After reading Two Old Potatoes and Me by John Coy, second graders planted Red Norland potato seed pieces in growing bags partially filled with a mixture of soil and compost. They learned that potatoes are tubers and have eyes that sprout into stems. Students will be looking for signs of growth and adding soil as the potatoes grow. Second graders also enjoyed exploring the garden, observing early signs of sugar snap peas and sampling chives from one of the herb beds.
The second grade recently completed a writing unit on Fractured Fairy Tales, traditional fairy tales which have been slightly altered to create a new twist. Traditional stories like The Three Little Pigs may be altered and rewritten to become The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. We read a number of fractured fairy tales, many of which are quite inventive. We then discussed the many features of these altered tales and took a stab at writing one of our own. We went through the whole writing process before arriving at our finished piece. We shared our inventive tales with first grade and third grade in order to give our work the credit it deserved. Fractured fairy tales such as The Broccoli Man, The Three Little Owls, The Three Big Bad Wolves, and The Three Little Purple Hippos to name a few, were well received and enjoyed by all.
As part of our unit on natural resources, 2nd grade worked with Mr. Ross-MacCormack in the makerspace to build shelters. We spent some time in the classroom identifying the natural resources found in our furniture and homes. We then went to the makerspace where we built bricks out of quick drying clay. Once we made a large bounty of bricks we got to work on building some kind of shelter or community building. We created mortar out of glue and sand and used bark, straw and sticks for roofing. Some of us chose to made a school, museum or cafe. It involved lots of creativity and teamwork from all parties involved.
The second grade students came into music and movement class one day singing a Spanish song Vivir La Vida. We had been learning the Cumbia Dance in movement class and this was a perfect song to choreograph a partner dance to! The students and I were so excited to begin! Our voices began to carry down the hallway to where Senora Brenna’s seventh grade spanish class had also fallen in love with this catchy song and a natural collaboration began! The seventh graders focused on the verses and pronunciation of their Spanish words. The second graders focused on the chorus of the song and on their Cumbia Dance. In only two weeks we were ready to show the school what we had been working on in class! At assembly the second graders came running up to me “Mrs. Kirk, we are missing a student! Now someone will be without a partner!” Getting up on stage with the second and seventh graders was a true joy!
The second grade class was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit with a published author. Catherine Pakkala, who writes a juvenile fiction chapter book series called Lola, came to talk to us about her writing process. Ms. Pakkala’s visit was perfectly timed as the students were in the process of exploring narrative writing and small moment stories. Ms. Pakkala shared with the students her small moment which led to the creation of the character of Lola and eventually an entire series. She then led us in a creative writing process which guided us in the creation of a group story.
Grades 1 and 2 have been spending time together since the holidays sharing projects and practicing skills. Recently we exchanged friendly letters. First graders worked very hard to craft friendly letters to each of the second graders. The grade 2 class was so thrilled to receive their letters that they immediately got to work writing their responses. It was a great way to work on a writing unit. In addition, we have met several times to practice our reading. Each student brings a book and we take turns reading parts of the book to our partner from the other class.