Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dr. Seuss' Birthday and Read Across America
This Thursday we will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America!  Students may dress up as their favorite book character.  We will have a Read and Feed in the gym that afternoon!

Loose Change
A note went home last week about collecting loose change for our book fair that's coming during conferences in a few weeks.  With the money brought in, each class will be able to choose "groovy accessories" to put on teacher's pictures in the this: 

We will be purchasing books for the library and classrooms with the money collected.

Dates on Deck:
Wednesday, March 2  1:00 dismiss
Thursday, March 3  Read Across America/Dr. Seuss' Birthday celebration
Wednesday, March 9 1:00 dismiss
Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15  Parent Teacher Conferences
Tuesday, March 15  1:00 dismiss
Wednesday, March 16-Friday, March 18  Spring Break
Thursday, March 24  1:00 dismiss
Friday, March 25  No School

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Read Across America
On Thursday, March 3, we will celebrate Read Across America by dressing up as a storybook character and having a read and feed in the gym.  A note will be sent home this week, but I wanted to tell you early so you have time to start thinking of a costume for your child to wear.  I went to Pinterest to find some ideas and have included the link below:

Parent-Teacher conferences will be on the afternoon and evenings of Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15.  A note will be sent home when you can call the office to schedule your conference.

March 1:00 Dismisses and No School Days
We have several 1:00 dismiss dates in March:  March 2, 9, 15, 24.  Our 'spring break' is March 16-18; and we have no school on March 25.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Below is the phonics/spelling list for the upcoming week.  With no school on Monday (tomorrow), we lose a day of practice at school, so go ahead and get started practicing at home.  I didn't get last week's test checked in time to send home last Friday, so it will be in their mail on Tuesday.

We had a very nice Valentine Party last Friday.  I'm sorry to say that I didn't remember to take any pictures to post here (my teacher brain is still stuck in the 90's when it comes to that sort of thing)! Although it was short, we crammed a lot into our morning with snacks, a game of pictionary, opening our Valentines from each other, delivering our handmade Valentines to the Keystone Care Center residents, having PE, and a phonics and comprehension test.

I hope the kids enjoy their day off tomorrow and are ready to come back on Tuesday.  Hopefully the weather will begin to warm up soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Valentine's Day
We will celebrate on Friday morning, February 12.  Our treat committee is bringing healthy snacks and one sweet.  We are also visiting the Keystone Care Center that morning to deliver Valentine cards to the residents.  Because of lack of space in our classroom for storing them, I'm not having students bring a box to decorate.  Instead, we will decorate our bookboxes and collect our Valentines in them.  There is a 12:00 dismiss that our earlier than the usual 1:00 dismiss.

Goal Setting with Students
I met with almost all students last Thursday and Friday to set goals for the end of the year in the areas of reading, math, and writing (I still have 3 more to meet with).  I enjoy the opportunity of an uninterrupted visit alone with each student!  Research shows that students who set goals and receive feedback from the teacher make biggest gains in school.  We've started keeping data binder portfolios containing graphs of our assessments so each student can track their own progress.  I'll share these binders with parents at conferences in March.

After analyzing the data, my biggest concern is low fluency (rate of reading) for 14 of my 26 students. The good news is that every student's fluency rate has increased since the beginning of the year!  But some are still below the winter proficiency number of 87 words per minute.  By the end of the year, 2nd graders are expected to read 105 words per minute.  We are working hard with our instruction to help kids close the gap, but I'm afraid it won't happen without additional help from home.  Repeated reading of text at an easy level and practice reading in phrases instead of word-by-word are two things that can be done at home.  I sent home a white booklet containing fluency phrases with those students who need to practice.  If you're not using it yet, please begin!  Or let me know if you need another copy.  Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Below are the graphs I shared last week of our 2nd grade fluency (CBM) and aReading (comphrehension) scores.  If you haven't already, send me an email asking for your child's number if you'd like to see where they stand in comparison to others in their grade.

Reading Strategies & Skills
Each of the 10 units in our reading curriculum has strategies and skills that we learn, model, practice, and assess for the 3 week duration of the unit.  Tomorrow we begin the third week of Unit 6 strategies, which are Fix Up Monitoring and Summarizing Information.  

Your child should be able to tell you that Fix Up Monitoring is what a reader does when they know they've made a mistake, or come to an unknown word.  They "fix it up" by looking at word parts, using picture clues, read on or reread the sentence, and continue to monitor (think) until the reading makes sense.  Summarizing is a difficult skill to acquire!  We talk about being able to choose the most important details, then state them in a sentence or two, in your own words.  Ask your child about these terms and see if he/she is familiar with them!  You can also use these terms and descriptions when listening to your child read.

Dates on Deck
Friday, February 12  Valentine Party and 12:00 dismiss
Monday, February 15  No School - Professional Development
Wednesday, March 2  1:00 dismiss
Monday & Tuesday, March 14 & 15  Parent Teacher Conferences
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, March 16-18  Spring Break