“Tasting Day”

The Brookside Second Graders celebrated our diversity on the half day before Thanksgiving by having a ” Tasting Day!”  Most of the students brought in ethnic dishes from home that came from the countries of their ancestors. They got to taste many foods that they may not be familiar with eating. This hands-on experience was a delicious culminating activity for our social studies Traditions and Customs unit. Thank you to all the families that contributed food to make our Tasting Day such a success!

Amber and Kaylee discuss what they are eating.

Some of the C8 boys couldn’t wait to fill their plates with all the yummy food.

The girls were exciting to try some new dishes too!

Zachary tries something new while Sam checks out the box filled with cannoli.

Elizabeth brought in an entire taco making station. She’s not from Mexico but she does love tacos! So do the other second graders!

Please head over to the student work page labeled “Student Work 17-18” of this blog to see closeup photos of the students’ dishes that are labeled with the name and country!


More November Happenings!

Parents that came to Parent-Teacher conferences got to see our turkey glyphs.  Each student made a glyph to display data about their Thanksgiving plans.

Thank you to all the parents who came to the Parent-Teacher conferences. Communication between home and school is very important to student success.

We finished that busy week with our yearly bus evacuation drills. The bus drivers instruct the students in the proper way to safely evacuate from the back of the school bus. Here’s hoping that they never need to use this knowledge!

Two fourth grade students help Haylee safely leave the back of the bus.

Jenna is preparing to leave the bus as Jeidyn patiently waits his turn to evacuate.

The following week we had not one… but TWO Xtramath Superstars receive certificates! Both boys completed addition and are currently working on subtraction!

Linton is proudly showing his addition certificate!

Logan sharing his Xtramath certificate!

Congratulations Linton and Logan! Who will be our next Xtramath Superstar?

November Happenings!

November started with some storm postponed events. The morning of November 2nd, we had a special visitor named Chris Poulos. He is a champion BMX bike rider who demonstrated his tricks while he taught the students important lessons about listening, following directions, making friends and going for your dreams.

Haylee was chosen to help with a special demonstration about making friends.

The children were reminded that these tricks take lots of practice and shouldn’t be tried at home.

Chris told them that even he makes mistakes. I’m really glad he didn’t make a mistake when he was jumping his bike over me and Mrs. Cooke!

That afternoon we had our Halloween Party and Parade! Here’s a photo of our C8 friends in their fabulous costumes!

The next day, Zero the Hero visited on Day 40. He got in the holiday spirit by leaving these little cuties as a treat!

Private Logan!

Thank you Mrs. Fisher!










On Thursday, Mrs. Fisher, a kindergarten paraprofessional, who is a veteran of the army asked for a volunteer to wear her army gear to show the kindergarteners. Logan was a willing volunteer and looked great in the army clothes! After they were done in kindergarten, they came to our classroom. Mrs. Fisher taught our class so much about life in the army and the things she learned as a soldier. It was a great way to get ready for Veteran’s Day! Thank you Logan for helping and special thanks to Mrs. Fisher for teaching us and for your service!

Uriah proudly showing off his Xtramath certificate!

Finally today, Uriah was the very first student to finish the addition program on Xtramath! Congratulations Uriah! On to subtraction!!

Important Information and Reminders!

This note was sent home today but in case it didn’t make it home, I am posting the information here as well.

Due to the recent school closures from the storm, the second grade team has decided to make the following changes :

The Unit 4 Fundations packet will be due on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

We are sending home the spelling words today but the spelling test on these words will also be on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

We would also like to remind you that the Halloween Party and Parade will now be held tomorrow, November 2, 2017.  If you signed up to send in treats for the Halloween Party, please send them in tomorrow.

Tasting Day and a Virtual Trip to Plimoth Plantation!


The students didn’t need any coaxing to try new foods!


Victoria sampling some of the donated treats.


Nick and Elizabeth try to decide where to start.


So many delicious choices! How do you decide what to eat? Try a little bit of everything!


A close up of some Canadian French and Puerto Rican delicacies!


Our second graders got to experience a wide variety of ethnic foods.


I think I’ll have some more since it was so yummy!

On the half day before Thanksgiving, we had a “Tasting Day” celebration in the cafeteria as part of our Traditions and Customs Language Arts and Social Studies unit. Our C8 families donated a wonderful selection of food that reflected the heritage of our students. We had food from Canada, Ireland, England, Sweden, Kenya, Puerto Rico, India, and many more countries. The students loved the delicious food and many went back for seconds! A HUGE thank you to all the families that provide the food that made it a rich experience for all our students. I truly appreciate the time and effort involved, especially at a busy holiday time. Thanks also go out to Mrs. Ware and Mrs. Joyce for volunteering to help out at the tasting day. Thanks go out as well to Mrs. Mullins, our art teacher and Mrs. Morning, our Title I teacher who also pitched in to help set up. You all helped make the event special for the children and made my job so much easier! P.S. Special thanks to Mr. Kelleher who made a special trip to deliver the food that accidentally made the trip to his workplace instead. Way to go above and beyond, Dad!! What a special day and a special way to start the Thanksgiving break with our second grade friends!

Before and after our Tasting Day celebration, our children watched a Virtual Field Trip to the Mayflower and Plimoth Plantation on the Scholastic Website. They got to see inside the ship that the Pilgrims used to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and learn about their voyage. Then they saw Plimoth Plantation and saw inside several buildings there. They learned about how the Pilgrims lived on a daily basis. After that, they “visited” a Wampanoag settlement and saw how the Native Americans lived. Finally they listened to an “interview” of  Pilgrims and Native Americans at Plimoth Plantation who described what the first Thanksgiving feast was actually like. I hope watching this amazing resource helped to put the holiday into perspective for them. 


The children were really engaged in this “virtual field trip!”


The students are now excited to visit Plimoth Plantation for real. This is often a Brookside third grade field trip so they may get the chance to go next year.




What A Busy Week! A recap and some important info about next week!


What a busy week it was in C8! We had a visit from the Principal to give out first marking period award certificates, Parent-Teacher conferences, and our Grandparent Visit!  I am very proud of my students and was able to share that pride with their parents, grandparents and Principal this week.

openhs2I want to take this opportunity to thank all the parents who took the time to attend Parent-Teacher Conferences. It was nice to have the chance to talk to you about your child’s (or children’s) progress so far.  If you were unable to attend the conferences, please know that you can set up an appointment any typical school day from 9:15 – 9:45 to come in to discuss any concerns you may have. I can also discuss your concerns with a phone conference at that time as well.  Let’s all keep the lines of communication open so we can work together to support your second graders.

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Congratulations to all our students who got a special academic award certificate from our Principal, Ms. Smith. Your success has made us all proud of you. Keep up the good work!

Front row from left to right: Brooklynn, Kamran, Shiwaum, Emily and Gaige 

Back row from left to right: Britney, Brian, Mia, Ms. Smith, Mary , Hannah and Elizabeth                  

Missing from photo but also earning a certificate: Nicholas

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The students welcomed their grandparents and other special guests for their visit with a song called “Family Tree” by Tom Chapin. It is a song that reminds us that while we may have different cultures and traditions, we are all part of the same human family.  They did a nice job performing the song complete with sign language motions for the chorus.  After that, they made an “I am thankful” craft with their grandparents and invited them to share a snack time with them. Finally, the second graders showed off their classroom to the grandparents and posed for photos with them. I hope the grandparents and special guests enjoyed their visit as much as the students and I did!

Next week, we are having a shortened week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Our Fundations packet is due on Tuesday and the unit assessment will be given on that day.

Also, I sent home a blank page a while ago for the students to share a recipe as part of their Traditions and Customs Unit in Balanced Literacy and Social Studies.  I realized that I forgot to put the due date on the directions. Please have the printed recipe to school on Tuesday, November 25th. If you need a new copy, please let me know on Monday!

On the half day of school on Wednesday, November 26th, we are having a “Tasting Day” where families can send in samples of the recipe for the students to share with their classmates. We will be doing Tasting Day in the morning in the cafeteria with the other two second grade classes. The students are only allowed to taste food that comes from their own class due to peanut allergies in another classroom. While no one is mandated to send in food, the more food our class has to taste, the richer the experience for them. I hope as many families as possible will choose to participate.

Let me take this opportunity now wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Mrs. Riordan


What’s New in November???? . . . Johnny the K, Special Stories, Xtramath Stars and more!

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Johnny the K kept the students singing and moving the entire show!

On November 7th, Brookside was treated to a special performance by Johnny the K. He was very entertaining, singing songs, playing guitar and wearing funny hats. He got the students and teachers actively involved in his show which taught the children the importance of kindness and respect. Alyssa and two other children were chosen to spin the giant Earth ball. 


Alyssa and friends have the whole world in their hands.


Turning the world is hard work!


The students were “bananas” for his crazy hats!


He never stayed still….moving right into the audience! And they loved it!

Then on November 10th, Mrs. Riordan had the chance to read a very special story called But No Candy to the students in C8 and C9. This realistic fiction story was written by Gloria Houston and takes place during World War II. The children learned what that time period was like and learned about the sacrifices that veterans and their families made during wartime. They also learned that Veterans’ Day honors all veterans, not just the ones who died in war.  I always enjoy sharing this story with the children. See if your child can retell the story to you.


I love reading to students!


Reminded me of my days as a children’s librarian!

We finished the week doing a hands-on math activity with number charts and numbered bottle caps. Who knew math could be so much fun? Speaking of math, we had two more students complete addition on Xtramath! Congratulations to our latest Xtramath Experts, Britany and Shiwaum! We are very proud of you!


Hands-on math is a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon!


Numbers bigger than 100 can be more challenging…at first!


Congratulations Shiwaum! On to subtraction!


You are a Math Superstar Britney! Up next….subtraction!

Our International Tasting Party Starring C8 Family Recipes!


Cecily’s mother brought in this lovely Swedish cinnamon roll ring. You can also see Katie’s Pepparkakor, a Swedish spice cookie and Hailey’s Russian Tea Cookies!


Salvatore’s parents brought in homemade Italian pizza warm from the oven! You can also see Maggie’s Kourabiedes (Greek cookies) and Avery’s Italian cookies!


We had special Indian treats from Khushi and Oorjaa, delicious Columbian rice pudding from Julian, Jayden’s yummy French food and Italian chocolates and Pizzelles from Ryan and Kendra’s families.


Fatima’s West African Meat Pies share the table with Danielle’s Gorton from Canada. You can also see Kiara’s Irish soda bread, as well as Jacob and Thomas’ special Columbian treats!

Today we had our International Tasting Party with the C8 Families sending in DELICIOUS food made from cherished family recipes from around the world! The wide assortment of food represented the ethnic backgrounds of our C8 Families which range from South and Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia! We are very thankful for all the families who took their time to make and send in these delicacies for us to sample. You helped to make it a very special day for the students! I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Special thanks to Mrs. Rhodes and Ms. Morning for helping me to set up the Tasting Party! Things wouldn’t have gone as smoothly without you both!!

Learning About Chinese Culture & Traditions from Ms. Chen


Thank you Mrs. Lord for arranging this visit with Ms. Chen!

As part of our study of Traditions and Customs, we were so lucky to have Ms. Jinyun Chen, the Chinese Teacher at Dracut High School, come to visit the second grade to teach us about the tradition and customs of her Chinese homeland. In addition to a PowerPoint, Ms. Chen brought in lots of things to share her Chinese culture with us.  Mrs. Lord used the Chinese stamp to stamp each child’s homework notebook with a special Chinese character.


Here are some of the objects that Ms. Chen taught the children about today.



We learned about special Chinese dresses and Chinese lanterns. We noticed that red is an important color for the Chinese people.

We learned about Chinese food, sports, arts, writing, celebrations, and so much more.


Ms. Chen taught us about Chinese character writing. We learned that they use a brush, ink and water to write from top to bottom. She had a special scroll that would work like “magic” and the characters would disappear so we could use it again and again to practice!


Fatima was just one of the students who got to try to “write” with the brush on the Chinese scroll. All the children will get to try this when the scroll comes to their classroom.













Maggie and Jacob try shuttlecock. While they had some power, they need to work on their control! (Mrs. Riordan ducking from rogue shuttlecock!)


Everyone enjoying trying Tai Chi!

Some of the children got to try a Chinese game of shuttlecock. Mrs. Riordan even tried it! Then Ms. Chen taught us all Tai Chi which is a slow moving martial art.  We ended the presentation by learning to sing a song in Mandarin and asking questions. Thank you, Ms. Chen for sharing your knowledge with us so enthusiastically! The children had wonderful time and we want to thank Danielle’s mother (and DHS Foreign Language Dept. Chairperson) for setting up this wonderful experience.

Oh and don’t forget that our Tasting Party is tomorrow! I can’t wait to sample all the yummy ethnic treats!

Immigration Projects and Parent-Teacher Conferences


Cecily’s trunk impressed the whole class. Very realistic and creative!


A peek into Cecily’s trunk to see what she decided to “bring to the new country”!











As part of our social studies unit on Traditions and Customs, we are studying immigration. Last Friday, the students shared their “Suitcase/Trunk Project”. They packed a suitcase or trunk with the items they felt were important to bring with them if they were traveling to a new life in a new country.  Each student shared what they brought and we discussed what they chose to bring and what they may have forgotten. It was especially neat to see the old photographs that Kate L. shared of her ancestors and the ships they traveled to America on. Thank you for helping your children with this project!

Our next project is the recipe project. The students need to choose a recipe from their heritage and to fill out the form that went home on Monday. We will take these family recipes and make a class recipe book.  Please have all the recipes to school by the due date on Friday.

On the half day before Thanksgiving, we will be having our “Tasting Party”.  We would love it if you could prepare the recipe you child chose for the recipe project and send it to school on the morning of November 27th so we can all sample some foods from other cultures. It will be a wonderful way to share and celebrate our different heritages with our classmates.

Thank you to all the parents who took the time to come to Parent-Teacher conferences last night. It was nice to have the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your child’s progress. We all have the same goal of supporting your child through this second grade experience and I hope we can continue to work together to help them all have a successful school year! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have as the year goes on.