2nd Grade: Structures

In 2nd Grade our Universal Theme is STRUCTURES.  We will look at how the big ideas of Structure connects to our life.  There is a structure to the houses we live in, the trees we climb on, the water we drink.  There is also a structure to how our school runs, the laws of our land, and our number system. Structure is everywhere.

The kids learned about the Big Ideas of Structure and drew images that connected to each idea.

We also jumped into learning details about the square and how it connects to our Big Ideas of structure.

In learning about squares we wondered which number of tiles could build a square.  The 2nd graders would choose a number and attempt to build it in the shape of a square using color tiles.  This launched us into learning about Square Numbers and multiplication.

From squares we launched into a natural structure, crystals.  We watched a Brainpop on crystals and the children took notes using our Depth and Complexity icons.

We followed our Brainpop video up with a chance to grow crystal snowflakes.  We used Borax, pipe cleaners, and boiling water.  The 2nd graders learned a new language of the discipline: Saturation Point as we grew our crystals.

After growing our crystals we explored how different crystals have different structures. The second graders studied three substances using our Jewlers’ Loupes and recorded what they observed.  They learned the 3 crystals they studied were actually ones we eat: Table Salt, Sugar, and Kosher Salt.  After their observations they used our Zome kit to build the crystal lattice of a salt crystal.

The second graders were interested in what made salt different from sugar, so we talked about how all things are made up of a combination of elements.  I showed the periodic table and we talked about which elements made salt and sugar.  One of our classmates shared that they knew what elements made water, so we added that to our learning as well.  Next week we will explore the water molecule in more detail.


2nd-5th Grade: Mission Statements

We are a Leader In Me school, which means that we are working hard to live a life following the Seven Habits:

Be Proactive
Begin with the End in Mind
Put First Things First
Think Win-Win
Seek First to Understand, then be Understood
Sharpen the Saw

In order to better live these habits we need to have a shared mission.  During the first week of GT, each grade answered the following questions: What are we here to do? How are we going to accomplish it? Why are we doing this.  The kids added their ideas to a chart on our board with post-it notes.


We then looked for patterns within our answers and used those patterns to create one shared mission.  I think the kids did great.

2nd Grade: Bridges

The second graders have been studying structures and strong shapes that make sturdy structures.  The kids used bridges to see shapes in action.  They each chose a bridge to research and created a Thinglink to share their knowledge.  They are using their new understanding about bridges to build their own bridge with materials around our room.  Be on the look out for images and videos of our cool bridges.

2nd Grade: Working on our W.I.G.

The 2nd graders did their October Check In on their WIG, our Wildly Important Goal. They are working to learn their multiplication tables with automaticity to help prepare for some higher level math we will be doing in the second semester.  I am so very proud of the effort and practice many of the kids are putting in.  When we started in September the majority of students had 0-1 correct in 45 seconds.  This week we had many kids that were correctly answering 7-9 in 45 seconds.  Every child answered at least one correct, with the average being 5.

Before our checkpoint the kids had a chance to play a game on Kahoot to test their knowledge.  We all had a great time.

There were many lead changes throughout, but here were the final results of our Kahoot.



So proud of Taylor.  She had one correct in September, but got 9 correct during our October Check In.  Way to to, Taylor!  Keep up the good work.

Taylor October

2nd Grade: Squares, Squares, Squares

In 2nd grade we have been having some fun with the square.  The kids started by sharing what they know about the square in their journal.

**Click on the images to see them full size.

We also looked at a logic puzzle called How Many Squares.  The kids had to count the squares, explain their strategy.  We then counted a second time to see if we could find even more.  Most kids found 16-24 their first time around, they were surprised to discover there were many more. 

This week we also looked at the magic that can happen when we fold a square in various ways…new polygons emerge.  The 2nd graders loved learning all of this new math terminology.

The students had the opportunity to use a protractor to the angles on various squares around the room.  They discovered that all squares have 90 degree angles.  This information helped them when they worked to write a program to create a square in Hopscotch.

Some 2nd graders took their square program to a new level.  They made it like a game.  You click on their character and a fact about a square appears.

2nd Grade: A Great Start to a New Year

In second grade the kids started with a chalk talk.  They walked silently around the room responding to a series of questions that would lead to writing our mission statement.  They had to put their own thoughts and respond to their classmates.

After our chalk talk, the children were ready to present their homework.  I sent home a white square and the kids were to use their Green Thinking hat ( new ideas) to turn their square into something unexpected.  I loved seeing the creativity.

In these first couple of weeks, the second graders were give a challenge.  They had to work in teams to build the tallest, free standing, paper tower.  They were given 20 sheets of paper, tape and scissors.  It was interesting listening to the conversations.  I heard some groups talking about the need for a strong base.  They weren’t always sure what that meant, just that they needed one. 🙂

Second Grade Wildly Important Goal: 

95% or more of the 2nd Grade GT students will be able to correctly answer 20 multiplication problems in 45 seconds by December.

This WIG will follow us through our first semester. Knowing our multiplication tables will help with some higher level math we will be tackling in the spring.

The kids took a pre-test the first week.  Most of the kids got 0-1 correct, with one getting 5 out of 20 correct.  I decided to have the kids test again our 2nd week because so many indicated that they had started practicing.  Below you will see the kids with the most growth.  They moved from getting 1 correct to 6, 7, or 8 in 45 seconds.  WOW!  Way to go guys.

**You can click on the pictures below to see them in full size.

It is About Time!

I do not think I have ever made it into 3 weeks of classes without blogging, as well as barely tweeting and instagramming. Definitely not the norm for me and one I hope to start rectifying now.

As I have said before, I want for parents, friends, and family to feel a part of the learning that is happening in the GT classroom. It should not be a mystery. I know that the parents of these amazing kiddos have a great deal to share with us. I love when parents share articles, video clips, etc. that relate to things that we are learning about in the classroom. Actually I love when you share any thing that provokes thought, even if not related to our units.

I am always striving to improve the GT program here at Bulverde Creek. I want the kids to feel challenged, encouraged to be risk takers, to feel free to experiment with their thinking. This year each grade level wrote (on their own, with minimal say from me) a mission statement. The mission statements are to align with what the kids expect to get out of GT. My job, and their’s, is to be sure that our learning is following the path of this mission. This aligns with Bulverde Creek’s implementation of the Leader In Me philosophy. You will also see that your children have WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) and Leadership Roles in the GT classroom.

I would like to work this year on putting the kids in the path of more hands-on constructivist learning. I would like to do this through an addition of Makerspaces and Curiosity/Genius Hour. I am not exactly sure how this will work with my various grade levels, but I know I want to ease into it. I am excited about the possibilities and seeing what these children are capable of.

I am wrestling with a lot of changes I want to make, while incorporating Leader In Me, in an effort to grow our program. Perhaps all of these potential changes and new ideas is what is keeping me off blogging and tweeting. 🙂

I hope that your children are enjoying GT so far this year. I look forward to growing and learning with them this year and in years to come.

2nd Grade: Bridges

The second graders have been studying and learning about bridges over the last several weeks.  As a culminating project each student chose one bridge to research and learn about.  They used PicCollage to place themselves on their famous bridge, imported their image into Thinglink and added tags with details about their bridge.  Students then wrote an I Am poem from the perspective of their bridge using Google Slides.  They added their poem to their Bridge Thinglink.  When you hover over the tag with their poem, click on the GOOGLE SLIDES in the right corner.  It will open a full size version of the poem so that you can read it.

2nd Grade: Biomimicry Commercials

After studying and learning about how inventors, engineers, and scientists are looking to nature for solutions to problems, the 2nd graders researched two animals and melded two adaptations to create their own invention.  They used DoInk Greenscreen to create a commercial advertising their product.  Enjoy!  I know I loved watching them write, practice, and create their commercials.  We have some budding advertisers in here. 

2nd Grade: Tessellations

In 2nd grade we have been studying structures, both natural and man-made. Before the Christmas break we took a look at how snow crystals were formed, specifically the hexagonal nature of the snowflake.  This led to studying the beehive and seeing the connection between the two.  In looking at the beehive we learned about Tessellations and M.C. Escher.  The 2nd graders are currently creating their own Tessellation art inspired by Escher.  They started by creating their tile, then putting their divergent thinking skills to work and turned their tile into something. I always love to see what the kids come up with.  I will share their finished tessellations next week.