Wise Owls Newsletter April 30, 2015

The Wise Owls Newsletter

April 30, 2015


Africa Bridge

Are you reading for Africa Bridge? Please do as this is a wonderful way of volunteering and supporting children in Africa! It is our SERVICE PROJECT in second grade. If you have not yet watched the video on my blog about Africa Bridge, please do. Please start collecting your donations for Africa Bridge this weekend and next week. Please send it in when you collect it. We want to tell you the total at our assembly next Friday, May 8th at 8:10 AM. Remember, read to feed to build!

Earth Day

We celebrated Earth day last week!   Please, think about the waste (the footprint) you put on the environment! It is so important to our ecosystems and the world we live in. Can you pack your lunch in reusable containers? Can you make less trash? Can you buy in bulk? Turn off the lights when not in the room? Use less water? Of course, this should be done every day, not just Earth Day!

Essential Questions

  1. What is an ecosystem? What are its parts?

(animals, plants, and special features such as landforms, water, wind, and light)

*An ecosystem is a complex system composed of an ecological community of organisms interacting with its environment. All animals, people, plants, rocks and soil are interdependent on one another. We must take care of our world, our ecosystem in order to live a healthy life and sustain a healthy planet.

  1. How are the components of an ecosystem dependent on one another? (How do the parts of an ecosystem work together?)
  2. How do ecosystems change?
  3. Adaptations
  4. Cycles (water, life cycles, sun, rocks)
  5. Changes made by humans (logging, building or roads, houses, etc.)
  6. Erosion and motion (rocks tumble down mountains to rivers and streams to the ocean and become sand; wind moves sand; sifting, sorting, balance, etc.)

Field Day!

We need volunteers for field day, Tuesday June 9th from 7:45ish to 12ish. If you can volunteer for all or even part of that time, please email me! Thank you in advance for this Stafford tradition.

Upcoming Dates:

May 8: Africa Bridge Celebration! 8:10 AM in the MPR. We will be dancing, singing and drumming African drums for you! All money due from reading for Africa Bridge! Way to go second graders!

May 14: Dioramas due!

May 15: Music Performance in the music room at 12:25-12:55. This is a culmination of their second grade year with Mr. Cunningham.

May 20: Early Release at 12:10.

May 25: Memorial Day. No school

May 29: Ecosystem Museum Open House. 8:10-9:10 in the MPR. This is an open house just like our great people open house. The entire school is invited!

June 5: No school for kids. Report card prep day.

June 9: Field day 8-12. Please let me know if you can volunteer!

June 10: Portfolio share (8:30-9:10) and end of year party (9:30-11:00). The portfolio share is a culmination of our year long worth of art and our work we’ve saved. Plan on taking the entire work home with you after the portfolio share today! If you would like to stay for the end of the year party, please let our room mom, Angela

June 12: Kids last day. Early release.

June 15: Teachers last day.




Happy Earth Day!

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To honor Earth Day 2015 we would like to invite you all to sing along with us as we celebrate our planet and look at ways we can protect our environment.  This is a great Earth Day song written by Glyn Lehmann and illustrated by the students from Marryatville School in South Australia. We like the lyrics of the song because the Earth is speaking to the children of the world and asking for their help. You can print them out here: I Am The Earth Lyrics

There are some easy ways for us all to protect our environment. Will you join us in our effort to protect the Earth?

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Will you help the Earth? How?

Do you hear the Earth’s voice talking to you? How?

I Spy an Ecosystem!


We are continuing to learn about ecosystems. We will be learning about the importance of balance in an ecosystem. We know that people and nature affect the environment and the ecosystem. We will learn that our ecosystems are constantly changing in small ways every day.  Those changes are called succession.  Succession is the gradual growth of new organisms.  Click on this link to learn more: Scholastic Study Jams: Ecosystems/Changes in Ecosystems.


We will also learn about Food Chains. We know that all living things need energy to live. The food chain is the feeding relationships from one organism to another in an ecosystem. Click on this link to learn about them: Scholastic Study Jams: Science/Ecosystems/Food Chains


There are also many animals in an ecosystem that share the same food source and are connected in a Food Web. A Food Web is a complex system of food chains in an ecosystem. Click here to review this idea: Scholastic Study Jams/Science/Ecosystem/Food Webs.

Watch these videos for your homework. Press pause when you want to take notes. Write down interesting facts from each video in your homework spiral notebook.

Africa Bridge- Just One World

Last Friday the 2nd and 3rd grade classes met together for the Africa Bridge Reading Challenge Assembly. Barry Child, the founder of Africa Bridge, Dr. Roger Woehl, the president, and Kristin Barber, the executive director, were all here to honor Stafford’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of the children living in villages in Tanzania.

The Africa Bridge Kid’s Team of Addi, Cooper, Grace, Nolan, Henry, Ellie, James, Josie, Gianluca, Coen, Alex, and Simonehelped lead the assembly. We watched “Just One World” together to inspire us to use our reading skills to change lives during the month of April.  Watch it with your family this week and read the title clips together.

Here are our iMovie trailers we made to give you a preview of the excitement to come this month. We look forward to learning African drumming and dancing from Okaidja Afroso, who will be our artist in residence May 4th-8th. We will celebrate the end of our reading challenge together in an assemblywith Okaidja on Friday May 8th from 8:15-9:15. 

We Are One World: Ecosystems

What is an Ecosystem?

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An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals and organisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and also with their non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere).


In an ecosystem, each organism has its’ own niche, or role to play. We will use Scholastic Study Jams Science: Ecosystems to learn more about ecosystems. This is a great website to learn and review our learning in science. Click on the link above to watch the video and learn more!


We will be using descriptive writing this week from the perspective of either Squirrel or Hawk. Our challenge will be to use strong descriptive sentences in small moment writing after watching this video clip.  It is extremely hard not to feel the intensity of these two animals interacting with each other while the music is playing in the background, and the perfect camera shots of the main characters, Squirrel and Eagle bring this story to life. What a great story starter this will be for us to expand our writing skills.

Africa Bridge Reading Challenge

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Second graders will have the opportunity to participate in a special literacy program throughout the month of April.  We call it the Read to Feed/Read to Build Reading Challenge Project. This program is designed to raise money to help support the students from our buddy schools in Tanzania. We read a great book called Beatrice’s Goat that tells the story of a little girl whose family receives the gift of a goat.  The goat helps them earn enough money to feed her family and to send Beatrice to school.  The non-profit organization, Africa Bridge, supplies this type of sustainable help in Tanzania to support needy and orphaned children through their pig and cow co-ops.

Pig Co-Op

This reading challenge project is an extension of our Great People in History unit.  We are very excited to know that we, too, can make a difference in people’s lives by making a difference in the life of just one child.  We know that through our donations to Africa Bridge

  • $25 pays for supplies for a child to attend primary school a year
  • $120 pays for fees and supplies to send a child to secondary school for a year
  • $250 pays for one family’s membership in a pig co-op
  • $1,000 pays for one family’s membership in a potato or cow co-op
  • $10,000 builds a classroom

Old Classrooms

In second grade we decided we would use our reading skills to help support our friends at Pakati School.  We challenged ourselves to read more and looked for sponsors for our reading.  Together with the efforts of our 3rd and 4th graders through their school-wide fundraiser, The Market Place, Stafford students have done great things over the past 3 years. Thanks to their efforts

  • More students are attending school
  • Families have more food as a result of the animal cooperatives
  • 3 new classrooms have been built
  • They could build 1 toilet


New classrooms built with the help of Stafford School

We will have a special assembly this week to begin our program this year.   Dr. Roger Woehl, the president of Africa Bridge and former superintendent for our school district, will talk to us about the great things that are happening for the students in Tanzania, thanks to the continuing support of the students at Stafford School.  We are excited to see what we do this year! We will be expanding our help to the Lufingo schools. They need support sending students to school, help rebuilding classrooms and building more desks. We will be looking for sponsors for our reading challenge program starting today.

Barry Childs meeting with students

Let’s use our reading skills to make a difference

in the lives of our friends

in Tanzania!

Let’s do it!

How will you challenge yourself in your reading? More minutes a day? A new series? Books about children around the world? Different literary genres?