Language Arts




May 10th

This week we continued doing activities that practice the skills of adding prefixes and suffixes to base words.  Students have also learned several new cursive letters and can be seen below practicing these letters while listening to a little James Taylor.  This is one of my favorite moments each week when the room is peaceful, yet full of music and joy.

video


April 28th

We have been very busy writers lately!  Second graders finished up several pieces of writing.  They included an opinion piece based on a book called, "Hey Little Ant" where a boy is trying to decide if he should stomp on one little ant.  It is essentially a wonderful example of a persuasive argument or essay.  Both the boy and the ant go back and forth giving reasons why it would and wouldn't be a good idea to squish the ant.  Then second graders were asked to write from the perspective of the ant and that it wouldn't be a good idea to stomp on him.  They were asked to use text evidence to support their opinion, begin with an interesting lead, and use transition words and a conclusion.  Also, going along with our biography unit, students wrote 2 informational pieces; one about the person they studied in class, and another about a family member.  These are really phenomenal.  If you get a chance to check them out, the poster and writing are hanging in the library and the family member writing is along the wall in the hallway on your way to the classroom.  Next week we will write an opinion piece based on "Child of the Silent Night," which we finished before vacation.  Ask your child if he or she thinks Dr. Howe's decision to send Laura's parents away so soon was the right decision or not?  Be sure they can give you some reasons why.

March 31st

 For the last several weeks students have been practicing how to make nouns plural by adding s, es, or taking away the y or f and adding ies and ves.  They know to listen to the last sound in the word and if that sound comes through their teeth they add es.  If it does not, they add s.  Words that end with y, they take away the y and add ies.  Words like wolf that end with an f, have that last letter removed and ves written in its place.  Since the English language is so complicated there are always exceptions to rules. We found a few this week when we talked about words that end in y.  A word with a vowel and then a y like in tray break the rule.  In this case they know that you just add s.  We will continue to practice this skill in isolation and look for it to gradually carry over into daily writing.
Another skill that students have been learning is adding suffixes to base, or root words.  When students see a base word and need to figure out whether they double the final consonant in the base word before adding the suffix, these are the questions they should be asking themselves:
1.  Is the base word one syllable?
2.  Does the base word have one vowel?
3.  Does the base word end with just one consonant?
4.  Does the suffix begin with a vowel?
If they answer yes to all four questions then they double the final consonant before adding the suffix.  If they say no to one or more of the questions then they don't double.  Words that end in w, x, y, or double consonants do not get doubled even when they might look like it based on the questions listed above.

March 27th


As part of our study of the history of Hanover, NH, second graders listen to the story of Laura Bridgman. Laura was a young girl who lived in what is now Etna.  She become deaf, blind, and mute at about the age of two after a terrible bout of Scarlet Fever.  Her senses of taste and smell were also greatly affected. Her two older sisters died from the it, while her two younger brothers escaped the illness.  She was a very bright, curious little girl who learned much of what she initially knew from her good friend "Uncle" Asa Tenney. He taught her how to discover nature and the world around her by using her sense of touch. Although one could think of Asa Tenney as Laura's savior, she quickly became too much for her parents to handle because of her inability to communicate with others and her immense curiosity and desire to learn.

Her parents sent her to learn at the Perkins Institute in Massachussetts where she became an expert in the manual alphabet, learned in a few weeks what other blind and deaf students learned in a year's time, and became a teacher for many fellow students at the school. In her adulthood, she had the opportunity to make a doll for a young blind and deaf girl named Helen Keller.  Laura and Helen had the opportunity to meet once.  While the name of Helen Keller is well known, Laura Bridgman was THE first blind, deaf, and mute girl to be successfully educated.  Her story deserves to be known too.

Second graders will practice opinion writing techniques while they try and answer the question, "Should Laura's parents have stayed with her at the school while she adjusted or not?"  At the time that her parents left her in an unknown place, Laura was about the same age as a second grader.  This writing really forces students to put themselves in Laura's shoes.  How would you feel if your parents left you in a place you didn't know, with people who were strangers, with no ability to communicate or understand the world around you?  These are questions second graders will ponder while writing their own opinion pieces to answer this important question.

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