Before visiting the Nogeyama Zoo, second grade spent an hour or so looking at the list of species we would encounter, and finding images of them in their natural habitats. We printed several dozen of these and made a book of them to bring with us to compare with their zoo enclosures.

Hannah & Marna compare the snapping turtle enclosure to its natural habitat they’d researched.

Shortly after arriving, most of 2R were looking at a pair of baboons, grooming each other in their cage when the activity in the neighbouring cage caught our attention. Several students had noticed that the large male chimpanzee was clapping his hands, and would clap back at them when they clapped. They became excited with clapping and soon began hooting and calling out at him. As we all watched, the chimpanzee seemed to get very agitated and worked up. He dashed to the large metal door at the back of his cage and began pounding on it aggressively, louder and louder and faster and faster. After a minute of this he turned and ran towards us at the front of his cage, jumping and throwing his body up at the plexiglass wall that separated us with a bang.

Chimpanzee at Nogeyama Zoo from YIS 2R.

The students were shocked and we slipped around the corner to confer quickly on what had just happened. Students had a range of reactions.

Lars thought that perhaps he was excited by all of our red field trip t-shirts.

Taiki thought he was excited to see us.

Marna and Ellenah suggested that maybe he was embarrassed by knowing that we were talking about him and sort of teasing him, without knowing exactly what we meant.

Other students suggested that he was angered by all the noise we were making and that his pounding on the door showed that he wanted to get out.

As we stood, huddled, discussing, the chimp continued banging loudly and let out a series of howls.

One student suggested that we may want to go back and watch him very quietly to see if it made a difference in his reactions. Without discussion, we all took on this idea and slowly slipped back in front of his enclosure.

Standing quietly in front we experienced a very different interaction. The chimpanzee sat quietly like us. Watching us, with his head bobbing side to side. For almost a minute this continued in silence.

The foot of the Moon Bear in the Nogeyama Zoo.

The next morning, we spoke about how powerful the moment had been for many of us. We decided to use a Visible Thinking routine called Step Inside: Perceive, Know About, Care About to try to better understand our experience. Several students took turns improvising in the role of the chimp, exploring what he perceived, knew about and cared about as a way to try to understand his point of view. A very powerful experience for many of us.

Marna improvises in the role of a chimp at the zoo from YIS 2R on Vimeo.

Sojiro improvises in the role of a chimp. from YIS 2R on Vimeo.

Lisa improvises in the role of a chimp from YIS 2R on Vimeo.


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Sports Day Photo Gallery

Posted May 9, 2013 By

Images from last week’s Sports Day, originally published on Ms Buehler’s PE blog.

What a great day!

Elementary Sports Day: K-2 on PhotoPeach

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Species Interactions

Posted May 1, 2013 By

As we start to consider ideas relating to our new unit of inquiry “Human activities can challenge plant and animal survival”, we decided to start by learning about species and habitats in our own backyard. 2R students borrowed a stack of iPads from kindergarten and headed out to the nearby park.

In partners, they had a simple instruction: “Look for interactions between species in their habitat”. Students have been very interested in insects, as well as our growing tadpoles, so there’s a lot to inquire into right nearby!

A day later, after a quick orientation to Keynote slideshow-making, students worked with their partners to select the three images they thought best showed species interactions. They then presented these to the rest of the class.

Students made many interesting comments regarding each other’s presentations. Much focus was on the use of language. Students spoke about wanting to be clear whether what we wrote about the interactions we observed was our interpretation or a fact. Many suggestions included adding language like “I think that… ” or “Maybe” to our descriptions on the slides.

Have a look at our observations of species interactions!

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10,000 of Something

Posted April 30, 2013 By

Extending from our study of place value several students have taken on the challenge to show 10,000 of something… anything. As they complete these shares they’ll be using fotobabble to publish them to the 2R Twitter-feed (viewable on the left sidebar of our blog). As a taster… Here is one by Lars, completed this morning! Follow the 2R twitter feed for upcoming examples!

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Communication Share

Posted April 29, 2013 By

Throughout this unit of inquiry we’ve explored a wide range of communications. Last week, with our strong foundation established, each student chose a variety of communication that they really wanted to dig into. From sign language to ink-making to Morse code each student spent time considering what experiments and observations they could attempt, what media they could consult and who might have expertise in their communication of choice.

After a couple days of research, students began considering ways they could share the results of their inquiry. As luck would have it, we visited the fifth grade exhibition and saw the way they organized themselves to share their learning. That became our blueprint and on Friday we had a mini communication exhibition of our own. Each student displayed and presented their insights in a way they considered would best communicate their learning. From posters and dioramas, to a model telegraph and videos about how a fax machine works and how to talk to your dog, everyone had a chance to share.

Enjoy a couple photos and videos of our learning!

Fax from YIS 2R on Vimeo.

How To Talk To Your Dog from YIS 2R on Vimeo.

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Move Your Body! Dancing for Sports Day!

Posted April 29, 2013 By

It’s time to move your body 2R! Here is the video, so you can practice at home and during your free time! Practice hard so that you can help teach the kindergarteners and first graders!

A big thanks to Kirra, Ryuta, and Kayleigh for leading us!

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Lars & Joowon’s Japanese Presentations

Posted April 26, 2013 By

Some videos from Japanese class. Originally shared on Kaori-sensei’s blog.

Lars-spring break from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

Joowon-spring break from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

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Exhibits and Exhibitions!

Posted April 24, 2013 By

2R have had several opportunities over the past weeks to be the audience for older YIS students. First, a week ago at the IB Diploma students Art Exhibit and then today for a taste of the grade five exhibition. All these experiences will contribute to students sense of how to approach and design exhibitions of their own, as we move forwards towards our upcoming events!

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Gymnastics in PE

Posted March 20, 2013 By

In collaboration with our study of health and lifestyle choices, Ms Buehler has worked with 2R both during PE and in-class. She joined us to give a presentation about fitness and has worked with the class in building their strength, flexibility and planning skills by learning a wide range of gymnastics moves and planning, practicing and performing student-choreographed routines.

2R Gymnastics 2013 from Kate Buehler on Vimeo.


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Me as a Reader

Posted March 4, 2013 By

All the research tells us that learning is a reflective process. Regular, honest, reflection helps us connect new learning to older understandings. Discussing the strategies we use and how effective they are helps us decide on their value, and gives us a window into other ways of thinking.

In this short video, the students of 2R answer the question:

What are some ways you’ve changed as a reader this year?

How I’ve Changed As A Reader from YIS 2R on Vimeo.

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