The Darling Buds of May – Áine’s 2nd Class

English:  We revised the ‘report’ genre by doing a project about France. The children researched France using books, the internet and watching a video. They worked in pairs to collect their information and create a large colourful report poster with images and facts. During presentation of their work, the children introduced themselves and presented three interesting points of information. They then took questions from the floor.

Our grammar and punctuation revision focused on plurals, the past tense, apostrophe for indicating ownership and prepositions. We are doing daily handwriting practice integrated with our last high-frequency words list spelling activities.

Our love of picture books continued in May.

At a child’s request, we read Dolly Parton’s children’s picture book ‘Coat of Many Colours’, which tells the story of Dolly’s childhood, upon which her song of the same name is based. We then listen to the song and other Dolly Parton hits which were enjoyed and recognised by many of the children.

Croí na Scoile (Learn Together): To gain some insight into Muslim culture and the Islam belief system, we read ‘The Proudest Blue’ by Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad. The story explains the wearing of the hijab by Muslim girls and women and deals with cultural tension from other races.

SESE: ‘Look Up!’ by Nathan Bryon about a science-loving little girl who tries to convince her teenage brother to put down his phone and look up at a meteor shower, served as a hook for an SESE lesson on telescopes. The children learned about the great leviathan telescope at Birr Castle built by William Parsons in the 1840s, which remained the largest telescope in the world for 70 years.

Feeling guilty about giving the class a few too many jellies after their standardised tests this year, I gave them the opportunity to look at jelly sweets scientifically and discover a few things about their composition, what happens in their stomachs and how they are made. The children placed a gummi bear into a glass of water over night. First, they predicted what effect the immersion in water would have. Some children guessed that the sweets would dissolve, others that they would shrink and many predicted their would expand. They documented each step of the experiment to revise their procedural writing. The next morning, they discovered that there were changes in the size, consistency and colour of the gummi bears. They measured the bears before and after and documented these results in their copies. It was great to hear the children use scientific vocabulary such as ‘expand, absorb, contract, dilute, texture’. The children weren’t too keen on the origins of gelatin and agreed they would have to consider their jelly-eating futures.

Music: We learned the song Iko-Iko by 60’s group ‘The Dixie Cups’ and had fun composing our own verses. We also wrote our own summer sounds compositions using graphic notation (where the children use symbols to represent sounds).

SPHE: We started working on the ‘Weaving wellbeing’ programme in May and will continue until the end of term. The programme is an Irish-designed positive mental health syllabus aimed at enhancing wellbeing through gratitude, reflection, mindfulness meditation, resilience, positive emotions and self-efficacy.

Maths: As well as learning to skip count in 2s, 4s and 3s (precursor to multiplication in 3rd class!), we practised a lot of double-digit column subtraction with renaming in class and ensured the method and language being used is consistent. Please see below for a summary of this method and language you should ensure your child is using.

P.E.  We all got very good at rounders in May and learned some new playground games. Our first week of ‘run in the sun’ is over and the children and I are definitely becoming fitter each day. I am finding that the 10 minutes of exercise before learning is raising the children’s moods and settling them for a morning’s learning.

Art: The children created beautiful art projects using fabric and fibre. They viewed and suggested many art genres using fabric and fibre in advance. They were tasked with making a set of wings for themselves which reflected their identity and interests. At the fabric buffet they initially chose two pieces of fabric to make the wings by tracing their own hands. Subsequently they decorated them using layering and decorative techniques using more fabric and bits and bobs. The pieces were all stunning and made an inspiring display for the rest of the school “Your wings already exist….just fly!”

It is with a heavy heart that we begin our last month together in 2nd Class. We are going to make the most of this special time of year!