Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today's STEAM Lesson

Hi Parents~

Today we presented our scientists with another STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) challenge about erosion and weathering.  The students worked in teams to build a design to slow or prevent wind and rain from changing the shape of sand dunes.  We created replicas of a beach with sand dunes in plastic trays. Each team then scoured the playground for materials for a design to protect their dunes, keeping in mind the beauty of the beach and its surroundings.  We also supplied each team with some clay and craft sticks.  Every design then faced the elements- wind (some natural, some from a blow drier) and rain and waves from a watering can.  As you can imagine, there was a great deal of excitement.

The engineering design process invites the students to describe the challenge, explore materials available, create a solution, test the solution, and finally to think of ways to improve their design.  We have asked the students to consider how they might improve their design and take on the challenge one last time tomorrow. They may run their ideas by you and ask for some support gathering other materials for the new design.  A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE CHALLENGE IS ENOUGH!  PLEASE DON'T STRESS ABOUT GATHERING MATERIALS TONIGHT! Materials should be simple and reasonable if the students choose to bring them to school. 

Thanks for your interest and support.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Memo 3/28/16

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  I can't believe April begins on Friday!


This week, we are sharing jokes, in preparation for April Fool's Day.  Thank you for helping your child remember their Sharing Day.
Fantastic Friday

This Friday, April 1, is a Happy Hollow Spirit Day.  It's Opposite/Backwards Day.  Fun! 
Field Trip

We are very excited for our field trip next Friday to the Butterfly Place.  Our chaperones will be: 
1. David Eggers
2.  Sara Langan
3.  John Taxiarchis
4.  Jill Zukerman

Thank you for volunteering.  We received our butterfly larvae (caterpillars) via US mail on Thursday.  We are excited to observe the changes every day.

Open House

Mark your calendars!  Our classroom Open House will be Monday, June 6 from 8:15-8:45.  You don't want to miss it.  Also, the presentation part of the program will begin promptly at 8:30.  The buses may not arrive by 8:30, so please be sure to bring your child to school that day at 8:15 so they won't miss this special culmination of their year in second grade.  Thank you.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday Memo 3/21/16

Good morning!

I hope the snow and delay isn't making a complete mess of your morning.  If education is not your industry, I can understand that this may have launched a major wrinkle into your Monday.  As a teacher, you never lose that childhood thrill of a snow day; even a snow delay is a fun, unexpected surprise.  I am excited to see your child arrive this morning, stomping the snow off their boots (be sure to dig out that snow gear!).  The kids have a blast at recess after a snowstorm.  There's nothing like playing in the snow with seventy of your closest friends!

Butterfly Place Field Trip

The permission slip for the Butterfly Place was sent home last week.  Please return it as soon as possible.  If you need another copy, click here.

Congratulations, Spellers!

Many students took part in the WPSF Spelling Bee yesterday, and they are to be commended for their efforts.  It's hard to spell words on demand in front of an audience!  By all accounts, the second graders handled themselves beautifully, and I am very proud of them. 

Flat Stanley Reminder

Hopefully, your child's Flat Stanley has been successfully launched out into the world!  We are looking forward to hearing all about their adventures in April.  Just a reminder that the Flat Stanleys are due by April 15; that's the Friday before vacation.  We couldn't do this project without parent help and support, so thank you very much for all your work in making this happen.


We are sharing spring poems this week--ah, I love the irony of a first-day-of-spring snowstorm.   Many children brought it in on Friday, and everyone will share on their assigned Sharing Day (Friday people will share Thursday this week).  Next week, we will share jokes because April Fool's Day is one week from Friday. 


Enjoy the upcoming long weekend! 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Memo 3/14/16

Good morning!

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather!   I was lucky to spend this weekend in New Hampshire, and it was lovely to be outside on Crotched Mountain.


Thank you for sending in all the board games.  The kids had a lot of fun sharing and playing.  It was a good reminder for me as a parent how great these games are for all sorts of things--academically, socially--, and I am resolving to play more games like these with my own kids.  This week we are sharing "A Gift that Touched Your Heart."

Social Studies

Continent research is our focus in social studies right now.  The students "traveled" to each continent during a carousel brainstorming lesson, and they recorded what they already knew about each continent.  This class has a lot of background knowledge!  You can see their work on a bulletin board in our classroom.  We are trying to build more schema for every continent and different aspects of each continent.  Eventually, we will embark on a research project about something special about each continent.  In the past, children have done research on the Eiffel Tower, Mount Vesuvius, the Sahara Desert--the possibilities are endless.  This is a continuation of our informative writing unit, and we will publish this writing in a variety of different ways.  By the way, this is all done in school :)


Ask your child what parallel means!  Today, students will "show what they know" about geometry by completing an assessment.  I'm sure they will do very well.  Our next focus is three digit addition and subtraction.

Student Teacher

We are excited to have Ms. Kosiba (or Ms. Kay, as the children call her) take on more responsibility in the classroom.  She is a highly skilled blossoming teacher, and we are lucky to have her.


We worked with our fourth grade buddies to make cards for our bus drivers.  The annual Bus Driver Appreciation Breakfast is coming up, and we were asked to show our gratitude for these important people.  Your child did a great job.

Have a great week!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Memo 3/7/16

Greetings Families!

I hope you had a great weekend.  I went on my annual trip to Middlebury to visit my aunt and uncle, which I've done almost every winter of my life.  I love family traditions.  It was nice to get away from my laundry, and I worked a little more on my knitting, which is now six inches long.  I seem to be operating on an average of a centimeter a week.  Small steps...


We wrapped up our science unit on states of matter with an experiment in which we separated mixtures of color.  Students recorded their observations and conclusions in their lab booklets, which I am looking forward to sharing with you at our upcoming conference.  Look what happens when you drop water on a dot of black marker:
 Amazed?  Your second grader was, too!  It's called chromatography.  Ask your child about it.


Have you heard "The Polygon Song?"  If not, click here, and your super second grader will be happy to sing a long with you!  We are finishing up our geometry unit and will soon move into addition and subtraction of three digit numbers.  Students constructed two dimensional polygons with straws and pipe cleaners and three dimensional objects as well!  In addition to learning the attributes of polygons, we are also focusing on dividing rectangles into arrays of rows and columns, which is the foundation of multiplication.  Multiplication is a major part of third grade math.

It was great to see some of you at Math Night.  In case you missed it on the Happy Hollow Twitter feed, here's a pic from a fun evening of games with friends. 


Math Night games were lots of fun, so this week, we are sharing games in our classroom!  On your child's sharing day, they should bring in a game and demonstrate how to use it and explain why they like it.  The whole class will have an opportunity to play it, either together or in a small group, depending on the game.  This can be a board game, or a game they learned at camp, whatever...  I'm hoping to get some good ideas!

Thank you for all of your help and support.  Have a great week.