Veterans’ Day 2015

Until just a few years ago, Veterans’ Day came and went at Robinson without much fanfare.  I mean, yeah, we’d mention it to our classes, perhaps watch a video or read a book about why the day was special, but that was pretty much it.  There was not a whole-school focus, an assembly or any other type of celebration.  Then ( I believe the year Mrs. Kesler became our FABULOUS music teacher), that all changed and Veterans’ Day became one of the most special days on the calendar. :) Remember last year?

Even before the day came we were hard at work: writing letters of thank you to veterans, as well as creating the centerpiece place mats for the tables in the cafeteria for the reception.

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And pretty much since school started, too, kiddos have been working on the music for the assembly we hold yearly now to celebrate those who give/gave their very best to keep us safe and sound.  While I would love to invite each and every one of you to experience what is now Veterans’ Day at our school, I only have a couple of short videos to share.  It’s a taste at least, right? :)  Oh, and I HATE to admit this, but it always seems that my phone runs out of memory right in the middle of someone’s video I’m trying to record–yep, at just the WRONG moment–and this time it was during the girls’ song. :(  (Since we split boys and girls for specials, our grade level had two songs).  Hopefully you’ll get the idea.  Again–super sorry I didn’t catch it all. :(

Before 2nd grade started, Khalani got to represent our grade and read a special thank you poem for the veterans.  Our theme was HEROES.


Then the boys sang their tribute:

Girls took their turn next:

I found two more pictures of how handsome and beautiful we look all dressed up:


Happy Veterans’ Day!  How did you celebrate the special day? :)

Field Trip Fun in Downtown StL

We are lucky to be able to take field trips–pretty much to anywhere we want to go!  This year our team was trying to think outside-the-box a little more than usual, planning for field studies that not only connect to our 2nd grade curriculum, but that are important experiences for all kids to have in general.  We’ve thrown out some amazing ideas, and this fall we ended up with a trip that I’m pretty sure no one had ever gone on before. It was related to our study of economics, and was loads of fun, too. :)

Mrs. Driscoll worked it out for us to be able to visit the Federal Reserve Bank (and I hate to admit I didn’t even know we had one in our city!), as well as the Old Courthouse, which is a great historical building to visit.  But wait–the best part (or at least the fancy-schmanciest part) is that we got to eat lunch in a hotel ballroom!  Yep–she worked hard to secure a venue that would accommodate us no matter what St. Louis fall weather would throw at us–and we ended up being welcomed by the Crowne Plaza hotel, which was right across the street from both of the places we were visiting.  And yes, it was a lucky find–by the time it was time for lunch it was pouring down rain!  Way to go, Mrs. Driscoll, and thanks Crowne Plaza!

One more picture:


Look! Ava got to have both of her parents on our trip–Mom came along as a chaperone, and Dad works at the Federal Reserve Bank and got to join us for lunch! He was working that day and planned it so he could be on duty when we visited the museum at the bank.  What a special surprise!

We learned much, laughed a lot and had a great time!

Halloween 2015 (a little late…)

Yep, I know.  It’s Thanksgiving week.  And you know what?  If I remember correctly, I posted about Halloween on Thanksgiving last year, too.  And this year, too.  Man.  Oh well, it’s true that it’s better late than never, right? :)

I don’t have much to say about it, except that we had SUPER 2nd grade costumes, a SUPER party thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Gordhamer (it even involved an obstacle course in our room that TOTALLY worked, even among the other stations with games and a snack.  Kiddos totally ROCKED being respectful and appropriate!), and a SUPER parade around the grounds of Aberdeen Heights next door.  The residents love to see our smiling faces and fancy costumes and we waved at SO MANY PEOPLE!

Yep, it was great!  I don’t have many pictures because I was too busy having fun, but here are a few:

Ok, and since this is my blog, and so I can be a little bit indulgent sometimes, here are two more from my own Halloween at home (you know you were wondering!!):

Hope yours was fun!  Here’s to posting Halloween pics in October next year! LOL


Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of November 16-20, 2015

I apologize for the fact that it’s been nearly THREE WEEKS since I last wrote on this blog.  I’m not even sure what happened.  Oh wait, I do.  Life happened.  And I was tired.  It was one of those times in life when you have to do really cool things and take pictures of really cool things, but not write about it, you know?  Oh well, here’s to trying to fix that.  Starting now.  So onward we go!


We were starting a new unit in math this past week, so the warm-ups were no longer addition and subtraction.  This one is connected to some essential questions we will be chewing on throughout the unit, as well as serving as a way for me to know with what background knowledge everyone is starting.



Another essential question from our unit…



This pic is obviously NOT a math warm-up but is instead a view of where we were on this particular morning.  I sometimes use our warm-up routine as a way to make plans for our day, or to highlight a goal that we will all be working on together.  This was related to the work we were doing last week with remembering to focus on caring for others rather than just ourselves first.


Back on track with measurement.  :)


This last one isn’t a math warm-up, nor do I remember what day it’s from, but it was a great example of how math happens all the time in our room!  Oh, and it used skills we had just learned in our last unit, so it was great practice.  We were starting a new chapter book (Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne–a Magic Treehouse book), and were interested in knowing when the first Thanksgiving took place.  We figured out we could subtract or count up to figure it out.  We decided to use the Circle, Split, Subtract with a Number line strategy that we had learned.  It worked! :) And….Thanksgiving started a long time ago. :)


Whew!  It feels good to be back in the blogging game again. :)  Thanks for coming back to read!


Ok, so not really, but when you take a great picture with another great teacher, you have to share it, right?  Well, yes. :)

IMG_5525-minAnd yes, I know it looks silly for me to be holding Diet Dr. Pepper, but it’s really life, so I left it there.  Just focus on how happy we are.  Robinson is a great place to be every day!!

Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of October 12-16, 2015

This week we began a new unit on adding and subtracting within 100 (which is actually a unit we had last year, as well, so should be something that we remember.  Should…time will tell if that’s true. LOL :) ).

This time around we’re focusing more on making sure mathematicians are flexible and can show their thinking in more than one way.  As with last time, we’ll also make sure they can choose a strategy appropriately based on the numbers (rather than just which strategy the like best or is easiest for them), and we’ll also continue to work on being clear with our communicating our mathematical thinking.

Here we go!

The first strategy we worked on for this unit is called HTO, or hundreds/tens/ones.  Yeah, it’s kind of an obvious name for what they are doing, so I guess it works. :)

IMG_5508-minEach kiddo has a workbook where we’re showing our thinking, and I had to share what Emily’s looked like after I taught this strategy.  She kind of liked it. :)

 Here’s more about how that strategy works:


First you mark the first number on the chart (98) and then add on tallies to show the second number (31). Then look to see if you can find any tens or ones you need to move over to the next column. Finally, add down the columns to find your answer.

Ok, so this post is a little misleading, because that was the only warm-up I have to share.  The rest is more from what we did in our conversations in math.  Hope that’s ok. :)

On Friday, we started another strategy that is Adding on the Numberline (and actually using another strategy called Circle/Split/Add):

We still have a strategy or two to teach, and then we’ll just practice them until they’re solid.  The thing I have to keep reminding kiddos (especially those that are focused on being RIGHT and being FAST) is that this unit is as much as communicating and being flexible as it is about finding the right answer (although, OF COURSE that’s also expected. :) ).