Notes from the Classroom: Porter Ridge

Editor’s note: Our recurring series Notes from the Classroom gives teachers in Union County schools the opportunity to talk about experiences in the classroom or projects their students are working on. This week, Porter Ridge Elementary second grade teacher Rachel Easterling talks about some recent experiences

The students were challenged to research a topic from Japan. They were given several topics to select, from traditions and holidays, to food and clothing. They were able to compare and contrast the differences between our culture today to Japan’s culture. They worked as a team to create a poster and presentation. The groups had to work together to present the information they researched in such a way that it would be entertaining and interesting to their audience. They used resources such as kid-friendly Japanese websites, books, letters from Japanese pen pals from previous years, and artifacts.

Along with researching the culture of Japan, the students performed a Japanese play called Stop Thief. Incorporating building comprehension goals with the skill of author’s purpose, they worked extra hard on their book/play Stop Thief, thinking “Why did the author write this book?” and “What kind of audience did the author want to entertain?” The students did an amazing job at memorizing their lines and “acting” for the big day.

On the big day, the students sang a song in Japan then again in English, performed their Stop Thief play, and then each were able to teach the other students about the topic they researched. From using a “How-to” to teach about how to hold chop sticks and taste edamame, to making an oragami Christmas tree, and discovering the location of this island country, Japan. Technology was integrated all throughout the play such as the students navigating through websites and flip charts to zooming in on photographs of a kids’ lives in Japan.

The students had a lot of fun with it and had a great feel about how it would be to live in Japan.

Rachel Easterling

Porter Ridge second grade teacher

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