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October in the Classroom

    October is an exciting month for second grade students. They have become accustomed to our daily expectations and are ready to be challenged to achieve greater academic heights. It is so nice to see the children relaxed and happy as they learn and collaborate.
   Our NWEA language arts and math testing is taking place this week. Please make sure your child has a good breakfast and gets to bed at a reasonable time.
   During Reading Workshop the children are reading for longer periods of time and are learning to choose books at their individual levels. Students are held accountable for reading carefully and for thinking deeply about the books they read. They will now take Accelerated Reader comprehension tests on the computer to monitor their level of comprehension. Being able to read words well does not always mean a child is able to answer comprehension questions. At the end of class each day, five students connect their book to my reading mini-lesson during our group discussion. Talking about books is serious work!
   Writing Workshop allows us to use what we learn from reading books by great authors to guide our own writing. We have formed a caring writing community and throughout the fall students will write true stories about their own lives along with occasional fictional stories. Many students are still struggling with capitalizing the beginning of every sentence and adding an appropriate end mark. Additionally we are working on adding powerful adjectives to enhance each sentence. If time allows, please have your child write just one strong sentence each school night. I encourage the children to use the spelling knowledge from Fundations as they work to spell unknown words.
   During Science we “think like a scientist” as we observe the properties of Solids and Liquids while comparing how they are alike and different. The children organize the results of our inquiries then talk and write about our discoveries.
   Math is requiring students to count by fives, tens, and hundreds. For example they need to be able to start at 63 and add 30 by counting by 10’s: 73, 83, 93. They must be able to read 6-digit numbers (476,209). In the number 753, a second grade student must recognize there are 7 groups of hundred, 5 groups of ten, and 3 ones. Students compare two three-digit numbers to express which one is worth more or less and tell why. This month the children will continue to learn to read and compare both analog and digital clocks while answering questions such as, “What time will it be fifteen minutes from now?” or “If the party ends at 2:15, what time will it be thirty minutes later?” For additional practice it would be helpful if you ask your child the time occasionally. I regret that our math books do not have pages that can be torn out to send home. Please ask your child to explain what the math lesson was each day.
   Parenting well and encouraging your child to work independently is a very difficult task but it is pleasing to see children who get right to work in the classroom, thanks to your training. Keeping to an early bedtime and having a healthy breakfast will help your child have the stamina to get through our busy day of work. A child who starts his day with doughnuts will lose steam by 10:00. Thank you for guiding your child’s homework and for all that you do! 

Looking Ahead:   Oct. 10—No School;  Oct. 11---Flu Clinic;  Book Fair  Oct. 19-21