A Special Visitor and Pirates

The tenth day of second grade was mighty exciting! It started off in the morning with a surprise note from Zero the Hero. Zero is a Math Superhero who came to our classroom before the school day and left notes for me and the children. In the note, he asked me to read the book “Zero the Hero” to the children. He asked the children to draw a picture of what they thought he might look like. We have some very good artists in C8 with good imaginations! He also left a candy pumpkin treat for each child to help them get ready for the start of fall. 

But that wasn’t all the excitement today!  Today was “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” and the second grade teachers and some of the students dressed up like pirates to celebrate.

If ye wants to see these scurvy pirates up close, click on the photo, matey!

 

We read a pirate book and did some pirate themed papers. The children started writing their own adventure story. We also had an school-wide banking assembly.  Combined with yesterday’s fire drill practice and Curriculum Night scheduled for tomorrow night, this is turning out to be a busy week!

Welcome to Second Grade!

Welcome to our new C8 Second Grade families! I can’t believe that we have already been in school for almost two weeks now! The students and I have been getting to know each other and the routines of our C8 classroom. It has been a time of review, assessment, and exploring our new classroom. On Wednesday, we are holding our Curriculum Night which serves as an Orientation to our classroom.  Parents and guardians are invited to come see your child’s classroom. You have the opportunity to meet me and hear about our classroom procedures and expectations as well as the Second Grade curriculum. You will also have a chance to meet the specialists that work with your child and to visit the Book Fair in C10. I look forward to meeting you all on Wednesday night.

This bulletin board is not only greeting our new second graders but previewing our new focus this year district-wide on Writer’s Workshop!

Just a sneak peek at one part of our classroom! Reading is such an important part of my classroom and these are our shelves that highlight seasonal books or books that supplement whatever special topics we are studying.

A Look Back on our School Year!

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.

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We saw a great performance by Johnny the K. He was a musician sponsored by the PTO and despite being silly and wearing lots of crazy hats, he had a important life lessons to share with the students.

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Claire’s grandmother, who is a librarian from Vermont, was a special visitor who came and read to the class one day.

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Our study of traditions and cultures culminated in our special international tasting party on the half day before Thanksgiving. We enjoyed all the delicious foods that the families shared with us that day.

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In December at the holidays, some parents came to assist the students in making their ice castles.

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Mr. Berube, a Dracut native and former SeaBee, came to school to share his experiences living and working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

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On Groundhog Day, we went outside and did some science experiments with light and shadows.

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We had special guest readers on Read Across America Day in March. They were basketball players from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

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Representative Colleen Garry came to school to read to the class and talk about government and her job at the State House in Boston.

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We had a crazy week when the leprechauns came to visit our classroom near St. Patrick’s Day. This is just one example of some of the shenanigans those tricky leprechauns did while they were in C8!

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We had a special presentation about rockets and space exploration!

Celebrating Special C8 Students and Zero the Hero!

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Dracut Library Summer Readers!!

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!

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Dracut Public Schools Summer Reading!

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?

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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.

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Here is one of Zero’s notes with the book and treat he left!

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They had to estimate the number of Life Savors that Zero left as a treat. Cameron and Anthony were the best estimators that day!

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One of Zero’s treats were clementines because they were “round like a zero and looked like a fall pumpkin!”

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Some of our students working hard packing the food drive donations for the Dracut Food Pantry.

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!

Welcome to My New C-8 Families!

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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.

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This view shows our main teaching area with the smart projector, whiteboard, and our rainbow rug! Many of the students are sitting in a horseshoe around the rug.

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This is the view as we enter the classroom and shows our coat closet, sink, my desk and the large table used for many things like reading groups.

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In this corner, you can see our cozy classroom library and my vast collection of children’s books I’ve collected over 25 years.

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.

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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.

The Second Graders Are Going Places!

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Learning how to cross in crosswalks safely.

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.

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Parking lot safety is so important!

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We are so lucky to have wonderful volunteers! We were glad to have two fifth grade friends join us in the safety lessons.

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!

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Waiting for the show to begin.

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Trying to patiently wait for the rest of the audience to arrive.

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Almost time for the show.

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Curious about the instruments.

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Tom and his friends performing on stage.

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When the show was over, Tom came into the audience with his autoharp.

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.

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Meeting the donkey.

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They could only pet the adorable calf.

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.

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Wally Biedron taught the children about cows and answered all their questions.

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Waiting to go into the barn

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Everyone got a turn to feed the donkey.

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Brian feed the donkey.

After they saw the animals, the students got to eat a picnic lunch and have a short recess.

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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.

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Learning how the milk going into the bottles.

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We were lucky we came on a day when they weren’t bottling the milk.

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Lindy explained how her brother Mark makes ice cream.

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The ice cream making machines!

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!

Things Get “Buggy” at Brookside!

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.

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Alyssa and Gabby are preparing their cups with caterpillar food.

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Lots of crawling caterpillars ready to be put in the cups.

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Each student got their own caterpillar.

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.

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Our painted lady butterflies didn’t seem to want to leave their netted home.

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Our class in the Brookside courtyard ready to release our butterflies.

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Watching one of our butterflies sipping nectar from some flowers.

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The students got to witness first hand how they are camouflaged when their wings are folded. Can you find the butterfly on the cement?

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Close up slide of a mosquito!

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.

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He taught us how he catches mosquitoes so he can study them. This helps us stay safe.

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Dominic wears the mosquito netting.

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He let the children touch a lot of the equipment he uses like the mosquito catcher that she is holding.

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Tommy is holding another of the tool the entomologist uses to scoop up water samples containing mosquito larvae.

 

May Celebrations!

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Here are the book bags the second graders donated.

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.

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Thank you to Miss Penny, Dr. McNamara, and Ms. Smith for attending our presentation!

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.

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The Garden of Hope for a Cause!

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Hooray for Miss Jen!

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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!

Congratulations also go out to four new Xtramath Superstars this month! Hooray Ava, Gabriela, Mary and Emily!Version 2IMG_3636IMG_3706IMG_3709

We also celebrate Shiwaum for being the only student in our class to participate in the Six Flags Read to Succeed program.

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Finally we celebrated our mothers!

The C8 students wrote about their mothers and drew a special picture of themselves with their mother.

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The students enjoyed make a special m & m game to play with their moms.

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Paws for a Cause

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!) IMG_3413

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!

Lots of Activity in April

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Our Principal Ms. Smith joins Second Marking Period Honor students in C8.

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!

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Mia is an addition superstar!

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.

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The firefighters taught us to “Stay low and go!” by crawling under a gray blanket that represented smoke. Everyone got to practice this important skill.

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You can see that the students were very engaged in the discussion!

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.

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C8 Students learn about recycling!

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.

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Here are some of our character trait projects on display in the hallway.

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Here are the rest of the projects. Each student had to make one for each of the two characters, Big Anthony and Strega Nona.

We studied States of Matter in Science and the class really enjoyed the hands-on science activities we explored together.

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Here Dominic and Elizabeth are blowing up a balloon with the gas formed by mixing baking soda (a solid) and vinegar (a liquid).

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!

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Learning that adding or taking away heat changes the state of matter!

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.

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Colorful timelines on display!

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Some more interesting timelines by our students.

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Tommy’s creative timeline hung over our doorway.

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Four more timelines grace our stair railing.

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Last but not least, Brooklynn’s timeline. (We ran out of wall space so her timeline was on the round table in the hallway!)

 

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!

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C8 says “GO RED SOX!”

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!