PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Second Grade Scientists

Hello Families,

Here is a look into our week ahead…

In Writer’s Workshop, our writers have been busy drafting their second piece of writing. We have learned how to plan out our writing in an organized way so that when we go back to “grow” our idea into a full draft, our stories have structure. We have discovered the elements of a story by looking through many of the books of our mentor author Kevin Henkes. Be sure to ask your kids how their story idea is “growing”, and which details they have tried out in their own writing!

Stories have ….
  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Beginning, Middle and End
  • Problem and Solution
  • Setting
  • Emotions / Feelings
  • Dialogue
  • Action
  • Repetition
  • Illustrations

Here are some examples of students planning sheets:

In Reader’s Workshop, we are learning how to become readers who think deeply about the text. We are using our class read aloud Puppy Power to aid in this discovery. We have noticed that readers do a lot of thinking while they are reading! For example, readers get to know their characters by paying attention to what they do and say. Readers notice patterns. These patterns can tell about a character. While reading Puppy Power, our students noticed that Fran is always doing mean things to Tiffanie and other kids.  This can lead us to think that Fran is not a nice girl, and that this causes problems for her. When reading with your children be sure to ask questions that go beyond a retell. Here are some examples of questions:

  • How is your character acting?
  • Why do you think your character is acting this way?
  • How does this make you feel?
  • How is it making other characters feel?
  • Have you ever felt like the character does? Can you connect to him?
  • Is your character facing a problem? What is she doing about her problem?

In Social Studies, we have been looking at maps that have been created for different purposes. We looked at physical and political maps of the United States, and several different maps of New York City.  We discovered a cultural map of New York City that shows us all the different places that we love to visit! This map included symbols for the Wyckoff House, The Bronx Zoo, The Statue of Liberty and many more of our favorite cultural institutions. We then created our own personal maps of New York City. Our cartographers used all that they have learned to create these beautiful maps!


In Science, we are starting to answer some of the questions we have about rocks, including: “Can rocks be smaller than sand?” We will be observing dry sand, and then noticing what happens when it interacts with water. Then our scientists will be using their five senses to observe what happens when we let the sand and water mixture sit overnight. Be sure to ask your scientist about their hypothesis and conclusion!  

This week in Math Workshop, we are starting a new investigation called “City Streets”, which tells the story of walking a certain number of city blocks and spending money at a store. This investigation gives students an opportunity to explore and juxtapose two models of subtraction: difference and removal. Students often vary their strategies when solving these two types of problems. They often solve difference problems by adding on (27+___=38), while they solve removal problems by taking away (38-27=___). In doing so, our mathematicians are beginning to discover the connection between addition and subtraction, which in turn helps them become more flexible with their thinking.

Just a few reminders:

  • Our September/October Birthday Celebration will be on October 31st at 1:45pm.
  • For any new students, we do not wear any Halloween costumes to school.
  • Our next class trip will be on November 6th (201) or November 8th (202). Please dress your child appropriately. We will be taking a nature hike through the woods. You can also spray your child with bug spray before school in the morning.
  • assignments will be posted on a regular basis, so be sure to check the site weekly.

Have a great week!

Ms. Mathis and Ms. Anne