poets use to help relay the messages of their poems. Students are also learning that poems do not have to rhyme and very often, poets use one, two or even three of their five senses to help them add details to their poems. 2nd grade students have already started generating poems as a class and are eager to write list poems independently to try their hand applying craft techniques introduced during writing workshop mini-lessons.