Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 58 - Mayflower Project - Mrs. Cunha - Pine Glen Third Grade

Miss Fallon came to Room 203 this morning to help us bring the Mayflower to life with an art project.  Students were given parts of the Mayflower to read about and draw what was in each part of the ship.  After they drew a detailed picture, it was glued onto the Mayflower.  Once completed it will be hanging in the main hallway of our school.  

Thank you Miss Fallon for another wonderful lesson!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 57 - Tree Walks With iPads - Wendy Pavlicek - Burlington Science Center Director

With being a 1:1 school district in Burlington (K-12), I wanted to incorporate the use of iPads into some of my life science lessons while also helping teachers to implement using the iPads during Science.  At the end of the second grade unit on trees, teachers have asked me to take their classes outside on a tree walk.  The students had an opportunity to meet and identify the most common type of trees they find in their backyards and school grounds.  The walk was based on the idea of a “scientist” (me) taking the students on a verbal tour of the trees in their schoolyard.  This tour included a review of tree parts and functions, how we identify different trees and a closer look at each of the trees leaves, seeds and bark.  I wanted to change the tree walk experience in a way that had greater student involvement, while still connecting to their prior learning.  I saw this as a potential way to help teachers and students journal and collect data outside of their classrooms and in the real world.  It would also give students practice on usig the Ipad as a tool for taking pictures, editing information and producing a product of their own.
Massachusetts is on its way to adopting new science standards, which are based off the national science standards (NGSS).  These standards have greater emphasis on scientific practices balanced with specific core science ideas.  The goal is to have students use their application of knowledge to demonstrate scientific skills and understanding.  The tree book design and development focuses on obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information about trees.
The objectives of this lesson were to have students be able to identify 3 common tree species and their parts, including their leaves, bark and seeds and how they were different.  I wanted students to extend their classroom learning to the outdoors.  I decided the end result was to have the students design and create their own tree guide booklet using Book Creator on their iPad.
During the first class students are introduced to the names of the 3 species of trees.  There are examples of a leaf and seed from each of the tree species.  Students then sketched each leaf and seed with appropriate labels. This gave the student an idea of what each tree’s leaves and seeds looked like.

Then I took each class outside for their tree walk to make their tree field guides.  Each student had to take pictures of the whole tree from top to bottom,  a picture of its leaf, seed and bark.  Then it was repeated for the other two types of trees.
The photos were then used to make their tree field guides in the next 1-2 class periods.  The classroom teachers collaborated wth the technology support staff in each school to help students design their tree books.
Students then shared their tree books during an additional class period.  The tree books included diagrams of the tree and its parts, 3 species of common trees in their school yard (with their own pictures of leaf, seed and bark) and some knowledge or facts they learned that they did not know before the tree unit was taught.  Students shared their tree books and their findings through oral presentations with their classmates.

From my experience, I found students were excited about creating their own tree book.  They kept asking if they could take pictures of other trees and wanted to identify them.  They enjoyed being outdoors and taking photographs of objects they were studying.   I found they were able to identify the tree species from their previous experience with the sketching of the tree items in the prior class.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 56 - Classroom Summary of the Week - Miss Varrell - Pine Glen Second Grade

This post first appeared on Miss Varrell's Blog

Here's what we did this week...

In Math we began our next topic, Topic 6, which focuses on Mental Addition strategies. We learned that when we add double digit numbers that aremultiples of ten, we can use a 'math fact' strategy to help us solve the problem in our heads. For example, if your problem is

                                                              20 + 70 =

and you know that 2 + 7 = 9, then you can use the pattern to solve the larger problem:

                                                              20 + 70 = 90

Another strategy we used was adding on using a visualized hundred chart. We know that when you add a ten to a number, you move down one row and when you add a one you move to the right one box. If you have a double digit problem like:

                                                               40 + 51 =

you can add mentally by starting with the larger number and adding on the tens (and then the ones, if there are any) like this:
                                                          51... 61... 71... 81... 91
                        add on 40 or 4 tens   (+10  +10  +10  +10)

so...                                                         40 + 51 = 91

We also learned how to use two other Mental Addition strategies for when we add double digit addends that are not multiples of 10:

  • Break apart both addends to add the tens and then ones (a.k.a. Keep Both);
                                                             34 + 11 = ?
                                                 30 + 10 = 40 and 4 + 1 = 5 so...
                                                             40 + 5 = 45 and so...
                                                             34 + 11 = 45
  • Keep one addend whole and break apart the other number (a.k.a. Keep 1, Break 1)
                                                             34 + 11 = ?
                                                  34 + 10 = 44 and 44 + 1 = 45 so...
                                                             34 + 11 = 45

In Fundations we began working with multisyllabic words, we added more suffixes and vowel sounds to our reading skills 'toolbox,'  and we learned a new spelling rule! When working with a multisyllabic word, if the word ends with a syllable that includes a short vowel sound followed by the sound of /k/, it is usually spelled with a c (and not a ck, like monosyllabic words). Some of the new suffixes we worked with this week were: -less, -ness, -ment, -en, -able, -ish, and -ful.

In Miss Varrell's reading class we continued our work with visualizing as acomprehension skill. We used Post-It notes to draw sketches and take brief notes as we read our independent texts.

We also completed writing our first comments in our Kidblogs. Our blogging assignment was to  write a comment in response to Miss Varrell's post. Next time we work in our blogs we'll write our own posts and Miss Varrell will comment on ours! When students conferred about reading goals andstrategies this week, here are some of the topics that were discussed:
  • Adding reasons to comprehension comments written in reading logs (adding a 'because' clause);
  • Choosing books that are more challenging instead of always choosing books that are 'comfortable'--take a reading risk!;
  • Varying book choices with different genres;
  • Remembering to write book titles read in the reading log;
  • Writing comments/responses in reading logs as a chapter or shorter picture book is completed and not waiting until the end;
  • Applying the skills learned class to create comments/responses for the books we read.

In Writing Workshop this week we continued to work on personal narratives. Since we completed our first narratives where we were directed to write about a specific topic (gerbils), this week we began writing personal narratives about topics of our choice. Some of us have been so enthusiastic about writing that we have asked if we can write every day after recess! We also had an extra special celebration this week. One of our classmates became an author OUTSIDE of school for the very first time! Check out this newspaper article published in the Burlington Union Education section on Thursday:
Althea's personal narrative makes it into the Burlington Union!

In Computers this week Mrs. Ardizzoni came in and taught a lesson on digital citizenship. She talked about different ways we can be safe online and also introduced us to QR codes. She had us practice scanning with our iPads so that we could visit two different websites: our class blog and the Houston Zoo! We had a lot of fun discovering what was on these two sites while still being safe. 

In science we began a new unit on the moon. On Monday we added to our RAN chart to show what we 'think' we already know about the moon. As we read and research facts about the moon, we will move our Post-It thoughts into one of the following categories: confirmed informationmisconceptions or wonderings. After we filled out our Post-Its, we began reading about what the moon is made out of and why it seems to change shape. We learned that the moon:
  • is made of rock and dust
  • is colorless
  • is airless
  • is lifeless
  • has cliffs, ledges, volcanoes and craters
  • does not produce its own light
  • reflects the sun
  • is not a planet or a star; it is a moon!
  • orbits the earth
  • is a type of satellite
  • has no gravity
  • takes a month to orbit the earth
  • has eight phases (steps or stages)
We made mock moons (illustrated representations) that we will turn into a class nonfiction book at the end of our unit. When you have a chance this weekend, try to observe the moon and notice what phase it is in: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, or waning crescent.

Weekend Challenge Activity: Look outside at the moon. Draw a picture of what it looks like in the sky. Write a poem about it! Bring your illustration and poem into school on Monday to share.

  • A big thank you goes out to Christine Warren at the Burlington Union. We hope to send her more pieces of writing from our classroom each month.
  • Wednesday, November 26 is a half day of school. Lunch will not be served and dismissal will be 11:15am.
  • Please make sure your child has his/her name labeled inside all winter accessories. 
  • Stay warm this weekend!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 55 - Why Is Math Different Now? - Carrie Fortunato - BPS Math Coach

Our district math coach, Carrie Fortunato, shared this video which was created by Dr. Raj Shah of Math Plus Academy.  The video was created as an explanation for parents in regards to why math has changed so much since they were in school.

The bulleted points below highlight some of the key takeaways from the video.

  • The biggest question for parents: Why are they teaching math so differently now than they did when we were growing up? 
  •  We have decades of research that show that teaching people to memorize algorithms and execute procedures hasn't work for the majority of learners.
  • With the technology available to people, being able to execute an algorithm in arithmetic to get an answer is a fairly useless skill.
  • We need to teach kids to think and understand and use different strategies to solve problems.
  • Research shows that when you give people a conceptual understanding of what's going on then it helps them understand concepts.
  • Executing algorithms can be kinds of boring, but learning how to solve problems can be fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 54 - Going Places Safely On The Internet - Michelle Ardizzoni - Pine Glen Elementary IT Specialist

Second grade students are learning about what it means to be "online" and how to safely visit "just right" websites on the internet, meaning those that a teacher, parent, or guardian has given permission to visit.  Students experienced how far reaching the internet spans, both by observing locations labeled on a globe and via websites.  We visited two "just right" websites, one was their homeroom teacher, Miss Varrell's blog and the other was the Huston Zoo, specifically the Huston Zoo Animal Webcams

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 53 - New School, New Routine - Lauren Zanotti - Pine Glen Guidance Counselor

Hello PG families!

My name is Lauren Zanotti and I am the new School Counselor here at Pine Glen. I am thrilled to be in this new position and I am continuing to settle into my new role. Along with this being a new role, I am also new to using technology in my role as a Counselor. I am excited to have a forum in which I can share ideas and activities that I am working on with students and also use as a space to share articles, tips and hints to help your child be successful and healthy both in and out of school.

Besides being a counselor, I enjoy cooking, being active (yoga, hiking) and spending time with my family and friends. I recently became an Aunt which has been another new and exciting role to play! I live in Boston and love driving out to Burlington where I find peace and quiet among my normally busy, urban environment!

I greatly look forward to getting to know you and your student this year at Pine Glen.

I can be reached at or 781-270-1715 if you have any information you'd like to share or questions you may have about your student.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 52 - Scenes from A Streetcar Named Desire + Feedback - Mrs. Ford - BHS English Department

The post below originally appeared on Mrs. Ford's Blog
Pairs of students were tasked with performing scenes from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. The audience then provided feedback in the form of constructive criticism to each pair. Each pair went off to work on their scenes again, and the following videos display the final result. The audience was then able to provide additional constructive criticism, marked below as “Comments for…”

Alisa & Jesus:

Comments For Alisa & Jesus:  

Alison & Coulter:

Comments For Alison & Coulter:

Briana & Will:

Comments For Briana & Will:

Olivia & Leoterio:

Comments For Olivia & Leoterio: