Math, Math, More Math….and a whole lot of iFolio

by jackierendina on November 17, 2017

This week 2A continued with quick daily mental math practice.  Some of the questions can be seen above.  A change from other weeks, we challenged ourselves to go much more quickly.  Students should be recognizing, recalling and computing small amounts much more quickly now.  Related to this, we have been discussing how we can visualize and represent different numbers through representational math drawings.  Consider the two examples below: In the example on the left (the only way some students think of the number 16) these two representations do not tell you very much about the number 16.  In contrast the representations on the right can tell you a LOT about the number 16.  For example: 16 is not made up from equal groups of 5, but it IS one more than 3 fives, 16 is like 1 ten and 6 ones, 16 is the same as four groups of 4 or two sets of 8 and finally 16 is quite close to 14, 15, 17 and 18.

2A were challenged this week with some rather difficult story problems, requiring lots of comprehension, thinking, perseverance and some representational drawing skills.  Most students are beginning to understand the need for drawing what they know already from a story problem and making it represent the numbers in a useful way.  These students are then able to see what is “happening” in the problem and then move on to choosing an appropriate way to solve it.  Some students are still struggling to grasp the idea of drawing as a tool to help them with understanding the problems.  These students who struggle to understand the story are often those who simply take the numbers from the text and apply some algorithm, sometimes arriving at the correct answer, but sometimes not.  Ask your child how they felt about doing these challenging problems and see if they can explain to you what they have been learning about representational drawing.

Over these last few weeks, students have posted and reflected on a math game they created, their spotlight performance and some narrative writing as well as several other posts.  Please make sure to have a look at your child’s iFolio with him/her and discuss the valuable learning they are doing in school.

Students arrived at school today to find they had been evicted from their cubbies and were not allowed to use their chairs or desks! They hadn’t paid their rent!  This provocation was the beginning of our next unit of inquiry in which we hope students will be learning the value of goods and services as well as what affects the value.  It was interesting to see how appreciative the students were of their regular old chairs, upon being allowed to use them again! I guess it is true that we don’t know what we’ve got, until it’s gone!  Students should bring in an old wallet next week which they can keep at school for the remainder of this unit.  It will be used to store their class allowance, from which they will pay their fees and save money for buying special items.


Above you can see a successful example of a Rube Goldberg machine!  The students in the photo decided to dedicate their machine to Remembrance Day and decorated it with poppies.  Throughout the current unit, students studied how things move and ways forces can be transferred.  After much experimentation and lots of perseverance students completed working Rube Goldberg machines to demonstrate their learning.  Check out a video of one of the machines below and look out for your child’s video and reflections coming soon to his/her iFolio.

2A did an amazing job this week with their spotlight performance.  They really are to be commended on their professionalism and outstanding performance skills.  Students worked together beautifully to create a wonderful performance, showcasing all they have been learning so far this year in performing arts lessons.  A great big thank you to Ms. Benusa for all of her hard work.  To view a video of the performance, check you CDNIS email for instructions about watching on our uStream channel.

Further exploration of 2D and 3D shapes took place this week.  Students had the opportunity to study the features of 3D shapes, create 3D shapes with modelling clay and also to construct 3D shapes using cardboard and tape.  Many of these skills carried over to constructing and creating their Rube Goldberg machines as well as building flying machines in Visual Arts.  Check out some of the photos below and click any of the photos to view our entire Google Album for this week.

Does your child find everyday tasks challenging? Are they distracted by touch/sounds/lights? Do they find it challenging to sit still for a short while? These are just some of the symptoms which might stand out to you. In this parenting talk on November 15 from 8am-9:30 am in the LLAC, Lorena Kastner will provide an understanding of SPD and strategies for you to understand and assist your child. RSVP here.


Halloween, WHY we Create and Which one Doesn’t Belong

by jackierendina on November 3, 2017

(There are a TON of photos from this week, including great Halloween shots, so click the photos to view our entire Google Photos Album)

Learning didn’t stop in 2A for Halloween! Tuesday students built on their design and creation skills through some fun challenges in which they had to use newspaper to build a spooky haunted castle, create their own piñata using toilet paper rolls and assemble Halloween designs using our 2D pattern blocks!  Well done to the students and a great big thank you to parents who organized and came along to help out with these challenges.

Is it because we are naturally curious?  or is it to solve problems?  for FUN!?  Possibly all of these reasons and more!  Students worked with a partner this week to brainstorm ideas and make an interview video to share our ideas.  You can view two of the videos below which were assembled by Ariana and Sophia using iMovie.  The class briefly discussed presentation and video making skills, so feel free to reflect on these skills with your child after watching the videos.


Which of the shapes does not belong?  Can you give reasons for your idea?  Students were given this prompt with various examples each day.   We have been working on closely observing 2D and 3D shapes, recognizing their features and using correct mathematical terminology to refer to them.  For example: beyond knowing the names of the most common 2D and 3D shapes, students learned the term parallelogram and the related word parallel.  They should also use the terms corners, sides, faces, edges and vertices correctly.  See further examples below and discuss them at home!

Students had many questions this week about gravity and they wondered if gravity pulled heavier things faster to the Earth.  It made me think of the classic experiment “Which will fall faster, a brick or a feather?”  Here is a video of a similar experiment which I wanted to show the students this week, however we ran out of time.  You can watch it together with your child and talk about some of the concepts involved.

You can order books for your child which will arrive in time for Christmas, all while helping CISPA to earn points to fund activities throughout the school year.  The order forms went out on Thursday, November 2 and you can view more information about ordering at this link.


This week lower school counselor Shelly Chutke visited 2A to share an important lesson with the students.  We learned how to deal with difficult feelings such as frustration and worry.  Ask your child to tell you the story of Zach and how he learns to, Name it, Tame it and Re-Frame it!  For further information you can also visit Ms. C’s blog.  Finally, you can view the video below to learn more about worrying.

Does your child find everyday tasks challenging? Are they distracted by touch/sounds/lights? Do they find it challenging to sit still for a short while? These are just some of the symptoms which might stand out to you. In this parenting talk on November 15 from 8am-9:30 am in the LLAC, Lorena Kastner will provide an understanding of SPD and strategies for you to understand and assist your child. RSVP here.



Rube Goldberg, 2D shapes and 3rd Person Narratives

by jackierendina on October 27, 2017


2A students were inspired by the many awesome installations at the HK Science Museum.  When asked about how they will use the inspiration, some students said they would like to learn more about electricity and motors while others want to investigate Rube Goldberg machines and how air can make things move.  As we move into the final weeks of this unit of inquiry, you can help your child to further his or her learning by giving opportunities at home for explorations and opportunities for imagining, constructing and inventing. Rube Goldberg machines can be fun for the whole family!  Warning: they are quite addictive!  Check out some examples from JIWI here. Some students are still confused about simple machines (who knew they were not so simple after all!)  You may help your child to further explore and deepen understanding by researching on Pebble Go and watching Brainpop Jr. Videos together. Jiwi also has a few interesting videos about simple machines.



When showed the image above and asked to name all the shapes they could see and how many times they saw each shape, many students in 2A were amazed to find out that there were more triangles than they previously thought.  Also, mind blowing for some was that some areas of the design could make a part of a triangle but also still be a part of a hexagon.  This sort of activity helps kids to consider other ways of “seeing” shapes and challenges them to think about the properties of various 2D shapes.  You can have fun exploring this design at home with your child!  Can you find pentagons? parallelograms? How many quadrilaterals can you spot?


What is 1st person point of view? 3rd person?  This week 2A students learned these two points of view in story telling.  Up until now, students have been working to retell or recount prior events using only the 1st person point of view.  As students have shown a very keen interest in writing fun, entertaining narratives, we decided to challenge 2A to write their recount of last week’s design project as a 3rd person (part fictional/based on facts) narrative.  This was a difficult endeavor but 2A students had a go and you can listen to their stories, view videos of the games they created and see their reflections this week on the student blogs.

Ms. Shelly Chutke is the lower primary school counselor.  She plays an integral role in the social and emotional well being of your child.  She also organizes many informative talks for parents throughout the school year.  Please visit her blog to gain information about upcoming talks and to view slideshow presentations or videos from former talks. Ms. C’s Blog LINK

2A, 2D and 2E have their first rehearsal on stage next week in preparation for the “Connections” Spotlight on November 6 at 9:40am. Help your child prepare for this event by asking them what their “special jobs” are and singing the songs with them at home. You can find more information about this event here.


Design Project, 2D Shape Challenges and Goal Setting

by jackierendina on October 20, 2017


This week has been an epic design week in 2A.  Students spent over 6 hours working through the Stanford design thinking process to create a fun video game for their peers.  From empathizing to designing, ideating, prototyping and testing, children used a wide array of transdiciplinary skills as well as intense organizational and mathematical thinking.  2A students used the block coding app “Scratch Jr.” to create their games, which included mazes, quizzes, character adventures, sports games and multi-level challenges.  Not even I could have imagined how excited the kids would be about this project and what an amazing job they would do.  I am incredibly impressed with what the students were able to achieve this week and hope that parents will help to congratulate them on their creativity, resilience, problem solving and higher level thinking.  Keep an eye out for future posts about this exciting and innovative project and don’t forget to share your child’s excitement this weekend by asking them all about the app they created!


Today you should be able to find a copy of your child’s main goals for Grade 2 on his/her blog.  The goals are based on the conversations that took place between parents, teachers and students in the early October learning conversations.  This week students met with teachers to further develop the goals to include success criteria (how I will know if I achieve the goal) and steps to help the learner to reach the goal.  Parents should review these goals and ask students to explain the 3 parts (Goals – Success Criteria – Steps).  By explaining to others, students can take greater ownership of their goals, deepen their understanding of the goals and gain further motivation to achieve them.   Finally, if parents feel they can help students with their goals at home, discussing this can build a sense of home-school connection and support, to further enhance learning.

Can you make a triangle by using 2 small triangles, a trapezoid and 2 rhombus pattern blocks?  Understanding how 2D shapes fit together and explaining relationships between 2D shapes is one of our goals in our geometry learning.  Students had a fun time exploring these relationships this week and will continue to further their understanding while expanding to 3D shapes.

BILINGUALISM IN CHILDREN: Separating Fact from Fiction
Join us at LLAC for a presentation that focuses on the nature of bilingual development; ESL & language delay; the benefits of bilingualism; and common myths & misconceptions. The talk will take place on 24th October (Tuesday) at 8:00-10:00 am with Arthur Fang, a paediatric Speech-Language Pathologist. Register here.


A New Unit, SCIENCE! and Parent Overviews

October 13, 2017

TUNING IN This week 2A spent some time tuning in to our next unit of inquiry.  We drew pictures of what scientists and inventors look like in our imagination and examined them to reveal some of our generalizations.  Check out our drawings and the generalizations in this week’s Google photo album.  By watching 2 videos on […]

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Smoothies, Confidentiality and Student iFolios

September 29, 2017

SMOOTHIES This week we wrapped up our unit about health and well-being and students had a chance to innovate on our banana smoothie recipe.  Teams of kids worked together to make a different kind of smoothie that would be both super healthy and tasty!  Students were very excited about this opportunity to create.  This is […]

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Mental Math, Peace Day and 2A Assembly

September 22, 2017

2A HEALTH AND WELL BEING SUPER HEROES Congratulations to all of the 2A superheroes who wowed the audience today during the 2A assembly!  Students put on an extremely entertaining show, involved the audience and brought tears to the eyes of teachers and parents alike.  A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the parents […]

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Curriculum Night, International Library Day and Measuring Mass

September 15, 2017

CURRICULUM NIGHT A big thank you to all of the parents who were able to make it to Wednesday night’s curriculum night.  I hope you are feeling as inspired as we are about project innovate and the new focus on maths in the primary school.  If you were unable to attend or would like to […]

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Health and Well Being, Bar Graphs and Grilled Cheese

September 8, 2017

BAR GRAPHS Students worked in pairs to develop a question, survey the class, collect data in a table and create a visually appealing bar graph.  We extended our knowledge of bar graphs through a fun Flocabulary lesson featuring Bar Graph Girl (the only bar graphing super hero in the world!)  Students learned about the important parts […]

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