"Will we learn a new math strategy today?" "What are we going to add to our research folders today?" "What design challenge will we face today?" These are common thoughts that teachers hear from students in 2nd grade at Randolph as the days are getting started. The kids are excited to start the day and find out what will go on and how or what they will learn that day. It can even be a bit challenging to keep the excitement manageable at times - and that's okay! We love the questions and curiosity at Randolph! Bring it on!
You may have read in previous posts about the Essential Questions that we use at Randolph to focus our curriculum and lessons. There are many topics to cover in 2nd grade and here is a sampling of those Essential Questions:
1. What type of diagram can I use to help me solve this addition/subtraction problem?
2. How can we use strategies to make sense of and explain this math problem?
3. What is migration?
4. What can we learn about ourselves by looking at the past?
5. What are the elements of persuasive writing?
These questions help guide the lessons and keep focus, but they also often lead to other questions posed by the students. It is wonderful to teach at a school where good questions are encouraged. We are able to take time to discuss thoughts or comments and this allows students to listen to each other and learn from each other. When an elementary teacher can sit back for a moment and just listen as the students discuss a topic and everyone is engaged, it is magical. And this happens often in 2nd grade at Randolph.
When an elementary teacher can sit back for a moment and just listen as the students discuss a topic and everyone is engaged, it is magical.
One of the highlights for me during the year is helping my students develop stronger research skills. We give the 2nd graders several opportunities to research different topics throughout the year. For some students this is the toughest challenge because it takes more time and effort. During our study of the 50 states this past year, several students were struggling to find certain information about their state. Everyone was spread out around the room, and there were books and articles everywhere. A few students commented on how hard this was, and some had simply asked me to find it for them (which I did not do). I reminded them what "research" is and that it's not always easy (a typical but accurate teacher comment).
After a while the information was found and the eagerness returned. Students who had found what they needed were eager to show their peers where to find the information. During the several weeks we studied the states, I had my list of who was studying what. But the students themselves didn't need a list. They knew what state everyone was studying, and they were eager to listen to each other and share information. Michigan suddenly belonged to Sally, and New Jersey was Katie's state. If a classmate was reading something that mentioned that state, it was quickly shown to that friend.
These moments make a difference in a student's day and year. In 2nd grade at Randolph, we are eager for that curiosity and challenge that comes with each day. Whether we are practicing cursive or working on a math-related technology project, there is learning happening. This is a special grade and time, filled with eagerness and challenges -- all of which are encouraged at Randolph.