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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We studied States of Matter in Science and the class really enjoyed the hands-on science activities we explored together.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Last summer Mrs. Riordan, Mrs. Porcello, and Mrs. Cooke all traveled to DIG Field School in Montana to learn more about science, specifically paleontology. The DIG Field School’s goal is to have educators bring these wonderful experiences back to their classrooms. To help to do this, they sent us the DIG box that was full of materials to share with the students.
The students got a chance to “dig through” actual soil samples from the same site in Montana that we explored. They were given laminated guides to help them recognize fossils. It wasn’t easy at first but eventually they were able to identify fossils such as gar scales, fossilized teeth and bones. See if you can find YOUR paleontologist in the photos below.
Another activity we shared from the DIG box was the “Ingredients of a Rock” activity. The students were given written descriptions of four minerals. They were then divided into groups and given a bag with 5 samples. They had to use the written descriptions to determine which mineral each sample was which would then show them that the final unused sample was the granite rock sample. This type of hands-on investigative activity promotes problem solving and critical thinking as well as teamwork and oral discussion. It was rewarding to see the children so engaged in this activity. Search in the photos below to find YOUR future “geologist.”
Thank you to the DIG Field School and the Burke Museum for the use of these materials! Thank you also to Greg Wilson, Lauren DeBey, and all the other DIG Field School instructors for the experience of a lifetime that I can now share with my students.
This week has been an exciting week to be a second grader at Brookside! On Tuesday, October 7th, we had an in-school presentation by the Fossil Lady. She does an amazing presentation and she had the entire second grade spellbound!
Then the children got to go explore and examine three tables worth of fossils that the fossil lady brought with her.
Then on Thursday, October 9th, the entire school was very lucky to participate in a whole school assembly with Danielle Niles. Danielle Niles is the morning meteorologist for Channel 4 in Boston. She showed the students a video, taught them all kinds of things about meteorology and her job on television, and answered their questions. In the end, she videotaped the entire school sending out a message that will be broadcast on Friday morning.
Thank you to the Brookside PTO for helping to make both of these enriching presentations possible!
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.
The students estimated how many pieces of “popped” popcorn would fit the same shapes. Then they filled the shapes with the popped corn.
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.
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!
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!
The first step was to put a few teaspoons of baking soda on a tissue! Then we poured vinegar into a plastic sandwich bag.
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.
I asked Maggie to hold up the bag to show the other students and allow me to take a better photo.
Suddenly the bag exploded while Maggie was holding the bag which caught her by surprise!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!