Celebrating Reading, St. Patrick’s Day and Two Special Xtramath Stars in C-8

DSC_0238

This was the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s Fox In Socks!

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. 

DSC_0236 - Version 2

Our class on stage ready to perform!

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!

DSC_0239 - Version 2

Say “READ” instead of cheese!

DSC_0242 - Version 2

Rep. Garry reading to the students.

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.

IMG_3282

Brooklynn was absent when we took the photo of her leprechaun catcher.

IMG_3277_2

Mary’s leprechaun catcher had gold eggs, shiny green shamrocks and a rainbow ramp!

IMG_3278_2

Chloe was absent but she sent in her catcher with her older sister.

IMG_3280

Dominic’s catcher included an Irish flag.

IMG_3281

Nick’s catcher had pot of gold.

This is what the students found when they came in on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. 

IMG_3273_2 - Version 2

The leprechauns left a message on our projector!

IMG_3266_2

They stacked our special library chairs….

IMG_3267

and they had a party with our book character stuffed animals!

IMG_3268_2

They hung a rainbow over Mrs. Riordan’s desk and messed up all the students’ desks and chairs!

IMG_3270_2

The leprechaun catchers were great but they couldn’t outsmart our tricky visitors who used our car magnets to drive all over the table! They also “borrowed” many things from the leprechaun catchers!

IMG_3272_2

Boy, were the students excited to find the results of all the shenanigans!

Mrs. Riordan gave each child a special snack bag of Lucky Charms that said “I’m so lucky to have you in my class!”

IMG_3271

Special St. Patrick’s Day snack!

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.

IMG_3287_2

The students’ writing on proud display!

IMG_3285_2 - Version 2

Mia’s writing project

IMG_3284 - Version 2

Britney’s pot of gold

IMG_3283_2

I have to confess that Ava’s was my favorite!

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.

IMG_3275_2

The leprechaun’s pot of gold

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!

IMG_3209 - Version 2 IMG_3274_2 - Version 2

 

 

 

A Few Eye-Popping Hands-On Activities in Second Grade!

IMG_1748

Second graders working hard on estimating and counting!

Mrs. Saucier invited our class to join them in a special popcorn hands-on learning activity. The students in the two classes were paired up and they were given a math worksheet that asked them to estimate how many pieces of popcorn would fill four different shapes. After making their estimates, they had to fill the shapes with popcorn kernels and count the actual amount that fit.

IMG_1736

Julian and a friend work on filling the shape with popcorn kernels.

IMG_1738_2

Mrs. Saucier showing off the freshly popped popcorn! It was amazing how many students had never seen popcorn being popped before!

The students estimated how many pieces of “popped” popcorn would fit the same shapes. Then they filled the shapes with the popped corn.

IMG_1747

Khushi, Gabe and a friend happily discuss their estimates.

IMG_1745

Cecily records her teams results.

After the worksheets were completed, everyone enjoyed some freshly popped popcorn! YUM!  Thank you to Mrs. Saucier for inviting us to share this activity with you and your students. It is fun to learn with friends from other classrooms!

Today we started an experiment where we are trying to see if the popcorn kernels, which we learned are seeds, will sprout. We put them in a ziploc bag with a wet paper towel and sealed it. We’ll let you know what happens in a few days. We will continue our popcorn themed activities by reading “The Popcorn Book” by Tomie dePaola.

We also did another states of matter experiment. This time we put the baking soda inside a balloon. Then we put the vinegar inside a water bottle. We tipped the baking soda up and it mixed the solid baking soda with the liquid vinegar which produced carbon dioxide, a gas, which rose out of the bottle. The carbon dioxide gas expanded and filled the balloon.

IMG_1751

Khushi holds up the experiment before we mixed the baking soda and the vinegar.

IMG_1752

The students are cheering…and hoping that the balloon would pop. Luckily it didn’t!

Finally, I want to congratulate our class for winning the weekly reading challenge again this week. This time our class received some outdoor playground supplies (a skip-it, some sidewalk chalk and two frisbies). Now all we need is some nice spring weather so we can use them! Thank you to the PTO for being so generous and encouraging reading. This reading program has been fun!

Exciting Exploding Experiment!

IMG_1716

Our first experiment!

As part of our study of states of matter, we did some kitchen chemistry today. The first experiment involved mixing baking soda and vinegar in a plastic bottle. The students got to see the solid baking soda mix with the liquid vinegar and form a solution that released gas bubbles.  Then we tried a second experiment….the exploding bag experiment!

IMG_1717

Baking soda on the tissue!

The first step was to put a few teaspoons of baking soda on a tissue! Then we poured vinegar into a plastic sandwich bag.

IMG_1718

Jake and Sal hold the vinegar and baking soda.

The first time we did the experiment, I dropped just the baking soda into the vinegar. The carbon dioxide gas caused the bag to explode almost immediately. The students begged me to try the experiment again.  We repeated the experiment but this time, I dropped the entire tissue into the bag. This caused the reaction to slow down enough for the students to see how the gas was trapped inside the bag.

IMG_1720

The gas is trapped in the ziploc bag.

I asked Maggie to hold up the bag to show the other students and allow me to take a better photo.

IMG_1721

Maggie holds up the bag for the camera so we can see the trapped gas better.

Suddenly the bag exploded while Maggie was holding the bag which caught her by surprise!

IMG_1722

Maggie was a bit surprised when it exploded!

Then the students were scientists and had to write up their experiment to share with their families including the materials, procedure, and results. Although the photos are a bit out of focus, I wanted to be able to share the results of this experiment with our families. You can clearly see from the students’ faces how much they enjoyed this experiment. When Kendra was asked what she thought of this experiment, she communicated to us that she thought it was her “favorite” and that it was “exciting”.  I agree, Kendra. It was exciting for me to see the class so engaged in this learning experience!

A Science Experiment, a Surprise and a Reminder!

IMG_1708_2

Our states of matter science experiments!

Our class is studying states of matter….liquids, solids, and gases. Recently, the children were put into three groups and given a bathroom cup filled with frozen blue ice.  They observed and discussed the properties of the ice before putting it into a ziploc bag. Then we placed the bags over our heater to observe how the heat would change the state of the matter.

IMG_1709

A close-up of the ice melting into liquid.

It didn’t take long for the ice to begin melting into a liquid state. The children returned from special to find that the ice had completely turned to water.

IMG_1710

Now it’s in a LIQUID state!

After it turned into a liquid, Mrs. Riordan put the bags back in the freezer (in the teacher’s room) and the water changed back into a solid state. The students were able to observe that the shape of the ice had also changed due to the fact that it was no longer frozen in a paper cup and was frozen in the plastic bag instead.

IMG_1713

Hooray! We won a Sorry game!

Congratulations to our class for winning the weekly PAWS reading challenge! Collectively our C-8 students read 4053 minutes! I am so proud of my readers!!  Thank you to the C-8 families for supporting the students’ reading and thank you to the PTO for our prize and for sponsoring this program!

Finally, even though they are predicting snow, I would like to remind the C-8 families that tomorrow is our Spring School picture day. If you want your child’s picture taken, you need to fill out and return the photo envelope TOMORROW!

The Leprechauns Came! (and a couple of other “news items!”)

IMG_1698

Our rainbow was hanging from the ceiling. Chairs were all wrong.

Those tricky leprechauns came and played a lot of tricks on us this past week but they saved their best tricks for last! This is what the room looked like when we arrived after the weekend!

IMG_1702

They left us a message on the white board.

IMG_1704

I think they scared our stuffed dinosaur who was hanging or hiding from our flag.

IMG_1703

They left a message for Maggie inside her trap too!

The students thought we might have captured one or more of the leprechauns because Avery’s catcher was sealed shut. The children all breathlessly peaked inside to see what they had caught.

IMG_1701

Cautiously checking inside Avery’s catcher!

There were NO LEPRECHAUNS inside! But these two looked as if THEY were leprechauns!

IMG_1706

C8’s resident leprechauns….Katie and Gabe!

Although the students didn’t catch a leprechaun this time, they did get a special Lucky Charms breakfast treat from Mrs. Riordan. They also got to sample some wonderful homemade Irish soda bread made by Maggie’s grandmother and delivered by Maggie’s mom! It was so yummy again this year. And this year, many more children were brave and tried the Irish bread with raisins.  I couldn’t take a photo because it was gobbled up so fast!

IMG_1697

Lucky teacher, Lucky children, Green tongues!

We did a special writing project today where the children wrote about someone who was worth more than gold to them. It was interesting to read the wide variety of responses which ranged from parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, to their dog and Tuukka Rask!

IMG_1707

St. Patrick’s Day Writing

We did some St. Patrick’s themed worksheets and read stories from Ireland by my favorite Irish writer, Eve Bunting. Then we practiced our reading comprehension by reading an article about St. Patrick and looking for key information in the article to answer the questions. At the end of the day, we were surprise to find that the leprechauns left a gift for us in the office.  A pot of gold….candy! Those tricky leprechauns also hid all the items they had stolen from our traps underneath the candy.

All in all, it was a pretty magical day in C-8!

IMG_1699

Yummy Gold!

If you would like to see all of the students’ awesome leprechaun catchers, you can see them on the student work page of this blog! Check them out!

IMG_1694

Lowell Sun Reporter John Collins visits second grade.

On another note, I forgot to post a couple photos from last week. We had a visit with the Lowell Sun Local News reporter, John Collins. The children went to Mrs. Porcello’s classroom and got to learn what it like to be a newspaper reporter. The children asked great questions and learned a lot.

IMG_1618

Second graders make a body clock!

One last photo of our students learning kinesthetically how to tell time….or in other words, with their bodies. Some children were the numbers on the clock and two students were the hands of the clock. They also used individual plastic clocks to record the time. They enjoyed this hands-on learning!

Illustrator Ralph Masiello Visits Brookside!

IMG_1640_2

Mr. Masiello explains how changing the writing on the book covers makes it more interesting.

Our morning started in an exciting way today! The students were invited to attend a special presentation in the cafeteria. Illustrator Ralph Masiello came to our school to teach our students how he grew up from a small boy who thought he couldn’t draw to becoming an illustrator. He talked about how his teachers saw and believed in his talent even before he did. He explained what the job of being an illustrator involves.

IMG_1656_2

He explains how his oil paintings are scanned into books.

The students learned how the publishers take his drawings and paintings and scans them into books that he or other authors have written.  They learned that it can take a long time to make all the illustrations for one book and that he sometimes is working on 2 or 3 books at once.

IMG_1652_2

Mr. Masiello showed the students skulls he used to help him illustrate The Skull Alphabet book.

He explained how he does his research for the illustrations. Sometimes he uses photographs and other times he uses actual objects such as the skulls of monkeys or panda bears.

IMG_1653

The second graders were so engaged by his presentation.

The students were very well behaved and interested in the presentation. Mr. Masiello was so entertaining that he had the students (and teachers) laughing as we learned! Then he demonstrated how he makes sketches for his books and showed the children how they can do it too.

IMG_1665_2

He explained how he could do this Egyptian drawing.

IMG_1666_2

The Sphinx needs a pyramid in the background.

IMG_1693_2

The signed completed drawing we have hanging in our classroom.

He generously made one drawing for each classroom at Brookside.

He was also very attentive to our classmate Kendra.

IMG_1667_2

Another drawing demonstration! This time he showed them how to draw a dragon.

IMG_1668_2

The completed dragon drawing!

I was VERY EXCITED that he autographed my book.

IMG_1692_2

He autographed Mrs. Riordan’s copy of The Icky Bug Alphabet Book!

When the presentation was over, the second grade teachers had the idea of having our students practice being authors and illustrators themselves by working together to make a special alphabet thank you book for Mr. Masiello. Mrs. Saucier, Mrs. Porcello, Mrs. Robson, and Mrs. Riordan divided the students into groups of 2, 3 or 4. Each group was assigned a letter of the alphabet. They worked together to plan their thank you sentence based on that letter and sketched their illustration to go with it. Then they collaborated to make their final copy on larger construction paper.

IMG_1670_2

Gabe and some other second graders work on the G page of the Alphabet Thank You book.

IMG_1675_2

Oorjaa and some new friends plan their page.

IMG_1688_2

I agree with these students. Mr. Masiello was hilarious!

The finished alphabet thank you book was presented to Mr. Masiello who was so pleased with it that he asked permission to mention it on HIS website.  His website is : ralphmasiello.com and you can learn more about him on his website.  Thank you Mr. Masiello for visiting today!

Read Across America Celebration and Progress Reports!

DSC_0601

The second grade prepares to perform their song!

We have had a very busy week here in the second grade at Brookside! On Monday we performed a unique reading song (written by Mrs. Turnbow) at Brookside’s Read Across America event. This celebration of reading was attended by the entire school as well as special dignitaries from the community who were honored guest readers in our classrooms. It was very exciting to be on stage performing and the entire second grade did a great job!

DSC_0596

Mrs. McCarthy welcomes everyone to the event!

DSC_0605 2

Mrs. Turnbow, our music teacher, with Mrs. Saucier and Mrs. Engler.

Mrs. Turnbow, our music teacher directs the children while Mrs. Saucier and Mrs. Engler provide assistance with the lyrics of the special song that Mrs. Turnbow wrote just for this program. Thank you Mrs. Turnbow for all your help to make this event so successful!

DSC_0611

Dracut Public Schools Superintendent Stone addresses the Brookside students.

We were so pleased that Superintendent Stone was able to attend and briefly talk to the students about the importance of becoming a reader. After leading the assembly in the Reader’s Oath, Principal Smith was surprised to hear that one of the guest readers, a professional wrestler, had a reading challenge for the students of Brookside….one that involves HER!

DSC_0623

Principal Smith and “The Wrestler”!

DSC_0622

The Wrestler is giving the Brookside students a reading challenge…..and some incentive involving their principal!

DSC_0628

A photo of all the community members who took time out to be special guest readers for our students.

DSC_0632

This special reading bulletin board in the hall was created to showcase our Brookside staff members favorite children’s books.

We returned to our classroom to listen to our guest reader, State Representative Colleen Garry (otherwise known as Mrs. Riordan’s sister.) 

DSC_0634

Listening to our guest reader.

She read two Dr. Seuss stories to our class, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street and Fox in Socks. The class was very impressed that she could read all of those tongue twisting pages without making a mistake. 

DSC_0635

Thank you Representative Garry for reading to us on this special day!

1921191_788284214535052_947499390_o

Mrs. Riordan thought that Fox in Socks was too tricky for Rep. Garry but she proved her wrong!

DSC_0636

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

We saw some pretty wild characters in the Brookside at this celebration!

DSC_0641

Ms. Peaslee and Mrs. Healy looked great as Thing 1 and Thing 2! Even Mrs. Healy’s son Nathan knows that reading is pretty cool!

10006607_783692571659977_1041174000_n

Even the Lowell Spinners Canalligator made an appearance to show the importance of reading!

And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one week at Brookside, we also had progress reports go home today! Please review it with your child and return the signed progress report as soon as possible!