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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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We had a special presentation about rockets and space exploration!

May Celebrations!

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Here are the book bags the second graders donated.

We certainly had a lot to celebrate in May! We celebrate that we are a Community of Caring when we shared the results of the second grade students Community of Caring Read-a-Thon! We invited Miss Penny from the Dracut Library and Dr. McNamara of the Dracut School Committee to come to our school in order to receive the five book bags that our students were able to fund through the Read-a-Thon. This provides not only the Dracut Library but the entire MVLC with much needed children’s book kits. One of the books we donated was written by Sherrie Ninteau, a Dracut Public School teacher.

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Thank you to Miss Penny, Dr. McNamara, and Ms. Smith for attending our presentation!

The Brookside second graders are learning that it is important to give to others. Another way they participated in giving to others was the way they and the rest of the school contributed to our PAWS for a Cause by donating for Rett Syndrome. As an added bonus they raised so much that they were able to see Miss Jen duct taped to the wall of the school. Miss Jen was such a good sport as it was very hot that morning.

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The Garden of Hope for a Cause!

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Hooray for Miss Jen!

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We are also celebrating academic achievement! Ms. Smith came to our classroom to present several students with third quarter honors certificates! Congratulations to Mary, Brad, Brian, Nicholas, Shiwaum, Mia and Britney!

Congratulations also go out to four new Xtramath Superstars this month! Hooray Ava, Gabriela, Mary and Emily!Version 2IMG_3636IMG_3706IMG_3709

We also celebrate Shiwaum for being the only student in our class to participate in the Six Flags Read to Succeed program.

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Finally we celebrated our mothers!

The C8 students wrote about their mothers and drew a special picture of themselves with their mother.

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The students enjoyed make a special m & m game to play with their moms.

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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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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!

Ice Castles and Many Thanks!

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Tom being very precise building his ice castle.

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Nick really got into his work while Mia looked on.

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Some students got right to work while others needed some thinking and experimenting time.

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Brady enjoying making his ice castle.

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They were working so hard that they didn’t notice I was taking their photo.

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More hard workers!

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Gabriela discusses her ideas with Mrs. Volpe.

The second grade students in C8 really had a good time creating ice castles on the Monday before vacation. Thank you to all the parents who sent in sugar cubes, frosting and candy to make this fun activity so successful. Thanks also go out to Mrs. Joyce, Mrs. Volpe and Mrs. Ware for helping us out by preparing the supplies and wrapping the masterpieces when they were completed.

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Special thanks goes to Alyssa’s brother who gave up his first day of vacation from his school to help our second graders! The second grade boys especially liked having a big fifth grade boy helping them.  I will post photos of the ice castle masterpieces under the student work tab. I tried to get every child’s ice castle but I missed a few because they were absent, dismissed, or managed to slip past me to the wrapping station without getting their photo taken.

Thank you to the generous families who donated food for our holiday party on Tuesday. It was both healthy and yummy! Finally I would like to thank all the students and their families who gave me a gift or a card. It meant so much to me that you thought of me at such a busy time of the year and I truly appreciate all the gifts.

While I am sad that vacation is coming to a close,  I look forward to seeing all the children tomorrow along with a new student that will be joining our class. Happy 2015 to you all and tell the kids that I’ll see them bright and early tomorrow morning! (Don’t forget to bring back your reading bag and your completed reading log!)

Tasting Day and a Virtual Trip to Plimoth Plantation!

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The students didn’t need any coaxing to try new foods!

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Victoria sampling some of the donated treats.

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Nick and Elizabeth try to decide where to start.

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So many delicious choices! How do you decide what to eat? Try a little bit of everything!

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A close up of some Canadian French and Puerto Rican delicacies!

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Our second graders got to experience a wide variety of ethnic foods.

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I think I’ll have some more since it was so yummy!

On the half day before Thanksgiving, we had a “Tasting Day” celebration in the cafeteria as part of our Traditions and Customs Language Arts and Social Studies unit. Our C8 families donated a wonderful selection of food that reflected the heritage of our students. We had food from Canada, Ireland, England, Sweden, Kenya, Puerto Rico, India, and many more countries. The students loved the delicious food and many went back for seconds! A HUGE thank you to all the families that provide the food that made it a rich experience for all our students. I truly appreciate the time and effort involved, especially at a busy holiday time. Thanks also go out to Mrs. Ware and Mrs. Joyce for volunteering to help out at the tasting day. Thanks go out as well to Mrs. Mullins, our art teacher and Mrs. Morning, our Title I teacher who also pitched in to help set up. You all helped make the event special for the children and made my job so much easier! P.S. Special thanks to Mr. Kelleher who made a special trip to deliver the food that accidentally made the trip to his workplace instead. Way to go above and beyond, Dad!! What a special day and a special way to start the Thanksgiving break with our second grade friends!

Before and after our Tasting Day celebration, our children watched a Virtual Field Trip to the Mayflower and Plimoth Plantation on the Scholastic Website. They got to see inside the ship that the Pilgrims used to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and learn about their voyage. Then they saw Plimoth Plantation and saw inside several buildings there. They learned about how the Pilgrims lived on a daily basis. After that, they “visited” a Wampanoag settlement and saw how the Native Americans lived. Finally they listened to an “interview” of  Pilgrims and Native Americans at Plimoth Plantation who described what the first Thanksgiving feast was actually like. I hope watching this amazing resource helped to put the holiday into perspective for them. 

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The children were really engaged in this “virtual field trip!”

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The students are now excited to visit Plimoth Plantation for real. This is often a Brookside third grade field trip so they may get the chance to go next year.

 

 

 

What A Busy Week! A recap and some important info about next week!

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What a busy week it was in C8! We had a visit from the Principal to give out first marking period award certificates, Parent-Teacher conferences, and our Grandparent Visit!  I am very proud of my students and was able to share that pride with their parents, grandparents and Principal this week.

openhs2I want to take this opportunity to thank all the parents who took the time to attend Parent-Teacher Conferences. It was nice to have the chance to talk to you about your child’s (or children’s) progress so far.  If you were unable to attend the conferences, please know that you can set up an appointment any typical school day from 9:15 – 9:45 to come in to discuss any concerns you may have. I can also discuss your concerns with a phone conference at that time as well.  Let’s all keep the lines of communication open so we can work together to support your second graders.

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Congratulations to all our students who got a special academic award certificate from our Principal, Ms. Smith. Your success has made us all proud of you. Keep up the good work!

Front row from left to right: Brooklynn, Kamran, Shiwaum, Emily and Gaige 

Back row from left to right: Britney, Brian, Mia, Ms. Smith, Mary , Hannah and Elizabeth                  

Missing from photo but also earning a certificate: Nicholas

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The students welcomed their grandparents and other special guests for their visit with a song called “Family Tree” by Tom Chapin. It is a song that reminds us that while we may have different cultures and traditions, we are all part of the same human family.  They did a nice job performing the song complete with sign language motions for the chorus.  After that, they made an “I am thankful” craft with their grandparents and invited them to share a snack time with them. Finally, the second graders showed off their classroom to the grandparents and posed for photos with them. I hope the grandparents and special guests enjoyed their visit as much as the students and I did!

Next week, we are having a shortened week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Our Fundations packet is due on Tuesday and the unit assessment will be given on that day.

Also, I sent home a blank page a while ago for the students to share a recipe as part of their Traditions and Customs Unit in Balanced Literacy and Social Studies.  I realized that I forgot to put the due date on the directions. Please have the printed recipe to school on Tuesday, November 25th. If you need a new copy, please let me know on Monday!

On the half day of school on Wednesday, November 26th, we are having a “Tasting Day” where families can send in samples of the recipe for the students to share with their classmates. We will be doing Tasting Day in the morning in the cafeteria with the other two second grade classes. The students are only allowed to taste food that comes from their own class due to peanut allergies in another classroom. While no one is mandated to send in food, the more food our class has to taste, the richer the experience for them. I hope as many families as possible will choose to participate.

Let me take this opportunity now wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Mrs. Riordan

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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!

Finishing up October in C-8

We wrapped up our dinosaur and fossil unit by writing nonfiction informational reports about a specific dinosaur. In order to do this, the students were paired up and assigned a dinosaur. They had to work together to research in our numerous dinosaur resources about their dinosaur and put this information on a graphic organizer. Then they had to work individually to write their rough draft. They met with Mrs. Riordan to edit and then they copied their final report. Finally they illustrated their reports. It was a challenging project for them but they worked certainly hard.IMG_2966 IMG_2965 IMG_2964 IMG_2960 IMG_2959 IMG_2958

But October wasn’t all work and no fun. We had a special visit from Ronald McDonald as part of our Community of Caring program.  

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Ronald taught the children important life lessons!

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Happy Halloween from C-8!

Finally, we finished October with Halloween. Our school was decorated like the movie the Wizard of Oz and our Principal, Ms. Smith along with most of the staff dressed up as the characters from the movie. It was an exciting day!