Lots of important information

Hello AWESOME Parent Community


A few quick updates:


Report cards will go home this Friday. There is a certain opaqueness to report cards and your child’s teacher(s) spend many hours (every year) trying to figure out how to align our district provided materials with the report card with the coming CCSS. It is hard to make sense out of all of it, for us too. With that in mind, this third term is a tough one and fourth is even harder. The goal post keeps moving and there is no single assessment tool that the second grade English teachers use to make the call on these grades. I use some formal tests but then also rely on all the hours I spend observing and working with a student to make the final judgment on grades. I use both subjective and objective measures because students are extremely complicated individuals. There is still A LOT of school left for gains, too, so keep the spotlight on school. We’re not slowing down but speeding up. Your child will need lots of rest. J


With spring/summer headed our way, please help us reinforce all those positive behaviors we’ve seen all year. This is the time of year that schools see the most behavior challenges. Knock on wood, I think both our groups are doing a nice job at regulating themselves in the building. I know this because when I see them at recess I’m like “Whoa, you guys really hold back in class.” That said, let’s avoid problems early. I’ll be doing this in the class too.


The Hallway! Please help us with clothing and not allowing students (any, they don’t have to be yours) leave stuff on the ground. We continue to have a big mess out there. We’re asking for some community parenting. The kids are always in a rush at Richmond, but please stop them and ask them to pick up if you see someone leaving a pile.


Please sign up for Mt. Tabor! We can take extra people too. However, no siblings. Sorry, District rules. Liability issues, etc. This is always so fun and it is our END OF YEAR party, so we won’t have a party in-class on the last day. This IS the party.


Homework for the next few weeks is REALLY important. This is our final push and we’ll be asking for your support at home. You’ll see. It’s big. It’s tough. You’ll survive, but it won’t be easy. Try to store a little extra time for homework in the next month.


School-wide policy issue: We do not have supervision for your children after 2:15. Your child/children need to stay with you at all times. If you are waiting for your child’s Japanese tutor time you MUST be with him or her in the building or on the playground.



Thank you very much. We can’t do this work without our super supportive community.





Food Drive continues!


Thank you! We raised a lot of cash on Friday for the food drive. You guys are really, super nice. I just got word that the food drive continues. So…I think…we have one more day to collect bucks if you haven’t donated and would like to give. 

Right now second grade is leading for “grade level” but I do not know about class level or if that lead will stick. First grade is going to be tough to beat.




More food drive info

“Please tally the pounds of food you have received from your morning homeroom class and keep that count as your class total. This includes cash and checks ($1 = 4 lbs of food.) Count one can as one pound (Big cans can count as 2)” 

Food Drive!!!! It’s not too late. Last day.

Please, please, please bring a can (or more) of food today after school. First grade is kicking our b*tt. We’re going to need a lot more to win that party!!!! They also take money and calculate it for pounds. I found some cash in my pocket this morning as I forgot to bring food today. 



Homework = sciencefair

My guess is that folks are deep into science fair projects, so consider:

1) Your science fair project can accepted as homework if it has something to do with geometry.

2) The 12th is a soft due date. Student will be presenting projects from the 12th to the 20th. We just don’t want all the projects coming in on the 20th or we won’t have time to share.

3) There is no new homework assignment coming home Thursday from English.  




No Excuse List (PDF)


Hello! Hope you find this PDF of No Excuse words helpful.

Key Words (early this week)

Key Words


Life Cycle of a Pumpkin/project




In second grade, geometry is all about exploration, play, and making discoveries.


Geometry choices:

Last Shape Wins

How Can You Build It (extremely differentiated)

Faces, Edges, Corners

Caterpillar Fill and Add



Math is split 50/50. Students spend half their time working games/activities/hands-on stuff at the carpet and then spend the other half practicing concepts with “deskwork.” This allows me to both monitor the carpet and check as much work as I can and mini conference with students. I found that this works much better than having all 28 students up and around at the same time working on Bridges Workplaces. It also gives them a little more pencil paper practice. In a sense, I’m working with two small classes at the same time.


Library reorganization – “no one ever washed a rented car.” Students worked extremely hard on a rebuild of our class library. It is now cleaner and easier to access. Students helped design it so that should help in understanding of where things go.


Speaking of libraries, I picked up my recent order of poetry books from the Multnomah County Library. We have a massive new collection of books for reading in March. I like to do poetry in March because a) students have a lot of time to write their best poem to present to the school in April and b) I can get all the books from the library before other teachers snag them!


Read Aloud – Pizza, Pigs and Poetry. I have never heard a class laugh this hard in all my teaching! I started using this book last year. Humor is one of a professional educators best tools.  I also teach poetry with a book by Kenneth Koch. Koch was adult poet who visited schools in NYC schools in the late 60s and 70s. His book makes writing poetry so easy and fun for children. For our students who “don’t like writing,” they will love writing poems. I was fortunate to just happen upon this book while student teaching in PPS. Years later I discovered my wife had a Koch book from college. Poetry is probably the most misunderstood/under-represented art form in America yet very usable for teaching reading and writing to young children. FYI, we do not focus on form in second grade. We focus on ideas, simile, and metaphor.  One big rule is: you don’t have to “get” a poem” to enjoy a poem. Most that we read a very funny and represent a child’s perspective.  


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