Grade 2 Communicates their Learning

This week, Grade 2 prepared to teach each other what they learned during their personal inquiries into how the lifestyle choices we make affect our health. Before sharing what they had learned, the students prepared themselves by thinking about the question: How can we communicate our learning?

We asked the student to share their ideas and this about the following:

What do we want to do? What communication skills will we need to achieve our purpose?
  • Teach others what we have learned
  • Help others be healthy
  • Getting information from others to help us stay healthy
  • Be knowledgeable
  • Speak clearly and loudly
  • Don’t be shy
  • Be prepared -Think about what you are going to say.
  • Concentrate on what you are saying – Don’t get distracted
  • Be a little bit nervous so that you really try to do a good job
  • Have a calm body
  • Listen with our whole body
  • Use expression and hand gestures to explain

The students were very interested in hearing what their classmates had learned.  They enjoyed teaching each other as well.

Teaching others about our inquiries in to how the choices we make can affect our health

As a reflection, we asked the students to share their ideas :

What was our purpose? How did we effectively use our communication skills? What Learner Profile attitudes and attributes did we display? How?
  • Share our learning
  • To learn from other people
  • To make people healthier and stronger
  • To listen to others
  • To concentrate on what the people who are teaching are saying
  • We were teachings each other what we learned
  • We talked with expression
  • We were respectful because we listend and cared about what the others were saying
  • I focused on what I wanted to teach
  • I thought about teaching everything that I found out
  • I was always looking at the person who was teaching me
  • We were communicators because we were using expression
  • We are inquirers because we are learning about new things
  • We are inquirers because we were trying to find out how to be healthy



Personal Inquiries…

The students in Grade 2 have been inquiring into a topic related to health that they are personally interested in. They began their inquiry by documenting what they already know about their topic. Then they wrote down questions and wonderings about the topic as well as where they will look to find answers as well as what materials or tools they might need along the way.

The students are going to teach each other what they have learned during their personal inquiries. To plan for their inquiries, we asked the students to decide a) what they would like to teach others about and, b) what they want others to learn.  Here are some of their ideas:

I want to teach others about…..


Hygiene and germs

Good bacteria

Bad bacteria


Sugar and Nutrition





I want others to learn…..

What food has good bacteria.

More about hygiene.

What good bacteria does.

How germs make us sick.

Where germs come from.

What bacteria does to our body.

What you can do to avoid bad germs.

What you should and shouldn’t eat.

How we get cavities.

How sugar causes cavities.

How we can fight bad bacteria.

How germs grow.

What foods help our body grow.

How vitamins help the body fight germs.

How does good food help us fight germs.

Why sugar is bad for our body.

That relaxation makes the body strong.

How we can stay clean.

What we can do to relax.

The children reflect on their research sessions by thinking about the following:


As the children work through the inquiry cycle, they are devising new questions, thinking about their thinking, looking for and conducting experiments to collect data, asking experts (i.e. nurse, teacher, kitchen staff) for advice and help, taking notes, drawing diagrams, making observations, taking photos to document their progress and more.
The students are also using this new information to create a video of a perfectly healthy morning as part of our learning about telling time to the hour, half hour and quarter hour.  See the albums below for photos of the students in action this week.

Looking for Answers to Our Personal Inquiries

Personal inquiries

Creating our Perfectly Healthy Morning Videos

Making a video of a perfectly healthy morning

Looking for information…..

We are inquiring into how different sources of information help people make healthy choices.  This week, the students practiced gathering information from experts, parent surveys, and recipes, as well as collecting their own data to help them make informed choices that affect their health and the way they feel.

Our visit from the dental experts was an opportunity for students to learn more about how we care for our teeth. We learned from the dentists that not only is brushing and flossing our teeth important for good oral hygiene, but that what we eat and drink also has an effect on our teeth and gums.


2M dentist visitWe had a visit with a nutritionist who helped us think about the minerals and vitamins and nutrients in the foods we choose for our snacks.


2M visit with the nutritionist


In preparation for our visit with the nutritionist, we had been reading about vitamins, minerals and nutrients. When looking at a number of food and nutrition guidelines and thinking about what a balanced meal looks like, some students suggested that we create a pretend “Healthy Restaurant” in our classroom so that we can play and teach others about healthy eating. Although we have yet to decide who we are going to invite to play in our “Healthy Restaurant”, we have started to write our breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and specials menus.  We looked at a number of menus to determine the criteria for our menu writing.


2M creating criteria for writing menus

To learn more about the foods we would like to include in our menus, the students looked up recipes online to find healthy and delicious options.

2M looking at recipes

When reflecting on how reading recipes helps us to make informed choices, some of the students ideas included:

What did we do?

We searched for information about the food in recipes.

Why did we do this?

So we can make a restaurant. Because then we can know how to make food taste delicious.

We can make healthy foods.

We can learn about new foods and if they are healthy or not.

What did we learn?

Researching is good because you know what ingredients are in there because there might be healthy or not healthy food.

If we read more recipes and ask more questions then we will know what we can make.

What next?

I wonder how many healthy foods are in restaurants.

We can make more healthy food (by choosing recipes with healthy ingredients).

This week, the students were asked to record data about how much they move at recess and how it made them feel.  Some students chose to run around the playground during their play times and proudly reported that they had run around the playground 20 times during one recess!  We then wondered how far they had run and set out a plan to determine what the distance was. We have decided to find out how far one lap around the playground is and later we can use that information to determine how far 20 laps around the playground is.

First, we had to think about the most appropriate standard unit of measurement to use and so, we started  with a discussion about millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers. After deciding that we would be most likely to run a number of meters, we went outside to begin to measure.


2M measuring


Our thoughtful Grade 2s

This week, the children learned about meditation as part of our unit relating to “Lifestyle choices that people make can affect their health.” We had the chance to practice meditation with Miss Ethel who is a meditation teacher.  She taught us that meditation can “Make you happy, calm your heart and your mind, and help you to be more healthy.”


Some of the ideas the students had about how meditation can affect our body were:

“We can feel calm so we can think.”

“We can relax when we feel bad.”

“Our feelings change when we think about good things.”

“We don’t get really stressed if we meditate.”

“It can help you be happy.”

We practiced three types of meditation.  In the first one, the students sat quietly and repeated the phrases:

“I am a beautiful person.

I am a lovely person.

I love myself exactly as I am.”

In the same meditation, we then repeated to ourselves:

“My toes are smiling.

My ankles are smiling.

My tummy is smiling.

My hair is smiling.

My forehead is smiling.”

We imagined that our whole body was smiling with the idea in mind that if we are smiling in our body, our mood can change for the positive.

The next meditation exercise was to repeat the following phase:

“Peace begins with me.”  For each word, we touched a different finger to our thumb, similar to as if we were counting the words (Peace: index finger to thumb, begins: middle finger to thumb, with: ring finger to thumb, me: pinky finger to thumb.)

IMG_5020Next, we listened to music while sitting quietly with our eyes closed for 5 minutes.  Afterwards we asked the children to tell us what they saw, heard and felt.

I saw…

“My ancestors”

“A blue dragon”

I felt…

“Calm like I was flying in the air.”



I heard…

“The music”

“Different instruments”

“A dragon in the instruments”

Next, each of the students shared a positive affirmation and reflected on how this affects our mood:

IMG_5024“When we think about good things, we can stop thinking about something that is bothering us, even if we don’t forget about the bad things, it is good not to think about them too much.”

Finally, we went outdoors to sit quietly in the sun so that we could listen to the environment around us.

IMG_5030Coming back to our line of inquiry, How the choices people make affect their health, the students had this to say:


IMG_5034“We can do meditation to clear our mind if we have a bad day.”

“In Kyudo (Japanese archery) they said they did that because it helps them relax.  This meditation is also for relaxing.”

“You can find a quiet spot and say happy words without moving your lips.”

“I makes me think that we never need to change who we are, even when we are jealous (of other people).”

“We can always think good things and forget about sad things.”

“I don’t forget about the sad things but it helps me a little.”

“The seniors might like to meditate with us so that we can help them think of good things and feel better.”

“We could choose some music for the seniors to listen to while they relax.”

Observing Growing Germs!

In the HS lab, we were able to observe the gems we collected over the past few weeks to see if they had grown at all.  It was interesting to see which surfaces had the most germs.  Some germs had grown into colonies, but some had not quite done so yet.  Next week, we will take another look and hopefully see more!  Mr. Lorimer and the lab assistant, Harumi-san, have been helping us all along the way in our investigation.

The children first predicted where the most germs would have been collected from.

“I think that the germs that will be the biggest are the ones that were from the bottom of my shoe because that is really dirty.”

“I think that the germs we collected from the washroom are the strongest germs so they will grow the biggest”.

“The germs are going to grow a lot because we put them in the jelly and the jelly has sugar in it.  And germs like sugar.”

Please click on the album below to see photos of the students in action!

2M germ observation

They were excited to see so much growth and keen to draw what they saw as well as take notes. We continue to build our skills as scientists. This means being safe in the lab as well. We are making sure that we don’t walk around with our petri dishes and keep them in the middle of our table.

Afterwards, the students reflected:

What did we do?

“Collected germs from different places and put them in the jelly, then kept them warm for two weeks.”

“We observed the germs to see if they are growing.”

“We saw that there are different kinds of germs because they all look different.  Some are fuzzy and colourful.”

Why did we do this?

“So we can see where the germs are.”

“It is fun to look at the germs.”

“We are inquiring.”

What did we learn?

“Sometimes you can see germs. But you can’t see them before they grow.”

“You have to be careful when you are in the science lab.  You don’t want to spill the germs.”

“The shelf had a lot of germs on it.”

“Some jelly didn’t have any germs growing yet.”

“We have to take notes and draw what we saw.”

What next?

“We can go back to see if the germs have grown more.”

“We should remember to wash our hands before we eat.”

“I wonder if all of those germs are bad for our health?”


A Visit from Musician Kathryn Claire

This week, we had a visit from musician and storyteller, Ms. Claire sang and played a song for us, and then we had the opportunity to create our own song. When creating the song, the children learned about verses, chorus, dynamics, and rhyme. Ms. Claire explained that her songs often tell a story.


The students chose to write a song about “Home”.  Here are some of their ideas from our brainstorm:

Home sweet home

I feel like I’m at home

Oh sweet home

I’ll always return

I’m always excited to go home

I can rest

I memorised the place

When we get home we feel like we don’t want to go out anymore

I never want to leave

I stick to the home

Where you are is home

I play games

I feel happy, safe

I feel cosy

I hear the wind

We haven’t finished the verses yet, but the chorus is finished. Everyone in 2M had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of the song so far, and we will finish it with Ms. Mason during Music class next week.  Here is what we have so far!

Finger picking A – G

A               G

Oh, sweet home

A                        G

I memorised the place

A               G        

Oh, sweet home

A                         G

I won’t forget the space

I walk through the door with grace

Please click here to see a video of our class singing the chorus with Ms. Claire.







What is Healthy?

This week, we began our new Unit of Inquiry by asking the students: What is Healthy? Please see the photos in the album below of the students sharing their ideas about “What is Healthy?”

2M what is healthy?

Some of their ideas included:


  • Healthy is the good things for your body.
  • Eating Fruit and vegetables, doing sports.
  • We can’t always eat chocolate.
  • You have to exercise, too. You have to move your body.
  • Reading helps me be healthy (because I feel relaxed).
  • We brush our teeth and laugh and sweat.
  • We wear warm clothes and wash our hands.


Some ideas in particular lead us onto an interesting inquiry into germs and where they come from:

“I think that outside there are lots of germs so when we come in from outside we have to wash our hands”.

“I wonder if we can see germs?”

“Are there any good germs?”

“Does all dirt have germs”?

“Can there be germs if we don’t see any dirt?”

Some of the students then began to wonder about where germs come from and where they can be found. We decided to find out more about germs and where they are in our school.  To further our inquiry we asked the High School science lab for help.  They prepared petri dishes for us so that we could collect samples of gems from around the school, allow them to grow, and hopefully we will get to see them under a microscope in a few weeks!  Please click on the album below for photos of the students at work collecting germ samples from around the school….


2M Collecting GermsOther questions and thinking related to our new Unit of Inquiry came up this week, too:

“I didn’t know that inside blood there is water, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.”

“What are all those things in our blood?”

“I made a connection because I have heard of good bacteria and so, are some germs good?”

“What protects us from germs? What body parts save us from germs?”

“Do white blood cells protect us from germs”?

“I think there is good bacteria in the dirt because I know that plants need dirt to live.”

“I am knowledgeable because I know that there really are good bacteria.”

We are looking forward to finding out more about germs and how the choices we make help our body to fight them!

Please click on the albums below to see other photo highlights from our week…

Unit of Inquiry Vocabulary Building

2M expert groups


Showing What We Already Know About Our Unit of Inquiry (Pre-Assessment)

2M pre-assessment who we are


Working With Our Learning Buddies to Create Surveys About the Choices We Make that Help Us Stay Healthy

2M creating  survey with our learning buddies


What Grade 2 is Thinking about Inquiry…

This week, an expert inquiry teacher, Kathy Murdoch, visited YIS to work with the teachers to help build our culture of inquiry. In preparation for her visit, we collected data to determine what the students think about learning through inquiry.  We asked the student the following questions:

What does “learn through inquiry” mean?

Do you learn through inquiry? Why or why not?

When do you inquire?

Where do you inquire?

What do GOOD inquirers do?

How do you inquire?


Here are some of the students’ ideas….

What does “learn through inquiry” mean?

  • We learn by asking questions.
  • They read books to find out information. They research things.
  • When you learn how to inquire and then use that to find things out.
  • We listen to each other.
  • We ask questions. We can learn from fiction, too.
  • We learn new things.
  • We make stuff. We think.
  • We are honest.  We have to say “I don’t know what the answer is…”  if we don’t know something.
  • We help each other to learn. Like when we give each other hints to help find things out.
  • You improve.
  • We find out things.
  • We read non-fiction.

Do you learn through inquiry? Why or why not?

  • Yes, because I improve.
  • Yes, because when you ask a question, you will always get an answer.
  • Yes, because you learn something new.
  • Yes, because I ask questions.
  • Yes, because there are many things we don’t know!
  • Yes, because by asking questions you can become more knowledgeable.

When do you inquire?

  • At recess, free inquiry, when we write, when we read, in math, during team time, and EAL and Math and Art and PE and Drama and music.
  • ….and  at home too!

Where do you inquire?

  • At recess, free inquiry, playing, math, in a science office.
  • When we read and play music.
  • At free Inquiry and every class.

What do GOOD inquirers do?

  • Think, learn, play, write, draw, math.
  • I think all the time.
  • I make things.
  • Research, look find out.
  • Test things, think and see.
  • Ask questions and learn new thinking.
  • They learn a lot of things and find out things.
  • You ask a lot of questions, learn a lot of things and listen to each other.
  • They concentrate on their learning and try to know about a lot of things.
  • Read fiction and nonfiction

After sharing our results and thinking about the children’s’ ideas, we realized that our students know what it means to inquire and they identify themselves as inquirers, as well as the ways that they learn through inquiry. Well done, Grade 2!

Other photos highlights from our week…..

Working on our Stories for our Summative Assessment

Working on summative assessment

This Week’s Community Reading

community reading


Grade 2 Creates!

As the students continue to add descriptions to their settings and characters, their narratives are developing nicely! We began by adding adjectives to describe where the story begins. Next, the students created characters and description to talk about their likes and dislikes, their appearance, their feelings and their roles in the story.


character and settingNext, we began to plan the events that would lead up to the conflict/problem/mystery in our stories.

sharing stories

Mr. Liang joined us to work on transition words. Together we developed a great list of transitions we can use to make our stories more interesting to the reader!


Some of our ideas for what we can write for “And then”:

  • Suddenly…
  • Before he realized it….
  • The next day…
  • That night…
  • Later that day….
  • After breakfast…
  • The next moment…
  • Later that afternoon…
  • One hour later…
  • When the moon was in the sky…
  • When the sun came up…

We are putting all that we are learning about writing narratives into practice as we plan to share stories for our summative assessment. The students chose one idea from the list below and are preparing to share a story for their summative assessment next week.

Possible ways to show our learning:

  • Choose a story and retell it based on the original story.
  • Write my own, original narrative tale.
  • Tell an already existing story from a different point of view.
  • Create a script of story.
  • Reconstruct a tale by changing characters, events, setting, etc.
  • Create a sequel or prequel to an existing story.
  • Present in a chosen form: written, oral, acting, Kamishibai, song

We are really looking forward to sharing these stories next week!

stories for our summative assessment