Revamping our class library

While the students are away, Ms Dora and I get organised!

An area of our class that we’ve been looking to revamp and renew for quite a while is our class library. The students love reading and relish every opportunity to read independently to themselves – and we aim to provide a range of books for them to choose from – unit related books, picture books and chapter books.

Could you please take some time to let your child fill out the 2C Class Library- Which books to keep? form so we can prioritise which books to keep and which ones to find a new home for. If you have trouble accessing the form, we have also sent it to your parent cdnis email account.




Keep learning at Home!

With the abrupt beginning to our Chinese New Year break, we have put together a variety of resources and learning engagements for students to do over the next 5 days. We’ve put together a range of online as well as offline suggestions for you to consider.  These engagements have been organised under unit of inquiry, mathematics and literacy. Some of these follow on from what we have been doing in the classroom while others are for going further or deeper in their learning.

Unit of Inquiry

For easy reference, here is the Home Learning page from our current unit of inquiry. You’ll also find it in the final page of our ‘Sharing the Planet Parent Overview’.

There are lots of websites and online books etc that can be accessed to become more knowledgeable about the Earth’s natural cycles. Click on the tiles on this symbaloo to explore certain topics in more depth.


You can also use Newsela and Wonderopolis to either explore within our unit of inquiry, or other topics that are interesting to you!
Are you interested in learning about what is going on in the world and what is happening in the news? Then this is the place for you. Newsela takes current affairs and news and re-writes the stories so they are accessible for students to read. Stay informed!
How curious are you feeling today?  How many of your questions have been left unanswered or unsolved??  Visit Wonderopolis to find the answers to the questions that kids like you ask. You can even submit a question of your own!


Oh No! 99.  This is our latest game and lots of fun. You can record the numbers on a piece of paper or use a counter with a hundreds chart to play. You can find the instructions here

Spiral  –  take a deck of cards (with the picture cards removed) and arrange them in a spiral. Roll a dice and move your counter. Add the total of the dice to the card, if correct – you can stay! If you land on a card with the same number you rolled – it’s a double, and you get a free go! The winner is the first to the end of the spiral

Make 10instructions, game board

Flip 3 – flip over 3 cards and see if you can make an equation with them (think part-part-whole) if it works you get to keep them. Instructions here.

Subtraction War – here are the instructions for playing this game.


Games you can print out and play

Addition Squares – here are two versions of the game, one with 10-sided dice or the original with normal 6-sided dice

Make that  number – roll three dice and use addition and/or subtraction to think of an equation that ‘makes’ that number. It’s a strategic game – so see how many ‘four in a rows’ you can get! Here is the game board.


Online Fluency Practice

Mathletics has a range of different activities and even ‘live mathletics’ where you can play against other students from around the world. Challenge yourself to go beyond level 1.





Click on the icon to get to where you need to go! Kakooma is one of the featured games we have been enjoying lately.




Challenge yourself – click on either Xtra Math or Hit the Button to practice your number facts for addition and subtraction.



The next few days and Chinese New Years will be a great time to lose yourself in a book. You can visit local libraries, read your library books, or even go online to read books on Raz Kids, Big Universe and Pebble Go (these links are also on the Symbaloo.

You can continue to research animals, take notes and write your own information reports.


Brain Breaks

Great for when you need a brain break. There are plenty of songs and guided dances to rev you up, or mindful minutes to calm you down. See if you can find the ‘Water Cycle’ rap by Blazer,  which fits in with our unit!



Happy kids Coffee Morning

“I want my child to be happy” The wish and reality.

 LS coffee morning, 8 Feb at LLAC, 8-9: 30 am.

 As parents, we want the best for our child, rush to help, soothe, and fix, it’s only natural. In this talk, Dr. Minna Chau will share her insight and research findings on how a certain kind of devotion to happiness creed hurts in long run, rather than help.


Wondering… wondering… wondering….

Exploring, wondering and questioning” are three words that describe one aspect of what inquiry can look like, and are linked directly to curiosity. Recent research shows that curiosity is as important as intelligence in determining how well students achieve in school. Curiosity prepares the brain for learning  and also makes subsequent learning more rewarding.  Without curiosity,  education would simply be the filling of a bucket (content coverage) rather than the lighting of a fire (inquiry). For more information about why curiosity enhances learning, read this article.

It is therefore no wonder that ‘curiosity’ is one of the PYP attitudes. We want students to be curious about the world around them and to channel this curiosity into wonderings and questions that will drive their inquiry.

As one of the behaviours for inquiry are ‘asking compelling and relevant questions‘ the grade 2 team are exploring ways to encourage and provide opportunities for wonderings and questions and make them visible.

In 2C we are now using our ‘Wonder Wall‘ and ‘Wonder Notebooks‘.

     Our Wonder Notebooks are becoming repositories ofinteresting questions about ourselves, our world and even our unit. During provocations, the students are encouraged to write down any questions or wonderings that arise in response to images, facts and connections they are making – giving us an insight into how deeply they are thinking.

We are also making our personal questions more visible with the use of the wonder wall. By making these questions public – students can see what others are wondering about and can also assist in finding out answers or noting observations.




Fact fluency without tears

Over the last couple of months, we have been developing our understanding of addition and subtraction.

We have:

  • identified a variety of visual tools to help solve addition and subtraction
  • explored the part-part-whole relationship between addition and subtraction
  • examined the different types of story problems used for addition and subtraction
  • used addition and subtraction to solve problems involving money

Now that we have a handle on the conceptual knowledge, the focus has shifted to fact fluency, which is the ability to recall number facts quickly and flexibly.

I would like to stress that computational fluency is just one part of mathematics, though it tends to be the aspect that is given the most attention by tutors and outside school maths courses. Our classroom programme for mathematics aims to be balanced – and encourages students to flexibly use multiple strategies. This goes beyond just ‘remembering’ the facts.

Students were surveyed about number facts. They were asked about:

  • their confidence with fact recall and which ones they already knew
  • how they had learnt their facts and how often they practice
  • how useful they considered number fact knowledge
  • how they feel about number facts

Our findings show:

  • Some students already know some multiplication and division facts
  • Some students ‘hate’ number facts and others feel anxious when having to do them
  • Many see that knowing their number facts is useful or important  (for situations such as tests or shopping.)
  • Many learn their facts through tutoring or after-school classes


If we are to develop mathematicians, we want the students to enjoy maths and find joy in using it.  Many students develop anxiety about maths around the same time they begin ‘learning’ their number facts. For more about this, read this article by Jo Boaler, who researches mindset and success in mathematics.

As stated earlier, fluency is more than remembering facts, or how quickly facts can be recalled. The NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) defines fact fluency in relation to strategies and includes these dimensions :

  • selecting the appropriate strategy
  • flexibility in using known facts to solve unknown facts
  • choosing the most efficient strategy
  • accuracy and being able to defend the correctness of the answer

In order to build fluency, students require practice. In years gone by, learning basic facts was afforded a great deal of time in primary classrooms – with flash card drills, endless worksheets and timed tests – which can lead to anxiety. According to neurobiological research, retention and learning doesn’t happen when feelings of anxiety or fear abound.  Instead, the use of games provide meaningful practise  with  student engagement and success.

Last week we learned some new addition games – which the students loved. It was wonderful to see such excitement and joy! If you would like to play these games at home here are the links – Addition Squares, Connect Four.  All you need is a printed sheet and a couple of dice!


Wrapping up HWOO

Our ‘How we organise ourselves’ unit has been a huge success!  We know this to be true, as the students are disappointed that it’s coming to a close.  When reflecting on this unit of inquiry, the students fondly recalled a range of hands-on learning engagements that had them at the centre of learning.

Some of the most memorable experiences were:

  • Eviction Provocation –  being ‘evicted’ from their cubbies and not being able to use classroom equipment until payment had been made.
  • Classroom economy – being issued a ‘balance book’, getting a salary and budgeting for expenses such as rent as well as buying extras like iPad recess, early recess, library passes etc.
  • Resources Market – working cooperatively as a team to create shapes (resources) in response to market forces.
  • Futures trading – creating, costing and promoting a product. Selling to future buyers to gauge interest.
  • Stanley Market Shopper’s Challenge Field Trip – bargaining, budgeting and buying.
  • Silent Auction – bidding for items bought from Stanley Market, seeing how wants can drive up price.
  • Final Sale – a final way to spend classroom money by either going to the movies, disco dancing, golden time or maker space.

Below is a video capturing some of the highlights from the unit.


Progress Reports

At 4:00pm today, the semester one progress reports were made available online.  Over the next couple of days, please take some time with your child and go over their report card with them.

As you read through the Progress Reports, I’d like to remind you of a few important notes.  First of all, the reports were actually written in mid-November and reflect your child’s progress AT THAT TIME.  They have continued to have an additional month of valuable learning and growth since then.

Secondly, the terms progressing towards expectationsbeginning to meet expectationsconsistently meeting expectations and  exceeding expectations are meant to give you a snapshot of how your child is progressing according to our school’s outcomes.  They do not indicate how ‘smart’ a child is or how much or little effort a child is putting into their learning. They really let you know about your child’s readiness for and proficiency with the knowledge, skills and understandings we have explicitly taught to date.

Learning Conversations

I will be available to discuss your child’s report and progress with you during the Learning Conversations.  An email was sent earlier today with the sign-up link – so please check your CDNIS email account. 2C will be having their Learning Conversation on Wednesday the 17th as I will be absent from school, and engaging in Professional Development on the 18th (and the following weekend). The 17th will still be a regular school day for the students, complete with specialists and Chinese – however to minimise disruptions to their day, they won’t need to be present for the Learning Conversation.

As there are no 2C Learning Conversations on Friday 19th January – your child will not need to come to school on this day.  This is only the case for students in 2C as we have ‘exceptional circumstances‘.  Siblings may need to be at school that day if they have a learning conversation scheduled.

If you are unable to make it on Wednesday 17th January – please let me know and we can schedule a meeting the following week.

We really ARE authors!

This week we had a special guest, Ariel from grade 10, visit our classroom. Ariel came to read two books that she had written about the growth mindset, as part of her Personal Project. During the Q&A time, the students were appreciative of her story and fascinated with how she had published a real book!

This enthusiasm was capitalised on by giving the students some time to experience going through the process of publishing a book, albeit a short 8 page book.

Many of the students decided to work with a co-author. It was great to see the ideas for characters and plot lines flowing during the planning process, and the discussion during the drafting process. We were impressed with some of the literary language that many of the students were using in their drafts. Everyone was highly motivated!


Then the draft was proofread and edited by the editor (Ms Ross) with a few tweaks in spelling, grammar and punctuation.  Then they were ready to publish!

The authors then needed to make decisions about the text that would be on each page and accompanying illustrations.


The enthusiasm for authoring has been maintained for almost 2 hours with many  students wanting to take their stories home to continue working on!

Although the students have been called ‘authors’ all year, seeing  a published book, and then going through the entire process of writing from planning – drafting – editing- revising – publishing and seeing their own stories in print has ignited the belief that they really ARE authors.

At the moment we are self-publishing our stories, but we hope to use a real publisher soon!




Planning ahead for our Field Trip to Stanley on Monday

We’re off to a busy 2018 with our Field Trip to Stanley Market just around the corner!

Once again we’ve been overwhelmed with many enthusiastic parents wanting to volunteer – it is wonderful to see so much support!

We’re going shopping!

On Monday January 8th, we are going to the Stanley Market to apply some  skills we have learned throughout our current unit, which involves spending money!  Students will be put into groups and each group must raise $100 to use for the activity. The students will need to raise the money,  and will be discussing some ways to do this tomorrow. We recommend that they are given some responsibilities (e.g. chores) to earn this money. I will leave this up to the individual family to decide.  As the students are in groups of 4-5  they should not need to bring any more than $25 to school.

Please send your child with their  money to school on Monday, so that we are prepared.

I hope that you can support us on this fun activity! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Words have POWER!

This week we’ve discovered that our words can have power.


We started last week by reading books like, ‘Click, Clack Moo – Cows that Type’, and ‘I Wanna New Room’ which both feature the writing of persuasive letters.

Then we started reading and analysing some persuasive letters to identify what makes them effective.


As we always love taking action with our learning, we brainstormed some topics that Grade 2 students might be passionate about, or have an opinion about, for future writing sessions.

Previously this year, students have written letters to convince us to keep ‘Tinkering Time’ as part of our classroom program, as well as sharing their opinions and thoughts on Home Learning, which shows that the genre of writing to persuade comes up across the curriculum.

We’re letting you know that now the students are aware of the power of words, you might start receiving letters! Just take the time to write a letter back – everyone loves getting letters.