A Visit to Zoorasia to Learn about the Bali Mynah

The Grade 2s visited Zoorasia to learn about the Bali mynah bird as well as inquire into the habitats of certain endangered animals living in captivity there.

2C trip to Zoorasia

Ahead of our visit, we learned that Zoorasia has a breeding program for the Bali mynah bird, which is critically endangered. It is a wonderful example of how people are trying to help species survive. To prepare for our visit, we read about the Bali mynah, watched a video and wrote questions for our trip.


These are photos of Bali mynah birds living in captivity at Zoorasia.

Here are the thoughtful questions that the Grade 2s prepared ahead of our meeting with the zoologists.

I wonder what the zoo people teach the baby and adult mynahs.
Why don’t the people at the zoo teach the babies to survive?
I wonder why Bali mynahs don’t eat vegetables.
What kind of fruit do mynah birds eat?
What kind of insects do mynah birds eat?
How do they catch the bugs?
Where do they find the insects?
Which plant does the nectar come from?
What do mynah birds do everyday?
Why do mynah birds mimic?
Do they live with their families?
What do they use to make their nests?
Do Bali mynahs hibernate?
How do people catch the Bali mynahs?
Why don’t the mynah birds escape from the humans?
Wouldn’t the mynah birds escape from the humans if the mynah birds noticed the humans?
I wonder why people just want to ignore the law because birds are such an important living thing.
Why can’t people understand that lots of animals are endangered and you should conserve? For example, the Bali myna bird is almost extinct because people are capturing them.
How can the mynah bird sense the predators with their group (flock)?
Will mynah birds be extinct in the future?
How can you breed the Bali mynah and make 100,000,000 birds?
How many Bali mynah birds are there right now?
How can we bring the mynah bird to Bali again?
Why are there no Bali mynah books?
What is the difference between the female and male Mynah birds?
What is the Bali Mynah’s favourite food?
How do zookeepers make (breed) the Bali Mynah?
How many more Bali Mynahs are in the world now?
How long does it take for the Bali Mynah to lay eggs?
Can the Bali Mynah adapt to living in the snow?
Why do people want to have the Bali Mynah as pets?
How many Bali Mynah are in the zoo right now?
What do the Bali Mynah do during the day?
How do the zookeepers get the Bali Mynah into the zoo?
What do the zookeepers do to keep the Bali Mynah safe?

During the presentation, the children took notes about the answers to their questions. They have been learning to take notes, since Semester One. It is amazing what second graders can do!

While at the zoo, we observed two Bali mynah birds in captivity as well as several other endangered animals and completed a Draw, Name, Connect, Explain thinking routine for them. This helped us to gain a better understanding about what it is like for animals to live in captivity in contrast to their natural habitat.

A Visit to Oi Bird Park

This week, the Grade 2s visited Oi Bird Park. We are learning to observe and understand the connections between living things in their environment as well as how humans, both challenge and help species to survive.

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

In preparation for the field trip we asked the children the following questions to get them thinking about the purpose of our trip as well as how we can achieve that purpose.

What is our purpose?
(Why are we going to the Oi Bird Park?)
What skills will we need in order to be successful?
How will we act to help us in our learning?

While at the park, we used the Draw, Name, Connect, Explain thinking routine as a tool to investigate the park’s living things in their natural environment.

First, they drew the living things and nonliving things that they saw at that location. Then, they named the things they drew. Next, they drew a line to show connections between all of the living and non-livings things in that environment. Last, they explained how these things are connected.

Next, we will ask the students to Think ( I think I know that…), Puzzle (I wonder if…), Explore (To find out more, I would like to try to…) about their learning at the bird park. We look forward to hearing more about their thinking!

Comics as a Means of Communication

This week, Miss Srishti visited the Grade 2s to help us inquire into Comics. Miss Srishti told us that she has always loved comic strips. We talked about comics that we were familiar with or had read before and later looked at many different samples of comic strips.

Next, we made a list of all the things that we noticed about comic strips.

The most important thing we noticed and realized was that comics send messages. Their main purpose is to entertain, and many of them teach us lessons about life.

To help us learn about how to get ideas for comic strips, we watched a video.

From the video, we learned that comic strip writers get a lot of their ideas from things and events around them…problems we have at school, our love for tomatoes, friendship, pranks, and more.

Finally, we got a chance to create our own comics!

At the end of the period, Kei shared a comic that she made with the class. It was about a student, who was a bully.

On Thursday afternoon, our Grade 9 Buddies (Kenryo, Elena, Grace, Chloe, Kelly, James, Hana, Max, Pheobe, An, Jan, Toma) visited us. We shared the comics that we made the other day with them. Then we had the chance to make another comic strip. Some of the groups worked together to make one comic and some students worked individually. The Grade 9s helped us to think of ideas and gave us advice about how to draw. It was a lot of fun to share this time with them!

Here are some reflections from the Grade 9s about their experience.

It was a really good experience. Everyone is cute and kind. I really enjoyed the time with 2nd Grade. They were cute!

It was fun playing around with the kids. I was glad that they were enjoying the time. They think differently comparing to us and it was a good opportunity.

They were a very enthusiastic group of people…easy to work with and drawing better than me.

Working with the 2nd Graders is really interesting to me because I don’t get to interact with kids younger than me that often and it’s nice to bond with them. It teaches me to be a bit more carefree like them.

The children were engaging and were focused on the task. They were humorous and co-operative when deciding on what we should make. I enjoyed doing this. It was fun and stimulating for all.

It was great working with them. They were really all excited to make a comic and had great ideas and knew a lot about some techniques about comics like perspective.

Click on the photo below to see a Grade 9/Grade 2 Buddies slideshow in Flickr.


Here are some reflections from students in 2C…

I thought that the Grade 9s…they gave us good advice.  For example, they showed us how to make people shout.

It was really fun because our buddy was telling us to put more illustrations in our picture.

I felt happy because it was the first time that I was with a Grade 9 student that I don’t know. We made a funny comic.

It was really nice to have an experience working with Grade 9 because we don’t often do this, and it was really fun how we share our ideas and we mix them and create a great comic.

Making Our Thinking Visible Through the SEE, THINK, WONDER Routine

For the past couple of weeks, the children have been building their observation, thinking and wondering skills. During one of our workshops the children were asked to SEE, THINK, or WONDER about art. Many pictures of paintings were placed around the room and the children were invited to choose to choose some and write their comments. Instead of writing SEE, THINK, WONDER for each picture, the children were asked to do just one of these parts. This way they were able to view more pictures and have a go at focusing on just one part of the routine.

For this particular visible thinking routine, we write down all the details that we see in the piece of art. Then we think about what we see. Next, we wonder or pose questions about what we saw or thought about. All the parts of the visible thinking routine should connect.
When we write down our observations, thoughts and wonderings, others can see them as well, and when we share them aloud as a class, we can build a deeper understanding. This is a simple routine that the children are very familiar with and can do with you at home or on family trips.

The Scream, Edvard Munch

  • I see an alien crying and screaming for help and there is a person in the back of the people saying, “What is he doing.”
  • I wonder why the artist wrote a person crying or shouting for help.
  • I wonder why the alien is crying in the night.
  • I see a strange type of person being really surprised.

Salvador Dali, Persistence of Memory

  • I wonder why the artist made the things close up stretchy, but the background isn’t.
  • I see that everything is melting.
  • I think that those are not useful.
  • I see a lot of soggy-looking clocks. There is one lying on a twig, one ant clock, and more.

Rene Magritte

  • I see the sky in an eye.
  • I think the artist chose this because eyes can see anything.
  • I see someone’s eye with clouds in it.
  • I think the artist is trying to communicate that he or she really wants to fly.
  • I see the reflection of the sky in someone’s eye.

Paul Klee

  • I see the orange sun and the vines covering the sun in the great jungle.
  • I wonder why they put an animal upside down on the top of the image.
  • I see the sun but there is a star shadow.
  • I think they are in the forest.
  • I wonder why is the bird upside down.
  • I wonder what are those strange shapes.

Both this week and last week, the children did a thinking routine about a piece of artwork as their Home Learning. In class, we shared our routines with several partners. We also had an enlightening class discussion to share our observations. During our conversation, the children began to think about more ideas. They were asked to explain their thinking. For instance, some of the children thought that the black thing in the foreground on the left was a mountain or a castle. After some discussion, some children thought that the black thing was perhaps a burned tree. Below are some examples of their Home Learning SEE, THINK, WONDER.

Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night

  • I see mountains, church, sky, moon, houses, trees wind, starts and words, stone, light, red stones, and hills.
  • I think it is night and everyone is sleeping in their houses and before they sleep they saw a mountain and stars and trees.
  • I wonder what are the people dreaming and when is the stars goign to shine. I wonder when the sun is going to shine.
  • I see swirly wind in the sky. I see a city. I see lot of lights.
  • I think this picture is about aurora in a city or reflection from the sky.
  • I wonder if it is aurora or UFO in the sky or a dust storm or is it night.
  • I see the town is really windy and it is night.
  • I think no one is walking because it is a story day.
  • I wonder if people are in the town?
  • I see a little village. I see the wind howling. I also see the beautiful stars and moon.
  • I think the black thing is a mountain. I also think it’s night because I see stars and the moon shining bright.
  • I wonder how the artist feels and why does he/she feel that way. I also wonder where it is.
  • I see a castle and a fireworks. It is night.
  • I think the castle is for the king.
  • I wonder what is this city’s name.
  • I see some whirly clouds and the moon.
  • I think that this painting is a little confusing because I know that it is night and is going to rain soon.
  • Why isn’t the clouds blocking the moon? I wonder what the whirly cornered black thing is? Is it a castle?


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.