Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday, May 25

Below are two links you may want to use this summer.  The first is to Symbaloo, our Keystone page of websites kids can use on your home computer.

Keystone Tech Symbaloo

The second is for those of you who used SeeSaw this year.  It gives instructions for how to save your child's content (if you want to).

SeeSaw archive

I know that lots of stuff has been sent home in the last few days!  I tried to help them be organized by sending home locker stuff and summer work on Wednesday, and school supplies today, Thursday.

The Quote of the Month packet and Summer Work packet are important for you to see, as well as the report card!  Students don't have to bring a school bag on Friday.

I've enjoyed getting to know your child in 2nd grade.  It's been a great year!

Mrs. Embray

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 13

With summer coming I thought I'd share this graphic about ways to question your child when they are reading.  Everything on this are things that we have done in 2nd grade, so it will be familiar to them.  I will make a paper copy of this and send home with some other ideas of things to do this summer.  I can't stress enough how important it is to avoid the "summer slide" which typically happens when kids don't do any reading, writing, or math in the summer months!  They will be so much more prepared for 3rd grade if they are held accountable for a little bit of "school" each day!

ABC Countdown for this week:

  • Monday, May 15th- Q, Quiet Day. Take time out of your day to do a quiet activity, such as yoga.
  • Tuesday, May 16th- R, Relay Races. Enjoy some races with your class, or another class.
  • Wednesday, May 17th- S, School Spirit Day. Wear blue and gold!
  • Thursday, May 18th- T, Teacher Day! It’s all about the teachers! Say thank you to a teacher and dress like them too!
  • Friday, May 19th- U, Unusual Day. Read a book in an UNUSUAL spot.

Spelling List for this week:

Move Up Day

On Tuesday, May 23 students will have a chance to spend some time in their 3rd grade classroom.  It's great way to give them a chance to meet their teacher and help prepare them for the next step in their education!

Dates on Deck:

Tuesday, May 16  2nd grade field trip to Barnes and Noble and Brucemore
Wednesday, May 17  1:00 dismiss
Tuesday, May 23  Move Up Day 
Wednesday, May 24  Talent Show 1:00
Friday, May 26  Last Day of School - 1:00 dismiss

Saturday, April 29, 2017

April 29

End of Year Countdown Days for next week:

  • Monday, May 1st- G, Green Day. Wear as much green as possible!
  • Tuesday, May 2nd- H, Hat Day. Wear a hat to school.
  • Wednesday, May 3rd- I, Island Day. Sorry, no swimming suits, or flip flops!  Sandals that wrap around the heel are acceptable.
  • Thursday, May 4th- J, Jumping Day. Jump rope, jumping jacks, the classroom can decide.
  • Friday, May 5th- K, Kindness Day. Be kind to everyone! Make a point to be friendly to someone you might not know that well.

Sack Lunches

Kids will need sack lunches on May 5 and May 16 to eat on our field trips.

End of Year Testing

In the next few weeks I will be assessing kids to see how far they've come in reading, math, and writing. A note about our reading assessment came home yesterday. After assessments are complete, I will meet individually with each student to discuss their growth and areas of concern. Their test results will come home with their report cards, as well as some ideas of things that can be done this summer to help them maintain the gains they've made this year.


We've been working on telling time on an analog clock. Take a look at the math work that comes home to see how they're doing and quiz them on face clocks in your house to see if they are understanding this important skill! Next week we will begin Geometry of solid figures, then we'll do a little bit of Measurement before the school year ends.

Dates on Deck

Wednesday, May 3 1:00 dismiss
Friday, May 5 Breakfast Buddies (7:30) & Rodger's Park field trip (sack lunch needed)
Tuesday, May 16 Barnes and Noble, Brucemore field trip (sack lunch needed)
Wednesday, May 17 1:00 dismiss
Tuesday, May 23 Move Up Day
Wednesday, May 24 Talent Show
Friday, May 26 1:00 Dismiss - Last Day of School

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday, April 12

Positive Post It Day

We had a great time writing positive notes to our friends and posting them all around the school yesterday!  The kids took it very seriously and were diligent at getting the notes just right!


We are currently learning about Cause and Effect so we are looking for that in stories and in our daily lives.  The weather is a great topic to use when talking about cause and effect, and also everyday decision making.  Try it at home and see how much your child understands!


Money is the topic we're on now - knowing the names of coins, their values, and counting them to find the total.  Check out your child's math papers to see how they are doing.  It's an important life is telling time, which is the topic we'll cover next.  So much of our world is digital now - it seems that kids have a harder time reading an analog clock!  Quiz them and let me know if you'd like some practice sheets to use at home...for time or money.

Dates on Deck

Friday, April 14  No School
Wednesday, April 19  1:00 Dismiss
Friday, April 28  Party in the Park - family fun night in Atkins 6:00-7:30
Friday, May 5  Breakfast buddies
Friday, May 5  2nd/3rd Field Trip to Rodger's Park
Tuesday, May 16  2nd grade Field Trip to Barnes & Noble Bookstore & Brucemore Mansion
Wednesday, May 17  1:00 Dismiss
Tuesday, May 23  Move Up Day
Friday, May 26  1:00 Dismiss- Last Day of School

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday, March 25

This week's spelling list:


The skill we've been focused on lately is Compare and Contrast.  We've compared several versions of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, as well as compared two friends and two foods.  Compare and contrast is an important comprehension skill to understand and be able to use because it's a strategy used by many teachers in many subject areas.  Quiz your child at home to see if they can compare/contrast different books, or even different weather, foods, or toys!


We've been working on 3 digit addition and subtraction and it's been quite challenging for most!  I was feeling pretty good about student's understanding of 2 digit, but giving them that hundreds place has really thrown them off.  They are also mixing up the difference between regrouping addition, (which requires making a new ten or a new hundred); and regrouping subtraction, (which is giving ten ones to the ones place or 10 tens to the tens place).  It's confusing to even read that, isn't it?  We will practice for a day or two more, then test and move on to Money and Time.  Any help you can give your child at home in any of these topics will definately help them at school!  

NED Show Assembly

We will have a character education assembly this Wednesday called The NED Show. NED is a loveable cartoon character whose name is an acronym for Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best. Atkins Elementary will be bussed to Keystone to watch the assembly, too.

Dates on Deck

Monday, March 27  Spring Pictures
Wednesday, March 29  NED Show Assembly 9:15
Monday, April 3  PTO Meeting in Atkins  6:30
Wednesday, April 5 1:00 Dismiss
Wednesday, April 19  1:00 Dismiss
Friday, April 28  Party in the Park - family fun night in Atkins  6:00-7:30
Wednesday, May 3  1:00 Dismiss
Friday, May 5  Breakfast Buddies
Friday, May 5  2nd/3rd Field Trip to Rodger's Park 
Tuesday, May 16  2nd grade Field Trip to Barnes & Noble Bookstore & Brucemore Mansion
Wednesday, May 17  1:00 Dismiss
Tuesday, May 23  Move Up Day
Friday, May 26 1:00 Dismiss - Last Day of School

Sunday, February 26, 2017

See the note below about kids dressing up as a favorite book character next Friday!

Next week's spelling list:

Book Fair is coming during conferences on March 8 and 13.  Student's MakerSpace projects will be on display in the library, so be sure you stop by to check it all out!

A note went home yesterday about scheduling a parent/teacher conference on March 8 or 13.  Let us know at school if you have trouble using the online scheduling and we'll help you out!

Dates on Deck

Wednesday, March 1  1:00 dismiss for end of trimester grade reporting
Wednesday, March 8  1:00 dismiss for elementary parent/teacher conferences
Monday, March 13  1:00 dismiss for elementary parent/teacher conferences
Wednesday, March 15-Sunday, March 19  Spring Break
Friday, March 24  1:00 dismiss for middle/high school end of quarter
Monday, March 27  Spring Pictures

Friday, February 3, 2017

Valentine Party

In my last blog post I stated that our Valentine Party would be on Valentine's Day, February 14.  It has been decided to have our parties on Friday, February 10 instead.  That's a 12:00 dismiss day, so our schedules are going to be different anyway.  Rather than lose academic time on Feb. 14, we will do it on Feb. 10 since it's already a crazy schedule day anyway.  If your child is giving Valentines to classmates, please send them on or before February 10.

Goal Setting

Yesterday a substitute taught for me while I met with each student individually to discuss their mid-year test results and set goals for the end of the year.  It's quite refreshing to sit uninterrupted, one-on-one with each student...I love being able to do that!  Each and every student has shown growth in everything, some large, some small, but every little bit helps.  The smiles are priceless when they see it and hear me praise them.  They are very understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and setting goals is easy. 

Their goal sheets will be sent home in mid-February for you to see.  Below is reading fluency graph. As in the fall, I can send you your student's number to see where they are in comparison to other 2nd graders at Keystone if you request it.  Just email me if interested!  If this picture isn't large enough to see, let me know and I'll send it to you as an attachment.


We've been working hard to understand two digit subtraction in math...and it has been a real struggle for most!!  You'd think I'd be used to this since I'm in my 30th year of teaching, but every year I have to remind myself that they will eventually understand!  So don't be surprised if you've seen a lot of red correction marks on their math papers.  Any help you can give at home will benefit your child. Here's a video I made to explain how I teach it:

Dates on Deck

Friday, February 10  12:00 dismiss for Professional Development
Tuesday, February 10   Valentine's Day Party
Wednesday, February 15  1:00 dismiss for Professional Development
Monday, February 20  No School for Professional Development
Tuesday, February 22  Coach Sloth - Author Visit
Wednesday, March 1  1:00 Dismiss - end of 2nd Trimester

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday, January 22

Mid Year Assessments

We're almost done with our mid-year assessments; we just have some math to finish up.  After I've corrected it all and analyzed the data, I will meet with your child to show the results and set goals for the end of the year.  Results will also be sent to you and/or shared at conferences.

100th Day of School

It's hard to believe that we're talking about end of the year goals and have passed the halfway mark in our school year!  If we don't miss any days this week, the 100th Day will be Friday, January 27.  I'm attending a literacy conference in Des Moines that day, so a substitute will get to do all of the fun 100 Day activities!  We're doing a school-wide activity of dressing as a 100 year old, so ask your child if they want to join the fun!

Valentine's Day

Our Valentine's Day party will be on Tuesday, February 14.  Here's the list of committees.  If your child is on Treat committee, I'll be meeting with them during the first week of February to decide what they will bring, then I'll send a note for you to confirm.  Games and Decorations committee don't need to bring anything from home!

 You can use the above list for filling out Valentines; or let me know if you want me to send you a hard copy.


Tomorrow we begin Unit 6 with the topics of Summarizing and Fix-Up Monitoring.  Summarizing is hard for kids because they have a hard time deciding what to include and what to leave out.  Usually they include too much, so we stress keeping it short and simple!  Fix-Up Monitoring is a skill good readers use where we monitor ourselves to know when a mistake was made and go back to fix it.  We all make mistakes when we read, so monitoring to go fix mistakes is important, especially with very fluent readers who go too fast to even hear that they made a mistake.  I often tell fast readers to slow down, because going too fast isn't good either!


We finished Topic 8 (Two-Digit Addition) last Friday and took the assessment, which will be sent home soon.  You'll notice a change in the test format.  We met with all 2nd grade teachers in the district last Wednesday and decided to shorten the test, so we went from 20 questions to only 9.  We felt we could easily see if they have the concept or not with 9 questions, so 20 isn't really necessary. Now, we move on to Two Digit Subtraction.  Regrouping is a term we use now instead of borrowing or carrying, terms maybe used when you were in school.  Our curriculum stresses the importance of understanding that when we regroup, we trade 10 ones for 1 ten in addition; or trade 1 ten for 10 ones in subtraction.  You could ask your child if they can tell you about regrouping!  We're also finding that knowing our basic facts comes in handy now that we're working with two digits.  It sure takes less time when they know the answers quickly and don't have to stop and count on!


If you haven't signed up for SeeSaw yet, please do!  Eight of 22 families have signed up and are enjoying seeing what their kids post.  I'd like to get more of you involved so here's the link again:

It works on smart phones, ipads, and home computers!

Dates on Deck

Friday, January 27  100th Day of School (dress like you are 100)
Wednesday, February 1   1:00 dismiss for Professional Development
Friday, February 10  12:00 dismiss for Professional Development
Tuesday, February 14   Valentine's Day Party
Wednesday, February 15  1:00 dismiss for Professional Development
Monday, February 20  No School for Professional Development

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Last week I sent the following email with a link to Seesaw, our online learning journal.  If you haven't downloaded the link, I encourge you to do so.  The kids are super excited about adding things to their page for you to see.  There are many things we can use Seesaw for...we're just getting started and I don't want you to miss out!

Dear Parents,

In January we're going to start using a new tool called Seesaw to share what we're learning in class. Your child will have his or her own learning journal, and you can get notified when your child adds new items. It's completely private -- only you can see your child's journal outside of class.

Click on to sign up -- it takes just 30 seconds.

Once you sign up, you can download the Seesaw Parent app for iPhone or Android, or access your child's journal on the web. Each child may have up to 10 people signed up to view their journal, so feel free to inform grandparents that they may use this app or website also!  I've uploaded a video to introduce Seesaw under your child's name within the app, so that will be the only thing you see when you get on Seesaw.  We will be adding more things next week!  Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions!


The kids really worked hard to improve their spelling scores on the Friday test last week and it paid off!  All totaled, we got 161 words right!  Our previous total was 151, so we are happy with getting 10 more points :)  Here is the list for this week.  A practice sheet will come home tomorrow that you can use at home.

Book Order

I sent a book order for January home last Wednesday that I due this Wednesday, January 11.  Scholastic is a great source for purchasing good books for kids at a reasonable cost.  Our whole class benefits because I'm able to use bonus points to buy more books for the classroom!  Orders can be placed online or payment by check is also accepted.


We've started two-digit addition and the kids are doing pretty well.  Keep and eye on their math papers that come home to see how your child is doing, and go over any mistakes made.  They are starting to see why knowing their basic facts is important now that they're using them so much with two-digit addition!


We are on Unit 5, Inferencing and Making Connections.  Inferencing is when a reader takes what the author writes (text) and adds it to what they already know (connections) to make an inference like "maybe..." or "I think that...", or "My guess is..."  It's an important skill because it requires thinking about what you're reading, which is exactly what comprehension is all about!

Mid Year Testing

It's hard to believe that we are almost to day 90, or mid-way through the school year!  Soon we will retest kids on the same things we did at the beginning of the year, hoping each will show growth.  The tests are fluency, reading comprehension, math standards, writing, and basic facts.  After all data is collected and analyzed, I will meet with each student to show them their results and set goals for the end of the year.  Results will also be sent home for you to see.

Dates on Deck

Friday, January 13  1:00 dismiss (end of semester) for Professional Development
Monday, January 16  No School - Professional Development
Wednesday, January 18  1:00 dismiss for Professional Development
Tuesday, February 14  Valentine's Day party