Tools, science, and growth!

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Now that we’re back to our regularly scheduled school days, it’s been incredible to watch your first and second graders continue to stretch their imaginations, grow as learners, and support each other as a community. Here are some snapshots of our week at school:


We’re building onto our active reading skills by learning more about parts of words (-ed endings can make 3 different sounds and then there’s the hard /ck/ sound that follows short vowels) while continuing to ask ourselves questions while we read.  Active readers make connections between reading and their lives, between and across texts, and from their reading to the world.

After the Fall, by Dan Santat, is a book we highly recommend.  This is a story about putting yourself back together again after you’ve fallen.  After reading this story, a whole group discussion developed.  Kids began thinking of and sharing about times in their lives when they’ve fallen or something didn’t go quite as planned.  What strategies did they use to put themselves back together again?  Where they the same strategies Humpty used?  Does Humpy’s story remind you of another story you’ve read?

You’ll notice the bumper sticker at the base of the book.  This is one way we practice pulling an author’s message out of the book.  We’re now ready to use our own words to help us understand the next hiccup in life.




  • Your first and second grade authors are rocking their way through our informational writing unit. Books all about dolphins, all about healthy teeth, all about the Ice Age, how to paddleboard, how to throw a baseball, and how to drive a remote control car are just some of the examples of the voracious writing that is coming out of the end of our pencils. Next week is our final week of this nonfiction unit, and we will continue revising and editing our chosen stories to get them ready for publication. Be sure to check in with your first or second grade writer to find out more about his or her chosen piece!

  • In other writing news, each first and second grader wrote a thoughtful response to the following prompt: Being brave means that…  These responses were our contribution to this morning’s All School Meeting, where we came together to pay homage to veterans and their service to our country. Be sure to ask your kiddo questions about their thoughts on bravery – and don’t be surprised if, after your conversation, you find yourself with tears in your eyes!


  • Your first grade mathematicians are recognizing that there are many types of quadrilaterals (rectangles, trapezoids, squares, rhombuses, etc.), constructing and drawing triangles and quadrilaterals of different types and sizes, identifying defining attributes of triangles and quadrilaterals, and identifying and sorting shapes by common attributes.
  • Your second grade mathematicians are identifying and sorting 2D shapes by defining attributes, developing geometric language for describing defining attributes of 2D shapes, identifying quadrilaterals as shapes with four straight sides and four angles, and identifying rectangles as shapes with four straight sides and four right angles.


Hortense is playing it cool with her new elk buddy.
  • Our elk is COMPLETE, our writing about the elk is COMPLETE, and we are in the process of putting our class’ informational book together. Stay tuned for our publication!


  • Our new tool this week is the Personal Space Tool. Developing awareness about our own personal space and the personal space of others is a big deal when you’re in first or second grade (or beyond!). Students are learning the concept that they and their voices occupy space. As we teach the Personal Space Tool, we cover these four basic tenets:
    • Each person has personal boundaries.
    • Each person has a cause (power) and an effect (i.e., we impact each other).
    • Each person has a right to his or her own personal space.
    • Each person has the responsibility to respect other people’s personal spaces.


  • Saturday, 11/11 – Veterans’ Day.
  • Wednesday, 11/15 – Our classroom’s first El Tioga of the year! Massive thank yous to our amazing parent reps for putting this all together, and big thank yous to all of YOU who are pitching in to help us pull this off. These fundraising lunches are our main source for additional income to cover our classroom and Outdoor Ed needs.
  • Friday, 11/17 – Scholastic book orders (that are in your kiddo’s homework folder this week) are DUE. No late submissions will be accepted.
  • Monday, 11/20 – Friday, 11/24 – No school. Thanksgiving Break.
  • Monday, 11/27 – Back in school!


  • Mike Yang was our guest reader this week, and we loved hearing about Little Bear and his Little Boat.
  • Lisa Flynn was our math helper this week.
  • Thank you, Yosefa, for helping our class with today’s El Tioga!
  • Thank you to all families who provided supplies and other support for today’s El Tioga. It was a huge hit, and we’re happy to say that our class made a difference to the amount of funds raised by our school for veterans.


  • We had a Lockout drill at school this week, and all first and second graders did a great job. This drill actually opened up the conversation to keeping each other safe in a variety of natural disaster situations… which led to questions about tsunamis and earthquakes… which led to questions about plate tectonics… which led to questions about weather patterns across the oceans… which led to some awesome map studies. Gotta love these lives of true inquiry that we’re leading!
  • Please welcome Margaret Roush as Casey’s substitute next week.  Margaret worked with us last year and is back from her many adventures!  She’s excited to reconnect with the 2nd graders and meet all the wonderful 1st graders.  Casey is attending a Girls Leadership conference in Massachusetts and will be back on Friday.

That’s this week’s news from our classroom. Enjoy your weekend, soak up some of this warmth and sun, and we’ll see you and/or your sweet kiddo back at school on Monday morning!

– Kristina, Casey, and Katie