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Grade 2 Happenings

Follow the latest happenings in Grade 2 below.

This Week: Luke Goes to Bat

posted Jan 28, 2018, 5:04 PM by Jason Brunken

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. Students will also be learning to use dialogue when writing narratives. Punctuation rules for dialogue are difficult so this early introduction will be helpful as the kids write their second stories this month.


Extension Week: Write a True Story

posted Jan 22, 2018, 6:44 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 22, 2018, 6:45 AM ]

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: Mr. Tanen's Tie Trouble

posted Jan 14, 2018, 9:20 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 14, 2018, 9:20 PM ]

Welcome back! New Year has come and gone and Winter Break is over. It's time to get back to learning lots and having fun!

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.

 

This Week: Officer Buckle and Gloria

posted Jan 7, 2018, 12:54 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 7, 2018, 12:54 AM ]

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 1, 2018, 2:53 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 1, 2018, 2:53 AM ]

Welcome back! Christmas and New Year have come and gone so 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 letter writing by writing a letter from Brown Squirrel to a family member about the lessons he learned in the story. Please help your child study the spelling and vocabulary words with the slideshow and handout below.


Extension Week: Persuasive Paper

posted Dec 17, 2017, 5:43 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 17, 2017, 5:43 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: Hellen Keller

posted Dec 11, 2017, 5:47 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 11, 2017, 5:47 AM ]

This week in Grade 2 we are reading the very interesting nonfiction piece called Hellen Keller. The story of Hellen Keller is incredible and very inspirational for many people. Hellen 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 Hellen Keller. After many failures, Hellen and Anne began to communicate and build a relationship. The two became lifelong friends, and Hellen 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.


This Week: Schools Around the World

posted Dec 1, 2017, 7:09 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 7:10 PM ]

This week in Grade 2 we are reading the very interesting nonfiction piece called Schools Around the World. This is a book about how children all over world go to school. It gives children a fantastic insight into how the cultures and traditions of different peoples change how they go to school. Also, it helps kids expand their understanding of their world and see that while all schools are different in some ways, in many others, they are very similar. I know the kids will learn a lot from this reading selection.

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 and vocabulary slideshow below. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Students will focusing on learning more about persuasive writing this week and work on a special project for our pen pals. More info to come on that!


This Week: Ugly Vegetables

posted Nov 26, 2017, 6:34 AM by Jason Brunken

This week we are reading Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin. Ugly Vegetables is a fun little story about a family that lives in a neighborhood where everybody plants a garden. The other residents of the neighborhood plant beautiful flower gardens, but our main character's mother plants a garden full of Chinese vegetables. The girls is disappointed, wanting a flower garden like everyone else, but her mom insists their garden will be great. In the end, of course, all the neighbors want to trade some flowers for the delicious soup made from the vegetables. 

Grace Lin is a native Taiwanese, but moved to the US when she was in elementary school. She has written many great books for young children, many about her Taiwanese heritage and maintaining that heritage while living in the US. Some of her more famous books include The Year of the DogWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon, and Dim-Sum for Everyone. You can see her other titles here

Students will also be finishing up their research reports this week. We ran out of time last week, so many students sill some some drafts to complete.

Below is the weekly handout for this week and the vocabulary slideshow for this week's words. Remember to help your child review the spelling and vocabulary words when you have a chance. Please also remind your children that library books are due on Wednesday. 



Extension Week: Writing Research Reports

posted Nov 19, 2017, 5:27 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 19, 2017, 5:28 AM ]

This week, the grade 2 classes are learning how to research and write an informational text about a main idea. This will be the culmination of a variety of skills the students have been practicing all semester. The most basic of these is paragraph construction. Using topic sentences and supporting sentences to communicate information about a topic. We practice this skill during our pen pal letter extension, but now students are taking that skill to the next level. 

An informational text has many paragraphs all about a single main idea, or big topic. Each paragraph gives supporting facts in greater detail about the big topic. Learning to organize and write information in this way is a new skill for our students. For this reason we are spending the rest of this week on this assignment to make sure students have enough time to master the skill.

This week, students will be taking their research reports through the entire writing process. They are beginning by organizing their topic and researching details. Below you can see the assignment and prewrite sheets the kids will be using to plan their writing. They will write two drafts and revise their work twice before completing the final draft. I know you all will be very impressed with their work. 


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