How can you stop a landslide?

IMG_3367This week in science, first/second grade students are applying what they have learned about landforms, erosion, and wildfires to engineer a device to stop a landslide.  To begin, the students worked with a partner to compare multiple solutions for preventing erosion.  They planned, predicted, tested, and then documented several designs developed to keep water from washing away a hill modeled out of cornmeal.  The students used different combinations of toothpicks, cotton balls, paper towels, and foil to keep “rain” from eroding their landforms.  Here’s a quick clip from Bill Nye the Science Guy that we watched after creating our erosion prevention contraptions and this is a clip of a dry riverbed flooding that we found pretty compelling.

Posted in Science


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 10.17.11 AMThis year the first/second grade class is experimenting with Seesaw in order to share and communicate with families!  Ms. L. and Ms. Lee introduced students to the app in the learning center this winter and last week we used it in class as well.  Seesaw was created for children to post and share their learning with their families.  Seesaw is private; you’ll only see posts created by your child.  Follow the steps below to sign up for SeeSaw.

  1. Click on this link:
  2. Choose your child from the list
  3. Create your account
  4. Once I approve you, you can see content from your child

After you sign up, download the free Seesaw Family app and sign in. You can also access Seesaw from a computer at

Posted in Life in Second Grade

Songbirds, Not Snowflakes

IMG_3360Even though they are beautiful, we just can’t stand looking at the paper snowflakes hanging in our classroom any longer!  So, today the first/second grade students made colorful and cheerful songbirds to hang by our class windows instead.  The birds are 3D collages with feathers made from foam, pompoms, tissue paper, glitter, and lots more!  The songbird cages are decorated and blended with Cray-pas.  Please feel free to stop by anytime to admire the students’ birds.IMG_3361

Posted in Life in Second Grade

What’s strong enough to make a canyon?

In first/second grade students worked as partners to solve the science mystery What’s strong enough to make a canyon?  The students created a model of rain and land to explain what causes a canyon to form.  They discovered, as amazing as it may sound, that over time water can work like an excavator to move or erode land!  Thanks so much to Ms. Mendonsa and all the parent volunteers who came to class to assist with this fun and involved exploration!

Posted in Science

Opinion Writing

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 11.35.12 AMIn first/second grade writing workshop students are working on sharing their opinions and elaborating on their thinking in writing.  The class has been writing letters trying to convince judges that their favorite book should win the “S.E.S. Caldecott Moose Award.”  The writers are focusing on interesting leads and giving evidence for their opinions using words like because or for example.  We referred often to the opinion writing checklist pictured to the right to make sure we were writing the best letters possible.  Click here to read just the introduction page of students’ letters.  If you’d like to read more, the completed projects are hanging on the bulletin board outside the library.

Posted in English Language Arts

Why Do Rivers Have Currents?

IMG_3308In first/second grade this week we explored the question What causes a river to flow?  Before diving deep into our inquiry, students predicted that rivers might have currents because of wind or from fish swimming by quickly.  In pairs, students created paper landform structures, covered the highest peaks with marker, and then used a spray bottle to simulate rain.  They noticed that the marker ink flowed down the paper mountains along the crevices and folds of the paper.  We then discussed how amazing it would be to float on a raft in the Mill River, knowing we’d eventually end up in the Atlantic Ocean! We used this website, developed by the US Geological Survey, to trace the current of the Mill River and you can use it to discover the path any river in the United States takes.  Next week we will delve deeper into the question Why is there sand at the beach?

Posted in Science

Our Countries of Origin

IMG_3257The Country of Origin Fair in first/second grade was amazing!  Students spent the past several weeks reading texts and books online to learn more about immigration and the many different people who have immigrated to the United States from many different countries, at many different times, for many different reasons.  Wednesday morning first/second grade students greeted their families by saying, “Hello!” in their country of origin language.  They also shared presentations on their iPads with research, artifacts, and photographs from their countries of origin (and even tasty treats from around the globe!).  Click here to see more photos from our Countries of Origin Fair.

Posted in English Language Arts, Social Studies