Saturday, October 15, 2011

CHE #1!

It feels like forever since I've blogged- I have enjoyed seeing my mom and son on a weekend trip, spent another weekend celebrating Adam's birthday, and then got the sinus crud. BUT, I'm finally feeling better and ready to blog. I certainly have a lot to blog about! First, I am super excited to say that our school has been ranked number 1 based on our test scores for the whole state! That is an incredible honor and success. To say that I am proud would be an understatement. The kids worked so hard- after school tutoring, lots of remediation times during the week in classrooms, and most importantly, persistent work within the classroom on a daily basis. The teachers and staff worked endlessly to try to find new ways to present material. Mrs. Hillier and Mrs. Roberts supported us in every endeavor. The parents helped with homework, read with their kids, asked questions and sought answers from teachers and each other. They supported the teachers with what we needed to be successful with our classes. They were the vital behind the scene- and often VERY present- part of the puzzle that contributed to our school's success. TEAMWORK- We all work together for a common goal of educating the kids. In Mrs. Hillier's words, "Isn't it wonderful when a plan comes together?" Yes, indeed it is!

Thursday afternoon our school celebrated by making the following picture. It took less than 20 minutes to get everyone situated. That in itself is incredible! It includes all of the students, teachers, and staff members, in addition to the 5th graders (last year's 4th graders). Our class is the left part of the H on the inside. They go straight back. The teachers are in white.

We then had ice cream sandwiches and an extra recess. The kids were in Hog-heaven! Next week we will make a little snippet for a video to celebrate. You know me- I'm scheming.... Ours is going to be cool. I haven't got 'THE' idea yet, but it's swishing around in my brain. It will come to me while I sleep this weekend!

The class has their newsletter in their HOGS folders, but I will include it here, too. I don't know why I haven't done this before!

NL Week 9 Snakes

We are now on a different planner- How the World Works- and we are learning about life cycles and animal characteristics. The students have learned about the various classifications of animals and made posters. I will upload those later- I forgot my camera at school. :(

I am posting a set of animal classification sorting cards that we will be using next week. Parents, you are welcome to print them to use at home. I know the kids would love to have their own sets! Yes, I'm thinking of several students who I know go home and play school with little brothers and teachers! You know who you are! ;)

Animal Classification Sort

Body Coverings Sort

Animal Movement

Animal Habitats Sort

Have a great weekend and enjoy this lovely weather!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hometown Heroes

On Friday, September 9, the second grade EAST students, facilitated by Mrs. Paula Cook, had the opportunity to meet some of our Hometown Heroes. Our class was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to have a tour of the outside of the fire truck and walk through the cab of the inside. The students learned about 9/11 and the policemen and firefighters that were the heroes of that tragic day.

Each link in this paper chain symbolized the 343 firefighters who gave their lives on 9/11.

The students had their pictures taken with our Hometown Heroes.

The students made hand prints to symbolize the nearly 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11.

Here is what we will be learning this week:

Reading: We will be reading "The Surprise", this week.
Here are our vocabulary words:

guess- to try to give the answer to something when you are not sure
pile- a heap, mound, or hill of something
tomorrow- the day after today
surprised- when you didn’t know that something was going to happen
never- not ever
pleased-when you are happy or content with something

We will continue working on author's purpose. The students are still struggling with this skill, so we will look at it from a different perspective. We will also be working on sequencing and using transition words to help us understand texts. Examples of transition words are first, next, then, also, finally, last. We will be using these words in our writing this week, too!

Spelling- We will be looking at the inflected ending -ed and high frequency words.
Here are our spelling words:

1. jumped
2. pulled
3. pushed
4. crossed
5. wished
6. picked
7. house
8. never
9. took
10. these
11. off
12. funny

Language- We will become masters of common nouns and proper nouns this week. We will continue to work on complete and incomplete sentences, and the four types of sentences, though, so help your child remember those while you are reading and writing sentences at home.

Writing- Didn't those final copies look fantastic out on the wall! I was very proud of their hard work and their neat handwriting. We will be starting a new writing- "How to Make My Favorite Sandwich." Be sure to talk with your child about how you make their favorite sandwich. Be thinking of ways to make it even healthier- They might ask you how healthy their sandwich is!

Math- We will have our assessment of word problems on Thursday. We will continue working on the 'secrets' we discovered the other day with the 'start unknown' type of problems. I have some smart students who made some very big mathematical break-throughs and discoveries the other day. Good job small group! I love your thinking!

Don't forget to have your child practice math facts at

Planner- We will make our healthy meal on plates. MyPlate is a great place to learn more about the new 'food pyramid." We will also reflect on our new food logs that they (hopefully) filled out over the weekend. We will make a new bar graph to compare how the students eating has changed since learning about the food groups. The class is also really excited about creating a menu for the cafeteria one day. I will let you know what day our menu will be served in our cafeteria. We want all of the 2nd grade to eat a tray that day! Last, we will reflect on how our health has improved because of studying healthy habits. Do you see your child wanting to eat healthier? Do you see them wanting to be more active and get you active? Are they washing their hands more? Are they making it a point to eat more fruits and vegetables? If so, they are really taking ACTION during this planner!

Remember, Scholastic orders are due September 30!

I hope you have a GREAT week!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy, Healthy Me!

I thought I would post some pictures of the student's work that is part of our first planner. As an IB school, we have Units of Inquiry that students allow students to learn through inquiry and action. The class is learning within the transdisciplinary theme of "Who We Are." In this unit, the students are making inquiries about how to be happy and healthy in their physical, mental, and social lives. We have learned about how to be a good friend, what a bully is and how to handle bullies. We are also learning about how their diet.exercise, and positive habits can make them feel healthy and happy. They have researched food groups in computer research class. Take a look at a little of their work!

We brainstormed ways to be a good friend and a bad friend. They had lots of stories to share about their friends!

Then we wrote a paragraph, "What Makes a Good Friend." Each paragraph has a topic sentence, 3 main ideas, 3 detail sentences, and a closing sentence. They did great! I am very pleased with their first attempt at an organized paragraph this year. This is the writing display.

We also sorted pictures into healthy and unhealthy habits. They worked in groups to discuss why each habit was healthy or unhealthy. Here is the poster of the results.

Then we research food groups and made posters in small groups. The posters were to have the following information: at least 6 foods from that group with labels (We are learning about non-fiction conventions!), tell how many servings, and what that types of food does to help the body. A big thanks to Mrs. Bilbo for getting books and teaching us how to take notes. Here are our posters!

Before we learned about food groups and nutrition, the students had to fill out a food log. Then they sorted our foods in the food groups (plus fats/sweets) and wrote a tally for each time they ate that food on one day. Then we totaled the amount and graphed our results. The class was very upset by their findings! They immediately made observations like, "The fats and sweets and the veggies need to be reversed. We shouldn't be eating as much meat. More grains- whole grains!" YAY!! They are making all sorts of connections.

Today I passed out another food log with a tally chart of the food groups. I was so pleased when Gavin started rallying his table, "Come on everyone! Let's do better this time!" We will chart our new graph next week from our results on the second food log. I hope their results show the ACTION they are taking with becoming healthy!

While this is not all that we have done, it give a good overview of what we are doing in our class as part of an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Year Programme. It is wonderful to see the students internalizing what they have learned. I have heard from so many parents and grandparents that students are asking what food group their meals fall into. They are trying to eat healthier, I hope! They are logging their exercise and seeing it's influence in their lives. This is IB in ACTION and I love it!!

If you are a parent of one of my students reading this blog, please let me know what your child is telling you about our inquiry unit. I would love to have your stories here so I can see what is working and what isn't. If you are a teacher, what fun ways do you have to make nutrition come alive for your class? If you are teaching in an IB school, I would love your input on what you see with our planner! I am always striving to make the units stronger!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week 4- Busy no more? NAH!

Of course we are busy!! Would you expect any less? We had an incredibly busy week last week. First, we had Grandparent's Day. It was a HUGE success, with CHE hosting over 350 grandparents on Thursday morning. I believe this is the largest number of grandparents to ever attend at our school. It was a pleasure to meet so many students' grandparents and share a little about what we are learning in 2nd grade. Then on Friday our Hometown Heroes were honored by 2nd grade EAST. The class was lucky enough to meet three firefighters. After eating cookies, punch, and reading kid-made, heartfelt thank you cards, they showed the class all the equipment on their truck. The students then got to walk through the cab of the fire truck. With a little arm twisting (but not much!), the firefighters turned on the sirens and blew the LOUD air horn as they pulled away from the school. What an exciting day! I will be posting pictures soon! We owe Mrs. Paula Cook a great big THANK YOU for organizing and hosting this EAST event! You are awesome, Mrs. Cook!

Hopefully, our week will be just as busy, but not quite as eventful as we concentrate on some deep learning this week. One big event is our Parent-Teacher Conferences that will be held on Thursday, September 15, at 3:30-6:30 p.m. There will be a PTA meeting at 6:00 in the multi-purpose room. I encourage you to become a part of this organization. It is vital to our school because it provides so many resources that the students benefit from!

Here is what we will be learning this week:

Reading: We will be looking at long e words, word pictures, and rhythm and rhyme in our story, "Three Little Bikers", this week.
Here are our vocabulary words:

1. signals- anything that warns or directs, such as a light or a hand motion
2. steep- having a high slope or angle
3. trail- a path
4. gravel- small stones or pebbles
5. giggled- laughed
6. gully- a small valley made by running water
7. soared- flew upward
8. crept- moved slowly

Please work with your child on making a sentence using the word. Some students are still giving definitions on the test!

We will also be working on author's purpose. It's as easy as P.I.E: Persuade, Inform, and Entertain! This is continued from last week. We just barely touched on it because of all of the events happening last week. We will REALLY become master's at this skill this week. Additionally, we are going to learn one of the most important skills of the year: How to read a passage. This will be the foundation for summarizing, main idea, outlining, note taking, and research in later years. Yes- 2nd grade is where this starts!

Spelling- Our focus will be on long e spelled ee and ea.
Here are our spelling words:

1. deep
2. seen
3. free
4. leaf
5. meal
6. team
7. each
8. lunch
9. their
10. through
11. would
12. could

Be sure to check out Spelling City. You can play games and take practice tests. You can find the list at Spelling City

Language- We will be covering the types of sentences a final time before moving on to common and proper nouns. Be sure to have your child sing the "Noun Song" for you! You will find yourself humming it, I promise! :)

Writing- We will continue with our "What Makes a Good Friend?" writing- We are ALMOST finished. They will be ready for Parent-Teacher conferences on Thursday.

Math- word problems- Boy, are these hard! I have taught the kids how to CUB their answers and we have learned some ways to help us solve problems. Please refer to the posters if your child needs extra help.

cub it

Word Problem Types

We will review result unknown and change unknown word problems on Monday. Then we will add start unknown to the types of word problems. Please help your child each night with their homework. Remember, they CAN use calculators. That is one strategy for solving word problems, however, I encourage students to find other ways to solve problems before resorting to the calculator. They can use their 100 chart, draw a picture, use base 10 block pictures, use manipulatives, or use a math equation.

Don't forget to have your child practice math facts at

Planner- We will continue learning about the five food groups and how they help our body grow. We will be examining our food logs to see what food groups we ate from. We will then analyze our eating habits and set some goals for ourselves. Hopefully, these goals will include making some healthier eating choices- And yes, this includes me!!
We will also be documenting our exercise in an exercise log. Please help your child remember to fill out the log each night. We will be looking at ways we can improve in our activity areas after we complete this. It will be due next Monday.

Last, don't forget about our Scholastic Book Orders. You can order online by using the instructions below. It's a great way for our class to get new books and get your child reading!

Online Ordering Information">

Thanks again for your support! Let me know if you like the blog by leaving a comment on our class blog!

Alisha Stevens

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gearing up for a WONDERFUL week!

I hope everyone is enjoying their beautiful Labor Day! The weather is PERFECT!

I have two requests
1) If you have any old magazines that you wouldn't mind donating to our class, we would appreciate it! We specifically need magazines with pictures of foods for our health planner. We will use magazines all year long, so we welcome any that you are ready to discard!

2) Also, I was wondering if anyone would be willing to help with some cutting and stuffing of class projects. I occasionally have papers that need to be cut and then put into baggies for activities our class will be doing. If this sounds like something you could help out with, please let me know. I will supply all materials and give an example of a completed project, so it is EASY for you! I appreciate any help! :)

I also have a project that I am borrowing from another teacher. It is called Mystery Reader. Please see the letter below:
Mystery Reader Parent Note

I hope you are able to help us with this fun mystery! I know the class will love seeing who the visitor is on Fridays! :)

Here is a run-down of what we will be studying this week:

Reading: We will be looking at non-fiction conventions (headings, pictures, captions, maps, labels) in our story this week. Students will be reading "Tools" from our basal.
Here are our vocabulary words:

1. tools- things that help you do work
2. world- the Earth and everything in it
3. fix- to repair something that is broken
4. clean- not dirty
5. farm- to grow food or animals to eat or sell
6. write- to make letters or works with a pen or pencil
7. easier- less hard to understand than something else
8. use- put something into the action that it was meant for

Please work with your child on making a sentence using the word. Some students are still giving definitions on the test!

We will also be working on author's purpose. It's as easy as P.I.E: Persuade, Inform, and Entertain!

Spelling- Our focus will be on initial blends of ch, sh, gr, and the silent 'e' at the end of a word (cut becomes cute).
Here are our spelling words:

1. child
2. chin
3. chip
4. shape
5. ship
6. shut
7. use
8. world
9. grade
10. write
11. clean
12. many
13. work

Be sure to check out Spelling City. You can play games and take practice tests. You can find the list by clicking here:Spelling City

Language- the four types of sentences- Declarative (telling), interrogative (asking), imperative (commands), and exclamatory (excitement). I hope your child has told you all about Debbie Declarative, Igor Interrogative, and Iman Imperative. We will be reviewing all of these types of sentences and will have our last visitor, Xavier Exclamatory visit us this week, too! Students will be assessed on Imperative and Exclamatory as one assessment and over all four types of sentences for another! Overall, students are doing very well with this skill. There will be homework about the sentence types and vocabulary words to be completed every night. Students need to turn this in on Friday.

Writing- We will continue with our "What Makes a Good Friend?" writing-
We will also be making thank you cards for our community heroes. We will be celebrating our police officers and fire fighters on Friday in remembrance of 9/11.

Math- word problems- We will learning how to solve word problems such as result unknown and change unknown.
Here are some examples of result unknown problems:

There were 14 rabbits in the garden. 5 more rabbits joined them to eat the lettuce. How many rabbits are in the garden now? 14 + 5 = ?
15 cars were parked in the parking lot when we went in to the store. 10 cars left while we were shopping. How many cars are in the parking lot now? 15 - 10 = ?

Here are some examples of change unknown problems:

There were 12 birds in the tree. Some more birds joined them and now there are 16 birds in the tree. How many birds flew into the tree? 12 + ? = 16
There were 24 Cokes in the box this morning. Scott took some Cokes in his lunch. Now there are only 19 Cokes in the box. How many Cokes did Scott take in his lunch? 24 - ? = 19

We will continue with this next week when we add start unknown to the types of word problems. Word problems are typically a very difficult skill for second graders. Please help your child each night with their homework. They CAN use calculators. That is one strategy for solving word problems. I encourage students to find other ways to solve problems before resorting to the calculator. They can use their 100 chart, draw a picture, use base 10 block pictures, use manipulatives, or use a math equation.

Don't forget to have your child practice math facts at

Planner- We will be learning about the five food groups and how they help our body grow. We will also have some real visitors come this week! Cody Daily, manager of Legends Gym, will be talking with 2nd grade on Tuesday morning. He will be talking about exercise and its importance in fitness. On Wednesday, Christie Anderson, manager of the TASD food services, will be discussing how to make healthier food choices.

Last, don't forget about Grandparent's Day on Thursday, September 8 from 8:15-10:30. I look forward to meeting many grandparents!

Alisha Stevens

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some Super-Sweet Second Graders!


As we enter our second full week of school, I am so thrilled with my "Oh so sweet" second graders! They are a wonderful group of students who are smart, happy, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. It's going to be a wonderful year!

This blog is a way to let you know what we have been doing and what we will be doing during the week ahead. I will also post student projects as we complete them. I hope you find this space useful! You may use the comments section to ask questions, or you may e-mail or call me!

Here is a run-down of what we will be studying this week:
Reading: story elements- recognizing characters, setting, problems, plot, and solutions in fiction stories that we read. We will also be analyzing characters on both the outside (what they look like) and the inside (what traits they have- shy, caring, greedy, etc.). Our story this week is Poppleton and the Grapefruit. Our reading and vocabulary tests will be on Friday each week. Work with your child to be able to use their vocabulary words in a sentence, not just know the meaning of the word. Knowing how to use the word in context is a higher-level skill and important in vocabulary acquisition!

Spelling- Our focus will be on the short e and short o sounds, along with final consonant blends, such as nd, nt, mp, sk, and st.

Language- the four types of sentences- Declarative (telling), interrogative (asking), imperative (commands), and exclamatory (excitement). Be sure to ask your students about special 'visitors' that will be helping us learn about these types of sentences!!

Writing- What Makes a Good Friend? writing- We will begin working on our first formal paragraph this week. Talk with your child about how they can be a good friend to others. Have them tell you examples of when they were a good friend or maybe when someone wasn't a good friend to them. It will help them add details to their writing!

Math- place value- We will be doing a deep review of the tens and ones place. This will be a foundation for the rest of the year! Your child will come home with a hundreds chart in a new page protector in his/her folder on Monday. This is for your child to use until they are confident without looking at it. Be sure to ask your child about +/- 10 and 1 cheer they learned on Monday! :) Our test over these skills will be on Friday.

Planner- We will be inquiring about being a good friend, what is a bully, and healthy habits. Our focus is on how to be healthy and happy- physically, mentally, and socially. Mrs. Bilbo, our librarian and computer research teacher, showed the class the website. The students learned how to find facts, take notes on those facts, and document their research in the spiral notebooks. I encourage you to go onto this website to help them learn more about taking good care of their teeth. I reward all inquiry and research that is done outside of class and then shared with the rest of the class! What a great way for them to learn AND for the rest of the class to learn along with them! Taking notes and picking out the most important information in a text are also skills we will work on all year long.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful week of school. I hope each of the students are as excited about coming each day as I am!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More working in my room

I spent today working in my room. So glad to have my jungle/bucket filler bulletin board up. I will put little monkey numbers on each bucket tomorrow to finish it off. I am please overall with how it turned out!

I also put stuff up on the closet doors. The empty border will hold our school newsletter and our class newsletter. Under the "There was homework?" sign I will write the homework for the day. I was tickled that Adam, my son, found the stuffed monkey in the closet when he cleaned out the closet in his bedroom. Love those leftovers from childhood! The bag on the right is a Dollar Tree find- A bottle bag. It is just the perfect size for my call-backs and attention-getters that I put on paint sticks that Sherwin Williams generously gave me! Best of all, the bag has elephants, zebras, and safari stuff on it! Perfect!! Oh the little things that make me happy! :)

Last, I put up my FACE for Cafe/Daily 5. I am toying with face or cafe. I think I am going to change it back to cafe because I like the idea of it being a menu of strategies to choose from while reading. It's simple, but I love the jungle/safari borders.

I also got some other organizational stuff finished. And I visited with co-workers. I love doing that! It was fun sharing ideas that they had found on Pinterest. I signed-up for it tonight after talking to them and can't wait to start pinning! It was neat to hear that what they thought were neat ideas for implementing in their classrooms- It was what I had already saved and planned on doing!

Going in EARLY tomorrow to finish up. Adam is going to help staple, sticky tack, and hammer tomorrow, so I should be VERY close to finishing up. Then on to making copies for the first days of school and meet the teacher night! So excited about school starting!!