A Peek Inside the Classroom: Mrs. Melymuka's 2nd Grade Class
“Magic scrap, magic scrap, who can find the magic scrap?” Mrs. Melymuka softly whispers in the necklace microphone. The students are transitioning from one lesson to the next, taking a break, and tidying up the room by playing a clean-up game. “Is this it?” asks one student. “That’s not it,” Mrs. Melymuka responds, “keep searching!” The children are all hunting for the one piece of paper that Mrs. Melymuka has secretly declared the “magic scrap”, and by picking up all the little pieces of scrap paper around the floor, each student is hoping to find the exact piece. After several attempts, it is found! “Friends, give Will a round of applause for finding the magic scrap!” The kids all clap, throw out their found garbage scraps, and now it’s time to sit on the carpet for today’s Writer’s Workshop lesson.
As Mrs. Melymuka begins the lesson for the day by reviewing when to use capital letters, she asks the class to think of examples. They want to share their answers right away, and some do. “Lock it in!” Mrs. Melymuka urges. She knows they have the answers, but there is more to teach first. Using a fun text from a Nate the Great book, Mrs. Melymuka indicates examples where the author uses capital letters, all along the way asking questions of the students, keeping them deeply engaged in the exercise.
Now it’s time for the students to give their answers. Mrs. Melymuka brings up a new passage and asks the students to say “capital!” as soon as the pointer hits a word that should be capitalized. The passage is a letter, which begins with the greeting “Dear.” When every student yells out “capital!” right away, Mrs. Melymuka doesn’t miss a beat, and quietly but enthusiastically praises the students saying, “Kiss your brains.” Every student immediately kisses their own fingertips and touches them to their foreheads.
With the lesson on the carpet now completed, the students return to their desks for a working snack. While listening to soothing music, they work independently on their opinion pieces or letters to Mrs. Melymuka’s son, who asked for book recommendations. One student declares, “I’m done!” to which Mrs. Melymuka states, “When you’re done, you’ve just….” and the class all fills in the blank, “BEGUN!” Mrs. Melymuka has taught her 2nd grade class at Eastover that “the writing process is cyclical. There’s always more you can do to emphasize your writing and make it more convincing.”