Lots of Activity in April

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Our Principal Ms. Smith joins Second Marking Period Honor students in C8.

Our principal, Ms. Smith was able to find time in her busy, busy schedule to give our students their honor roll certificates for second marking period. Like me, she was very proud of their hard work! Speaking of awards, Mia S. earned her Xtramath certificate for addition this month. Way to go Mia!

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Mia is an addition superstar!

We had some special visitors in our classroom this month. Two Dracut firefighters came to teach us all about fire safety. We learned about the importance of having a meeting place in case of a fire, when to change batteries in your smoke detectors,  how to safely get out if there is a fire among other things.

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The firefighters taught us to “Stay low and go!” by crawling under a gray blanket that represented smoke. Everyone got to practice this important skill.

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You can see that the students were very engaged in the discussion!

We also had a recycling presentation by “the recycling lady” who works with the company that does the recycling collection in Dracut. She taught the children about the importance of recycling and what can and cannot be recycled. She had a lot of information and was able to answer the students’ questions. The students also made objects out of recycled items in art this month with Ms. Mullins, the art teacher.

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C8 Students learn about recycling!

We have been working on a special author study model curriculum unit in balanced literacy featuring Tomie dePaola. The students have been learning about his life and his work. Here is an example of one of the activities we did so far in this unit. The students were learning about character traits and had to identify character traits for both Strega Nona and Big Anthony, two of Tomie’s more popular characters.

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Here are some of our character trait projects on display in the hallway.

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Here are the rest of the projects. Each student had to make one for each of the two characters, Big Anthony and Strega Nona.

We studied States of Matter in Science and the class really enjoyed the hands-on science activities we explored together.

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Here Dominic and Elizabeth are blowing up a balloon with the gas formed by mixing baking soda (a solid) and vinegar (a liquid).

The students were put into groups and had to observe and discuss the properties of a paper cup filled with frozen water (ice) colored with food coloring. Then they peeled away the paper and placed the ice into a ziplock bag and we taped it over the heater. When they returned from special, they observed that the water had changed from a solid state to a liquid state. They also observed that the liquid takes the shape of the container. They then decided that they wanted to put it in the freezer again to see what would happen so into the teacher’s room freezer they went. Science is more meaningful when we get both our hands and minds involved!

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Learning that adding or taking away heat changes the state of matter!

The students shared their timelines that they created at home as a combination social studies/balanced literacy project. After they shared the timelines, we proudly hung them in the hallway for everyone to enjoy! Thank you for helping your child with this special project. I hope it was a meaningful activity for your child.

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Colorful timelines on display!

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Some more interesting timelines by our students.

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Tommy’s creative timeline hung over our doorway.

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Four more timelines grace our stair railing.

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Last but not least, Brooklynn’s timeline. (We ran out of wall space so her timeline was on the round table in the hallway!)

 

Finally, we celebrated baseball’s “Opening Day at Fenway Park” by wearing our Red Sox attire and standing in front of a photo of Fenway Park!

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C8 says “GO RED SOX!”

We were all ready for our spring break this past week but we have lots more to learn before the month and school year is over!

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

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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. 

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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!

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Say “READ” instead of cheese!

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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.

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

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

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

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Dominic’s catcher included an Irish flag.

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Nick’s catcher had pot of gold.

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

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The leprechauns left a message on our projector!

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They stacked our special library chairs….

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

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

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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!

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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!”

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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.

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The students’ writing on proud display!

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Mia’s writing project

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Britney’s pot of gold

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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

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

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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!)

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Brady checks out the boot while Alyssa waits her turn.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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! 

Making and Looking at Fossils

 

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The C-8 students made simulated fossils as part of our dinosaur and fossil science unit out of a special salt dough clay I made at home. The recipe is very simple. You take 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 cup used coffee grounds and mix it with 1/2 cup of cold coffee. It makes a clay that looks like stone. The children took turns pressing tiny toy dinosaurs or turtles, or seashells into the clay to make the fossil. I took them home and baked their “fossils” for 30 minutes at 220 degrees. The students were very excited to create these masterpieces and share them with their families at home.

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Here are some closeups of a few of the “fossils” which included a fossil of some dinosaur tracks made by a larger toy dinosaur seen below.

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Thank you to Mrs. Ware for doing this hands-on activity with the students!!

After making their “fossils”, they had a special opportunity to view an actual fish fossil that was millions of years old! Mary brought in a fossil that her mother, a science teacher, allowed her to share with the class. It was so interesting to examine the specimen and see how much this ancient fish looks like today’s fish. Thank you to Mary and her mother for sharing the fish fossil with us! Can you find your scientist in the photos below?

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Can you find YOUR scientist in the photos below?
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Illustrator Ralph Masiello Visits Brookside!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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He explained how he could do this Egyptian drawing.

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The Sphinx needs a pyramid in the background.

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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.

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

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The completed dragon drawing!

I was VERY EXCITED that he autographed my book.

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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.

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

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Oorjaa and some new friends plan their page.

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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!

Lots of Learning to Share! ~ Part 1

February is such a busy month at school. We learned about Chinese New Year. Our class got to try out the tool that the DHS Mandarin teacher demonstrated when she was here earlier in the year. The students used brushes and water to try to create characters. It was hard to wait for the water to evaporate though. They enjoyed it so much that they continued using it during bus dismissal!

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Danielle demonstrates for Kendra how to use the brush.

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Cecily and Tierra try to create some Chinese characters.

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Meah takes the writing seriously!

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Katie and Maggie try it too!

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Ryan and Michael discuss their work!

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Khushi, Tierra, Oorjaa and Fatima still writing while waiting for the buses to be called!

Danielle brought in a Chinese money envelope that  contains actual Chinese money which the children got to touch and examine. We discussed how it was the same and how it was different from American money.

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Thank you Danielle for sharing this with your classmates!

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The students also wanted to share the Chinese Dragon puppets they made in art!

 

 

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!