Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my Adventures in Elementary Education

Weekly Learning Goals Feb. 12th-15th

February12

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Happy 100th Day of School! Happy 4 day school week!  We have a lot to celebrate this week!  First and foremost I want to thank all of the families who ordered books from our Scholastic Book order in January.  Thanks to your orders, we were able to choose over 20 books for our classroom library for FREE!  Not only that, but due to the large order EVERY student in our class got a FREE book from Scholastic books to keep!  

We will be celebrating Valentine’s Day at the end of the day with a brief celebration.  Thank you to our room mom for setting that up!  On Thursday we will be celebrating our 100th day of school.  We will have fun reviewing 100 things we’ve learned this year!  Please see below for our weekly learning goals and helpful videos.

Language Arts:  This week we will be wrapping up our lesson on sequencing and summarizing.  We will have a test on Wednesday covering those skills as well as our weekly vocabulary words and the active and passive voice for verbs.

Math:  We started Unit 5 last week.  We will be continuing working with fractions this week.  Specifically, we will be adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators.

 

Writing:  We will be going for gold with figurative language this week!  Check out the link below to see what we’ll be up to!

Going for Gold in Figurative Language-1gog7w5

Science:  We are learning about matter this week.  We conducted our first investigation last week and will be conducting our second one this week.  The kids are LOVING science and I am loving seeing them excited about learning!

 

 

Weekly Learning Goals Week of Feb. 5th-9th

February5

E-A-G-L-E-S! Fly Eagles Fly!  All chants I am hearing as I work on this post!  What an exciting weekend!  We started it off sharing our Eagles pride Friday.

We also attended a showing of the Middle Twp Step Team’s African American History Month performance last Thursday.  We are incredibly proud of our very on Gabrielle!

This week we will be starting the third marking period.  We will also be starting Science for the year.  I’m not sure who is more excited, the kids or me!  Take a peak below for our weekly learning goals and some helpful videos.

Language Arts:  This week we will be reading a Biography and working on sequencing and summarizing.  We will have a test on drawing conclusions and vocabulary on Tuesday.

Math:  We will be taking our Unit 4 test on Monday and our Cumulative Test on Tuesday.  Wednesday starts Unit 5- adding and subtracting fractions.  Before we add and subtract, however, we will work on finding common denominators.

Science:  We will begin working with the concept of matter this week.

 

Weekly Objectives Week of Jan. 29-Feb. 2

January28

This week we are saying good bye to our first month together and welcoming in February.  We have had a great time over the last two short weeks getting to know each other and learning new things each day!  I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our favorite new things!  Each day, we learn a new way to greet each other.  So far we know how to say hello in Spanish (hola), French (bonjour), German (hallo and gutan tag), Russian (zdorovo), Welsh (s’mae), Italian (ciao), and Chinese (ni hao).  The kids are super excited each day to learn our greeting of the day!

 

 

We have also completed our first classroom challenge!  Each week students earn a chance to complete a classwide classroom challenge if we are able to keep all the letters of CHALLENGE displayed all week.  To keep our letters, we must follow class and school rules and work together as a team.  Challenge task #1 was to create a list of random acts of kindness that and record them on a book mark.  Students worked in pairs and came up with some wonderful ideas that I hope to see enacted!

 

This particular classroom challenge fit in perfectly with our read aloud.  We started reading/listening to Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, last week.  Students are learning about not judging others by their appearance, the WONDERful gifts that we all possess and can share with the world, and choosing to be kind.  In the book the main character, Auggie, has many unusual facial features.  He is often judged based on his appearance rather than who he truly is.  Throughout the book, he teaches his friends and many adults too to not judge a book by its cover.  This book has a very special meaning for me.  My son also has many special abilities and is often judged based on them.  I love teaching my students about acceptance and being judgement free.  In the book, Auggie’s teacher begins each month by introduce a new precept, or life rule.  We will be incorporating this concept into our class as well.  For February, our precept will be “When given the choice to be right or be kind, choose kind.”

Weekly Lesson Topics:

Language Arts:  This week we will be ready about Molly Pitcher and learning about using details from the text to draw conclusions and make generalizations.  Please visit the spelling and vocabulary pages to the right to review this week’s words and definitions.  Below is a short video about drawing conclusions:

 

Math:  We will be wrapping up Unit 4 this week and testing next Monday.  This week we will cover adding and subtracting decimals and money using algorithms that we already know.  For those of us that learned math “the old way”, I have embedded a few videos to help you understand the Everyday Math way:

Science:  I am super excited to start science for the year!  I love science experiments!  We will begin the actual science curriculum next Monday.  Before we start experimenting however, we will spend Thursday and Friday of this week learning about science safety and creating safety posters.  To that end, please enjoy this fun science safety video!

 

Important dates:

Feb. 1- trip to PAC for Step Team Black History Month presentation

Weekly Objectives- January 22-26

January22

Our Summer Camp Stars

Last week was super exciting for many of my students as they starred in the play, “Summer Camp.”  We were able to visit the PAC for the dress rehearsal, and I must say, I was impressed!  I hope that you had an opportunity to watch the performance this weekend.  This week is another short week, as teachers have an in-service on Friday.  There will be no school Friday for students.  Enjoy your three day weekend!  See below for updates on this week’s skills and events:

Choir starts this week on Monday, January 22nd.

Language Arts- This week we will be reading “Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George.”  Our focus skill for this story is Fact and Opinion.  Throughout this week students will work with the main text as well as guided reading texts to practice identifying and recording facts and opinions as they read.  Please see the vocabulary and spelling pages to review the words for the week! Selection test and Spelling test on Thursday!


Math- We will be working with plotting points on a coordinate grid this week.   The video below will demonstrate this skill for help with homework.

 

Social Studies- We will be identifying famous Spanish explorers this week as well as using elevation maps.

 

Hello Middle Twp. Elementary Grade 5!

January15

I am so excited to be joining the staff of Middle Twp. Elementary #2 5th grade team! Joining an elementary school mid-year to replace a beloved teacher is a daunting task, but I believe that I am more than up for it! This is my 17th year as an educator. Five of those years have been spent teaching middle school, 8 teaching upper elementary school, 2 years as an instructional coach,  and the last two as an administrator. I found that I missed the classroom and working with students daily terribly! I am so grateful for this opportunity to return to the classroom. Allow me to introduce myself.

Teacher is one of my many roles in life. In addition to the time I will be spending with my students, I am a mother, coach, and artist. My husband and I share five (yes, you read that correctly) children ranging in age from 10-20. I coach my daughter’s travel soccer team and manage the travel lacrosse league for my town. I love art and share that passion with children and adults through art parties.

Here we are! Missing our oldest two daughters! It’s very hard to get 5 kids together at once!

I am a graduate of Stockton University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.  I have a BA in elementary education as well as psychology.  My master’s degree is in instructional technology.  I am also flip classroom certified, and hope to incorporate some of those practices into our learning.

 

 

 

I plan on using this blog as a way for families to take a peek into our classroom each week to better understand what we are learning and how they can help and also to provide short tutorials on the skills we are covering to ensure that students have all the resources needed to be successful in completing homework and studying for upcoming assessments.  Each Sunday I will provide a brief summary of what will be covered in each subject area for the week.    Along with each summary will be a short video that will explain any terms or skills so that students and families can reference them during the week to assist with assignments.  Links will be posted on the right hand side to allow for students to access websites used in class at home.

This week we will be getting to know each other.  On Tuesday, we will spend time learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the impact he has made on our country.

 

Wednesday and Thursday will consist of play practice as well as skill assessments to help me better get a feel for where my students are which will in turn better help me to plan for the coming week.  On Friday, we will practice our audience skills and watch our classmates perform!

Preparation is the Best Remedy for Anxiety

July11

Panic-index

I received an email from a former student this morning.  Yes, it is July.  Ye,s it is Saturday.  Yes, I realize that as a teacher most of my friends and family think I am off duty for the summer.  I was to happy to realize that my students know better!  This child was with me for 4th grade and a frequent visitor to my class during her 5th grade year as well.  It dawned on her this morning (sometime after midnight but be for  I checked my email at 7:30) that she was growing up and that that is scary.  In addition to growing up, she like many students her age is freaking out about transitioning to middle school.  In particular she was scared that others would make fun of her because she forgot how to do long division already.  Well, I am not going to allow one of “my kids” to enter a new school year feeling overwhelmed or unprepared!  I know for a fact she is not alone in these fears.  My own daughter and her friends are also  making this leap this year.  It is a constant conversation in our house as to how she can handle her stress about this change.

I have always felt the best way to conquer anxiety is to be as best prepared for the anxiety-causing situation as possible.  As a response to my former students concerns, as well as my own concerns for my daughter and her friends, I have created a group on Sophia.org for 5th graders transitioning to 6th grade.  Starting Monday, I will post some interactive online review sessions for students to complete to brush up on Math and Language Arts skills to help build their confidence heading into middle school.  Any concepts presented would be beneficial to any 5th grader nation wide so feel free to share with your friends.  This opportunity is FREE and SECURE for students to participate in.  To sign up follow these steps:

1. If you don not have an account already, register for a free account on Sophia.org

2. Once you have an account, you will need the group code 88fc5f4 to join the Middle School Prep for 5th Graders group

3.  Please introduce yourself on our group wall and let me know of any specific skills you would like to review (I will try to accommodate as many requests as possible)

4.  Please remember that the group wall is to ask questions or provide support and although we are not in school, good cyber etiquette is still expected.  Anyone caught being inappropriate or mean will be removed from the group  without hesitation.

As I told my former student and repeatedly tell my daughter.  Growing up is scary, but you don’t have to do it yet!  Enjoy this next stage in life and, in the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry about a thing! ‘Cause every little thing’s gonna be alright!”  Enjoy the rest of your summer break and I look forward to working online with my “class” of students!

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Farewell and Good Luck to the Class of 2023

June22

Today may be our last day officially together, but it is in no way a good bye.  Regardless of where you end up in life, you have a life-long fan in me!  The hardest part in teaching, as in parenting, is learning to let go and trust that I’ve prepared you as much as possible for your future.  So to my Class of 2023 4th grade graduates I wish the following for you:

1.  Never grow up!  (I know we all tell you to grow up all the time, but we really don’t mean it!)

2.  Continue to see the wonder in the world!

3.  Stay innocent and joyful!

4.  Life is hard sometimes, but only sometimes- the good DOES outweigh the bad!

5.  Be the change we need to make this world better!  Discover things!  Create things!  Develop cures!  Write books!

6.  Be awesome!

7.  I am always here for you!  Regardless of how old you get, I am here to help if you need it!  Once a student, always a friend!

Below is the link to the end of the year video.  I create a video at the beginning of each year to set the tone for our future together and another at the end of the year to celebrate our successes.  This year, I chose the song, “Never Grow Up.”  As a teacher and parent, I love seeing the innocence and wonder and amazement of kids at this age.  They are right between stages- not quite a kid and not quite a teen.  Remember these times and try not to grow up too fast!!!!!!!  I love each of you and hope to see you visit next year!

Love,

Mrs. Sinone

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The Struggle is Real- End of the Year Blues

June4

 

teaching

It’s that time again.  The time of year when on one hand you are counting the days to fun in the sun and on the other hand you are dreading saying good bye to your students.  As the year ends, there are so many things to look forward to!  Awards ceremonies, concerts, fun days, and getting to all the crafty stuff we haven’t had time to do during the year are just a few of the perks the end of the school year provides.  Mixed in with those, however, are the creeping thoughts that these are the last smiles and laughs you’ll hear from these students for the summer.  Hopefully they come back to visit on their way to 5th grade next year, but for some they won’t.  They may be moving or transferring schools.  As a teacher I am often asked towards this point in June, “so how many days do you have left?”  Some days I know the number, but most days I respond, “not enough.”

To the parents of my students this year:  Thank you!!!!!!  Thank you for sharing your children with me.  Thank you for trusting me to guide them academically.  Thank you for getting them to school each day so I could hear all their stories.  Thank you for letting me share in their triumphs at concerts and sporting events.  Thank you for all the supplies and goodies sent in throughout the year (and for sticking to my healthy snacks only rule!).

To my students:  We aren’t done yet!  Thank you for coming and still being eager to learn.  Thank you for all the encouraging pictures and notes you leave me daily.  Thank you for your smiles and hugs.  Thank you for your funny stories.  Thank you for trying your best each day.  Thank you for being you. Thank you for challenging me to be the best me I can be and to learn better ways to teach you what you need to know!  Thank you for putting up with substitutes when I needed to attend trainings or care for my own kids when they were sick.  Thank you for the last 100+ days of laughter and learning.

To my husband and kids:  Thank you for sharing me with my students.  Thank you for understanding when I needed to spend hours grading or planning. Thank you for being my guinea pigs for many of my teaching ideas.  Thank you for coming to give me hugs at the end of some of the longer days throughout the year.  Thank you for adopting my class as part of our extended family and asking about them by name each night.

Our school’s motto is “Then, Now, Always Family.”  I can honestly say my family grows by 18-20 kids each year.  We laugh together, cry together, get mad at each other, get frustrated by each other, and learn from each other every day.  At the end of the day though, I can honestly say my heart grows exponentially each year to add “my kids” to my family.  You may leave, I may have a hard time placing a name in a few years when you are 2 feet taller than me and grown, but you’ll always be welcome in our school, in my class, or in what ever office I end up in some day as my career evolves.  I am always and email or a tweet away.  I cherish these final days and our final memories of this 4th grade year.  Each year I start off with a theme song and end with a farewell song and video.  Stay tuned for our farewell video the last day of school (it takes me a while to get through it!  Choosing pictures is hard when you are either cracking up or tearing up!).

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Spring is in the Air!

March18

This week we are wrapping up our first PARCC test for the year. To celebrate our students hard work we made paleo shamrock shakes. Why paleo? Well, we are a healthy schools school and are adhering to our mission to teach students about healthy food choices. This recipe results in a yummy, minty treat that is good for you too! Don’t let the list of ingredients fool you, they are amazing!
Just check out this shake-stache!

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Paleo Shamrock Shakes
Ingredients:
13 oz coconut milk (we used coconut dream)
1 avocado
1cup ice
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp (depending on your mint preference) peppermint extract
3-4 tbsp honey

Blend and enjoy!

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They loved it so much they even forgot that we were practicing our math skills by measuring!

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After we had our yummy snack, we tested out our green thumbs by starting our windowsill herb garden and prepping our small growing trays for seeds we will plant tomorrow! We are studying plant life cycles, ecosystems, and learning responsibility as we prepare for earth day and spring!

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Pay it Forward- A Lesson in the Gift of Kindness

February4

pay it forward

 

February, albeit a short month, is one that is jam-packed with activities.  Many of our activities this month are focused around Valentine’s Day and our hearts.  We are going to take this to “heart” this month and begin a 2 week family project.  Many of us have seen the movie “Pay it Forward” which came out in the late 90’s. The premise of the movie is that if one person does an act of kindness for another it can start a chain reaction of events that can change the lives of thousands of people for the better.  We will be reading the novel, Pay it Forward  in class beginning next week as a read aloud.  The author of the original book recently released a child-friendly version this past August.  It is a beautifully written book that I hope will encourage my students to begin to look for ways to be kind and do kind things for others on a regular basis.  

Beginning the weekend of Valentine’s Day, February 14th, students will be given a kindness journal to keep track of acts of kindness they either see,  do for others, or have done for them.   The notebook will be divided in to three sections- things I have done for others, things I saw someone do for someone else, and things someone has done for me.   In addition to recording the act that was done or seen, they will also write a sentence or two or draw a picture to describe how they felt.  For example, my daughters made me a special snack and hid it in my lunch box the other day.  When I found it at lunch, it touched me and made me feel good that my girls were thoughtful enough to make me a healthy snack knowing that I had been rushing around that morning and hadn’t packed much of a lunch for myself.   If I were recording this in my kindness journal I would have recorded in the “Someone did Something Nice for Me” section.    I am asking students to write one act of kindness for each day.  The goal is that students will develop a sense of community through this activity and become more aware of the way we make others feel when we are kind.  This assignment will be due on February 27th.  I am requiring students to do this EVERY DAY- even weekends!

Please feel free to comment in your child’s journal as well or better yet, start a family kindness journal and have everyone participate!   Just like in the book and movie, I would love to see everyone “Pay it Forward” and cultivate a community where kindness grows and thrives!

kindnesskindness

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