Sign up for Parent-Teacher Conferences


Have you signed up for parent-teacher conferences yet? Conferences will be held next Wednesday, February 10 and Friday, February 12.

If you have not done so, please email, call, or send a note to sign up for your conference. During conferences, we will share your child’s progress during the first half of the year and set goals for the remainder of the year. If you need to reschedule your conference, please reach out to us right away!

Thank you.

Inscríbase para las Conferencias de Padres y Maestros

¿Ya se inscribió para las conferencias de padres y maestros? Las conferencias se llevarán a cabo el próximo miércoles, 10 de febrero y el viernes, 12 de febrero.

Si no lo ha hecho, por favor envíe un correo electrónico, llame, o envíe una nota para inscribirse a la conferencia. Durante las conferencias, vamos a compartir el avance de su hijo durante la primera mitad del año y a fijar las metas para el resto del año.

¡Si necesita cambiar la fecha de su conferencia, por favor contáctenos de inmediato!



Mitten Basket


When it comes to our spring expedition, we go outside no matter what. For the past two years we have done fieldwork in the sleet, rain, and snow. This year will be no different.

Even in the cold, we go outside for recess every day.

But sometimes seven-and-eight-year-old friends lose a glove, or forget a hat, or insist that they are not even cold one bit before going outside. “I’m always hot!””I wasn’t cold this morning!” They insist. As a sort of insurance, we’d like to have a basket of mittens, gloves, scarves, and hats in our classroom for days where friends forget to bring their own.

Here’s where you come in: do you have a pair of gloves with a hole that you wanted to get rid of? A hat that doesn’t quite look right? Mittens that are too small? A scarf whose fringe is frayed? Please bring them in to drop in the basket for friends to share. After this snowy weekend, friends will be itching to build snow people, and bare hands just won’t do.

We’re also on the hunt for a parent to pick up the basket and bring it home to wash each weekend so the gloves stay clean for friends to use.

Email me if you’re interested, or feel free to drop any donations off in the morning.

New, new, new.

We’re wrapping up our first week back after Winter Break and and everything is new. New table spots, new reading partners, new library books, our new teaching assistant, and new units.

IMG_1674.jpgIn math workshop, we started our measurement unit with measuring length using nonstandard units. Friends measured different objects in the classroom with popsicle sticks, string, and receipt tape. They held a jumping contest and compared the lengths of their jumps using nonstandard units, including their shoes. After realizing that they could not compare the lengths with different units, they remeasured their jumps using unifix cubes, allowing for a more accurate comparison. Friends are working on measuring accurately by precisely iterating their measuring tool without gaps.

During writing workshop, we began our poetry writing unit. Friends first experimented with looking at everyday objects in new ways. Instead of just describing the object, they thought about what it reminded them of or looked like. Then friends began to add line breaks to their writing. By the end of the week, friends began to write about topics that hold meaning for them. Instead of just writing about seashells and rocks, friends thought about topics that give them big feelings–performing on stage, missing an uncle–and found small moments or objects to capture the big feeling, which they then looked at in new ways and then wrote about using line breaks to make poems.

IMG_1731Between our fall and spring expeditions, we do a small unit on weather and seasons. This week friends began this work by working with partners to research and learn more about a specific weather topic. Using books, articles, and PebbleGo, friends read and wrote about hurricanes, fog, frost, blizzards, rainbows, and more. Next partners will prepare poster presentations to teach their friends about their weather topics.

In the coming weeks we will be looking for your participation in a few projects. We will be looking for more recyclable materials. We hope that you’ll join us for our writing celebration in early February. Be sure to help your second grader select a poem to share during Morning Meeting this month. More to come!

Working with Three-Digit Numbers, An Update

In my last post I wrote a post about our initial work with three-digit numbers during the past few weeks. We launched this work by having friends model three-digit numbers to show each digit’s value.

During the past two weeks, friends began to compare three-digit numbers, thinking about how a digit’s place impacts its value and that a 9 represents different values in different places.

As a brief update, here’s a quick look at some of the work friends have done to model story problems pictorially. IMG_1099IMG_1101While these charts are written by me, they are transcribed from our debriefs. You can see that friends model the numbers with hundreds, tens, and ones. Mark’s 467 pencils are decomposed into four hundreds, six tens, and seven ones. They then compare the pencils, explaining that six hundreds is more hundreds than four hundreds, making 674 greater than 467.

Below are samples of strong student work: IMG_1104IMG_1105IMG_1107Friends are making great progress in making clear models that are labeled. Many also include written rationales for their thinking.

Working with Three-Digit Numbers

During the past six weeks, we have focused on counting and comparing numbers within 1,000. In their first deep exposure to three-digit numbers, have friends built, counted to, and compared three-digit numbers.

By the end of second grade, students should be able to start at any number within 1,000 and count on by ones, fives, tens, and hundreds. They should also be able to read and name the values of the digits in three-digit numbers.

Friends modeled three-digit numbers in different ways as they developed their understanding of how numbers group in tens.

To make the number 256, Million counted by tens to 250 and then counted six ones by ones.IMG_0831He then grouped the tens into hundreds to make two groups of 100, five groups of ten, and six loose ones. IMG_0833He put the ten tens into ziplock bags to distinguish them from the loose tens, naming them “hundreds”.IMG_0834Almoni and Ashley adopted this strategy to model 325. Ashley added labels both to name the groups and to show her counting strategy. She put a “100” label on each bag to name it a hundred bag. She labeled each stick of ten with “10” to name it a ten.IMG_0876Almoni counted by 100s and then on by tens and ones to find the total number of cubes.IMG_0883Ashley added a second set of labels to show how they counted. 100, 200, 300, 310, 320, 325.FullSizeRenderThis week, they transferred their models to paper, drawing boxes and lines, and adding labels to represent the different values of each digit in a three-digit number. FullSizeRender_1


Mini Dispatch from the Clothing Group

DSCF3062Beading, making shoes, dying fabric.

The Clothing Expert Group has been busy. Two weeks ago, friends studied the meanings of different colors and planned and beaded bracelets. Last week they made shoes with discarded cardboard and fabric (and conquered many glue gun fears!) This week they prepare for sharing their work with the other groups next week. In the mean time, a quick share on a recent day.

After reading about and studying photos of traditional and contemporary clothing, friends tried on shukas, kangas, and beading.  DSCF3077DSCF3065Later, with the help of Gaia’s mom, they used ochre to dye fabric to make their own clothing. DSCF3070 DSCF3075More to come as they finish their products this week.

A Small Moment from the Summer

I wrote this post for the Fund for Teachers blog at the end of the summer. I’m reposting it now as we begin our work with play this week.DSCF1232 It was my fourth school visit to a rural government school in Tanzania while on my Fund for Teachers fellowship.  My host’s 21-year-old niece acted as an interpreter as we walked through the school, introducing me to teachers and students in each classroom. “She teaches kids who are seven just like you!” Most of the students were in the schoolyard, waiting for the timekeeper to ring the bell that urged them to hurry back to their classrooms.  Many organized games of football, fashioning balls from socks and rubber sandals. Others huddled together chatting.  Still others played imaginative games, adopting and assigning roles to each other. DSCF1147As I walked, I came across a group of students huddled around two boys. At the center of the circle, the two boys grabbing handfuls of rocks and dropped them one-by-one into small holes that they had dug in the dust.  I grabbed my host’s arm. “That’s it! How do you play this? I have to learn!” In Kimaasai, she turned to them, asking them to explain the game. Finally, she turned to me and said, “Oh, my cousin can teach you tonight.”

For the past two years, our second graders at Capital City Public Charter School have studied the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania as a part of their expedition on how children meet their needs for food, shelter, clothing and play. Much of that work focused on the culture of adult life. They learned about cooking, music and dance rituals, and building mud huts. But an important part was missing: childhood and its essential element – play.

My colleague and I scoured books, journals, magazines and videos to learn about games. In one picture, we saw men playing a game that looked similar to mancala.  When the Maasai group that I eventually visited in Kenya as a part of my Fund for Teachers project came to our class last spring, I asked them about the game. They looked at me, puzzled. “Maybe people don’t play it anymore,” we figured.

That evening, when my 11-year-old host brother came home from school, he got right to work digging holes in the hard-packed yard. Taking my notebook, he drew pictures showing how to play the game, telling me the rules step-by-step. “First, you can watch us play. Then, we play together so you can learn. Finally, we play the game.” I do, we do, you do. “He will be your teacher,” his cousin told me. DSCF1462And so every afternoon when we came home from visiting schools and Maasai bomas, he greeted me. “It’s time for your lessons.” Soon he added five Swahili words per day, on which he quizzed me as we played.  On the last night as we said good bye, he reminded me, “And now you know this game and do not forget to teach your children.  And if you do, just look into your diary and you will remember me and how to play this game.” I’m certain I will. DSCF1207