February Finished With Lots of Learning Fun!

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We are 100 Days Smarter!

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.

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Brian thinking hard about his estimate!

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Estimating is harder than it looks!

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We counted the unifix cubes and plastic animals by tens and ones.

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The sugar cubes were counted by hundreds, tens, and ones.

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The wooden color cubes were the easiest for most students to estimate.

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.

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Brooklynn was the minute hand and Nick was the hour hand.

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The students are enjoying writing on the whiteboard with the smart projector pens.

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.

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Here Mrs. Marvin is using the Ziggy document camera to flash our Fundations flashcards for our daily drill.

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The word web the students created in our grammar lesson on verbs.

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The students graphed their favorite Boston sports team in math. The data is more meaningful if it is personal to the children.

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I wish this photo was able to capture how impressive these students were.

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. 

Celebrating Special Children and Caring for Others in C-8!

We celebrate love and caring in the month of February. One of our classmates, Hannah, was recognized this quarter at the special PAWS recognition breakfast. Hannah was one of eleven children in the school to receive this recognition. She was nominated for her patience and kindness toward a fellow classmate when she helped him in their reading group. Hannah received her award from State Representative Colleen Garry. We are very proud of you Hannah!! You set a great example for the rest of the students!

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Hannah front and center after receiving her special PAWS recognition award.

 

We are also proud of two of our students who have completed the Addition level of Xtramath!

Way to go Brian and Victoria!

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Finally, as part of our Brookside Community of Caring, our class participated in the second grade Read-a-thon. They spent the entire day reading! This reading took the form of independent reading, buddy reading, listening to a book on CD or read aloud by a teacher. We even read math literature! The money we raised will enable us to create and donate book kits to the Dracut Library that can be used by the entire library system. Thank you to all the families and friends who generously donated to this special cause. What a great way to show that we care about reading and giving to others. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos of the Read-a-Thon.

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Comfy children reading on the rug!

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Snuggled up with their books!

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Gabriela and Alyssa….best buddies with their books!

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Reading is double the fun in C-8!

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Some of our boys took over the library!

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Gaige and Brian so deep into their stories they didn’t even see me capture this moment!

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Sharing a penguin book with a friend while istening to the CD at the listening center.

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Looks like a sleepover!

Special Visitor Today!!

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Today we had a special visitor, Kate Ahern, who is an adaptive technology consultant who works with our classmate Kendra. She spoke to the class explaining Rett Syndrome to the children. The children learned that it is something that some girls are born with. They learned that it comes from genes and it is not something that you can “catch”.  They discussed possible rules for helping Kendra to be successful at school and how to be a good friend to her.  They learned that it is important to give her space and how to watch her eyes and her body language to figure out what she may want. They learned that they need to be patient and give her time to respond.

They learned that the same rules apply that they would any other student at school. There is no need to talk to her any differently than they would to another classmate. Even though Kendra can’t speak, she can understand and she can get her feelings hurt just like any other second grader. They promised to help her and to help other students at school to learn how to help her too.

Then Kate showed the children Kendra’s “talker” which is the specialized computer that helps her to communicate with her eyes. She asked the children if they would help Kendra learn to use her new program on her computer by being “aided language input helpers”.  We will be having one child a day spending some time using the computer with Kendra. The children thought it was a great idea.

Finally, Kate informed us that girls with Rett Syndrome can get sick easier than other children and it takes them a lot longer to recover from illness so it is very important for the children to be careful about being sick around her.  She then asked the children if they had questions. They certainly did and Kate stayed and answered every single one of their questions. We were very lucky to learn more about Kendra and Rett Syndrome from Kate today. Thank you Kate!

Lots of Learning to Share ~ Part 2

We have been finishing up our Habitats Science & Language Arts Unit by sharing our Arctic and Antarctica Animal Projects. We are learning a lot by sharing these wonderful projects with our classmates. Some children made posters. Others made dioramas. We even had two crossword puzzles and one written report. All of the children really worked hard and the projects look amazing! We hope to have them all shared and sent home by Friday. Here is a photo of all the projects but I will be posting all the individual projects on our new student work page. Please check them out!IMG_1591

The start of the Winter Olympics coincides with the start of our Geography Unit in social studies/language arts. The students are learning about the 7 continents and the 5 oceans. I showed the children a neat website where they could see a globe turn into a map and back again. You can also tilt the globe to look at it at different angles. The children asked me to give you the link so they can share it with you at home. The link is:

http://www.digital-week.info/education/mapping_our_world/mapping_our_world/05-GlobeUnwrapped/GlobeUnwrapped.htm

Today we had a shared geography hands-on activity with Mrs. Saucier’s class. The children were paired up with a child from the other class and they were assigned a country that is involved in the Winter Olympics. They received a blank country worksheet and a outline of that country’s flag. The children had to work together to use beginner atlases to research important information about that country and record that information. Then they had to color the flag in the authentic colors of that country’s flag. As you can see by the photos, the students were very engaged in this activity and it was a nice change to work with students from another classroom. We will be adding this work to an Olympic display that is being constructed on the hallway wall with the World Map. I’ll post a photo when they are all hung up.

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Sal and his partner get comfortable on the rug.

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Hailey and Jordan discuss what they are learning.

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Garrett and Gavin researching with their atlas.

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All the students worked very hard the entire time!

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Gabe and his new friend writing down the facts.

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Fatima and her partner worked well together.

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Jayden and his partner working very hard too!

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Amelia and Maggie locate their country on a map in the atlas.

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Jacob, Thomas and Kendra work on a team of three.

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Katie and her partner point to details they notice in their atlas.

Finally, we have some exciting news to share. Our classmate Kendra was recently recognized with a special honor. She was one of eight Brookside students who were chosen to participate in our PAWS recognition breakfast. To get this honor, students need to be recognized for going “above and beyond”.  She was nominated because of how well she has adapted and adjusted to her new school experience at Brookside. Kendra received her certificate from our principal, Ms. Smith. She was congratulated by the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Stone and school committee members, Dr. McNamara and  Mrs. Murphy. We are all very proud of our friend, Kendra!

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Kendra’s mother escorts Kendra to receive her award while our special guests look on!

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Miss Jen and I are so proud of Kendra!

 

Lots of Learning to Share! ~ Part 1

February is such a busy month at school. We learned about Chinese New Year. Our class got to try out the tool that the DHS Mandarin teacher demonstrated when she was here earlier in the year. The students used brushes and water to try to create characters. It was hard to wait for the water to evaporate though. They enjoyed it so much that they continued using it during bus dismissal!

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Danielle demonstrates for Kendra how to use the brush.

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Cecily and Tierra try to create some Chinese characters.

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Meah takes the writing seriously!

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Katie and Maggie try it too!

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Ryan and Michael discuss their work!

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Khushi, Tierra, Oorjaa and Fatima still writing while waiting for the buses to be called!

Danielle brought in a Chinese money envelope that  contains actual Chinese money which the children got to touch and examine. We discussed how it was the same and how it was different from American money.

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Thank you Danielle for sharing this with your classmates!

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The students also wanted to share the Chinese Dragon puppets they made in art!

 

 

It’s Antarctica Calling! – A VideoChat with Neil Foley

Tuesday was a very exciting day to be a second grader in the Dracut Public Schools!  We were able to participate in a live video chat with Neil Foley, a graduate student and scientist in Antarctica. Ryan R. is one our second grade students in C-8 and Neil is his cousin. When Ryan’s mom, Andrea, heard that Mr. Berube had visited our classroom to teach the students about his time in Antarctica in the 60s, she suggested the video chat.

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Everyone waiting for the video chat to begin!

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Second graders ready to talk with a live Antarctic scientist!

After a lot of planning, the event finally happened Tuesday and included all of the second grade students at Brookside, Campbell, and Greenmont. The children had the opportunity to interact with Neil by asking questions.

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Ryan R. greets his cousin Neil!

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Neil was pleased to see a familiar face!

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Then Ryan got down to business and asked Neil a question about frostbite!

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More students got to ask Neil questions too.

Neil not only chatted with the Dracut second graders in real time, he provided the children with a wonderful powerpoint he created with photos he has taken in Antarctica.

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While Neil talked to the students on the screen on the right, we displayed his powerpoint on the screen on the left.

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The children learned so much by listening to Neil explain the photos he included in his powerpoint.

The children saw the beauty of the land of Antarctica and its wildlife. Neil also showed photos that explained his scientific work there and how the scientists like Neil lived both at McMurdo station and in the “deep field.”

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Mrs. Riordan introduces Mr. Berube to Neil. Mr. Berube was a naval Seabee in the 60s who helped to build McMurdo Station where Neil is living.

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Two Antarctic explorers enjoy the opportunity to chat for a minute or two.

This unique learning experience was very exciting for everyone involved…the students, the teachers, and other interested adults such as Mr. Berube. Thank you to everyone who made this event possible including Mr. Stone, Ms. Smith and the rest of the Dracut Public Schools administration who were so open and supportive of this wonderful opportunity. Special thanks to Mr. Ken Moge who provided invaluable technical support throughout planning stages and coordinated the participation of all three elementary schools on the actual day of the event. Thank you to Mrs. Porcello and the rest of the second grade teaching team for their help and flexibility. Thank you to Andrea R. for the initial idea and connecting us with her cousin, Neil and to Mr. Berube for his yearly visits which inspired this event. We’re glad you were both able to attend. Lastly, thank you to Neil Foley! This event would not have been possible without you! You took the time to share a fantastic learning experience for our second grade children which they won’t soon forget! Hope we get to meet you in person some day!