Friday, June 17, 2016


It is bitter sweet as I write to you all on our final day of second grade together. 

As each day passes throughout the final week of school, I reflect on our year together. It brings tears to my eyes to think about "letting go". 

We have had a tremendous year together. Wow! I think about what we've learned, how are classroom community grew, all of our laughs, smiles, hugs, and the crazy growth that every single one of us has made and I just smile thinking this has been the best! 

Thank you families for all of your support during our year together. The numbers of ways you have all reached out throughout our time together has been so appreciated. I don't want to say good bye but, boy-oh-boy, these kiddos are ready to soar in third grade. 

I will miss them and your families very much. Please be sure to always stop to say hello when our paths cross. Have a beautiful summer and again...thank you for sharing your child with me. I am so lucky! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Winding down

I cannot believe we are moving into our very last week together. This time of year is always a bitter sweet time for me.  It's not see you later yet so I will stick to our reflection from this past week. 

We had a busy week with finally getting out on a couple of field trips. We've waited a long time for these. They were wonderful! 

We kicked off the week with our trip to the Inn by the Sea. What a beautiful place!! Second graders had the chance to learn about various flowers, plants, insects, birds, and environments that make habitats for different animals and insects. We then went deeper into ecosystems. It was awesome to be able to see these habitats in real life! 
A deer print!
We ended our week with our business walking tour where we visited Drillens' Hardware, South Portland Physical Therapy, and South Portland House of Pizza. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this trip due to all of the walking but I heard it was a great time. Of course, the kiddos loved the free slice of pizza from SoPo House of Pizza. That was a great surprise! 

Throughout the week, we've explored our neighborhood and community in a variety of ways thinking about what neighborhoods look like, how they can be different, what services we might have in different neighborhoods and how these services help us. 

We've also completed the final unit of second grade Investigations covering measurement and timelines. 

We have explored writing haiku poetry, free writing, and using the four types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, and imperative. Ask your child what the difference is between each sentence and how the punctuation changes. 

It has felt incredible being back with your children. Sadly, full days were much too much on my body as I heal so will finish this week at half days. This was a big bummer for me but I am just so thankful that I'm able to be with them as we wrap up our year. 

This year has been incredible! 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thank you!

Hello second grade families. 

I would like to say thank you for so many warm emails, generous offers, and kindness while I have been going through this challenging time. Somebody like me does not do well with bed rest and on top of that, being away from those who make me smile every day...your kiddos and doing what I love.  

I am so beyond excited to say that I will be returning to our classroom on Monday, June 6th!!! 

I was able to go into the school today and surprise our class. I have never felt so missed and so loved!! It was the greatest!! Their faces and hugs were priceless. 

I cannot wait!! Again, thank you for all of your support. 

See you all on Monday! 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Most FUN and not so fun news

Hello Second Grade Families! 

I am posting recent pics of more measurement fun. We've practiced measuring with various units, discussed why it's important to measure accurately, and even compared various measurements. As your child which unit they prefer to measure with and what is one important thing they need to remember when measuring. Very fun! 
With only weeks remaining, we will complete our measurement unit then, spend time reviewing problem solving with the use of money, solving problems with time, and have fun applying all of our second grade knowledge through the use of games. I cannot believe all we've done. I can but just can't believe the time is near. 
In literacy, we have engaged in rich conversation working on character development, plot, and even some climax and resolution. We've completed some very cool projects in class sharing what we know and have learned from the books we are reading. We've come back around to writing summaries and identifying the main idea in fiction as well as nonfiction. Pics to be posted later. 
It has been awesome to read your child's opinion writing. We have looked at strong opinion writing, identified what made them strong, and applied our own skills to state our own opinion. These are strong! Watch out mom and dad! Once you read these, you might change your mind about a few things. They will be coming home in their writer's portfolio very soon. 
Upcoming: writing with a point of view
We'll be taking a look at various author's point of view, comparing, and practicing to write our own stories with a distinct point of view. 
Science/social studies:
We will be wrapping up our year together with studies around neighborhood and touching community some. We will review goods and services and wants versus needs. We have had many guest come into our classroom throughout the year to engage us but haven't been able to get out much. We currently have two trips lined up that we are hoping will be approved. Stay tuned. 
Somber news:
I could not decide whether or not to include this last message in a separate post or within. I am sure many or most of you have heard by now that I am out with a pretty bad back injury at the moment. It became severe enough that I needed to be seen quickly and the Dr. has put me on a moderate bed rest for a couple of weeks in hopes that it will heal itself. My response was tears instantly. When the Dr. asked me if this would be a problem I said no...I just love them. And  I do. I share this with you all because we are fortunate enough to have Miss Ernst step in for these next couple of weeks. She works in our classroom already and we communicate daily. She knows exactly what I expect and these awesome kiddos know her too. Content, rigor, fun, challenges, special moments-all of that will not stop and I will be working from my couch to continue the very best I know how. I am so sorry this has happened and am hopeful that I'll be fine very soon. Thank you for your support and thank you for understanding. I'll be back very soon. In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out via email for anything. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Another fantastic week

Happy Mother's Day! I hope all of you moms have a beautiful day today. Your sweet child was hard at work painting, writing, cutting, coloring, and thinking about all that they know about their mom. It was precious to hear them talk so proudly of how great their mom is. 

This past week we've completed unit 8 in math highlighting addition number stories and we've even practiced checking our work using the opposite operation. Some of these problems even led us to early multiplication. Second grade just loves that! 
At this point, you should notice your second grader telling you what time it is, even to the nearest five minutes, using an analog clock. Just ask them! Challenge your second grader with money too. They're also recording money counted and recording it using dollars and cent notation. These are just a couple of the many skills your second grader has mastered. With all the new skills we are practicing every day, it is important to continue to practice basic addition facts also. The automaticity of addition facts is very important as they go onto third grade. 

A peek at what we were introduced to this past week: 

In other news, we've spent the last few weeks reading, analyzing, and writing poetry. The poems your second grader has written are amazing! Come check out our authors' board. 
Now, we're heading into opinion writing. We're looking closely at the difference between a fact and opinion and how to write to persuade. This is our final pice of the pie. We've written to entertain, written to inform, and now writing to persuade. Stay tuned as you will be receiving persuasive letters real soon. I apologize in advance for what they might be persuading you for. Haha. 

Of course at the end of each writing piece, their favorite part is sharing them. They are so proud! As they should be! Here are a few of my friends who shared this week. 

Stay tuned to hear about our reading culminating projects. 
Also, remember that Wednesday is an early release. Dismissal will be at 12:30 on this day. 

Have a wonderful week! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Over the last several weeks, your second grader has been practicing through the research process. They were able to choose an animal they were interested in to research. From there, we (Mrs. West and I) provided them with resources that will allow them to research and learn more. We primarily used PebbleGo and National Geographic sites.

Students used a graphic organizer to take notes specific to what their animal looks like, its habitat, adaptations, food/diet, and life cycle. To observe this group of kiddos reading, navigating, taking notes, and simply feeling thrilled was heart warming and exciting.

Once our research was finished, we then modeled and practiced how to take these notes and turn them into sentences that then led to paragraphs that will allow us to complete our culminating project.

We used an app called Adobe Voice where students chose photographs they thought best captured their heading, along with background music and a setting. Their creativity, perseverance, and hard work was stellar!

So...make yourself comfortable, grab a snack, and enjoy the show!

Below you will see a link that will take you to our class's culminating project. They will blow you away!

Click for Animal Projects

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Second grade update

The post office has been open for a full week and we may need to hire another mail carrier. It's a busy place! I love it! 

Your students have been busy practicing to write friendly letters. We've written to peers, other Small School friends, first grade, and to friends and family that may live outside of Sourh Portland. 

This is where I need your help. Your second grader is an amazing writer and these letters are fabulous-definitely worthy to get to the right address. So throughout the week, I will be sending home letters your child has written that must get out to the addresses we're unsure of. If you could help us by taking these letters and addressing them properly, we'd be SUPER appreciative.  It is so sweet to see how excited your child is to get mail! Thank you in advance. 

We have recently completed unit 7 in math covering fractions to the half, 1/4, 3/4, and mixed numbers. This was certainly a fun unit. 
We've begun unit 8 highlighting patterns and conjectures related to adding even numbers, odd numbers, and an even and odd number. Ask your child what a conjecture is and what they've proven to be true about adding even and odd numbers. 

Science has also continued to be a blast with symbiosis and the challenge of animal partnerships game. 

We've begun recognizing relationships where both animals benefit as well as relationships where only one animal benefits. Talk t your child about thei favorite animal relationship and who benefits. Upcoming is more work with insects and an ant farm will soon become our newest addition. Speaking of newest addition; meet Rocco, the Ortiz family's newest addition. 
Our 2.5 toy poodle. 

We're wrapping up our latest texts in guided reading groups just in time before vacation. Skills we've been practicing are inferring, questioning, pulling evidence, seeking answers, "what if" discussions, book talks, vocabulary, and summarizing. Talk to your student about what book they're reading in small groups and what they're feeling successful with. 
"The life of a second grader!"

Remember that Thursday the 14th is an early release day. Your child will be dismissed at 12:30. 

Next week is April vacation. Enjoy! 

You've seen by now that an informative letter regarding the side x side arts integration program research study has come home with your child on Friday. As it says, if you support your child being a part of this project, I do not need the paper work back. 
Your child's name will never be published. This is a chance for me to explore the variety of ways to integrate the arts into my regular instruction and units of study. I am excited about what I'll learn and how your students will benefit. Thank you for your support. 

Have a wonderful week!