Grade 2 Student-Led Conferences!

For the past few weeks of school, the Grade 2s have been preparing for their Student-Led Conferences. As a class, the children brainstormed a variety of learning experiences that they wanted to share with their parents during their conference time. They came up with a big list of ideas for Unit of Inquiry, Mathematics, and Language and then narrowed it down.

Above is our new student, Karen, who is teaching her parents about estimating and measuring water using milliliters. She has only been here for two weeks!

Here are some of their ideas:

The children who attend Japanese class presented their Japanese book reviews or how they are building their directional language. In addition, all the children chose one of their single subjects learning experiences to present. Students in Grade 2 chose one of the following activities: Art Sculpting with Clay, the Drama Hot Seat Interview, the Physical Education Activity Log, and Playing the Xylophone for Music.



All the learning experiences were activities that the children had done in class. The children spent a lot of time preparing for their conference and organizing their materials for the big day. During the conferences the children taught their parents what they learned and let the parents have a go. They explained their current understandings, answered questions and led them through the conference, even completing a reflection and Seesaw post for their Learning Journals.  They spoke in English as well as their mother tongue to explain to the best of their ability. The children did a wonderful job leading their parents through their conference with confidence and independence.




El Día de los Muertos

Last Friday, Lupita, Rene’s mom, visited our class to teach us about El Día de los Muertos. Rene helped to teach us too! Both Rene and his mom painted their faces for the occasion.


We learned that in Mexico families celebrate El Día de los Muertos by making an alter to remember family members, who have died. On the alter you put their favorite food, drink or toy as well as candles and flowers.

After we listened to the presentation, Lupita taught us how to make our very own papel picado, which are colorful streamers used as decorations. She had a pattern all ready for us. Cutting the outside was the easiest part. The inside squares, circles and other shapes were a bit harder because we had to fold the shape in half and then cut. They looked so beautiful when we finished.


After all our cutting, we shared a special bread that was a little bit sweet. We dipped it in hot cocoa before eating it. This special bread is made only for El Día de los Muertos, but Lupita brought us some early, so we could learn about their culture.


2C New Beginnings…

Thursday we looked at some dots arranged on a paper. The students were asked to count them, and then afterwards, explain how they counted them visually.

Here is the drawing of dots they looked at.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.48.26 PM

Here is how they counted them.


You may wonder why we did this. It is important for the children to think about their thinking and understand how people visualize things differently from one another. This helps us to be more open-minded and also to reflect on our learning.

This week, we talked about what we like and don’t like our classmates to do or say when we are working in Math groups or any group, even large groups.

Here is what the children had to say about what they like their classmates to do or say…

I like it when other smile. Bebe

I like it when we work as a team. Lime

I like it when my classmates say kind and helpful things to each other. Rene and Isa

I like people to share ideas with others. Louis

I like it when people are respectful. Kei and Vivi

I like it when others are patient. Andrew

I like people to help me when I need help. Lucas and Louie

I like it when we take turns. Sera

I like it when we listen to each other. Andrew

I like it when people play with other people. Lucas

I like it when people do their own work. Rene

I like to take care of my work and other’s work. Isa

Later we also decided that we like it when our classmates are honest and when we all focus.


2C has begun Unit 1, “People can be enriched by their own cultures and the cultures they connect with throughout their lives.” To begin, the children were asked, “What is culture?” First they took some thinking time, then they shared their ideas with a partner, and finally they shared with the class, building off each other’s ideas. Here is what they had to say…

I think in different places they do different stuff. Like in some places they don’t have buildings but here they have buildings. Teo


I think culture is eating different foods and using different languages. Isa

I think culture is something to do with art. Louis

I think culture is something that can break easily. Rene

I think culture is the things from other countries. Lime

I think culture is when people celebrate their country’s things. Yutika

I think culture is original Japanese… Justine

…like original stuff from each country. Kei

I think culture is something to build…something of art that is for building. Rene

Shoes… Yutika

Hairstyles… Isa

What are shoes and hairstyles part of? Miss C

Clothing… Kei

Toys Sera

Like in Africa they make balls out of hair and play with them… Isa

Yutika said that culture has to do with our celebrations. What do we do at a celebrations? Let’s think and then share with a partner and then share with the class.
Miss C

Fireworks Caren

Praying Lucas

Dancing Yukei


Pinata…games Louie

Parade… Louis

Music… Lime


Slide… Rene

Origami… Bebe

Balloons… Kouji

Lanterns… Justine


Colors… Teo

Colored lights… Louis

Drinks… Rene

Presents… Yukei

Cake… Kouji

Treats… Sera

Flowers… Vivi

Crafts like carving… Isa

Singing a song… Sera

Books… Yukei

Different kinds of beds… Lime

Talking in languages… Yutika


Clothes… Andrew

As the children continue to inquire into the central idea though the course of the unit, they will continue to build on their present understandings in relation to what culture looks like, what connections they make between cultures and what they think about different cultures.

Making Connections Between Humans and Nature at Oi Bird Park

The Grade 2 students were true inquirers during our field trip to the Oi Bird park on Wednesday. The purpose of our trip was to make observations of the marshlands and the species living there to help us understand more about how human activities can challenge plant and animal survival.

Click on the photo below to see a slide show in Flickr.

As we walked along the trails and looked out the windows from the blinds onto the mudflats, the students observed, took pictures, questioned, made connections, talked about what they saw and wondered.

Back in the classroom, we listed and drew pictures of the plants, animals and human-made things that we noticed at Oi Bird Park. Next, using the prompts listed below, we thought about our ideas, shared our ideas with a partner and wrote our ideas down in sentences.

-How are the animals and plants at Oi Bird Park connected in the food chain or food web?

-How did the human-made things at Oi Bird Park hurt or help the animals and plants?

-How do animals connect to the marshland or forest environments by using camouflage?

Here is what the children wrote after thinking about and discussing their ideas with a partner.

I think the great egret eats fish. Then the fish eat plankton.
I think humans harm nature by habitat loss and global warming.
I think that toads can camouflage at water.

The great egret is eating lots of fish.
I think the fish eat other fish.
The jungle crow camouflaged in the dark.

I saw a bee eating a flower.
I think the bee takes the pollen.
I saw a crab that was in the pond, and it was brownish like the pond (mud).

Chan Seo
Water is needed by living things.

I think crabs eat grass.
The human that made that place is helping animals.
A toad was camouflaged because the toad was brown, and it was on a brown dirt.

A spider makes a web, and when a bug gets stuck in the web, the spider eats it.
I saw a human cutting a tree.
I think the human is going to make something else with the tree.

I saw ants eating bugs. I think bugs eat blood.
Paths hurt ants because paths destroy their home.
I saw a toad camouflaged on a leaf.

I think the baby snail ate the tree.
I think the lizard laid on the rock to find food to eat.
I think the people are hurting the bird because the bird cannot live at the bamboo or the lizard cannot live at the bamboo (which was cut down).

I think the Japanese beetle eats the ladybug.
I saw a snail eating a tadpole.
I think plants help animals because the plant has a tree, and birds will
live (in the tree).
A human cut down the trees so it hurts the nature.
In the water the snail was camouflaging and the mud was slippery.

I saw a bird, and the bird was black, and the branch was black, so I couldn’t see the bird well.

Humans hurt the nature by cutting down trees!
I saw a toad in a muddy lake, and it was camouflaged in the muddy lake!

A spider caught a bug and ate it.
They make bird houses, and let the bird be safe.
A toad was camouflaged in the water.
A lizard was camouflaged on a rock.

I think a beetle eats a baby ladybug.
I think a spider eats big bugs.
Toads eat flies.
When people cut down trees, other people will lose oxygen, and when birds are on the tree that people are cutting, the bird will be flat like a fly.
I saw in the water a path, and I think a snail or a slug made the path because the color of the skin looks like the dirt in the water.

Many students saw a lizard, but I didn’t see anything, but I know it eats flies.
I think the blind hurts plants and animals because it is crushing the plants, and they chop down trees to make the blind.
I did not see the green lizard hiding on in the green leaf, because they’re the same color.

I think the spiders eat the bugs by using it’s web.
I think bees suck the nectar from the flower.
I think some kinds of birds eat the fish.
Grasshoppers camouflage in plants.
Lizards camouflage on rocks.
Toads camouflage on rocks.

I think I saw a spider eating a white dot.
I saw people cutting down trees.
People made fences and the birds might get hurt.
I saw a toad camouflaging itself in the water. I think it was scared to see people.
I saw a grasshopper camouflaging itself so well because first I couldn’t see it. It was hiding in a leaf.

I think I saw a great egret eating a fish.
I saw a person cutting down trees.
I saw that the blind was made out of wood.
I saw grasshopper camouflaging. I thought it was good at camouflaging because it was on a leaf, and I couldn’t see it well.

Understanding Our Central Idea and Learning to Research

To look more deeply at our central idea, “Human activities can challenge plant and animal survival”, I asked the children the following questions:

What is ‘need’?

-Need is when you have to do something, or you want to do something. Takafumi
-I think need means that you have to have that. Nina
-I think a need means that you want something. Lavanya

What does survival mean?

-I think survival means when someone is alive and still lives. Carolina
-Survive means to live. Albin
-Survival means when you are in the jungle, you cannot be weak, and you have to be strong because maybe there are animals that fight you. Kai
-I think survival means that you have lives. Mika

What do living things need to survive?

-I think they need to eat and drink to survive. Daniel
-I think survival means that if you need to run, and you want to rest, but you don’t have much time, and you have to run for your life. I think that is survival. Shunye
-I think living things which are surviving need food, air, water, and shelter to survive. Chanu
-I think living things need water to live. Troy
-I think living things need a house to live. Himari

How do plants and animals depend on each other?

-The plants help animals and people because the plants make air. Taka
-Trees make air good. Chaeeun
-I think animals help each other by giving food to each other like birds give food to their babies. Yellana
-Trees can help animals. Trees have a little bit of water so if that water came out that animal can drink it. Mari
-Animals need each other. If there is a human that wants to hurt an animal and another can save the other animals cause the other animal is stronger. Carolina
-I think that animals and plants both need each other because sometimes in the sea some octopuses want to eat hermit crabs, and some kind of sea plant protects the hermit crabs, and the hermit crab sometimes feed the sea plant that rescued it. Chanu
-I think animals need each other. Some meat eating animals (carnivores) have to eat meat, and if there were no meat they might die. Chan Seo
-I think the animals need each other. Maybe there is an old animal and a young animal. The old animal is not strong enough to get food, so maybe the young animal can help him. Lindsey

For the past few weeks, the Grade Twos have been learning about the features in nonfiction books, and soon they will be writing a nonfiction book about an endangered plant or animal of their choice. To learn how to write a nonfiction book, we have been looking into green sea turtles as a class. We began by reading about them and taking notes about what we learned. To practice note-taking the children worked in groups. Each member of the group was given a card to help them focus on a certain aspect of note-taking such as: key words/phrases, using a new line for a new fact, abbreviating, and using symbols.


The groups read paragraphs about the green sea turtle, collaborated to take notes on stickies and then placed the stickies on the appropriate page in our organizer.

Next, we checked our work to see that we organized it correctly and also looked at what we wrote to see that it was in note form. We have been learning to write just enough words to remind us about what we need to remember.

This week, the children searched for books about their chosen animal and began to read and research, using an organizer and sticky notes. They are organizing their information according to the following questions:

What does it look like?
Where does it live?
What does it eat?
How does it behave?
How do humans hurt it?
How do humans help it?

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in Flickr.
2C Animal Research