Pearls of Wisdom for Second Grade English

Michael Buist's picture of pearls of wisdomflickr photo shared by buistbunch under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Recently I noticed the above picture on Michael Buist’s Instagram account.

I have watched Michael’s Instagram posts about pearls of wisdom, and I was always curious. This time I asked him if he had written a post about his pearls. Good timing. He was just getting ready to write that post. You can read it on Michael’s Tumblr blog: Pearls of Wisdom Gamify Learning. Be sure to click on that link now and read the post for details about the Pearls of Wisdom. (I’ll wait for you.)

It’s a game. It’s an alternative to grading. It honors the ability of young people to memorize for a lifetime. (I always enjoyed memorizing times tables, presidents, U.S. capitals, and more. I would have loved the pearls of wisdom idea.)

I’m definitely going to try this with second grade English language learners. What would the pearls be for, though? I just finished teaching Kindergarten. For those students, some of the pearls may have been for knowing all the letters and sounds, days of the week, months of the year, and Kindergarten sight words.

For second grade, I need some advice from second grade teachers and teachers of English language learners. I have a limited time with the students, only 3-4 hours a week! What pearls of wisdom would your second grade English language learners earn?

Michael, thank you so much for sharing this awesome idea and write up on your Tumblr account. Thanks for introducing me to two new teachers from KGA. (You can follow Michael and his colleagues here: @BuistBunch, @NusKnights, @notleycrew1, @gforceteach). I have one more question, though. Do the pearls of wisdom stay with the child? Or in the room, as this photo below suggests? Do they stay in the room and students add to them as they earn? Are their names on the string? (Some would have few pearls and hanging up for all to see, right? 🙁 )

Michael's Class #PearlsofWisdom
Michael’s Class #PearlsofWisdom

flickr photo shared by buistbunch under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

2 thoughts on “Pearls of Wisdom for Second Grade English

  1. Some answers to some of your questions at the end of your post…The pearl on the bottom of the strand is the Starter Pearl and serves two purposes. First, it has the student’s initials and the date he or she earned the first pearl. This helps identifying pearl strands. Second, the starter pearl helps keep the other pearls on the strand, as we often tie to to the string. Kids do get to keep their pearl strands…on the last day of school. We have a big ceremony celebrating their accomplishments and bestow their strands upon them with a flourish. As a testament to the power of pearls, students will often come back the next year on the first day of school wearing their pearls. Check out this example from a 6th grader on the first day of school this year.

    1. Michael,
      Thanks so much for answering my questions. l love that picture of your former student and her proud accomplishment. Lovely necklace she made!

      Thanks again,

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