Welcome to Second Grade!

        Your child’s composition portfolio highlights book will be sent home on Friday.  Although the portfolio does not include all the writings your child composed throughout the year, it provides a representative sampling of work that was displayed in the SMS hallway this year. I think you will enjoy reading the selections that your child composed throughout the year!  Please take this portfolio out of your child’s book bag on Friday.  It provides a great memento of your child’s progress this year, and many parents save this portfolio.  It is especially interesting to compare the photo on your child’s “All about Me” poster from the first week of school with the photo on their concluding personal narrative about their First Holy Communion or other Special Day.  I hope you enjoy reading your children’s portfolio as much as I did. 


                                                                              June 18, 2018

Dear Parents,


It is hard to believe that the academic year will end this week.  This has been an important year for your children.  They have grown in wisdom and grace.  Some have received two sacraments; all have made new friends and learned much. It was a pleasure to be a part of this very special year in their young lives.  I would like to thank you for all your cooperation and support this year.  You are a wonderful group of parents, and your encouragement and assistance were very much appreciated.


This week school will be in session on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  There will be an 11:00 dismissal all three days.  Children may wear casual clothing this week.


        Please note that the children are encouraged to participate in a library’s Summer Reading Program. It is very important to maintain and improve reading skills over the summer.  Moreover, the local libraries’ Summer Reading Programs are generally a rewarding and enjoyable experience for the children. The children’s librarian from the Pearl River Library will visit the children on Monday, and her visit excites the children because the library system puts a lot of effort into designing a program that is attractive and fun. The children are encouraged to bring into school in September their summer reading logs.  Students at Saint Margaret School are welcome to participate in the Pearl River Library’s program or they may opt to attend their local library if they are not Pearl River residents.


 I firmly believe that the best way to maintain the children’s academic progress over the summer is to encourage them to read as much as possible.  It is important to encourage your children to read a variety of different types of literature.  They were exposed to a wide variety of literary genres this year. The children’s librarians are trained to help you to select material that best suits your child’s interests and abilities.


        This year, I purchased a Scholastic News subscription for each child. Although we read many of the issues throughout the year (especially ones that were time sensitive or particularly topical),  I  saved a selection of the Scholastic News issues from throughout the year in order to provide extra, grade-appropriate material for the children to enjoy over the summer.   These issues are especially appropriate because they provide nonfiction material for the children to read.  Most of the material that the children select to read independently tends to be fiction, so it is good to encourage them to read a variety of materials.


In addition, if you would like your child to practice his/her composition and comprehension skills over the summer, you can ask him/her to read the Scholastic News issues, complete the activities on the final page of each issue and/or write a paragraph summarizing each issue.   There is, however, no requirement that they do so.  Summaries will not be collected or reviewed by the third-grade teacher in the fall.  Writing them is merely one option for maintaining your child’s composition skills.  It is also good to encourage your child to write creatively over the summer.  Some children enjoy writing their own magazines, modeled on the Scholastic News issues.


Also, I encourage you to have your children practice their newly acquired cursive writing skills whenever they are writing this summer.  Their handwriting books will provide guidance should they forget how to form some of the letters or connections.   They genuinely seemed to enjoy learning cursive writing, and they are doing a wonderful job. They will be expected to use cursive script in third grade.  In addition, please consider detaching the glossary from your child’s Math workbook and keeping it as a reference useful resource .


This week, the children will bring home their Social Studies and Reading/ELA workbooks.  Both of these books contain material that the children can use over the summer to maintain their skills.  The ELA/ Reading workbook contains a review section after each of the six unit sections of the workbook.  This material can be used to refresh the children’s skills over the summer. 


With respect to Math skills, I believe that it is most useful to reinforce basic skills.  The children need to know how to add and subtract two-digit and three-digit numbers with and without regrouping.  They absolutely need to master addition and subtraction facts in order to facilitate their ability to add and subtract quickly and accurately.  If your child has not mastered fact families, please diligently drill him/her over the summer.  Making flash cards and drilling with flash cards provides a great way to master basic addition and subtraction facts. There also are several computer sites that help children drill in ways that the children find entertaining. One site that provides timed tests and allows you to keep a record of your child’s progress can be located at: http://www.playkidsgames.com/games/mathfact/mathFact.htm  This site can help the children reinforce their mastery of addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts.  Also, try to have your children practice telling time over the summer.  Whenever they ask to know the time, encourage them to find the answer themselves.  Challenge them to express the same time in different ways (e.g., 11:15 can also be expressed as a quarter past 11:00 or 45 minutes before 12).


This year, the children covered all second-grade topics mandated by the New York State Core Curriculum for Mathematics.  Our Math Program provides a packet of material introducing material that will be covered in third grade.  We previewed that material in class this month.  The children seemed excited to preview third grade topics.  They were pleased to realize that they already know 5 of the times tables {0, 1, 2, 5, and 10}! Many children wanted to cover even more multiplication facts!   If the children practice the times tables they already know and learn the rest of the times tables over the summer, their transition into third grade will be particularly smooth.


Also, it is useful to challenge your children to use “mental math” rather than paper and pencil to solve computational problems.  Many of the children enjoyed using “mental math” in class.  They seemed to enjoy the challenge of adding or subtracting increasingly larger numbers without using paper and pencil.    Finally, try to show your children how to use math in their daily lives.  You can do so in myriad ways.  For instance, ask them to make change, tell time, and compare fractions.  Research shows that children do better in Mathematics when they see a clear connection between their instruction and the ways Math helps them in their daily lives.


  Your child’s composition portfolio highlights book was sent home last Friday. Although the portfolio does not include all of the writings your child composed throughout the year, it provides a representative sampling of work that was displayed in the SMS hallway and Principal’s Gallery this year. I think you will enjoy reading the selections that your child composed throughout the year! Many parents save this portfolio as a memento of second grade.  It is especially interesting to examine their “All about Me” posters from September and marvel at their growth over the course of an academic year. Last Friday, the children celebrated their portfolio by showing it to their classmates and seventh grade prayer partners before enjoying ice pops together. 


This week, they will get a chance to share with the first graders the books about crayfish they authored this year and then bring them home for you to enjoy.  The crayfish book will be sent home on Tuesday along with their accordion folders containing other Science materials they completed this year.  Please be on the lookout for the crayfish books so that they do not get overlooked in the end of the year rush. On Tuesday, I will also be sending home Scholastic News packages and other summer materials.  In addition, please note that your child’s report card envelope will include a letter from your child’s third grade teacher with suggestions for summer enrichment and a supply list for third grade.


Of course, keep in mind that the children very much need to relax over the summer.  They need to play, enjoy themselves, and exercise their imaginations.    It is important not to put too much pressure on the children.  The suggestions in this letter merely provide some guidance as to the kind of material that will help your child prepare for third grade and suggestions for ways to challenge children who enjoy stretching their abilities.


        Once again, thank you for all you have done this year.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Mulligan for all her hard work and assistance throughout the year. Our class was so lucky to benefit from her considerable talents this year. I would also like to express special gratitude to our fantastic class mothers, Mrs. Reid and Mrs.Caputo, and all the parents (and patient siblings!) that assisted us throughout the year.


  I also look forward to working with our newly minted third grade students on some joint second grade/third grade activities next year!  I hope you all have a happy and healthy summer.



                                                                Mrs. McNulty













                         Act of Contrition



My God,

I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.


In choosing to do wrong

and failing to do good,

I have sinned against you

whom I should love above all things.


I firmly intend, with your help,

to do penance,

to sin no more,

and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.


Our Savior, Jesus Christ,

suffered and died for us.


In his name, my God, have mercy.









 The weekly 2nd grade Specials’ schedule is as follows:


v Monday morning: Computer (10:00); Spanish 10:45

v Tuesday afternoon:  Art (1:05)

v Wednesday afternoon: Gym (12:15)

v Thursday morning:  Music (10:45)




Second Grade Supply List
Please note:  Do not be concerned if you have difficulty finding all the items on this list for the first day of school!  I know there can be shortages, and I will have extra materials for any children who do not have everything.  I do not want you or your child stressing about supplies as you ease into second grade.  The children's (and parents') peace of mind beginning a new school year is more important than whether everyone has all of the supplies.  Also, since the copy paper and tissues are bulky, there is no need to send them in on the first day of school.  I suggest that you send them in piecemeal starting next week.

2 packages of 81/2 by 11 inch copy paper
2 2-pocket folders
2 boxes of tissues
3 sharpened pencils will be required on a daily basis
1 box of crayons {no larger than 24, if possible)
1 box of 12 sharpened pencils
1 12 inch/30 centimeter ruler
1 pair of children's scissors
2 glue sticks
1 six-pocket accordion folder (if it is easier to get a folder with more than six pockets, that would be fine)
You will also need clear contact paper to cover six soft-covered workbooks at home and 2 JUMBO book socks (or paper covers) to cover textbooks  I find that these items are often in short supply in September.  So, it is best to purchase them in August.  Also, please label all of your child's supplies.

Feel free to contact me {cmcnulty@saintmargaretschool.com} if you have any questions at all.