Hello Core 2 Families,
I hope everyone is enjoying this rainy February! We have had an awesome few weeks in Core 2!
For our animal communication project we have been learning about how animals use visual, auditory, and touch communication. This week we have focused on touch communication which has been really interesting. Overall we are building our knowledge of how animals use these modes of communication using key examples to make it more concrete. The three examples that we looked at closely for touch communication were spiders plucking web strands to communicate, cats using their whiskers, and the waggle dance of the honey bee. We played some fun hands on games that used only touch communication and reflected on how it felt to rely on that mode of communication.
Last week we studied visual communication in depth. During this study we watched a few amazing videos of a very special bird called the Bird of Paradise which the students LOVED. I promised students that I would send their families the link to these videos so that you guys could enjoy them together:
We have been doing a lot of research/ exploring/ observing of animal communication, but we have also begun to create our first product- a 4D Triorama. The students are obsessed with creating these so I am going to include a link on how to make them in case you are looking for a fun and engaging way to display a report. This could be used for a non-fiction research report but it could also be used to reflect on or summarize a fiction book.
We have also successfully completed our first round of pen pals! Students each have at least one pen pal, and some students have two. The three schools that we are writing to are in Tennessee, Canada, and Amsterdam. Once we begin to get letters back, students will be sharing what they are learning about these students with each other! We are all very excited to start getting letters back!
We are also taking time each day in February to celebrate African American History Month. So far we have read the book “Happy Birthday Martin Luther King,” watched his “I have a Dream” speech, and read the book “The Story of Ruby Bridges.” If you are wanting to do lessons on all of the amazing contributions that African Americans have given our country, Brainpop Jr has a series of lessons and videos that you might want to check out:
The room parents are organizing a field trip to The Marine Mammal Care Center on March 8th:
Sign up: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0a44adad29a3f94-core1
I look forward to seeing all of you next Wednesday at PEC!
I have loved getting to reconnect with you and your student over this last week back at school! I hope everyone is feeling back into the swing of things. I will be doing a round of parent/ teacher conferences at the end of February (right around SLCs), but if you are feeling like you need support before then, please feel free to reach out and we can set up a meeting.
We have had a nice week and a half back at school. We have been getting back into our reading routine. Just as a reminder, I use Reading A-Z leveled books and word sorts during reading time in class. If you are ever feeling lost with how to support your child in reading, mirroring what we do in class can be an easy way to get some momentum. In math we have been diving into measurement/ data/ and time. I want to refer you to a post that I wrote last year on how to support your student with TIME:
Here you will find short time assessments, exact lessons to do in Georgia State, and extra activities.
We have started our new "The Language of Animals" project! The students are excited, and I am (as always) blown away by their enthusiasm and passion for learning. We have started (and will be continuing over the next few weeks) to explore how animals communicate. On Thursday and Friday we learned about auditory communication (both vocal and non vocal) and visual communication. Students then worked in partners to invent their own species of animal and come up with three ways that it communicates (auditory vocal, auditory non vocal, and visual). They needed to model what this communication looks or sounds like and also what it means. They then presented it to the class. Their approach was extremely creative and I feel like we are well on our way to understanding how these different types of communication work. We will be continuing to work on auditory and visual communication, and we will also be adding touch and olfactory communication over the next week.
One aspect of this project that we are starting over the next few weeks is...Pen Pals! Yay! I couldn't be more excited about students getting to know other kids from around the country (and maybe even the world!). At this point I have one class in Tennessee that is signed up completely, and Tuesday/ Friday has already started writing letters to them. I have 2 good leads on classes for Monday/ Thursday, but I am still waiting for the final confirmation. If you have a student in Tuesday/ Friday please ask them about what it was like to write the first letter to their pen pal. If you have a Mon/ Thurs student, I will let you know when they begin (hopefully this week or early next week).
I hope everyone has a lovely week!
Hello Core 2 Families!
I hope you all had a wonderful break and are feeling well rested and rejuvenated! I had a great break spending time with family and taking a road trip through Sedona and the Grand Canyon with my husband and our puppy. I am ready to be back and have missed your kids like crazy! I wanted to let you know that for our new project we will be studying…. Animal Communication! I am beyond excited to dive into the very engaging, complex, and rich world of animals and all of the amazing ways they communicate. You can find the project plan under the "Projects!" tab of this website. I will be getting you more information about possible home extension projects as we progress. I am going to be giving the students more voice and choice as far as what out path is through this interesting content area so I will let you know more detailed plans as we go. If anyone knows any adults who have professions in areas that involve animals and animal communication (dog trainers, zoo keepers, scientists who focus on animals…) I would love to get them in to share their knowledge with the students.
See you soon!
Report cards are coming up! I would like to encourage you to write a parent report card comment for your child. This will go on their report card, along with my comments. Please email them to me by Friday, December 9th, and put your child’s name and the words “Parent Report Card Comments” in the subject.
Parent Report Card Comments
Due: Dec 9th , 2016
· Write as if you are speaking to your child
· 250 word limit (please stay under this limit!)
· Celebrate growth
· Include next semester goals for reading, writing, and math, and home-school (if you want)
(Written to the child, but this is an end of the year piece- this is 225 words!)
________, you have done some amazing work this year and we are so proud of you! Your creativity has really come through in your writing, your conversations, and even in the way you problem solve. You have grown tremendously in your self-confidence and willingness to take risks through the trying of new unexplored areas. We look forward to your journey as you continue to discover your passions and initiate your own learning and growth with those special areas in mind. We want you to continue pushing the envelope as you hone your writing in new ways: how about writing poetry? a short story? an editorial to a news column? You’ve handled the reading of news and business magazines with such aplomb that it would be great for you to read them on a more regular basis. We should make a more conscious effort to read some of literature’s greatest classics next year. You have shown consistency in your math knowledge and know you will continue to excel in your understanding of addition and subtraction. We invite you to offer more feedback and insight into your own learning as a second grader. You’ve mentioned that your best learning period was a unit study on space. We should brainstorm together on future unit study topics and how to broach all subject areas with your interests in mind.
Dear Core 2 Families,
I wanted to reach out and share how impressed I was by your kids and by all of the families yesterday! It was so amazing to see all of the kids sharing their learning so passionately! This project was a really interesting one to do with such young kids. Because of their age, most of them had not had much exposure to the ideas that underlie the government, politics, and voting. They had to learn a lot of new information in order to create the products that they shared with you last night. I was deeply proud of their perseverance and willingness to dive into new ideas and concepts. Watching them share all of this with the community last night was really amazing, because I knew how much they had stretched themselves to get there.
I wanted to thank all of the parents for being such thoughtful participants in Exhibition last night. I saw so many adults asking kids thoughtful questions, listening intently and really being present with our class. I know that Exhibition is a big push for everyone, and I truly appreciate your thoughtful participation. It makes a huge difference to the students.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break. I am truly thankful to get to work every day with you and your kids.
Hello Core 2 families,
I wanted to touch base about Exhibition which is coming up on November 14th and 15th from 5-6:30. Exhibition is a chance for each student to share their learning with the community, and we are excited to be sharing our Election Project! Each student will be giving tours in class of our project for 40 minutes (either from 5-5:40 or 5:40-6:20).
Please sign up your child for one 40 minute slot:
The main things that they will be sharing during the tour are:
They will also have 40 minutes to explore other classes. At 6:20, we will all meet back in Core 2 for a short concert of protest songs.
We are very excited to get a chance to share our learning from this project! The students have worked hard and persevered in creating some truly amazing work that they are excited to share with you!
Please remember that students must be dressed in Exhibition appropriate attire.
Thanks and please reach out with any questions that you have!
It has been a lovely week here in Core 2! We have been hard at work on our Government Lapbooks- the students are very excited to share them with you at Exhibition. It is really neat to see them working so hard, and persevering through writing, editing, and creating final drafts. One of the joys of my job is getting to see kids learn what it means to work hard, and the pride that comes along with hard work. We have also spent some time furthering our understanding of the history of voting rights. It is a complicated and fraught history, and one that is a bit tricky to explore with young kids. That being said, kids have such a keen sense of justice and fairness, I am often surprised by the clear eyed way that they have of processing complicated history. We have gone into some depth on women’s voting rights, and African American voting rights. I think a lot of them were surprised by how recently a lot of these changes came about.
We have also taken another dive into the Constitution. The first time we started to study the Constitution it seemed a bit hard for them to grasp. This time around I had us focus on our list of class rules that they created at the beginning of the year. I changed the title of our class rules to “Class Constitution”. We discussed what purpose these serve, and had some interesting discussions about the difference between individual and group responsibility. We then read a bit about the Amendments that were added to the Constitution. They paired up and came up with Amendments that they wanted to propose to the class. Then they voted on these Amendments and any Amendment that got 2/3 of the vote was added to our Class Constitution. They took this very seriously and really seemed to keep in mind that we were making changes/ additions that would be good for the whole group. The ones that passed were beautiful additions to their original Constitution.
We had a Guest Visitor on Monday and Tuesday. Christian Horvath, a Redondo Beach City Councilman and DVIA parent, came in for the morning to talk about City Council and campaigning for office. The kids loved it! It was really great to see them have the chance to make some concrete connections between what they have been learning about with this project and an actual elected government official. They had a chance to ask a ton of questions about all aspects of government and he was wonderful with his kid friendly, but very interesting answers.
In the next few weeks we will be ramping up to Exhibition. That means that we will be spending more of our class time on creating final products and making sure that we feel comfortable presenting all of the learning that we have been doing around the government, elections, campaigning, voting, and the constitution.
On Tuesday, November 1st we have an awesome voting opportunity! Studies Weekly (one of DVIA’s curriculum choices) is running a mock kid election for the upcoming presidential election. In the past, enough kids have voted that it predicted the real election! On Tuesday, November 1st we will run a polling place for DVIA our of our classroom. Because November 1st is a Tuesday, I wanted to offer my Monday/ Thursday cohort the opportunity to have your student come to school between 9:15 and 10:30 on November 1st so that they can vote and help run the polling place that we have set up in the classroom. I am okay if you want to drop them off for that time, just be sure to pick them up in the office promptly at 10:30.
I hope some of you are able to do this, as I think it would be awesome for all of the kiddos to get to participate!
Please sign up using the sign up genius link below (You only need to sign up if your kid is Mon/ Thurs)
Pizza/Spirit Day #1
Mon 10/31 and Tues 11/1
The first Pizza/Spirit Day of the year is coming up! Wear your favorite costume, enjoy a yummy lunch, and support the Art and Maker Space programs at DVIA!
Hello Core 2 Families,
I loved getting to spend time with some of you during Tuesday’s SLCs! I will get a chance to see the rest of you on Thursday. Thank you for being so thoughtful with your children, I really am so inspired by the care and attention that you give to your children.
This week in reading we have continued to do our word sorts and leveled reading. I am still getting through all of the student’s DRAs (reading assessments) and will regroup them into different groups once I have that info. In reading we have also been reading articles on Susan B Anthony, with a focus on Women’s Voting Rights. We are building a timeline of all of the important dates in voting rights history along our stretch of windows. If you have never explored the resource NewsELA, it is definitely worth your time, especially if you have a more advanced reader. NewsELA is a resource that allows you to choose from different articles and then change the reading level of the article to make it appropriate for your student. It only goes down to 2nd grade, but it could be helpful for some families:
Timelines are a great way to help students understand history. It can be a really fun activity to have students create timelines of their own lives. Here is one of many resources on the internet to help kids create timelines:
We have also started working on our Government Lap books. Lap books are a creative way for students to record what they understand about a particular subject, in this case the government. These will be used to support students in sharing all that they have learned about the government at Exhibition.
In math we have continued to work on addition and subtraction word problems and number talks. I have been talking to a number of second grade parents about the fact that one of the main things that 2nd graders are working on in math is subtraction with regrouping (ex: 82-47=). One of the best things that you can do to support kids who are still trying to conceptualize what is happening with place value in this type of problem is to offer them base ten blocks to work with. If you do not have base ten blocks at home, you can find templates on line:
I would highly recommend having these out for kids to access when they are doing problems with larger numbers, and especially when doing subtraction with regrouping problems.
Please take a few minutes to do the Fall Da Vinci parent survey:
Work Journal #1 Due- Tuesday Oct 11
The first work journal period ends Friday, October 7. Work Journal #1 is due Tuesday, October 11, by 4:15 pm (NOT 4:30!). If your child has after-school enrichment that day, please still make sure to turn in your work journal on time.
Please use the checklist and reflection sheets found under the “Work Journals” tab on my Digital Portfolio. Please check them carefully, it would be a huge help!
Happy Wednesday Everyone!
We have been hard at work here in Core 2! In Reading we have been building our Word Sort routine, including writing 5 silly sentences with our word sort words. If you are still wondering if Word Sorts would be a good fit for your homeschooling- please reach out and we can chat. We have also been building our routine around reading our leveled readers. Students are in a group made up of students who are at the same reading level. I give them an appropriate Reading A-Z book and they read it together. Throughout the year I will introduce different strategies that I want them to try out while reading, or reading comprehension work that I would like for them to do. This week it was retelling the story (Beginning, Middle, and End). The idea of figuring out what is important about the beginning, middle, and end of a story is a topic that we are covering in depth during Writer's Workshop, so it is great to see their understanding of what they are reading build as well. I have been chipping away at doing each student’s individual reading assessment (DRA). Please reach out if you are needing to know their updated DRA score and I will get that to you as soon as possible. I wanted to mention that it is vital that your child is reading out loud to an adult for at least 20 minutes a day at home. At this age, they need the daily practice in order to progress.
In Math we have been continuing our daily number talks and word problems. I loved hearing that some of you tried writing word problems at home this week! If you are interested in the book that I used to learn how to write meaningful word problems, it is called Children’s Mathematics. It is not a curriculum, but rather a really wonderful tool to help you learn how to write word problems and have your student solve them:
In Writer's Workshop we have continued our work on writing narratives, and specifically true stories. This week we focused on adding labels and speech bubbles to our drawings. This can be really helpful for students, as anything that is labeled can then be used to build sentences. Speech bubbles are a really fun way to start adding dialogue in their writing. Please feel free to encourage students to do this at home as well!
For our Election Project, we have started to focus on campaigning. We read a really great book called “Grace for President” and students had a chance to write a speech to try to get people to vote for Grace or for her opponent Thomas. It has been really fun to see students building their understanding of the complex world of government and politics. One of the main things that I am hoping to get to in this project is debating. I love all of the skills that go into debating: arguing, listening, persuading etc. I would like to encourage you to watch the upcoming Presidential debate with your child (Monday Sep 26th). This year is such a crazy one in politics that I am obviously unable to say whether the entire debate will in fact be appropriate for kids, so if you are feeling nervous about that, wait until after and preview parts of it on YouTube before you watch them with your child. I would really like for students to experience the debate so that they can begin to build an understanding of what a debate is, and how candidates go about trying to convince people to vote for them.
Here is an article about watching the debates with kids, and how to get the most out of it:
We have also begun to learn about political songs and how they are used to voice dissatisfaction or a desire for change. We started with “Times they are a Changin” by Bob Dylan. We have been singing it in class and having discussions about what he might be trying to express in the lyrics. The song is full of figures of speech and it has been really interesting to talk with students about idioms like “drenched to the bone” and similes like “sink like a stone.” Feel free to listen to the song at home or dive deeper into other protest/ political songs.
This next week we are going to be doing MAP testing. This Thursday and Friday we will be doing the Language Arts Assessment, and Monday and Tuesday we will be doing the Math Assessment. Please make sure your student comes to school rested and with plenty of healthy snacks.
Student Led Conferences:
Student led Conferences are going to be held on October 4th and 6th this semester. SLCs are an opportunity for your child to share their experience in the classroom, reflect on their learning, and set learning goals. Each student must sign up for one 45 minute block of time, there will be 4-5 families in each block.
Sign up: www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d48a8a729abfe3-october3
Please remember that there is no school on these days, and that you are expected to homeschool. Please reach out if you have any questions, I look forward to seeing you!
I had a wonderful time connecting with many of you during PEC 2 and parent teacher conferences over the last 2 weeks. I am so grateful to work with such a thoughtful group of people, and I love having the chance to connect! I hope you are all starting to feel up and running for the new school year, but if you are feeling stuck, please reach out.
We have been hard at work here in Core 2! In Reading, we have been learning/ practicing doing word sorts. For those of you that came to my PEC workshop, we have built up the routine to where the students can cut out the sort, sort, write the words, and write the rule. We will be working on building in extension activities over the next week. For those of you interested in doing word sorts at home, I am using the Words Their Way books, here is an example:
In math, we are doing number talks and word problems, with a focus on addition and subtraction. I would love if you experimented with doing word problems at home. Here are some examples of word problems that you could have your student do during homeschooling, feel free to change the number size to suit your child:
8 boys and 7 girls were playing baseball. How many children were playing baseball?
Mike has 16 mice and Joy has 31 mice. How many more mice does Joy have than Mike?
Mark has 19 crayons. Elijah has 15 more crayons than Mark. How many crayons does Elijah have?
Patrick has 24 chairs. Robin gives him some more chairs, now he has 40 chairs. How many chairs did Robin give him?
Please feel free to play around with number size/ names/ situation.
Students are working on showing their mathematical thinking (not just an answer) and sharing their thinking with each other.
In Writer’s Workshop, we are continuing our work with narrative writing, focusing on building stamina, incorporating beginning, middle, and end into our own writing, and knowing where we are in the Writing Process. Here is the Writing Process poster that I have on our wall:
I check in with students periodically to find out where they are in the Writing Process, in order to allow them to begin to track their own progress through the steps. We have done lessons on the first 4 steps, but are still learning about the last two steps. That means that your child may have some preliminary ideas about revising and editing, but not in depth knowledge.
Our “It’s Party Time” Project is definitely up and running! We have spent the last 2 weeks building background knowledge on democracy, government, presidents, voting and elections. These are very big ideas that a lot of the students are struggling to understand. It would be great if you had conversations about these ideas at home in order to help them expand their understanding.
Some of the resources that we have used at school that could definitely be explored further at home are:
Brainpop Video on Democracy: https://www.brainpop.com/socialstudies/worldhistory/democracy/
Brainpop Jr Video on Presidents: https://jr.brainpop.com/socialstudies/government/president/
Brainpop Jr Video on local and state government:
PBS Website on what government does in a city: http://pbskids.org/democracy/my-government/
These videos/ websites are worth further exploration. Even if you just watch them with your child and pause to have clarifying conversations-that would help your child develop a richer understanding of these complex ideas.
Scooter's Jungle Fundraiser
September 13th, 5-8pm (must pre-pay for tickets!)
Buy your tickets in the front office ASAP! Children's tickets are $12 each and adults' are $5. Pizza and bake sale goodies will be available for purchase. If you can donate water or bake sale items, please sign up here. Don't forget to bring your socks! This is not a drop-off event...please supervise your children! Proceeds from this event will help us pay for the space rental and lunch for PEC 1! Plus it's an awesome opportunity to hang out with your DVIA friends!
Welcome to Robin's Core 2 Blog!