Grade 2 students have been busy these past few weeks. We have done a lot of work with verbs in preparation for our upcoming realistic fiction writing unit. We have also done some work with contractions and vowel sounds. Great job, grade 2!
I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing vacation. It is exciting to be back at school. Students in grades 2 and 4 worked really hard to meet many language objectives during the first semester. I anticipate more hard work and success for the remainder of the year. In order to facilitate a smooth transition back into school, we have started this week playing word games. Many students speak languages other than English at home, so this week our goal is to re-access all of the things we have learned so far in a very casual way. Students in grade 2 started the week playing Scrabble Slam! It’s a high energy game that requires quick thinking. Students really enjoyed themselves!
Grade 2 students are learning to write nonfiction books. We have spent a week focusing on the craft and language of this text type. One component of many nonfiction books is an introduction. The introduction is used to grab the reader’s attention and prepare the reader for new learning. In order to make our introductions engaging, we worked on forming questions and including sound effects that the reader might enjoy. Here is a video of some students in class 2RR reading their introductions:
Students in Grade 4 are currently reading Fantasy. They are learning about the different elements of this genre as they read The Lightning Thief. As students read through their independent books, they are also working on becoming active participants in book discussions. We have talked about what active participants look and sound like, and we have practiced in small groups. Last week, we did a whole class ‘fishbowl’ in which students were able to get feedback from partners about their participation Through these ‘fishbowl’ activities, students are working on speaking and listening skills.
As Grade 2 students complete their “Learning from the Masters” unit, we will also wrap up our past tense lesson set. Throughout the unit, we have been engaging with the past tense in order to make our writing easier to understand. While we do not expect to be masters by the end of the unit, we do want to able to recognize when it is and is not appropriate to use the past tense while we are writing or when we are speaking. Today, we thought back to when we were a bit younger. Using our knowledge of the past tense, we created a chart that detailed some activities we used to do. Then, we used our learning to plunge back into our writing pieces and edit for proper use of the past tense.
Today, we continued reviewing the past tense with a simple game of Go Fish! The students created the game by choosing words that they want to use more in their writing. Then, we played one round together. Throughout the round, students began using their listening skills to make better game decisions.
In English, mastery of the different tenses is quite challenging. Students learning English as a second, third, or fourth language generally require explicit instruction in this area, and often need many years to even begin to show a thorough understanding of the concept. In Grade 2, we are just beginning to learn and comprehend English tenses so that we use them effectively in our writing and when we speak. At this point, our hope is to recognize when certain tenses should be used and self-correct if necessary. Earlier in the year, we did some work with the past tense in order to activate our Grade 1 knowledge. Since then, we have peppered out units with past tense lessons so that we are constantly reminded of the way it is used. Today, we used our fall break stories to review the past tense. Students created an anchor chart that they will add to throughout the year. It will serve as a useful past tense reference.
Grade 2 students are continuing to learn about Ancient Mesopotamia. During the unit, we have used scripts to gather important facts about the contributions the people of this ancient civilization made to modern society. In each script, we identify several, tier 3 vocabulary words that will help us comprehend larger concepts in the unit. This week, before moving on to new concepts, we reviewed old terms and shared our knowledge with the class. Next up, script number THREE!
Students in Grade 2 are using mentor texts to learn craft moves from different authors. One technique that authors use to make their writing more engaging is to “make their characters move” by adding precise actions words, or verbs, that convey a specific meaning. In order to build our knowledge of verbs, we read a book and each person picked out two new verbs that he or she might use in his or her writing. Then, we created a group list so that others would be able to learn from all of the words chosen. After that, we fixed up a piece of writing together by looking at boring or overused verbs and replacing them with words from our list. Finally, we all went back into our own writing and inserted precise words that would help the reader create a very detailed picture in his or her mind.
Grade 2 students are fully immersed in their Ancient Mesopotamia unit. We are learning new content through plays, and we are learning new vocabulary by completing small activities at the beginning of each lesson. Last week, we played a matching game with our partners. We matched visuals to new vocabulary words and explained our reasoning. Throughout the unit, we will build our bank of vocabulary words related to this topic. We will also begin to identify some words that we might be able to use in everyday speech and writing.