General Studies October 26-30

Our last week of October!  Time is flying by.
In Math, we have started learning the traditional way to add up two digit numbers.  We used the smart board to learn how to line up our ones and tens.  The students practiced adding the ones column before moving on to the tens.  This will help us when we need to ‘rename’ or ‘regroup’ our numbers.  We even learned some silly math jokes during our lesson.


We are becoming such thoughtful writers.  Our small moments have become stories that we will remember forever.  Many have started on their next rough draft and started reading like detectives.  We are on the hunt for places we need capital letters and punctuation.  We read a silly book to remind us how important punctuation is in a piece of writing.


In Daily 5 we started learning about text to text connections.  We read Oliver Button and Amazing Grace.  We compared the two texts and found there were a lot of similarities between the characters.  I am hoping the children will begin finding connections between books they are currently reading and ones they have read in the past.


Elie’s dad was mystery reader this week.  We loved listening to him read The Book With No Pictures.


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jewish studies october

Shalom, Families!

This week in Jewish Studies, we read a story about all of the things in the world (people, plants, animals, the oceans, the sun, the planets, etc). Then, we discussed who created all of those things – God! Next, we talked about what existed before this Creation. Things were there, but they were without form.תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ Nothing was organized. In our classroom, we created pictures of this תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ

We also did an activity last week using the initials from our names. Using our first and last initials, we created Hebrew words. Although some of the initials were very challenging, this was still an excellent activity for our brains!

In Parashat Lech L’cha, we learned about the promise that God gave Abraham, that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Then, we made paper stars, decorated with our names, which we hung from the ceiling. This is a visual representation of God’s promise.He would make him a great nationncludes us, his descendants!.

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General Studies October 19-23

We are well on our way in second grade.  We have finally had some full weeks and our learning has blasted off.  We finally personalized our blog.  Here is one of the pictures that I loved.


Our Native American projects are almost done.  We just have to put our finishing touches on our final project and then we are ready to teach!  Mrs. Gutterman even had us create some incredible totem poles in art…this is a common type of art for Native Americans in the Northwest region of our country.  They came out super cute.  Check them out in the hallway of our primary wing.

In math we have stretched our brains to add up and subtract two and three digit numbers with mental math.  It has been very interesting seeing what method of solving these problems work for each student.  The idea is to teach them a variety of strategies until they find the one that is just right for them.  Next week, we will add two and three digit numbers the traditional way.

We have switched things up a bit in DAILY 5.  We have known that we are all unique and work at different paces, have different strengths and weaknesses, etc.  So, I have created a new method where they must complete each component of DAILY 5 by the end of the week…but they can go at their own pace and order.  My only requirement is that they choose to go to Read to Self or Read to a Friend for at least 20 minutes each day.  This is the time where I am reading both individually and within small, flexible groups.  Some of the skills we are working on are:  word attack strategies, picking a GOOD FIT book, our key comprehension strategy, and SLOWING DOWN!  Most of our readers speed right past words they don’t read correctly.  We need to read at a pace where we can recognize that these words don’t sound quite right, and then go back to decode them.

Our key comprehension strategy is making Text to Self connections while we read.  I am having students recognize experiences they have had (schema), and connect them to the story they are reading.  This helps the reader to engage, become involved, and understand the text they are reading.  They write these connections down on post its and stick them on the page they connected to.  When I come around, they read me the section of the text where they made their connection.

Thank you to Beth Wolpoff for being our mystery reader for the week!


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Jewish Studies Week of October 12-16

This week, we read Parashat Noah, and learned that God put a rainbow in the sky, and promised that the earth would never again be destroyed. The rainbow is the symbol of that promise. You can find a summary of Parashat Noah here.

Every Friday the book, My Weekly Sidra, is coming home with your child. Their homework is to read it together with mom or dad.  Please SIGN on the page with “My Comment” so that will know that you read this with your child. (Please DO NOT sign on Shabbat.) So for example, this weekend, your child should read pages 22-25 with you. This is a wonderful opportunity to share Torah with your child!

Mazel Tov to our second graders! They began a new Chumash (book), B’resheet!

We discussed what we know about the Torah. Each student shared their ideas by writing and drawing.

We also worked on Hebrew grammar, learning about the past tense of the word is. “I was/was not in Morah Rachel’s classroom last year.” (אני הייתי/לא הייתי בכיתה של המורה רחל בשנה שעברה)

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General Studies Week of October 12-16

We finally had a full week of school!!!  This is really exciting because we are back to establishing a routine for our days.  Daily 5 continues to be a success and reading has become FUN!  It’s great to have a choice in what we are able to read both independently and in small groups.  Our discussions are exciting and we also get each other interested in new books by listening to what our friends have to say.  We reviewed picking a GOOD FIT book for ourselves.  Here are the steps we take…1. Pick a book  2. Why do we want to read it? What is our purpose?  3.  Does it interest us?  4.  Can we understand it?  5.  Do we know most of the words?    It’s a hard to determine if we have a GOOD FIT book, especially if it’s one we want to read, but it’s just too challenging.  We also finished up learning about our basic story elements, which were characters, setting, problem/solution, and main idea.  Now we off to becoming engaged and active readers.  Friday, we started learning how to use our schema to make some text to self connections.

We finished our first unit in Singapore Math and we have started Addition and Subtraction.  We will be learning and reviewing all sorts of interesting strategies to add and subtract, including mental math.  Please let me know if your child has any difficulty with their math homework.

Our Native American projects have been challenging and fun.  Our groups are almost done with their research and most have started on their Wixie presentations.  Once they are finished, I will post them in your child’s blogfolio so that you can see all of their hard work.  It has been a learning process ranging from finding accurate information on the internet (guided research) to learning how to work together.

Reminder, we have a field trip to the IMAX theater on November 4.  This will tie into our science curriculum about adaptations.  I have also scheduled a field trip on December 9 to Ft Menendez where we will learn about the lifestyle of the Florida Indians.

Our class came in close to winning the Box Top competition!  We are celebrating with a dress down day on Monday, October 19.  Send your child to school in their most comfortable clothes…Pj’s or a favorite play outfit.

We also held our class election for Knesset representative.  It was an anonymous election where the students heard speeches labeled with a letter, rather than a name.  They voted for the speech that explained why the candidate would make the best representative.  Kyra was voted to be our class representative and Maytal is our alternate.  Congratulations ladies!


We are so lucky to have such amazing mystery readers!!!

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Hop…Hop…to the Sukkah!

We had such  fabulous, yet super short, weeks!  The Sukkah Hop was so much fun. The middle schoolers were well prepared to teach and entertain the 2nd and 3th graders at each home.  Students enjoyed Sukkot puzzles, a trivia game,  learning new songs and eating delicious snacks.

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In class we discussed that during Simchat Torah, we finish reading the Torah and start reading it again.

Mazel Tov to our 2nd Graders! We have begun studying Parashat Ha’Shavuah.  This week, we read Parashat B’resheet.

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Second grade finished their royal self-portraits in art. Go to the MJGDS art blog to see the more art!
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A Look at our Week

The past two weeks have flown by with all of the holidays.  The weeks may have been short, but our days have been busy.

In Jewish Studies, we reviewed the three things we have to do to prepare for Yom Kippur: T’shuvah (asking for forgiveness), Tefillah (prayers), and Tzedakah (good deeds). We also learned the mitzvot of the holiday: fasting, not wearing leather shoes, and wearing white. We discussed how once children have had their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, they are old enough to fast. Younger kids can do their part by skipping a snack, if they’re allowed by their parents., we’ve been studying Sukkot . We learned that there are three important mitzvot for Sukkot: dwelling in a sukkah, shaking the lulav and etrog, and being happy! We also learned the history behind why we dwell in a sukkah, and how it’s about more than just spending time there. We are supposed to eat, read, study, and even sleep in a sukkah! This helps us remember that the Jewish people had to live in sukkot for forty years while they were wandering through the desert. It also helps us appreciate what we have today.

In General Studies, we are continuing our work on our personal narratives.  So far, we have come up with ideas, sketched them out, written a ‘skeleton’ of our small moment, expanded our thoughts to help our readers jump in, and revised by adding even more details.  The past two weeks have been learning about what makes a good beginning.  We decided that it needs to grab the readers attention and make them want to continue reading.  We have studied mentor texts and are beginning to rewrite our own beginnings.

We are finally doing all five components of Daily 5.  The kids love it and are fully involved in literacy.  It’s a beautiful thing to walk in and see some children reading to themselves looking for the problem and solution in their books and recording them in their journals.  Or seeing partners read to each other and discuss what they are reading….or children working with their words, or listening to a story on the IPAD…or writing in their journals.  It’s one of our favorite times of the day and there is always a moan of disappointment when we have to stop and move on. (Which I secretly love!)  Our spelling pattern this week has been r controlled a.  We brainstormed some words to add to the list, which ranged from a simple word like art to a more sophisticated word like architect.  The goal is for them to recognize this spelling pattern in larger words.

The children were introduced to our new Native American unit.  We talked about who Native Americans are and how their lives were different depending on the regions they inhabited.  They will be assigned with partners to a region, and we will start learning how to use websites to gather our information.  These partners will be in charge of teaching the class all about the region of Native Americans they are researching.  It’s going to be an adventure:)

Have a wonderful weekend!

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A Glance into our Days…

This week in Jewish Studies, we continued to learn about Rosh Hashanah and how we prepare for the holiday. We talked about the foods that we enjoy (apples & honey, round challah, and pomegranate).

You can see our round challah (חלות עגולות), pomegranate (רימונים), fish head (ראש של דג), apples and honey (תפוחים בדבש), candles (נרות), wine (יין), and flowers (פרחים).

We discussed how the main mitzvah during Rosh Hashanah is to listen to the sound of the shofar. We learned about the four sounds of the shofar, and the kids enjoyed practicing the sounds with their hands and with real shofarot.  We also learned the other name of Rosh Hashanah יום תרועה.  Next, we read a story about a child named Shachar (שחר), who was anxious and impatient to hear the shofar. He kept asking his parents, grandparents, and friend when it would be time. Finally, when the time came and Shachar recited the blessing, he felt very happy and a part of the service!

During our discussions, we talked about how this time of the year, we ask for forgiveness from friends and family.  Our class baked honey cakes, which was a lot of fun!  Thank you so much to all of the parent volunteers who came to help us with the baking.

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It was a short week for us, but still filled with lots of learning.  This week we started our third Daily 5 component.  The students were introduced to the Word Work area of our room.  They were given a practice word list and off they went to work with their words.  We had window chalk words, stencils, stamps, wikki sticks, and rainbow words.  These are fun ways that the children can interact with the spelling pattern of the week.  There will be new activities added to this component every week or so.  Soon they will be able to challenge themselves by thinking of more sophisticated words using the weekly spelling pattern.  We will learn some dictionary skills this way.

Writer’s Workshop has been a success so far.  Our focus has been on revising our small moments.  We are learning that adding details and being more specific helps draw the reader into our story.  We think about what our moments feel like and try to put that into words.  The students are also learning how much they can help each other.  They have started peer conferencing and bounce ideas off of one another.  Next week, we will work on building a strong beginning.

In math, we finished another number sense chapter.  We worked with numbers up to 100.  The students learned exactly what a number means with the ones, tens, and hundreds. Soon we will be starting our Native American Social Studies research projects!

I wish we had more pictures!  We all get so engaged, and it’s usually all over before I grab the camera:)  But here are some to give you and idea of our new routines.

Window word work!

Window word work!

Our group of Shofar experts has grown!

Our group of Shofar experts has grown!

We write wherever and however we are comfortable:)

We write wherever and however we are comfortable:)

Peer revising. I wish I had recorded their conversation.

Peer revising. I wish I had recorded their conversation.

More word work with stamping.

More word work with stamping.

Read to a friend is part of our Daily 5. These kiddos are each reading a different book to each other. And discussing them:)

Read to a friend is part of our Daily 5. These kiddos are each reading a different book to each other. And discussing them:)

Our official window art:)

Our official window art:)

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Wonderful Week 2!

Wow! what a great week we have had in Kitah Bet in Jewish Studies. As we are approaching the High Holidays, we have started learning in Jewish Studies about the Jewish months of Elul and Tishri, as well as the order of the months of the year. We’ve also discussed how the Jewish year starts with Tishri and ends with Elul. We sang, danced, and played games to recognize each month.We studied all about the things we have to prepare to get ready for Rosh Hashana (new years cards-כרטיס ברכה, apples and honey-תפוח בדבש, pomegranate-רימון, machzor-מחזור, and round challahs-חלה עגולה).
We also learned that MOST IMPORTANT of all is to do תשובה and to say  “סליחה”-(forgiveness and repentance)..and read three books about asking for forgiveness and act out the stories.

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On Friday, we made greeting cards for Rosh Hashanah.

The students continue to practice their reading and cursive Hebrew writing. Keep up the good work!

Our week in General Studies has been busy and productive! We are still getting used to all of the new routines and how things work in second grade.  The children have been adapting quickly and I’m so proud of how hard they have been working.

We are getting comfortable with the components of Daily 5.  We continued practicing Read to Self and I added another expectation.  They took their reading journals and books with them and chose a character to focus on.  They recorded the character traits in their journals and had to ‘prove it’ to us as we conferenced with them.  They did this by reading us the text or showing us the pictures that guided them to chose the trait.  We also started Reading to a Friend.  We talked about how we can help each other grow into stronger readers…and it is amazing at how much they truly do help each other.

The children have really caught on to the personal narrative unit in Writer’s Workshop.  Our first piece of writing is a ‘small moment’ that we nurture into something beautiful and substantial.  We have gathered ideas, sketched them, wrote them, and now we are going back to revise them.   Everyone is at a different stage and working at their own pace.

We just finished chapter 1 in Singapore math, which was a review.  Next week we will move on to working with larger numbers.

Pictures will follow over the weekend…

Have a wonderful long weekend!!!


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