June 5, 2012
After second grade Teacher Sara Rex taught her class about some major U.S. monuments, she helped them come to the conclusion that all of these landmarks represent freedom and equal rights, ideals that are important to our nation. Then she asked them to consider what monuments they would design and create that would fairly represent themselves as a second grade class. Thus emerged their choices of what was important to them: Learning, Friendship, Caring, and Respect, plus one for the “Rexplorers,” as this class was named to encourage their year-long sense of adventure.
For Learning, they created a green statue of a student, dubbed the “Statue of Schoolity,” to show their pride in what they had learned from their teacher. A globe with 24 students and one teacher standing atop it represents Friendship, demonstrating that together they could learn a lot about themselves and the world. The class chose a large heart with handprints to symbolize Caring because they felt being there for each other and knowing that classmates care about one another is important.
The crown that they designed to stand for Respect has 24 spikes with 24 diamonds and gems, because each person deserves as much respect as a crown entails. The class also knew that throughout the school year Mrs. Rex had used the idea of a crown as a metaphor for demonstrating respect, especially when only one person is speaking and others are trying to learn.
The Rexplorer monument contains a circle of 24 smaller stars representing each student and one larger star for Mrs. Rex. They also designed a big dinosaur in the middle with a magnifying glass to remind them of all of their 2nd grade adventures.
The project itself was an adventure.
“It was creative,” explained one student. “We had to think.”
Another recent Rexplorer adventure involved a trip to the aviary pond near Swickard Woods. With nets, buckets, and spoons as tools, they discovered a host of dragonfly and mayfly larvae, snails, tadpoles, water insects, and leeches. Two baby midland painted turtles were their most exciting find, and helped the class understand in a very hands-on way that the eggs could only survive in a pond that was healthy enough to sustain them until they hatched. District Nature Lady Sandy Willmore confirmed that this is the first time these turtles have been collected in the aviary pond, so the Rexplorers were doubly excited about their developing exploring skills, and will continue to investigate their classroom findings.