Tag Archive: Summer School

What’s Your Superpower?

IMG_7957Well summer school came to an end! 😦  I don’t know about you, but I’m sad to see all my 2nd graders move on to 3rd grade because we had such a great 3 weeks!

IMG_7956The way our writing worked was each student was able to work at their own pace so only a couple of the kiddos got to our last writing project, which was What’s Your Superpower?  They had to develop their own super hero.  On their planning page they needed to come up with a list of powers and what their super hero would look like.  Together we wrote down the mapping of how the battle would happen between their super hero and some kind of villain.  After they wrote their story they were able to turn themselves into the super hero they had created, which they LOVED!

We had to give the students end of session benchmark reading tests to see how the students improved over the 3 weeks at summer school.  We were SO excited to see the students move between 1-4 reading levels!!!!  WOW!!!!  The kiddos have worked extremely hard these last 3 weeks and it was encouraging to us and to the kids to see that hard work pay off.

While we were giving the students their test, they were able to create their own Lorax out of a Nutterbutter cookie, smarties, and frosting.  They had to use their practice page to plan out their story and then needed to write about what the Lorax would save next.  (Since in the actual story of the Lorax he helps promote saving trees/the environment)  The stories were fun, but I think they had more fun creating their Lorax creatures.

IMG_7931IMG_7927IMG_7930I guess I only got pictures of 2 of the kids making their Lorax creatures–the other students were testing while I took pictures of the kids.

One thing I forgot to share earlier in the week was the Interactive Writing stories that the students created as a group.  If you aren’t familiar with Interactive Writing, it’s where students read a story or poem (in this case we read a variety of poems to work on fluency) and then the students generate a group message either from the poem/story or just a message they all agree on.  TypIMG_7833ically I encourage the group message to be in connection with the related story or poem.  From there we are able to work on unknown/new words and word patterns.  Words students know how to write, they put on the group paper, while the rest of the students practice that word on their white boards.  Words students don’t know how to write I write on the group paper.

Lastly, Daniel’s mom surprised us with a very, very special treat!!  Daniel’s mom runs a bakery out of her own home–making cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries.  (We have such talented students AND parents in our school!!!)  She sent a box of her strawberry cupcakes to share with all of us on our last day.  They were DELICIOUS!!  She did give us a business card so if you are interested in ordering anything from her, send me an email or IMG_7924check in with me at school and I will pass along her information.  She’s very talented!  Many thanks for the extra special treat at the end of the day for us.  Daniel was SO proud of his mom’s cupcakes.  He carried the box around for a good portion of the morning making sure they were safe.  It took a lot of convincing on my behalf (and the other teachers) to get him to let me keep the box in a safe spot so he could focus on his school work.

Thank you again to ALL of you who were involved in summer school this year!  We had a very successful time.  This was my first year teaching summer school and I had no idea what to expect.  Everyone exceeded my expectations–from working with the bus garage to food services and families and my AMAZING TEACHERS!!!   A very huge thank you to Nicole Earle and Jenny Alfrey for agreeing to teach with me this summer and making our 2nd graders ready and successful for the 3rd grade year!

I have hung up our work outside of my office in the 2nd grade wing upstairs.  Please come take a look at the work the students did when you come to Lowell’s Back To School Night TOMORROW Wednesday, August 21st from 4-6.  I’m going to leave the work up for a couple of weeks and then will be sending it home with all the kids.  We can’t wait to see all of you tomorrow!

Wel’gum’ To 3rd Grade

IMG_7904 - CopyWe’re midway through our 3rd and final week of summer school for our nearly 3rd graders.

IMG_7904 - Copy (2)Our latest writing project was a letter to our new 3rd grader teachers from each student.  Students were asked to utilize their practice page by planning out their letter.  They needed to come up with:

  • 4 things they want or hope they learn this upcoming school year
  • 2 things they are excited about for the upcoming year
  • 2 things they are nervous or worried about in 3rd grade
  • 1 thing they hope they don’t have to learn about and a rationale for not wanting to learn about it

We went out the proper parts of a letter–date, greeting, body, closing, and also using an indent for a new paragraph.

Students have still been struggling with not needing full/complete sentences on the planning page.  We’re still working on jotting down notes to help with the planning process so we aren’t spending so much time on the planning portion of the letter.

IMG_7904It was neat to see what students were writing down.  I have known most of these students since they were in Kindergarten and it was neat to see the stuff that didn’t surprise me and then also gave me a glimpse into the students even better to learn more details about what makes them nervous and what really interests them.

It’s been fun watching students grow over these last 3 weeks.  I looked up in awe today to see students so engaged in books.  I enjoyed having students rush up to my writing table to share portions of their book with me.  Their thirst for knowledge is incredible and I want to encourage and quench this thirst.

We’ve lost a few kiddos due to moving to another school, but our fire for learning hasn’t diminished at all.  We have a few more fun things planned out for the rest of the week so make sure you check back to see how we ended our 3 great weeks of summer learning.




IMG_7837We can’t believe it, but we’re already 2/3rds of the way through summer school!!  All 3 of us teachers have been impressed with how hard the kiddos have been working and how engaged they are when working with each of us.  We’ve been seeing a lot of good skills, strategies, and ideas coming out.

IMG_7836This week students learned how making a list can help us as writers.  We made a list of things that make summer great.  Students filled their practice page with things that had done over the summer–from visiting family members to taking vacations, going to the pool, spending time with friends, and staying up late/sleeping in late.  It was a challenging transition for the students to NOT write their ideas in full sentences.  It was foreign to just jot down “waterpark” instead of “I went to the waterpark”.   We talked about how this was just the idea stage and didn’t need to be in complete sentences yet.

From there students had to pick several of the things from their list.  This was where they were able to start turning their ideas into complete sentences.  Students needed to write an opening sentence to allow readers to know what they were going to be talking about.

Students had a writing conference with me after they had finished their rough draft and we were able to expand upon ideas and fix up spelling and grammatical errors.  Students were then able to make a final copy and design their heading picture.  I was impressed with the variety of ideas they came up with.

IMG_7834The almost 3rd graders have enjoyed their time with Mrs. Earle and Ms. Alfrey as well.  Mrs. Earle has continued to work on Word Work.  Students have continued to use different literature to help them locate new letter clusters.  They’ve been putting them into unique sentences as well.  Mrs. Earle has been giving students a generic sentence (I.E.–I went to the park) and then students had to add in new vocabulary words to make it more exciting.  Instead of went, students had to incorporate other words.  Most of the students use this sentence as their sharing since they were so proud of the way they made their sentence “better than Mrs. Earle’s.”

Ms. Alfrey has continued to have guided reading groups (also called Guided Reading Plus) where she has been able to monitor student’s oral accuracy, fluency, comprehension, and decoding skills.  The kids have had to read their group book during their independent study time as well.  Students have enjoyed having an individual reading conference with Ms. Alfrey as they work through the book on their own.  Group discussions have really expanded on their comprehension, which is something most of the students had struggled with during the school year.

As we go into our final week of summer school we hope to give the students this final boost so they can spring into 3rd grade and be as successful as possible.  Continue to check back to see what else we’re working on during the week.

Dive Into A Summer Adventure


IMG_7803IMG_7807We had such a great first week of summer school.  Our writing group had been working on a writing piece called “Dive Into A Summer Adventure” where students had to write about a scuba diving adventure.  We worked to develop a story map of the different parts and elements they wanted to include in their individual stories.  Students were asked to write about what they would do if they went on a scuba diving summer adventure.  We had many creative ideas such as swimming with dolphins through rings of fire and then getting eaten by whales and being blown out of the blow hole, to finding gold in a cave and being chased by pirates.  After the stories were finished then they were able to give themselves a scuba mask and snorkel.

IMG_7806Mrs. Earle has been keeping the kids busy with word work.  She has been having them work on vowel clusters.  She’s had them sorting words and shared some stories with the vowel clusters.  Today the students broke up into pairs and needed to locate vowel clusters and then categorize them in their composition notebooks.  Students had to double check for accuracy because even though some of the words contained the vowel clusters, they didn’t always make the sound they had been working on.  It was very exciting to hear shouts of, “WE FOUND IT!!!!!” after they were looking intensely for their word chunks.

We’ve been impressed with how hard the students have been working and how engaged they’ve been with all the activities we’ve been asking them to do.  We’re excited for week #2 on Monday!

Summer School Update #1

Now we are getting into the swing of a regular schedule.  Our 2nd graders were put into 4 different groups with 4 different rotations for 25 minutes each.  After the 4 rotations we come back together as a large group and share with each other something interesting or important we learned from our sessions during the day.

IMG_7790 One of the rotations is work work and word skills with our Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Earle.  When students are with her she works on group and individual word work skills students need.  This individualized support helps students with unknown words parts, hearing the sounds of word parts, building words and word parts, putting the parts into sentences, and that’s just the beginning.  Mrs. Earle uses a variety of strategies to make working with unknown word parts lots of fun!  Mrs. Earle provides additional instruction on the parts Ms. Alfrey and I notice the students need extra help with to be more successful when they come to our rotations.  Students see Mrs. Earle for 25 minutes every day.

Another rotation is Guided Reading Plus Reading Group with our 5th grade Special Needs Strategist Ms. Alfrey.   When students are with her IMG_7791they receive reading instruction with a book at their current reading level.  Ms. Alfrey has individualized reading and writing conferences with each student.  She takes running records to check for oral accuracy and to check for skills students are and aren’t using for each book.  This helps her know what she can continue to instruct on and when students are ready to move on to a higher reading level.  Students also write in response to the books they read with Ms. Alfrey.  She is able to have a writing conference with each student on their writing as well.  She helps make a reading and writing connection between the books they are reading.  She helps to make sure students are applying the skills students are learning with Mrs. Earle and myself.  Students see Ms. Alfrey for 25 minutes every day.

Another rotation is writing and an intervention called Interactive Writing with me, Ms. Acuff.  In this rotation I focus on IMG_7796writing and grammar skills students need to help themselves become more proficient writers.  Here, students are able to apply skills they are using with Mrs. Earle.  Students work on making graphic organizers and plans for mapping out a story.   Students have individualized story plans with me and get a personal writing conference with me every day.  Students are encouraged to use a practice page to help themselves with unknown words.  If they are still unsure if the word they wrote is spelled correctly then they are to circle the word so I can help them with it during our writing conference.   During our conferences we are able to talk about how to make a sentence make sense, using proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization along with correct grammar.  Students are able to process with me on how to make the story more interesting with additional details and how to write more complex sentences.  From there, students are able to write finalized copies of their stories.

We also work on an intervention called Interactive Writing where we are able to read silly poems and write a shared story together.  This is an opportunity to have fun together and apply writing skills as a group.  This breaks up the routine of writing an individual story.  Students meet with me for 25 minutes every day.

IMG_7789The final rotation is an independent time where students are to practice reading their group book or another selected book.  Sometimes students read with another student in their group or they read individually.  After students have read their selected book then students are to do a reading response in their reading response journal, which is to include the title of the book, a favorite part, and an explanation of why it was your favorite part.  This is a fun time where students are able to share their enthusiasm for reading.  Here students are encourage to apply the decoding skills they have been learning and working on while with Ms. Alfrey and Mrs. Earle.  This is time away from teachers where they are able to “put it all together”.   Students participate in this rotation for 25 minutes every day.

Finally students are able to come back together at the very end of the 4 IMG_7797rotations to meet as a large group.   This is our sharing time.  Students are encouraged to reflect on all the learning they have done for the past 2 hours and think about meaningful parts they want to share with the group.  Sometimes they are able to share anything from the day and sometimes they are asked to share something specific.  In the picture on the left students were asked to share from their reading response journals over the book they read during independent time.  This also holds students accountable for the work they are asked to do while they are away from teachers.  This also allows students to have a voice and take ownership of their learning.  Sharing time is for 15 minutes every day.

In between the 4 rotations we take a 10 minute break for drinks, bathroom, and fresh air.  At the very end of the 4 rotations and sharing time students have a snack, socialize, and then load onto the bus.

I’m encouraged by the positive attitudes students come with each and every day.  Students are enthusiastic about learning.  Mrs. Earle, Ms. Alfrey, and myself were discussing how engaged students were and how everyone was extremely focused.  We know this is going to be a great kick start to the upcoming 2013-2014 year.  Check back soon for another update.

Summer School Begins!

IMG_7752Today was an exciting day at Lowell as it was our first day of summer school!!  Thank you to all of you parents who were flexible amidst the chaos of getting details ironed out with busing.  I think busing schedules and getting everyone where they need to be at the right place and time is situated! *Fingers crossed*

Just a few reminders:

*Students need to be at school at 8:15 for breakfast.

*Uniforms are required.

*We will dismiss for the bus at 11 each day.

*Students may bring a backpack, but are not required to bring anything with them during these 3 weeks.

*Summer school dates are every week day from July 29-August 16.

*Instruction will be taking place in the library.


Today we started out by giving each student a benchmark reading assessment so we know where they currently are working at and will be able to provide the most precise instruction for your child.  During that time the kids were able to journal about what they’ve been up to this summer and share it with other students.  They were also able to read from a selection of books we had available.

IMG_7750cupcakse01Once assessments were over we were able to move on to some more fun activities.  My son has been talking about Despicable Me non stop this summer and I keep seeing Minions everywhere–even McDonalds!  I saw a cute Twinkie Minion online and I thought it would be fun for the kids to make their own Twinkie Minion and write about what they would have their minion do.  Would their minion be good or bad?  What would he do?  Where would he go?  Would he work for you?  These were some of the choices the students were able to think through.  This provided Mrs. Earle, Ms. Alfrey, and myself an opportunity to break up into small groups and conference with the students over their writing.  We were able to see what each student had for strengths and needs so we could better prepare and plan for our instruction.  So while the students were having fun, we were making notes on what specific things we could work on with our students.  Of course, everyone enjoyed eating their minion after they had written their story and conferenced with a teacher.

IMG_7753We ended today, like we’ll end every instructional day, with a group sharing.  Students were able to share their minion stories with the whole group.  It was extremely interesting how every minion story was so different from the next.  We minions visiting grandparents across the country, one who went to college to study photography and then went to China to take pictures, and even one who did all the chores in the house so she could be lazy. 

Students then had a snack in the cafeteria before loading up onto the bus and heading home.  Today was a great first day.  We look forward to 14 more days of fun and learning.

IMG_7313We had a wonderful family event this morning and even though our numbers were smaller, it was great to see those that attended.

IMG_7314Our Flat Stanley’s (and robot) went on an adventure to the Waterloo Public Library during the 2 weeks since we last saw each other and were kind enough to bring us all an application to get our very own library card.  They all wrote us a nice little note on the back saying, “I went to the library.”  Students got to collect their Stanley and were instructed to send Stanley on another adventure and write it on the back.  (We learned one of our 2nd graders has a pony–we suggested letting Stanley go for a ride. We all hoped he wouldn’t fly away.  I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to see where all of our Stanleys went.)

I read Stanley at Bat to the kiddos and we had a fabulous time making predictions of what would happen to Stanley…such as:

  • The bat would fall on Stanley and make him even flatter.
  • Stanley would get a flat bat and be an amazing player.
  • Stanley would fly away playing because he’s so flat.

IMG_7309We had a lot of fun giggling about the book and the silly things that happened.  After we finished reading the book students were able to complete an All Star graphic organizer.  Each base had a task for the kids to complete–character, setting, problem, solution.

IMG_73112nd graders were able to pick out another free book and many stayed around to read their new book and put it in their writing logs.  I was able to go through the student’s writing journal and see what books they’ve been reading and their favorite parts.  I learned that a chicken is actually a living descendant of a dinosaur.  Who woulda thought? 🙂

We missed those of you unable to join us, but please come back for our next family event:

  • Tuesday, July 9th
  • Lowell Library
  • 11:30-12 lunch, 12-1 reading activities
  • Please don’t forget to bring back your Stanley and writing journal.

IMG_7310Also, we look forward to having Irving join us again.



Summer School Family Event #1

IMG_7282Wow!  We had so much fun at our first family event for summer school last Tuesday.  A big thank you to Irving for joining us.  It was nice to have a few extra faces with us as we embark on our summer adventure with Flat Stanley!!

IMG_7181We started off by having lunch in the cafeteria.  I enjoyed getting to sit and chat with the kiddos about what they had already been doing this summer and I was pleased to hear about the books they’ve been reading.  Most of these students I was able to work with during the school year, so it was nice to be able to connect again with them.

After lunch, I introduced Flat Stanley and each summer school teacher read a chapter of Flat Stanley to the kids.

IMG_7182From there each kiddo (and a couple of parents) made their own Flat Stanley.  And I didn’t want to hinder any creativity so we even have 1 Flat Robot who will be joining us on our summer school journey this year! 🙂

IMG_7194Students were introduced to their summer reading logs and we passed out a free book to each of our 2nd graders.  Please note that the 2nd book is on back order so we’ll be ordering additional books to hand out when they arrive.

IMG_7180Some of our families stayed and read Henry and Mudge (our free book) and put it in their reading log.

Flat Stanley stayed back with me as I am sending all of our Stanley’s on an adventure.  They’ll be waiting for you when you get back and they are missing all of you so make sure you get back to our next event!!

Our next family event is…

  • Tuesday, June 25th
  • 11:30 (lunch) 12:00-1 (family event time)
  • Meet us in the Lowell library

Please don’t forget to bring your family and your Summer Literacy Log.  We’ll be conferring with each student about the books they’ve been reading.  You’ll also get to take Flat Stanley home with you as well as another free book.  Can’t wait to see you!!!



Summer School

2nd graders!!!  There’s still time for you to register for summer school starting on Monday, July 28th.   Please return your permission slips to the office ASAP or bring them to me during one of our reading fun days.

Our theme is Flat Stanley for the summer fun days and you receive 2 FREE books at each event you attend.

Join us (Mrs. Earle, Ms. Alfrey, and myself)…

  • When?:  Tuesdays, June 11 and 25 and July 9 and 23 from 11:30-1.  (11:30-12 free lunch, 12-1 reading fun)
  • Where?: Lowell library
  • Who?: 2nd graders who received summer school permission slips
  • Make sure to bring an adult with you!!