Summer’s Start

Summer is here, and how bittersweet it is! Even though we all enjoy the weather and adventures of summer, I know that we will all miss our time here in second grade with our friends. It has been so amazing to spend the year with your students (well, at least most of the year!). Looking back at the year, there are definitely a few times that stand out clearly.

Fall brought our field trip to the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue with the eighth grade students. I always love seeing the students taking in the sights, praying at the grottos, and spending time together in fellowship and prayer.

 

Winter came, and although we missed going outside at recess, we really jumped into our Food Insecurity PBL, partnering with OHGO! and the eighth grade class to work on refining our mobile food pantry idea.

 

Then along came Spring, and with it was our First Communion and May Crowning! The students all looked so lovely and handsome in their attire as they participated in these events. I was so happy I was able to attend both days with our newest edition to the class, Eli, in tow. You all worked so hard to get to this point and I could see the well deserved pride on your faces during the ceremonies.

 

All of these memories are coupled with STEM challenges, logic puzzles, challenges to increase our growth mindset, getting free books, doing prayer activities like stations of the cross, and fun practice of key skills like identifying and counting money all made this year absolutely fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know which moments of this year in second grade were my favorite. What were yours?!

Elijah Dean

He has arrived! Although my maternity leave started without his arrival, we are happy to announce the birth of Elijah Dean Hunker! God blessed us with a happy, healthy little boy on April 9th, at 5:40 pm. The little man weighed in at 8 lbs 15 oz and was measured at 21 3/4 inches. Jude is so happy to be a big brother, and my whole family thanks you for all the prayers leading up to his birth. Hopefully Elijah will be able to meet the whole class at First Communion!

 

Lenten deeds and brain training

I hope everyone has been having a fulfilling Lenten journey so far. I am so proud of our class and all that they have been doing this Lenten season, especially since we are preparing for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. On Fridays, the school has been experiencing the Stations of the Cross in different ways. I am so proud of how reverently the students have been during this prayer time, especially when we traveled the school to do the stations of the cross at each teacher’s door. The students were also very respectful when traveling through the halls of the other students experiencing the stations.

 

The students also have been working on their resiliency and problem solving skills by doing logic puzzles in class during our Flex Days. The challenges include figuring out what order coins and colored cubes go in based on clues, using pattern blocks to make designs, number puzzles using algebraic logic, and traditional logic puzzles using a list of 5 or more clues. The students have been working really hard in their groups to improve their logical thinking and have been doing an excellent job!

 

March is on its way!

It seems like just yesterday the quarter was starting, and now we are nearing it’s end! Remember that the end of the quarter is on March 22nd, so keep checking your child’s grades online for concerns or missing assignments.

In class, we have been studying force and motion, and are nearing the end of the unit. As a wrap up to the unit, we spent last Friday and this upcoming Friday doing force and motion centers during our Flex Days. These centers include car racing on different surfaces to see how friction affects the distance traveled, sorting types of different machines, doing a “Science Spin”, working at each student’s individualized learning path on Edmentum, experimenting with changing the fulcrum (pivot point) of a lever, and experimenting with a pulley system. The students have been working so hard on this and I could not be more proud.

 

The students have also been working with Mrs. Makruski on a project that will wrap up around the beginning of March to try and address food insecurity in our local communities. The students have a vision to create an RV that travels to food deserts to deliver not only fresh food to people in need, but also to cook and serve hot meals when people come to pick up their groceries. This past week, we had a non-profit group called “OHgo” come in and share some of the successes and struggles they have had with their mobile pantry they have created. Our school was able to donate over $300 from our “donate to dress down” day, and the women from the organization said that was roughly enough money to fund 1400 meals once all the food had been cooked. I am so thankful that our school continues to spread Jesus’ word through our Works of Mercy and spreading the Gospel to those we encounter.

5 Day Week?!

We can only hope! As much as I loved spending time at home with my child during all the “cold days”, I am so happy to be back into a routine of teaching with your amazing children! Although it was interrupted by some days off, we had an amazing Catholic Schools Week! We donated some SUPER SIX foods for Second Harvest, had a dance party, and ended our week with the “Trash Talkers” drumming group from Saint Edwards. It was amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also have been working on some amazing things in class! During Religion, we brainstormed different ways to act out the Corporal Works of Mercy in our everyday lives. We also practiced finding the Main Idea by creating Main Idea and detail bags for different interests in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, since we just started learning about force and motion, we created Parachutes to try and combat the effects of gravity to help our “mini-me” make it to the ground safely. The students worked so hard designing and re-designing their parachutes, and we had several successful designs by the end. Keep on with your Growth Mindset little engineers!

Getting STEM-y with it!

We have really worked hard on our projects lately on both our FLEX days and “typical” days of instruction! To get a more hands-on approach to cast/mold fossils, the students conducted a science experiment with our favorite thing-SUGAR! The students used sugar, water, and hot glue to see how organic material from a living thing decomposes and leaves behind an empty space (a mold) that can then harden into a rock fossil-like a dinosaur footprint. The students were very observant with noticing the changes of the sugar in the water and related it to real life very well.

The students also had a STEM challenge where they had to create a polar bear den out of different sized marshmallows and toothpicks. Each den had to have

  • four walls
  • a roof
  • a door big enough for their polar bear to fit inside
  • be big enough for their polar bear

The students LOVED getting to work with their groups with marshmallows and had some really creative ideas for how to build their dens. Parents, I would NOT recommend trying this at home unless you don’t mind a sticky mess as students create their “cement” out of marshmallows.

 

 

Our 3 groups that were successful in creating a polar bear den within the parameters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember-we have MAP testing the week of 1/14-1/18. Make sure your student is getting a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast!

New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas break and was able to spend time with their loved ones around the holidays! The students had worked tirelessly in the last few weeks for break getting ready for First Reconciliation and reviewing math skills with our “Craftivity”. Watching the students become some motivated and energized at a time when most classes tend to “check out” was so powerful for me as an educator. These kids really are amazing!

 

<- Taking turns “practicing” for First Reconciliation.

 

Helping our “elf” get ready for Christmas with his friends ->

 

 

With the third quarter starting on Monday, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Third quarter is our class’s turn for Health class. This will be on every day 1; and will be have a grade in the third quarter report card.
  • MAP testing begins Jan. 14th. You can help your child prepare by making sure he or she gets a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast each morning. We will still have a reading and spelling test on Day 5.

 

I leave you with some pictures of an experiment we did where we were “paleontologists” digging for “fossils”. Students had to extract as many “fossils” from the “ground” as they could without any damage, and as a class we classified whether we had dug out a mold, cast, or imprint fossil. We are finishing up our unit on dinosaurs and extinct animals, so keep an eye out for a study guide to come home sometime next week to prepare for our test.

Holiday Happenings

It’s the most busy time of the year! I hope everyone is taking the time to reflect on the important things, like our family and blessings that God has given us. The students prepared for Thanksgiving by learning about the pilgrims in Social Studies, as well as prayers of Thanksgiving in Religion. The students liked our “Turkey Math” the best though, where they had to solve math problems about Turbo Turkey and complete a “craft-ivity” that ended with a more than 5 foot tall turkey project. The students worked so hard on this project, and the end result was awesome!

 

The students also recently competed in a whole-school design challenge where we tried to see who could build the biggest balloon tower. While second grade didn’t win, I was so proud of their collaboration together, especially when our first design failed and we had to re-design our structure. The students needed minimal guidance in how to design and work together on this project.

IMPORTANT DATES COMING UP!

*December 2nd: Advent Begins
*December 8th: Pictures with Santa
*December 15th: First Reconciliation at Saint Joseph’s
*December 21st: Winter Concert at 7 pm at Saint Joseph’s

October’s End

Good afternoon parents! It’s hard to believe that October is already almost over. We have been working so hard in second grade at our math fluency, and have taken a pause in our addition strategies to focus on types of graphs. The students are doing a great job at both the classwork and the games that we have been playing in class. I think they will be ready for our test sometime next week already! Keep up all the extra practice at home.

 

We took our final unit test over the water cycle, but not before we did some hands-on practice at on our last Flex day. The students got to take a closer look at all the places that water can travel, including to glaciers, lakes, or plants before going through the process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation again. The students made bracelets to show where they traveled and did an AMAZING job at this activity! I was so impressed with them! Our next science unit starts tomorrow-habitats and (the students favorite) extinct animals/fossils. This tends to be a favorite unit for second grade.

Don’t forget, we have a field trip to the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue this Friday. This mini-pilgrimage is so heartwarming for the students every year. Please remember your student may dress down in SJS spirit wear and remember that most of this Shrine is outside, so check on the weather conditions to dress appropriately.

 

God Bless!

Weather and More!

Wow, these past few weeks sure have seemed busy! If I had to poll my students on their favorite day of any week, I would be willing to be the students would all tell me, “Flex Day!”. On our flex days so far, we have been creating shelters to protect counting bears from tornadoes, making anemometers, and planning out how to make a 3-D letter in our Makerspace. For our letter planning project, the students said they would look at home to see if they have the following items:

  • Cardboard boxes (think tissue box size)
  • Cotton Balls
  • Colored paper

We are trying to be resourceful, so please don’t worry about buying any of these items. We already have some of each item at the school, but if you also had some at home we will accept the donation.

 

I also have a few notes to our parents about this week and next. We are finishing up our standardized testing (MAP) testing this week, with results to be sent out at a later day. On Wednesday, we are having 3 separate tests, so prepare for some tired students! Our day will start with a religion test, followed by a whole-group English/Reading and Spelling test, with a Math test after lunch.

Please note, we will not always have our Reading/English test whole group, but since our reading series is new and we are all (myself included) adjusting to the new rigor it requires, we will be working on this test together. It will be entered in the Gradebook, but it will be worth fewer points than tests that the students will eventually take individually. As always, I am happy to answer questions via phone or e-mail. God Bless!