If you visit a 2nd grade classroom over the next few weeks, you’ll likely see at least one kid with their nose in a biography book, such as Who Was Harriet Tubman? or Who Is Neil Armstrong? It’s that season! In class, we’ve been learning how to read biographies, take notes, t-chart, and write out informational paragraphs for two very important Americans: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. As each class goes through these steps of the writing process, the 2nd graders have been asking great questions and participating in discussions about these two great presidents. More importantly, though, these students have been learning and absorbing a lot of history and developing an appreciation and passion for people who have made a difference. What made George Washington a great leader? What positive character traits did he show on the battle field and as our country’s first president? How did Abraham Lincoln use his sense of honesty, his compassion for all people and his sense of fairness to not only end slavery in the US but also to reunite our country?
As 2nd graders read biographies about the important American that they have chosen for their project, they’ll be repeating the writing steps they’ve learned in class. As they read through their person’s life story, they’ll also be looking for the events and character traits that allowed them to make an impact in people’s lives. Maybe their American showed perseverance in their scientific studies that finally led to an amazing invention or medical breakthrough. Maybe their American stood up for and defended the rights of people, even though it wasn’t an easy thing to do. Maybe their American showed creativity in a whole new way that allowed many people to discover a passion for art, reading or music. There are so many ways that individuals have made a difference, and if these important Americans could make a difference in their own way, then we can, too!
As we wrapped up this week with Read Across America activities, 2nd graders enjoyed hearing the story of the Lorax and then comparing details with the movie version. When we got to the last sentence of the story, I was very amazed at how quickly some of the kids in our class picked up on the Lorax’ final message… “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” After we finished the movie, the class made their own Lorax craft, which included the Lorax’ words for us all. It was the perfect end to a week of writing and discussion. Whether it’s a Who Was…? book or a rhyming Dr. Seuss story, there’s many opportunities for us to find people who have made a difference or encourage us to make a difference with our own lives. We just have to keep reading – and follow their examples!
By: Mrs. Todd, 2nd grade