The Second Graders Are Going Places!

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Learning how to cross in crosswalks safely.

Earlier in the month, we practiced pedestrian safety outside Brookside. Thank you to the parents who volunteered to help us learn how to travel safely along and across streets and in parking lots. We put this information into practice on our walk back from our Shaw Farm field trip at the end of the month.

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Parking lot safety is so important!

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We are so lucky to have wonderful volunteers! We were glad to have two fifth grade friends join us in the safety lessons.

We finished the month of May with a special field trip. We started by being bussed to Chelmsford High School to watch Tom Chapin and Friends in a music performance. We were the first school there and had fantastic front row seats!

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Waiting for the show to begin.

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Trying to patiently wait for the rest of the audience to arrive.

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Almost time for the show.

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Curious about the instruments.

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Tom and his friends performing on stage.

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When the show was over, Tom came into the audience with his autoharp.

The children had a great time singing along with Tom Chapin and his friends. Tom and his friends were impressed that they knew the sign language to Family Tree. The children were surprise that his goodbye song to the audience was the goodbye song we sing at the end of the day in our classroom! (I learned the song from him!)

After the concert, we got back on the bus and headed back to Dracut to Shaw Farm. When we arrived at the farm, the children got to take turns feeding the donkey and petting the baby calves.

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Meeting the donkey.

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They could only pet the adorable calf.

They also got to go into the barn and see the grown milk cows and learn all about how they care for the cows and get the milk.

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Wally Biedron taught the children about cows and answered all their questions.

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Waiting to go into the barn

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Everyone got a turn to feed the donkey.

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Brian feed the donkey.

After they saw the animals, the students got to eat a picnic lunch and have a short recess.

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We took the time for a class photo in front of the tractor with our fantastic chaperones!  Then we carefully crossed the street to the farm store where we met Lindy Shaw who gave them a special tour to see where the milk is processed and the ice cream is made.

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Learning how the milk going into the bottles.

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We were lucky we came on a day when they weren’t bottling the milk.

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Lindy explained how her brother Mark makes ice cream.

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The ice cream making machines!

After our tour, the students got their ice cream and quickly joined the other second graders to eat their yummy cups of ice cream. Before long, it was time to walk back. We were very fortunate to have our school resource officer, Officer Quealy, and another Dracut police officer escort our second graders with two police cars for our walk back to Brookside. Then they surprised us by letting the students climb into the police cars to see what they were like inside. They even turned on the lights and sirens for us! I think the children really enjoyed their field trip and I’ll take a guess that they probably slept pretty good that night!

Thank you to the parent chaperones, Lindy Shaw, Wally Biedron and everyone at Shaw Farm, and Officer Quealy and his fellow police officer for making our field trip such a success!

Things Get “Buggy” at Brookside!

We studied about the life cycle of insects this month. The students witnessed this first hand when they watched their caterpillars go through the chrysalis stage to becoming a painted lady butterfly.

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Alyssa and Gabby are preparing their cups with caterpillar food.

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Lots of crawling caterpillars ready to be put in the cups.

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Each student got their own caterpillar.

We watched our caterpillars growing and when they went into the chrysalis stage they were transferred into the large net. Before long, they hatched into beautiful butterflies and it was time to let them go.

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Our painted lady butterflies didn’t seem to want to leave their netted home.

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Our class in the Brookside courtyard ready to release our butterflies.

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Watching one of our butterflies sipping nectar from some flowers.

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The students got to witness first hand how they are camouflaged when their wings are folded. Can you find the butterfly on the cement?

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Close up slide of a mosquito!

We also had a mosquito control presentation in the cafeteria. An entomologist from the state mosquito control office taught us a great deal about mosquitoes. He told us about their life cycle, how he studies them, and how to stay safe by getting rid of stagnant water near our homes.

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He taught us how he catches mosquitoes so he can study them. This helps us stay safe.

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Dominic wears the mosquito netting.

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He let the children touch a lot of the equipment he uses like the mosquito catcher that she is holding.

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Tommy is holding another of the tool the entomologist uses to scoop up water samples containing mosquito larvae.

 

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!

February Finished With Lots of Learning Fun!

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We are 100 Days Smarter!

We celebrated the 100th Day of School on February 24th! The students did a 100th Day Estimating Jar hands-on math activity. They were asked to estimate the objects in the jar. Then we counted each of the jars. Finally the students figure the difference between their estimates and the actual amounts.

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Brian thinking hard about his estimate!

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Estimating is harder than it looks!

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We counted the unifix cubes and plastic animals by tens and ones.

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The sugar cubes were counted by hundreds, tens, and ones.

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The wooden color cubes were the easiest for most students to estimate.

Learning time was more fun when we used our bodies to make the clock. Kinesthetic learning is just another method to help the students make connections and understand. Twelve students were the numbers and two more were the hands.

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Brooklynn was the minute hand and Nick was the hour hand.

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The students are enjoying writing on the whiteboard with the smart projector pens.

We are getting more proficient at using the Epson smart projector that we are lucky enough to have in our classroom. I am learning along with the children. It has really enhanced our instruction and the students are very engaged in the lessons. We are using the technology in all subject areas from language arts, to math, to science and social studies.

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Here Mrs. Marvin is using the Ziggy document camera to flash our Fundations flashcards for our daily drill.

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The word web the students created in our grammar lesson on verbs.

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The students graphed their favorite Boston sports team in math. The data is more meaningful if it is personal to the children.

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I wish this photo was able to capture how impressive these students were.

Finally we had an assembly for Jump Rope for Heart! Students from Londonderry, NH did an amazing job demonstrating their unbelievable jump roping skills while they also taught the children about healthy food choices and exercise. 

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! 

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. 

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Alyssa and friends have the whole world in their hands.

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Turning the world is hard work!

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The students were “bananas” for his crazy hats!

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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.

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I love reading to students!

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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!

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

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

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Congratulations Shiwaum! On to subtraction!

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

Exploring the DIG Box!

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.

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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.”

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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.

Two Special Visitors to Brookside!

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!

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We’re wearing our pith helmets and we’re all ready to be junior paleontologists.

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She brought a giant book that taught the children about paleontology, dinosaurs, and fossils.

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She also brought “Oreo” a prehistoric mammal

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She chose Mary to hold a “dinosaur egg”.

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Then Mary got to put the egg in the nest in the book. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t which the children enjoyed more….Oreo or…….

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touching the coprolite….and finding out that it was dinosaur POOP!

Then the children got to go explore and examine three tables worth of fossils that the fossil lady brought with her.

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We loved our visit with the Fossil Lady!

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.

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Danielle Niles explaining the water cycle and precipitation.

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She demonstrated how to make a tornado in a bottle and taught them about weather safety.

Thank you to the Brookside PTO for helping to make both of these enriching presentations possible!

 

 

Measuring a Brachiosaurus at Brookside! Part 2

Finally our Brachiosaurus was completely colored in and we decided to find out how our dinosaur compared to second graders!

DSC_0749We found out that our dinosaur was over 10 second graders tall!

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Then we measured how wide the brachiosaurus was and we discovered that it was more that 15 second graders long!

But we weren’t finished yet! We finished by finding out how many second graders it took to outline the entire perimeter of the dinosaur.

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It took a while to get our second graders in place around the perimeter.

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We started placing students around the front of the brachiosaurus.

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As you can see, we almost ran out of second graders!

DSC_0769 DSC_0770One  last look at our dinosaur friend before he became extinct with Saturday’s rain! In the end, it was a really enjoyable way to spend a beautiful autumn day learning together as an entire grade.

 

 

Thank you again to all the volunteers for making this hands-on learning project a reality. We couldn’t do it it without you!!