2nd Grade Uses Thinking Hats to Choose Our Next Visitor

Scully, the ball python, will be leaving us this Wednesday. The students lucked out today because they got to see him in the process of shedding. His cage was an extreme mess when I arrived this morning, and there are pieces of skin all over the floor, as well as several still peeling off his body. Definitely a learning experience!

I decided that the 2nd graders would choose our next 2 week visitor. I gave them the options of live animals that we can borrow from Region 20. Each pair of students had a different animal to research. They used their Thinking Hats to: Find information, think about the positives and negatives, find what was interesting, and write their feelings about that animal. Then they presented their results to the rest of the class. The choices were: Hissing Cockroach, Green Tree Frog, Green Anole, Land Turtle, Water Turtle.

It was close, but the Green Anole was the winner once all presentations were made and the class voted. So, that will be our next visitor!

We also worked on some creative thinking by doing a S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activity. We used “C” for “Combine”, and the students combined hay wagons with whatever they imagined. I put a couple of examples in the photo gallery. One shows a hay wagon with wings, and another shows a wagon being carried into the air by an H.E.B. plane!

Lastly, we worked on some math problem solving by playing a game called, “Where is the X Tile?” The students used clues to figure out “x”.

Thank You to Our Veterans!

made by Cooper K. with the “Dinner, Not Art” app

Our 2nd grade GT time was cut a bit short this morning, but it was for a very good reason.  Hidden Forest honored our veterans with a beautiful ceremony.  Some of our GT students participated in speaking about the wonderful people who have sacrificed so much for our country.  The kids did an excellent job!

When we did get a chance to start class, we worked on a top secret project that will hopefully be revealed next week. Oh, and of course, the students got a chance to meet Scully, the python visiting our class for 2 weeks.

We also worked on reviewing the Thinking Hats, and applying them to some real life situations – like choose after-school activities.  The students practiced on the Activboard, and then showed how much they have learned by applying the Thinking Hats to a Thanksgiving scenario.

As usual, we got a lot done in very little time!


2nd Grade Superheroes!

2nd grade started learning about the 6 “Thinking Hats” today, and used the Activboard to start applying them.  A couple of the students already knew how important it is to “think about your thinking” (metacognition), which is the blue hat.  The other 5 Thinking Hats are a way of visualizing the different types of thinking needed for various situations – Judgment, Benefits, Creativity, Feelings, and Information.  We will be working more on this in the upcoming weeks.

The students polished up their superhero stories, where they each imagined waking up with spider powers like our tarantula visitor, Jeffrey. They used the iPads to make themselves into comic book superheroes as an illustration for their story. (Don’t forget that you can click on each thumbnail below to see a larger version of the photo.)

They finished out the day working some more on coding on the Kodable app.  Several of them learned about the “repeat” command”, which allows them to use less commands.

Next week, the class will have a new, surprise visitor, as Jeffrey returns to Region 20.  I wonder who it will be…

2nd Grade Welcomes Jeffrey!

I know.  Tarantulas are not very cute and cuddly.  But they are fascinating to study.  So, I’ve borrowed one for 2 weeks for the 2nd graders to observe.  We are learning about animal structures this semester, and the tarantula has some unique qualities.  The students did some research, and created “Thinglinks” with some of the facts they learned.  I’ve included links to their pictures below.  Once you click on your child’s name, you can roll your mouse over the tarantula picture, and you will see some dots.  When clicked on, they will reveal some text about tarantulas.

Kylie, Ellie and Cooper, Nicolas and Brian, Connor and Luke, Aaminah and Keely, Cristian and J

I also included some of the pictures taken by the kids while they were taking a look at Jeffrey – some more up close and personal than others!

In addition to learning some facts about tarantulas, the students started some creative writing about some super hero spider powers.  We also worked more on programming with the Kodable app.  We talked about conditional statements, and how they hear them in real life, too.  (“If you clean your room, then you can watch T.V.”, for example)

Spiders and Dinosaurs

2nd grade GT had an action-packed morning today!  We started off by talking about spiders – the structure of their bodies, their communities, and their homes.  This is in preparation for a guest we will be welcoming next week – a tarantula!  Then the students were challenged to do some tough math problems related to spiders and insects.  For example, if there are 10 heads and 72 legs, how many spiders and how many insects are there?  I loved watching how each group tackled the problems in completely different ways, and I was really proud that the majority of the students kept trying even when it seemed like there was no answer to one of the questions.

Once we got our fill of spiders, we moved on to dinosaurs.  Well, specifically, we moved on to “Daisy the Dinosaur”, which is an app that introduces kids to computer programming.  There are several challenges, and then there is a “Freeplay” mode.  After completing the challenges, the students enjoyed  writing programs that made Daisy shrink and grow repeatedly; some of the programs made Daisy completely disappear off the screen.   We will be continuing with programming in the upcoming weeks.



2nd Grade Shares Some GT Memories

I am so sad that today was my last class with 2nd grade! We spent the morning talking about what they had learned, doing some QR code reflections, and “playing” with some of the structure manipulatives. I also recorded each of them sharing a favorite GT memory, and linked the videos to a picture of the class. If you roll your mouse over the picture, you will see little dots on each person, and you can click the dot to watch his or her short video.

In addition, I have included the final batch of Powerpoint presentations created by the kids about their bridges. I am so proud of everyone’s hard work this year!

2nd Grade Has One More Class!

The 2nd graders worked hard to finish up their Powerpoint presentations about bridges today, and I have FIVE slide shows to share with you! We only have three more students who need to complete theirs. Next week is our last class, so we will hopefully get them done!

I also wanted to share this picture with you of one of our students who got to build his own bridge at the Children’s Museum of Houston last week 🙂

2nd Grade Continues to Work on Bridge Research

Many of the 2nd graders are still working on their Powerpoint presentations about bridges. I had one student complete his today, but for some reason his file refuses to load on to Google. I will keep working on getting it fixed.

The students also worked on some SCAMPER activities today, and we ended our day with some word puzzles to practice Visual Thinking – kind of like the one below from wuzzlesandpuzzles.com.

2nd Grade Publishes Some Powerpoints!

The 2nd graders continued to work on their bridge research today, and a couple of the students completed their Powerpoint presentations. I have embedded them below. I hope to have more to share with you after our next class.

We will not have class next week due to the field trip, but I have asked the students to look for unique structures at the Botanical Gardens, and I expect they will have interesting reports.

We also worked some more on visual/spatial thinking today. I gave the students a map of South America, and asked them to use the Four-Color Theory they learned last week to color it. The catch was that each color “cost money”, and they had to figure out how they could spend the least amount while still making sure that regions of the same color did not touch. They used great strategies, and I was particularly impressed by how hard some of them planned before even beginning the activity.

2nd Grade Does Some Hard Visual Thinking!

The 2nd graders continued to work on their bridge Powerpoints today. A few of them are already finished, and are polishing them up with themes and photos. They also selected a new structure to research. I was surprised that many of them chose different tunnels instead of skyscrapers, which are usually the favorite.

We started our Visual Thinking unit for the year, and introduced the “Four Color Theorem“. They showed wonderful perseverance as they tried to find ways to color some sample maps using only 4 colors without any regions of the same color touching. Many of them made several mistakes, but started over without complaint, and fixed them. I gave them a bonus one to take home, and will give them a Class Dojo point if they return it completed correctly.