Park Specialists' Newsletter

Second Grade Edition - First Trimester

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First Trimester Recap

All of Park's certified Teaching Specialists have compiled a summary of what students have learned, enjoyed, and mastered in their respective classes for the past twelve weeks. Please scroll down, read, and watch what students have been up to at Park Elementary.

From Park's Art Instructor - Mrs. Ovadje

“Who is Mrs. Ovadje?” some may wonder. She is in her third year as the Art teacher at Park. Formerly known as Ms. Kirchoff, she changed her name over the summer and is now called Mrs. Ovadje (oh-vaw-jay), or Mrs. O.

Throughout this school year, students are learning about art from “Around the World”. They began the year by creating passports; students will get their passport stamped after they “visit” a country. The first trip was to India, where second graders learned about Elephant Festivals. As such, students created their own Indian Elephant. Did you know that elephants can play soccer?

Afterwards, we went on a voyage to Mexico. Second graders discovered the history of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrating ancestors. We learned about Sugar Skulls, a type of Mexican Folk Art made out of sugar! Even though we couldn’t make traditional Sugar Skulls, we drew symmetrical skulls and decorated them with bright colors.

In November we journeyed up the continent of North America to study Native American Art. Second graders studied Totem Poles, art that originated along Pacific Northwest Coast. We read, Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, about the legend of the Raven. After studying pictures of traditional Totem Poles, each student picked an animal to represent themselves and their family members. These Totem Poles told stories about each student’s family. Ask your second grader which totem animal they chose for you!

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From Park's Librarian - Ms. Shadis

In the Library

One of our favorite activities this trimester was reading some great books: The Man who Walked between the Towers; Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton; Biblioburro, Thank You Sarah, the Woman who Saved Thanksgiving.

Second grade began the year by reviewing how to take good care of books. We found the new online library catalog Destiny Quest very exciting as students can social network by sending book recommendations to friends. To access Destiny Quest, visit Select Park Elementary. Login. Username: first and last name (no space). Password: TigersXXXX (X=lunch number)

Considering giving your child a special book for the holidays?

Here are some resources that can help:

Need Anything Further?

You are also very welcome to contact our librarian, Ms. Shadis, 234-2616 for personalized recommendations. Thank you for encouraging the children you know and love to read -- it's an important lifelong skill!

From Park's Technology Integration Instructor - Mr. Durheim

Second graders have been busy learning about using all of their fingers to reach keys on the keyboard (introduction to home row and keyboarding) and have been learning about word processor font tools (Word). Collaboration (working together to reach our goals) continues to be an important focus of TechTime.

Learn more about what we’ve been learning at the TechTime website:!

From Park's Phy Ed Educators - Mrs. Hahn & Ms. Mueller

A typical day in the Physical Education class begins with a fitness warm-up activity. These activities vary from cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and/or flexibility. (Please click here to view a video of students using dice to indicate which activity they are to do, from sprints to abs.) The purpose of these activities is to increase the students’ awareness and level of fitness. After the warm-up, students have a lesson that focuses on the skills that will help them to be successful in the games of a unit. From there, students participate in an age–appropriate game using the skill(s) practiced during that lesson.

With the arrival of snow and thus the need for boots, please help your child to remember to bring his/her tennis shoes on days that he/she has Phy Ed.

Units covered during the first trimester:

*Soccer skills

*Football skills

*Fitness tests

*Bowling skill



Students discussed and demonstrated good sportsmanship during Physical Education and evaluated their own sportsmanship. To continue this throughout the year, a traveling sportsmanship trophy will be awarded each month to a class that demonstrates good sportsmanship.

Successful Superhero Workouts:

A big thank you for all your help in making the Superhero workouts a big success. Students completed over 2,000 workouts at home! It was great seeing their excitement when they completed a workout. Many students have done or are on their way to completing all ten workouts. Pictured above is a picture of all the exercises and the impressive amount of student participants (click on the image to make it even larger)!

Walk for Hunger:

We will once again be doing the "Walk for Hunger" Food shelf drive on December 10-11.
This event combines wellness and community service for our students. All items must be brought to school by the event so that we can deliver to the McLeod County Food Shelf in time for the holidays. Last year, our students collected 2,768 lbs. of food. We will be needing volunteers once again this year. Please contact us if you are able to help at 587-2837 or email us at or

From Park's Music Teachers - Ms. Hauth & Mrs. Hoeft

Throughout this school year, second grade is and will be a time to have fun with music as we work toward the development of our music skills. We continue to explore the use of the singing voice and are working to increase our ability to control it. Movement, instruments, and games are incorporated into our songs on a daily basis.

We are learning to read music notation using Solfege syllables (Do, Re, and Mi), which students were introduced to in first grade. Students hear and echo the pattern first, accompanied by hand symbols for each pitch. In addition, students have begun learning how to read patterns on the music staff. Furthermore, we have started working on rhythmic activities designed to strengthen the ability to feel and respond to the steady beat and different meters. We have reviewed songs, rhymes, and rhythm patterns using quarter notes (“ta”) and eighth notes (“ti-ti”), which students were introduced to in first grade; further we learned many new songs that added the quarter rest (“silence”). Students have been working hard on their rhythmic dictation skills, being able to hear and memorize 4-beat patterns and challenging 8-beat patterns, and then being able to write it down using the correct notation.

Our dance this trimester was a folk dance from Sweden titled Fjaskern or Hurry, Scurry. It focused on large motor skills, moving to the beat, and responding to changing tempos. It was a lot of fun! We found Sweden on the map and wondered if children there were dancing the same dance.

We have a full set of Orff instruments, including xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels in each room, allowing every child to participate on an individual instrument as we play songs together as a group. We have reviewed mallet skills, steps, leaps, repeats, and direction in melodies as we have played on these instruments. The Puppy (Hotdog) Song and the storybook Mortimer were favorites to play on the instruments.

Songs we have sung this trimester include: Apples and Bananas, Aikendrum, Happy All the Time, The Acorn Song, Autumn Leaves, Stirring the Brew, Hot Cross Buns (Jump Frog Jump), Five Little Pumpkins, Over the River and Through the Woods, and Snail Snail.

Watch the video below to see students singing and playing during music class!

Mrs. Neubarth's class in Music

From Park's Science Specialists - Mrs. Kucera & Mrs. Mueller

Science is “Out of This World”! Space has been our focus of study during the first trimester. We specifically concentrated on the sun, Earth, and moon. Rotation (spin) and revolution (orbit) were words that helped us learn why we have night and day and why the moon “appears” to change its shape. One of the most important concepts we discovered was how the tilt of the Earth, along with Earth’s orbit of the sun, is the reason for the four seasons. During all of this important learning, we worked extremely hard to create different models of the solar system to help us understand these concepts. (Click here to view a video of students modeling planetary orbit.) In addition, students learned about two special scientists, Galileo and Buzz Aldrin, who helped to shape what is known about outer space. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to stand on the moon’s surface. We learned about both of their lives and each man’s great contributions to the study of outer space. The highlight of the trimester for the students would certainly have been the special visit from two Space Cadets during Spaceology. During their Spaceology time, students experienced an asteroid storm, as well as, a variety of other challenges that might prepare them someday for outer space.

After learning about the Earth in outer space, we took a closer look at what makes up the Earth. Students learned that the Earth has four layers: crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. From there we took an even closer look at the earth materials that make up the crust, specifically rocks and minerals. Students had numerous hands-on experiences with this unit, from sorting rocks to testing minerals to doing a Skittles Lab demonstrating weathering and erosion. This unit will continue into the second trimester. Park Elementary Scientists rock!

Park Elementary School

Park Elementary School serves approximately 875 students in second through fifth grade. Our purpose is to meet the needs of the whole child with an emphasis on basic academic skills. We are committed to providing as many hands-on learning experiences as possible in all academic areas. It is important that our students know, understand, and apply what we teach. We provide instruction and opportunities in all academic areas. As an elementary school, our focus is on language arts and mathematics.