Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall is Here!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are enjoying this glorious fall weekend! I saw many smiling faces at Applefest events this weekend. It is always nice to see my students and their families out having a good time together. I especially enjoyed catching up with some of my former students who are now at Melican Middle School and Algonquin Regional High School. Fortunately, they are aging and I am not!

Many Zeh families were also able to make it out to see "Magic by Scott" at MMS. This event was sponsored by the Northboro PTOs. It was well attended and many children were amazed at Scott's talent. He was also pretty funny!

Scott Twirling Flags

Scott Juggles...

Saturday was a PERFECT day for a parade, a streetfair, a concert...

Emma was eager for the parade to begin.

Abbie (Mrs. Lemieux's daughter), Emma & I pose for a quick picture!

More 2nd Grade Friends at the parade! We found Morghan & Burke and their mom too!

So here is a quick update from Room 13...

Reading: We have begun reading groups and are working on stories related to our science theme of "Lifecycle of the Frog". We are using various texts to teach an assortment of higher level skills such as: Reading Road Signs (punctuation and how to use/read it), indenting paragraphs, using quotation marks to tell who is speaking in the story, and how to "Put the Q in the A" (question in the answer) when answering comprehension questions. Everyone is working hard and bringing great background knowledge to the discussions.

Writing: We have begun to work with the writing process and use our new graphic organizers. First, we brainstormed ideas and drew detailed pictures with labels. Next, we transferred our ideas to our "Hamburger" graphic organizers. The students have had lots of modeling of this process and I am using the document camera to make this a very visual experience for everyone. I am very impressed with the writers in Room 13!

Mathematics: We are spending time writing number stories and solving word problems. The students also learned about the proper signs for <, =, >. We played a card game to demonstrate our new skills. We will be moving into time and money very shortly.

Science: We read From Tadpole to Frog, a nonfiction text by Wendy Pfeffer. We discussed what a lifecycle is and the stages that the frog goes through from egg to adult. The children completed a lifecycle activity. We fianlly did receive our tadpoles on Wednesday, but they were not very hardy. Unfortunately, they had swam on to the big pond in the sky by Thursday afternoon. Fortunately, we were able to get replacement tadpoles overnighted to us, and we now have a larger tadpole. Hopefully, it survived the weekend?!? We will be observing the tadpole and learning more about the body parts of the frog this week.

Read Aloud: After a vote, the majority of students wanted to continue with the next story in the Judy Moody series, Judy Moody Gets Famous. Upon completion of the story, we will move onto a different book/series. On the plus side, I have seen many of the children requesting other Judy Moody books at DEAR time. It is nice to see that they enjoy her antics!

Mural Work: Ms. Meg has also completed a few more characters in our classroom. Take a look at our new friends. Who do you recognize?

Arf! It's Clifford the Big Red Dog!

Frog & Toad

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...

Strega Nona (Ms. Meg's Favorite Mural!)

Thank you all for making our Open House such a success! Even with the new format/time, we had a fabulous turnout. I enjoyed meeting with you and look forward to seeing you again soon. Mrs. Moyer has graciously volunteered to be our Room Parent this year. Please assist her as needed. For my parents who volunteered for other tasks, I will be making a calendar for next month with names/dates/times. Please contact me if you are unable to make the date. We are often counting on your support for an activity that day. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedules to participate in your child's education!


  1. Entertainment Fundraiser ends Monday, September 22. Please return all books/orders to school.
  2. No School on Tuesday, September 30th for Rosh Hashanah.

  3. No School on Thursday, October 9th for Yom Kippur.

  4. No School on Monday, October 13th for Columbus Day.

Have a GREAT weekend!

-JoAnne Gorham

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Friends...

Hi Everyone!

I hope this post finds you enjoying a wonderful weekend with your families and perhaps, the first Pats game sans Tom Brady! Hopefully, it will go well!
We have had such a busy, full week in Room 13! I am pleased that the students are opening up and sharing more of themselves with the class. Morning Meeting is a huge help with that! This week, we focused on using international greetings. We used Jambo (Swahili), Guttan Morgan (German), Bonjour (French), Hola (Spanish), and Kale Mera (Greek). A few students shared knowledge of additional languages and we will use them in the coming weeks. We also participated in a few new activities during our meeting. Please ask your child how to play: "No, No, No"; "I'm Going on a Picnic"; "Pop!"; and "Cooper Says...". We had a great time together!

Ms. Otte also joined in and was "Cooper" for our game. Mark took over for her.

This week, we also had our first All-School Meeting about goals. Room 13 decided on 2 goals for the 2008-2009 year: 1.) We want to read 100 chapter books. 2.) We want to fill the sparkle jar 5 times. A few students were our representatives at the meeting and shared our goals with the Zeh comunity.

Mrs. Whitten invited our class representatives to share our goals.

At the conclusion of the goal meeting, Mrs. Whitten also kicked off our first Zeh Enrichment program featuring Joel Warren. He was upbeat and inspirational and encouraged all students to adopt an "I Can Do It" attitude. Check out his link for more information.

This week we also started using our Weekly Reader. We learned all about animal migration. Did you know that some animals walk, fly, or swim to migrate? The students worked on comprehension questions with mystery partners. It was a great way to work with new friends!

Last Friday, the whole second grade gathered in Mrs. Dallaire's room and we watched "Frog & Toad" to launch our new reading/science unit. We will be using the stories to develop phonics and reading comprehension skills. In science, we will be learning all about the lifecycle of the frog. Our new tadpole should be arriving this week! Pleas start thinking of some name suggestions for our new pet!

Another familiar face this week was Judy Moody. We read the first book in the series and laughed our way through Judy's misadventures. Ask your child to tell you about the T.P. Club or Judy's hand trick that she played on her brother, Stink.

Well, I think that is it for now. I am looking forward to another great week with the students of Room 13. I am also looking forward to meeting you on Tuesday from 7:50-8:10 (in the classroom) and then, Mrs. Whitten will meet with you from 8:10-8:30 (in the cafeteria). I believe there is a primary election happening at Zeh that day as well. Parking may be tricky, so you may want to park in the church lot next door. Have a great week!

-JoAnne Gorham

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Off and running...

Hi Everyone!
We are off and running in room 13! Thank you very much for all the school supplies and sending your child to school with a great attitude. This class is a delight to work with!

We have spent the first week of school getting to know each other and building a strong classroom community. At morning meeting, we are using a variety of greetings and activities. It is such a nice way to bond and begin our day together!

We have also brainstormed our class goal for the year and generated a list of "Hopes & Dreams". You will be able to view your child's "Hope & Dream" as well as their self-portrait at the Grade 2 Open House (September 16th from 7:50-8:30 AM). Hope to see you there!

In addition to all that, we have begin our routine second grade assessments for math, reading, and spelling. This will help to guide instruction for the coming weeks.

We've been so busy, there has not been too much time to take pictures. Here are just a few quick pictures of some activities...

Finding out who is "Just Like Me!" in our class

We learned how to play "Tens Go Fish" in math.

Last Friday, we had a special mystery visitor come to our class- Ms. Meg (a.k.a. my sister). Ms. Meg has just recently graduated from college and has moved to Brighton. While I am thrilled to have her close by, I am even more thrilled that she is willing to share her time and talents in our classroom. Ms. Meg loves doing mural work and I have wanted to have famous children's literature characters on my classroom walls for quite a while. In just a few short hours, she transformed our boring white walls into vibrant works of art that were familiar to the children. The students also got a real kick out of watching her go from pencil sketch, to paint, to final product. She will be back to add a few more "friends" to our walls in the near future. We are so lucky to have a beautiful room to learn in this year! Feel free to stop by before or after school to check it out.

What is Ms. Meg making?

Our finished Curious George

Our Hungry Caterpillar appeared when we returned from library.
Look! I found "Spot, the Dog!"

Isn't that "Some Pig"?!


Please send in all "Office" paperwork ASAP such as: Blue Emergency Card, Health Form, Insurance Form, Media Permission Slip, Acceptable Use for Technology...and that's all I can remember right now. If you are missing anything, I will be sending home additional copies in the coming days.

I am looking forward to another great week and I hope you have one as well!

-JoAnne Gorham