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

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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. 

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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!

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Say “READ” instead of cheese!

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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.

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

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

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

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Dominic’s catcher included an Irish flag.

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Nick’s catcher had pot of gold.

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

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The leprechauns left a message on our projector!

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They stacked our special library chairs….

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

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

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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!

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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!”

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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.

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The students’ writing on proud display!

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Mia’s writing project

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Britney’s pot of gold

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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.

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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!

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Finishing up October in C-8

We wrapped up our dinosaur and fossil unit by writing nonfiction informational reports about a specific dinosaur. In order to do this, the students were paired up and assigned a dinosaur. They had to work together to research in our numerous dinosaur resources about their dinosaur and put this information on a graphic organizer. Then they had to work individually to write their rough draft. They met with Mrs. Riordan to edit and then they copied their final report. Finally they illustrated their reports. It was a challenging project for them but they worked certainly hard.IMG_2966 IMG_2965 IMG_2964 IMG_2960 IMG_2959 IMG_2958

But October wasn’t all work and no fun. We had a special visit from Ronald McDonald as part of our Community of Caring program.  

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Ronald taught the children important life lessons!

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Happy Halloween from C-8!

Finally, we finished October with Halloween. Our school was decorated like the movie the Wizard of Oz and our Principal, Ms. Smith along with most of the staff dressed up as the characters from the movie. It was an exciting day!

Exciting Exploding Experiment!

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Our first experiment!

As part of our study of states of matter, we did some kitchen chemistry today. The first experiment involved mixing baking soda and vinegar in a plastic bottle. The students got to see the solid baking soda mix with the liquid vinegar and form a solution that released gas bubbles.  Then we tried a second experiment….the exploding bag experiment!

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Baking soda on the tissue!

The first step was to put a few teaspoons of baking soda on a tissue! Then we poured vinegar into a plastic sandwich bag.

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Jake and Sal hold the vinegar and baking soda.

The first time we did the experiment, I dropped just the baking soda into the vinegar. The carbon dioxide gas caused the bag to explode almost immediately. The students begged me to try the experiment again.  We repeated the experiment but this time, I dropped the entire tissue into the bag. This caused the reaction to slow down enough for the students to see how the gas was trapped inside the bag.

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The gas is trapped in the ziploc bag.

I asked Maggie to hold up the bag to show the other students and allow me to take a better photo.

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Maggie holds up the bag for the camera so we can see the trapped gas better.

Suddenly the bag exploded while Maggie was holding the bag which caught her by surprise!

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Maggie was a bit surprised when it exploded!

Then the students were scientists and had to write up their experiment to share with their families including the materials, procedure, and results. Although the photos are a bit out of focus, I wanted to be able to share the results of this experiment with our families. You can clearly see from the students’ faces how much they enjoyed this experiment. When Kendra was asked what she thought of this experiment, she communicated to us that she thought it was her “favorite” and that it was “exciting”.  I agree, Kendra. It was exciting for me to see the class so engaged in this learning experience!

The Leprechauns Came! (and a couple of other “news items!”)

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Our rainbow was hanging from the ceiling. Chairs were all wrong.

Those tricky leprechauns came and played a lot of tricks on us this past week but they saved their best tricks for last! This is what the room looked like when we arrived after the weekend!

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They left us a message on the white board.

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I think they scared our stuffed dinosaur who was hanging or hiding from our flag.

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They left a message for Maggie inside her trap too!

The students thought we might have captured one or more of the leprechauns because Avery’s catcher was sealed shut. The children all breathlessly peaked inside to see what they had caught.

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Cautiously checking inside Avery’s catcher!

There were NO LEPRECHAUNS inside! But these two looked as if THEY were leprechauns!

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C8’s resident leprechauns….Katie and Gabe!

Although the students didn’t catch a leprechaun this time, they did get a special Lucky Charms breakfast treat from Mrs. Riordan. They also got to sample some wonderful homemade Irish soda bread made by Maggie’s grandmother and delivered by Maggie’s mom! It was so yummy again this year. And this year, many more children were brave and tried the Irish bread with raisins.  I couldn’t take a photo because it was gobbled up so fast!

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Lucky teacher, Lucky children, Green tongues!

We did a special writing project today where the children wrote about someone who was worth more than gold to them. It was interesting to read the wide variety of responses which ranged from parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, to their dog and Tuukka Rask!

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St. Patrick’s Day Writing

We did some St. Patrick’s themed worksheets and read stories from Ireland by my favorite Irish writer, Eve Bunting. Then we practiced our reading comprehension by reading an article about St. Patrick and looking for key information in the article to answer the questions. At the end of the day, we were surprise to find that the leprechauns left a gift for us in the office.  A pot of gold….candy! Those tricky leprechauns also hid all the items they had stolen from our traps underneath the candy.

All in all, it was a pretty magical day in C-8!

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Yummy Gold!

If you would like to see all of the students’ awesome leprechaun catchers, you can see them on the student work page of this blog! Check them out!

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Lowell Sun Reporter John Collins visits second grade.

On another note, I forgot to post a couple photos from last week. We had a visit with the Lowell Sun Local News reporter, John Collins. The children went to Mrs. Porcello’s classroom and got to learn what it like to be a newspaper reporter. The children asked great questions and learned a lot.

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Second graders make a body clock!

One last photo of our students learning kinesthetically how to tell time….or in other words, with their bodies. Some children were the numbers on the clock and two students were the hands of the clock. They also used individual plastic clocks to record the time. They enjoyed this hands-on learning!

Illustrator Ralph Masiello Visits Brookside!

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Mr. Masiello explains how changing the writing on the book covers makes it more interesting.

Our morning started in an exciting way today! The students were invited to attend a special presentation in the cafeteria. Illustrator Ralph Masiello came to our school to teach our students how he grew up from a small boy who thought he couldn’t draw to becoming an illustrator. He talked about how his teachers saw and believed in his talent even before he did. He explained what the job of being an illustrator involves.

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He explains how his oil paintings are scanned into books.

The students learned how the publishers take his drawings and paintings and scans them into books that he or other authors have written.  They learned that it can take a long time to make all the illustrations for one book and that he sometimes is working on 2 or 3 books at once.

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Mr. Masiello showed the students skulls he used to help him illustrate The Skull Alphabet book.

He explained how he does his research for the illustrations. Sometimes he uses photographs and other times he uses actual objects such as the skulls of monkeys or panda bears.

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The second graders were so engaged by his presentation.

The students were very well behaved and interested in the presentation. Mr. Masiello was so entertaining that he had the students (and teachers) laughing as we learned! Then he demonstrated how he makes sketches for his books and showed the children how they can do it too.

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He explained how he could do this Egyptian drawing.

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The Sphinx needs a pyramid in the background.

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The signed completed drawing we have hanging in our classroom.

He generously made one drawing for each classroom at Brookside.

He was also very attentive to our classmate Kendra.

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Another drawing demonstration! This time he showed them how to draw a dragon.

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The completed dragon drawing!

I was VERY EXCITED that he autographed my book.

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He autographed Mrs. Riordan’s copy of The Icky Bug Alphabet Book!

When the presentation was over, the second grade teachers had the idea of having our students practice being authors and illustrators themselves by working together to make a special alphabet thank you book for Mr. Masiello. Mrs. Saucier, Mrs. Porcello, Mrs. Robson, and Mrs. Riordan divided the students into groups of 2, 3 or 4. Each group was assigned a letter of the alphabet. They worked together to plan their thank you sentence based on that letter and sketched their illustration to go with it. Then they collaborated to make their final copy on larger construction paper.

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Gabe and some other second graders work on the G page of the Alphabet Thank You book.

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Oorjaa and some new friends plan their page.

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I agree with these students. Mr. Masiello was hilarious!

The finished alphabet thank you book was presented to Mr. Masiello who was so pleased with it that he asked permission to mention it on HIS website.  His website is : ralphmasiello.com and you can learn more about him on his website.  Thank you Mr. Masiello for visiting today!

Penguins and More Penguins!

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Jacob and Michael writing facts about the Emperor Penguin.

The C8 students are learning about penguins as part of their study of the habitats of Antarctica and the Arctic. The students reached into a bag and drew out a paper drawing of one of six species of penguins. Then they went to work on filling in graphic organizers with the information they gathered. They worked cooperatively with classmates who also drew the same species of penguin. They worked very hard learning details such as the height, weight, prey, predators, appearance, and habitat and then went to work recording this information. They will use these to write reports on their penguin next week.

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Thomas and Katie hard at work learning about the Adelie Penguin.

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Jayden, Fatima, and Cecily share resources on the Gentoo Penguin.

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The King penguin was the penguin that Hailey and Oorjaa were lucky to get.

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Miss Morning works with the Macaroni Penguin group of Gabriel, Gavin, and Tierra.

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We made a rookery of penguins!

 

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Kendra shared her penguin collage too!

They also made these awesome penguin collages in art with the art para, Ms. Ross. Aren’t they cute!

We Love Our Grandparents and Special Guests!

On Friday, January 10th, we welcomed our grandparents and special guests for a special visit. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work for the second grade. They learned a song called “Family Tree” and learned sign language to go along with it. Each second grade class learned a special poem too. Our class learned the poem “Our Family Comes from Around the World.” They also worked very hard writing about a special memory with their grandparent.

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We are proud of our special grandparent memory writing pieces!

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Writing about our special memories was hard work but it was worth it!

Mrs. Riordan started the morning by greeting everyone. Then the students got to give their grandparents a tour of our classroom, read a story with them, or just enjoy spending time with them. While this was going on, Mrs. Riordan had the opportunity to meet and take a special photograph of each set of grandparents and grandchild.

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Second grade ready to perform!

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C8’s smiling second grade students want to make their grandparents proud.

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The students did a great job singing and signing “Family Tree!”

Then the grandparents and special guests were invited to travel to the cafeteria for a yummy breakfast treat. The students then took the stage for their performance. They did a wonderful job singing, signing and reciting for the grandparents. Sadly it was time for the  event to end which was done with goodbyes and lots of hugs.

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On behalf of the second grade teachers and students, Mrs. Riordan thanks all the grandparents and special guests for attending.

We have lots of people to thank for making this visit possible. Thank you to Ms. Smith and the school department for providing the funds for the yummy breakfast food. Thank you to our custodians, Bill and Tony, and the cafeteria staff for all their assistance in setting up the cafeteria. A special thank you to Ms. Turnbow, the music teacher, for teaching the song and sign language during her music class. Special thanks to Mrs. Rhodes who came in to volunteer to help us during the event. Finally, thank you to ALL the grandparents and special guests who traveled through snowy weather and endured traffic and parking challenges to be present for their grandchild. You made it possible for your grandchild to add a new special memory to their young life. It was so nice to visit with you and I hope you will continue to follow all the second grade happenings on our classroom website/blog.

A Special Visitor and Another Xtramath Superstar!

Today we had a special visitor, Mr. Berube who taught us about Antarctica. He is a Dracut resident who traveled as a Naval Seabee to Antarctica when he was 24 years old. DSC_0338_2 Mr. Berube was stationed for four months at McMurdo Station. He showed the class photos from his time there in the 1960’s. Mr. Berube told about his experiences there and answered all the children (and adults) questions. He also shared a National Science Foundation DVD about Antarctica with us.images DSC_0337_2

The children were attentive and seemed to enjoy learning about live on this faraway continent. Sal was so excited he kept saying “I am so going there!”

DSC_0341_2 He brought in some of the clothing that he used when he was stationed in Antarctica. Avery is holding the hood from his parka and the children got to feel the wolverine fur.Here the children are passing around the warm gloves he needed when he was there.

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Mr. Berube brought in some rubber boots like the ones he wore in Antarctica. Mr. Berube explaining that these are the actual boots he wore in the Navy because he had to return those.

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One of the favorite parts of the visit was when Mr. Berube pulled out two rocks from Antarctica and he let all the children touch them. How many people can say they have touched a rock from Antarctica?

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Thank you Mr. Berube for spending time with us and sharing your knowledge and experiences with our second grade class!

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We have another Xtramath Superstar! Gavin L. has mastered the addition level.  Congratulations Gavin! On to subtraction!

The children asked if I would extend the deadline for the Scholastic Book club order until tomorrow. Please have all orders sent in to me or online by tomorrow!

Latkes and Applesauce

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I forgot to take a photo but this image looks like what they ate. I cheated a bit and fried crispy crowns to save time but they got the idea.

Today we made “latkes” and ate latkes and applesauce to help us learn about some Hanukkah traditions as part of our Traditions and Customs unit. The children all loved them and our classroom smelled wonderful for the rest of the day! Then the children wrote a paragraph about latkes as part of their writer’s workshop.  Later, the class brainstormed on a venn diagram things they knew (or thought they knew) about Hanukkah and Christmas. At first they thought the two holidays didn’t share much in common. But after we did a read-aloud of “Light the Lights : A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas”, they revised their venn diagram and realized that there are many things common to the two holidays.

Our Scholastic book order came in today and I distributed the books to the students who ordered books. A new order form went home with the children today and is due Wednesday, December 11th. Keep in mind that the books from this order will probably not be in before Christmas break. Our parent volunteer today thought it might be helpful to remind everyone that purchasing books through the classroom is not only a great deal for you, it has the added benefit of providing the classroom with bonus points which can be used to get “good stuff” for our classroom. I also want to point out something new this year with Scholastic. Each month they choose one book and if 5 students order that book, the classroom receives a free copy of that book. This month’s chosen book is about Polar Bears.

 

Interactive Writing Journals

I have started using Interactive Writing journals with the students. Basically it’s a two way journal in a notebook that the students and I write back and forth in. They write to me and I respond by asking questions and making comments. They then read what I wrote and write back again. It is a great way to strengthen both reading and writing in a meaningful way. I love how much I already know about your children after just a few entries. Here is one example that made my day! I hope this child will always feel that “math is so much fun” and “reading is the best thing in the world!”

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