Lots of January News to Share!

We were so busy in January in C8! It started with a cookie decorating party we won from the PTO for bringing in the most boxtops!! (Thank you to the PTO!) The children got right to work after becoming experts with the ice castle decorating in December. Here are some photos of the yummy cookie decorating. IMG_3144

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Mischievous Mary Munching!

 

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Britney catches me taking her photo as she takes a bite!

 

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My guess is that Mia is enjoying her cookie!

 

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Nick just about to dig in to his candy covered cookie!

 

We are so fortunate to have volunteers working hard in our classroom this year. Here is a shot of just one of our hard working volunteers, Mrs. Sirois, testing students on sight words!

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Smiling Mrs. Sirois hands Chloe her list!

 

We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and our diversity with a special poem and craft.

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Our class was very lucky to have a special smart projector and whiteboard installed in our classroom. We are still learning how to fully use it but it is an exciting technology addition to our instruction!

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It took a few days but our Smart projector and whiteboard are finally ready!

The smart projector arrived in time for us to be able to watch a live webcast from Antarctica. Through Time for Kids we were able to listen to a female penguin researcher talk about her work in Antarctica. We also found out that it was colder that day in Dracut than it was in Antarctica. (But of course it is summer down there now!) Here is a photo of the students watching the webcast.

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Pretty exciting to be able to see and listen to someone on the other side of Earth near the South Pole!

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The editors from TFK introduce the webcast and then we got to see and hear directly from the scientist herself!

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!

Blubber Experiment, Birthday “Minions”, and a Request!

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Katie, Kiara, and Gabriel read the blubber experiment worksheet.

The children enjoyed conducting a science experiment on blubber and how it keeps Arctic and Antarctic animals warm in the frigid climates. They used a worksheet to help them form a question and create a hypothesis. Then they conducted the experiment. I had already prepared the “blubber glove” which was made by putting one smaller ziploc bag inside a larger bag. A thick layer of Crisco was put in the space between the two bags on each side and sealed.

First the children put their hands into ice water without the glove to experience how COLD it was. I believe that you can tell by their expressions how it felt!

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I think that Kiara is enjoying Gabe’s expression!

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Sal and Maggie were surprised at how cold it was!

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Good friends, Kendra and Meah, share the experience together!

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Fatima and Jayden enjoy the experiment despite the cold temperatures!

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Oorjaa and Thomas check out the icy water!

Then the children slipped on the “blubber glove” and plunged their hands in the icy water a second time. The children learned that the layer of fat provided by the Crisco kept their hands quite warm. Thus they learned in an exciting “hands-on” way how blubber keep polar animals warm!

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Cecily uses the blubber glove while Kendra observes.

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Fatima tries the “blubber glove” too while Gabriel looks on!

Even though all the children had the opportunity to do the blubber glove experiment, I didn’t get photos of everyone because I grew a bit concerned that the water was getting dangerously close to my expensive camera. But they all got a turn and I think they all enjoyed the learning experience.

Check out these minion treats that invaded C8 to help Thomas celebrate his birthday with his classmates!  These minion cupcakes were adorable and yummy, but oh, what messy blue faces and hands we had when the invasion was finished! Thank you to Thomas and his family for the special treat.

DSC_0492Speaking of invasions, I would like to make a request. Now that cold and flu season is in full swing, we have had such a big demand for kleenex tissues that we are completely out of tissues in our classroom. I will bring in a box for tomorrow but if any families are willing to donate a box or two, it would be greatly appreciated. For the time being, we have enough hand sanitizer and clorox wipes but we are in need of tissues to keep everyone healthy.  Let’s try to keep those germs under control! Thank you in advance!

 

Penguins and More Penguins!

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Jacob and Michael writing facts about the Emperor Penguin.

The C8 students are learning about penguins as part of their study of the habitats of Antarctica and the Arctic. The students reached into a bag and drew out a paper drawing of one of six species of penguins. Then they went to work on filling in graphic organizers with the information they gathered. They worked cooperatively with classmates who also drew the same species of penguin. They worked very hard learning details such as the height, weight, prey, predators, appearance, and habitat and then went to work recording this information. They will use these to write reports on their penguin next week.

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Thomas and Katie hard at work learning about the Adelie Penguin.

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Jayden, Fatima, and Cecily share resources on the Gentoo Penguin.

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The King penguin was the penguin that Hailey and Oorjaa were lucky to get.

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Miss Morning works with the Macaroni Penguin group of Gabriel, Gavin, and Tierra.

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We made a rookery of penguins!

 

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Kendra shared her penguin collage too!

They also made these awesome penguin collages in art with the art para, Ms. Ross. Aren’t they cute!

Lots to Celebrate in C-8 This Week!

 

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We got a wonderful surprise in the mail this week. We got this postcard from Ryan R’s cousin Neil Foley who is a PhD student/researcher working in Antarctica right now!

 

 

Here is the back of the postcard where Neil sends a personal message to the class. I especially got a kick out of his describing himself as a student in the “18th grade”!

 

 

It’s not everyday you see a postmark from Antarctica! Thank you to Ryan and his family for putting us in touch with Neil.

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SSS ~ Smiling Superstar Sal!

We have our first Multiplication Extramath Superstar! Congratulations to Salvatore D. for completing the Multiplication Level of Extramath. He has moved on to division! Way to go Sal! We’re proud of you!

Tuesday was the 80th day of school and our math superhero friend, Zero the Hero, stopped by with an estimating challenge for the students. The children had to estimate the number of hard candies were in the jar. Then we counted the candies together….there were 144. Finally, the students had to figure out the difference between their estimate and the actual result.

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We completed the challenge!

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A New Math Challenge from Zero the Hero!

We Love Our Grandparents and Special Guests!

On Friday, January 10th, we welcomed our grandparents and special guests for a special visit. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work for the second grade. They learned a song called “Family Tree” and learned sign language to go along with it. Each second grade class learned a special poem too. Our class learned the poem “Our Family Comes from Around the World.” They also worked very hard writing about a special memory with their grandparent.

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We are proud of our special grandparent memory writing pieces!

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Writing about our special memories was hard work but it was worth it!

Mrs. Riordan started the morning by greeting everyone. Then the students got to give their grandparents a tour of our classroom, read a story with them, or just enjoy spending time with them. While this was going on, Mrs. Riordan had the opportunity to meet and take a special photograph of each set of grandparents and grandchild.

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Second grade ready to perform!

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C8’s smiling second grade students want to make their grandparents proud.

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The students did a great job singing and signing “Family Tree!”

Then the grandparents and special guests were invited to travel to the cafeteria for a yummy breakfast treat. The students then took the stage for their performance. They did a wonderful job singing, signing and reciting for the grandparents. Sadly it was time for the  event to end which was done with goodbyes and lots of hugs.

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On behalf of the second grade teachers and students, Mrs. Riordan thanks all the grandparents and special guests for attending.

We have lots of people to thank for making this visit possible. Thank you to Ms. Smith and the school department for providing the funds for the yummy breakfast food. Thank you to our custodians, Bill and Tony, and the cafeteria staff for all their assistance in setting up the cafeteria. A special thank you to Ms. Turnbow, the music teacher, for teaching the song and sign language during her music class. Special thanks to Mrs. Rhodes who came in to volunteer to help us during the event. Finally, thank you to ALL the grandparents and special guests who traveled through snowy weather and endured traffic and parking challenges to be present for their grandchild. You made it possible for your grandchild to add a new special memory to their young life. It was so nice to visit with you and I hope you will continue to follow all the second grade happenings on our classroom website/blog.