Boston Museum of Science Field Trip

After a long bus ride, we arrived just in time to attend a live animal show about how some animals mimic other animals. The live animals were a snake and an owl. Some of the students stayed after the show to see them up close and to ask questions.

Learning about how these two snakes look alike but are very different.

Another example of animal mimicry.

Then we went to the dinosaur exhibit and took some group photos!

Our class in front of an actual triceratops from Hell Creek, Montana. This is the same place that Mrs. Riordan, Mrs. Porcello and Mrs. Cooke went to DIG School to learn about paleontology and to dig for fossils.

How many students’ hands can fit in a T-Rex footprint?

Our class beneath the T-Rex!

Looking up at Mrs. Riordan taking the photo from above!

After breaking for lunch, we got to explore the museum to see many other exciting exhibits.

Maria balancing weights!

Checking out some info on this screen!

Learning the science of centrifugal force and having fun!

Swinging on the moon!

This playground gets the whole body involved while they are learning about science!

Science is AMAZING!

Arianna enjoying this hands on experience!

Miranda enjoyed balancing the weights too!

Thank you to Mrs. Anello, Mrs. Brandvold, Mrs. Cowan, Mrs. Horvath and Ms. Silva for being fantastic chaperones on this field trip! Special thanks to Mrs. Brandvold for taking many of these wonderful photos.

 

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!

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!)

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.

 

 

 

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!!

Measuring a Brachiosaurus at Brookside! Part 1

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Here is a photo of the grid used to create our Brachiosaurus.

It all started with a plan that the Brookside second grade teachers had to show the students just how ENORMOUS a dinosaur actually was.

Then our wonderful parent volunteers cheerfully helped mark out the grid lines on the parking lot and then drew the outline of the dinosaur.

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Many hands needed to create a dinosaur!

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We need lots of straight lines first.

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Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, especially our C8 mothers, Mrs. Joyce, Mrs. Sirois and Mrs. Ware!

Then it was time to start coloring in the brachiosaurus with colored chalk. It sure takes a lot of second graders to color a huge dinosaur!

DSC_0746Here are some photos of the C8 students working side by side on a beautiful autumn day.

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Making and Looking at Fossils

 

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The C-8 students made simulated fossils as part of our dinosaur and fossil science unit out of a special salt dough clay I made at home. The recipe is very simple. You take 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 cup used coffee grounds and mix it with 1/2 cup of cold coffee. It makes a clay that looks like stone. The children took turns pressing tiny toy dinosaurs or turtles, or seashells into the clay to make the fossil. I took them home and baked their “fossils” for 30 minutes at 220 degrees. The students were very excited to create these masterpieces and share them with their families at home.

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Here are some closeups of a few of the “fossils” which included a fossil of some dinosaur tracks made by a larger toy dinosaur seen below.

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Thank you to Mrs. Ware for doing this hands-on activity with the students!!

After making their “fossils”, they had a special opportunity to view an actual fish fossil that was millions of years old! Mary brought in a fossil that her mother, a science teacher, allowed her to share with the class. It was so interesting to examine the specimen and see how much this ancient fish looks like today’s fish. Thank you to Mary and her mother for sharing the fish fossil with us! Can you find your scientist in the photos below?

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Can you find YOUR scientist in the photos below?
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A Few Eye-Popping Hands-On Activities in Second Grade!

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Second graders working hard on estimating and counting!

Mrs. Saucier invited our class to join them in a special popcorn hands-on learning activity. The students in the two classes were paired up and they were given a math worksheet that asked them to estimate how many pieces of popcorn would fill four different shapes. After making their estimates, they had to fill the shapes with popcorn kernels and count the actual amount that fit.

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Julian and a friend work on filling the shape with popcorn kernels.

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Mrs. Saucier showing off the freshly popped popcorn! It was amazing how many students had never seen popcorn being popped before!

The students estimated how many pieces of “popped” popcorn would fit the same shapes. Then they filled the shapes with the popped corn.

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Khushi, Gabe and a friend happily discuss their estimates.

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Cecily records her teams results.

After the worksheets were completed, everyone enjoyed some freshly popped popcorn! YUM!  Thank you to Mrs. Saucier for inviting us to share this activity with you and your students. It is fun to learn with friends from other classrooms!

Today we started an experiment where we are trying to see if the popcorn kernels, which we learned are seeds, will sprout. We put them in a ziploc bag with a wet paper towel and sealed it. We’ll let you know what happens in a few days. We will continue our popcorn themed activities by reading “The Popcorn Book” by Tomie dePaola.

We also did another states of matter experiment. This time we put the baking soda inside a balloon. Then we put the vinegar inside a water bottle. We tipped the baking soda up and it mixed the solid baking soda with the liquid vinegar which produced carbon dioxide, a gas, which rose out of the bottle. The carbon dioxide gas expanded and filled the balloon.

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Khushi holds up the experiment before we mixed the baking soda and the vinegar.

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The students are cheering…and hoping that the balloon would pop. Luckily it didn’t!

Finally, I want to congratulate our class for winning the weekly reading challenge again this week. This time our class received some outdoor playground supplies (a skip-it, some sidewalk chalk and two frisbies). Now all we need is some nice spring weather so we can use them! Thank you to the PTO for being so generous and encouraging reading. This reading program has been fun!