Birds, books and laughter keep things lively for Year 2s

Throughout the spring, young students have been fuelling their curiosity and creativity with a range of great learning experiences. 
Inquiry into birds
While students were still learning on campus, an observation during recess sparked an avid interest in birds. This coincided with the Year 2 Inquiry unit exploring animal adaptations.
"We thought, what a great opportunity to take advantage of the biodiversity the UCC campus has to offer," says Year 2 teacher Riley Carter. "So we switched gears and began an inquiry into birds."
With the help of in-house bird expert and teacher Max Perren, students generated an impressive list of 19 birds that can be seen on the UCC campus in the spring. Mr. Perren joined the class virtually to answer burning questions. Norval Outdoor School teacher Brent Evans was also very supportive, teaching the Year 2s bird calls and accompanying them birding on campus. 
Everyone was assigned a bird to research, and created a page with its habitat, food, behaviour, physical characteristics — and, of course, a fun fact. In art, the students worked diligently with teacher Monika Kastelic to sketch their bird. This led to the creation of the beautiful UCC Campus Bird Guide, which features the students' research and visual representations. The hope is that the book will inspire all Primary classes at the Prep to be more observant of the natural world, and to spend time bird watching. 
Munsch Madness
In honour of March Madness, the Year 2s took part in Munsch Madness, immersing themselves in the books of beloved children’s author Robert Munsch. 
Students read 16 books in total: two per day with anonymous voting for the preferred choice after each pair was completed. News of the activity got around quickly, and soon the Year 6s and 7s were in on the fun, submitting story pairs and eagerly awaiting the voting results at the end of each day. Guest readers from around the Prep also joined in to tell Robert Munsch tales to the students.  
The tournament’s winning title was 50 Below Zero
The Year 2s are laughing their way through a new unit: Giggles are Contagious! Exploring the central idea that humans use humour to express themselves, students are learning about how it’s used in communication, different types of humour, and its function in our lives. 
The unit was launched by asking students what they find funny. A list of "funny" and "not funny" things was made, underscoring the need to respect others and to always laugh with them, not at them. Students were then tasked with interviewing five people to learn what makes them laugh, and how they feel when they laugh. This exercise was used as a springboard to understand laughter as a way to lift people up. 
Given the pandemic-impacted circumstances, the unit has special relevance. On that theme, the Year 2s brainstormed places that could use laughter right now. Their inspiring answers included but were not limited to hospitals, retirement homes, and homeless shelters. At the end of the unit, the goal will be to take action on the learning undertaken and, in some capacity, share some humour with places where it’s particularly needed.
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