Genius Hour Projects

Woowww!  It’s been awhile.  I know I have posted much this year, but I promise we’ve been learning this year! 😉

For the past month, students have been working so hard on their inquiry-based projects.  For one hour a week, students planned, researched, and created.

Below are the questions our little geniuses inquired and mastered:

Capture

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out this padlet below to view some of the presentations:

Made with Padlet

I am beyond amazed on how well they all worked on these projects and how professional they presented themselves today.  This just goes to show what these little humans of capable of doing.  They may only be eight, but are capable of so much more than we think.

Keep inspiring!

Wax Museum 2019

To celebrate Black History Month, second grade students hosted a living wax museum. The students spent a month researching about a famous historical African-American figure to create a poster with the information they learned.  On the day of the museum, students dressed up as their figure and pretended to be the real-life wax figure! Parents and classes were able to visit the the museum and interact with the “wax figure” by pressing a red button on the students’ hands.  When the red button was pressed, students had to a recite a short summary about the life and achievement of their historical African-American figures.

20190227_124629

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was truly an awe-inspiring event!  I am beyond proud of all the hard work they put into not only researching for their projects, but reciting what they learned in front of a live audience.  Everyone did such an amazing job!!

20190228_095725

2nd Grade Kindness Project

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 12.23.47 AM

Kindness is a learned skill.  As part of our kindness theme this year and service learning goal, students are challenged to complete one kind act this year.  Use the padlet below to document the awesome projects your children are doing to spread kindness around the school and in their communities.  You can include pictures and/or videos if you’d like.  I can’t wait to see all the awesome ideas you come up with!

Please remember: The project is due November 30, 2018.

Made with Padlet

Have fun spreading kindness!

“A little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone’s day!”
-author unknown

Morning Meeting

In order for learning to take place in the classroom, students must feel safe.  They must feel a sense of belonging.  Research has shown that when students feel psychological safety, it has a positive impact on their learning and optimizes their interaction in the classroom.  This is part of building classroom community.  One way I do this is by taking the time out to let my students share positive “bucket fillers” to their classmates and recite positive affirmations.  I am a firm believer that thinking positive thoughts will reap positive outcomes.

In a threatening, or unsafe environment, students are more focused on protecting themselves from humiliating situations than on actual learning.  My goal is to optimize learning by building a safe environment for my students.  I want to have deeper discussions and see more participation in the classroom.  I want my students to feel confident in not only themselves, but also confident in the fact that they will not be ridiculed by their classmates.  When we trust one another to be kind, we are more free to share out thoughts and take more risks.

For this reason, we express bucket fillers and give shout-outs or compliments to our friends.  Then, we recite our affirmations to build inner confidence and start our day with a positive mind.  Last, we finish off with a few minutes of mindful meditation to calm down and re-center before beginning our academic lessons.

Below are the affirmations we recite:

affirmations

The Naked Egg Experiment

To practice the steps of the scientific method, students experimented simple chemical reaction demonstration.  We poured vinegar over an egg and observed it over several days.  They came up with hypotheses of what they thought would happen and recorded their observations.

20180912_0943195851233308633210241.jpg

20180912_0944381772932665279140832.jpg

We learned that the calcium carbonate in the eggshell caused a chemical reaction in the vinegar, causing the shell to be removed. The next day, this is what the egg looked liked:

Students were even able to bounce it!

videocapture_20180915-2154212783755168442156232.jpg

STEM Friday: Stacking Cups

This Week’s Challenge

Create a tool, using only the materials provided, that will allow your team to stack six cups in the shape of a pyramid and then un-stack the pyramid back to a pile.

Materials (per team)

  1. Six (6) plastics cup
  2. Five (5) pieces of string
  3. One (1) rubber band

Rules

  1. Design your tool using only the materials provided.
  2. Only the tool can touch the cups.
  3. Hands can only touch the string.
  4. Cups will be in a pile.  Stack the cups in a pyramid as fast as possible.

The main purpose of this activity was to learn how to cooperate within a group and use ALL members to complete the task.  It’s almost impossible to complete this task by touching only the string without everyone participating.  Many students struggled working together and sharing their ideas with members of their group.  This challenge was difficult, indeed!  That being said, I would like to give a special shoutout to Table 5 for being the first to get close to solving the challenge by tying a string to the rubber band.  In addition, I’d like to thank Table 2 for persevering and not giving up.

Great work, friends!

20180824_1330224491618450430992984.jpg

STEM Friday: Saving Sam!

This is our traditional beginning-of-year STEM Friday activity: Saving Sam! This activity not only promotes teamwork, but requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

This Week’s Challenge

Use the materials provided to put life jacket on Sam, the gummy worm, without him falling into the water.

Materials (per partner/group)

  1. One gummy worm
  2. One gummy lifesaver
  3. One clear, plastic cup
  4. Large paper clips (2-3)

Rules

  1. Students will be in pairs.
  2. Students may NOT touch “Sam,” the “life jacket,” or the “boat.”
  3. Students may only touch the paper clips. They are allowed to bend them.
  4. Students are NOT to poke “Sam” with the paper clips.
  5. Set up: Place gummy lifesaver under cup (the cup is flipped over) and place gummy worm on top.
  6. The goal: Students want to get the “life jacket” from under the “boat” and onto him using only the paperclips.

For our very first cooperative learning activity, teams worked really well together sharing ideas and not giving up.  Dylan and Maddie were the first to figure out how to get the life jacket on Sam, but struggled with actually getting him in.  After many unsuccessful trials, I decided to make it a little easier by letting the pairs work in table groups and giving the groups 2 more paperclips.  This was the result:

20180817_1022351443765319479451726.jpg

Great job, friends!