Salli’s A10 Bi-Weekly Blog

Chapter 1. Salli’s Bi-Weekly Blog

  • Salli’s Monthly Blog: March 27th

    Mark Your Calendars!

    Tuesday, March 28th Half Day 8-12:00 p.m. Aftercare available

    Spring Break begins Monday, April 3-7th (No Homework)

    Monday, April 17th State Benchmark Assessment begins for 1st & 2nd Graders

    Friday, April 21st Earth Day Celebration

    Tuesday, April 25th Field Trip to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum 8:30-2:30

    Thursday, April 27th Half Day 8-12 p.m. Aftercare available

    Wow! April is going to be a very busy month. Please mark your calendars accordingly. I am requesting that all boots go home at the end of the day on Friday before the break. They will be doing some work in my room, removing the cabinets and sink and replacing the with all new! I am hoping that at the end of the year, I can take some time to paint my classroom. I will most likely be looking for volunteer assistance but more about that in the future.

    Language Arts

    We have wrapped up our small moments and are beginning to work on narrative stories. The students are focusing on a setting, characters, problem, events and a solution. We will be incorporating all of the components such as capitalization, punctuation, proper spelling, grammar, details a good lead and concluding paragraph. We continue to read Erie Trail West and learning about how Michigan changed during that time period and how the Erie Canal changed the economy of Michigan. We are still working on focusing on the main idea for non- fiction text. I appreciate having your child continue to use Raz-Kids and answering the comprehension questions per book that he or she reads so that I can continue to monitor which skill areas of reading I need to work with your child on. Your child should have brought home a t-shirt that says Engineered in Ann Arbor Kids A-Z. This was a free t-shirt given by the Learning A-Z representative, Kelly Bowles, who also gave our 2-3 team free licenses to use Raz-Kids, Science A-Z and Writing A-Z. We would like the kids to wear their t-shirts to the next field trip.

    Math/Science: We have wrapped up our Balobby unit of perimeter and area and are moving on to linear measurement that is integrated with or Force and Motion Unit for science. We experienced what force is by building paper airplanes and testing the distance using a variety of variables. We will continue to explore more with Force and Motion through various experiments to get us ready for the upcoming field trip as well as building a boat with Jessica during Technology. You will get to experience  some of the experiments during our Curriculum Celebration in May. In addition to the science experiments, I have been integrating STEM experiments periodically to allow kids to become more hands on and explore the world of science, technology, engineering and math. In addition to linear measurement, we are working on regrouping with subtraction, basic math facts and I will be introducing the importance of skip counting when learning multiplication facts.

    Benchmark Assessments: Our second graders will be taking the online benchmark assessment beginning the week of April 17th. They took this test in October and the state will be looking for growth during this period. The third graders will begin the M-Step online testing the week of May 1st. While I am not a big advocate for standardized testing, we are required by the WISD to participate. As always, it is just one of the multiple measurements we use to assess academic growth with your child. Any questions you have about the state online testing, please contact Al.

    Fruit Bowl/Extra Snack: Thank you to those of you who fill out our fruit bowl weekly. I have noticed that the kids are growing like weeds and have voracious appetites. Please don’t hesitate to send in extra snack with your child as sometimes their lunch is just not enough.

    Thank you to everyone who attended your child’s conference. We will continue to work on the goals we discussed and as always, if you have any further questions or concerns, I am happy to set up a time to meet with you.

  • Salli’s Monthly Blog: January 30th

    Mark your calendars!

    February 16 & 17th No School mid-winter break

    February 23 half day Teacher Professional Development; school in a.m., extended after care available.

    Language Arts:

    This month, our focus will be on writing that adds details, proper capitalization, punctuation and grammar. We will write some narrative stories that will help all of us improve each of the above areas. We are wrapping up our read aloud Traders in Time and taking a slight break to read a book called The Enormous Egg. This book is about a family that finds one of their chickens sitting on an enormous and a triceratops hatches from the egg. The kids are really enjoying the variety and are looking forward to more discussion about this book. When we finish with this book, we will begin to read Erie Trail West which will help students have a better understanding of the Erie Canal and its role in immigration to America and to Michigan. I have started a couple of literacy circles with some students as part of an independent group. They will meet twice a week to read and respond through writing and discussion. My plan is to have every student involved in some sort of literacy circle by the beginning of March. This will help students to analyze characters, identify problems and solutions as well as build some team accountability. The parameters are that they must only read the book the days they are assigned, unless they are absent then they will be allowed some make up time. They are required as a group to read one to two chapters and choose something from their literacy circle log, such as writing a summary, analyzing the character, identifying new vocabulary words and their definitions as well as discussing the problems and making predictions and inferences whenever they read.


    Math: Last Friday, I attended an excellent math conference about using strategies and activities to help students build their number sense. The focus for the month of February will be to incorporate those strategies into centers as well as to have my students build their number sense skills. The instructor, Gayle Pukall, noted that if students do not have their basic ten facts, they will struggle with higher level math concepts as they begin to progress. I recently read an article titled: Fluency Without Fear: Research Evidence on the Best Ways to Learn Math Facts, by Jo Boaler: Youcubed at Standford University, January 28, 2015 (updated). In this article, it was noted that students who practice their facts through memorization and repetition and then forced to be timed tested is unnecessary and damaging. It promotes test anxiety and frustration. The article also discussed how the common core  standards are requiring students to be fluent and have quick recall of facts when actually it is detrimental to students learning the basic facts and number sense concepts. At this conference, I was having a conversation with a second grade teacher who taught at a Flint charter school. Their second graders are required to complete 30 basic math facts accurately in 1 minute and 30 seconds. The 2-3 teachers at Honey Creek, as of last year, would require basic math facts to be completed and accurately in 3 minutes. As of this year, I have stopped the timed testing. I give students  approximately 15 minutes to complete the weekly math fact assessment. These facts should be completed in that time, though they may not always be accurate but completed. Actually, when students know that I am not timing them, most finish within a couple of minutes. I allow this extra time for those who need it to work on completing the assessment. If I find students are not completing the fact assessment in that time, then I do take it after the 15 minute period. One thing that I am changing for the weekly math facts is students will only be responsible for the facts on their weekly assessment that they do not master. This means, they will identify those and use the NEW strategies that I will begin to introduce this week. Students will highlight the ones to focus on and not be responsible for those that he or she has already mastered. On Thursday, students will highlight those facts and you will find the test in his or her planner. At this point, we will not continue with graphing of these facts-BUT instead focusing on the learning target, “I can identify the fact families and solve problems using those fact families.” In addition to focusing on fact strategies, we will focus on solving problems with multi-digit regrouping, explore area and perimeter and complete a project, as well as using mental math strategies.

    Social Studies/Science:

    For the month of February, the focus will be on our local and state government and the three branches of government. As a part of this unit, I will be tying in some character values and what it means to be a good citizen. We will talk about responsibility, respect and how we play a big part in our community. This will be done through various picture books and literature readings. We will also be learning more about the European explorers and the Erie Canal. We are introducing a STEM project that correlates with the properties of matter unit, students will need to design and build some sort of pet toy. There will be a rubric and once the 2-3 teachers have fine tuned this rubric, we will share more about this project later.

  • Salli’s Bi-Weekly Blog: January 9th

    Dates to know in January 2017:

    January 9th school resumes

    January 13th: Winter Break Reading/Math Challenge due

    January 16: No school Martin Luther King Holiday

    January 20th: Curriculum Celebration 5:00-7:00 p.m. Come see what your child has been working on!

    January 25th 1/2 day of school 8-12 Care is available. (Records)

    Language Arts/Social Studies:

    For the next two weeks, our main focus is to wrap up our independent projects for the Curriculum Celebration. We will also be writing an informational report based on our projects and how it ties into what they have learned during the first semester. For our writing, we are focusing on a good introduction that introduces our topic as well as adding supporting details, proper capitalization, punctuation, spelling and a concluding sentence. We will continue to work with our write/rights for grammar and mechanics of writing as well as independently responding to our read aloud discussions.

    We will also have guided reading sessions in preparation of Martin Luther King Jr. and the upcoming holiday. We will be focusing on compassion, empathy and being kinder than necessary while building respect for all in honoring diversity.

    After the curriculum celebration, we will begin to focus on immigration and how it affected the Native Americans as well as transportation and the Erie Canal. We will also include force and motion for math by reading and performing various experiments. These two units will help pave the way to our next project, building a boat to correspond with our learning about the Erie Canal and force and motion.


    We will continue to work on time and money as well as introducing the properties of math: associative, commutative and distributive,  and begin to introduce regrouping steps with multi-digit addition problems and continue to work with addition and subtraction problems up to a 1000. During our centers we will work on our basic math facts and integrating more practice with linear measurement.

    Homework: Beginning the week of January 16th all second graders will have a short writing homework assignment. It will begin with writing a one paragraph summary of a text they have read that will include the who, what, and when. Look for a graphic organizer to assist your child with this assignment. We will continue to build these skills through various homework assignments by adding more a little at a time. Third graders will be expected to continue with this assignment but adding more details to their summary. If you have any questions about this assignment, please be sure to email me.


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