Friday, September 4, 2015

second grade rocks

our school has a really big rock out in front
"Letter by letter, the bigger the better--
Great big words!"                                      --Michael Mark & Tom Chapin

And so a new school year begins, with a change from the tiniest full-timers at the school--the kindergarteners--to the not-very-much-bigger second-graders.  Looking back now at my consternation* over this change, I realize that I believed that 7-year-olds would be simultaneously* less innocent and more challenging* than 5-year-olds, less imaginative* and more conservative* than 5-year-olds, less new and sparkly and more ordinary*.

I must have had rocks in my head.  Second grade rocks, especially in the first week of school!  They do not consider themselves too grown-up to enjoy the same greetings and singing games as the 5's, but when you say "Please line up," they already know how to do it.  They were thrilled to climb all over the big rock, but they were able to stop climbing and thoughtfully describe it. And they are very into vocabulary* and learning great big words as well as different words for the same thing.  Just yesterday we compared vomit, puke, barf and throw up in our discussion of the very few things that might interrupt our work on Independent Reading Stamina.  (We reached 10 minutes by Thursday, without nausea* or emesis.*)  Perhaps "Magic Pebbles" would not be a wrong class name after all...thesey are small and shiny and smooth and powerful, just like Sylvester's Magic Pebble.

You'll understand why the following might be the first Poetry Friday poem for our Poetry Anthologies.  I found it in The Walker Book of Poetry for Children

Flint | Christina Rossetti

An emerald is as green as grass,
       A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
      A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone,
     To catch the world's desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
     But a flint holds fire.

The round-up today is with Linda Baie at TeacherDance, one of the several Poetry Friday participants who generously contributed to my DonorsChoose project.  I'm thrilled and grateful to say that my request for 4 Kindle Fire HD tablets, intended for allowing kids to enjoy the ever-growing array of online read-aloud sites and apps, was fully funded in less than a week!  However, it's not too late to help,  Any additional donations will come to my classroom in the form of gift cards that I can use to purchase headphones and cases for the tablets.  Long live crowd-funding, and thanks!


  1. I love this post from top to bottom, Heidi -- your enthusiasm for your students, that flinty-firey poem, and your DonorsChoose success!

  2. This is wonderful! I think it's perfect that you have kids who will enjoy exploring words with you. Love the Christina Rossetti poem. Seems to suit your class very well.

  3. Rossetti wrote some great, compact poems. I'm glad you moved so effortlessly into second grade, Heidi!

  4. I taught first grade mostly, but I know by the end of the year, as they were becoming second graders, I always wanted to go one with them! They still had that sparkle, and lots of the rough edges were already smooth!
    Awesome funding!!!!

  5. I'm glad that you've discovered that "fire" in the second graders, Heidi. And congratulations for the rapid success of the Donors Choose project-so exciting! Enjoy your "magic pebbles".

  6. Sounds like your second graders are on fire, with plenty of spark and shine. Yay! (Did you see my comment previously about offering to donate some second grade science books by moi? I've got plenty if you'd like a few for your new class library.)

  7. What I hear between the lines is a passionate teacher who loves kids. You make learning fun and your students respond to that. Sounds like the start of a great year.

  8. Good to hear that you are loving second graders!

    Three cheers for flint, Ohio's state gemstone! (Did you realize that it actually belongs with the other gems in the poem?)

  9. Ah, so late to this post, but I just wanted to tell you how happy it made me to read, Heidi. :)

  10. 2nd graders are delicious little ones full of curiosity and energy. My days of working with 8 2nd grade classrooms were part of my reading specialist role as a lead-coach in days when there was no such title. I got to work with collegial teachers and amazing children so enjoy every bit of 2nd grade. It already seems that you are in love with this new position. Thanks for the poem and good luck with the donor program.

  11. That's a killer last line. What a great poem to pair with Sylvester and his magic pebble. So glad you're enjoying your new/older students, Heidi.


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