5135 Wexford Run Road, Wexford, PA 15090

PHONE: 724-935-4044


September 2014                                                                                


Dear Second Grade GOAL Parents,


            Greetings from GOAL!     I am looking forward to working with you and your child this year. I will be contacting you during the school year when your GIEP date approaches and asking for your invaluable input. Your child will be with me for about 90 minutes each week for the unit portion of GOAL. The Voyage of the Mimi is a motivating, fun, and challenging unit, and I am sure your child will enjoy embarking on this adventure.  This year we’ll “sea” the GOAL students “cruising” into adventure on board the “Voyage of the Mimi!”  This unit follows the ship “MIMI” and its crew on a research expedition to study humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine.  It accurately depicts the scientific work done by oceanographers in gathering information about creatures of the sea.   
             Materials Needed: I am asking each child to bring a 3-ring binder (1-inch metal rings, please) with 5 dividers with labels and a 2 pocket folder to organize their work.  This will make it easier for the students to keep their GOAL work organized and also easier for parental review when the binder is sent home each week.  It would be extremely helpful if they can have their materials at our second class session (September 10).

            Individualized Options:  The I.O. time gives students a variety of opportunities to pursue particular interests, focus on individual strengths, or try new areas of potential development.  The students will be able to choose between learning centers and/or an independent study.  Your child’s GIEP and interests will drive center choices.  Your child will maintain an I.O. log of accomplished activities, as well as weekly evaluation entries.  After completing three credits, the students will have earned an “intermission” and can play any of the strategy games available (for one or two sessions only).  This log is available for your review at anytime; just send me an e-mail that you would like to review your child's I.O. folder. They will also be creating an original board game sometime during the second semester.  More details on this project will be sent home at a later date.  I am looking for parent volunteers for I.O. time.  Go to the "Forms" tab on my webpage to sign up.

               GOAL begins: the week of September 2nd.  Your child’s GOAL and I.O. days are attached.   Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.  You can reach me by calling the office, leaving a message on the GOAL voice mailbox, sending me a note or e-mail message (hesswein@northallegeny.org).   Please check my web page for weekly announcements, specific news pertaining to our Voyage of the Mimi unit, and the monthly I.O. Volunteer calendar.  Thanks for your continued support!





                                                                                                Heather Esswein

                                                                                                Gifted Support Teacher





2nd grade Unit:  The students will be introduced to a variety of scientific and social concepts through the “Voyage of the Mimi” unit. 


The Voyage of the Mimi program was created through a collaborative effort by the U.S. Dept of Education , Bank Street College of Education, and a commercial publishing company—Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.


We use this program as our basis, but we have also added to it and updated it to meet our needs.


At the core of this unit is a video series.  The video series consists of thirteen 15-minute episodes in a continuing adventure/drama and thirteen 15-minute documentary format segments called expeditions.  We will use all of the adventure/drama videos. We will use some, but not all of the expeditions.  Subjects to be studies include whales and their environment, ecosystems, and maps and navigation.  Each student will have a navigational and vocabulary packet. 


Your child might talk mostly about the video episodes when you ask him/her what we did in GOAL that day.  This is because the videos are well done and really hold the interest of the students.  Please remember that each video is only 15 minutes long—we aren’t spending all of our GOAL time watching videos. 


We will follow each episode with a variety of activities which relate back to what the scientists and characters did that day.

Some highlights:



Writing a sea chanty                                        Sea Lingo and vocabulary

Creating fossils                                                Sea Log (journal)

Developing a board game                                Sign Language

Map Reading and Navigational Skills               Whale Songs              

Analyzing Interpersonal Relationships               Survival Skills game   

Mapping the Ocean Floor                                Orienteering

Hands-on scientific experiments                        Researching


The board game project will come near the end of the unit.  The students will work independently to develop an original board game which incorporates vocabulary and whale facts from the unit.  They will be given specific criteria and will work on the project in step by step increments.  They will have a day to play each other’s games.


We are hoping to end the unit with a culminating activity—possibly a class extension to the Pittsburgh Voyager, the Pittsburgh Aquarium or the Carnegie Science Center.

We’re looking forward to a whale of a time!









2nd Grade GOAL




Mrs. Esswein






2nd Grade I.O.




Mrs. Esswein















Last Modified on September 2, 2014