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.
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.
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!
We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and our diversity with a special poem and craft.
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!
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.
The editors from TFK introduce the webcast and then we got to see and hear directly from the scientist herself!
On Tuesday, we were fortunate to have a special visitor, Mr. Berube, who came to talk to the children about Antarctica. Mr. Berube is a Dracut resident and a former Navy Seabee who spent time working and living in Antarctica when he was a young man. He showed the class a DVD about Antarctica. Then he showed photos that he took while he was in Antarctica and told the children about his experiences there. Then he brought out a number of artifacts from his time there from clothing to rock samples. He let the children touch these objects and patiently answered their questions. This was a great introduction to the next model curriculum unit on Animals and Habitats of Antarctica and the Arctic, which will combine social studies, science and language arts. Thank you Mr. Berube for visiting our second graders once again this year.
After our visit with Mr. Berube, our class went to physical education. When I went to pick them up after their class, I could hear them laughing and having a great time. I looked in the large doors and saw them playing a game I had never seen. Coach Rivers told me it is called scooter ball. They were having so much fun that I just had to take a photo to share with our C8 families. Physical education at its best! Nice job Coach Rivers!
We have a new Xtramath Superstar! Congratulations to Ava S. for completing the Addition level of Xtramath and moving on to subtraction! We are all proud of you! I wonder who will be our next Xtramath award recipient.
Finally, as part of our Traditions and Customs unit, our class saw an educational video called Holidays for Children: Pow Wow. This video taught the children about Native Americans traditions and customs. One part of the video has a woman explaining step-by-step how to make a Hopi Native American kachina doll. Today, Mary and Mia surprised me by showing me that they had gone home and made their own kachina dolls. I was very impressed that these girls took the initiative to take what they had learned at school and make them at home. I love it when students take ownership of their learning! Proud of these creative young ladies!
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!
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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!
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!
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.
Speaking 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!
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.
They also made these awesome penguin collages in art with the art para, Ms. Ross. Aren’t they cute!
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.
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.