More November Happenings!

Parents that came to Parent-Teacher conferences got to see our turkey glyphs.  Each student made a glyph to display data about their Thanksgiving plans.

Thank you to all the parents who came to the Parent-Teacher conferences. Communication between home and school is very important to student success.

We finished that busy week with our yearly bus evacuation drills. The bus drivers instruct the students in the proper way to safely evacuate from the back of the school bus. Here’s hoping that they never need to use this knowledge!

Two fourth grade students help Haylee safely leave the back of the bus.

Jenna is preparing to leave the bus as Jeidyn patiently waits his turn to evacuate.

The following week we had not one… but TWO Xtramath Superstars receive certificates! Both boys completed addition and are currently working on subtraction!

Linton is proudly showing his addition certificate!

Logan sharing his Xtramath certificate!

Congratulations Linton and Logan! Who will be our next Xtramath Superstar?

The Chromebooks Are Here!

C8 Students Learning with Technology!

The students on the Celtics table are working hard.

Today the students were excited to be able to use the new chromebooks to practice their math skills with a program called Prodigy. This video game based math program assesses the students and then provides practice that is individualized for each student. This highly motivating program is free for classroom use and kept the students engaged. We are fortunate that we now have these chromebooks available for this and other programs like Vocabulary/SpellingCity, Epic books, Xtramath, and more. Special thanks for Mrs. Bowie, the district’s technology integration specialist, for troubleshooting some problems we initially had with accessing the chromebooks. In the words of one of our second graders, “She is the best!”

Check out these students on the Red Sox table.

Students on the Patriots table helped each other signing in to the program.

The students on the Bruins table didn’t want to stop!

February Finished With Lots of Learning Fun!


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.


Brian thinking hard about his estimate!


Estimating is harder than it looks!


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


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


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.


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

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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.


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

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


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


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. 

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





Mischievous Mary Munching!



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



My guess is that Mia is enjoying her cookie!



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!


Smiling Mrs. Sirois hands Chloe her list!


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




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!


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.


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



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

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:

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.


Sal and his partner get comfortable on the rug.


Hailey and Jordan discuss what they are learning.


Garrett and Gavin researching with their atlas.


All the students worked very hard the entire time!


Gabe and his new friend writing down the facts.


Fatima and her partner worked well together.


Jayden and his partner working very hard too!


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


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


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!


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


Miss Jen and I are so proud of Kendra!


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.


Everyone waiting for the video chat to begin!


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.


Ryan R. greets his cousin Neil!


Neil was pleased to see a familiar face!


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


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.


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


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.”


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.


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!

Xtramath Success Stories!



Congratulations to Katie L. for completing the addition level of Xtramath! She completed it last week and received her certificate today. Xtramath is a valuable tool for increasing the students’ fluency with math facts which means knowing them instantly without having to stop to think about it or use a strategy (like counting on fingers) to get the answer. When the students know their math facts this well, it makes learning more challenging math concepts easier to learn.

I try to let every student have the opportunity to do Xtramath every day but that is not always possible for reasons such as the Internet access being unavailable or my needing the students to all be with me for certain lessons or tests. Some days we don’t get everyone finished or if the Internet was down, no one gets it done at school. But that didn’t stop Katie who would go on Xtramath at home instead…..even on the weekends! As you can see, all her hard work certainly paid off! On to subtraction for you Katie!!

But that’s not all….Gavin L. just completed the addition level in class today! Hooray Gavin! He’ll get his certificate tomorrow. I wonder who will be next!

Finally, a quick reminder before I end this post that the December Scholastic book orders are due on WEDNESDAY. You can order in with cash or check sent to school or online with a credit card.

A question for you…and a favor!


I shared our classroom blog with Principal Smith and she was really pleased that we are using this as a form of home-school communication this year. She did ask me if  families had posted comments. When I was doing Schoolnotes, I was able to tell if families had viewed the page. While I find this blog better for sharing information and photos, I find myself wondering if families are viewing this blog and finding it interesting or useful.

I would like to ask you to please post a comment on any of our blog posts by clicking on the speech bubble in the right top corner of any post. This will give me (and Principal Smith) a better idea of how many people are actually viewing our classroom website. As a thank you for doing this, any child whose families posts a comment will receive a homework pass!

Lockdown Drill and New (to us) Computers!

We had our first lockdown drill today and the children did great! The second grade actually got singled out for praise from Ms. Smith!  We also got an upgraded computer setup for our classroom. We have one newer computer that is compatible with the  Xtramath website. We have three workstations off that one computer so that three students will be able to work at the same time. It made for a very exciting day in C-8!

I would like to clear up some confusion about the reading bags books. We are beginning a unit on fossils and dinosaurs. The books in the reading bags help the students in the class build a shared background knowledge. This is important because we may refer to information from the books we all read at home in the reading bags and if the child has not been exposed to that reading, it could impact his or her understanding of the concepts being shared in class. I understand that at times certain books may be more challenging for some students and if that is ever the case, please feel free to read the book to your child. By doing this, you will help your child access important content. Children can often understand information at a higher level than they can read independently. Additionally, if the child is not struggling to read the words, stronger comprehension will be built through listening. I hope this explains why it is important for the children to read the book being shared in the bag.