The Second Graders Are Going Places!

IMG_3544

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.

IMG_3550

Parking lot safety is so important!

Version 2

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!

IMG_3646

Waiting for the show to begin.

IMG_3647

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

IMG_3649

Almost time for the show.

IMG_3648

Curious about the instruments.

Version 2

Tom and his friends performing on stage.

IMG_3657

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.

IMG_3660

Meeting the donkey.

IMG_3661

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.

IMG_3665

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

IMG_3664

Waiting to go into the barn

IMG_3662

Everyone got a turn to feed the donkey.

IMG_3663

Brian feed the donkey.

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

IMG_3667 IMG_3666 IMG_3668 IMG_3671

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.

IMG_3675

Learning how the milk going into the bottles.

IMG_3676

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

IMG_3677

Lindy explained how her brother Mark makes ice cream.

IMG_3679

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.

IMG_3557

Alyssa and Gabby are preparing their cups with caterpillar food.

IMG_3558

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

IMG_3559

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.

Version 2

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

IMG_3619

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

IMG_3634

Watching one of our butterflies sipping nectar from some flowers.

IMG_3625

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

Version 2

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.

Version 2

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

IMG_3613

Dominic wears the mosquito netting.

IMG_3614

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

IMG_3615

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

 

Lots of Activity in April

Version 2

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!

Version 3

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.

IMG_3318

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.

IMG_3317

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.

IMG_3289

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.

IMG_3307

Here are some of our character trait projects on display in the hallway.

IMG_3306

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.

IMG_3299

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!

IMG_3297

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.

Version 2

Colorful timelines on display!

Version 2

Some more interesting timelines by our students.

IMG_3357

Tommy’s creative timeline hung over our doorway.

Version 2

Four more timelines grace our stair railing.

Version 2

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!

IMG_3340

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!

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

IMG_3147

IMG_3148

IMG_3139

IMG_3140

Mischievous Mary Munching!

 

IMG_3141

Britney catches me taking her photo as she takes a bite!

 

IMG_3142

My guess is that Mia is enjoying her cookie!

 

IMG_3143

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!

IMG_3145

Smiling Mrs. Sirois hands Chloe her list!

 

We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and our diversity with a special poem and craft.

IMG_3163

IMG_3162

IMG_3164

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!

IMG_3149

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.

IMG_3165

Pretty exciting to be able to see and listen to someone on the other side of Earth near the South Pole!

IMG_3166

IMG_3167

The editors from TFK introduce the webcast and then we got to see and hear directly from the scientist herself!

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.  

IMG_2953

Ronald taught the children important life lessons!

DSC_0993

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!

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.

IMG_2933 IMG_2932 IMG_2931 IMG_2929 IMG_2927 IMG_2926 IMG_2925 IMG_2924

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.”

IMG_2943 IMG_2941 IMG_2940 IMG_2939 IMG_2937

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!

DSC_0797

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

DSC_0808

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

DSC_0799

She also brought “Oreo” a prehistoric mammal

DSC_0803

She chose Mary to hold a “dinosaur egg”.

DSC_0807

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0809

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

DSC_0811

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.

DSC_0824 DSC_0823 DSC_0822 DSC_0819 DSC_0817 DSC_0816 DSC_0813 DSC_0812

DSC_0825

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.

IMG_2811

Danielle Niles explaining the water cycle and precipitation.

IMG_2818

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!

DSC_0750

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.

DSC_0752

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

DSC_0751

We started placing students around the front of the brachiosaurus.

DSC_0753

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!!

Measuring a Brachiosaurus at Brookside! Part 1

 DSC_0756

Here is a photo of the grid used to create our Brachiosaurus.

It all started with a plan that the Brookside second grade teachers had to show the students just how ENORMOUS a dinosaur actually was.

Then our wonderful parent volunteers cheerfully helped mark out the grid lines on the parking lot and then drew the outline of the dinosaur.

DSC_0733

Many hands needed to create a dinosaur!

DSC_0732

We need lots of straight lines first.

DSC_0734

Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, especially our C8 mothers, Mrs. Joyce, Mrs. Sirois and Mrs. Ware!

Then it was time to start coloring in the brachiosaurus with colored chalk. It sure takes a lot of second graders to color a huge dinosaur!

DSC_0746Here are some photos of the C8 students working side by side on a beautiful autumn day.

DSC_0745 DSC_0744 DSC_0743 DSC_0742 DSC_0741 DSC_0740 DSC_0739 DSC_0738 DSC_0736 DSC_0735

Making and Looking at Fossils

 

IMG_2804 - Version 2 IMG_2805 - Version 2

The C-8 students made simulated fossils as part of our dinosaur and fossil science unit out of a special salt dough clay I made at home. The recipe is very simple. You take 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 cup used coffee grounds and mix it with 1/2 cup of cold coffee. It makes a clay that looks like stone. The children took turns pressing tiny toy dinosaurs or turtles, or seashells into the clay to make the fossil. I took them home and baked their “fossils” for 30 minutes at 220 degrees. The students were very excited to create these masterpieces and share them with their families at home.

IMG_2802 - Version 2

Here are some closeups of a few of the “fossils” which included a fossil of some dinosaur tracks made by a larger toy dinosaur seen below.

IMG_2803 - Version 2

Thank you to Mrs. Ware for doing this hands-on activity with the students!!

After making their “fossils”, they had a special opportunity to view an actual fish fossil that was millions of years old! Mary brought in a fossil that her mother, a science teacher, allowed her to share with the class. It was so interesting to examine the specimen and see how much this ancient fish looks like today’s fish. Thank you to Mary and her mother for sharing the fish fossil with us! Can you find your scientist in the photos below?

DSC_0730 - Version 2

Can you find YOUR scientist in the photos below?
DSC_0758 - Version 2DSC_0768 DSC_0767 DSC_0766 DSC_0765 DSC_0764 DSC_0763 DSC_0762 DSC_0761 DSC_0760 DSC_0759 DSC_0757