The second graders have taken a deep dive into the scientific method and are honing their scientific writing skills. They have completed several science experiments, both in the classroom and in the lab, focused on erosion, weathering, tectonic plates, earthquakes, and volcanoes. They followed the process of asking a question about how the world works, recording a hypothesis, writing a detailed procedure, recording results, and writing a conclusion. Through these inquiries, they have had to work on their non-fiction reading and writing skills. They are gaining strategies in order to ‘read to learn,’ such as using a glossary to learn new lingo. Some of the new vocabulary we’ve learned includes: crust, magma, mantle, inner and outer core, tectonic plates, erosion, weathering, landforms, and compass rose. The students have enjoyed seeing the connections between science, reading, writing, social studies, and even their local community. If you’re interested in learning more about how the Earth formed and has changed over time, ask a second grader!
To continue honing their reading skills, the second graders have each joined a classroom book club. In groups of four or five, the children have been getting together each week to engage in literary discussions. From books such as David A. Adler’s Cam Jansen and the Ghostly Mystery to Patrick Skene Catling’s The Chocolate Touch, the second graders have had to take responsibility for reading portions of the book on their own time then come ready to discuss each Wednesday morning. They have worked on making predictions, retelling, analyzing the text, making connections, and more. As a final culmination, one group even wrote letters to David A. Adler with reflections and questions for him. We’re anxiously awaiting his response! Thank you to Heather Killebrew for so generously dedicating her Wednesday mornings to our class to bring these book clubs to life!
Music with Mrs. Miller
Our Holiday Sing-A-Long is right around the corner! We are so excited to show our parents all the hard work we’ve done in preparing for this fun evening. Please have your student to their classroom at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 21st in festive Christmas attire (dressy is not required). Our show will begin promptly at 6:00pm and following the conclusion, we invite you to join us to walking or driving to our neighbors at TouchMark and blessing them with a few Christmas carols. We will sing 3 songs as a school community at the end of our show – and you’ll have the lyrics on your programs to take with you to TouchMark. The residents are very much looking forward to seeing us and we are excited to have this Community Partnership in giving to others. Thanks for all your support!
Second grade is a time of amazing growth and development. A main focus in our class is on ownership and independence. Students take ownership of their learning by asking questions, taking on challenges appropriate to them, and making choices. You can see this in our classroom: our walls are full of their work and they have made many of the decisions that shape our shared spaces. Recently, the students even started taking charge of a very important part of our day: the daily morning meeting! Each week, two children lead this essential time of community building. The day before, they plan out a greeting each child will say to each other, a topic for sharing, an activity we’ll do together, and then they write a message (often containing a math challenge question). The next morning, they lead this meeting, giving them the confidence to speak in front of others and to make decisions that impact the whole class. Come join us sometime!
Do you want to see some budding authors coming to life? Then you need to come in to the second grade classroom! After weeks of learning about developing small-moment ideas, enhancing writing with craft moves, as well as editing and revising, the time came for the second graders to show off all of their hard work. Each child had identified a small moment that they wanted to share with the world. They wrote a first draft, second draft, then a published copy of their narrative. Along the way, they edited independently and with a teacher, looking at content, spelling, and conventions. They used mentor texts, such as Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, as inspiration. Their perseverance came through clearly on Friday when their celebration filled up with their biggest supporters: their families and Pre-K buddies. The room was bursting with proud smiles and high fives as the second graders saw their hard work pay off. Bravo!
In the past couple of weeks, it has become clear that the second graders have a passion for nature and taking care of their environment. As they begin to wrap up their first unit focused on community, they followed the design process to identify a need in their community: pollution and waste that is finding its way to bodies of water. They are now ideating on how to solve this problem and will be coming up with prototypes to test. Immediate steps have been taken, such as picking up trash outside. We hope others will join us in these efforts!
They also took a field trip to Pilot Butte to learn more about their local community. During their hike, they identified local plants in a scavenger hunt. At the top of the butte, they learned how our beautiful landscape came to be created over the last thousands of years. New vocabulary arose such as tectonic plates, earthquakes, and erosion. They observed different types of rocks and identified the mountains around us. It’s hard to not feel passionate about saving the environment when you are surrounded by such beauty!
Art with Mrs. Santucci
From learning how to create color values for their stunning night sky pieces to using their knowledge of line to design and paint watercolor seahorses, the second graders have been amazing the school with their careful, creative talent. We are now studying about the artist and architect Hundterwasser whose unique and colorful buildings and art brightened up the era following WWII. After learning about him and his philosophy, they will create their own unique landscape incorporating what they have learned about line, pattern, shape, color and symbols.
One of the core NGSS science standards for second grade is “Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.” In collaboration with Ms. Brannon, the second graders have been bringing this concept to life! They explored the steps of the scientific method by first observing plants around school that are in various conditions. They made a hypothesis of what makes plants grow, based on these observations. Next, they identified which variables they would be testing and observing. One team is exploring sunlight by keeping one plant out on the windowsill and one inside of a dark closet. The other team is exploring the variable of water by not watering one plant and normally watering a second plant. Every few days, we venture down to the science lab to observe and record what has been happening. We’ve been working on using descriptive, scientific language when completing this experiment. We will then use this new knowledge to help keep plants thriving both in the classroom and in the greenhouse. Science is all around us!
Music with Mrs. Miller
With Halloween just around the corner, students are enjoying some fun Halloween songs from Quaver in class! To take a peek at one we learned, visit this link for a little “Monster Groove” http://bit.ly/2yHKvqd (do you spy the references to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller?”) We are also preparing for our Veteran’s Day assembly that will take place on Thursday, November 10th at 8:30am. Please make plans now to join us for this very special assembly. Ask your students about “American Tears” – they’re working hard to memorize this wonderful song honoring our veterans.
Our first unit in second grade is community building. To begin, we focused on our roles and responsibilities in the classroom. We looked at the school-wide expectation of RISE and interpreted them in terms of what this looks like in second grade (come see our display in class). We also defined what jobs were needed in class so that there is a shared responsibility among all of us. We then started discussing how to handle conflict, an inevitable part of being in a community. After reading some texts, we defined our own ways of managing conflict when it arises. Our strategies include walking away, ignoring the person, saying no/stop firmly, asking them how they would feel in the same situation, inviting them to play, and asking for help. Finally, we have been exploring both positive and negative consequences of choices we make in everyday situations. It has been a great connection to our core virtues of respect and responsibility!
Design with Mr. Lenz & Mr. Seehausen
The first few weeks of school brought a lot of activity to the new design lab. As new teachers to Seven Peaks, we have been working hard to understand the school, its students, and collaborate with teachers in order to integrate design thinking with their current lesson plans. So far everything has gone extremely well, and the kids’ excitement and curiosity for the design lab has made the space even more rewarding. We are finally approaching 100% as we put the final touches on the design lab space. We worked long days all summer and built the lab from scratch with the help of other staff members, students, and volunteers. Recently we shut down the lab for two days to complete the installation of a dust collection system, but now that we have it in place, we can begin woodworking projects that require air filtration to keep our lab clean and safe.
Ms. Blunda’s 2nd grade class joined us early on with their cubby project. Students partnered up and interviewed each other about what they would like in their cubby. Ideas ranged from shoe holders, to shelves and curtains. The idea was to have 2nd graders learn how to empathize and understand their “customer” which is a key facet of the design process. Once interviews were complete, they came to the lab over several days to plan, measure, and construct their partner’s cubby accessory.
The second graders dove right into the design cycle and were proud to be the first class to take on a project in our new Design Lab. The challenge: design an ideal cubby for a classmate. They began the first phase, Empathize, by getting to know a classmate and identifying their needs through an interview. Mr. Lenz helped them move into the next phase, Define, by expressing the biggest need their partner had in their cubby. The three primary cubby needs that arose during the process were: privacy, decoration, and hook/shelf organization. Next came the Ideate phase where they brainstormed and sketched different ideas. During the Prototype stage, they had to get rulers out to measure the dimensions of the cubby in order to being creating. Over several days, work continued both in the design lab and in the classroom. They learned patience as they saw that good things take time! As the students finished what they were making, they continued to check in with their partner and test to ensure that it met their needs. What an exciting first engagement in the design process! Feel free to come check out the cubbies outside of the second grade classroom to see the spaces come to life.