A Look Back on our School Year!

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.

IMG_4510

We saw a great performance by Johnny the K. He was a musician sponsored by the PTO and despite being silly and wearing lots of crazy hats, he had a important life lessons to share with the students.

IMG_4514

Claire’s grandmother, who is a librarian from Vermont, was a special visitor who came and read to the class one day.

IMG_4538

Our study of traditions and cultures culminated in our special international tasting party on the half day before Thanksgiving. We enjoyed all the delicious foods that the families shared with us that day.

IMG_4629

In December at the holidays, some parents came to assist the students in making their ice castles.

IMG_4608

Mr. Berube, a Dracut native and former SeaBee, came to school to share his experiences living and working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

IMG_4719

On Groundhog Day, we went outside and did some science experiments with light and shadows.

IMG_4776

We had special guest readers on Read Across America Day in March. They were basketball players from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

IMG_4794

Representative Colleen Garry came to school to read to the class and talk about government and her job at the State House in Boston.

IMG_4811

We had a crazy week when the leprechauns came to visit our classroom near St. Patrick’s Day. This is just one example of some of the shenanigans those tricky leprechauns did while they were in C8!

IMG_4685

We had a special presentation about rockets and space exploration!

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

IMG_3147

IMG_3148

IMG_3139

IMG_3140

Mischievous Mary Munching!

 

IMG_3141

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

 

IMG_3142

My guess is that Mia is enjoying her cookie!

 

IMG_3143

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!

IMG_3145

Smiling Mrs. Sirois hands Chloe her list!

 

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

IMG_3163

IMG_3162

IMG_3164

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!

IMG_3149

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.

IMG_3165

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

IMG_3166

IMG_3167

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

December starts with a Special Visitor, another Xtramath Superstar, Scooterball and Kachina dolls!

IMG_3084

Mr. Berube shows the class the hood of his jacket which was rimmed with wolverine fur.

IMG_3086

Dominic tries on Mr. Berube’s glove that he used in Antarctica.

IMG_3085 - Version 2

Mr. Berube had a boot like this when he was in Antarctica but he had to return it to the Navy. (He bought this one on eBay!)

IMG_3088

Brady checks out the boot while Alyssa waits her turn.

IMG_3094 - Version 3

Hannah guessed that she could fit her foot, shoe and all, inside the boot…and she did!

IMG_3095

Mr. Berube shared two rock samples he brought from Antarctica.

IMG_3098 - Version 2

This rock was from the surface of the continent of Antarctica.

IMG_3099 - Version 2

This is a piece of lava from Antarctica’s active volcano, Mount Erebus.

IMG_3096 - Version 2

Brian and Victoria feel the weight of the two rocks from Antarctica. Ask your child which one was heavier!

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.

IMG_3106 - Version 2

Having a ball in the gym!

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!

IMG_3110 - Version 2

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.

IMG_3112 - Version 2

Mary and Mia proudly sharing their handmade kachina dolls.

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! 

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.

IMG_1547

Sal and his partner get comfortable on the rug.

IMG_1551

Hailey and Jordan discuss what they are learning.

IMG_1553

Garrett and Gavin researching with their atlas.

IMG_1560

All the students worked very hard the entire time!

IMG_1554

Gabe and his new friend writing down the facts.

IMG_1559

Fatima and her partner worked well together.

IMG_1562

Jayden and his partner working very hard too!

IMG_1546

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

IMG_1548

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

IMG_1556

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!

IMG_1539

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

IMG_3850

Miss Jen and I are so proud of Kendra!

 

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.

DSC_0499

Everyone waiting for the video chat to begin!

DSC_0493_2

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.

DSC_0496

Ryan R. greets his cousin Neil!

photo

Neil was pleased to see a familiar face!

asking_our_questions_crop

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

DSC_0495

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.

DSC_0497

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

DSC_0500

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.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

DSC_0487

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!

DSC_0488

I think that Kiara is enjoying Gabe’s expression!

DSC_0481

Sal and Maggie were surprised at how cold it was!

DSC_0482

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

DSC_0489

Fatima and Jayden enjoy the experiment despite the cold temperatures!

DSC_0490

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!

DSC_0486

Cecily uses the blubber glove while Kendra observes.

DSC_0491

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!

IMG_1511

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.

IMG_1512_2

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

IMG_1513

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

IMG_1514_2

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

IMG_1515_2

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

IMG_1507_2

We made a rookery of penguins!

 

IMG_1509_2

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!

 

Front of Postcard from Antarctica Back of Postcard from Antarctica Closeup of postmark

 

 

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.

IMG_1505

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.

IMG_1502

We completed the challenge!

IMG_1503

A New Math Challenge from Zero the Hero!