A September to Remember!

The students reading the note from Zero the Hero!

On the 10th day of school the C8 children found a note left by Zero the Hero. Zero is a math superhero who visits our class and provides the students with math challenges. If they succeed at meeting the challenge, they get a treat from Zero. The first math challenge was to draw a picture of what they think Zero looks like. Then Mrs. Riordan read this book that Zero left for us.  He also left us a jar full of zero treats….AKA Life Savers.

The children can’t wait to see what will happen on Day 20!

Arrgh! Check Out Our Pirate Crew!

We also celebrated “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” on September 19th. The children (and Mrs. Riordan) had the opportunity to dress up like pirates and learned how to talk like pirates. We had pirate music playing, drew pirate flags and read pirate stories. We did a pirate math worksheet and wrote a pirate story. If someone clipped down, we called it “walking the plank!” Twas a fine day to be a pirate!  

We have been celebrating Say Hello week at Brookside this week. We are learning the importance of including others and being friends.

Here’s a photo of us saying hello! (If you can’t read the sign, look below!)

Thank you to the parents and guardians who took the time to come to Curriculum Night!

Last Wednesday was Curriculum Night. Parents and guardians had the opportunity to come to school, see the classroom, meet Mrs. Riordan and learn about the second grade curriculum.

Here is a copy of the presentation from that night. Second Grade Curriculum Night presentation

Here is a view of our classroom for those who were unable to attend Curriculum Night.

We have been studying about our community and our place in the world in Social Studies the last few weeks. We made these flip books and displayed them on Curriculum Night.  

September is almost over but our second grade adventures have just begun!

 

Making Learning fun in March!

If you looked at our March Madness post, you might think that March was all about fun and games. Well, we did have lots of fun in March and we did play some games. But they were learning games!

Here are some photos of our C8 students practicing telling time by matching analog and digital clocks.

We also worked with literacy matching puzzles on a full moon rainy Friday afternoon!

The students were fully engaged practicing and reviewing literacy skills like compound words, silent letters, digraphs and blends, irregular plurals, and more. (Some even worked on analogies!) Plus they got plenty of movement breaks as they moved from one station to another. 

We ended the month last Friday with a special buddy math time. Mrs. Messer’s third graders came to our classroom and used whiteboards to work with our class on subtraction with regrouping. They were expecting to have to tutor our students but they were surprised at how well they were doing and kept giving them harder problems to challenge them! It was nice seeing the two classes working so well together and rewarding to see how much my former students have grown and learned as third graders!

Thank you Third Grade math buddies!!
Finally thank you to the families who assisted their children in getting their World Map posters done and turned in on time! They came out great and were hung on the wall outside our room for all to see!

100+ Days of Second Grade – Part 2

Our students joined the other second grade classes in the cafeteria for the culminating activity for our Traditions and Customs unit which was a special feast on the early release day before Thanksgiving. They shared food made from recipes that reflected their family heritage. It was a tasty way to celebrate the diversity of our classroom. Thank you to all the families that sent in food for the feast and to our parent volunteer, Ms. Hibbard who assisted with the set up/clean up. Individual photos of the foods can be seen under the Student Work 18-19 tab.

Ann Biese demonstrating a breathing technique.

Johnny the K was very engaging and entertaining.

We were fortunate to attend two assemblies with special guests. The first was Ann Biese, an author who wrote the book “Worry Bee” and spoke to us about how to handle our worries and emotions. The second was the performer, Johnny the K who played his guitar and wore crazy hats to teach us how to be kind and to get along with each other.

Safety is important so we practiced our bus evacuation drill. The upper grade students assisted us.

We have also had fire drills and Alice drills this year.

We had a visit from Zero the Hero who left a treat of latkes for completing his challenge.

We also did some stations where the students worked on math and literacy skills with a holiday theme.

Gabriella and Devin working on building holiday themed compound words.

At this station the students were measuring holiday images with inch and centimeter rulers.

Before we headed off for the December holiday break, we made Ice Castles out of mini-marshmallows, frosting and lots of candy. Thank you to all the families who sent in the supplies and donated extra candy. Thank you to Ms. Allore, Ms. Hibbard and my daughter Catie for helping with the Ice Castle projects. Here is Sabella with her Ice Castle. More examples of their Ice Castle creations can be seen under the Student Work 18-19 tab.

We also made special snow globe ornaments that we sent home to share with their families. Here is a photo of some of these snow globes.

More to follow in Part 3!

A week in September…the serious and the silly!

We had a special visitor for Constitution Day, September 17th. State Representative Colleen Garry came to talk to Brookside’s second graders about the Constitution, government, the law, and so much more. The students listened, learned and asked lots of questions.

Our class also created our own class constitution and came up with five rules that we all agreed to follow!

The next day we had our first visit from Zero the Hero! Zero is a math superhero who gives the students math challenges and rewards them. Zero has been known to visit every 10 days. Zero challenged the students to use their imaginations to draw what they thought Zero looks like. The students did a great job on this challenge. Zero rewarded them by leaving a book about Zero the Hero for me to read to them and they also each got a life savor ….because it is shaped like a zero!

Here some “pirates” play the pirate reading game with Mrs. Nelson!

On Wednesday, September 19th, we joined the rest of Brookside’s second grade celebrating “Talk Like a Pirate Day”. Many of the students dressed like pirates. We read a pirate story and did some pirate worksheets.  Some of us got to play a pirate reading game. We had a jolly good time with our mates!

The Pirates of C8!

“Tasting Day”

The Brookside Second Graders celebrated our diversity on the half day before Thanksgiving by having a ” Tasting Day!”  Most of the students brought in ethnic dishes from home that came from the countries of their ancestors. They got to taste many foods that they may not be familiar with eating. This hands-on experience was a delicious culminating activity for our social studies Traditions and Customs unit. Thank you to all the families that contributed food to make our Tasting Day such a success!

Amber and Kaylee discuss what they are eating.

Some of the C8 boys couldn’t wait to fill their plates with all the yummy food.

The girls were exciting to try some new dishes too!

Zachary tries something new while Sam checks out the box filled with cannoli.

Elizabeth brought in an entire taco making station. She’s not from Mexico but she does love tacos! So do the other second graders!

Please head over to the student work page labeled “Student Work 17-18” of this blog to see closeup photos of the students’ dishes that are labeled with the name and country!

 

Lots of Activity in April

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Colorful timelines on display!

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Some more interesting timelines by our students.

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Tommy’s creative timeline hung over our doorway.

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Four more timelines grace our stair railing.

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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!

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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!

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

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

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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!)

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Brady checks out the boot while Alyssa waits her turn.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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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!

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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.

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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!

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Our friendly dinosaur!!

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Nicholas, Addition Mathematician Extraordinaire!!

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