The Second Graders Are Going Places!

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Learning how to cross in crosswalks safely.

Earlier in the month, we practiced pedestrian safety outside Brookside. Thank you to the parents who volunteered to help us learn how to travel safely along and across streets and in parking lots. We put this information into practice on our walk back from our Shaw Farm field trip at the end of the month.

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Parking lot safety is so important!

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We are so lucky to have wonderful volunteers! We were glad to have two fifth grade friends join us in the safety lessons.

We finished the month of May with a special field trip. We started by being bussed to Chelmsford High School to watch Tom Chapin and Friends in a music performance. We were the first school there and had fantastic front row seats!

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Waiting for the show to begin.

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

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Almost time for the show.

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Curious about the instruments.

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Tom and his friends performing on stage.

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When the show was over, Tom came into the audience with his autoharp.

The children had a great time singing along with Tom Chapin and his friends. Tom and his friends were impressed that they knew the sign language to Family Tree. The children were surprise that his goodbye song to the audience was the goodbye song we sing at the end of the day in our classroom! (I learned the song from him!)

After the concert, we got back on the bus and headed back to Dracut to Shaw Farm. When we arrived at the farm, the children got to take turns feeding the donkey and petting the baby calves.

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Meeting the donkey.

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They could only pet the adorable calf.

They also got to go into the barn and see the grown milk cows and learn all about how they care for the cows and get the milk.

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

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Waiting to go into the barn

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Everyone got a turn to feed the donkey.

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Brian feed the donkey.

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

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We took the time for a class photo in front of the tractor with our fantastic chaperones!  Then we carefully crossed the street to the farm store where we met Lindy Shaw who gave them a special tour to see where the milk is processed and the ice cream is made.

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Learning how the milk going into the bottles.

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

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Lindy explained how her brother Mark makes ice cream.

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The ice cream making machines!

After our tour, the students got their ice cream and quickly joined the other second graders to eat their yummy cups of ice cream. Before long, it was time to walk back. We were very fortunate to have our school resource officer, Officer Quealy, and another Dracut police officer escort our second graders with two police cars for our walk back to Brookside. Then they surprised us by letting the students climb into the police cars to see what they were like inside. They even turned on the lights and sirens for us! I think the children really enjoyed their field trip and I’ll take a guess that they probably slept pretty good that night!

Thank you to the parent chaperones, Lindy Shaw, Wally Biedron and everyone at Shaw Farm, and Officer Quealy and his fellow police officer for making our field trip such a success!

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!

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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!

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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.

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Comfy children reading on the rug!

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Snuggled up with their books!

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Gabriela and Alyssa….best buddies with their books!

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Reading is double the fun in C-8!

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Some of our boys took over the library!

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

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

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Looks like a sleepover!

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

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Mischievous Mary Munching!

 

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

 

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My guess is that Mia is enjoying her cookie!

 

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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!

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Smiling Mrs. Sirois hands Chloe her list!

 

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

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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!

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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.

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

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

Ice Castles and Many Thanks!

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Tom being very precise building his ice castle.

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Nick really got into his work while Mia looked on.

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Some students got right to work while others needed some thinking and experimenting time.

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Brady enjoying making his ice castle.

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They were working so hard that they didn’t notice I was taking their photo.

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More hard workers!

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Gabriela discusses her ideas with Mrs. Volpe.

The second grade students in C8 really had a good time creating ice castles on the Monday before vacation. Thank you to all the parents who sent in sugar cubes, frosting and candy to make this fun activity so successful. Thanks also go out to Mrs. Joyce, Mrs. Volpe and Mrs. Ware for helping us out by preparing the supplies and wrapping the masterpieces when they were completed.

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Special thanks goes to Alyssa’s brother who gave up his first day of vacation from his school to help our second graders! The second grade boys especially liked having a big fifth grade boy helping them.  I will post photos of the ice castle masterpieces under the student work tab. I tried to get every child’s ice castle but I missed a few because they were absent, dismissed, or managed to slip past me to the wrapping station without getting their photo taken.

Thank you to the generous families who donated food for our holiday party on Tuesday. It was both healthy and yummy! Finally I would like to thank all the students and their families who gave me a gift or a card. It meant so much to me that you thought of me at such a busy time of the year and I truly appreciate all the gifts.

While I am sad that vacation is coming to a close,  I look forward to seeing all the children tomorrow along with a new student that will be joining our class. Happy 2015 to you all and tell the kids that I’ll see them bright and early tomorrow morning! (Don’t forget to bring back your reading bag and your completed reading log!)

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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Exploring the DIG Box!

Last summer Mrs. Riordan, Mrs. Porcello, and Mrs. Cooke all traveled to DIG Field School in Montana to learn more about science, specifically paleontology. The DIG Field School’s goal is to have educators bring these wonderful experiences back to their classrooms. To help to do this, they sent us the DIG box that was full of materials to share with the students. 

The students got a chance to “dig through” actual soil samples from the same site in Montana that we explored. They were given laminated guides to help them recognize fossils. It wasn’t easy at first but eventually they were able to identify fossils such as gar scales, fossilized teeth and bones. See if you can find YOUR paleontologist in the photos below.

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Another activity we shared from the DIG box was the “Ingredients of a Rock” activity. The students were given written descriptions of four minerals. They were then divided into groups and given a bag with 5 samples. They had to use the written descriptions to determine which mineral each sample was which would then show them that the final unused sample was the granite rock sample. This type of hands-on investigative activity promotes problem solving and critical thinking as well as teamwork and oral discussion. It was rewarding to see the children so engaged in this activity.  Search in the photos below to find YOUR future “geologist.”

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Thank you to the DIG Field School and the Burke Museum for the use of these materials! Thank you also to Greg Wilson, Lauren DeBey, and all the other DIG Field School instructors for the experience of a lifetime that I can now share with my students.

Two Special Visitors to Brookside!

This week has been an exciting week to be a second grader at Brookside! On Tuesday, October 7th, we had an in-school presentation by the Fossil Lady. She does an amazing presentation and she had the entire second grade spellbound!

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

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

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She also brought “Oreo” a prehistoric mammal

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She chose Mary to hold a “dinosaur egg”.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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touching the coprolite….and finding out that it was dinosaur POOP!

Then the children got to go explore and examine three tables worth of fossils that the fossil lady brought with her.

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We loved our visit with the Fossil Lady!

Then on Thursday, October 9th, the entire school was very lucky to participate in a whole school assembly with Danielle Niles. Danielle Niles is the morning meteorologist for Channel 4 in Boston. She showed the students a video, taught them all kinds of things about meteorology and her job on television, and answered their questions. In the end, she videotaped the entire school sending out a message that will be broadcast on Friday morning.

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Danielle Niles explaining the water cycle and precipitation.

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She demonstrated how to make a tornado in a bottle and taught them about weather safety.

Thank you to the Brookside PTO for helping to make both of these enriching presentations possible!

 

 

Measuring a Brachiosaurus at Brookside! Part 2

Finally our Brachiosaurus was completely colored in and we decided to find out how our dinosaur compared to second graders!

DSC_0749We found out that our dinosaur was over 10 second graders tall!

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Then we measured how wide the brachiosaurus was and we discovered that it was more that 15 second graders long!

But we weren’t finished yet! We finished by finding out how many second graders it took to outline the entire perimeter of the dinosaur.

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

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We started placing students around the front of the brachiosaurus.

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As you can see, we almost ran out of second graders!

DSC_0769 DSC_0770One  last look at our dinosaur friend before he became extinct with Saturday’s rain! In the end, it was a really enjoyable way to spend a beautiful autumn day learning together as an entire grade.

 

 

Thank you again to all the volunteers for making this hands-on learning project a reality. We couldn’t do it it without you!!