PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Second Grade Construction

Hello Families,

What a busy week we have had so far, and there is more to come! Here is a look at our week.

First and foremost, our Brooklyn Bridge Raising is Tomorrow at 9:15 in the school yard. We look forward to seeing you there. Please dress warmly!!

In Writer’s Workshop, our realistic fiction characters came to life and are beginning to tell us stories. We have been writing our characters into different situations such as their morning routines and how they get to school. We even began to think about our characters’ birthdays and their favorite holidays. The students are working on adding details to their writing to make it more ‘real’ and exciting for the reader. Our students have also learned about different perspectives they can use in their writing. They learned that they can become the character and that is called 1st person perspective or another character or person can be telling the story and that is 3rd person perspective. The students are now thinking as authors and making important decisions about their stories.

Here are two examples of student stories:

IMG_0984.JPG     IMG_0983.JPG

In math, we are continuing our Geometry unit with a focus on rectangles. Our students spent time this week trying to put different rectangles in size order. Some kids ordered their rectangles according to length or width, while other kids used different strategies to consider the amount of space each rectangle covers. This led to a discussion of area, and all the students used square tiles to determine the areas of all the rectangles. Students then built different rectangles with the square tiles and described them using the terms “row” and “column”. For fun activities this week, you can play Rectangle Riddle with your student at home or go on a shape hunt in your house.  Rectangle Riddle requires some grid paper and creativity.  A good riddle might be, “I am a rectangle with 4 rows and 12 total squares, what am I?’ or ‘I am a rectangle with 2 rows by 5 columns, what am I and how many squares make up my area?’  You can use the grid paper to draw out each rectangle and compare solutions.  This is a very fun way to enforce concepts of early multiplication as well as area.

In Social Studies, we are wrapping up our Urban, Suburban, and Rural unit by thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of living in each community. The students will be creating a watercolor painting of a community, highlighting particular positive or negative aspects of the area. We looked at paintings and discussed the choices the artists made, and how those choices affected the mood of the paintings. Some works we looked at include:


Martin Wong, Stanton Near Forsyth Street, 1983

Some students noticed that this work had a scary or lonely feeling because of the colors and the people placed so far apart in the painting. Others noticed the lights and the buildings and thought that the artist was highlighting the types of homes found in the city.



Tim Kennedy, On Lincoln Street, 2011

Students noticed the leafy trees and colorful homes in this suburban painting, and felt that the artist wanted to emphasize the positive attributes of suburban life.



John Steuart Curry, Wisconsin Landscape, 1938–39

Many students found this painting to be scary because of the dark storm clouds. They said that the artist wanted to highlight the bad weather that can affect rural areas.

In Tribes, we talked about Mutual Respect and what that looks, sounds and feels like in the classroom and also outside of the classroom. The students came up with great thoughts! Here is a chart that we made together showing their thinking.


We will be having a Mutual Respect Popcorn party on Friday. Students were given papers and will be watching for signs of Mutual Respect throughout the day and will be writing their observations down. On Friday we will be crumbling our papers into kernels and ‘popping’ them in our community circle. We will share what we have noticed as a community, and we will then share a snack together. We can’t wait to show you some pictures!

Finally, please remember that Friday, March 24th is a half day.  


Ms. Mathis and Ms. Anne