It’s hard to believe that the school year is coming to a close! In these final weeks, second graders have wrapped up their learning about money and are now exploring measurement and time. As summer nears, they are reminded that the world is full of learning and to see their environment as an opportunity to think deeper: to add/subtract toy prices at the store, use sidewalk chalk to count change, compare angles/vertices on different pieces of playground equipment, measure the length of a popsicle (before eating it!). This summer, students are encouraged to take learning outside and get creative!
Please be on the lookout for a summer homework packet coming home with your child. It is imperative that your child continue to work on math/reading/writing skills over the summer in order to not regress. It has been a fantastic year full of smiles, tears, challenges, ah-ha’s, Growth Mindset moments, and most of all, FUN!
Second graders truly embraced a Growth Mindset when competing in the Noetic Learning Math Contest last month. This 45-minute, 20-question paper/pencil exam put their critical thinking skills to the test as they tackled different types of problems. Leading up to the April exam, students met in small groups to review previous test questions and discuss various solving methods. The goal of the contest was for students to further develop their problem solving strategies and to ultimately understand that math is FUN! The national results were posted beginning of May, so parents and extended family members joined us last week for an awards ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments. This test was optional and out of 15 students, 14 chose to participate! Of the 14, 4 made “National Honorable Mention” (they scored in the top 50% in the country) and our top scorer, Jonas M., received a “Team Winner” medal. Each student who participated demonstrated a powerful shift in their mathematical abilities, Growth Mindset, and overall confidence…all evidence of true accomplishment!
Wrapping up our Simple Machines unit, second graders partnered with their fifth grade buddies to build a z-pulley on the playground! First, students tried lifting a fifth grader off the ground with only one pulley. Even with all their strength, the fifth grader did not budge off the ground. By creating a z-pulley, with two pulleys and two Prusik knots, students discovered that you can use less force if that force is extended over a longer distance. It was a great opportunity for students to learn, firsthand, how z-pulleys are used in crevasse rescue situations to make work easier.
Second graders immersed themselves in a week full of Earth-focused activities. The week began with a presentation from the Environmental Center. Students (and teachers) were shocked to learn that 500 tons of garbage are dumped into our Bend landfill every DAY! Students also discovered that not all items that “should” be recyclable actually are. This FAQ page helps to de-mystify/answer recycling questions in Deschutes County. Students then created paper mache globes, a messy and fun art project. Individually, each student brainstormed three different “commitments” he/she could make to protect the Earth better: use fewer plastic bags, conserve water by taking shorter showers, or using a reusable water bottle (to name a few). Students attached these “commitments” to the bottom of their paper mache globe as a way to remember their choices have a big impact on the Earth and those around them. The week finished off with students bringing in recyclable material to create a “Recycled Robot to help conserve Earth’s resources.” Full of curiosity, creativity, and perseverance, students set out to create robots that would save animals, plant seeds, and grow grass. Each group worked through the design cycle and inspired one another to problem solve and collaborate together throughout the process.
Last week, students had the opportunity to visit Bend Science Station and learn about magnetism-electromagnetism. They each constructed an electric motor involving a wood block, battery, copper wire, magnet and coiled copper wire. Through the hands-on building, students discovered that the coiled copper wire becomes magnetic due to the electricity in the battery. The magnetic forces between the magnet (permanent magnet) and copper coil (electromagnet) are attracted and when close enough together, cause the copper coil to spin. The lab was filled with excitement and curiosity as students worked in pairs to create their motor. This visit was the perfect introduction into magnetism, which we will study at the end of this month.
With the beginning of the last term of school, 2nd Graders have been learning about printmaking using the relief printing method. After creating an image, the students embedded that image into the foam material provided, and then rolled ink over it using a brayer. This is a messy, exciting process as they figure out how much paint to use, and create many different prints to get that perfect one. From printmaking, these artist will move into their ceramics unit. At this level, students already have a basic understanding of how clay is handled so they can begin to make more complicated creatures. This favorite medium can be both frustrating and so very satisfying as the students watch their creations come to life.
Buen trabajo, Elementary Spanish! I am so proud of all my students this year. My greatest reward in teaching them is seeing their improvement in their conversational skills and written sentence constructions we have been working on since the beginning of the year. I am definitely witnessing it in the classroom. I know some parents have shared with me their enjoyment in having their kids help, by listening and speaking, in the Spanish-speaking countries your have recently vacationed in this past Spring Break. I expect that, and told them before they left, not to be shy. However, practicing their conversational skills with strangers is never as easy as doing it in the comfort and familiarity of our classroom at SPS. I can not begin to tell you how grateful I am for the loving atmosphere, enthusiasm, happiness and the great attitude your kids bring to class everyday. Their willingness to learn, participate, and practice with their peers always goes beyond my expectations.
I would like to witness with your own eyes the progress they have made. In the next few days you will be receiving an email from me inviting you to watch them “show off” how they are developing their gift of a second language. I know they can’t wait and I hope you can find the time to come to watch them. If you are not able to attend, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to meet with you during a time that is more convenient.
The end of the school year is quickly approaching. In the final two months, I will be gradually immersing your kids further in to the language. There will be a little confusion during the first couple of days, but I know by experience they will find it a lot of FUN. Let’s all remember that, at their age, FUN plus IMPROVEMENT is what should be about! Muchas gracias for sharing and trusting all your child to me.
Second graders recently completed their Ancient Egypt unit with a culminating festival. Families, friends, and other classrooms had a chance to view Google slideshow presentations, handmade Egyptian “artifacts”, and an upbeat Egyptian song with dancing. Students spent the last month learning about Egypt’s geography, the importance of the Nile River, pyramids, mummies, The Sphinx, King Tut, and Hieroglyphics. Then in teams, students chose one of these topics to go deeper and create a Google slideshow presentation. Students loved using Chromebooks as a learning tool to expand their knowledge on a topic! Every day leading up to the festival, they were actively engaged in the process of creating their presentation and artifacts. Working in groups encouraged teamwork, clear communication, and active participation.
The festival ended with an Egyptian-themed “Gangnam Style” song and dance, plus the enjoyment of Ancient Egypt foods: olives, bread, cheese, vegetables, hummus, eggs and root(beer). The festival was a wonderful culmination to our unit and a fun way to celebrate their learning!
I have to commend each one of our 2nd graders for the diligent work they’ve put into learning recorders over the last couple of months. As you read in my previous email, 2nd grade is a year younger than our usual start time with recorders. These students have overcome many obstacles physically and mentally and are excelling in their work with the recorders! I’m proud of the effort each one of them have put into learning some fun songs and receiving recognition on our Recorder Karate Hall of Fame wall.
We also have had a good amount of students audition for our upcoming Spring Show, which is called Summer Camp. We’re heading out for lots of fun at Camp Runamok on June 1! Please encourage your student to hop on Canvas (click on MUSIC) from their homeroom page and listen to our songs. The more they listen at home, the more we get to work in class on our choreography and movement. Please put this very special evening in your calendars now – we’ll also be celebrating Beth Basham’s Retirement that same evening.
Second graders have begun their informational writing unit and the focus is writing lab reports as scientists! This unit is quickly becoming the students’ favorite so far as they learn how to ask a question, design an experiment with multiple trials, and then make sense of their results. Our first experiment? Testing a car down a car ramp: will it go further on carpet or tile? Students discovered that the car goes further on tile due to the smoothness of the surface.
From this initial test, students are now changing one aspect of the experiment and recreating it on their own. The creativity and excitement in students as they design their own experiment is so amazing to watch! They are extremely resourceful and are figuring out how basic classroom items like a garbage can turned on its side or stacked dictionaries can open up a world of science inquiry!
For the past two weeks, second graders have been busy exploring the world of nonfiction books. Through headings, bold print, and text boxes, they have begun to expand their knowledge about topics that interest them: from penguins to basketball, weather to volcanoes. They have focused on noticing details, putting parts of the text together to grow their understanding, and pausing to ask questions. Students have been reading both individually and with a partner to grow their understanding of different topics, and together write down such questions in their “emergency kit,” a sticky note pad and pencil they have with them during the reading block.
This week, students have learned that non-fiction books hold special surprises within their pages; that, when a book surprises you, it is usually because the information is new and exciting. For each student in the class, this unit has either grown their love for nonfiction or ignited a love for nonfiction that previously wasn’t there. American author Tracy Kidder once said, “What I like about non-fiction is that it covers such a huge territory. The best non-fiction is also creative.” They have a daily curiosity and excitement to arrive in the morning and dive back into their books, further looking at the world and all its wonders through a new lens.