We started our final week in Grade 2 with the Elementary School Swim Gala. This was the first year that the students competed in 25m races and despite the scorching weather, they all did a great job with this transition.
We rounded up our final unit with presenting our learning to the class. These included games that the children had made, a video of a play written and performed by a group of students, models, drawings and illustrations of food webs and several slideshows.
We also worked together to create a class video in which the children shared a problem they cared about and an action they thought of that could help solve or limit it. Mr. Gallagher helped us with the filming and technical aspects and Mrs. Vaughan with the singing.
Finally, we shared a lovely last day playing games, watching a film and spending time with our friends. At the final school assembly we said goodbye to teachers and students who are leaving ISS and found out that Raffles won the Swim Gala and Somerset won the House Cup for this year. We were also treated to a performance by the choir and Grade 5 students.
Thanks to all the parents and children for a really fantastic year. Ms. Nisah and I have both loved our time together and wish you all the best for Grade 3 and your many adventures ahead. Keep in touch!
The children have been completing their inquiries this week and have begun to share these with the class. Here are some quotes about the experience.
Bosco, Taiga, Yehen, Liam: "My group researched about sea animals and made a slideshow together. We also made a game. It was quite fun to work together. We found out that people need to recycle plastic so that the turtles won't think it is jelly-fish." (Yehen)
John & Mia: "We worked together on slide-shows about the Bob-cat and Cheetah and their habitats. We also made a model. We learnt that bob-cats are territorial and can live in many different habitats." (John)
Odrita & Fatima: "We wrote a play about territorial animals in the Amazon rainforest whose habitat was being destroyed. It was fun but hard to organise and agree on ideas. We didn't have long!" (Odrita)
Shu & Haruto: "We researched about mushrooms and made a slideshow and models. Mushrooms can live on dead logs and squirrels eat mushrooms, owls eat the squirrels- this is the food chain." (Shu)
Linda & Seeun: "We made a slideshow and a game about jaguars. We found about what they eat and where they live. If people cut down trees then animals die. This means jaguars might not have enough food to eat and then they will die too."
Koshiro & Aki: "We learned about iguanas and we inquired into what does it eat and how the bodies are and where does it live. We think iguanas are cool." (Aki)
Yuriko & Chisa: "We did ocean animals for research. We made a game and slideshow and we learnt that we should pick up rubbish and save energy so that the coral reefs will grow and turtles will stay safe. (Yuriko)
Yui: "I drew a food web about the Arctic animals and made a model of a penguin and a seal. I also found out lots of problems for the Arctic like Global Warming and over-fishing." (Yui)
Stefan: "I worked on my own because it was easier. I made a slideshow about lions." (Stefan)
Oscar: "I made a google doc and two board games about tigers. Some problems for tigers are hunters and people are cutting the trees and throwing the rubbish in the forest habitats. This makes the habitat imbalanced." (Oscar)
Axel: "I made a slideshow about forests and rainforests. Many different animals live there. Don't cut down trees or the animals will lose their habitat." (Axel)
Joshua: "I learned about polar bears. They live in the Arctic, a cold habitat. They can die because the ice is melting and they have to swim too far to find somewhere to live. The weather is too warm- we should save energy." (Josh)
Storm: "I worked on how the world could be better and how we could improve how animals live so that animals don't die. We could stop chopping down trees, stop hunting animals and be kind to animals." (Storm)
We are also writing letters to try and persuade people to help us about a particular problem and continuing our learning about time.
This week the children had the opportunity to appreciate various forms of artistic expression.
In class, we have been reading the Newberry Medal winning novel, Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo. On Wednesday, we saw how the Players Theatre had interpreted this book.
The children immediately recognised set pieces and props that connected to what we had read and were fascinated by how the stage crew were able to move and transform the set.
They also enjoyed seeing the characters come to life although a few were able to spot some missing details (a mole!) when they compared them to the illustrations. We have also had some independent action back in class, fact-checking to see what was left out or changed in the production.
All the responses and comments really showed how well the children have been visualising the events in the story and developing inferential skills to help create rounded characters in their mind.
Later this week, we visited the ISS Festival of Arts where we were able to see many of the fantastic art-works created by Elementary students. Many insightful comments were overheard including: "these connect to habitats- this is a desert", "art allows you to express yourself" and "this must have been a lot of work to set up!" Ms. Hima was also really touched by the reaction when the class walked in and saw the exhibition for the first time.
We continued our independent inquiries and experiments with poetry. This week we worked in pairs to write rhyming couplets. Many of them used animals and habitats as inspiration and one fantastic example from Koshiro and Haruto was:
"If the sun gets too bright,
Then the coral will be white."
They incorporated rhyme, cause and effect sentences and the imbalance within the ocean's coral reef habitats that occurs due to temperature change!
The children have begun researching and collecting information about their chosen animal or habitat. During this independent stage of inquiry, they will find out about a particular animal, the habitat it lives within, food webs that it is connected to and finally, any consequences of imbalance within that habitat.
The children have been particularly interested in the ways that temperature change can affect habitats and animals. They have been fascinated to learn more about coral reefs and have made connections to endangered animals such as polar bears and gila monsters. We hope to extend this to coming up with action we can take to help reduce these problems.
We were lucky to be invited to attend a talk by a representative from ACRES which a Grade 3 class had organised. ACRES is a Singapore charity which aims to Rescue Animals, Rehabilitate Animals, Educate the public (on responsible action relating to animals) and Target Wild-life Crime.
Should you see any animals in distress or have any information about illegal animal products or trade, you can contact them on 9783 7782. They advise trying to wait for them to arrive and assist before attempting to intervene or rescue any animals.
We are also beginning to think of creative ways to share what we learn. So far, we have groups planning to use the Green Screen to create plays, groups making board-games, origami food webs, slide-shows and stop-motion animation.
Finally we have been working together to create a 3-D artwork that represents four distinct habitats; Ocean, Desert, Rainforest and the Arctic as well as creating a Poetry Anthology of our class poems, similes and metaphors related to Animals and their habitats.
This week we learnt to make a fraction story. Mine was a comic about a pizza. We thought about predators and prey and different habitats. I looked at the Artic and found out that temperature is very important and it has to be the right temperature for the animals who live there.
This week the children have continued exploring poetry. We built on their knowledge of the parts of speech and created cinquains and diamante poems which have a distinct pattern of lines and nouns, adjectives or verbs.
They used their expanding vocabulary related to habitats or animals as inspiration. Here are a few of the poems the children wrote:
Blowing, erupting, smoking
Lava pouring, destroying everything
Swimming, sailing, fishing
Dark waves, cold, blue
Eating, killing, biting
Fierce, strong, scary, shy
Running, jumping, scaring
Growing, creeping, dying
I hate eating them
In Maths, we were creative in our thinking about fractions. First we divided one whole page into equal fractions by folding it. These ranged from thirds to one-hundred and eighths! Some students then decorated their pages which we later used to interpret and find fractions of a group using counting. We will extend this thinking into finding fractions of groups by using division strategies.
Later in the week, the children worked together and drew simple comics or pictures or wrote stories which involved fractions and showed their conceptual understanding.
In UOI, we began inquiring into how animals are connected in food chains and webs. The children developed more understanding of the elements in a food chain, including Producers and Consumers, Prey and Predators and the key importance of the Sun.
They researched to create their own food webs. This will be extended to embed these food webs within their relevant habitats so that the children begin to see how what animals eat is connected to where they live and what else lives there. We began to create an interactive map outside our classroom showing where various producers and consumers might be found. This will be added to over time.
They also worked in small groups to think of what can affect particular habitats. They then shared their ideas with the rest of the class.
Pollution, hunting, removing plants or animals for zoos or pets, a change in the amount of water or temperature, using the habitat space to build on or the over-population of one animal were all suggested. Such a broad range of really complex and sophisticated causes of imbalance show the children are really aware of the world around them and some key issues we face.
This week we visited Kent Ridge Park where the students developed their scientific observational skills. We were very lucky to have Mrs. Vaughan, who knows the park well, and Ms. Hima, a real nature-lover with a science background, accompany us on the trip. They shared lots of their knowledge with the children.
We saw several different habitats a pond and lake (freshwater), logs and soil (understory of rainforest) and trees and branches (canopy of rainforest).
The children noticed that the quieter they were the more animals they saw. Some of the creatures we spotted included: a snake, dragonflies, fish, a monitor lizard, birds, squirrels, many different ants, worms, beetles and spiders.
We also saw a variety of plants, flowers and funghi living within the habitats.
We also visited the MS Science Lab this week and observed the Grade 6 class conducting a soil investigation. We made notes on the equipment and materials they used as well as their procedure so that we can try and carry out our own experiment back in class next week.
In Literacy, we used our experiences and imaginations to create word lists for different habitats with the help of images and sounds. We then sorted these words and used them to create our own similes and senses poems.
Finally, we had some risk-takers from Grade 2. They wrote their own scripts and led the assembly this week. They even emailed and arranged a guest (Ms. Berna) to hand out the certificates.
The students have been Tuning In to our new unit of inquiry which will explore how Animals and their habitats are connected.
We began by differentiating between Living (bird), Non-Living (glass) and Once Alive/Dead (wood). The children then showed great enthusiasm and knowledge about animals and thought about where different animals lived. They shared this knowledge through sketches and graphic organisers.
The students have chosen many, many books from the library that they think connect to this unit and we have begun to sort these into different habitat areas. They will explore these in more detail once we begin our research stage (Finding Out).
Ahead of our field trip to Kent Ridge Park, we read The Great Kapok Tree, a book about the Amazon Rainforest and the animals that live there. We made the connection between the climate there and Singapore being quite similar. Some predictions for things we will see on our visit include monkeys, butterflies, ants, jaguars, bats, flowers, ponds and snakes. There is also a smallish Kapok tree in the park which we will see.
The children also explored some of the habitats in and around school, including a temporary habitat for some snails from Ms. Hima's garden and a sun-bird's nest which is on the tree behind the upper playground. They are discovering what living things need to survive by caring for the snails. They could also see that the nest was attached to orchids growing on the tree and had been made from elements taken from the surrounding area. In this way, they deepened their understanding of the concept of connection within the natural world.
This week also saw the Grade 5's celebrate their PYP journey through their Exhibition. This year the students chose to inquire into how their passions can help them make a difference.
The children enjoyed participating in the workshop-style presentations and learning more from the various groups.
This was the last week of our inquiry into how "We learn about civilisations from what was left behind".
Over the course of the unit, the children have enjoyed finding out about what archaeology is for and what an archaeologist does. They have developed their thinking and observational skills when examining artefacts. They have discovered more about Pompeii and undertaken independent research into civilisations of their choice. They have also reflected on what evidence will be left behind by today's societies and created a small piece to add to a class legacy board, to leave behind themselves.
This week, they have had some hands-on practise with using maps and grids drawn by their peers, to find hidden objects and have then analysed these finds. They commented that it was sometimes hard to follow a map and that it needed details to help us locate things easily.
They have also reflected on what they have learnt and began to make connections between the various civilisations to find similarities and things they have in common.
The students collaborated on a class information book entitled "The Big Book of Ancient Civilisations", in which they shared some of their research. They applied their knowledge of text features and how informational books are organised.
They have expanded their technical vocabulary and many now use words such as "excavate, midden, ancient, temples, artefacts, pyramids, tombs, scientists" in their discussions and writing.
We enjoyed spending some time with 2.2 and K2 this week during which small groups shared their knowledge of maps, compasses and beebots and also read together. We also enjoyed an interactive presentation by some Grade 5 students about food and cooking.
This week also saw the final conference of the year in which the students led their parents around school and shared various activities and learning. It was great to see them taking responsibility for explaining what they had done and showing off the things they were proud of.
Finally, we were proud to have both the winners from the Eco-Design Challenge come from our class. Mia and Liam made a platypus and a windmill respectively to win the Animal and Buildings categories. Our class definitely enjoy using our recycled and art resources areas to explore and create and it was lovely to see this creativity recognised.
There has been lots going on at school this week. Grade 2 have been lucky to learn about what other students have been inquiring into and join in various events.
We continued to support Grade 5 in their Exhibition actions and are incorporating fitness routines into our day. We also had some students come in and teach us a dance.
Singing Club, Coding Club and Eco-Design Challenge were some of the other events organised by Grade 5 that children chose to take part in.
The Grade 2 Salvation Army Donation Drive was a success with lots of items given by the school community. The Grade 3 Clothes Swap was another popular event with many of the children being thrilled with their "free" clothes.
Finally, we visited the Middle School during their STEAM week and saw the interesting learning about water filtration and sustainable and resilient housing that they have been doing.
The children were engaged and able to talk about what they had seen and heard when we came back to class. Haruto was even inspired to begin designing his own house to withstand extreme weather, (he had already done his own water filter!).
All these fantastic events help to make ISS a vibrant, exciting and cohesive community for the children to be a part of. It will hopefully inspire them to find ways to contribute and share their own ideas and learning.
Back in class, we continued our inquiries into maps and directions exploring with compasses and drawing maps of our own.
We also began to think about our third line of inquiry in UOI: evidence we will leave behind. We discussed what archaeologists might find in the future and what the children themselves might leave behind.
Many suggestions were shared and "plastic" items came up a lot as possible MIDDEN of the future. The children sorted their ideas using a Venn Diagram (useful/not useful) and we realised that everything an archaeologist finds can be useful as it tells them something about life in that time. We then thought about whether the evidence was helpful for the planet and this changed the sorting again.
Grade 2.1 are a class of 7 and 8 year old students who attend ISS International School in Singapore. We learn together and play together and enjoy sharing our discoveries with you.