Welcome to Advent! I'm sure time is passing rapidly for you as it is for me. I can't believe the second quarter will soon be over. With that in mind, please make sure your students study spelling words and, if possible, have them reread the story of the week the day before the test. I am giving instructions for how to get to Second Grade Symbaloo at the top of the page under "Projects". Once you are in that, the kids know what to do - just click on ThinkCentral, the website for our reading program, and log in with the information in their agendas. With that, they can click on "My Library" and read any story in the reading book. In math, crucial skills for the year are memorizing math facts, addition and subtraction to 20, and be able to identify coins, count and make change with money. They need to understand our place value system. I am more and more convinced that if you want to help your child do well in math, teach him/her to count money early. If they can do that, they understand tens, ones, and hundreds, the basis of all our math. In science we are studying polar habitats, the North and South poles.
We will also do Posadas again with the other K-3 kids. This is both a prayer service and lesson about how people of Mexico celebrate Advent with a novena, ending on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, there is a ritual of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay, until finally the host for the evening invites them in, where all pray the rosary and then celebrate with Mexican chocolate and other snacks, and sometimes even a pinata. This continues every night until Christmas Eve when, in procession, the Christ Child is brought up to be placed in the manger. We also continue our tradition of K-3 Advent Prayer Service on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with morning prayer and the Jesse Tree.
Second grade standards require us to study changes from past to present, particularly in Kansas. We study transportation, communication, and work as we look at how the state has changed since before it became a state. We will be going to Old Cowtown Museum this week to participate in the "County Fair" event. Students will have fun as we see how it was done in the past and compare that to now. We will also go to the Cathedral that day, rounding out a busy day.
There is a lot going on in October, including Red Ribbon Week, conferences, and, of course, Halloween. In addition, second grade has parts in Mass this week. Unfortunately, that means there are not enough days to give everyone a part because of the field trip, so some will have to wait a little longer. They will be the first to get parts next time.
As we move into November, we will begin learning more about the virtue of Thankfulness. It fits the season, but is good and necessary any time of the year.
I hope you all enjoy the fall weather. It is one of my favorite times! Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about anything. See you at conferences.
I am excited to begin a new school year again. There are so many things to talk about that it is hard to choose which one to start with! I will try to put all the information I give out at Back to School Night on here, so check back to see about different topics like using computers, spelling tests, reading stories, etc. Right now I'd like to talk about Virtues.
You may know that I am a convert to Catholicism. having grown up in the United Methodist church. When I first heard people talk about The Virtues, with a capital letter, I didn't know for sure what they meant. I was only aware of the use of the word as an adjective - a virtuous person, acting with virtue, etc. So, my own definition of virtue was "being good". As it turns out, that's not so far off from the Catholic definition of Virtues which are holy habits that make us more like Christ and lead us to Heaven. I would say that's being good!
I had the opportunity to go to a conference in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to learn about a program called Virtues Based Restorative Discipline, or VBRD. You will hear much over the next few years about this amazing way of life, because it is just that. I believe it is life-changing, school-changing, and parish-changing. The basic idea is meditating on the virtues, living the virtues, and teaching our students about the virtues. As a result, when someone is harmed, we will utilize circles to help those involved use virtues to change the dynamics of the situation and restore harmony to the community.
The Diocese of Wichita is adopting this program, but it takes a while to fully integrate it. At the present time, we have chosen UNITY as the virtue we want to work on as a school for the entire year. Within that, we will emphasize and learn about other virtues that relate to unity, and work on defining and understanding all the virtues, and using them in everything we do. And I do mean WE, teachers included.) You can expect to hear more about all this in the coming weeks and months. Please pray for Virtues in all our relationships!
I will be using the same homework policy I introduced last year. I will explain it at Back-to-School Night. It is this: 1: Play, 2: Read, 3: Sleep I feel that these are very important for second grade-age children, and for all of us for that matter. CREATIVE play develops the brain, reading ANYTHING helps with all aspects of academic work, and children need 9 - 11 hours of sleep at ages 7-9. These are all scientifically proven necessities in order for children to develop their mental capacities to the fullest, though you may read different numbers on different websites for the sleep hours.
This doesn't mean they won't ever have homework - I will ask students to bring things from home at times, and I really appreciate your cooperation, since those items will be a direct part of the learning at school, and your child we be at a disadvantage without whatever it is. I will either email, or have the students write what is needed in the agenda in this case.
Also, I would like them to practice spelling words at home, and to finish any work not completed at school. And, I may occasionally send home a short homework assignment, but it will not be often.
I am aware that some parents want their children to become accustomed to homework early, so if this is so, you are the primary educators, and I will be happy to visit with you about second grade standards, and what your child could do to up his/her game a little bit.
Thanks for reading - I had intended this to be a SHORT post, but you know us teachers, we like to be sure we've covered everything!
SAVE THE DATES for 2017-2018 second graders!
First Reconciliation - March 4, 12:00 Noon
First Communion - April 29, 12:00 Noon
In second grade, a week is 6 days! Or at least a reading story is studied for 6 days. This gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the story, comprehension and writing activities. Sometimes I found myself hurrying too much to get everything done, especially in short weeks, so I am excited about digging deeper into comprehension! This will make our spelling tests on the 6th day of the cycle, so kids will have a little more time to study, too. I will put the name of the story we are reading on the first day of the cycle on the calendar here on this website, as well as the day we will take the spelling and reading tests corresponding to it. You can find it by simply clicking on "Mrs. Hernandez' Classroom Calendar" on the right side of the page.
We use spellingcity.com a lot. There are many fun games students can play not only for spelling, but also other language arts skills. I recommend that students go to this website at least once during the week at home to practice their spelling words if the internet is available. To find the list for the week, go to spellingcity.com and log in. The log-in will be in students' agendas. It will take you to my spelling lists. From there, look for the list titled by the story we are reading that week. (Also, remember that spelling words are written in the agenda at the beginning of each story.) Students need to take the test at school, but rather than waiting for the 6th day, they can take it ahead of time on the computer. About half way through the school year, I begin giving an alternate, harder list to students who find the spelling words too easy. I'll tell them about that when the time comes. If you have questions, please call or email.
Please check the documents section at the top. I have uploaded a Student Information sheet. I would like all parents to fill out for me. It is information I think may help me to teach your child more effectively. You may either fill out a paper form at Back to School Night or print it, fill it out, and have your child bring it back to school. Not all questions have to be filled out, only the ones you feel apply to your child, or you haven't already written on 10 other forms. And, of course, always feel free to call, email, text, or come in if you have anything else you would like to discuss. I am NOT open 24 hours a day, but I do not mind calls at home. :)