Awesome April

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The second graders accomplished a lot during the month of April, and also enjoyed a nice break for Passover. We even welcomed a new student, Michal to our class! Here is an overview of what we learned in the last month.

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Reading/Language Arts

Within their reading groups, students read chapter books with interesting main characters. They read Pippi Longstocking, Horrible Harry, or How to Eat Fried Worms. Next, students analyzed their character and identified character traits. Using cereal boxes, small cartons, and toilet paper rolls they created a robot version of their character. After that, the class learned about sequels as we read many stories along with their second parts. Students were then challenged to create a sequel to their book, but with their robot as the main character. We discussed how adding details about your character can make your audience feel more connected to that character. The class eagerly shared as we discussed our most beloved characters from stories we have read. The class is in the final stages of the writing process for this writing assignment and I can’t wait to read the fabulously creative stories that they have come up with!

As another writing assignment, students reviewed their letter writing skills. I was very impressed with the letters that students wrote to me telling about their Passover Break. The amount of effort they put forth was apparent as they remembered to add details and elaborate.

Second graders also strengthened their fluency skills by practicing and performing a Reader’s Theater skit. This was a culmination of the fairytales unit we did in March. In small groups, students performed classic fairytale skits for the first graders to enjoy. They performed the Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

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In math students learned about division. They learned strategies such as distributing into equal shares and forming equal groups. They also learned to write their own division story problems. Students learned that multiplication and division are related and completed a project displaying this understanding. The project showed multiplication/division fact families, vocabulary words, strategies for problem solving, and written explanations of properties. These projects are on the bulletin board outside our classroom. Second graders also learned two strategies for making change from dollar amounts. They learned to count up or subtract from a dollar (or other given amount). Currently we are studying how to find the area of a shape or given surface. Students had fun tracing their hands and feet to find the surface area in square centimeters.

Science/Social Studies

In science we wrapped up our unit on life cycles. As our culminating event we went to visit the Austin Humane Society in order to begin a Tikkun Olam project.  Students learned about animal homelessness, how animal shelters work, and responsible pet ownership. The class is currently discussing how we can raise money and will soon begin to put together their ideas in order to raise money for the shelter….more on this will be coming soon! We also reviewed the Scientific Method by doing a few fun science experiments in the Becker Science Center. Below you will find pictures of the children doing an experiment called Sugar vs. Flour. In this experiment students learned that sugar is absorbed more quickly into the blood. They made “blood” by adding red dye to corn syrup. Next, they added flour and sugar to see which absorbed faster. We had a blast!!

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We also began a mini-unit on basic map-reading skills. The class learned the cardinal directions on the compass rose. They practiced locating cities and countries on a map and naming which direction they would go to get to a given place. Students also learned to identify the seven continents. Currently, we are working on using map keys as well as creating our own map keys in order to map a section of our campus. Second grade students have also drawn maps of their bedroom and classroom. We will continue this unit for a bit in May.