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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Where In the World Are We?, Dinosaurs and Fossils, Doubles Game, and One Awesome Mathematician!

Before we get to the photos, I would like to first try to clear up some confusion about the Fundations packet that still exists. Last week, the students should have just completed Tuesday’s 4 dictated words, Wednesday’s 5 dictated words and Thursday’s sentence on the Week 1 writing grid that is in the back of the packet. If your child did not do them last week, please catch up on them this week. The Week 1 words and sentence are located on the back of the parent letter page on the front of the packet. This week, the children will be doing the Week 2 words and sentence on Tuesday through Thursday. The children should write them on the Week 2 writing grid.

The students were told not to do the remaining worksheets last week because they had not had the in-class lessons they needed to properly understand and complete these worksheets yet. They have now learned about marking the digraphs and open and closed syllables. Tonight’s homework is to complete page 8. Tomorrow, they will be asked to complete page 9 in addition to the 4 dictated words. Wednesday, they will complete page 10 in addition to the 5 dictated words. If your child started these worksheets last week, please have your child go over them and fix any mistakes. The entire completed packet should be ready to pass in on Friday morning.

I hope our C-8 families have a better understanding about the expectations for the at-home packet. Now for some fun photos!

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Where in the world are we? Sharing our flipbooks!

The C-8 students completed a Social Studies unit about communities recently.  After reading the book, Me on the Map, we created flipbooks that started with our school, Brookside, and went from its street to Dracut, to Massachusetts, to the United States of America, to North America and finally to our planet Earth. Hopefully this hands-on activity helped the children to have a better concept of their place in the world.

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Here’s a closeup of one of our flipbooks.

After finishing our Social Studies unit, we moved into our Science unit on . . . DINOSAURS and FOSSILS!

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Our friendly dinosaur!!

 

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We are enjoying learning so much about these interesting extinct creatures by reading these fiction books and non-fiction books.

Check out our new doubles math game!

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We are learning our doubles math facts with this doubles math game. The students pair up and chant the doubles while holding up fingers representing the partners.

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When they reach 5+5, they “high five” and when they finish with 10 +10, they do a “high ten!” Lots of smiles and giggles disguised the fact that they were learning their facts!

Speaking of math facts, I am proud to announce that we have our first student to complete the Addition level of  Xtramath. This means that he was able to complete each of his 100 addition facts in under 3 seconds! He also managed to do this in just 14 days of practice. I think this is a new record! Congratulations Nicholas! I hope he is the first of many C-8 students this year!

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Nicholas, Addition Mathematician Extraordinaire!!

P.S. In case you didn’t know, clicking on the photo makes it larger! Hope you enjoyed the photos!

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:

http://www.digital-week.info/education/mapping_our_world/mapping_our_world/05-GlobeUnwrapped/GlobeUnwrapped.htm

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.

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Sal and his partner get comfortable on the rug.

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Hailey and Jordan discuss what they are learning.

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Garrett and Gavin researching with their atlas.

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All the students worked very hard the entire time!

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Gabe and his new friend writing down the facts.

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Fatima and her partner worked well together.

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Jayden and his partner working very hard too!

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

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

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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!

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

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Miss Jen and I are so proud of Kendra!

 

Lots of Learning to Share! ~ Part 1

February is such a busy month at school. We learned about Chinese New Year. Our class got to try out the tool that the DHS Mandarin teacher demonstrated when she was here earlier in the year. The students used brushes and water to try to create characters. It was hard to wait for the water to evaporate though. They enjoyed it so much that they continued using it during bus dismissal!

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Danielle demonstrates for Kendra how to use the brush.

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Cecily and Tierra try to create some Chinese characters.

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Meah takes the writing seriously!

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Katie and Maggie try it too!

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Ryan and Michael discuss their work!

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Khushi, Tierra, Oorjaa and Fatima still writing while waiting for the buses to be called!

Danielle brought in a Chinese money envelope that  contains actual Chinese money which the children got to touch and examine. We discussed how it was the same and how it was different from American money.

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Thank you Danielle for sharing this with your classmates!

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The students also wanted to share the Chinese Dragon puppets they made in art!

 

 

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.

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Everyone waiting for the video chat to begin!

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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.

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Ryan R. greets his cousin Neil!

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Neil was pleased to see a familiar face!

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

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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.

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

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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.”

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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.

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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!

Lots to Celebrate in C-8 This Week!

 

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We got a wonderful surprise in the mail this week. We got this postcard from Ryan R’s cousin Neil Foley who is a PhD student/researcher working in Antarctica right now!

 

 

Here is the back of the postcard where Neil sends a personal message to the class. I especially got a kick out of his describing himself as a student in the “18th grade”!

 

 

It’s not everyday you see a postmark from Antarctica! Thank you to Ryan and his family for putting us in touch with Neil.

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SSS ~ Smiling Superstar Sal!

We have our first Multiplication Extramath Superstar! Congratulations to Salvatore D. for completing the Multiplication Level of Extramath. He has moved on to division! Way to go Sal! We’re proud of you!

Tuesday was the 80th day of school and our math superhero friend, Zero the Hero, stopped by with an estimating challenge for the students. The children had to estimate the number of hard candies were in the jar. Then we counted the candies together….there were 144. Finally, the students had to figure out the difference between their estimate and the actual result.

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We completed the challenge!

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A New Math Challenge from Zero the Hero!

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!

Our International Tasting Party Starring C8 Family Recipes!

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Cecily’s mother brought in this lovely Swedish cinnamon roll ring. You can also see Katie’s Pepparkakor, a Swedish spice cookie and Hailey’s Russian Tea Cookies!

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Salvatore’s parents brought in homemade Italian pizza warm from the oven! You can also see Maggie’s Kourabiedes (Greek cookies) and Avery’s Italian cookies!

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We had special Indian treats from Khushi and Oorjaa, delicious Columbian rice pudding from Julian, Jayden’s yummy French food and Italian chocolates and Pizzelles from Ryan and Kendra’s families.

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Fatima’s West African Meat Pies share the table with Danielle’s Gorton from Canada. You can also see Kiara’s Irish soda bread, as well as Jacob and Thomas’ special Columbian treats!

Today we had our International Tasting Party with the C8 Families sending in DELICIOUS food made from cherished family recipes from around the world! The wide assortment of food represented the ethnic backgrounds of our C8 Families which range from South and Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia! We are very thankful for all the families who took their time to make and send in these delicacies for us to sample. You helped to make it a very special day for the students! I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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Special thanks to Mrs. Rhodes and Ms. Morning for helping me to set up the Tasting Party! Things wouldn’t have gone as smoothly without you both!!

Learning About Chinese Culture & Traditions from Ms. Chen

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Thank you Mrs. Lord for arranging this visit with Ms. Chen!

As part of our study of Traditions and Customs, we were so lucky to have Ms. Jinyun Chen, the Chinese Teacher at Dracut High School, come to visit the second grade to teach us about the tradition and customs of her Chinese homeland. In addition to a PowerPoint, Ms. Chen brought in lots of things to share her Chinese culture with us.  Mrs. Lord used the Chinese stamp to stamp each child’s homework notebook with a special Chinese character.

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Here are some of the objects that Ms. Chen taught the children about today.

 

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We learned about special Chinese dresses and Chinese lanterns. We noticed that red is an important color for the Chinese people.

We learned about Chinese food, sports, arts, writing, celebrations, and so much more.

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Ms. Chen taught us about Chinese character writing. We learned that they use a brush, ink and water to write from top to bottom. She had a special scroll that would work like “magic” and the characters would disappear so we could use it again and again to practice!

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Fatima was just one of the students who got to try to “write” with the brush on the Chinese scroll. All the children will get to try this when the scroll comes to their classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maggie and Jacob try shuttlecock. While they had some power, they need to work on their control! (Mrs. Riordan ducking from rogue shuttlecock!)

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Everyone enjoying trying Tai Chi!

Some of the children got to try a Chinese game of shuttlecock. Mrs. Riordan even tried it! Then Ms. Chen taught us all Tai Chi which is a slow moving martial art.  We ended the presentation by learning to sing a song in Mandarin and asking questions. Thank you, Ms. Chen for sharing your knowledge with us so enthusiastically! The children had wonderful time and we want to thank Danielle’s mother (and DHS Foreign Language Dept. Chairperson) for setting up this wonderful experience.

Oh and don’t forget that our Tasting Party is tomorrow! I can’t wait to sample all the yummy ethnic treats!