As we get closer to the end of the year, I have been reflecting on all that we have done this year. Here is a review of some of the great learning experiences and special visitors your children had.
I can’t believe we’ve been in school for 40 days already! The first two months have seemed to fly by so fast! I want to share with you some of the students that have been recognized for their reading and math achievements. First, we had three students, Emma, Jesse and Mia, that received special certificates for their participation in the Dracut Library’s summer reading program! Great job to our three summer library readers!
Next, I’d like to recognize the five students who passed in their Dracut Public Schools summer reading logs. They were Sampson, Aubrey, Jesse, Shamus, and Emma! Summer reading is so important! Awesome job to you all!
Finally, three of our students have completed the addition level of Xtramath in record time! To do this, they had to be able successfully answer all 100 addition facts within 3 seconds for each fact! They are Kayden, Aubrey, and Jesse! They are officially Xtramath superstars and have moved to subtraction. Remember that the students can do Xtramath at home too if they have access to the Internet. I wonder who will be our next Xtramath superstar?
This year, a special math superhero called “Zero the Hero” has been visiting our classroom every tenth day of school. We’re not sure if Zero is a boy or girl superhero so I’ll just use the pronoun “he”. He gives the students a note with math challenges and leaves them treats if they complete the challenge. The first time he came, he asked them to draw what they thought he looked like. Another time he came, there was a math book about Zero that he asked them to have me read. A third time he came, the students were challenged to write as many sentences as they could that had the answer of zero. On Friday, Day 40, he challenged them to estimate the number of eyeballs in the jar! The children love when Zero visits.
Before I end this post, I want to thank all the families that donated to the Great Penny Race and the Food Drive. The second grade students donated the most nonperishable food to our food drive. Our class helped to box up all the food and carry it out to the volunteers from the food pantry that came to collect it. This is teaching our students to not only think about and care about others but to DO for others! Stay tuned for additional posts about our field trip, our dinosaur & fossils studies and more!
I am so excited to have your children as my students this year. Since we are having the curriculum night later this year on Tuesday, September 29th, I thought you might like a sneak preview of our classroom. Here are some photos I took of our classroom prior to school starting.
This is just a taste of what our room looked like before the children arrived. But the room really came to life when 23 second graders walked through the door. Here are two photos I managed to shoot on the first day of school during the “Getting to Know You” game.
I will update the homework page nightly and periodically post blog updates on this page to help keep you informed and let you share the excitement that goes on in second grade.
Earlier in the month, we practiced pedestrian safety outside Brookside. Thank you to the parents who volunteered to help us learn how to travel safely along and across streets and in parking lots. We put this information into practice on our walk back from our Shaw Farm field trip at the end of the month.
We finished the month of May with a special field trip. We started by being bussed to Chelmsford High School to watch Tom Chapin and Friends in a music performance. We were the first school there and had fantastic front row seats!
The children had a great time singing along with Tom Chapin and his friends. Tom and his friends were impressed that they knew the sign language to Family Tree. The children were surprise that his goodbye song to the audience was the goodbye song we sing at the end of the day in our classroom! (I learned the song from him!)
After the concert, we got back on the bus and headed back to Dracut to Shaw Farm. When we arrived at the farm, the children got to take turns feeding the donkey and petting the baby calves.
They also got to go into the barn and see the grown milk cows and learn all about how they care for the cows and get the milk.
After they saw the animals, the students got to eat a picnic lunch and have a short recess.
We took the time for a class photo in front of the tractor with our fantastic chaperones! Then we carefully crossed the street to the farm store where we met Lindy Shaw who gave them a special tour to see where the milk is processed and the ice cream is made.
After our tour, the students got their ice cream and quickly joined the other second graders to eat their yummy cups of ice cream. Before long, it was time to walk back. We were very fortunate to have our school resource officer, Officer Quealy, and another Dracut police officer escort our second graders with two police cars for our walk back to Brookside. Then they surprised us by letting the students climb into the police cars to see what they were like inside. They even turned on the lights and sirens for us! I think the children really enjoyed their field trip and I’ll take a guess that they probably slept pretty good that night!
Thank you to the parent chaperones, Lindy Shaw, Wally Biedron and everyone at Shaw Farm, and Officer Quealy and his fellow police officer for making our field trip such a success!
We studied about the life cycle of insects this month. The students witnessed this first hand when they watched their caterpillars go through the chrysalis stage to becoming a painted lady butterfly.
We watched our caterpillars growing and when they went into the chrysalis stage they were transferred into the large net. Before long, they hatched into beautiful butterflies and it was time to let them go.
We also had a mosquito control presentation in the cafeteria. An entomologist from the state mosquito control office taught us a great deal about mosquitoes. He told us about their life cycle, how he studies them, and how to stay safe by getting rid of stagnant water near our homes.
We certainly had a lot to celebrate in May! We celebrate that we are a Community of Caring when we shared the results of the second grade students Community of Caring Read-a-Thon! We invited Miss Penny from the Dracut Library and Dr. McNamara of the Dracut School Committee to come to our school in order to receive the five book bags that our students were able to fund through the Read-a-Thon. This provides not only the Dracut Library but the entire MVLC with much needed children’s book kits. One of the books we donated was written by Sherrie Ninteau, a Dracut Public School teacher.
The Brookside second graders are learning that it is important to give to others. Another way they participated in giving to others was the way they and the rest of the school contributed to our PAWS for a Cause by donating for Rett Syndrome. As an added bonus they raised so much that they were able to see Miss Jen duct taped to the wall of the school. Miss Jen was such a good sport as it was very hot that morning.
We are also celebrating academic achievement! Ms. Smith came to our classroom to present several students with third quarter honors certificates! Congratulations to Mary, Brad, Brian, Nicholas, Shiwaum, Mia and Britney!
We also celebrate Shiwaum for being the only student in our class to participate in the Six Flags Read to Succeed program.
Finally we celebrated our mothers!
The C8 students wrote about their mothers and drew a special picture of themselves with their mother.
The students enjoyed make a special m & m game to play with their moms.
Each year we choose a worthy organization to support with our school-wide Paws for a Cause donation. Today we had a special Community of Caring assembly to kick off our collection for Rett Syndrome. We have a wonderful third grader named Kendra at our school who has this syndrome. (She was in my second grade class last year!)
We had the assembly and Kendra rode her bike on the stage and then “spoke” to the gathered audience with her assistive technology device. I am attaching a link with the short video that the students saw to help you understand the condition. (Kendra is eating the ice cream!)
A flyer went home today with the children and we will be collecting monetary donations tomorrow and Monday. If you are making out a check, please make it out to the Brookside PTO. Please consider donating to this worthy cause that will help toward finding a cure for girls like our schoolmate Kendra.
We also wore purple today in honor of girls who have Rett Syndrome and those who are searching for a cure. If your child forgot to wear purple today, we will continue to encourage Brookside students and staff to wear purple on our collection days tomorrow and Monday!
Our principal, Ms. Smith was able to find time in her busy, busy schedule to give our students their honor roll certificates for second marking period. Like me, she was very proud of their hard work! Speaking of awards, Mia S. earned her Xtramath certificate for addition this month. Way to go Mia!
We had some special visitors in our classroom this month. Two Dracut firefighters came to teach us all about fire safety. We learned about the importance of having a meeting place in case of a fire, when to change batteries in your smoke detectors, how to safely get out if there is a fire among other things.
We also had a recycling presentation by “the recycling lady” who works with the company that does the recycling collection in Dracut. She taught the children about the importance of recycling and what can and cannot be recycled. She had a lot of information and was able to answer the students’ questions. The students also made objects out of recycled items in art this month with Ms. Mullins, the art teacher.
We have been working on a special author study model curriculum unit in balanced literacy featuring Tomie dePaola. The students have been learning about his life and his work. Here is an example of one of the activities we did so far in this unit. The students were learning about character traits and had to identify character traits for both Strega Nona and Big Anthony, two of Tomie’s more popular characters.
We studied States of Matter in Science and the class really enjoyed the hands-on science activities we explored together.
The students were put into groups and had to observe and discuss the properties of a paper cup filled with frozen water (ice) colored with food coloring. Then they peeled away the paper and placed the ice into a ziplock bag and we taped it over the heater. When they returned from special, they observed that the water had changed from a solid state to a liquid state. They also observed that the liquid takes the shape of the container. They then decided that they wanted to put it in the freezer again to see what would happen so into the teacher’s room freezer they went. Science is more meaningful when we get both our hands and minds involved!
The students shared their timelines that they created at home as a combination social studies/balanced literacy project. After they shared the timelines, we proudly hung them in the hallway for everyone to enjoy! Thank you for helping your child with this special project. I hope it was a meaningful activity for your child.
Finally, we celebrated baseball’s “Opening Day at Fenway Park” by wearing our Red Sox attire and standing in front of a photo of Fenway Park!
We were all ready for our spring break this past week but we have lots more to learn before the month and school year is over!
We attended a school-wide celebration for the national Read Across America Day. The second grade performed wonderfully on stage. Our class performed a song about reading with Mrs. Cooke’s students while Mrs. Porcello’s students did a skit about where they read. The entire school watched a powerpoint by Ms. Smith about Dr. Seuss and reading and the entire school recited the reading oath.
After the assembly, the guest readers read to the classes. We were lucky that our guest reader was State Representative Colleen Garry (who is also Mrs. Riordan’s sister). She read a biography of Dr. Seuss and posed for a photo. She answered a few questions but since she had to leave to attend another reading event at Englesby, she promised to come back again. Thank you, Rep. Garry!
On Monday, March 16th, five of our students brought in their creative homemade leprechaun catchers to try and catch a live leprechaun. We left them on the table in the back of the classroom at the end of the school day.
This is what the students found when they came in on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.
Mrs. Riordan gave each child a special snack bag of Lucky Charms that said “I’m so lucky to have you in my class!”
The students did a creative writing craft activity. They had to write about “Who is worth more to you than gold?” They wrote and illustrated and then put it on a pot of gold complete with gold coins and rainbow streamers. We hung them up in the hallway for everyone to see.
Near the end of the day, we got a call from the office that there had been a delivery by two little men from Ireland. They asked if we could send two children to the office to pick it up. And as you can see, those tricky leprechauns gave us their pot of gold. Well, it was gold candy….and underneath the candy, we found all the things they had “borrowed” from our catchers. They returned everything they had taken after all! Each child got two pieces of gold candy.
Finally, we need to congratulate our two fantastic Xtramath Superstars. Both Britney and Nicholas have now completed the subtraction level of Xtramath and are currently working on multiplication facts. We have a few other students that are getting close to finishing a level. Don’t forget you can practice Xtramath at home after school or on the weekends!
We celebrated the 100th Day of School on February 24th! The students did a 100th Day Estimating Jar hands-on math activity. They were asked to estimate the objects in the jar. Then we counted each of the jars. Finally the students figure the difference between their estimates and the actual amounts.
Learning time was more fun when we used our bodies to make the clock. Kinesthetic learning is just another method to help the students make connections and understand. Twelve students were the numbers and two more were the hands.
We are getting more proficient at using the Epson smart projector that we are lucky enough to have in our classroom. I am learning along with the children. It has really enhanced our instruction and the students are very engaged in the lessons. We are using the technology in all subject areas from language arts, to math, to science and social studies.
Finally we had an assembly for Jump Rope for Heart! Students from Londonderry, NH did an amazing job demonstrating their unbelievable jump roping skills while they also taught the children about healthy food choices and exercise.