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Grade 2 Happenings

Follow the latest happenings in Grade 2 below.

This Week: Half-Chicken

posted Apr 6, 2021, 7:08 AM by Jason Brunken

This week we are taking a short break from our Market Day Project and reading a folk tale translated from Spanish, Half-Chicken. The story tells of a chicken who was born only as half of a chicken. He doesn't die though. He goes on to do some amazing things and goes on amazing adventures. Folktales are stories that began long before written history. We often don't know the authors and they provide outlandish explanations for everyday things. In this case, why are there weather vanes on top of houses? The kids will have to wait to read to find out.

This week we are getting back to normal for a bit and studying our vocabulary, spelling, and writing. We will be working a little on our project later in the week. Please remind your child to study the spelling words. I have posted the weekly handout and vocabulary slideshow below to help. We will have a spelling test on Friday.

Extension Project: It's Market Day!

posted Mar 31, 2021, 11:28 PM by Jason Brunken

Sorry for the late post. These past couple of weeks, our students (both Grade 2 ASLA classes) and our pen pals in Mr. Gaffney's class at the International School Moshi in Arusha, Tanzania will be working together on a project. The mission is to help the kids discover and learn about goods, services, and how they are exchanged in markets. During this project students will visit some local markets and write about what makes them. our pen pals will do the same for markets in Tanzania, and we will compare and contrast the markets in our countries, the goods they carry, and the distances those goods travel to get to us. As final task, your students will learn about ethics and what the etiquette is for different markets when you go there.

We hope to involve parents a little in this project as well. The first part of this involvement starts this weekend. The students took home a list of goods that can be found around the house. We hope the kids can find as many as possible and write in where the good was made and where they bought it. Both of our classes and our pen pals are taking this sheet home. We will use this data to calculate how far our goods have traveled to get to us and then compare and contrast that information with our pen pals'. I know the kids will be excited to learn how connected our planet is, even though we hardly notice it at times. Your help is much appreciated in getting this sheet completed. If you did not see this sheet. you can find it here, and print another copy.

The next task your child will need your help with will be in understanding the etiquette of our markets. Later this month, your child will bring questions home to ask you. Help them understand some of the rules and norms of our markets. We hope our students can learn how those rules often change from place to place and market to market.

This project will take some time to finish. When the kids are done, they will have collaborated with our friends in Tanzania to write a small book about markets in Tanzania and Taiwan, the goods they carry, and accepted etiquette for each. They will also have compared and contrasted markets and goods found in each country. Finally, they will have prepared a presentation to share this information with you, the parents, at the Annual ASLA Expo in April. If you have any questions about the project until then, please contact me.

This Week: Gloria Who Might Be My Best Friend

posted Mar 10, 2021, 6:57 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Mar 10, 2021, 7:00 PM ]

This week we are reading a charming sorry about being new and friendship. "Gloria Who Might Be My Best Friend" is actually a short story out of the book The Stories Julian Tells. The Stories Julian Tells is a fantastic story in itself about a boy who tells fantastic tales and ends up in a bit of trouble. Our story, however, is a calmer tale about a new girl who moves into the neighborhood and how she befriends a lonely boy.

This week we will also be exploring the world of realistic fiction more and finishing our realistic fiction stories. Our reading focus for this week will be using story details to better understand characters. this is an important part of reading comprehension and helping students learn to write better.

As usual, we will be having a spelling test on Friday, practicing vocabulary on Monday and grammar on Wednesday. Please help your child review and practice these skills at home this week. The weekly handout is posted below, and you can use this slideshow to practice the vocabulary..

This Week: Luke Goes to Bat

posted Jan 29, 2021, 4:57 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 29, 2021, 4:58 PM ]

This week, the Grade 2 classes will be reading Luke Goes to Bat. This story is a realistic fiction story set in the US in the 1950s as baseball was being desegregated. Luke, the main character, dreams of being a baseball hero just like Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in the Major Leagues. He gets off to a bad start, but learns success comes from trying your best. The story has a great message of not giving up in the face of adversity. There aren't many better role models for that than Jackie Robinson. 

As usual, we will be practicing our vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and reading this week. Below are the spelling and vocabulary words for this week. I've also put the vocabulary slideshow below to help the kids practice.

This week for writing we will continue our work on narrative writing skills by introducing the skillful use of dialogue as a tool for character development and plot momentum in our stories. Students will imagine conversations from pictures given to them and write out an imagined dialogue. This assignment is always quite fun.

This Week: Mr. Tanen's Tie Trouble

posted Jan 25, 2021, 5:09 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 25, 2021, 5:09 AM ]

We are reading a very interesting and funny story this week called Mr. Tanen's Tie Trouble. It is a book about a principal who loves ties but loves his school and students even more. He decides to sell his entire tie collection to raise money for the school to build a new playground. The surprise is how the students and community repay Mr. Tanen in the end. I hope the kids enjoy this book. If they do, there is another book about Mr. Tanen called Mr. Tanen's Ties.

The weekly handout containing spelling and vocabulary words is posted below along with a slideshow of the vocabulary words to practice with. Please take some time to review with your child this week. Spelling test will be on Friday. One fun activity we will be doing this week is making a new tie for Mr. Tanen. The kids will get the chance to design and color their own ties for Mr. Tanen and write about them. I can't wait to see them all. 


Extension Week: Writing a True Story

posted Jan 18, 2021, 5:18 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 18, 2021, 5:18 PM ]

This week students in Grade 2 will be writing their first stories of the year. We have been focusing this month on how to write a multi-paragraph narrative using a 1-2-3 model. Students have learned the different parts and elements of a story and how they fit into this model.

1-2-3 stands for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd paragraphs. In the first paragraph we have the beginning where our main characters, setting, and important background information are introduced. In the 2nd paragraph, we have the middle or the action part of the story. Here we introduce the problem of the story and tell what happens step by step to solve it. In the third or final paragraph, the problem is solved and an ending, or resolution for the characters is written.

This week, students will begin planning a story using this model and the sheet below. They will then write their own stories that retells an important event from their lives using this model. It will be hard as the kids haven't tried this before, but we will be writing at least 2 more stories this year so by then end of the years I know we will see much improvement.

This Week: Officer Buckle and Gloria

posted Jan 12, 2021, 4:52 AM by Jason Brunken

Sorry for the late post. This week in Grade 2 we are reading an excellent realistic fiction book called Officer Buckle and Gloria. Children love this book because of the charismatic and fun character of Gloria the police dog. It is a story about practicing safety, but more importantly it is about how friends can help us in many ways. There is also the subtle lesson about how jealousy can end friendships if we aren't careful. I know the children will love reading this story this week. We have many copies in the library. If your child enjoys the read, encourage her to check it out again from the library this month.

This week students will begin learning how to write a well-organized story. This lesson will be applied net week as students write their first story of the year in the form of a true story. Please see the 1-2-3 Story Model handout here to learn more about this lesson.

This week we also have vocabulary, grammar, reading, and spelling/phonics practice. Please take some time to review the spelling and vocabulary words with your child using the weekly handout sheet and vocabulary slideshow below. Please let me know if you have any questions.

This Week: How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

posted Jan 3, 2021, 4:40 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 3, 2021, 4:41 PM ]

Welcome back and Happy New Year! It's time to get back to learning lots and having fun.

This week, Grade 2 will be reading the folk tale How Chipmunk Got His Stripes. This book is a retelling of a Native American folk tale. It, like most folk tales, stars animal characters acting like people. In this case, a braggart bear is outsmarted by a Chipmunk who then gets in trouble when he teases Bear. Children always love this story. I've put a YouTube video of the story being read below if you're interested.

This week students will be exploring characters' personalities by looking at their actions as well as story structure. This practice will later be applied to our culminating lesson this month of writing our own stories.

We will be practicing vocabulary, grammar, and spelling this week as well. A spelling test will be given on Friday. For writing this week, students will be reviewing story structure in preparation for beginning their first stories next week. Please help your child study the spelling and vocabulary words with the slideshow and handout below.

Extension Week: Persuasive Paper

posted Dec 14, 2020, 7:01 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 14, 2020, 7:01 AM ]

This week in Grade 2 students will begin learning how to write and writing a persuasive paper. The persuasive writing model is used to answer opinion questions when you are trying to get others to agree with you. While similar to an expository paper like the research reports we wrote last month in that they require students to identify main ideas and supporting examples to go with them in paragraphs, they are different in some key ways. This week students will learn how to plan and write this kind of paper which is a precursor to writing an essay.

Below are the teaching materials students will get this week. their assignment will be to answer one of the three questions provided in a five paragraph persuasive paper in the model of the example provided. Students should first use the Persuasive Paper Map to prewrite their paper before starting their drafts.

This Week: Helen Keller

posted Dec 7, 2020, 12:55 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 7, 2020, 12:55 AM ]

This week in Grade 2 we are reading the very interesting nonfiction piece called Helen Keller. The story of Helen Keller is incredible and very inspirational for many people. Helen Keller was born in healthy like any little girl, but she became very sick and lost both her sight and hearing. Fortunately, her family was wealthy, and they were able to hire a personal teacher for her. Nonetheless, teaching someone who is both blind and deaf poses serious challenges. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, found creative ways to teach Helen Keller. After many failures, Helen and Anne began to communicate and build a relationship. The two became lifelong friends, and Helen went on to graduate from college and become a world famous activist for workers' rights. It is an amazing story.

This week we will also have vocabulary, grammar, reading, and spelling/phonics practice. Please take some time to review the spelling and vocabulary words with your child using the weekly handout sheet below. Below is also a the vocabulary slideshow used in class to help you practice.

This week for writing, kids will be continuing with learning about the persuasive writing model. We will teach how to organize a persuasive paper to get ready to write one next week.

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