Ms. McGarvey's Great Grade Twos!

Welcome to our website. Here you will find information about our schedule and the classroom norms we developed together. You will also gain a better sense of what we are working on in the classroom. Suggestions regarding how to support student learning can be found throughout the website. Thanks!

addition show your thinking

I am working out how best to communicate with families. My hope is that by putting messages here, at the top of the home page as I add them, you will easily see if there is something new.

June 27 note:

Raz-kids and Dreambox are both available for student use all summer - using the same usernames/passwords as have been used through the year!

Parent access instructions for Raz-kids can be found and shared via the following link:​

Parent Dashboard set up instructions for Dreambox can be found and shared via the following link:

June 26 note:

  • We enjoyed our last Monday in grade 2 today - it is incredible to realize how far we have come since September. Students identified that telling time was the hardest thing to learn in math this year - so we did a practise booklet with 63 questions....the lowest score was 58! I think we've got this. Last week a teacher of junior students walked in while we were working on Bellwork - division! He was sooooo impressed with the way grade 2s were using pictures of groups of objects and numberlines to solve the equations and/or show their thinking (if they did it in their head first). Being able to SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW is something that the students in 2-2 have been expected to do....A LOT! By being able to show how you solve a problem - to represent your thinking so someone else can understand it - is a very important skill. Even when "it's complicated", show what you did - impress others and yourself with all that goes on in that great brain of yours!

Nemo Max is looking for a home

  • students are invited to write a persuasive letter to me to show they are interested in becoming Nemo Max's new owner. Each student letter needs to have an accompanying note from parent/guardian stating the fish is welcome in your home - i.e., it can become your family pet. Nemo Max comes with food, a bottle of treatment for tap water, and a lovely home. He is very low maintenance (as long as nothing enters his home to cause him to become sick - a problem we were having in the classroom for awhile), He rarely needs his water changed (if you only give him a couple of balls of food every day or so) and has proven again and again that he doesn't need to eat on the weekend. I have instructions for his care for the family who has their letters drawn from the hat.

Students have been given books from my class library

  • If your child has brought home books it is because I have given them their favourites! We were talking about food for the mind today and realized that we can feed our mind with books. I hope students read, read, read all summer long - for pleasure and for information and to keep up their skills.

Talent Show - Tuesday (middle block)

We will be dancing!

Report Cards Home - Wednesday

please return parent/student comments on Thursday so I can file them in the OSR

Assembly - Wednesday

recognition and good-byes

Play Day - Thursday middle block

wear sunhats, sunscreen, and bring a water bottle

Early Dismissal on Friday - 1:40

June 19 note:

  • there are so many facts to be learned about animals...Ranger Rick is a great online (free) resource. You can find articles, videos (the one of the peacock squawking is short but so loud!) and more. Take a look! You may need to download Silverlight to run the games - exit Chrome as browser if this is the case.
  • We are making sure we have strong number sense going into grade 3...that means we can add and subtract big numbers (stack attack or number line) and we can use pictures (groups of objects) to work out multiplication and division equations. Students will be getting word problems each day to be strengthen (or develop) their ability to

1. read word problems with understanding

2. visualize what is happening

3. decide on an equation (what needs to be done with the numbers in the word problem) I need to add? subtract? multiply? or divide?

4. work it out (make a picture to show your thinking - numberline, groups of dots, stack attack...)

5. write a sentence to answer the question (many students at all grades forget to actually answer the question)...for example... There are 14 books left.

remember....E P S (when solving word problems)

  • What is the difference between a fact and an opinion?

A fact is something that is true and is supported by evidence.

An opinion is something you believe or feel to be true but someone else may disagree.

We will be reading and writing both in the upcoming days. Knowing the difference between facts and opinions can be very helpful in life.

  • It is that time of year when students are asked to write a letter to the teacher they will have next year. Although they are not going to be given any names, they are still expected to do this so they can let the teacher know a bit about the students who are in their class. We will be writing our letters this year in the form of persuasive letters. Each student is going to convince their new teacher that they are very lucky to be getting such a great kid in their class. Each letter will need at least three reasons. Perhaps you can be thinking about this ahead of your letter is unique and well planned.
  • A big thank you to students for taking the time to work with our new student. There are already books she has heard/read so often that she is beginning to read them independently. What a great gift of friendship you are offering someone who has been through so many changes lately. Language differences need not be barriers!

June 11 note:

  • The students seem to have a great handle on multiplication so far and we are about to begin division.

Home Connection - suggestions for early division (game and handout 1, handout 2, handout 3, handout 4 as well as review of multiplication worksheets

  • The Fun Fair is this week! I am really looking forward to seeing everyone Friday evening. Look for me at the Cotton Candy machine. There will be so much to see and do and most importantly, you will have the chance to build even stronger relationships with others in the Gladys Speers community.
  • It is going to be hot in the classroom and students are reminded to bring a water bottle. If you freeze the water, please also send in a washcloth/coaster for the desktop as the condensation gets everything wet. Sunscreen and a hat are also good ideas as breaks mean we are outside when the sun is at its highest.

June 2 note

  • Thank you to all who sent in fruit for our skippers - they really were happy to eat it all. While the music played and the ropes turned, we had lots of fun while exercising. On top of that our school community raised over $9000 to donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Thanks also to the parent volunteers who prepared and served the fruit...your help made the event great.
  • multiplication instruction begins on Monday - please see the suggestions and handouts page (at the bottom) for ways to get started at home (whether you live in Oakville or not). For those students who are already familiar with how to multiply, there will be ways for you to extend your understanding as well....don't worry.
  • AUSSIE X for our class is on Monday (periods 3 and 4). We will be engaged in some great physical activities - please make sure you are dressed for being active!
  • Dress Like A Character (from a book or movie) is on Tuesday, June 6. If you want to come to school in a costume, please go for it! Remember nothing that involves a mask or makes us think of something violent is welcome. Here's hoping I find a nice LOUD suit this weekend! Will my hair be cut off, platinum, or just my crazy multi-coloured mane as always?

May 29 note:

  • We will soon begin looking at multiplication. I might suggest having a look at the videos at Khan Academy: Videos to get you thinking about multiplication. Work through them...there are some good suggestions and the idea of seeing the X as meaning "groups of" is clear from the start. We will work to be sure we understand that multiplication is repeated addition and we will be looking at groups of objects this year.
  • Jump Rope for Heart is on Thursday! Have you been able to collect any donations? Are you planning on bringing in any fruit? What about parents...are you able to help cut up or serve the fruit? Please consider how you will be contributing to this great event at Gladys Speers!
  • In the next month we will be learning about animals - knowing there are different groups (e.g., amphibians), what the animals in each group have in common (e.g., eggs) and examples from each group (e.g., toads). There will be opportunities to do search for answers to personally relevant questions and share findings with each other. (Sena, if you are looking for something to do while you are not in school during June, you too could learn about animals - I will attach links and suggestions here as the month progresses).

May 22 note:

  • It is remarkable to think that it is already the end of May. I am so confident that the students in room 5 will be ready for grade 3. They are continuing to read, write and solve problems in math everyday - and that won't end until the school year does.
  • Book reports are something we are going to begin this week. Students will be required to complete one report based on a book read in the classroom during independent reading time by Friday...if extra time is required to complete the report, it will be sent home to be finished next weekend.
  • Editing written work is sometimes tricky. Finding and fixing mistakes is an important step in the writing process and students are working on this on their own and with a peer. Sentences (filled with errors) will be corrected as part of Bellwork this week. Students are beginning to know where to place quotations marks these days...I am very impressed. This is especially great because it means they are including conversation in their written work (this almost always adds interest).
  • Please make sure your child continues to read at home each is so important that they also talk about what they have read so we can be sure their comprehension is complete. Often times there may be new vocabulary or parts of the story that require inferring . Just because someone is able to read the words, he or she may not 'get' what is happening. You can check by asking for predictions, specific questions about characters or facts, etc. I would recommend this practise continues as often as is reasonable through the summer. Of course, if reading becomes too much like tedious work, neither you or your child is likely to enjoy it as much.
  • students have completed their research in the library with the support of Mrs. Marchant. We are onto the digging deeper part which will require students to think critically about what they have recorded in their dot jot notes in order to make comparisons. They are to apply their knowledge, for example of the climate of a country to what they know about what the people do for recreation and draw conclusions....e.g., if a country has warm to hot weather all year long, it would not be surprising that the people enjoy playing outdoor sports like soccer. A connection to the foods grown there could also be made. We have to think!
  • Our narrative story-writing is ongoing, and as we move into publishing, we will also begin thinking about writing opinion pieces (persuasive writing). This will be tied into our final unit in science for the year, about animals. It is always good to engage in cross curricular learning!
  • Please remember if you are interested in making your hopes known regarding your child's placement for next year, you need to take care of that now - contact Mrs. Coffey with your ideas please. Know also, that as a classroom teacher I will be considering the grouping of students (i.e., based on who brings out the best in your child) when helping to form classlists for next year. We always go into this task with the best of intentions.
  • There have been a couple of instances this year where students have been certain they have returned classroom or library books. If you should find any that were believed to have been brought back but weren' okay with sending them in. Mistakes happen, but keeping the book rather than admitting it makes the problem bigger.
  • I am organizing the Jump Rope for Heart event again this year. I am really hoping there will be enough volunteers to prepare and serve the fruit on the day that we skip (Thursday, June 1). Please let me know if you are available. It is an amazing day and parent volunteers' help is truly required.
  • There are going to be a few more draws for prizes among those already fund raising (on top of the ones earned following the event). Please be sure your child has a chance to win.
  • Again about Jump Rope for Heart, please give your child enouragement to practise skipping - I have ropes available for students to take home leading up to June 1....they will all need to be here that day as everyone in the school will be skipping during periods 5 an 6.
  • Hat Day is tomorrow! (I wouldn't recommend a toque as the room gets pretty warm).
  • Finally - please help your child plan ahead for Character Day - it will be the next school spirit day (Tuesday, June 6). My plan is to dress in a loud suit (if I can find one) to be Mr. Wormwood. Who will your child be dressed up as?

May 8 note

  • The kick off for our fundraising for the Heart and Stroke Foundation will be tomorrow! The envelope and paper about how to raise money on-line will be coming home tomorrow after we have our assembly in the morning.
  • I hope your child was able to describe all that we enjoyed on Friday

May 2 note

  • I am so proud of the way the students in room 5 look out for each other. They seem to know when their kindness is needed most and they are able to act and talk in ways that show they care!
  • Our trip on Thursday is an indoor trip. The only time we will be outdoors is getting onto and off of the bus. Hopefully it will be a sunny day, but if won't dampen our fun. Thanks to the many parents who will be joining us on this trip. It is lovely to know we have this kind of support.
  • We have been learning more about what life may be like in Salvador, Brazil. Living so close to the equator, beside the ocean means you can enjoy swimming outside (the water temperature is about 25 degrees all year long) and playing outside all year long and it will always feel like a summer day. The lowest the temperature goes is about 21 degrees and the highest is only upto about 30 degrees....that is not a big change between the coolest days and the warmest days. Think about we can go down below zero in the winter and well above 30 in the summer.....that is a range of about 40 degrees! No wonder we wear different clothing depending on the season.
  • Please ask your child what country he/she has chosen to study (our research block in the library starts tomorrow). Perhaps together you can find a video tour of this location so your child can begin to learn about the Natural Features, Foods Grown, Types of Homes and Recreational Activities that can be found there. These are ways we can compare different places around the world with what we know about living in Oakville.
  • I was so impressed today with bellwork. Many students are finding different ways to solve subtraction questions that involve regrouping....some use the standard North American algorithm (with crossing out and borrowing). There are those who decompose numbers to make it easier (e.g., 64-26....64-20=44. 44-6 = 44-4-2 = 40-2 =38. Some are even beginning to understand the idea that 64 -26 = 68 - 30 . The thinking: By adding 4 to 26, we make a much more friendly number...with 0 in the ones column. So, if we add 4 to 26, we also add 4 to 64. The distance on the number line between 64 and 26 is exactly the same as the distance between 30 and 68. This is an awesome mental math strategy that can make the subtraction of 2 digit numbers so much easier! (hey parents....have you tried or even thought of this strategy before?)
  • The art work of Romero Britto has inspired the pop-artist in each of us and we have a brightly coloured, pattern filled bulletin board outside our classroom as a result. Stop by and check it out if you are interested....Romero Britto and another Romero Britto video.
  • Fractions....Introduction to Fractions - take a look! Here's a book about halves...Give Me Half!

April 20 note:

  • What does the sentence: No Sloths Eat Awesome Ants After August mean to you? Well around here it is an example of a way we have come up with to remember the names of the seven continents:

North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Antarctica, Africa, Australia

Other ideas include:

No Sleeping At All...Elephants Are Ants! and

Alligators Eat Nice Apples, Sweet Apples And Amazing Ants

  • Students were able to buy 2 real treats in the classroom today only after being able to work out how much change from their dollar (plastic) they needed to get back...the hard work (and it still is difficult for some) was worth it. Starburst, Rockets, Lollies, Smarties and Sidewalk Chalk were all available at Ms. McGarvey's Treat Shop and each student purchased two treats. To get a better idea of how we work out change, take a look at this document Making Change Our Way
  • Growing and Shrinking Patterns - ask your child about this knew topic in math. We have used giant grid papers, snap cubes and tomorrow the pattern blocks will be out to explore the concept of how to make a pattern that grows by adding 2, for example. It should be fun!
  • Thank you to Zaid and Soha for donating a world map to the classroom. It is so big and detailed that it will be of great use as explore different countries around the world.
  • As you talk about the places you have been or where your ancestors were born, please show your child where these countries are located on a map or globe. Compare the location to Canada (e.g., Is is closer to the equator than Canada? Is it smaller than Canada? Is it smaller even than Ontario or even Lake Ontario? What do people like to do there for fun (based on the environment, the climate, and the proximity to water).
  • Thank you to families who are encouraging their children to use Raz-kids and Dreambox at home. Both are fantastic resources that are being provided by the school board and school this year.

April 12 note:

  • Sorry I have not been here for awhile! A lot has happened around here. The poems have been presented (mostly) and the students did a great job - confidence and skill were abounding. Many students were able to speak from memory and with expression.
  • Using literary devices (e.g., rhyme, rhythm, onomatopoeia, repetition, and alliteration) while writing poems became automatic for many. Wonderful writers work wonders with words!
  • We are getting to know the spelling patterns used to spell more complex sounds like long vowels. For each there are usually three common ways to spell the sound (e.g., /aa/ = a ___ e, ai, ay). When your child is reading, consider asking him/her to go on a word search. Choose a spelling sound (e.g., long e) and have your child find words with that sound and write them down. Look together and discover the ways the sound can be spelled. The words can then be sorted by how they are spelled (e.g., play, day, Monday go together in one column and train, sail go in another while Jane, date and tale go in yet a third column).
  • We have shown that we have a good understanding of the water cycle and know different ways people and animals and plants use moving air and water in our day to day lives.
  • Healthy food choices are something each of the students knows how to make - please help your child fulfill their commitment to eating a healthy lunch each day by making sure there are different fruits, vegetables and grains available to pack into the lunch bag. It is wonderful to see how many students have (and fill) a water bottle at school each day.
  • we have looked at symmetry and discovered that many things are the exact same size and shape on both sides. Look at the letters of the alphabet and find out which ones are symmetrical. Are more upper case letters or lower case letters symmetrical?
  • Making Change...we can make changes in the environment by looking after the water on our planet. We can also make change when we pretend to shop. We put price tags on many items in the classroom and Ms. McGarvey would give us one dollar (it was always too much). We had to make the change using coins. It is easy to do on a number line, and it even seems like it can be easy to do with coins. Yeah us!
  • Our new social studies

March 9 note:

  • Happy March Break! Be safe. Be kind. Be active.

Students are to be able to use the vocabulary connected to each stage of the water cycle while presenting what they know (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, collection). Including references to whether heat is added or removed and the state the water is in (i.e., solid, liquid or gas) will bump up their presentation.

Most students have completed the visuals to go with their presentation at school and many do know what they want to say - time to practise at home is just to keep it fresh (and commit it to memory).

  • Money, money, money - most students can name all coins and total the value of sets of coins efficiently and accurately. That wonderful open number line comes in handy once again. Our good old 100 squares are also useful. Perhaps your child will have the opportunity to count sets of coins during the March Break.
  • Please remember that using Dreambox and Raz-kids are both great ways to practise skills at home.

March 2 note:

Please find your child's username and password on the front page of your child's agenda.

February 23 note:

  • Knowing the vocabulary that can be used to describe the likelihood of something happening is important! We created a probability continuum with the following: impossible, very unlikely, unlikely, equally likely, likely, very likely, certain. Talk about each of these words/phrases and come up with times that they could be used.
  • We are considering the importance of being able to visualize when we read. It is important to be able to create a movie in your mind of what is happening as you read. We have practiced visualizing in the classroom in response to stories read aloud. Students are beginning to understand that as writers it is important to be able to write with enough detail (descriptive words and phrases) to allow your readers to visualize. Perhaps tell stories of your childhood to your child and have them try to create pictures in their minds to go with what you are describing. Have them share what they are visualizing by describing it or drawing it.
  • The telling time unit was met with success by most students. Continue to expect your child to be able to tell time to the hour, half hour (both grade 1 expectations) and quarter hour.
  • Our investigations into the movement of air had us make great use of balloons today. First we were able to show how hot air rises by heating air in a bottle and having it rise up to fill a balloon we had attached to the top of the bottle. Next we took balloons outside and saw the way they could be moved by the moving air! Good thing we are fast runners! (We also learned that balloons that have the most air in them are the most likely to pop.).
  • Here's a great article about number senseNumber Sense Article highlighting why we are spending time on Number Talks.
  • Report Cards are coming home tomorrow. Please read them before deciding to share them with your child. Take time to plan how to help your child appreciate both his/her strengths and needs. Spend time on the Learning Skills as improvements there will impact success in all areas of the program (at any age). I feel very proud of the progress the students in 2-2 are making. They are working hard and learning the benefits of being able to persevere. As our poster says, "Mistakes are proof you are trying!"

February 13 note

  • It has been decided that our class will be participating in the annual Gladys Speers 100th day of school Trading Event with all of the primary students in the gym on Wednesday, February 22nd. A note describing what the students will need in order to take part is in the agenda today. Please note that this is the only occasion at which students will be allowed to trade items from home with others during school time. This activity will be closely supervised by the primary teachers and students will only make trades that make both people happy.
  • Students have done a good job showing they are able to read and write instructions and most know that each step must start with a verb. Talk about verbs and verb endings at home.
  • Our upcoming writing and reading unit will be a focus on poetry. We will be generating lists of descriptive words. Be thinking of great words that can help someone visualize what you are writing about while talking at home.
  • Everyone is encouraged to use the list of names sent home on Friday to ensure they have a Valentine for each of their classmates. Paper to make Valentines is always avaiable in the classroom and the art storage room (all a student needs to do is describe what is needed and I will get it if possible) (this offer was also made last week).
  • Students completed a show what you know about States of Matter and I am pleased to say we all know quite a bit! The many hands on investigations seemed to be an effective way to get students thinking about and using the vocabulary associated with this unit. Ask your child to describe something that can absorb liquid and something that repels it. Talk about items that float and sink and discuss what helps you predict what something will do when put in water. Students were expected to know that the shape of liquids depends on the shape of the container they are in and that liquids can flow while solids do not typically change shape easily...they must have heat or pressure added (i.e., they can be melted, smashed, ripped, etc.). The other big idea is that an objects state of matter can sometimes change from a solid to a liquid and/or a liquid to a solid and that solids and liquids can sometimes be combined. Finally knowing that we need to be careful around liquids and solids that have warning labels is key.
  • Our new science unit, Movement of Air and Water, will have a big stewardship component, with the expectation that students learn the importance of caring for the earth and recognize their responsibility to do so.

February 8 notes

  • Now that we are looking at clocks and working toward naming the times to the quarter hour, it will be very helpful for families to make a point of looking at clocks around the house or in the car...we are trying to use the phrases: Half past six, Quarter after five, Quarter to seven, as well as 6:30, 4:45 and 7:15.

February 7 notes

  • We will be making Valentine Collectors in the classroom on Friday. Students are encouraged to bring in Valentines next Tuesday to distribute to their classmates: Zaid, Yousif, Tariq, Thomas, Zoey, Jarrel, Noah, Lucian, William, Ella, Milun, Ava, Alivia, Sofia, Maja, Sophie, Ranbeer, Armand, Sena, Mia, Yusseif and Ms. McGarvey

February 6 notes

  • We are finishing up with States of Matter and Moving onto Movement of Air and Water. Ask your child to explain the different centers that were part of Scientist in the School as they were the kick-off for our new unit. Thanks to the volunteers who gave us their time to allow this fun afternoon to happen.
  • Stages of Development is our unit of study in Health (and this will come up again in Science later this year). Please check out the slideshow (using your child's Halton Account) I put together that captures the ideas the students generated during today's discussion. Wow, what an insightful group! (go to the very bottom of this page....sorry)
  • Students are still expected to be reading at home each day. There were only about 6 RED folders at school today and I hope this does not indicate that the reading has stopped. In some cases I know the reading is ongoing but with chapter books, etc. it is more likely the folder stays home for longer. Please just ensure the reading is happening....Razkids is also always available. Please make use of this great reading program (that is free for families because the school board has invested in it).
  • Math...even students in grade 2 do algebra! We are working with balanced equations these days and most students are able to logically figure out missing addends. So impressive!
  • We are soon starting time in math - knowing how to read a clock to the quarter hour is what students will be expected to be able to do (and to use phrases like "it is quarter to five or it is quarter after seven" We will be looking at clocks with hands and digital clocks. Reviewing time to the hour and half hour is recommended.

January 25 notes:

  • What an amazing day we shared with students from other classes for our overall wellness (body and mind)! Students were either with Ms. Scarfone's class, Ms. Penny's class or Mrs. Haomoka's and I heard great things from each of the teachers regarding student behaviour and participation. The Booster Juice was enjoyed by most (watch out for those requests that may be coming your way).
  • Recently a significant number of Pokemon cards have gone missing. One set may have gone missing from the classroom. Others may have been found on the blacktop. As anything Pokemon seems to be something that is of particular interest to many seven-year-olds (and those soon to be 8), I am asking all parents to have a look around in case your child brought them home in a moment of poor judgement. We talked today in the classroom about how if this did happen it may seem to the child involved that it is impossible to fix the problem, but it isn't. Returning the cards would make the person who is so desperately missing them feel much better. Each child in our class knows, without exception, that Pokemon cards (or any type of trading card) have been banned. Messages in the students agendas have been written as well. Temptation can be a difficult thing to figure out for kids. We need to support them as they work through knowing (really knowing) right from wrong, empathy, and being able to take responsibility. There are so many lessons to be learned here, big life lessons, that I hope something good comes from the situation.
  • So, what's happening academically? Students are measuring area and perimeter, they are writing Procedures (anything from how to make cookies to how to make a book to how to eat a banana). We developed a success criteria together (after looking at the many examples of directions/instructions you sent in - thank you) and came to understand what they all had in common. Students are learning that if they realize they have not met the criteria, it is within their power to rewrite (in fact it is required).
  • In science we are onto the Properties of Liquids and Solids and after looking at many of the materials we will be using in the upcoming days, students were able to predict the type of investigations we will design. We are off to a great start. (The simple machine book is taking longer to publish than expected but oh what a book it will be when we are done!!! Rather than individual books, we are writing chapters cooperatively - takes longer but the results so far are promising.)
  • We have not been doing addition of 2-digit numbers on a daily basis lately, but that does not mean your child could not show you how he/she works out problems (on a number line, using jumps of 10 perhaps). Students who do not yet know many of the basic addition facts (e.g., + 0, + 1, + 2, doubles, what equals 10) could work on these with you at home to help build their understanding of how numbers can be put together. Having automatic recall of facts will make it much easier as students move on in arithmetic. I am not suggesting memorizing without understanding rather finding those patterns and working with them (e.g., when I add 1, I just go to the next number). Breaking numbers up before adding (e.g., making 10) allows you to see that 7 + 8 could be 7 + 3 + 5. Seeing the 8 as 3 + 5 means you can make a 10 then add easy! Addition with and without regrouping is certainly one of the biggest skills to develop this year. Having said that, knowing how to show your thinking is also important (and often the bigger challenge, especially for people who are used to saying "I just know it" when clearly they have done something) Not every equation is a known fact.

January 12 notes

  • Students have been using non-standard units to measure the length of different objects. They are expected to understand that the larger the measuring the unit, the fewer you will need to measure an object. Conversely, the shorter the measuring unit, the more you will need.
  • We are going to be using rulers to measure objects to the nearest centimeter (cm) this week, making estimates first (thinking guesses...not random guesses).
  • We were measuring the distance around our heads and comparing that to the length of our arms (shoulder to wrist). As a result of the information we gathered in the classroom, we are wondering if for a child, a string used to measure around the head will be longer than the same person's arm and that for an adult it will be the same (for tall adults, the arm may be longer). Please collect data about this by measuring the different people in your family.
  • Students will be working on writing instructions or directions (procedural writing). Thank you to those families who have already sent in samples for us to read. We really need lots of different examples to find out what they all have in common.
  • Pizza orders were sent home today. Please order on-line.

December 22 notes

  • As the first part of our year together winds down, I just want to be sure to publicly thank Mrs. Steifel and Soha for being wonderful volunteers in our classroom every week. Their positive energy, committment to the students and willingness to do anything have had a great impact on the learning that happens in room 5. If your child would like to write notes to thank thoughtful women, they can deliver them in the new year.
  • Simple Machines has been a unit that has brought out the engineer in each of the students. The planned tasks provided the students with the knowledge and vocabulary but the spontaneous projects the students have pursued on their own and proven the students are problem posers and solvers. They come up with challenges and work collaboratively to solve them using whatever materials they can find. I have been amazed! The tests will be handed out in the New Year. From what I have already seen, each student was able to remember and apply what they have learned.
  • Our Unit: Measuring for the Art Show is now over, but the measuring with non-standard units and problem solving that it inspired and required will continue into January. The students are becoming so capable of adding 2-digit numbers with and without regrouping. Just ask them to show you. If needed, you can easily print a 100 chart ( ), but if you notice your child counting on more than 10, ask him/her to think about how many tens and how many ones are in the numbers in their equation. Please look at the pop-out page to the left for an idea of what your child may do on an open numberline.
  • We won the door decorating contest for the primary hall. The students so proudly told the judges how they worked together to create our happy snowman looking up at the falling snowflakes. It truly is a work of art! Congratulations everyone.
  • Please encourage your child to read read read over the holidays. The joy and calm that can come from a good book may come in handy during the hectic days ahead.
  • Thank you to all who are part of the learning community we have built in room 5 at Gladys Speers. I love coming to work each day becqause of you!

May your holidays be healthy and happy. Take time to rest. Take time to laugh. Take time to connect.

Happy New Year!

December 15 notes

  • The students really shone on stage as they sang about wanting their two front teeth an being naughty - they got lots of laughs and compliments from those in the audience. Way to go!!!
  • The bitter cold weather has definitely arrived. We were outside for only one break today and the students were all looking very bundled up - though more layers and warmer hats may be welcomed by some. I am noticing that some gloves (the very thin knit ones that stretch and the ones with liners that seem to pull inside out when the gloves are removed) are either letting hands get cold or not being worn. Please talk to your child about how he/she feels when outside as you may wish to look into alternative gloves or even mitts.
  • Thank you to those who have sent in some dry socks. We have not needed them yet (for the most part), but they will come in handy some day, no doubt. I will make sure they are all home for the holidays (along with indoor shoes, all winter wear and water bottles).
  • Monday we will be having a PJ and cookie party in the class. Students are welcome to bring a (medium-sized or small) stuffy to school. I have the cookies (for decorating and eating). There is a school wide PJ day on Thursday and the students will be gathering as a primary division to enjoy a movie, hot chocolate and popcorn. It will be a special time together! Friday, next week, is RED and WHITE day - another way to come together as a community and have some fun!
  • We have move on in math to adding big numbers by decomposing and adding tens. By this I mean, students are able to add, for example, 24 + 24, as they know 20 + 20 is 40 an 4 + 4 is 24 + 24 is 48! We have been using an open numberline and a 100 chart as needed to help solve such equations (though many can use mental math strategies alone). The open numberline is a great way for students to show their thinking, however, and they will be encouraged to do so. This will help them be more successful when required to show their work and less likely to say "I just do it."
  • Simple Machines is the science unit that we have been working on for awhile now. It is expected that students can use specific vocabulary (e.g., force, push, pull, load, work, move,lift, lower, hold, effort, inclined plane (the simplest of the simple machines as it can be as simple as a hill),, wedge (like 2 inclined planes, but it needs to be moved to force an object to break into pieces or to keep an object from moving), lever (fulcrum), screw (thread), wheel and axle (rotate, spin), pulley (wheel, axle, rope/chain). Students have been using their problem solving and designing/testing skills to create and work with simple machines in the classroom. They have also been applying reading/research skills (using non-fiction texts and pebblego science) in order to make notes on a graphic organizer. They will be turning their work into a multipage non-fiction text of their own about the simple machine they have chosen as their focus. Though quite demanding, it is so worthwhile! Knowing how to identify and use a Table of Contents, headings, diagrams, labels, captions, glossary, index are valuable skills. There will be a chance for students to show what they know in another way as well. They will be completing test through which they will show their knowledge, ability to thinkg about and apply concepts, and communicate their understanding. Support will be provided as required so that reading and writing are not what is being tested (though working independently will be the expectation for most).
  • As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email me or call the school. I am usually in the building by 8 and I am also available after school.

November 29 notes:

  • Thank you for coming into the school to meet with your child and I. I learned so much about each student and hope you feel you have a better idea of what happens in grade 2! If you ever want to talk, please call the school or send me an email
  • Here is some news from the office for the whole school...there is a lot in there for grade 2:

Coffey Chats

Please join me for our first Coffey Chat on Friday, December 9. It is my opportunity to meet you and your opportunity to meet with me and ask your questions. In future, we will address topics of interest to parents. We will meet at 9:00 in the staff room in case you are able to stop by on your way to work. Come and join us for coffee/tea and some morning snacks.

Dental Screening

Just a reminder that we will have Dental Screening for students in JK/SK and Grade 2 on Friday, December 2. Letters went home to parents this week

Christmas Concert Assembly Reminder

We will have 3 different presentations of our Holiday production – the afternoon of December 14 and the evenings of December 14 and 15. The afternoon production on December 14 will take place at 2:00 p.m. and the evening presentations will be at 6:30 p.m. We will be sending out ticket information soon so that families know how and when to get their tickets. As our gym is small and has limited capacity, we do have to monitor attendance in order to honour fire code restrictions. As we are having 3 presentations, we are hoping we can accommodate all parents who are interested in viewing the concert.

November 21 notes:

  • Student, Parent and Teacher conference times were sent home with the report cards and written in agendas. It is expected that each student will lead a meeting during which best work and goals for subject areas and learning skills will be shared. Only 15 minutes has been allotted for each conference, so students will practice ahead of time to be sure they can stick to their script and the schedule. This may be tricky, especially since students did not have the opportunity to lead a conference in grade one. I will try my best to be on time for everyone. If you are waiting in the hall when it is time for your conference to begin, please know that it is okay to knock on the door. Thanks!
  • We are working with shapes still in math - amazing collaborative exploration is happening at math centres! Ask your child about what he/she has been doing.
  • A new unit in science has begun ... Simple Machines. We will be having a half day with a Scientist in the Classroom on Thursday, December 8. We will need 4 volunteers to work with the students during periods 1,2, and 3 (i.e., 8:30 - 12:00) that day. If you think you would like to be part of the fun, you can let Ms. McGarvey right away so we know we have enough. Thank you! A note in the agenda is a great way to communicate your availability.
  • Students in room 5 are writing machines. While writing in role (as Borden from the novel read to the class, Owl in the Shower), students have really put a great deal of effort into writing recounts of important events from the story. Some are planning to write a recount of all six main events, in order to retell the whole story! What initiative!
  • Photo retake is tomorrow. If your child will be getting his/her picture retaken, please write a quick note in the agenda to let me know. Thanks.
  • As the gym will be occupied with photography equipment, students will be going outside for gym with Mrs. Austin tomorrow....they need to dress warmly.
  • Please be sure that all items brought to school have your child's name written on them. This makes finding lost items or making sure found items are returned to their owners so much easier. Many hats, mitts, boots, etc. look alike!!!!

November 11 notes:

  • The display of wreaths at our Remembrance Day assembly was simply beautiful. The students in our class knew the expectation was to be respectfully quiet during the entire performance and they were able to manage their behaviour very well. The choir sounded lovely and the four students from our class that have joined truly looked to be enjoying themselves! They can be proud of themselves for taking advantage of the opportunity to join a school extra curricular.
  • Key ideas in geometry have been to describe and compare 2-D shapes using geometry words (sides and vertices and names of shapes). We can now look at a polygon, count the number of sides, count the number of vertices (same as number of sides), and name it. For example, looking at a "5 point star", students would be expected to count the number of sides (10), count the number of vertices (points where 2 sides meet, therefore 10) and recall or look on a chart to see that this would be called a decagon. A "diamond"? Nope. It is a quadrilateral we now call a rhombus or parallelogram.
  • We have a few new units starting up next week - Simple Machines in Science and 3-D figures in Math. Writing/Reading Explanatory texts will be the focus in Literacy. Students will stilll have opportuntities to write personal recounts (journals), complete word work (looking at words that end in le and er), and continue to be coached in how to be thoughtful and successful while choosing books to read during independent and partner reading times. Of course there are other tasks to choose as well, when all that must be completed has been completed.
  • Thinking more about self regulation as we move toward the 50th day of school means students will be setting goals for themselves more often. Meeting personally set goals may push students to go even further in grade 2, perhaps with reading, writing, and managing their behaviour. Knowing what we do well, where we can improve and what to do to make those improvements are conversations that will be happening in room 5 more and more often.
  • To support students in the classroom, on the playground and even at home as they decide how to interact with others and what to do if there is a problem, we will begin Kelso's Choices. There are lessons we will enjoy with the school's Child and Youth Councillor (CYC) and she will be meeting the students on Monday. The vocabulary and problem solving strategies the students learn will help them in many situations. You will be kept in the loop as you may wish to use use similar ways of handling conflict at home. Take a look on the Suggestions and Handouts page for an earlier post re Kelso's Choices (look for the frog!).

November 4 notes:

  • Please check out the other pages on this website. New inforamtion has been added to the Handouts and Suggestions pages.

November 3 notes:

  • is the link to find information about free apps to be able to use Raz-kids on ipads etc. Please check it out to make reading at home even easier!
  • our graphing unit has been enjoyable and most students have been successful in coming up with questions for surveys, tallying data, and representing data on graphs (bar and picture). We have applied this to making a line graph to represent the crazy temperatures we have had this we move closer to winter the temperature has been going up!
  • We will begin our geometry unit this week - be looking at the shapes of objects around the house and decide if you see more rectangles or circles in the kitchen...why might there be more of one shape than another?
  • Students are becoming more and more aware of the need to include words like First, Then, Next, After that, and Finally when writing recounts of the personal experiences. They also know they need to address the 5 Ws.
  • We are almost finished our book: Owl in the Shower. We have yet to find out what is to become of Bardy. We have had to think a lot about the needs of nature and the needs of people and have done some problem solving through discussions about our responsibility to meet the needs of both. We are responsible for the care of Mother Earth.
  • We will be learning more about the names of all the students in our class in order to make connections between our own lives and what we read in books (e.g., The Name Jar, From Far Away).
  • Students are completing research projects in class about different celebrations (many that we had not heard about before). Some students are eager to repeat the process by reading many articles and completing many organizers to show they can answer different questions (e.g., When is the celebration? What special activities/foods usually go with it? etc.) The next step will be to complete VENN diagrams to compare different celebrations and to do further research to answer personally important questions students have come up with to show they are curious and need to dig deeper.
  • The sound chunk for spelling this week is SH

She sells seashells by the seashore. The seashells she sells are special for sure.

Ashley, Ashley could not sleep. She should try to count some sheep.

  • You may have noticed spelling lists appear on Fridays....these are not words that students have necessarily practised. They are words that use the spelling chunk that has been the focus for the week and require students to work on matching the sounds they hear to the letters that spell the sounds. I am encouraging students to use their fingers to identify how many sounds they hear and then to check that they have at least that many letters. In the case of SH words, like crash, we hear four seperate sounds that are blended together to form the word c-r-a-sh, but know that two letters are needed to spell the sound sh. My hope is not that the students necessarily get perfect each week. Instead we are looking to see improvements in day to day writing (not just on a 'test'). We are looking for students to begin really attending to the simple sounds made by letters (e.g., consonants and short vowels first) as they are what are used most often. There are ever more complex sounds (e.g., long vowel sounds like long a that can be spelled ay, a_e, ai to name the three most common ways) that we will address as the year progresses. Students are not to get 'hung up' on spelling, however, if it means their ideas stop flowing and the take fewer risks to use great vocabulary.

October 24th notes:

  • Students are beginning to do self-assessments in all areas of the program. They are looking at their writing to see if it includes all that is expected. They are looking at their posters (about Halloween Safety) to see if they meet the success criteria. They are looking at their behaviour to see if they are achieving Needs Improvement, Satisfactory, Good or Excellent in each of their Learning Skills (we are still mainly focusing on Responsibility, Independent Work, Organization and Collaboration)
  • Food for the Fair Share Food Bank is being collected this week with the slogan "Let's Scare Away Hunger!" Many packages of pasta and other non-perishable foods have already been donated....thanks!
  • If you have someone in your home who could benefit from having a Raz-kids account (rather than sharing with their sibling who is in 2-2), please let me know. I may be able to help. Extra stars are going to students who login this week...come on and make use of this awesome resource!!!!

October 23 notes:

  • Looking ahead: The Halloween Dance is on Monday, October 31st. Our time is 11:50 - 12:20, so students may wish to wear their costume to school and keep it on through the first break. I can stay in the classroom during the first recess break so students don't need to play outside in their costumes. They may change into their regular clothes after the dance. If you would like to see the students in their costumes and have a police check on file, you are welcome to join us in the gym at 11:50.
  • I have been reading so many journal entries this weekend and the students in 2-2 are really making progress in their ability to write a recount about an experience. The following is what I consider when reading student recounts and will be expecting students to be working toward as we continue to write in our journals throughout the year. As often as possible we will write about shared experiences (e.g., a Fire Drill, Making a Marble Run, the Halloween Dance, etc.).

Writing a Recount about a Personal Experience In Grade 2

  1. Recounts can tell the details of your experience in a logical order.
  2. Recounts answer the 5 Ws (Who? When? Where? What? And Why?)
  3. Recounts are written in past tense.
  4. Recounts include how you felt about the experience (usually at the end).

Other considerations:

  • Each sentence starts with an uppercase letter.
  • Each person’s name starts with an uppercase letter.
  • Each sentence ends with a punctuation mark ( . ! )
  • Words from the word wall are spelled correctly.
  • There are usually 5 or more sentences.
  • Words like First, Then, After that, and Finally are used to show the order that events took place.
  • There may be something that was said (in quotation marks).

A poster of this (an anchor chart) will be displayed in the classroom as well. Students will have personal copies in their journals for reference as well.

October 20 notes:

  • We read The Name Jar today. The main character knows how special her name is and how she came to have it. Unhei means Grace. Students were asked to find out why they have their names - how the decision to be called one name over another was made. In my case, my mother wanted a simple, plain name that sounded good with my sister's name. She was also a teacher and always liked the names Anne and Jane. So, there you have it.
  • October 19 notes:
  • There are only three more All About Me presentations for us to hear! Well done to all who were able to prepare their stories and gather/make their props - each presenter has successfully recounted details about a family tradition and talked about countries that are special to their family. Our display has flags from over 20 countries and many lovely photos. It looks amazing!
  • Today we worked in teams of three to build Marble Runs. This was a STEM activity using Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills. Photos of all the Marble Runs were taken and can be found on the Handouts and Suggestions page - as inspiration for something to do for fun at home. Be creative!

October 14 notes:

  • Monday is PICTURE DAY! Try to keep the bedhead to a minimum!
  • We have learned a few great games to play on Fridays during Math - Secret Numbers, Guess My Number and the dice game Making 10s. Not only do we practice math skills, we learn more about the value of playing so that fun can be had by all (i.e., learning why it is so important that we can always be honest and fair with each other)
  • When discussing what we are thankful for, the phrase "the best things in life are free" was proven to be true again and again. Following a Native American Morning Message of Thanks, we were able to come up with so many reasons to thank Mother Earth. Ideas were shared orally and through visual arts.
  • There are only 5 more students who need to prepare their All About Me presentations. We have heard about many family traditions and will begin to make some more in depth comparisons as we continue to work through our social studies unit.
  • Word Centers were started this week. Students have learned how to keep the materials required organized and have each tried one center so far.
  • Raz-Kids accounts have been activated and login and password information was sent home today - each student has a card in his/her agenda! Let the reading begin!!!!
  • And, last but certainly not least....Thanks to the volunteers who will be in our classroom on a regular basis! Your children will be getting extra support four times each week! Talk about having something for which to feel thankful!

October 4 notes

  • We are spending time each day reflecting on our Learning Skills. Students are thinking in terms of E=Always, G=Usually, S=Sometimes and N=Never. Being a responsible student with work habits that allow for more independence are goals. Please check out the handouts page on this website to see what students are using to assess their learning skills.
  • A couple of math activities and a word work activity have been posted on the Handouts and Suggestions page - take a look!
  • Mrs. Austin has been teaching the students some great games that they can play during recess. It is wonderful to hear that all of our students are working to manage their own behaviour during gym class and playing with the equipment in ways that are safe is the norm. Way to go 2-2.

October 3 notes:

  • The Gladys Speers Gators raised over $490.00 for Terry in cash donations on Friday. What a way to prove it is Cool To Care at Gladys Speers.
  • We are working on being able to tell and write recounts. That means when we talk about an experience, we consider the 5 Ws: What? Who? When? Where? and Why? We have written recounts about the Fire Drill we had on September 20th and will continue to write detailed journal entries about what is happening in our lives.
  • We are taking inventory of everything in the classroom, from how many scissors we have to how many books we have. We have discovered that making bundles of 10 really helps us stay organized.
  • We are looking forward to seeing everyone at school Wednesday evening for Open House.

September 30th notes:

  • we are working on number sense in math by taking inventory of all that is in the classroom - you really get to know about tens and ones this way!

September 29th notes:

  • we have had two successful fire drills - students know the routine and were easily able to stay calm and quiet throughout
  • our All About Me presentations have started and we look forward to hearing about each of the students in the class - students may sign up on the "I Am Ready to Present" list on the day they bring in their three objects (see assignment outline on the All About Me Presentation page)
  • students in our class will be collecting the donations throughout the school tomorrow morning - everyone is welcome to make their donation on line or by sending in a "Toonie for Terry" (amounts may vary) - the run will take place after lunch on Friday, September 30 (let's hope there is no rain).

Highlights of the first two weeks - bits and pieces that may spark conversation...

We have a fish in the classroom named Nemo Max. He is a Beta fish. Many students in the class are wondering if he is lonely. Some wonder how he finds his food (i.e., Does he see it or smell it?).

We are working on patterns in math - the vocabulary we are using includes: core, label, attributes (i.e., size, colour, shape, orientation, location) and repeating. Learning goal: create, label and extend repeating patterns by combining two attributes . We are also working with numbers (2-digit numbers and number words) and collecting data in order to make graphs in math.

During our Literacy Blocks we are reviewing how to select books so that we can read them independently. Talk about the three ways to read a book at home!

There's an Owl in the Shower - Borden has very strong feelings about owls! We wonder how an owl will end up in his shower.

Stages of Development