PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

2nd Grade: Building Bridges and Characters

Hello Families,

It was a pleasure seeing many of you on Thursday for Parent Teacher Conferences. Here is a brief look at the week ahead. We would like to ask if you are able to send in a box of tissues and a box of pencils. Our supply is dwindling and any donation would be greatly appreciated.

In Writer’s Workshop, we have created two different characters for our Realistic Fiction stories. As writers, we have learned that characters of Realistic Fiction have to possess real human character traits. We have also learned that our characters need to come to life in our stories. Our first character was created by using character traits of a single person that we know really well. Once we listed those traits we gave our character a new name. Our second character was created by combining the traits of two people we know really well into one person and then naming them. Throughout this next week we will be choosing one of theses characters to be our main character in our story. Once our character is chosen, we will want to get to know them really well by placing them in everyday situations, what will they do? How will they react?. A fun home extension for you and your child would be to have your student incorporate their character into their everyday routine. You can ask what the character would be doing at certain times of the day. For example, while having dinner ask your student how their character would be acting and what they would be doing.


In Reader’s Workshop, we are learning how to make inferences through our shared text, The Chalk Box Kid. While we are reading we are creating a book/brain chart. Through this chart we will be showing the information that we are learning from the book itself and what we are learning from our brain (inferring). Our students are creating great connections between The characters in The Chalk Box Kid and Jake Drake, Bully Buster. Be sure to ask at home for them to retell what is happening in the story and how they would feel if they were in Gregory’s shoes.

In Math workshop, we are continuing our study of geometry. This week we are taking a careful look at various 2D shapes. Students are working on describing and categorizing shapes based on their attributes. Since the students are still developing the precise vocabulary of geometry, they have very different ways of talking about and grouping the shapes. Some students take a very artistic approach: “These are all shapes that look like other things. This triangle looks like a mountain!” Others are grouping shapes according to the number of sides or vertices they have. As the kids develop more vocabulary, their observations about the shapes will become more mathematical. Below are some examples of how the students grouped different shapes.

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In addition to geometry, we are continuing to work on addition and subtraction strategies, and to develop in our children the ability to reason logically with mathematical ideas. As I mentioned to many of you at Parent Teacher Conferences, the students are forming an understanding of landmark numbers into the hundreds and are making use of them when solving complex problems. I am resharing the reference sheets for Addition Strategies and Subtraction Strategies for you to use as you work with your children at home. Finally, here again are some Math Websites that align nicely with the models we use at BSI.

In Social Studies, we are exploring the different types of transportation used in urban, suburban, and rural areas. We are thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of different modes of transportation, and how we might address some of the problems the different types present. For example, some students suggested only taking taxis for short distances to make the trip less expensive. Many children believe that self-driving cars would make cars safer and easier for the driver to manage. If only all of the world’s problems could be solved by our kids!
As many of you know, the second graders have been immersed in workshops with The Center for Architecture and Construction Kids. Through the Center for Architecture, we are learning about different types of bridges, and what makes them stable. We are building our own models of the Brooklyn Bridge with Construction Kids, and we are very excited to build our gigantic model in the school yard! Our Annual 2nd Grade Bridge Raising is set for March 23rd, 2017 at 9:15am. If you plan on coming, you can meet us directly in the school yard. We will let you know if the date changes due to any inclement weather. We hope that you can make it!

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Have a great week!

Ms. Mathis and Ms. Anne