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2/3 Newsletter April 2017

HBON 2-3 Level


Language Arts/Social Studies: The middle elementary students have been learning all about the Erie Canal and how it brought immigrants to the Michigan before it became a state. We are currently reading Erie Trail West, a historical fiction book which takes place on the Erie Canal. A family experiences  hardships along the canal while moving to their home which is in Howell, Michigan. We are working on narrative writing using the writing process to develop topic sentences, good leads, details and concluding paragraphs.


Math/Science: With Jessica P’Simer’s assistance and integration of technology, the students developed an I movie trailer based on 2 D and 3 D shapes. You will be able to view these short video clips during May’s Curriculum Celebration. Balobby Land was our focus for math by learning about area and perimeter. The students developed floor plans of a Balobby room and are writing about rules and regulations to integrate what they have learned about government. We continue to work on practicing our math facts, time, money, and regrouping. Force and motion is the unit for Science and we are exploring about what it means to do “work” and how force is applied through various experiments.


The students will be taking a field trip to the Ann Arbor Hands On Science Museum on Tuesday, April 25th to learn more about force and motion.

Middle Elementary News: November 2013

It was great to see you all at conferences. Please keep up with reading our blogs each week as that is the place for the most current and specific information.
We are excited to be taking our first field trip on November 15. In conjunction with our social studies unit of Communities, we will be visiting the Ann Arbor fire station, the library and Kerrytown as well as using maps to help us navigate and a scavenger hunt to help children see all the parts of a community.
Math has focused on students telling time, getting acclimated to Reflex math and our 3-minute timed tests and working on mastering our addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. 2nd graders need to know addition facts through 20, by memory, by the end of the year. 2nd graders also need to be fluent in subtraction facts within 20. 3rd graders need to know multiplication facts from 0s-9s by memory and be able to use these facts to solve the reciprocal facts in the division family.
We read daily in 2nd and 3rd grade! Students are read to each day with our class book. Children are loving the City of Ember and it is helping us think about communities as well as other topics in math, social studies and science. Students also read on their own each day in Read-to Self. During the week and month, students also read with a teacher through small, guided reading groups.
Personal narratives are on the agenda in writing. This is a story from your life. Children are learning about narrowing in on one topic, looking for ideas for stories in their own lives, using details in their writing, writing good leads and endings and revision. Revising is making our writing better and this is a major step for 2nd and 3rd graders. Instead of “one (draft) and I’m done” children are encouraged to go back and find ways to make each writing piece better.

Middle Elementary News: June 2013

Middle Elementary News
It was great to see so many of you at our Curriculum Celebrations. Our 57 2nd and 3rd grade poets were very excited to show you all of their poetry.
Summer is almost here. While we all enjoy a slower pace and more relaxed days, please help us fight “Summer Slide”.(http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec11/vol69/num04/Slowing-the-Summer-Slide.aspx) This is what happens when children don’t exercise their reading, writing and math muscles over the summer. Students can lose weeks or months worth of progress. Fighting summer slide can be as easy as doing basically as much reading, writing and/or math each week that your child was required for weekly homework. Reading every day, even if it’s the comics or rereading old favorites, is especially important if your child is not reading at grade level. RAZ kids will be available for reading practice all summer. There are so many great things to write about in the summer. Write letters, keep a journal or travel-log. Your child will also have access to his or her Google Drive account all summer. Reflex math is a great way to get your 2nd grader to memorize or keep in mind addition and subtraction facts and for your 3rd grader to work on multiplication facts. In addition, card, board and dice games like Monopoly, Farkle and Yahtzee are fun ways to work on computation and mathematical problem solving.

Middle Elementary News: April 2013

Please make sure you are checking individual teacher blogs for the most frequent and more specific updates.

March went by too fast to do any poetry, so it’s fortunate that April is Poetry Month! Students will (really this time!) learn about figurative language and then read and write poetry. All students will be putting together an anthology to show at our May Curriculum Celebration.

Geometry is on the menu for math. The new Common Core standards have children recognizing all types of shapes and sorting shapes by different attributes. Children also need to be able to find the perimeter of all types of polygons, the area of rectangles and solve problems with the measurement of different shapes. Finally, children have to partition shapes into equal parts which will lead us back to some fractions.

We hope students and parents are using Reflexmath.com. This fabulous resource will be available all summer. Do you know about the Green Light?

Once a student has answered a certain number of facts correctly on a given day,a Green Light illuminates in the upper right corner of the screen.This indicates that the student has met the Daily Usage Requirement.

The Green Light serves two purposes. One, until the requirement is met and the light turns on, students are blocked from spending time on non-instructional activities such as browsing the store or modifying their avatars or progress trees. Two, it serves as an indication that a Reflex session is complete. Students can of course continue to practice by playing the fluency development games, but once they’ve completed the Daily Usage Requirement, they can stop the session if they (or you) so choose.” from Teacher’s Guide on Reflexmath.com

Students had a great time studying force and motion through experiments, readings and videos. We will use these same methods to study properties of matter and learn more about solids and liquids.

Middle Elementary News: March 2013

Welcome to muddy March! Please make sure your child has appropriate footwear and outwear. If it is under 40, we require the students to wear hats and gloves/mittens. Between 40 and 49, they need a coat, between 50 and 59 then need 2 LONG sleeve layers, between 60-64 one long sleeve layer and at 65 and above children may wear short sleeves.

We have been and will continue to work on fractions in math and will be moving into geometry soon. The new Common Core Standards for math don’t have a lot of fraction goals for 2nd graders. We still include the 2nd graders in many of our lessons as most students think fractions are cool (they are!) and are eager to learn. The major goals for 3rd grade fractions include a lot of work with equivalent fractions.

Force and motion is our emphasis for science. We’ll be doing lots of experiments and nonfiction reading and writing about this topic.

Students loved our Trader’s in Time class book and we are now reading another book by the same author, Janie Lynn Panagopoulos. Erie Trail West follows a family from New York to Livingston county and helps us learn about the years immediately prior to Michigan becoming a state. We also use these two books to look at an author’s style and compare and contrast two works by the same author.

Children will begun to study figurative language and then dig into poetry. We will read and write lots of great poetry and each child will put together their own anthology of their poems and poems by other authors.

Middle Elementary News 2013

With report cards just being sent out, we wanted to make you aware of the standards we use to report on several areas in reading and math. While the three 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms aren’t always doing the same thing on the same day, we work really hard to have common standards and assessments for all of our students. All of HCCS has recently been involved in some vertical alignment among the K-8 levels, and Mary, Salli and Tammy continue to incorporate this into horizontally aligning our three classrooms.


To ensure that our readers meet the end-of-the-year reading standards (Level P in 2nd grade and Level T in 3rd), we developed a new scale for marking students as E (exceeding grade-level expectations), 1 (meeting grade-level expectations), 2 (making progress to meet grade-level expectations) and 3 (area of concern) . You will be able to read more about this on your child’s report card.

Seeing a “3” on a report card is not easy, but we want you to be aware of where your child is in relation to grade-level expectations. When looking at reading levels, it is important to compare the January report card level to the reading level your student had at the beginning of the year. If your child has moved from a D to an I, for example, this is fantastic progress, even if your child received 3 on his or her report card. As readers continue on down the alphabetical scale, progress happens more slowly. For example, the expectations for a 2nd grade reader are to move from J to P (six levels) and for a 3rd grader are to move from P to T (four levels).

Similar alignment is taking place in math and the new Common Core State Standards have changed a bit in the area of operations. 2nd graders need to fluently add and subtract within 20 and have all sums of two-digit numbers memorized by the end of the year and 3rd graders need to fluently multiply and divide within 100 and have all products of two-digit numbers memorized by the end of the year. If a student hasn’t memorized math facts up through 5+9 or 5×9, they earned a 3 on the related area on the report cards (addition for 2nd graders and multiplication for 3rd graders).

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns after reviewing your child’s report card. Also, please check the weekly updates to your child’s classroom blog for current information.
A9 is still collecting clean, plastic bottle caps for an eco- art project.  We will be collecting through April, 2031. Please drop in the bag outside of A9.  Thank you! 

Middle Elementary News: January 2013

With the new year, Mary, Salli and Tammy are seeing new skills, more stamina and more personal and academic responsibility among our amazing students. This is also when we start gradually adding in a new task here and there and raise expectations slightly in many aspect of your students’ lives.

We are really excited about the results we are seeing with the students who are regularly using Reflexmath.com. This program is designed to help students master math facts, generally addition and subtraction for 2nd graders and multiplication and division for 3rd graders. While math is certainly more than recalling facts quickly, having students work on these skills through this program allows classroom teachers to devote more time to applications of these math facts and other math skills and strategies.

Along with the operations work that all students do in math each week, ll 2-3 classrooms will be finishing up aspects of measurement and moving into fractions in January.

We’re excited to have studied two new genres in the nonfiction in the last semester. Besides the how-to genre, students have also been writing informational pieces (aka reports) about various Native American topics. Along with work in the nonfiction genre, students are becoming more familiar with the writing process. Lesson in writing also include grammar, handwriting and word study.

Building good reading habits is a major goal in 2-3. Teachers, librarians and other staff work hard to match readers to texts that are appropriate reading levels and are interesting to each student. This is paying off in the new confidence and reading abilities we are seeing in our students. Please make sure to read the general information that will come with your child’s report card for some slight changes that have taken place in how we assess reading levels K-5.

We will continue to explore Michigan history in January and get ready to do some physical science with force and motion.

Please make sure your child has appropriate clothing for our daily outside recess.


Middle Elementary News: December 2012

The 2-3s have had two great field trips. Our first trip took us all the way to Lake Erie and focused on the lives of Native Americans in Michigan. We learned that seeds were an innovation that completely changed the lives of the woodland Indians, allowing them to remain in one spot and grow their food. The arrival of Europeans with metal items and wool blankets created another huge shift in how the native people lived in the Americas.

Our 2nd trip took us to the Michigan Historical Museum where we toured the museum and experienced an excellent program on the French voyageurs. The students were involved in a great reenactment of paddling a 40-foot canoe and got to see and touch furs and many other artifacts that were traded between the French-Canadian and the Native Americans in Michigan.

All classes will be finishing The Birchbark House and moving on, in January, to two novels by Janie Lynn Panagopoulos. Both are set in Michigan and help children learn more about the fur trade, French and English explorers (Traders in Time) and then the Erie Canal (Erie Trail West).

Please take some time to check your child’s bathing suit, inside shoe and PE shoe status. Children can grow quickly and the pool eats through suits at an alarming rate. This is about when some children start complaining that PE shoes are too small (or have traveled home) or when bathing suits get too tight or too thin.

We wish you a happy and restful winter break but please sneak in some reading each day!

Middle Elementary News: November 2012

With colder weather, please  make sure that your child has gloves, hats, boots and appropriate coats. With the addition of lice to our classrooms, we are not sharing any of these items, but we want children to be warm as we go outside twice a day. Thank you for the support of putting children’s soft items in a bag and then the bag in their locker. This was an idea passed on to us by a “lice specialist”.
November 9 and 27 will both be field trip days for 2-3 children. Children will need to be dressed for the weather for the November 9 trip, and on both days, will need a lunch from home. Our bus will leave promptly at 8:30am!
2nd and 3rd graders are still working on the many, many types of measurement. Time and money are measurement skills and we’ll continue to work on linear, mass and volume measurements. At the same time, math facts and operations are always on our math menus. Many of our students are excited by our new access to reflexmath.com which helps children master the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.
All students will soon begin to read and write “how to” books as an example of informational text. The end project will be a How to Play (a Math Game) with different groups of students writing about all the different games we play. This will help reinforce these games and we’ll be able post these on our website so students can play these games at home. Embedded in this project and in other places will be work on parts of speech for 2nd graders and different types of sentences for 3rd graders.
We will continue our study of early Michigan history through our work with The Birchbark House, hearing legends, Annishnabe stories and Native American poetry and some some hands-on projects. After the Birchbark House, we will continue learning about the fur  trade in Michigan through hearing Traders in Time.
All the 2-3s will be out and about on our school groups mapping, observing and recording what we see. We hope to turn this into some curriculum-based service projects as the children will also be asked how we can use our space in different ways and potential places for improvements. As always, please check http://honeycreekschool.org/2-3/ for the most current information.

Middle Elementary News: October 2012

Welcome to 2nd and 3rd grade with Tammy, Mary, Salli and Ashley. We are having a great time getting to know your students, teaching routines and beginning to work on reading, writing, math, science and social studies. For the most up-to-date information,  please check our classroom blogs each week. One urgent request we have for families is to make sure your child has inside shoes for the  classroom. Slippers, clogs and flip-flops all work well to keep our classroom clean. After completing assessments, students have  been working on building stamina in reading and writing , starting timed math tests in addition, subtraction, multiplication and  division as well as working on linear measurements. In October, students will be working on the scientific process and properties of  matter in science. Social studies finds us studying Michigan geography and beginning to learn about native Michiganders. We are in  our 3rd year of using CAFE to help us think about reading strategies. Comprehension is understanding what we read. Accuracy is  reading the words correctly, Fluency is reading smoothly and with expression and Expand Vocabulary is noticing, understanding,  learning and using new words. The acronym roughly puts the strategies into importance with comprehension being the first goal. We  have access to great information sheets called Parent Pipelines. If you ever want more information about any of these strategies, please let your child’s teacher know. We’re looking  forward to seeing you at conferences later in October.

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