A Look Back on our School Year!

As we get closer to the end of the year, I have been reflecting on all that we have done this year. Here is a review of some of the great learning experiences  and special visitors your children had.

IMG_4510

We saw a great performance by Johnny the K. He was a musician sponsored by the PTO and despite being silly and wearing lots of crazy hats, he had a important life lessons to share with the students.

IMG_4514

Claire’s grandmother, who is a librarian from Vermont, was a special visitor who came and read to the class one day.

IMG_4538

Our study of traditions and cultures culminated in our special international tasting party on the half day before Thanksgiving. We enjoyed all the delicious foods that the families shared with us that day.

IMG_4629

In December at the holidays, some parents came to assist the students in making their ice castles.

IMG_4608

Mr. Berube, a Dracut native and former SeaBee, came to school to share his experiences living and working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

IMG_4719

On Groundhog Day, we went outside and did some science experiments with light and shadows.

IMG_4776

We had special guest readers on Read Across America Day in March. They were basketball players from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

IMG_4794

Representative Colleen Garry came to school to read to the class and talk about government and her job at the State House in Boston.

IMG_4811

We had a crazy week when the leprechauns came to visit our classroom near St. Patrick’s Day. This is just one example of some of the shenanigans those tricky leprechauns did while they were in C8!

IMG_4685

We had a special presentation about rockets and space exploration!

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.

 

May Celebrations!

IMG_3472

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.

Version 2

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.

IMG_3555

The Garden of Hope for a Cause!

IMG_3571

Hooray for Miss Jen!

Version 2

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.

IMG_3577

Finally we celebrated our mothers!

The C8 students wrote about their mothers and drew a special picture of themselves with their mother.

Version 2IMG_3566

The students enjoyed make a special m & m game to play with their moms.

IMG_3567

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!

Celebrating Reading, St. Patrick’s Day and Two Special Xtramath Stars in C-8

DSC_0238

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. 

DSC_0236 - Version 2

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!

DSC_0239 - Version 2

Say “READ” instead of cheese!

DSC_0242 - Version 2

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.

IMG_3282

Brooklynn was absent when we took the photo of her leprechaun catcher.

IMG_3277_2

Mary’s leprechaun catcher had gold eggs, shiny green shamrocks and a rainbow ramp!

IMG_3278_2

Chloe was absent but she sent in her catcher with her older sister.

IMG_3280

Dominic’s catcher included an Irish flag.

IMG_3281

Nick’s catcher had pot of gold.

This is what the students found when they came in on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. 

IMG_3273_2 - Version 2

The leprechauns left a message on our projector!

IMG_3266_2

They stacked our special library chairs….

IMG_3267

and they had a party with our book character stuffed animals!

IMG_3268_2

They hung a rainbow over Mrs. Riordan’s desk and messed up all the students’ desks and chairs!

IMG_3270_2

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!

IMG_3272_2

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!”

IMG_3271

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.

IMG_3287_2

The students’ writing on proud display!

IMG_3285_2 - Version 2

Mia’s writing project

IMG_3284 - Version 2

Britney’s pot of gold

IMG_3283_2

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.

IMG_3275_2

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!

IMG_3209 - Version 2 IMG_3274_2 - Version 2

 

 

 

February Finished With Lots of Learning Fun!

IMG_3196

We are 100 Days Smarter!

We celebrated the 100th Day of School on February 24th! The students did a 100th Day Estimating Jar hands-on math activity. They were asked to estimate the objects in the jar. Then we counted each of the jars. Finally the students figure the difference between their estimates and the actual amounts.

IMG_3194

Brian thinking hard about his estimate!

IMG_3195

Estimating is harder than it looks!

IMG_3198

We counted the unifix cubes and plastic animals by tens and ones.

IMG_3199

The sugar cubes were counted by hundreds, tens, and ones.

IMG_3200

The wooden color cubes were the easiest for most students to estimate.

Learning time was more fun when we used our bodies to make the clock. Kinesthetic learning is just another method to help the students make connections and understand. Twelve students were the numbers and two more were the hands.

IMG_3214

Brooklynn was the minute hand and Nick was the hour hand.

IMG_3223 - Version 2

The students are enjoying writing on the whiteboard with the smart projector pens.

We are getting more proficient at using the Epson smart projector that we are lucky enough to have in our classroom. I am learning along with the children. It has really enhanced our instruction and the students are very engaged in the lessons. We are using the technology in all subject areas from language arts, to math, to science and social studies.

IMG_3228

Here Mrs. Marvin is using the Ziggy document camera to flash our Fundations flashcards for our daily drill.

IMG_3192 - Version 2

The word web the students created in our grammar lesson on verbs.

IMG_3265_2

The students graphed their favorite Boston sports team in math. The data is more meaningful if it is personal to the children.

IMG_3220

I wish this photo was able to capture how impressive these students were.

Finally we had an assembly for Jump Rope for Heart! Students from Londonderry, NH did an amazing job demonstrating their unbelievable jump roping skills while they also taught the children about healthy food choices and exercise. 

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!

10491283_787272121342379_5589842093711811421_n

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!

IMG_3178

IMG_3180

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.

IMG_3182

Comfy children reading on the rug!

IMG_3183

Snuggled up with their books!

IMG_3184

Gabriela and Alyssa….best buddies with their books!

IMG_3185

Reading is double the fun in C-8!

IMG_3186

Some of our boys took over the library!

IMG_3188

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

IMG_3189

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

IMG_3181

Looks like a sleepover!

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! 

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

What’s New in November???? . . . Johnny the K, Special Stories, Xtramath Stars and more!

IMG_2982 - Version 2

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. 

IMG_2981

Alyssa and friends have the whole world in their hands.

IMG_2975

Turning the world is hard work!

IMG_2983

The students were “bananas” for his crazy hats!

IMG_2976

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.

PB100518-10brhq9-300x225

I love reading to students!

PB100517-1zdfxoq-300x225

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!

IMG_3009

Hands-on math is a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon!

IMG_3010

Numbers bigger than 100 can be more challenging…at first!

IMG_3006

Congratulations Shiwaum! On to subtraction!

IMG_2903

You are a Math Superstar Britney! Up next….subtraction!