Welcome to Second Grade!

January 5, 2018

Dear Second Grade Families,

Happy New Year to all of you! The second graders returned to school with lots of wonderful stories of their Winter Break and lots of excitement to see each other again. I’m glad to get back into our usual schedule as we have lots of interesting things to learn and do in the coming year!

Playworks Visit: Right away on Monday afternoon, we had our monthly time working with Coach Shae on some recess games and virtuous habits. This month the focus is teamwork. We started by playing “Blob Tag” where the students had to link arms and tag others. When a “blob” contained four students, they split into two smaller blobs and kept tagging. The students agreed that it could be tough to stick with your blob, but it was fun. We also did two soccer-related games called “Hot Spot” and “Knockdown Soccer” where students worked as teams to either score goals or to knock over cones for their team. More photos of our time with Coach Shae are at the end of this letter.

Special Visitor: Ms. Zimmerman, Frieda’s mom, came to our classroom today to share about the Zones of Regulation with the second graders. As she says, the Zones of Regulation is an approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones. The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to identify their feelings/level of alertness, understand how their behavior impacts those around them, and learn what tools they can use to manage their feelings and states.

Nova does use the Zones of Regulation from time to time, so it was helpful to have all of the students learn more about it with me. It fits well with some of the things Ms. Cranberg has also spoken about with our class. Thank you, Ms. Zimmerman, for sharing your expertise with us!

Virtue of the Month: The virtue of the month for January is Prudence. We’ve been discussing how Prudence means using the knowledge you have and knowing that there’s always more to learn. That means it’s okay to make mistakes because it’s a chance to keep learning.

The second graders will be the “Sayers of the Truth” at the January Virtue Assembly. All of the students will work on a short presentation for this. The assembly is currently scheduled for Friday, January 25, beginning at 1:15 p.m. in the gym. We hope you’re able to attend!

Grammar: The second graders continued to practice using adjectives, singing the Adjective Song, and adding the suffixes ‘er’ and ‘est’ to adjectives. They also reviewed finding adjectives in sentences by thinking about the questions adjectives answer and looking for article adjectives (a, an, the). Next week we’ll do a little more review and then have a short quiz on adjectives. After that, we’ll start learning about adverbs. In second grade, we’ll focus mainly on adverbs that describe how, when, and where verbs are happening, though the second graders will hear that adverbs can also describe (modify) adjectives and other adverbs as well. There’s a chant to help with this and I will post it on my website soon.

Writing: The second graders have begun to learn about paragraph structure. We’re focusing on four-sentence paragraphs, though I did mention to the students that they can be longer. The second graders learned that the first sentence is the topic sentence and its job is to introduce the topic (subject) of the whole paragraph. Next comes two supporting sentences that explain more about the topic sentence. The paragraph ends with a concluding (or closing) sentence that reminds the reader about the main idea. We looked at several examples of paragraphs to find these three types of sentences and see how they did their jobs in the paragraph.

The second graders looked at some examples of incomplete paragraphs and worked to figure out what was missing. We had lots of discussion about how to tell if it was a missing topic sentence, supporting sentence, or concluding sentence. The second graders also did some work matching topic sentences with other paragraphs. We’ll continue to work on paragraph structure and topic sentences next week.

Oration: We reviewed Jonathan Bing and the “Adjective Song” this week. We also started learning a new song for History called “William the Conqueror” to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Next week we’ll start learning our next poem of the month: Norman and Saxon, A.D. 1100 by Rudyard Kipling. Please note that we are only memorizing most of this poem, but not all of it. Two lines relating to harsh punishments (cutting off fingers) have been removed. I will post a copy of what we are memorizing on my website. We’ll spend some extra time working on vocabulary in this tough poem as well as talking about how it connects to what we’re learning in History.

History: We reviewed the Battle of Hastings in 1066 in History this week. A few second graders helped me by acting out the roles of Edward the Confessor, Harold, and William. We learned that while Edward was king of England, there were two people who thought they should be the next king. Harold lived in England and got Edward to promise that he (Harold) would be the next king. Unfortunately, while Harold was on a trip to southern France, his ship sank and he became a guest of William in Normandy. Ask your second grader to tell you what happened when Harold had dinner with William. Harold eventually returned home to England. When Edward died, Harold became king and William and his Norman soldiers sailed to southern England and waited. Harold’s army rushed down from the north where they’d been fighting the Scots and set up camp on a hill so that they could take some time to rest before fighting William. Ask your second grader to tell you what William did. When the battle ended, Harold was dead and William became William the Conqueror, king of England. William then said he owned ALL of the land as king and set up something called feudalism where the king had all the power. We’ll learn more about feudalism, fiefs, and castles next week.

To summarize the events of 1066, the second graders were given scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry that they had to assemble in order. The students will learn more about the Bayeux Tapestry in Art over the next few weeks and will be making their own panels to go with it.

Science: We did an experiment with displacement this week after learning about how Archimedes used displacement to prove that the king’s crown was not pure gold before Winter Break. We saw that objects that sink displace more water than objects that float. We also did a lot of review to prepare for today’s Science test, especially since this unit had several tricky vocabulary words. I’ve been impressed with how well the students understand some of the words and how comfortable they are using terms like “buoyancy” or names like “Archimedes”. Archimedes will come up a lot in our next unit on Simple Machines since he used a lot of them to make useful tools and even a weapon that was used to sink a lot of ships. We’ll start our unit by learning about the forces of push and pull and the scientific definition of “work”. I will post a synopsis for this unit on my website.

Next week we’ll do some review in class before having our unit test on Wednesday, January 16th. The second graders brought home a packet of their work yesterday and I’ve attached a study guide to the email with my letter home. The students have some review to do every day as a part of their daily homework. The test will be short-answer questions, mainly focused on vocabulary words and remembering what happened in our experiments.

Our next Science unit, which we will start the following week, will be Simple Machines. Ms. Taylor and Mrs. Shultz’s classes will be doing Weather, which we will do in the fourth quarter.

Read Aloud: We’re almost finished with 1,001 Arabian Nights. Scheherazade has been telling stories for nearly three years and the King has suddenly become sad again. Even her story about King Mamud of the Rif and how he learned to appreciate all that he has didn’t make King Shahryar happy. The second graders are starting to wonder what happens if the stories no longer please the King.

Our next Read Aloud book will be The Sword and the Stone by T.H. White. It’s a version of what King Arthur’s childhood might have been like.

Hank and Bethany’s Reporter Highlights of the Week: We went outside with Coach Shae and we played games. Today we went outside and played two games. We did a cool experiment in Science. We had inside recess. We gave each other compliments in Music. We reviewed the Battle of Hastings. In History we colored a map. We learned about the zones of regulation.

Other Notes:

· We will have Phy. Ed. on Monday and Thursday next week. Many students have forgotten to bring shoes after Winter Break, so please double-check with your second grader to make sure there is appropriate footwear at school. It’s not fun to spend the day in wet shoes.

· Please help your child to have a complete set of outside clothes at school. If you’re missing any items, please let me know and I can help your child check the Lost and Found for them. Remember that writing your child’s name on EVERY item will greatly help with this!

· Sign up is happening for spring clubs at Nova including Drama Club, which for the spring session is open to 2nd – 5th graders. We’ll be doing a play based on Rudyard Kipling’s Just-So Stories. Sign-up is available through https://www.novaclassical.org/activities/ (click on the knight to find the registration). If you have questions about Drama Club, please let me know!

- Ms. Lund