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!

December starts with a Special Visitor, another Xtramath Superstar, Scooterball and Kachina dolls!

IMG_3084

Mr. Berube shows the class the hood of his jacket which was rimmed with wolverine fur.

IMG_3086

Dominic tries on Mr. Berube’s glove that he used in Antarctica.

IMG_3085 - Version 2

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!)

IMG_3088

Brady checks out the boot while Alyssa waits her turn.

IMG_3094 - Version 3

Hannah guessed that she could fit her foot, shoe and all, inside the boot…and she did!

IMG_3095

Mr. Berube shared two rock samples he brought from Antarctica.

IMG_3098 - Version 2

This rock was from the surface of the continent of Antarctica.

IMG_3099 - Version 2

This is a piece of lava from Antarctica’s active volcano, Mount Erebus.

IMG_3096 - Version 2

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.

IMG_3106 - Version 2

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!

IMG_3110 - Version 2

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.

IMG_3112 - Version 2

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! 

Tasting Day and a Virtual Trip to Plimoth Plantation!

DSC_0061

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

DSC_0062

Victoria sampling some of the donated treats.

DSC_0063

Nick and Elizabeth try to decide where to start.

DSC_0065

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

DSC_0067

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

DSC_0066

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

DSC_0064

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. 

DSC_0069

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

DSC_0068

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!

Snoopy-Woodstock-Thanksgiving2

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.

IMG_3019 - Version 2

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

IMG_3021 - Version 2

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

thanksgiving-peanuts-26838824-320-240

Where In the World Are We?, Dinosaurs and Fossils, Doubles Game, and One Awesome Mathematician!

Before we get to the photos, I would like to first try to clear up some confusion about the Fundations packet that still exists. Last week, the students should have just completed Tuesday’s 4 dictated words, Wednesday’s 5 dictated words and Thursday’s sentence on the Week 1 writing grid that is in the back of the packet. If your child did not do them last week, please catch up on them this week. The Week 1 words and sentence are located on the back of the parent letter page on the front of the packet. This week, the children will be doing the Week 2 words and sentence on Tuesday through Thursday. The children should write them on the Week 2 writing grid.

The students were told not to do the remaining worksheets last week because they had not had the in-class lessons they needed to properly understand and complete these worksheets yet. They have now learned about marking the digraphs and open and closed syllables. Tonight’s homework is to complete page 8. Tomorrow, they will be asked to complete page 9 in addition to the 4 dictated words. Wednesday, they will complete page 10 in addition to the 5 dictated words. If your child started these worksheets last week, please have your child go over them and fix any mistakes. The entire completed packet should be ready to pass in on Friday morning.

I hope our C-8 families have a better understanding about the expectations for the at-home packet. Now for some fun photos!

IMG_2761 - Version 2

Where in the world are we? Sharing our flipbooks!

The C-8 students completed a Social Studies unit about communities recently.  After reading the book, Me on the Map, we created flipbooks that started with our school, Brookside, and went from its street to Dracut, to Massachusetts, to the United States of America, to North America and finally to our planet Earth. Hopefully this hands-on activity helped the children to have a better concept of their place in the world.

IMG_2762

Here’s a closeup of one of our flipbooks.

After finishing our Social Studies unit, we moved into our Science unit on . . . DINOSAURS and FOSSILS!

IMG_2758

Our friendly dinosaur!!

 

IMG_2760 - Version 2

We are enjoying learning so much about these interesting extinct creatures by reading these fiction books and non-fiction books.

Check out our new doubles math game!

IMG_2768

We are learning our doubles math facts with this doubles math game. The students pair up and chant the doubles while holding up fingers representing the partners.

IMG_2767

When they reach 5+5, they “high five” and when they finish with 10 +10, they do a “high ten!” Lots of smiles and giggles disguised the fact that they were learning their facts!

Speaking of math facts, I am proud to announce that we have our first student to complete the Addition level of  Xtramath. This means that he was able to complete each of his 100 addition facts in under 3 seconds! He also managed to do this in just 14 days of practice. I think this is a new record! Congratulations Nicholas! I hope he is the first of many C-8 students this year!

IMG_2800

Nicholas, Addition Mathematician Extraordinaire!!

P.S. In case you didn’t know, clicking on the photo makes it larger! Hope you enjoyed the photos!

Lots of Learning to Share ~ Part 2

We have been finishing up our Habitats Science & Language Arts Unit by sharing our Arctic and Antarctica Animal Projects. We are learning a lot by sharing these wonderful projects with our classmates. Some children made posters. Others made dioramas. We even had two crossword puzzles and one written report. All of the children really worked hard and the projects look amazing! We hope to have them all shared and sent home by Friday. Here is a photo of all the projects but I will be posting all the individual projects on our new student work page. Please check them out!IMG_1591

The start of the Winter Olympics coincides with the start of our Geography Unit in social studies/language arts. The students are learning about the 7 continents and the 5 oceans. I showed the children a neat website where they could see a globe turn into a map and back again. You can also tilt the globe to look at it at different angles. The children asked me to give you the link so they can share it with you at home. The link is:

http://www.digital-week.info/education/mapping_our_world/mapping_our_world/05-GlobeUnwrapped/GlobeUnwrapped.htm

Today we had a shared geography hands-on activity with Mrs. Saucier’s class. The children were paired up with a child from the other class and they were assigned a country that is involved in the Winter Olympics. They received a blank country worksheet and a outline of that country’s flag. The children had to work together to use beginner atlases to research important information about that country and record that information. Then they had to color the flag in the authentic colors of that country’s flag. As you can see by the photos, the students were very engaged in this activity and it was a nice change to work with students from another classroom. We will be adding this work to an Olympic display that is being constructed on the hallway wall with the World Map. I’ll post a photo when they are all hung up.

IMG_1547

Sal and his partner get comfortable on the rug.

IMG_1551

Hailey and Jordan discuss what they are learning.

IMG_1553

Garrett and Gavin researching with their atlas.

IMG_1560

All the students worked very hard the entire time!

IMG_1554

Gabe and his new friend writing down the facts.

IMG_1559

Fatima and her partner worked well together.

IMG_1562

Jayden and his partner working very hard too!

IMG_1546

Amelia and Maggie locate their country on a map in the atlas.

IMG_1548

Jacob, Thomas and Kendra work on a team of three.

IMG_1556

Katie and her partner point to details they notice in their atlas.

Finally, we have some exciting news to share. Our classmate Kendra was recently recognized with a special honor. She was one of eight Brookside students who were chosen to participate in our PAWS recognition breakfast. To get this honor, students need to be recognized for going “above and beyond”.  She was nominated because of how well she has adapted and adjusted to her new school experience at Brookside. Kendra received her certificate from our principal, Ms. Smith. She was congratulated by the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Stone and school committee members, Dr. McNamara and  Mrs. Murphy. We are all very proud of our friend, Kendra!

IMG_1539

Kendra’s mother escorts Kendra to receive her award while our special guests look on!

IMG_3850

Miss Jen and I are so proud of Kendra!

 

Lots of Learning to Share! ~ Part 1

February is such a busy month at school. We learned about Chinese New Year. Our class got to try out the tool that the DHS Mandarin teacher demonstrated when she was here earlier in the year. The students used brushes and water to try to create characters. It was hard to wait for the water to evaporate though. They enjoyed it so much that they continued using it during bus dismissal!

IMG_1519

Danielle demonstrates for Kendra how to use the brush.

IMG_1523_2

Cecily and Tierra try to create some Chinese characters.

IMG_1520_2

Meah takes the writing seriously!

IMG_1522

Katie and Maggie try it too!

IMG_1521

Ryan and Michael discuss their work!

IMG_1531

Khushi, Tierra, Oorjaa and Fatima still writing while waiting for the buses to be called!

Danielle brought in a Chinese money envelope that  contains actual Chinese money which the children got to touch and examine. We discussed how it was the same and how it was different from American money.

IMG_1534

Thank you Danielle for sharing this with your classmates!

IMG_1524_2

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The students also wanted to share the Chinese Dragon puppets they made in art!

 

 

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.

DSC_0499

Everyone waiting for the video chat to begin!

DSC_0493_2

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.

DSC_0496

Ryan R. greets his cousin Neil!

photo

Neil was pleased to see a familiar face!

asking_our_questions_crop

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

DSC_0495

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.

DSC_0497

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

DSC_0500

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.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

Lots to Celebrate in C-8 This Week!

 

Front of Postcard from Antarctica Back of Postcard from Antarctica Closeup of postmark

 

 

We got a wonderful surprise in the mail this week. We got this postcard from Ryan R’s cousin Neil Foley who is a PhD student/researcher working in Antarctica right now!

 

 

Here is the back of the postcard where Neil sends a personal message to the class. I especially got a kick out of his describing himself as a student in the “18th grade”!

 

 

It’s not everyday you see a postmark from Antarctica! Thank you to Ryan and his family for putting us in touch with Neil.

IMG_1505

SSS ~ Smiling Superstar Sal!

We have our first Multiplication Extramath Superstar! Congratulations to Salvatore D. for completing the Multiplication Level of Extramath. He has moved on to division! Way to go Sal! We’re proud of you!

Tuesday was the 80th day of school and our math superhero friend, Zero the Hero, stopped by with an estimating challenge for the students. The children had to estimate the number of hard candies were in the jar. Then we counted the candies together….there were 144. Finally, the students had to figure out the difference between their estimate and the actual result.

IMG_1502

We completed the challenge!

IMG_1503

A New Math Challenge from Zero the Hero!

A Special Visitor and Another Xtramath Superstar!

Today we had a special visitor, Mr. Berube who taught us about Antarctica. He is a Dracut resident who traveled as a Naval Seabee to Antarctica when he was 24 years old. DSC_0338_2 Mr. Berube was stationed for four months at McMurdo Station. He showed the class photos from his time there in the 1960’s. Mr. Berube told about his experiences there and answered all the children (and adults) questions. He also shared a National Science Foundation DVD about Antarctica with us.images DSC_0337_2

The children were attentive and seemed to enjoy learning about live on this faraway continent. Sal was so excited he kept saying “I am so going there!”

DSC_0341_2 He brought in some of the clothing that he used when he was stationed in Antarctica. Avery is holding the hood from his parka and the children got to feel the wolverine fur.Here the children are passing around the warm gloves he needed when he was there.

DSC_0339_2

DSC_0340_2

Mr. Berube brought in some rubber boots like the ones he wore in Antarctica. Mr. Berube explaining that these are the actual boots he wore in the Navy because he had to return those.

DSC_0343_2

One of the favorite parts of the visit was when Mr. Berube pulled out two rocks from Antarctica and he let all the children touch them. How many people can say they have touched a rock from Antarctica?

DSC_0344 DSC_0342_2

Thank you Mr. Berube for spending time with us and sharing your knowledge and experiences with our second grade class!

IMG_1447_2

We have another Xtramath Superstar! Gavin L. has mastered the addition level.  Congratulations Gavin! On to subtraction!

The children asked if I would extend the deadline for the Scholastic Book club order until tomorrow. Please have all orders sent in to me or online by tomorrow!