I Scream…You Scream…We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Thank you for sending so many wonderful toppings to build our sundaes!  There were quite a few unique creations!  All the second graders LOVED them.  Each and everyone came back for seconds!


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Everybody Does It!

Have you ever made poop?  Our second grade class did!  We recreated the digestive path food takes from the first step to the last.  We had two rows and each student had a different part in the process.

First, the molars which rip up the food.  We ripped up newspaper into small bits just as our teeth do.

Next, we added saliva to begin the chemical digestion of the food.  Basically we sprayed the newspaper with water.

Then it was time for the esophagus to do its part.  We squeezed the newspaper repeatedly as the pancreas does to move the food down to the stomach.

A  great deal of the digestive process takes place in the stomach.  Our food is in the stomach longer that any other part of the digestive system.  Using stomach acid (in our case, water), we worked the newspaper with our stomach muscles (hands) until it was soft enough to go through to the small intestines.

In the small intestines, we passed the nutrients (Skittles) into our blood stream to be distributed throughout our body.  Everyone enjoyed the Skittles as long as they didn’t think about where they just came from!

The large intestine absorbs all the excess water so there is only waste matter left (poop shaped newspaper).  We used sponges to absorb the liquid.  It took quite a lot of effort.

Finally, the rectum!  this is where and how waste is removed from our body.  We squeezed it out of the rectum (hands) into a dishpan (toilet).  Yes, everyone does it!


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The Last Day

What a wonderful year we have had!  It began with such stress and insecurity but ended with a bang,,,a slight return to what we used to know!  The students were so resilient, positive and happy as the year progressed.  They brought every adult around them joy.  I will never forget this school year, nor the wonderful students I shared it with!


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No Bones About It!

What is the skeletal system made of? What does the skeletal system do?  Are there other parts of the skeletal system besides bones?  We answered these and many other questions in our investigation of the skeletal system.  Our culminating project was to take all the knowledge we gained through experimentation and research and create our own skeleton model.  Pretty impressive!

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A Camping We Will Go…

camping quotes

Our camping day was a great success!  Check it out!


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The Digestive Hustle

We have been learning about the digestive system this week.  This is one of the students’ favorite topics, when else can we talk about pooping and throwing up?  Today, the students were divided into groups and had to create a Digestion Dance showing the path of the digestive system.  There was much silliness and laughter, but it was obvious, based on their songs and dances, that they have a strong understanding of this important body system.

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What’s “Circulating” in Second Grade?

Continuing their study of the circulatory system this week, Summit second graders are learning about the heart and blood.  After reading and researching the circulatory system, students measured and compared their heart rate while standing and in motion.

Also, by mixing their own, students discovered what is in a drop of blood.  Discussing correct percentages, students added red blood cells (red hots), white blood cells, (white beads) plasma (Karo syrup), and platelets (silver sequins)!  So much fun learning!


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The Romance of Alex and Crystal…

Our back yard is so special!  Not only do we have huge amounts of grassy areas, a track for walking, and wonderful play equipment, we have a love story!  For the last few weeks, the second graders have been enthralled with two ducks who have taken up residence in a dark corner of our backyard.  They are positive that Alex and Crystal are in love and preparing a nest for their babies.  Each recess students run straight for the corner to check on Alex and Crystal.  Many sit on the edge of the track to just watch the ducks and their interactions.  Needless to say, we have many conversations about Mallard ducks!  What a wonderful learning experience!   How calming and relaxing!  How lucky we are to have this opportunity!

We will continue to monitor the ducks’ romance and let you know if any significant events take place between the two of them.

Meet Alex and Crystal!

Our new favorite recess activity.

Perhaps they are building a nest?

Alex takes care of Crystal and protects her.

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What’s in a Bone?

Would you believe tortillas, sugar wafers, peach and strawberry jelly, and licorice?  Not really!  We discovered that almost every bone in your body is made of the same materials:

  • The outer surface of bone is called the periosteum (say: pare-ee-OSS-tee-um). It’s a thin, dense membrane that contains nerves and blood vessels that nourish the bone.
  • The next layer is made up of compact bone. This part is smooth and very hard. It’s the part you see when you look at a skeleton.
  • Within the compact bone are many layers of cancellous (say: KAN-sell-us) bone, which is also called the spongy because it looks a bit like a sponge. Cancellous bone is not quite as hard or heavy as compact bone, but it is still very strong.
  • In many bones, the cancellous bone protects the innermost part of the bone, the bone marrow. Bone marrow is sort of like a thick jelly.  There are two types of bone marrow: red and yellow bone marrow.  Red bone marrow is where red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells are created.  The function of yellow bone marrow is to store fat and produce red blood cells during life-threatening situations.

We created our own bones, ours were quite delicious.  We used tortillas for the periosteum, Lady Fingers for the compact bone and sugar wafers for the spongy bone.  The bone marrow was represented by peach and strawberry jelly,  Our nerves were string licorice. There’s nothing better than an anatomy snack!

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Graphic Organizers

 Graphic organizers help students construct meaning. They are important and effective tools for organizing content and ideas while facilitating learners’ comprehension of newly acquired information.  They can be used across the curriculum and across all grade levels. I use them to assess students’ understanding, observe their thinking process and improve comprehension. Using graphic organizers enable students to organize, comprehend and internalize new learning.  When students can see and organize information, their ability to learn and comprehend increases significantly.

We use graphic organizers on a daily basis.  The use of them provides a hands on approach to learning. These tools, when incorporated in a lesson, provide students with the opportunity to actively participate and contribute to their learning process. The designs of the graphic organizers and the act of organizing content serves to stimulate both the creative and logical parts of the brain. It also helps to develop team dynamics when given as a group activity.  Through the use of graphic organizers, various cognitive skills such as brainstorming, generating ideas, organizing and prioritizing content, critical analysis and reflection can be developed. This exposure helps improve a student’s capacity for active learning. The visual representations also serve as visual cues which aid in retention and recall of concepts and their relations.

Graphic organizers allow for a deeper understanding of the content being taught. The pictorial representations enable students to break down bigger ideas or concepts into smaller, simpler illustrations that are more easily comprehended.  Though very simple to the eye, graphic organizers are powerful tools, highly instrumental in altering and improving the teaching-learning process in the classroom.

Graphic organizers also help to meet the needs of all learners. Presenting information in both text and graphic formats is one of the most basic ways to make a lesson accessible to more students.

Take a look at some of the graphic organizers we use!

Our gallon man helped us convert gallons, quarts, pints and cups.

Even a calendar is a graphic organizer!

So much can be done with 4 squares. We often use them for story elements.

KWL charts (what we know, what we want to know and what we’ve learned) help us think of the big picture and analysis what information is important.

T charts help us compare topics.


Webs have so many purposes. They help us organize our writing, list character traits and remind us of what we’ve learned.

Sometimes we can even create simple illustrations that become graphic organizers.

Word maps help us better understand vocabulary.

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