Welcome to My New C-8 Families!

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I am so excited to have your children as my students this year. Since we are having the curriculum night later this year on Tuesday, September 29th, I thought you might like a sneak preview of our classroom. Here are some photos I took of our classroom prior to school starting.

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This view shows our main teaching area with the smart projector, whiteboard, and our rainbow rug! Many of the students are sitting in a horseshoe around the rug.

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This is the view as we enter the classroom and shows our coat closet, sink, my desk and the large table used for many things like reading groups.

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In this corner, you can see our cozy classroom library and my vast collection of children’s books I’ve collected over 25 years.

This is just a taste of what our room looked like before the children arrived.  But the room really came to life when 23 second graders walked through the door. Here are two photos I managed to shoot on the first day of school during the “Getting to Know You” game.

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I will update the homework page nightly and periodically post blog updates on this page to help keep you informed and let you share the excitement that goes on in second grade.

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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Welcoming a New Group of Second Grade Friends!

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I can’t believe that our first full week of school is over! We are getting to know each other and are learning how to work together. In addition to seeing our specialists we met last year (Mrs. Turnbow for music, Mrs. Sorbello for computers and Mrs. Costello for library), we’ve met our new art teacher, Ms. Mullins and our new physical education teacher, Mr. Rivers.  We also met other educators (Mrs. Nelson, Mrs. Marvin, Mrs. Charette, Mrs. Smolko, Mrs. Wagner, and Ms. Jacobs) who will be working with some of our C-8 students this school year. We did a lot of assessment this week so I can better know the students’ skill levels. We even had a fire drill!  I think my favorite activity was when they played a “Getting to Know You” game to help them learn more about each other! Here are some photos of the students enjoying this activity.

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T.J. and Shiwaum discussing their summer activities.

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Discovering how our friends spent their summers!

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Madison and Elizabeth sharing information.

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Look at all these second graders actively engaged in the task of getting to know each other.

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Mary and Brooklynn make new friends.

I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know my new C-8 parents at our Orientation Night on Tuesday night at 6 – 8 p.m.  Hope to see you then!

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.

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Everyone waiting for the video chat to begin!

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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.

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Ryan R. greets his cousin Neil!

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Neil was pleased to see a familiar face!

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

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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.

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

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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.”

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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.

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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!

We Love Our Grandparents and Special Guests!

On Friday, January 10th, we welcomed our grandparents and special guests for a special visit. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work for the second grade. They learned a song called “Family Tree” and learned sign language to go along with it. Each second grade class learned a special poem too. Our class learned the poem “Our Family Comes from Around the World.” They also worked very hard writing about a special memory with their grandparent.

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We are proud of our special grandparent memory writing pieces!

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Writing about our special memories was hard work but it was worth it!

Mrs. Riordan started the morning by greeting everyone. Then the students got to give their grandparents a tour of our classroom, read a story with them, or just enjoy spending time with them. While this was going on, Mrs. Riordan had the opportunity to meet and take a special photograph of each set of grandparents and grandchild.

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Second grade ready to perform!

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C8’s smiling second grade students want to make their grandparents proud.

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The students did a great job singing and signing “Family Tree!”

Then the grandparents and special guests were invited to travel to the cafeteria for a yummy breakfast treat. The students then took the stage for their performance. They did a wonderful job singing, signing and reciting for the grandparents. Sadly it was time for the  event to end which was done with goodbyes and lots of hugs.

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On behalf of the second grade teachers and students, Mrs. Riordan thanks all the grandparents and special guests for attending.

We have lots of people to thank for making this visit possible. Thank you to Ms. Smith and the school department for providing the funds for the yummy breakfast food. Thank you to our custodians, Bill and Tony, and the cafeteria staff for all their assistance in setting up the cafeteria. A special thank you to Ms. Turnbow, the music teacher, for teaching the song and sign language during her music class. Special thanks to Mrs. Rhodes who came in to volunteer to help us during the event. Finally, thank you to ALL the grandparents and special guests who traveled through snowy weather and endured traffic and parking challenges to be present for their grandchild. You made it possible for your grandchild to add a new special memory to their young life. It was so nice to visit with you and I hope you will continue to follow all the second grade happenings on our classroom website/blog.

Immigration Projects and Parent-Teacher Conferences

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Cecily’s trunk impressed the whole class. Very realistic and creative!

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A peek into Cecily’s trunk to see what she decided to “bring to the new country”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of our social studies unit on Traditions and Customs, we are studying immigration. Last Friday, the students shared their “Suitcase/Trunk Project”. They packed a suitcase or trunk with the items they felt were important to bring with them if they were traveling to a new life in a new country.  Each student shared what they brought and we discussed what they chose to bring and what they may have forgotten. It was especially neat to see the old photographs that Kate L. shared of her ancestors and the ships they traveled to America on. Thank you for helping your children with this project!

Our next project is the recipe project. The students need to choose a recipe from their heritage and to fill out the form that went home on Monday. We will take these family recipes and make a class recipe book.  Please have all the recipes to school by the due date on Friday.

On the half day before Thanksgiving, we will be having our “Tasting Party”.  We would love it if you could prepare the recipe you child chose for the recipe project and send it to school on the morning of November 27th so we can all sample some foods from other cultures. It will be a wonderful way to share and celebrate our different heritages with our classmates.

Thank you to all the parents who took the time to come to Parent-Teacher conferences last night. It was nice to have the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your child’s progress. We all have the same goal of supporting your child through this second grade experience and I hope we can continue to work together to help them all have a successful school year! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have as the year goes on.

 

A question for you…and a favor!

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I shared our classroom blog with Principal Smith and she was really pleased that we are using this as a form of home-school communication this year. She did ask me if  families had posted comments. When I was doing Schoolnotes, I was able to tell if families had viewed the page. While I find this blog better for sharing information and photos, I find myself wondering if families are viewing this blog and finding it interesting or useful.

I would like to ask you to please post a comment on any of our blog posts by clicking on the speech bubble in the right top corner of any post. This will give me (and Principal Smith) a better idea of how many people are actually viewing our classroom website. As a thank you for doing this, any child whose families posts a comment will receive a homework pass!