Celebrating Special C8 Students and Zero the Hero!

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Dracut Library Summer Readers!!

I can’t believe we’ve been in school for 40 days already! The first two months have seemed to fly by so fast! I want to share with you some of the students that have been recognized for their reading and math achievements. First, we had three students, Emma, Jesse and Mia, that received special certificates for their participation in the Dracut Library’s summer reading program! Great job to our three summer library readers!

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Dracut Public Schools Summer Reading!

Next, I’d like to recognize the five students who passed in their Dracut Public Schools summer reading logs. They were Sampson, Aubrey, Jesse, Shamus, and Emma! Summer reading is so important! Awesome job to you all!

Finally, three of our students have completed the addition level of Xtramath in record time! To do this, they had to be able successfully answer all 100 addition facts within 3 seconds for each fact! They are Kayden, Aubrey, and Jesse! They are officially Xtramath superstars and have moved to subtraction. Remember that the students can do Xtramath at home too if they have access to the Internet.  I wonder who will be our next Xtramath superstar?

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This year, a special math superhero called “Zero the Hero” has been visiting our classroom every tenth day of school. We’re not sure if Zero is a boy or girl superhero so I’ll just use the pronoun “he”.  He gives the students a note with math challenges and leaves them treats if they complete the challenge. The first time he came, he asked them to draw what they thought he looked like. Another time he came, there was a math book about Zero that he asked them to have me read. A third time he came, the students were challenged to write as many sentences as they could that had the answer of zero. On Friday, Day 40, he challenged them to estimate the number of eyeballs in the jar! The children love when Zero visits.

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Here is one of Zero’s notes with the book and treat he left!

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They had to estimate the number of Life Savors that Zero left as a treat. Cameron and Anthony were the best estimators that day!

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One of Zero’s treats were clementines because they were “round like a zero and looked like a fall pumpkin!”

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Some of our students working hard packing the food drive donations for the Dracut Food Pantry.

Before I end this post, I want to thank all the families that donated to the Great Penny Race and the Food Drive. The second grade students donated the most nonperishable food to our food drive. Our class helped to box up all the food and carry it out to the volunteers from the food pantry that came to collect it. This is teaching our students to not only think about and care about others but to DO for others!  Stay tuned for additional posts about our field trip, our dinosaur & fossils studies and more!

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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Celebrating Special Children and Caring for Others in C-8!

We celebrate love and caring in the month of February. One of our classmates, Hannah, was recognized this quarter at the special PAWS recognition breakfast. Hannah was one of eleven children in the school to receive this recognition. She was nominated for her patience and kindness toward a fellow classmate when she helped him in their reading group. Hannah received her award from State Representative Colleen Garry. We are very proud of you Hannah!! You set a great example for the rest of the students!

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Hannah front and center after receiving her special PAWS recognition award.

 

We are also proud of two of our students who have completed the Addition level of Xtramath!

Way to go Brian and Victoria!

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Finally, as part of our Brookside Community of Caring, our class participated in the second grade Read-a-thon. They spent the entire day reading! This reading took the form of independent reading, buddy reading, listening to a book on CD or read aloud by a teacher. We even read math literature! The money we raised will enable us to create and donate book kits to the Dracut Library that can be used by the entire library system. Thank you to all the families and friends who generously donated to this special cause. What a great way to show that we care about reading and giving to others. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos of the Read-a-Thon.

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Comfy children reading on the rug!

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Snuggled up with their books!

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Gabriela and Alyssa….best buddies with their books!

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Reading is double the fun in C-8!

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Some of our boys took over the library!

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Gaige and Brian so deep into their stories they didn’t even see me capture this moment!

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Sharing a penguin book with a friend while istening to the CD at the listening center.

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Looks like a sleepover!

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!

A Few Eye-Popping Hands-On Activities in Second Grade!

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Second graders working hard on estimating and counting!

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.

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Julian and a friend work on filling the shape with popcorn kernels.

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Mrs. Saucier showing off the freshly popped popcorn! It was amazing how many students had never seen popcorn being popped before!

The students estimated how many pieces of “popped” popcorn would fit the same shapes. Then they filled the shapes with the popped corn.

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Khushi, Gabe and a friend happily discuss their estimates.

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Cecily records her teams results.

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.

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Khushi holds up the experiment before we mixed the baking soda and the vinegar.

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The students are cheering…and hoping that the balloon would pop. Luckily it didn’t!

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!

A Science Experiment, a Surprise and a Reminder!

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Our states of matter science experiments!

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.

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A close-up of the ice melting into liquid.

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.

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Now it’s in a LIQUID state!

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.

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Hooray! We won a Sorry game!

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!

The Leprechauns Came! (and a couple of other “news items!”)

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Our rainbow was hanging from the ceiling. Chairs were all wrong.

Those tricky leprechauns came and played a lot of tricks on us this past week but they saved their best tricks for last! This is what the room looked like when we arrived after the weekend!

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They left us a message on the white board.

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I think they scared our stuffed dinosaur who was hanging or hiding from our flag.

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They left a message for Maggie inside her trap too!

The students thought we might have captured one or more of the leprechauns because Avery’s catcher was sealed shut. The children all breathlessly peaked inside to see what they had caught.

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Cautiously checking inside Avery’s catcher!

There were NO LEPRECHAUNS inside! But these two looked as if THEY were leprechauns!

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C8’s resident leprechauns….Katie and Gabe!

Although the students didn’t catch a leprechaun this time, they did get a special Lucky Charms breakfast treat from Mrs. Riordan. They also got to sample some wonderful homemade Irish soda bread made by Maggie’s grandmother and delivered by Maggie’s mom! It was so yummy again this year. And this year, many more children were brave and tried the Irish bread with raisins.  I couldn’t take a photo because it was gobbled up so fast!

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Lucky teacher, Lucky children, Green tongues!

We did a special writing project today where the children wrote about someone who was worth more than gold to them. It was interesting to read the wide variety of responses which ranged from parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, to their dog and Tuukka Rask!

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St. Patrick’s Day Writing

We did some St. Patrick’s themed worksheets and read stories from Ireland by my favorite Irish writer, Eve Bunting. Then we practiced our reading comprehension by reading an article about St. Patrick and looking for key information in the article to answer the questions. At the end of the day, we were surprise to find that the leprechauns left a gift for us in the office.  A pot of gold….candy! Those tricky leprechauns also hid all the items they had stolen from our traps underneath the candy.

All in all, it was a pretty magical day in C-8!

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Yummy Gold!

If you would like to see all of the students’ awesome leprechaun catchers, you can see them on the student work page of this blog! Check them out!

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Lowell Sun Reporter John Collins visits second grade.

On another note, I forgot to post a couple photos from last week. We had a visit with the Lowell Sun Local News reporter, John Collins. The children went to Mrs. Porcello’s classroom and got to learn what it like to be a newspaper reporter. The children asked great questions and learned a lot.

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Second graders make a body clock!

One last photo of our students learning kinesthetically how to tell time….or in other words, with their bodies. Some children were the numbers on the clock and two students were the hands of the clock. They also used individual plastic clocks to record the time. They enjoyed this hands-on learning!

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!