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Suggestions for holiday activities (2) Literacy

Written by ValerieW. Posted in 2nd Grade

Suggestions for holiday activities (2)


Dear Parents,

 These weeks off are a time for rest and play!  But if you would like some ideas for helping your child with literacy, here are some links with great online activities and games for your perusal.  The list is long, and please remember these are just suggestions!


These websites have loads of fun activities, in reading and in math:


For online reading:  over 42, 000 classic books, free, online!  For all ages  250 free books online, for kids of all ages many free books for kids online  a number of free online stories for children requires subscription.


Vocabulary: for all ages!  For each correct answer, the website donates 10 grams of rice to the World Hunger Programme.  Note:  this website is addicting!


Writing: ideas for a holiday writing journal December writing journal prompts


For practicing high frequency words (sight words):


Create your own crossword puzzles!


Create your own handwriting practice worksheets:

For other language arts activities:   (Mad Libs!)


So, now you have a long list of ideas for optional homework.  What’s really most important, though, is to remember to treasure the time spent with your child!


Warm wishes from the Second Grade Team!!

Suggestions for holiday activities (1) Math

Written by ValerieW. Posted in 2nd Grade

Suggestions for holiday activities (1)



Dear Parents,

Here are some fun online math games  to play with your child over vacation.  As you play the games listed below, please remember to ask your child to explain his or her thinking.  

You can ask:

  • Can you show me your answer in words, numbers, and with a picture?  
  • How did you get the answer?  
  • Are there any other ways of getting the answer?  
  • Imagine I’m a kid and I don’t understand how to do it.  Can you teach me?


Play the game  Base Ten Blocks

Play the game  Base Ten Blocks

Play the game  Place Value:  Show Expanded Numbers!

I Like…numbers to 25

Numbers on the Ten Frame

Play Odd & Even Interactive Games

Let’s Play Base Ten Bingo

3 Ways of Expanded Form

Expanded Form with 3 –digits

Compare Numbers Game – Level I

Compare Numbers

Skip Counting by 10’s to 300

Skip Counting by 5s to 100

Skip Counting by 100s

Skip Counting Backwards by 5

Skip Counting Backwards by 10

Fairies in the Fog

Help the fairies find the butterfly with the hidden number counting by 10’s

Help the fairies find the butterfly with the hidden number counting by 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, 10’s, 100’s


Please read our second holiday activity post, with literacy ideas!


The Second Grade Team

Eureka Math Module 2: Addition and Subtraction of Length Units

Written by ValerieW. Posted in 2nd Grade

Image result for addition and subtraction of length units


We are just starting  Eureka Math Module 2,   the addition and subtraction of length units.  The children will be working on understanding concepts about the ruler, measuring and estimating length using different measurement tools, measuring and comparing lengths using different units, and, finally, relating addition and subtraction to length.

We startout this module by having the children use multiple cm cubes to measure objects,  a fairly tedious process that is important as it teaches the children that in order to get an accurate measurement, there cannot be any gaps or overlaps between the consecutive cm cubes.

As they use ONE cm cube to measure, the children are using a  process known as iteration.  They use the “mark and advance” technique.  We hope they will start to create a mental benchmark for the centimeter (more or less the width of a fingertip).  They then use a one cm cube to create their own ruler, and see how 0, and not 1, marks the beginning of the ruler.

Students then practice measuring objects with rulers and tape measures, adding to their mental benchmarks the fact that a doorknob is about 1 meter high. These measuring experiences help  them determine which tool is appropriate when making certain measurements (a cm ruler is good for measuring a shoe, for instance, but a meter stick is much better if you are measuring a swimming pool).

Later, the students measure objects twice using standard (cm) and non-standard length units (paper clips, feet, etc.) in order to help them understand that the larger the unit, the smaller the number of that unit is needed to measure an object, and that the smaller the unit, the more units are needed.

Lastly, the students relate addition and subtraction to length.   On the homework, some of the lines can be a bit longer or a bit shorter than a centimeter.  We tell the children, “That line is about 5 cm long.”  We don’t expect them to give fractions of cm. Of course, this  may not be a satisfactory answer to the budding mathematicians we have in second grade!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions!

The Second Grade Team

Following is a list of Common Core Standards we are working on in this module (from

Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
Measure the length of an object twice, using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen.
Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.
Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.

Relate addition and subtraction to length.

Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as drawings of rulers) and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Represent whole numbers as lengths from 0 on a number line diagram with equally spaced points corresponding to the numbers 0, 1, 2, …, and represent whole-number sums and differences within 100 on a number line diagram.

Writing Workshop: Small Moments

Written by ValerieW. Posted in 2nd Grade

In our daily Writing Workshop period, we are busily working on Small Moments. 

Image result for the leaving morning      

Small moments are the big and small stories of our lives, and, unlike fiction, these stories  have really happened to us.  We’ve all lived memorable moments which carry a powerful story within,  just waiting to be told.  Small moments  have big meaning for the person who has experienced them.

Now is the time for the Second Graders to ponder their own unforgettable moments, and work on clearly communicating their  stories, crafting them into well-structured texts which will delight readers.

We will be learning from master writers such as Jane Yolen, author of Owl Moon, and  Angela Johnson, author of The Leaving Morning.   The children are learning that these two writers didn’t just come up with an idea in a moment or two and then quickly write out a perfect story.  On the contrary, they carefully thought out their stories – – just what we are doing in writing workshop.

Writing takes time, and a lot of thought and consideration.  You can help your child by helping him or her express to you the memorable moments in his or her life.  Small moments are not a list of morning-to-night activities. Small moments are based on breath-taking views, a thrilling roller coaster ride, a gorgeous butterfly that landed on your hand, the first time you lost a tooth – – those special moments that make a person  happy to be alive.    Ask your child about those moments – – why were they so important? What did they feel like?  look like?  taste like? sound like?  What were you wearing and what were you thinking? Ask for details, details and more details, which master writers regale their readers, allowing readers to experience the moment just as the author has.

All writers need to (and all people should) contemplate the content of their own lives in order to bring greater meaning to it – – and we hope to do just that in our small moments unit!

The Second Grade Team

Eureka Math Module 1: Sums and Differences to 100

Written by ValerieW. Posted in 2nd Grade

Eureka Math Module 1:  Sums and Differences to 100

Our year begins with students beginning to master sums and differences to 20, and later applying these skills to one- and two-digit numbers up to 100.  The children will call upon their budding knowledge of place value,  and their understandings of the relationship between addition and subtraction to help them.

They will build upon skills they learned in first grade to do addition, such as counting on,  in addition to learning skills  which will help them make problems easier, by making ten and taking from ten.

Counting On:

Conversely, students can “count back” to subtract.

Making ten (or a multiple of ten) to add:   You see that 79 is very near 80.  Adding a number to a multiple of 10 is a lot easier!  So you can break up the 6, adding 79 + 1 to make 80, then adding 5 to make 85.

We encourage children to be flexible with numbers, which includes “breaking them up” or decomposing numbers into smaller parts, as represented in number bonds.

With subtraction, a strategy that at first requires quite a bit of flexibility on the part of the students, but which will come in incredibly handy always, is the “take out ten” strategy when subtracting a single digit number:

In both cases children see that they cannot just simply subtract like units (take ones from ones, and tens from tens).  We show them how to decompose the first number by taking out ten from the first number, and then subtracting the second number from the ten.  In future lessons, the children will subtract two-digit numbers, which we will explain soon.

If children can mentally decompose numbers, and then use basic addition and subtraction facts to solve the problem, they will have acquired an incredibly useful mental strategy which will save them lots of time and which, in the long run, will not require pencil and paper. How cool is that?

Something we DON’T teach the second graders is the traditional algorithm.

The traditional algorithm always requires the use of pencil and paper!  And it requires an excellent understanding of place value for it to make any sense.

We use manipulatives every day in our classes, such as base ten blocks, unifix cubes and ten frames.

Image result for base ten blocks   Image result for unifix cubes

base ten blocks                                   unifix cubes                              ten frame cards

We have children draw numbers in base ten notation (example follows) and encourage them to organize their numbers neatly to facilitate counting.

For example, when making a representation of the number 17, we have them draw the number in base ten notation as follows, drawing a line to represent a ten, and then 7 black circles which represent ones as they are shown in a ten frame configuration:

base ten notation

They needn’t draw in the actual lines of the ten frame, only the black circles.  These ten frame configurations are very easy for the children to identify without counting, and using them to organize their drawings helps children become more efficient.

In Eureka Math, the numbers are represented in a slightly different way:

Here is a way of representing 17, yet we find that as the children draw the circles in a line, they tend to smash them all together into a continuous line which they then need to count over again.  The ten frame configurations place the circles into more easily identified groups.

You may find Eureka Math’s Parent  Tip Sheet helpful:


The Second Grade Team

School is out – – it’s summer!!

Written by ValerieW. Posted in 2nd Grade

Dear Parents,

Summer is finally here!  The children have worked hard, and deserve a rest. 

But before long, we all know that the inevitable will happen – – you will hear your child say,

“What is there to do???” 

Well, here are some suggestions for activities to do with your future third grader.

  • read every day:  read to your child, and have your child read to you, his or her siblings, or to read to himself or herself.  In English and any other language!
  • write every day:  have your child write a summer journal of what they have experienced daily, write to each other in an interactive journal, inspire your child to write POETRY!
  • read the poetry of Amy Ludwig Van Derwater, Zoë Ryder White, Kristine O’Connell George and others.  Inspire your child to look at the world with poet’s eyes.
  • for more math practice, find the Common Core codes, and google loads of activities
  • above all, treasure the time you spend together!

Here are some online resources:

a.  Online games in math and reading:

b.  Work with reading  and reading fluency:  search for summer activities, and you will find, among other activities:

c.  Work with math fluency

d. Work with math word problems (rich tasks, when they genuinely inspire children to think and stretch their capabilities)

e.  Ideas for writing:

f.   Work with reading comprehension:

g.  Summer reading books/ suggested books

h.  free online books

The future third graders have worked very, very hard this year and it has been an honor working with them.

We thank all of you for all the support you have given your child, and also the support you have given us. Take care and have a wonderful summer!

The Second Grade Team