Category: 2nd Grade


My 2nd graders just finished reading Hang On, Monkey and Hop, Bunny from National Geographic Kids.  Both of the stories are very similar but one talks about a journey through the woods/forest and one talks about a journey through the rain forest.  The kids loved the vibrant and silly pictures of the animals.  These books have a lot of rich vocabulary that was nice for us to get some practice on those blends and digraphs we really need.

After we read both of the books they were given graphic organizers to compare the two stories.  I normally use a Venn Diagram, but I found a new graphic organizer that I had that was more of a list format and branched off.  It’s designed specifically to compare two stories so I think it’s almost easier for the kids to compare on this graphic organizer versus a Venn Diagram.   They’ve been asked to be adding more details to their writing to make it more thorough and detailed along with quick decoding during reading.

IMG_0101IMG_0109I have noticed my 2nd graders have needed more support than just Guided Reading Plus.  I decided to layer interventions with this group, which was something new for me.

We started out by doing a study on snakes.  I read 2 mentor texts on snakes and then I had the students read a book about snakes a couple levels lower than their instructional level because I wanted the focus to be on writing and writing more complex sentences.  This happened to tie in perfectly because this is exactly what they have been doing in the classroom as well. (I get to go in during their writing block and help in the classroom with writing.)

After we read our snake books, I wrote a snake story in red. (To the left)  I did take input from the students as I wrote on interesting facts I could write about.  The following day I took my purple marker and I had them help me come up with ways we could add more details to make our sentences better, change word choice, and make our story more interesting.  They were very engaged and involved and loved telling me how I should make my story better.  They were actually quite good at this and I give big kudos to the 2nd grade classroom teachers for their awesome teaching on this.

IMG_0108The next day I had them write their own snake sentences. (Photo at the top of the page.)  I highlighted lines so they would write every other line and that way they could easily go back into their writing and add details, change the word choice, make edits.

Once they had had a writing conference with me, they were able to put their sentences on chart paper.  We then had to conference again about how once we make edits on our sentences and fix mistakes, we have to make those changes on our final copy, too.  We can’t put those same mistakes back on our final copy.  Thank goodness for post-it white out tape! 🙂

The next book we ended up reading was Hang On, Monkey and we did some work on monkeys.  I wanted them to then apply the skills they learned with snakes by writing monkey facts.  I did type up their stories and print them out for them so they could then go back through their writing and highlight capitals in IMG_6742the wrong place, forgotten punctuation, and spelling mistakes.

After they had gone through their writing on their own, I then was able to have individual writing conferences again.

This whole process took us about two weeks, but I feel like we got a lot of great work done.  I’m super proud of the 2nd graders for their hard work.

Writing Boo-Boo’s

IMG_0106My 2nd grade groups have been doing a lot of writing.  (A side note: I also get to go in at the end of the day and help 2nd grade within the classroom on their writing during their writing block.  This has opened my eyes to a lot more of their needs in writing since I get to spend 60 minutes a day with them.)

One thing I’ve noticed in the writing is there is still a lot of missing punctuation marks and many inappropriate capitals sprinkled throughout words.

Last week I did mini-lessons on capitalization and punctuation.  I read Punctuation Takes a Vacation and The Case of the Incapacitated Capitals both by Robin Pulver and Punctuation Celebration by Elsa Knight Bruno to go over some writing rules.

I then wrote a story with lots of writing boo-boo’s and had the students come in and correct them.  It’s funny how quickly they find MY mistakes, but when I ask them to go back in their writing they act like they wouldn’t ever have a possible mistake! 🙂 Hmmm…I wonder why that is?

After they corrected my story, they then went back into their writing journal and had to pick one writing piece they would go back over and look for punctuation and inappropriate capitals.  We will continue to work on being more precise in our writing!

IMG_5702My 2nd graders have been doing a unit of study on seeds, plants, and growing.  I read Leaves, Flowers, Roots, and Seeds by Vijaya Khisty Bodach (4 separate books) starting out our unit of study, which goes into more depth on each flowers, roots, IMG_5897seeds, and leaves.  From there my 2nd graders have been reading And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano and The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  Both are fictional stories, but based around the premise of growing seeds.

After we read And Then It’s Spring I had the 2nd graders plant their own garden.  This was a lot of fun.  We have planted carrots and beans and been writing and tracking the process (impatiently, of course!)  We have a chart of growth and we are writing the date each time we see something change on the chart.

We also dissected flowers to find the different parts of the flowers and to find the seeds (which they insisted we plant as well–maybe we’ll have carnations at some point growing in there, too??)

The kiddos took a highlighter and had to trace/locate the veins in the leaves.  It was pretty incredible to hold the leaves up to the light and see all the tiny and intricate veins within the leaves.  “Oh my gosh!  There are way more veins than I thought IMG_5900there would be!” said one of the girls in group.

I’ve done these books before, but I’ve never grown the garden or dissected flowers with the kids before.  It has been a lot of fun for me.  It’s almost more fun, though, seeing how excited the kids get coming in each day to see how the plants have changed since we first started working on the garden.

I will post an update later on once the plants have reached maturity closer to Christmas time.



IMG_0368My 2nd graders just finished reading Weird Sea Creatures by Laura Marsh, which showcased all the unusual sea creatures in our oceans.  I started out with a mentor text by Lisa Herndon called Deep Ocean Creatures which talked about many (and more) of the creatures in the books the kiddos read about.

We went over the different “abilities” the creatures have or use to help keep them alive such as bioluminescence.  This became one of our favorite words.  We were able to watch some YouTube videos on some of these creatures in action–such as the Anglerfish, Puffer fish, Dumbo Octopus, Vampire Squid, and more. It was fun (even for me!) to see these animals in action.

After we read about the different creatures the kids picked 2 creatures each from the book to write about.  They had to draw a picture of their animal and then write about their special “ability” that helps them survive.  This was a really fun book to get through and the kids were really engaged.

What’s Up With 2nd Grade?

IMG_8341I haven’t posted about 2nd grade in a while!  I’m sorry!  We’ve been busy and I don’t always remember to take pictures.  In the IMG_8062last couple of weeks we have followed a similar path as my last semester 3rd graders.  My 2nd graders have made tremendous growth and have moved about a year’s growth in a semester.

We started out with fables!  I read them two fables, then read them a fable I created.  If you read my post about the 3rd grader’s fables, I used the same books.

IMG_8058From there we created our own list of fable ideas.  They came up with a lot of fun and new ideas that I hadn’t heard when 3rd grade created their fables.  We organized our ideas on a graphic organizer before writing and creating our own fable books.

They had a lot of fun creating and sharing their fables with everyone.

This past week we worked on different versions of the same story using Country IMG_8337Mouse and City Mouse.  I read them two different versions and then they read their own version.

We then compared all 3 of the stories using a 3 circle Venn diagram.  It ended up being a little trickier having them doing it on their own so they each had their own chart papers, but we did it together.  We brainstormed ideas together and students were able to put the information they found most important on their own chart.

From there students were asked to compare two things of their choice.  We had Minecraft vs. Lego Batman, zebras vs. horses, and whales vs. sharks.  I was impressed how they went to my library and found books to help support their ideas or if they were confused on something they double checked that they had the correct information.

Next week we’ll move onto some work with dolphins.

IMG_8064Happy Valentine’s Day from Penthouse B at Lowell Elementary!  Go read a book with someone you love!

2nd Grade: Post Office

IMG_5828IMG_5844My other 2nd graders read The Fun Club Goes To The Post Office and it was quite the fun experience for them.  I asked the students what happens to the mail after they put it in their mailbox to be delivered.  Everyone responded, “it gets delivered to the person on the envelope.” and I’ll admit that before I researched into how mail gets from one place to the next I didn’t know how mail got from A to B.  All the kiddos agreed that something magical just must’ve happened in between because they couldn’t figure out how else it would happen.

I showed them a couple of quick clips on the behind the scenes of the post office and how mail is sorted to its final destination.  I brought in some mail for them to look at the special stamps and barcodes that get put on the envelope.  After we watched the videos and the students read the book, I had them brainstorm who they wanted to write a letter to .

We wrote a group letter to my son, Houston, as a model for the different parts of the letter.  They had lots of fun things they wanted me to tell my son like to do his chores and stay out of trouble! (Thanks, 2nd graders!!)  They then wrote their own letters to a person of their choosing.  We conferences to check for spelling and punctuation and then I taught them how to address an envelope.  They struggled with writing small enough and in the correct parts of the letter, but it’s an important skill to have.  We also look up how to find an address we didn’t know.

Letter writing is a life long skill whether it mail out a bill or write to your grandma.  Now they know the process of how a letter gets from point A to point B and can successfully write their own letters!

IMG_5838My 2nd graders recently read Mother Sea Turtle which talks about the journey a sea turtle goes from hatching, growing up, and returning to lay eggs.  I read to the students about sea turtle migration and the life cycle of a sea turtle and the process of laying an egg…again National Geographic Kids makes it so easy with their amazing non-fiction books about Sea Turtles and Animal Migration.

The kiddos were so sad that mother sea turtle doesn’t take care of her little hatchlings.  They have to fend for themselves and many of them don’t survive, but instinctively they all return to the same beach they were born to lay their eggs.

After we read all of our stories, the kids took the mentor text books I read and their Mother Sea Turtle book and mapped out the life cycle of the sea turtle or the process of laying/hatching an egg.  They did such a fantastic job of sorting out the information and putting it in a step by step life cycle model.



IMG_5840IMG_5841My K, 1, and 2 groups are continuing to work on Interactive Writing.  We’ve been so busy!  Learning about concepts about print to help with foundational building is super important.  We’ve been doing a lot of labeling, word building, letter finding, letter sorting, letter forming, poetry reading, and group and individual writing.  Wow!  What a mouthful, right?

After several weeks of poetry interactive writing and foundational skill building, we are ready to get our hands on some books and transition away from poetry.

We will keep working on letter sounds, formation, concepts about print, and word building.  Check back in with us 🙂