Welcome to Second Grade!
My name is Chris Cahoon, and I am excited to be your second grade teacher! This year will truly be an adventure for all of us as we learn and grow together! You can expect to go on expeditions and work on meaningful projects. In addition to that, you will learn about thinking strategies, problem-solving, collaboration, teamwork, coding robots and much, much more. We are going to have an amazing year together!
Info for Parents
By attending NExA, your child has a unique opportunity to experience project based learning coupled with expeditions which extend the learning by getting kids out into the community. There is no other school like us in the area!
What is project based learning (PBL)?
Project based learning allows students to deeply learn content and state standards through solving a real world problem or answering a complex question. It involves sustained inquiry of a topic, collaboration with peers, critical thinking, communication skills and problem solving. Students work for an extended period of time on a project and then present their learning to a real audience on exhibition night. If you are interested in learning more about PBL, here is an informative website: http://www.bie.org/about/what_pbl.
Research shows that project based learning effectively prepares students for school and for life beyond school. The benefits include students who are interested in learning and who become creative problem solvers while building 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, responsibility and taking initiative. The Buck Institute for Education has compiled a variety of research reports which support PBL: http://www.bie.org/about/why_pbl.
What is an expedition?
For each project, we take learners on expeditions where they can learn from experts in our community or experience the topic they are studying first hand. Expeditions aren’t just field trips but are opportunities for students to extend the learning they’ve done in the classroom. We rely heavily on parent volunteers to make the expeditions happen. We will give as much notice as possible for each expedition so that you can plan ahead. Please try to volunteer for at least one expedition this year. I am certain you will enjoy it if you do.
Let’s Keep in Touch!
As partners in your child's education, I believe that communication is key. I will send home newsletters every other Friday, but in between newsletters I like to use a free tool called Class Messenger. This is a way for you to contact me quickly through text message and for me to send out information about what is happening in class. I frequently send messages to remind or inform you of upcoming events. I will send home directions on how to sign up.
Another free tool I use is See Saw. This is a private online portfolio where students can post pictures or videos of their work, and you can view it and make comments from home. It's a great way for you to be involved in what we're doing in class. Students need to sign up first and create an artifact. Once students are signed up, I will send home instructions for you to sign up as well.
About our class:
We will start each day with a morning meeting. Morning meetings build a positive classroom culture by:
- Setting a tone for respectful and engaged learning in a climate of trust
- Building and enhancing connections among students and between students and teachers
- Merging academic, social, and emotional learning
- Motivating students by addressing the human need to feel a sense of significance and belonging, and to have fun
Our first project will be around building a positive and successful classroom culture through researching the question, “How do we build a successful classroom community?” In addition to answering the question, students will collect and present artifacts about themselves as individuals as well as conduct surveys and display information about the class as a whole. This will help students get to know each other and start building positive friendships.
I love to have parents help in the classroom! Once I know what needs I have, I will send out a sign up form with times and tasks that are available. Look for this in October.
Students often feel hungry before or after lunch. Please send in something that can be shared such as a bag of pretzels, crackers, graham crackers, veggie straws, Cheez-its, animal crackers, etc. If you prefer, you are welcome to send an individual snack for your child instead.
I love to celebrate birthdays! If you want to send in treats, just send me a message on Class Messenger or email me to let me know ahead of time, so I can plan for it.
I don’t assign a lot of homework, however, students will be expected to read nightly and practice their math skills. I will send optional homework packets on Friday and kids can work on them throughout the week. Students can choose how long to read, but remember, the more kids read, the better readers they become.