Our second unit about "Plants"

Trip Start Jul 26, 2011
Trip End Jun 22, 2013

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Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Friday, November 30, 2012

In 2nd grade we are just finishing up our second unit all about plants and why they are essential for life on Earth. They were able to have many experiments, exploring of plants, and hands on activities to learn more about plants.  The students did an amazing job!  There are a few ones I wanted to highlight for you all.  Excuse all of the PYP language that I am using.  I pulled this message from my Classroom blog. 

In October, the students had an inspiring day at The International Cultural Center in Pandaan. It was a brilliant day full of laughter and learning, where students used nearly each one of the PYP Atttitudes (see the bolded words below).

During our long journey, students were tolerant of the bus rules so Pak Putu could drive us safely to Pandaan despite the insane levels of traffic! Once there, the kids were enthusiastic and showed a great deal of respect towards Mr. Simon (Si Eon and Young Eon's daddy), Mr. Deddy, and Ms. Agnes–our ICC leaders.  The students demonstrated a sense of appreciation for the horses that they fed carrots (I mean, root vegetables) to. Using integrity, each student harvested only 5 cherry tomatoes which were then turned in to pizza sauce for our lunch. The class was enthusiastic and independent during our rice planting session where each child took off their shoes, got in the mud, and helped to plant a rice paddy (sorry if we sent them back far dirtier than they left!). Once out of the paddy, students cooperated with one another to help each other get clean and put their shoes and socks back on. Our rice cultivating experience ended with an amazing display of strength and vigor as students hulled the rice using traditional methods. After working up a hearty sweat, students were creative chefs as they made cheese and tomato pizzas in the fun kitchen.

The students had such an amazing time learning how to grow rice and actually being a part of the entire process.  In case you all didn’t know rice is the main crop here grown in Indonesia, so naturally, we have put a lot of focus on it.

During our last unit, the second graders learned about how they can make our communities safer places.   The students interviewed different people about their needs and wants.  One day, we met Pak Sali. He is one of our gardeners at school. The students learned that:

 "It is easy for him to get water at work, but at home he doesn’t get water." –Bareno

“He needs clean water and he wants healthy food three times a day.” –Minseul

 “Pak Sali shares food with other gardeners sometimes.” –Nadiah

“He works two jobs to make his parents happy.” –Lawrence

But what the students were really shocked about was the fact that Pak Sali’s family usually eats only two meals per day. After hearing this, the students began to brainstorm a way of helping him:

“I think I can give him fresh water.” –Ji Min

“I can give him little shoes for his chidren.” –Hyun Sik

“I can give healthy food to his family.”  –Nicky

The students really felt the need to do something for him.  The next day a student brought something in and this snowballed into many students bringing in things for him and the other gardeners.  Our office was inundated with a heap of things that the students brought in for him and our local staff.  The students brought in food, clothes, toys, and shoes.  We brought Pak Sali in and presented (in Bahasa) all of the things we brought in for him.  The students displayed empathy for Pak Sali by bringing in these donations.  Bahasa Indonesia speakers wrote and shared a sentence about the contributions of their friends. The students then showed Pak Sali the huge amount of goodies they had collected. Pak Sali was moved by the generosity and enthusiastic presentation made by your children.

After seeing the impact that they had on Pak Sali, the students still wanted to do more.  So we brainstormed a way to help the gardeners that would be more sustainable.  We shared of my favorite quotes, “You give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.  You teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”  We wanted them to think about how donating things is a nice thing to do, but that we need to think more long term.  So after much discussion, we all decided to start a 2nd grade garden where we could grow vegetables and rice for Pak Sali and the gardeners.  A few weeks ago Pak Sali helped us start the process of growing rice by showing us how to plant the seed.  Once we planted it we had to wait for several weeks for the seedling to be tall enough so we could plant it in our garden.  The students took on the responsibility by watering the rice everyday and watching it to make sure that it was healthy.  Yesterday, Pak Sali informed us that it was ready for us to plant in our garden.  He brought us outside and helped guide us through the planting process.  Here are some great pictures of my students and I planting our rice in our garden.  The students did such a great job!  They were such good sports, as they got extremely dirty walking through the mud and use their hands to dig in the mud to get the rice deep in the soil.

For our Elementary school Assembly my students performed a song that we about plants.  With much help, we wrote a song about plants to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”.  Please watch the video that I uploaded.  It is adorable!  We even had rappers!  J

This unit has been such a powerful unit and it has been incredible to watch my students take action and responsibility for something they feel is so important.   It is units like these that remind me how much I love teaching! 
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Judy on

Children are so tender-hearted and you help provide the opportunity for them help their friend.

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