Mr. D HW begins OCT. 2

Homework will begin Monday, Oct. 2 — AFTER back to school night.

Have a nice weekend,



Week of Sept. 18

This week we are writing comparisons, using “like” and “as”

We are continuing with our Bridges adopted curriculum, creating patterns, analyzing patterns, and counting by twos. We also are refreshing fast-facts from one to twenty.

We are reading Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry, nonfiction about writing poetry by Jack Prelutsky. We started by reading a Prelutsky collection.

We are using Ken Koch’s “Dreams, Wishes, and Lies” are our guide. Koch was a REAL poet who in the 1960s taught poetry to children in New York City. I use this book every year to loosen up writers.

We’ve had some drills, a late start, and our first week with Guidance Counseling.

Homework is about to drop! Keep a look out for info.

Lots of love,


2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR

Hello families,

If you’re reading this you’ve found the blog! I left up old posts that I still find useful. (NOTE: I will drop articles and misspell words. I will not be editing this blog. Forgive me. I am a fast typist, and a bit of a spaz, and I don’t have time to proof a blog!)

September is dedicated to learning routines and expectations and trouble-shooting workflow. I don’t care how long this takes, I want to instill positive habits. It actually takes all year, but I’m not interested in jumping into testing, etc. Student need to learn “how to go to school” with a new teacher. We need to build trust. There will be a lot for them to juggle in terms of routine. Our schedules are pretty darn hard to follow as adults, so with the kids, you can imagine we need a lot of time to stop, model, and re-explain how our rooms work.

Between all the figurative house cleaning and literal house cleaning (my room was quite a disaster when I returned to it this year) we’re working hard on writing poems. I use poetry to loosen up writers. This is the first year that I’ve started with poetry. I’m also teaching the fundamentals of a sentence.

In math our work is around patterns. I am still waiting for the district to supply all the materials I need to totally jump into math. This is out of my control, but we’re still getting our math program going…just not as fast or intensely as I would like. (UPDATE: materials have arrived.)

Reading is focused on listening and responding during Read Aloud. Students are selecting just right books (or will be) and we are setting the stage for sustained student silent reading. Reading and writing will eventually merge in class time.

We also are having classroom meetings now and learning about student jobs.

Homework is starting with a reading log and some steps for reading at home. More on homework soon. Yes. There will be homework.

I do not know all student learning profiles yet by heart. This actually takes me months to know by heart. I’m currently sizing students up as writers. And getting a sample of who can do what in math. Mostly I’m interested in learning personalities…Who needs to sit where? Who is disorganized, who is organized? Who is listening, who is not listening? Maturity levels, etc., etc., etc.

One of my goals this year is to be as transparent and as frank as possible with parents with the students best interest in mind.

I ask for you patience and support and I will return it in kind.

All the best,


Junot Diaz talks about teaching creative writing at MIT

My wife and I saw author Junot Diaz speak at Powells a few years ago and he convinced me to read Moby Dick, which has become my one of my all time favorites. As a teacher, I really connected with what he said in this interview about “big questions” for our students, and how I can bring this down to a second grade levels.

Check it out. Very inspiring.

Junot Diaz talks about the importance of literature in a science base world

More from Bridges Math


Many days students spend 50% of their time working on paper/pencil math and then spend the other 50% playing games, building, conceptualizing. This is a rotation process.

This allows me to in a way manage two small(er) groups, rather than one large group. I’m able to meet with more students for quick check ins.

PLEASE fill out a form in the office if you would NOT like your child to be photographed for this blog. I try to blur faces or shoot from over the shoulder as much as possible. At the end of the year I will remove any photos with clearly identifiable faces. This is the first year I have used photos on the blog.

Curriculum Guide

Hi folks — the link above should bring you to the CCSS (common core state standards). I’m sure you’re following this big shift, but I follow the CCSS when planning. Some parents want to know more about how to work with their child after school. I’d follow this as a road map as it is the most up to date in influencing how we plan. The CCSS is all about students EXPLAINING THEIR THINKING. This is a good thing. It requires higher level thinking. Students are asked to present evidence in how they respond in both reading and math. More on this throughout the year.

Happy Friday,

A glimpse of second grade reading levels

In this PDF you’ll find some sample texts. The first few pages are what would be considered K and 1st grade stories. The final stories give you a look at what benchmark second grade text would look like, the final stories are getting into third grade.


Sentence Stems for Reading Comp


I’ll have lots of post in the first few months of school, trying share tools to extend reading at home. We’ll be using these “sentence starters” in class. Our homework is very similar, but I like how these are brief. Use these to model how to “think” out loud about what you are reading.

Sentence Starters for 2nd Grade Reader Response Notebooks

As a good reader…

-I ask questions when I read.
I wonder if…

-I make and check predictions.
I think that later…
My prediction was right/wrong

-I visualize.
I imagine that…

-I make inferences about the characters.
I think that ___ is brave because…

-I make connections to my life, other
texts and the world.
That reminded me of…

I cite evidence from the text to support my thinking…

“One example is…”
“In the book…”
“I know this because…”

Help us with the hall! Thanks

Hi folks,

Let’s start the year off right…nice and clean!

Every year when end up with lots of stuff in hallway, jackets papers, trash, etc. If everyone can remind all students to pick up we’ll be doing well. I think in South Korea it’s called “community parenting.” That’s what we need!

We will assign some students to help monitor our hallway cubbies, but it would be really helpful if we all had our eyes on the hallway to help keep it clean, especially during drop off and pick up. Mostly we just need to get those backpacks pushed in.

Please keep an eye on our local lost and found at the end of our cubbies, too.

Thank you!