Monday, July 29, 2013

Family Projects

 I want to let you know that 2nd grade is when the kids really begin to read to learn, we are no longer just learning to read.  In my opinion, the biggest change is that Science and Social Studies have unit quizzes, paragraph writing, and sometimes even tests.  Expect to work on and turn in monthly family projects and monthly book reports.  The family projects all relate to Science, Social Studies or current events.  These projects are tied to the report card and standard that says:
Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
b. Build on others’ talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.
c. Ask for clarification and further explanation as needed about the topics and texts under discussion.
2. Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
3. Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
In 2nd grade we still call them family projects because the students learn from and with you on how to plan and present their projects. This is helpful because in the upper grades students are expected to do projects like dioramas, posters (3rd &4th) and 5th Grade has been known to have a science fair.  The grades will be based on how well they discuss the project with me and each other. With each project, we give a grading rubric so you can also begin to learn how effort=grade.  The District Benchmarks in December and March have a similar activity that matches the family projects called the “Extended Response”. The children work independently on these District Benchmarks.  While the benchmarks are not reflected on the report cards, it is important that they are prepared for the task. I also think that it is important that their report card grades should be relatively similar to these benchmark results because its an equalizer between all 2nd graders in Cobb.  

After completing one year in 2nd Grade, I am even more confident that the Family Projects are a crucial element for your children’s success this year and for the future.  

homework, book reports and family projects 2013-2014
Spelling tic-tac-toe grid

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Welcome to 2nd Grade 2013-2014

Welcome to my blog.  This is new for us as I didn't blog back in kindergarten. Feel free to glance through old posts to become familiar with how things work. If you have gmail, its really easy to make comments right on the blogs and I have found that most parents have the same questions so please speak up. 

      I have to say, when I met many of you 2 years ago, I did not expect us to be working so closely together again.  I enjoyed working in 2nd grade last year and am looking forward to being with some of my old students and families again this up coming year.  I am also excited to get to know the new students and families.  

I look forward to our time together.  This blog shares much of the information you need as the year progress.  Please check for emails, texts and this blog for updates about classroom events.  You may also receive emails from I like to use this for Parent Teacher Conference sign-up and class activities where I need volunteers or supplies. Please reply to those emails on the website.    In order for you to communicate with me, I accept calls & texts to my cell, and emails to my private email.  As I too have family and church responsibilities, if I do not answer immediately, I will reply to all messages as soon as I am free.  Please be sure to contact me with questions, comments or concerns.

Miss Gustafson 
August 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thanks for a great year!

As the new school year is gearing up, I am really thinking on what went well, what I need to change and what I need to drop. I think the best part of the year was the children and families that I was blessed to work with. I am so very thankful to have had such a compassionate group of students. 

They really took care of each other and were more like a family than a random collection of kids.  From the beginning, they looked out for each other and over me. The way the majority of the kids stepped up to help Jayden and Tali acclimate to HLES and their acceptance of kids with different needs was phenomenal. I don't see how I can ever recreate such a lovely, nurturing group of students and I'll always be grateful. 

Grateful, because, I too was a recipient of your unconditional love and understanding. The passing of my brother David was the hardest event in my life to deal with. But the support that you as parents and friends gave to me was overwhelming. A few of you came to school every day afterwards to help and encourage me. Not only did you show when I was at school, but many of you came to support the substitute, in my absence. I also know that many of you were praying for me, my family and David's son. It was your love and support that really carried me through, and I am more thankful than words can express. 

You have awesome children. Each one is special in their own right, and I hope that all of their other teachers see what I see. Thank you for your diligence in learning the new standards, the family projects and the new way to do math. Lol! I was sure you guys would start a revolution against the math a few times! But we made it through, and I am confident in the kids's knowledge and preparedness for 3rd grade. Keep in mind 3rd grade is about the students being more independent in their studies, and that homework practices will be very different!   Homework will most likely be due everyday, and family projects will become student projects. Our projects were not mandatory in 2nd grade because it was a  learning year, but be prepared to back off a little on the projects and let the children's creativity take over! I hope you had enough practice! 

Also, when buying school supplies, there's an item that says "(Hudson only)", that is the name of 1 of the teachers. Its not a brand name. Lol, I've gotten a few texts and calls from parents about it, and wanted to clarify, you only need that if you get Mrs Hudson as your teacher.  The supplies might be used as community property, so don't buy the most expensive/prettiest/coolest notebooks or pencils with pictures. The pencils with pictures tear up the pencil sharpeners.  Also, keep in mind that the music, gym, art and computer teachers do not have supply lists. They probably could use some tissues and hand sanitizer for their classrooms.  By the way- Elmers is the best glue, Ticonderoga is the best pencils, Crayola is the best crayons and markers (other brands are cheaper the colors are not right on and they break to easily). Paper can be generic. 

To the kids, our AR challenge is on! I'll take you to dinner when you reach 250points and you can pick an activity when you reach 500! Keep me posted on your goals!

I'm sad to say that we've had a few friends move away from Mableton over the summer. To the Nance family and the Talley family you guys will be missed. If you've moved, and I didn't know before now, keep in touch! 

Good Luck in 3rd Grade! 
Love, G