Group work/homework

Since we’re starting more group work in class, some evidence will not go home to all families every week. Students will often be collaborating on one document. That team will decided who takes the evidence home. Students should be able to talk about what their group is working on each week.

Throughout the year we’ll be also using certain texts for educational purposes, and writing on said texts. Those texts cannot be sent home either because of copyright law. The evidence is recycled after the exercises are complete by the end of the week.

In reading and writing, quarter 2 will focus on reading fiction and writing fiction. Later in the year will move towards non-fiction. Nonetheless, students read some nonfiction this week, using the life cycle of a pumpkin as another way to look at sequence.


Between Japanese and 15 to 20 minutes of English reading, you should be hitting the national norms for homework. Add to this that many students have incomplete work to finish at home and you’re definitely there. We also have passport club as a new monthly piece of homework. I cannot stress enough the amount of cognitive energy students use during the day in class. I would not want families to think that there is not homework. Reading is homework if done with a just right book.

NEA homework norms

All the best,




Thank you library organizers

On Tuesday we had many moms in our room helping restore the classroom library. I really appreciate it.

Roll call:







…who am I missing?



Week of 11-13

This week we’ll work on:

place value (continued)

verb (writing mechanics)

story sequence

transition words

writing simple “How To”

continue reading The Witches

looking at the life cycle of a pumpkin – more around sequence and order

Everything we do will be centered on the above.

Coming soon: Passport Club (new homework assignment), book-buddies with a 4th grade class

LIBRARY round up

Hello all,

We are cleaning and organizing the library in the English class tomorrow. Thank you!

Hello Parents –
Mr D would love the help of 5-10 volunteers to get his book library in top shape for the kids! He has some cleaning up to do (resorting) but also MANY new books waiting to be sorted, washi-taped, and find a spot on the shelves.
If you can help Tuesday Nov 14th after pickup please email 
I’m hoping it will take just an hour if we can get lots of help!
Thank you!!

CONFERENCES, what to expect

Dear families,

I’ll be presenting you with:

A parent-teacher conference form

three math tests/samples

student work sample: The Solar System

student revised writing sample: I Am From poem (if we can finish them in time)

a student “self reflection”

a print out with all of your child’s DIBELS (reading scores.)


DIBELS tells us who is literally reading, their speed and accuracy. It does not tell us about higher level thinking and comprehension. It is normal for students to come to second grade with less comprehension strategies. They are busy in K and 1 just learning to read. I’ll have more comprehension data on the second report card, although I have some anecdotal evidence.

Math Assessments. I’m using three tests from BRIDGES. In this area I rely on the experts from the math department. The test, since it is the beginning of the year, seems fairly easy. Nonetheless, this is the tool I’m given to use. Eriko will provide the “timed tests.” We have not taught time yet in English. However it is on the test. That section can be taken with a grain of salt; although many students did well, since they’ve had some practice with time in Japanese.

Writing. I look at samples. I’m looking for communication. Often you see a sample and you think, ah, jeez, the words are all spelled wrong. However, if you were to correct the spelling, the writing would stand out. In 6 years I’ve seen a lot of writing from Richmond students, so I use a sixth sense when grading writing. Writing doesn’t fit in a box. Especially when we are trying to encourage kids to “keep writing.” Just like in Japanese class…just keep doing it. I don’t think its useful to ruin writing by focusing exclusively on the technical side. Despite this, I’m teaching mechanics right alongside style.

I’ll also use conferences to ask questions and get more information on your child.

Math concept to touch in on at home

Looks like we close or perhaps finished with testing, so I can get back to the business of new concepts and practice in math.

Academic language, non-kid-language, non-everyday language is often hard to remember because we simply don’t use it in our daily lives. Today there will be some new math language. This would be a great thing to talk about and keep the words fresh in their head. Today I’ll introduce:

expanded form

100 + 90 + 9

numeral form


written form

one hundred ninety nine

P.S. – reminder: no school for students tomorrow. Teachers preparing for conferences next week.

Thank you!




Week of 10/30


Lots of tests! Math tests. When tests end we’ll get back to place value.

Finishing projects to share at conferences!

Student Recognition Assembly!

Counseling week!

First draft, second draft, final drafts of “I Am From” poems.

Continuing with The Witches, using it as a baseline to talk about elements of story.

Assigned reading and comprehension questions: “distinguish between drama and narrative. Drama: You want to go trick-or-treating but your dog ate your costume. Narrative: You went trick-or-treating. Desire (want) vs the quotidian. My goal is turn passive readers into active readers through complex analysis of every text we read. They can do it; if they don’t enjoy it yet, they will.

Charlie Brown Halloween. I’m thinking of showing this and having the kids work through complex comprehension strategies as we watch.

Week of OCT. 23 “conversation starters”

Please get your child talking about school by giving some prompts about this week’s happenings in class.

Place value

Ones place

Tens place

Hundreds place

READ ALOUD – The Witches: “The Meeting,” “Frizzled like a Fritter,” “Formula 86 Delayed Action Mouse Maker.”

Students are writing about each chapter we read

Fun Puzzles test – students are back at it. This test blows a hole in our week. It takes a very long time.

Nouns, proper nouns, and this week we start pronouns.

By the end of the week we might start assessments for conferences…

“I Am From” poem.


Week of 10/16 talking points

This week:

I’m trying something new, wrapping most of our student literacy work around our Read Aloud book, Roald Dahl’s The Witches. I’m using it as a launching pad for a year-long goal of teaching “the elements of story” to students. We’re just at the very beginning, looking at how an author begins a story, what to expect from ACT I of any story. I’m also introducing the idea of causality in story. Students will practice logical thinking. Students are encouraged to look for the constant flip flopping of “up” (+) and “down” (-) moments within a text. It’s very new for them but they’re excited because now they’re seeing patterns within the text and even by second grade they’ve been exposed to so many stories. They’re looking for patterns. I’m trying to make them critical thinkers and capable of analysis. Trying to turn passive readers into active readers. We’ll analyze STORY all year long. All this gets us to comprehension and makes reading so much more enriching.

Students are writing about the book, practicing recall.

Eriko and I both notice that students need a lot of fluency practice this year. So we’re looking at computation in a number of ways. Some story problems are starting to creep into the fold. In terms of units, solving and creating story problems will happen next. I’m also starting to introduce coins and money.

I’m excited to share DIBELS assessments at conferences. It is looking like we have a lot of readers in both groups. I’m emboldened to push them because clearly they are capable kids. This is exciting for me.

Each week I’m trying to squeeze in one or two fun science activities. TBD.

On Friday we’re going to do an art activity that’s geared towards fine motor skills, useful in handwriting.

We also have counseling this week.

And students are learning about nouns vs. proper nouns.

Thanks ya’ll.