Morning Work: How We Transition from Home to School

Morning Work: How We Transition from Home to School

Dear Families,

Our first full week of second grade was busy and productive. This weekend,  for the first time, your children brought home their yellow “Friday Folders”.  The folder contains work that your child has done over the last few weeks, as well as drawings or projects created during free choice time.

Going forward, we will send the folders home almost every Friday. Often, the papers you will find in the folder are what we call “Morning Work.” This is work that we have ready for the children as they enter the class each day. It might be a math review, such as “Number-of-the-Day”, a reading comprehension page, or, vocabulary work related to our Inquiry Unit.

In second grade, Morning Work serves several purposes. First, it is a way of helping the children transition from home to school by providing  a comfortable routine at the beginning of each day. In addition, Morning Work serves as a quick check-in on a particular skill or concept, allowing us to provide extra support or challenges for individual students in an upcoming lesson. At other times, we might use Morning Work to introduce a new idea (within a familiar format ) that we will revisit  later in the day.  Sometimes the folder will also contain math work from our Everyday Math curriculum, projects from other classes such as Music or Spanish, or information from Baker about special events.

Much of our work in second grade is project-based and is completed over extended periods of time. Often children’s work is kept at school so that they can reference it during the course of a unit. Or, we might display work in the classroom or on hallway bulletin boards. For example, the childrens’ recent personal narrative writing project will soon be displayed outside our classroom, along with the watercolor paintings that accompany each story. Children take great pride in seeing their work displayed and it is wonderful to watch and listen as older children stop and read second grader’s stories or comment on their art work.

One ongoing project, that will remain at school until the end of the year, is our “ Math Reference Folder”.  As we explore new ideas in math we necessarily are introduced to new terms and vocabulary: this week for example children learned about terms such as ; “combinations of ten”, “number models”, “ the turn-around rule”.  For each of these terms the children will create a personal reference card containing the word or phrase and, an example of the concept. These cards are kept in a special folder in each child’s cubby, and the children use them as they feel the need. Creating their own cards, rather than having a posted or premade definition, helps the children to better incorporate the concepts. And, having reference materials of their own making is empowering, as well.

Children use their math vocabulary in daily discussions about problems like the one below, which was the basis of a conversation about “doubles facts”.

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When asked how they might solve this problem, one child offered:

“Well, I know my doubles fact: 8 plus 8 is 16. And I know that 6 is 2 less that 8. So, I take away 2 from 16 and get 14!”   Another child might know that 6+6 is 12 and count up from there using a number line or number grid.

Discussions like this give us insight into how children are thinking and allow for the group to understand that there are many strategies for finding and answer. As we continue in math this year will be building our mathematical language and will practice expressing our thinking  both orally and in writing.


Jane Rothschild

Second Grade Teacher