Goodbye Second Grade, Hello Third!!!

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The bittersweet ending to the school year is here and soon my second graders will become third graders! Lucky for me, I get to go with them this time!!! From field trips, to plays, to projects, and more, second graders had a busy year of learning. The second graders’ reflections of their favorite second grade activity, along with several other compositions, are in the writing portfolios (sent home). Below you will find a summary of what second grade has been learning the past few weeks:

In reading, higher-level reading skills and deeper questioning skills were emphasized. Second graders learned to make inferences (a guess made while reading using prior knowledge and context clues), create their own questions, read for information, and answer by writing complete sentences.  In small groups, students read various texts within the nonfiction genre. Students practiced finding facts, identifying facts vs. opinions, and summarizing facts in their own words. They practiced various strategies such as rereading, using captions, finding bold or italics, etc. in order to find answers to comprehension questions. As a more independent reading project, second graders started “partner contracts” in which they drew up their own reading contracts, set goals for reading, and completed written responses as pairs. Each partner contract included assignments that reviewed the skills they have learned throughout the year such as comparing/contrasting, summarizing, identifying the main idea/supporting details, and identifying story elements. Reading nonfiction texts over the summer is a great way to prepare for third grade. As your child continues their educational journey, they will be reading more for information. Keep reading over the summer!!!

The main focus this month in math was on more complex problem solving. Students learned to solve multiple-step problems, problems with extra information, and problems with incomplete information. They learned strategies to help identify which operations were needed in order to complete the multi-step problem (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).  Many important second grade math concepts were reviewed to help students prepare for third grade. These included: fractions, telling time, elapsed time, counting bills/coins, making change, regrouping, and multiplication. Students had one last visit to “Ms. Frazee’s Store,” and proved that they are all able to add three and four digit numbers (with regrouping)! Students then had to “unlock” the price and pay with play money.  As a fun end of the year challenge, students expanded their knowledge of division by learning about division with remainders and some students even grappled with long division.  The basic concepts of multiplication and division were covered in second grade to lay the foundation of a deeper understanding in third grade. Like addition and subtraction became more fluent this year, the intent is for multiplication and division facts to gain automaticity next year.

In writing, students learned about personal narratives. After reflecting on all of their favorite memories from second grade, each child chose his/her favorite memory to reflect on and write about. These compositions were on display in the hallway and will now be found in the writing portfolio. Second graders also reflected on all the wisdom they had gained in second grade. They wrote “advice cards” to first graders giving them tips on how to succeed in second grade. These were written as paragraphs in order to review proper paragraph format. Second graders gave out these advice cards during a first and second grade activity. All second grade sight words were reviewed as well and a spelling final was given to all second graders. These words are essential for students to know. In third grade there will be a stronger emphasis on vocabulary, as well as science and social studies vocabulary words.

In social studies, we started and completed a mini-unit on map reading. Students learned what a map is and how/why it is used. Students practiced basic map reading skills by learning to use a map key and identifying the cardinal directions. They learned to find north, south, east, and west on a map. They also learned northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast. Students practiced using basic maps, state, country, and world maps. They also learned a song that names all continents and oceans. Map skills will be reviewed and greatly expanded upon in third grade.

In science, second grade also did a mini-unit on simple machines. The children have learned the basic simple machines: lever, pulley, wedge, wheel, inclined plane, screw. After learning the basics, the class completed a little experiment by making two different sized catapults (in partners). After making a hypothesis regarding distance and accuracy of each catapult, they built them and drew targets. Then, they used the catapults to shoot various items at the targets. They then tallied their results and concluded. The class also went onto the playground and completed a scavenger hunt where they identified various simple machines in real life!

Thanks for a great year! I have really enjoyed watching your children learn and grow!!!