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For most students, the last day of school is June 20. But for second-graders at Sandshore, the last day of school is “Z.”
Second grade classes are counting down the last 26 days of school, not with numbers but with letters of the alphabet. Each day features activities and assignments related to the letter du jour which reinforces skills they’ve learned during the school year.
“It gets them excited and keeps them engaged,” said teacher Marieke Hopp. “They look every day to see what we’re doing and it’s a little surprise for them.”
The countdown began with Appreciation Day. The students made thank-you cards for staff members to show their appreciation for all they do.
“H” was for Hawaii. Students learned about the state and practiced a few words in Hawaiian. While wearing plastic leis, students also learned to hula. Teachers purchased the leis in an assortment of colors from a discount store.
“M” was celebrated with “Me Day.” Students created Google drawings about themselves and used their measuring skills to measure their height and length of their arms and legs.
Kindergarten and first grade classes also did their own countdown versions.
They are flying free. The butterflies raised by Jennifer Day’s first-graders emerged from their hanging chrysalis exoskeletons and were released into the great outdoors.
The project was part of a science unit about animals and living things. The caterpillars arrived in the mail from an educational science company. In a plastic cup, the creepy crawlers spent about 10 days munching down on plant-based food before each formed its own chrysalis. The chrysalises were hung upside down on the roof of a netted tent as the pupa continued their transformation. After about two weeks, the adult Painted Lady butterflies sprang out.
The butterflies were nurtured with orange slices until they were ready to spread their orange and black wings outside. They’ll soon continue the life cycle by laying eggs of their own.
“The kids loved it,” said Day of the project. “They loved seeing the different stages of life. Every morning the second they walked in, they went to the cage to see if there was any change.”
All first grade classes participated in the project and witnessed Mother Nature’s magical handiwork firsthand. Each class released its butterflies separately on the Sandshore grounds.