Teaching and Learning

in a 2nd grade classroom

How We Express Ourselves


This has been a multi-cultural week in 2nd grade! Students are learning all about how people around the world express themselves through art, literature, music, dance, and food. We are learning about how our cultures may be different, but also how they are connected to one another.

Tuesday: Today was a Latin American theme.  During reading, I read another Cinderella story aloud from around the world; Adelita: A Mexica Cinderella Story by Tomi dePaola.  We compared the story elements (beginning, middle, end, characters, setting, problem and solution) with The Rough Faced Girl by and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe.  After, we broke into groups to watch a short video on the iPads, read informational and literary texts about Mexico and other Latin American cultures, and make tissue paper flowers.   The video, Buster Goes to the Dominican Republic, showed the children what people in the Dominican Republic do for fun, about the foods that they eat, and what the schools are like.  Tissue paper flowers are a traditional craft that children do for Day of the Dead and other celebrations.  For snack, we made quesadillas with both corn and flour tortillas.  We also listened to Latin music to complete the experience.

Wednesday: Today, one of our student’s parents came in to share Japanese culture with us.  Her father read The Crane Maiden in Japanese while her mother translated the story in English for us.  Students were able to make connections to the character traits from the Cinderella stories and identify the author’s message.  After finding Japan on the map, we broke into groups to make sushi, origami, and explore Japan on the iPads.  We listened to Japanese children’s music.  The student shared a special silk kimono that her grandmother sent to her from Japan and some of the students took turns trying it on.  Her parents even wrote each student’s name in Japanese.  We are so lucky to have had them come in and share their culture and knowledge with us.

Thursday: Italy was our focus as we explored the region of Europe.  For read aloud, we read The legend of Old Belfona by Tomi dePaola which is a European tale. During independent reading, students read informational books about some of the different countries in Europe; England, France, Sweden, and Italy. During our groups, students also watched, Postcards From Buster: Ciao, Buster Part 1 and Part 2 to learn about Venice, Italy and made decorations from Sweden; woven hearts. For snack we enjoyed some Swedish ginger cookies and sliced a baguette, some mozzarella cheese, and Genoa salami. Mmmm!

Friday: Today was Fabulous Friday at BES and students continued to read various books from and about other countries.  For read aloud, I read The King of Capri by Jeanette Winterson.  The students learned that paying attention to the character traits in the story can also help us understand the author’s message. At snack time, we tasted food from India; Spiced Rice with Raisins, Palak Paneer, and Naan bread.


Fairy Houses


Today the children started their own market system without even knowing it!  Since several of them had brought in things(from nature only) to use building their fairy houses I let them know that they were welcome to share if they felt it was fair.  Wow! In no time at all, they were trading all sorts of commodities!  After, students got together with their groups and discussed their trades and weather they were fair or not.  These seven year olds had some very insightful thoughts about the process.  I’m excited to see how this evolves with our other lessons about needs and wants, systems, how people participate in a system, and how people’s decisions affect systems.

Here are some of the things that I heard out in the woods while the students worked and traded today:

"Look! Fairies!"
"Are those fairies or just flies." 
"I think we might need to rebuild." 
"Stop your complaining. I did all the hard work." 
"Jackpot! We found the jackpot!" 
"Some fairies or animals visited our house 
again and ate all of our food!" 
"We made a deal and traded some bark for seashells."
 "Dude, it has a whole in it!" 
"Whoa! Check this out!" 
"I like your fairy house! It's really nice!" 
"Do you want to make a deal? We have tons of bark. 
Do you have anything?" "We want to trade something!" 
"Come to our fairy house and see all the stuff we have." 
"Thank you."
"We have to build more on our house."
 "Look what I just traded guys." 
"Can you help me find some berries?" 
"We are just trading, trading, trading so much stuff. 
We're getting better "There are so many customers!" 
"We have leaves. Really great leaves!"
 "Found a mushroom." 
"We could use these for booster seats if there are any 
kid fairies." 
"It was fair, but we got lots of stuff for just wood."

And back in the classroom:
“It was all fair, but we got some really cool stuff for just some wood.”
I was able to trade for so much with only seashells.”
“We found some berries and then everyone got so excited and wanted to trade for them. We weren’t really thinking about it and in the end, all we had left were some sticks and stuff. all of our berries were gone.”

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Who We Are


Central Idea: Our well-being is shaped by the resources available to us.

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Why some people are healthier than others
  • Lifelong health
  • Resources around the world that people use to stay healthy

Students have been learning about things that contribute to our well-being or overall health.  They have been learning about how healthy food, exercise, visits to the doctor, dental hygiene, and taking care of our world all play a part into being healthy.  They have also learned that not everyone has access to the same resources. As part of their summative projects, students worked in small groups to create a resource that will teach others the importance of being healthy and how to make healthy choices. Topics that they inquired more deeply about were germs and viruses, dental hygiene, air pollution, muscles, and a healthy diet.

Memorial Day


We have been writing poetry in 2nd grade.  Students have been writing about “little treasures.” They have been practicing writing about small items using a “poet’s eye” and thinking of  ordinary things in new and unique ways.  Recently, we have started  learning to write about big ideas and feeling using a small object to focus the poem. I love how they are beginning to use poetic language and rhythm in their writing rather than just short nursery-rhymes.

Photo: courtesy of Marshall's Florist

Photo: courtesy of Marshall’s Florist

Today several students read poetry that they wrote in front of the whole student body of Boscawen Elementary.  I am so proud of these students who not only took on a challenge to write about such a serious topic on short notice, but for  being risk-takers and standing up in front of the school to read their work. Below are the poems that were read.

Memorial Day

by Izzy

Memorial Day

a holiday

honor the dead

first known as Decoration Day

The graves

of Civil War soldiers

were decorated with flowers

A large number of soldiers

were buried

for honor

we celebrate

for their trust and freedom


Memorial Day

by Jasmyn

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Its the time

to thank and remember

all of the dead.

I think



that they are gone.

That’s why we are here

and free.


Memorial Day

by Tyler

Honor the dead

Celebrated since Civil War

Every last Monday of May

Decoration Day

Now Memorial Day

The time to honor

The departed

And leisure

And relaxation


Memorial Day

by Katie

Soldiers of the past

have died

trying to save us.

We remember them.

We celebrate Memorial Day

We honor the dead

of the Civil War.


Memorial Day

by Beatrice

I can not see the light in it

for remembrance.

But, sometimes I do

and this fact

will be true.

I honor this day

in every way.

In friendship and

love and youth.

This is the time to be happy.


American Flag

by Elizabeth

The American flag has all kinds of colors,

Red, white, and blue.

It stands for our land

and all of our people.

So you should respect the flag too.


Memorial Day

by Marshall

On Memorial Day

we honor the dead.

We see the twinkle in the soldier’s eyes.


to celebrate soldiers who fought

to save our lives.

If we thank them

luck will be brought to us.



Who will win?


We honor those people who fought

On Memorial Day.

The last Monday of May

the day to celebrate and remember

people who fought

is Memorial Day.

Happy April Fool’s Day!


It is hard to believe that it is April already!!!! Where has the year gone? Here is an update of what we have been doing and learning in second grade.

International Baccalaureate

We received news on Thursday that we have been authorized as an official IB school.  This is exciting news! As far as instruction and our school, we will continue to teach your children with the same diligence and effort as always meeting national Common Core Standards and Grade-level expectation for NH and MV.

Where We Are In Place and Time

Our current IB planner is about how communication technologies have changed society over time and how each invention is connected to one another.

Students are inquiring about why people communicate, How communication technologies have changed the world, and the responsibilities of communication.  As we have more and more access to information and social media it is ever so important to discuss what should and and should not be shared and to consider the audience that you are sharing with.  I encourage you to have these conversations with your child.

Student-Led Conferences and Portfolio Share Nights

Thank you to all the families that came to the Student-Led conferences.  Students were so proud and excited about sharing their work with you and put in a lot of effort into preparing.  As may of you know, some of the students were quite nervous because they knew that their learning and progress is important.  After all, that is why we are here.  They reflected on how they are doing and where they have made the most progress as well as areas to improve.  This also gave them a chance to practice speaking and presenting to an authentic audience-you! They will be reflecting on their conference this week and be making spring goals based on your feedback (2 stars and a wish).

Dressing for the Weather

Just a friendly reminder that the weather is always changing in NH and students go outside every day.  Please make sure that they have boots, mittens, and appropriate jackets for the weather on that day.  Our playground can get quite muddy during the rainy springtime and the nurse does not have footwear and clothing to accommodate the whole school population.  Thank you for your help.


We have been reading How to… books and learning about reading non-fiction features when following directions.  Each reading group is reading a different book and working on a variety of projects.  The titles are: How To Grow Crystals, Science-Just Add SaltMaking Make Pop-Ups, and Six Things to Make. Students are using questioning and backing-up-to-read strategies to better understand the directions and then following the directions.  We are then reflecting on how the project or experiment turned out and how their reading comprehension was important to the overall success of the project.  The students are really enthusiastic about this unit.  Be sure to ask your son or daughter which book he/she is reading and what he/she is learning.  (Students are learning about steps in a process, the importance of getting supplies, ingredients, and materials ready, measurement, the scientific process, crafts from around the world, ways to add creativity to other projects and presentations, as well as communication and cooperation skills).


As well as reading How to..books, students are writing their own How to pieces.  We created a checklist of features that a good How to.. should have and are using it as our criteria to write their own pieces.  Students are in the process of typing them on the computers, saving them to their flash drives, and will be printing them out to add pictures and diagrams to help others understand the directions.  They final copies will be made into a class How to… book and each student will get a copy.  The typed version without pictures will be uploaded onto their Learning Blogs.  We will be writing poetry next.


We have begun Unit 9 which focuses on measurement. Students are learning about the importance of using a standard unit of measurement and reviewing how to measure accurately.  This week, students are going to work in teams to write directions of how to use a ruler, tape measure, yard stick correctly and teach it to the kindergarten students.  Another chance to show what they know and present it to an authentic audience. Students will now if they did it well if they can teach it to a younger student.

We continue on practicing math facts with sums to 20 for automaticity (know the answer in 3 seconds or less).  Please have your child practice their addition and subtraction facts at home.  Your child can go to Xtramath.com for quick 3-5 minute drill practice. This skill will help your child with number sense and help when learning more complex math skills in 3r grade such as multiplication, division and using multi-digit algorithms.

To access XtraMath: 1) go to XtraMath.com and click sign in. 2) Type in teachers e-mail (mike@ mv.k12.nh.us), 3) then student name and their pin #.  I wrote student’s pin numbers on the homework sheet last week and this week, though most students have already memorized theirs:) Daily practice is recommended.



Where We Are In Place In Time


The Task: Students worked in their book groups to create a How to..writing piece explaining how to send a message using an assigned form of communication technology. Then, groups presented their information to the class.

Quality Criteria: All members shared the work equally, include some sort of visual to help the audience understand what you are talking about.

The communication devices that were presented were the telegraph, the internet/e-mail, telephone, post office, and the Pony Express.

March Update



Where We Are In Place and Time

Changes in in communication technology have changed the way we work, live, and play together.

We are inquiring about the various forms of communication technologies and how they have changed over the years. We are currently working on a challenge to share what we know about sending a message using different types of communication technologies.  groups will be presenting on Friday.


We have been focusing on being curious readers and asking questions about the books that we read.  We often wonder about things, but when reading, we can actually keep track of our questions and find the answers.  Ask you child about the questions that he/she has been wondering about while reading.


Students are writing “How to..” pieces about things that they know a lot about.  they are finding that writing directions for something has more to it than they originally thought.

Recently, students finished writing a story about a conflict that had a peaceful solution.  They posted them on their Learning Blogs and then gave feedback to their peers. Go to your child’s Learning blog and check out the story that he/she posted.  Leave a compliment and some constructive feedback.  Constructive feedback may take the form of a question.


Students continue to practice their addition and subtraction facts for improved fluency and automaticity. We are learning about fractions as parts of a whole unit, object, or group of something. It is a lot of fun exploring and playing with fractions and is amazing how quickly students pick up and begin to understand how to manipulate and identify fractions.

Report Cards and Student-Led Conferences

Report cards will be issued next Friday.  The following week we will be having our student-led conferences.  A notice with sign-up times will go home this week as I arrange my schedule. These conferences are important to your child’s progress and confidence and hope that you will make every possible effort to make it.

Weather, Recess, and Clothing

The weather is still fairly unpredictable her in NH and would like to make sure that students are still coming to school prepared for outside recess.  This includes hat, mittens/gloves, and boots.  Our playground can get very muddy during the spring with thawing ice and rainy weather.  It is helpful if your child has some sort of boots for recess on those days. Thank you.

“Chalk Talk”


Today in second grade we read, The Terrible Things by Eve Bunting and discussed what was fair and what our responsibilities are when there is conflict and unfairness around us.  After some discussion, students used a reflection tool called “Chalk Talk.” Students used markers and paper rather than chalk to write down their ideas and thoughts about the book and our central idea.  They were not allowed to talk, just write.  Students practiced all of the 12 IB attitudes during this activity: appreciation, independence, integrity, commitment, curiosity, cooperation, confidence, empathy, enthusiasm, respect, and tolerance. This activity took about 10-15 minutes.

Here are some pictures of the activity and the final outcomes from our fabulous group of second graders.

Happy New Year


Welcome back!

I trust that everyone had an enjoyable vacation. I definitely did, but am glad to get back to routine and see all the children!  I would like to welcome Erin Marquis to our class!  Miss Marquis is a student teacher from Southern New Hampshire University and will be with us until early May.  This week, she has been learning our schedule and working with the students in small groups.


It is winter in Boscawen and students must have appropriate clothes to play outside in the snow.  Please make sure that your child has a winter coat, snow pants, hat and mittens or gloves.  They will not be allowed outside without these.  Even when they borrow from the nurse, it takes a considerable amount of extra time to go get them and return them during instructional time.

International Baccalaureate

Theme: Sharing the Planet

Central Idea: Peaceful conflict resolution leads to better quality of human life.

Key Concepts: Change, Perspective, Responsibility

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Causes of conflict
  • Ways people create change in societies
  • How we live and work together peacefully

In the first 2 weeks, students will be inquiring about different types of conflicts and what causes them. Then we will be learning about some different conflicts in history and how they have created change (example: Civil Rights movement). We will finish out unit discussing ways to solve conflicts peacefully. We will begin adding important events from history to our class time line.


Students continue to work on choosing “just-right” books to read independently. They are also in reading groups. The books that we are reading right now are connected to our new IB planner, Sharing the Planet. Some of the titles are: The Drinking Gourd, Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges, My True Story, and Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Ask your child which book he or she is reading in class.


We are writing some fictional stories that are realistic. Stories should becoming more complex and longer. At this point, all stories should have a beginning, middle, and end, as well as a problem and solution. Students are including dialogue and more description when writing to help “paint a picture” in the reader’s mind. Remind and encourage your child to put effort into his or her spelling using sound-spelling strategies.


We are learning about geometry and geometry concepts this month. This week we have been working with lines, line segments, parallel lines, and 3-dimensional shapes. Students used a straightedge to connect end points and construct polygons with and without parallel lines. Tuesday, students worked with partners to compare and contrast various quadrangles.  Wednesday, students worked in small groups creating polygons with their bodies. They learned that a hemisphere is 1/2 of a sphere and that we live in the Northern Hemishpere. Other important vocabulary words were vertex, vertices, faces, base, and edges. Checkout the pictures of the body shapes!

Activity idea for ongoing learning: Look for items at home that resemble 3-dimensional shapes and ask your child to identify the shape, edges, faces, base, and edges.

3-D Shapes: cylinder, cone, rectangular prism, pyramid, sphere, hexagonal prism, and triangular prism





1st Trimester Portfolio Share


Tonight is our first trimester portfolio share from 5-6:30.  Many students are expected to be bringing their parents tonight and are looking forward to showing off their progress so far in 2nd grade.  They have been looking over their goals and work to be sure to point out what they are most proud of.  This is also a practice for the end-of-year student-led conference and portfolio share.

Hope to see you all tonight!

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September 2021

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