Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Learning in Room 210

     We have been super busy over the last month. In math we have been learning lots of strategies to help us add and subtract two digit numbers. We have learned how to count on and count back by 10's on a hundreds chart. We have also practiced solving problems by adding the tens and then adding the ones. Many students were surprised that you could turn subtraction problems into missing addend addition problems to find the difference. We even practiced solving problems with mental math (in our minds)! The children are doing well and will continue to improve with practice and repetition. Please make sure your child is practicing their basic math facts up to 20 daily. They can use flash cards, X-tra Math, Reflex Math, computer programs and/or any other means you find work for your family routines.
     During our Fundations instruction in our ELA block students are reviewing closed syllables, closed syllable exceptions, base words and suffixes.  They are also beginning to learn about or will soon learn about open syllables and vowel-consonant-e (v-e) syllables.  During the month of December the children have been working on DRA's (Developmental Reading Assessments) in their reading tier as well.  This is one assessment that we use to help us determine strengths and weaknesses in various areas of reading such as decoding, fluency, comprehension, summarizing, and inferring.  We will continue with regular reading instruction once we have completed all DRA's.
     We finished up our science unit on trees and have moved on to weather and the water cycle. The children learned about the various stages of the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation). They also illustrated a cloud book and should be able to identify cirrus, cumulus, stratus, cumulonimbus, and nimbostratus clouds! We are very fortunate to have Miss Fallon, our art teacher, work with us on a special science project. The children have been working over the past few weeks to write a news script. They all have different jobs such as news anchor, meterologist, blizzard reporter, blizzard local, etc. We will be working with Miss Fallon this week and next to create a news report in front of the green screen! Everyone is excited to begin filming and we can't wait to share it with you. The kids really did an amazing job writing their scripts! Keep your eye out for an e-mail requesting items (specific clothing items, umbrella, scarf, mittens, shovel, etc.) for our filming on December 19th.
     On October 18, we went on our field trip to the Discovery Museum in Acton. What a blast! The children were able to explore the various floors of the museum and participate in many hands on exhibits. For one hour our class went into the Museum classroom to participate in a Sink and Float Design Challenge. The museum facilitators posed the children with a problem. They had to build a "boat" using various items (straws, bubble wrap, sponge, empty fruit quart, etc.) to get people, sleeping bags, food, a treasure, etc. across the "Boston Harbor". It was fun to watch the children work in groups to try to design a boat that would float and safely hold their items. Many groups came very close and they had a great time learning the design process.  Check out the pictures from our field trip below!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Room 210 Happenings

     We have been really busy here in Room 210! In math we have completed two units in our new enVision math program and will be finishing our third unit within the next week.  The first three units have focused on addition and subtraction and their relationship to one another.  I'm sure you have seen many of the math program materials in your child's homework folder but I will give you a quick rundown of what a typical day consists of.  Each unit or topic begins with an information page to parents and a game that the children play at school and can also play later at home.  Each topic consists of a series of lessons that are taught on a daily basis (some lessons may take 2 days).  Each lesson begins with a Daily Common Core Review (DCCR) sheet which is exactly that, a review of the Second Grade Daily Common Core.  The children complete this before we begin our lesson.  We usually begin each lesson with a whole group introduction to the concept of the day using a "workmat" and usually some type of manipulatives.  Once the concept has been introduced we watch a short video clip that explains it again in more detail.  After the video clip the children work on the Guided Practice piece of their workmat.  They need to have this checked to make sure they understand the concept before going on to the Independent Practice and Problem Solving sections.  Once they have completed this and had all of these sections checked they finish the math lesson with a "Quick Check" which is a review of the concept that was introduced that day.  On Fridays we have been introducing math centers that are part of the enVision math program which reinforce concepts that we have recently covered in class. The children really seem to like this new math program and are stepping up try new challenges!  Our next Topic (Topic 4) is a quick topic and involves working with equal groups.  The main focus is repeated addition (2+2+2+2) and building arrays.  Below are some pictures of the children engaging in different parts of our math program.
     In science we are finishing up our unit on trees.  The children learned about the changes that a tree goes through during each season.  They have illustrated their very own tree book, made tree necklaces, created an inside the tree flip book and even did a speical project with Ms. Fallon in the art room!  Ask your child about the parts of a tree and their functions.  They should be able to explain the different parts of the tree and even the inside layers of the tree such as outer and inner bark, cambium, sapwood, heartwood and pith! Our next science unit of study will be weather and the water cycle.
During our ELA block children are engaged in various literacy activities in each ELA classroom.  Children receive Fundations phonics instruction in their reading tier.  They have been introduced to blends, digraphs, glued sounds, closed syllables, and closed syllable exceptions. After their Fundations instruction they participate in reading groups, independent reading tasks, whole group literacy activities and/or literacy centers.
     This year the children will be working on various forms of writing such as narrative, persuasive, informative, etc.  Our first piece of writing was a creative story about a "broken window".  Each child had an interesting and unique idea for their story.  They were thoroughly engaged and excited to share their finished products with their classmates.   The children also wrote a personal narrative about a place they like to visit.  We read Big Mama by Donald Crews before beginning our narrative because Donald Crews usually finds his inspiration for writing from something in his own life experience.  Another form of writing that the students worked on was a non-fiction informative piece about trees.  They described the similarities and differences between deciduous and coniferous trees.  These were amazing and we are looking forward to typing them in the future!
     We have had a few special days at Pine Glen.  We celebrated our local heroes at our Hero's Assembly on September 11th.  The children sang songs and read/presented letters to the police and fire departments. Last week we had a special "Stand as One" day at Pine Glen.  The children were encouraged to wear red to show that we Stand As One as a school community.  Our guidance counselor Mrs. Dwyer read One by Kathryn Otoshi to each grade level and the students made chains which contained positive thoughts about our Pine Glen Community.  These chains are hanging in our main hallway for the children to read and admire. Our last exciting event was a visit from Mr. Musselman.  Mr. Musselman came to do a fun science activity with the children called Pumpkin Science.  First the children had to predict whether the pumpkin would sink or float when placed in a tub of water.  They were shocked to see the pumpkin actually floats in water! Mr. Musselman also explained the fire triangle to the children using a jack-o-lantern.  He experimented with making different cuts in the pumpkin to see if when he put a lit candle in the pumpkin the fire would stay lit or go out.  Ask your child to explain the various steps Mr. Musselman took to finally get the candle to stay lit! Finally Mr. Musselman made "pumpkin puke" using special chemicals.  See the pictures below for all of these exciting events!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homework Project

Collecting and Pressing Leaves

Due:  Friday, October 25th   

This year we are studying coniferous and deciduous trees.  This season gives us a wonderful opportunity to see many colorful and unique leaves that we may pass by without noticing.  As part of this study, we will be looking at the characteristics of these plants and would like you to help your child find some leaves for a classroom project.  Below you will find the criteria for this project:

1.                   Collect 6-8 small leaves and/or small branches from a coniferous or deciduous tree or bush.  The dimensions of each leaf or branch should be no larger than 2½” in length and width.  Have your child use a ruler or tape measure to measure the length and width.  See example on the back side of this sheet.
2.                 Try to collect a variety of sizes of unique looking leaves and/or branches. 
3.                 Press the leaves in wax paper 3 times as follows:
o       Place the leaf between 2 pieces of wax paper and gently iron the wax paper. 
o       Carefully peel the wax paper away and discard the wax paper.
o       Repeat this process 2 more times using new wax paper each time.
o       Store your leaves between the last 2 pieces of wax paper.
This process will flatten the leaf leaving a wax coating, which will help preserve it so it lasts longer. 
4.                 Carefully place the pressed leaves between the pages of a book and have your child bring the book and leaves back to school.  By doing this the leaves will not crumble in your child’s backpack.
5.                 Collect data on the type of plant the leaves are from including the name, whether it is coniferous or deciduous, and any other important characteristics or interesting facts about the plant.  Below you will see pictures of past projects. Happy Leaf Hunting!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Open House

Pine Glen Open House will be on Tuesday, September 17th, from 6:00-7:30. The night will begin in the cafeteria at 6:00 with opening remarks from the principal. The back doors of the cafeteria will remain open so parents can enter and exit the building through the cafe.  At 6:10 parents are free to proceed to classrooms. There will be two informational sessions (same as last year). The first session will be held from 6:15-6:45.  The second session will run from 6:55-7:25.  You are welcome to attend either session.  This is a parent informational night. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Welcome to Room 210!

Hello and welcome back to another exciting school year!  As your child transitions to a new grade, new teacher, new schedule, and different routines, don’t be alarmed if irritability and anxieties surface.  Please be patient as your child adjusts to his or her new environment.

Over the next few weeks we will be establishing classroom routines, rules, and hopes & dreams.  We will continue to reconnect to things learned last year and expand upon them in the upcoming months.  The following will explain some of our routines, schedules and things to know about Room 210:

  • Open House is currently scheduled for September 17th. (Please disregard the date of the 19th which was sent home in my welcome letter.  This was the original date but has been changed due to a scheduling conflict.)
  • Our Lunch/Recess break is at 11:25 – 12:15 as follows:
              11:25 – 11:50 – Lunch
              11:50 – 12:15 - Recess
  • We will be having one snack break in the morning.  Please be mindful that your child eat a complete and healthy breakfast each morning, and pack a HEALTHY snack and drink each day (i.e., fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, water and/or real fruit juice,etc).  Snacks containing high sugar content, while yummy, will give your child a sugar high and then they will crash and burn.  Empty tummies will not enable your child to reach his or her learning potential.  We would like all children ready for the challenges of learning each and every day.  Healthy snacks are the way to go!
  • Feel free to send in bottled water (clearly labeled) for you child as well.
  • I have supplied the students with pencils, crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, erasers, pencil boxes, and folders that should accommodate our needs for most of the school year.  Additional school supplies that your child has purchased for school can be used during his or her Homework time at home. 
  • A homework folder will go home with your child every night to facilitate communication between home and school.  On the inside-left is a section for parent notices and/or corrected papers and the inside-right is for homework.  This folder MUST be checked and returned to school each day.  Please place any communication to me in the parent side of the folder. 
  • At this point, Homework will consist of reading for 20 minutes each day.  More structured homework expectations will begin soon.   While homework assignments may vary, I will try to keep the routine as consistent as possible.  In addition, your child may have mini projects to complete over time.
  • Our “Specials Block” is each morning from 10:40-11:25 at which time your child will be engaged in Art, P.E., and Music.  The tentative schedule is as follows:
                                          Monday – P.E. (Sneakers required)
                                          Tuesday – Art (Art Smock recommended)
                                          Wednesday – Music
                                          Thursday – P.E. (Sneakers required)
                                          Friday – Music

  • Computers and library have yet to be scheduled.  Library will be scheduled as a weekly visit while computers will most likely be scheduled at various times throughout the year.
  • For Art class you may send in an old shirt for your child to wear.  Your child will be able to keep it in his/her cubby for the year.  Please remember to put a name and room number on the shirt.
  • Sneakers should be worn on Mondays and Thursdays for P.E.

Pine Glen School uses a reading incentive program we call Reading Corps.  Information about Reading Corps will be sent home along with some Reading Corps slips once school is in session.  For each 15 minutes your child reads, he or she is able to fill in 1 box on a Reading Corps slip.  Once he or she completes 14 slips, the school celebrates your child’s accomplishment by announcing his/her name over the school PA system, and he/she will receive a prize.

To help facilitate a successful and safe dismissal, it is extremely important that we know where your child is going at the beginning of each school day.  While emergencies do arise, we suggest that you send a note to school with your child each time he or she will be going home a different way, being picked up, or leaving early for an appointment.  The office needs this information by 10:00AM.  If there is a discrepancy as to where your child is going (i.e., your child says he or she is going home a different way, but there is no note to back it up), your child will be sent to the office at the end of the school day.  You will be called and will be responsible for picking up your child if necessary. 

I hope this letter answers some of your beginning of the year questions.  If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.  My telephone number is 781-221-7773 and email address is

I look forward to meeting you at Open House on September 17th!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pine Glen's 50th Anniversary

Today we had a fantastic celebration honoring Pine Glen's 50th Anniversary! There were many retired faculty on hand sharing this day with us. The Science Center presented a few exciting experiments and there was a lot of singing and dancing. The students had a blast! Check out the pictures below and don't forget to come celebrate at the Pine Glen Picnic tonight from 6:00PM-8:00PM (rain or shine).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

On Friday we went on our final field trip to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. The children had a great time exploring the wildlife that surrounded us as we walked through the sanctuary. Our main focus was to collect and study land and aquatic insects. Not only did we find many insects we also found a giant tadpole and a painted turtle! This was the perfect field trip to really bring our amphibian, reptile, and insect science units to life! Check out the photos of our adventures below.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Exciting Things in Room 210

Over the past few weeks the children in Room 210 have been learning lots of interesting information. In science we are currently finishing up our unit on reptiles and amphibians. The children researched various amphibians and reptiles and will be creating a Google Presentation with all of the information they collected. We are very fortunate to have the Burlington Science Center. They provided us with many different amphibians and reptiles to bring live learning into the classroom! The children were able to see and touch many animals from the various groups of amphibians and reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizards, crocodilians, frogs, toads, and salamanders).

In addition to the reptiles and amphibians we also have a container of painted lady caterpillars which have already created chrysalis' and a Luna Moth cocoon. We were fortunate to see the Luna moth after it emerged from it's cocoon and we released it into the wild. This Friday we will be kicking off our insect unit with a field trip to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. The children will be collecting and observing land and water insects. Below is a slideshow of the animals (amphibians, reptiles, insects) that we have rotating through our classroom!

 In math we just finished our unit on fractions! The children explored halves, thirds, and fourths through various activities. They created fraction flags by coloring parts of flags and labeling the flags using fractions. Students also explored fractions with various shapes and learned that if a piece of paper is cut into fourths in different ways (triangular, square, rectangle) each fourth is equal as long as the paper you begin with is the same exact size. Below are some pictures of the children working to prove this theory.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Super Science in Room 210

Last week Miss Pavlicek came to our classroom to teach the children about maple sugaring.  They reviewed the layers of the tree with a fabulous tree costume and were taught about various tools used to tap a tree (spile, hammer, hand drill & bit, wire, and plastic bottle).  Once students were introduced to the basics of maple sugaring they went outside to measure and tap a maple tree!  Below are some pictures of the tree tapping process.

Last week we also received frog eggs to help kick off our upcoming science units of amphibians and reptiles.  The children were so excited to see the jelly like eggs and were surprised to see tadpoles swimming around this morning.  We will keep the tadpoles until they begin to develop lungs and then they will be let go in a pond nearby.  Check out the video of Miss Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman collecting eggs for the elementary school classrooms!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Recent and Upcoming Events!

Harlem Super Stars!
Yesterday the Harlem Super Stars came to Pine Glen and talked to the students about the importance of education, making "smart" choices and respecting each other's differences.  We had a great time as students played "Showtime" Says for a chance to win tickets to last night's Teachers vs. Harlem Super Stars Game.  To conclude our assembly the students participated in the "Harlem Shake" dance.  What a blast!

Pine Glen Carnival (Tomorrow-Saturday, April 6)
The Pine Glen Carnival is tomorrow from 9AM-2PM.  I will be selling tickets at the door from 9:00-10:45.  Stop by and say hello if you are here early!  There are lots of great raffles, games, and activities.  The RE/MAX hot air balloon will also be back this year from 9AM-11AM (weather permitting).Check out the Pine Glen Carnival blog for more specific details.   I hope to see you all there!

Pine Glen Math Mixer (Thursday, April 11)
Pine Glen is hosting a Math Mixer night from 6:00PM-7:30PM on April 11th.  This event is free to all Pine Glen families.  There will be many fun and exciting math games, ipad apps, literacy make & takes, and movement activities. There will also be an estimation station where you could win prizes!  Come join the Pine Glen community for a fun family night and discover exciting ways to bring math learning home!