Week 12: Snowman Science


To kick off our science unit on states of matter, students built snowmen out of crushed ice.  Students also made predictions and observed what happens when their snowmen were placed out in the sun.

This is just the first of many exciting science activities for this unit.

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Thanks to Ms. Trang for the photos.

Week 11: Lego Fact Families

We are transitioning to a centers-based format for our math block. This week students will be introduced to the first of four new math centers tomorrow: Math Constructions with Legos!  Future math centers include centers for 1) Math Stories, 2)Math Facts, and 3)Math Puzzles and Games.  At each center students will choose their level of challenge. Students at all centers will document their problem-solving process using number equations, pictures and math vocabulary.

In the pictures below, students are making Lego constructions out of two different colors and representing their constructions as addition and subtraction problems.


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Week 10: Let the Games Begin!

This week the second grade Olympians will present their final projects.  They will visit other classes to teach students how to make their minds, bodies and spirits powerful.   In the pictures below, students are creating visual aids, making materials for activities, and rehearsing their presentations with partners.






Week 9: Work on Words

This week students began working on individualized word lists.  Students are learning to recognize spelling patterns for words with short vowels and consonant blends.  They are also learning to break these words into individual sounds and then blend those sounds together.  Ask your child to tell you about the buried treasure spelling game.



Thanks to Diana Hwang for the photos.

Week 8: Circe’s Spell


This week we have been practicing philosophy in order to make our minds strong.  After listening to a story from The Odyssey, students discussed questions that allowed them to reflect upon both the meaning of the story itself and their own values.  In the video below, students are responding to this question, related to the story of Circe in The Odyssey:  The goddess Circe gave Odysseus’s crew a choice:  Either return to an uncertain life as a human, or live the rest of your life as a happy, well-fed pig.  What would you choose?  Why? 





Week 7: Thinking carefully, writing beautifully

This week our Olympians integrated unit focuses on how to make our minds strong.  We have been following in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks, using philosophical inquiry to develop our ability to listen to each other, think before speaking, give reasons to support ideas and change our minds.  In the picture below, students are engaged in a “fishbowl” inquiry into questions related to The Odyssey.




Students have also been perfecting their writing of story beginnings, using a mentor sentence as a model for writing a powerful opening sentence.   In the picture below, students are working in pairs or on their own, crafting powerful, descriptive sentences for their story’s main character.



Thanks again to Diana Hwang for the photos.



Week 6: Beautiful Sentences, Silly Stories, and a Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Sreysar!  On Monday afternoon we celebrated Sreysar’s birthday with snacks and a dance party.

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This week students began writing perfect, beautiful sentences. We started by reading this sentence, written by the author Anne Morrow Lindbergh:  “This is a snail shell, round, full, and glossy as a horse chestnut.”  We practiced writing similar sentences, using Lindbergh’s sentence as a model.  Then students wrote their own sentences, using this structure: “This is a (noun), (adjective), (adjective), and (adjective) as a (noun).  Here is a picture of one of these beautiful, student-created sentences.  Please come by our classroom if you want to see more beautiful sentences.



Students are also creating stories by using story blocks.  Students pick a block from a box to figure out who their character will be, what the character wants, what problem is preventing the character from getting what she wants, and what the character will do to solve that problem.  Ask your child to tell you more about the stories they created using story blocks.

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Special thanks to Diana Hwang for the photos.


Week 4: Daily 5 Snapshots

Have you ever wondered what the Daily 5 literacy block looks like?  Come join us, any morning from 8:20-9:10 and have a look!

For the three Daily 5 rotations, students choose their own literacy activities and work independently (or with a peer) for each of the 15-minute blocks.  While students are engaged in these activities, Ms. Trang and I work with students individually and in small groups to help students develop specific literacy skills. As you can see from these photos, students are given a great deal of independence and responsibility for their own learning during the Daily 5 block.

Special thanks to Diana Hwang for the photos.

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Week 3: Teamwork


To kick off our unit study on the Olympics, students began working in one of four teams. Each team will earn points, engaging in friendly competition while learning how to make their bodies, minds and spirits powerful.  In the pictures below, students are working with their partners to see how many words they can make out of the unit vocabulary terms, “healthy,” “habits,” “spirit” and “powerful.”  Special thanks to Diana Hwang for the photos.