Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my adventures in elementary education

No April Fools in Room 11! We are All About Education!

April1

Finally some weather that is somewhat like spring!  This means three things- our schedules are getting busier, our allergies are becoming an issue, and spring fever is on its way!  I am asking for donations of hand sanitizer and soft tissues to help us through the allergy season.  Due to the increase in sneeze related disinfecting our hand sanitizer supplies are dwindling and our poor noses would greatly appreciate softer tissues than our nurse supplies!  I’ll even toss in extra credit points on your child’s lowest test grade to sweeten the deal!  This week’s learning objectives are listed below!  Also please check our our upcoming events on the Important Dates page to the right. Check out our new laptops!  Woo Hoo!

laptops

 

Math:  This week we are reviewing skills to prepare for the next RAC test.  We will be focusing on converting fractions to decimals, line plots, multiplying fractions by a whole number, and solving word problems. 

Language Arts:  We are reading “Encantado” this week, which is a non fiction story about the Amazon River Dolphin.  We will be researching both Amazon River Dolphins and Bottle Nose Dolphins and writing a compare and contrast essay.  The prezi below is one that we will be using to introduce this essay format.

 growth chartScience:  We are learning about plants.  We have studied their life cyles,seedlings photosyntheis, and parts.  We will be reviewing this week along with charting the progress of the seedlings we planted last week.  We were surprised to see seedlings when we came in on Monday!

The Prezi below will help to review for our Plant quiz on Friday!

 

 

Read Across America 2014

March3

imagesCAK6AO8EEach year my best friend (and amazingly awesome teacher) plans a reading extravaganzaa for our school to celebrate Read Across America Day. This year each grade level chose a book to share with the students from 2 other grade levels. This is pretty cool because we get to meet the students we will have next year and reconnect with the students we had last year! Along with choosing a book each grade level team created an activity to go along with the book. Some grades will be doing crafts, singing songs, dancing, etc.

The fourth grade team will be reading  One Love, by Cedella Marley.  Her picture book is based on her father, Bob Marley’s song of the same title.  In addition to sharing the story with the third and fifth graders we will be teaching them the sign language for the chorus to the song “One Love.”  After we are done reading we will all pretend we are in a MUCH warmer climate and jam out to the Marley tune and practice our sign language.  Check out my 4th graders video below to learn the signs and brighten your day with the positive lyrics from “One Love.”

 

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To Every Cause There Must Be an Effect (and Other Life Lessons) Weekly Objectives February 24-28

February23

This week we will have a fabulous finish to February! We will start off the week hosing vistors from around the district to observe our class hard at work learning about Dr. Martin Luther King in the story “My Brother Martin.” A major skill we will be working with is cause and effect relationships. Take a peek at the presentation below to review this skill. You can help me out by asking your child to tell you why things happen or to explain what happens when…. (you fill in the blank). In Math this week we will be reviewing fractions and patterns to prepare for our next RAC test which will be taking place next week. Please remember these assessments are for informational purposes only and not effecting your child’s grade. I do encourage every student to try their absolute best as I use the results to plan our next lessons. In social studies this week we will be wrapping up our African American History Month Inventors posters and learning about the three branches of government. Please review the presentations below to help prepare your child for the week or to review any of the concepts as the week progresses. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Cause and Effect

Branches of Government

African American History Month Project

February19

We will be completing an African American History Month research  project this week and next week in class during our afternoons.  Each student will be responsible for researching an African American Inventor, gathering information and creating an info-graphic poster about the inventor and the importance of the invention.  Details about the project can be found in the Powerpoint  presentation below.  Students will be viewing the presentation in class this week, but will have access to review it as necessary. 

 

We Have Olympics Fever!

February12

 bulletin board The Sochi Olympics are underway and we couldn’t be more excited!  What a wonderful learning opportunity across so many different subjects!  Prior to the Opening Ceremonies, we created a bulletin board to help us keep track of the United States Athletes medals.  Each day we visit the Sochi2014.com website to update our medal count.  My students are loving adding medals each day!

 

Another project we have worked on in cooperative groups was to research oneski mt bacon of the countries competing for gold in Sochi.  Each group chose a country from the Sochi2014 website.  Once they had their country, they researched its flag, where it is located in the world, it’s population, what education is like in that country, what they eat there, the climate, and what events they had athletes competing in this year.  Students spent 3 afternoons researching information on our classroom computers and iPads.  Once they gathered their information they created info-graphic posters to display next to our medal count bulletin board.  Students had a blast learning about different countries.  In fact, they had so much fun they didn’t realize they were writing non fiction!

country projectsOne of the things I realized as we were doing our research was that my students lacked background knowledge of many winter sports.  We live in Southern New Jersey which means that mountains and hockey rinks are not very close by.  To help provide some background knowledge of my favorite Winter sport, skiing, I brought my ski equipment in and had the class “ski Mt. Bacon.”  We conducted a photo shoot in which every student put on all the equipment needed for a successful ski run, watched a short instructional ski video, and then took an imaginary run down the mountain.  Students then wrote about their feelings as they took their imaginary run down the slopes. I’m pretty sure I have some future skiers in this group!

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Fabulous Fables, Particular Patterns, Much Ado About Matter- Weekly Objectives January 13-17

January12

the horned toad prince  This week is going to be spectacular, I just know it!  We are going to have good weather (fingers crossed), work hard, and great attitudes.  I am so excited to start our next unit in Language Arts- Fables, Folktales, Tall Tales, and Mythology.  It is definitely one of my favorite each year because we can get VERY creative.  We will be writing our own fables, acting out fables we read, and looking for common threads among all of the stories in this unit.  We will also be starting a new weekly assignment for Language Arts homework.  Instead of a worksheet assignment each night, students will be assigned a short story, play, or article to read all week and given a packet of worksheets on Monday that are do back to me completed by Friday.  Don’t fret however if your child loses his or her magazine or packet, I will post a link that will allow you to print out the article to read (or in some cases you will be able to listen to it on line) as well as the worksheets he or she will need to complete.  This week we are reading “Yeh Shen.”  The link to the Play and the worksheets is here:  Yeh Shen Homework Due Friday!  Below are our learning objectives and video links for this week.

patternsMath:

We will be completing our unit on Patterns this week.  We are working with patterns in tables as well as geometric patterns.  We will be having a test on Friday covering all of Topic 2.  Your child can review for this test by logging into the PearsonSuccessNet website and reviewing the week’s lessons as well as play some review games.  Click on the link below for another review site.

 Pattern Review Website

Reading:

As mentioned above we will be beginning our study of fables this week.  One of the most famous author of fables was Aesop.  Below is a link to help you identify key elements of fables.

 

Science:

This week we will be wrapping up our unit on matter.  We will be writing our own non fiction books about matter to help us review prior to our test on Friday.  Here is a video to help reinforce the three states of matter.

 

Holy Icicles, Batman!

January7

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!  It is cold out there!  I was happy to see all my little snowboys and girls made it in today and were nicely bundled up.  Welcome back to school after our slightly extended winter break.  I hope everyone enjoyed their time off.  I know I did!  This week we will be saying good by to the old by wrapping up our Model Curriculum Unit 2 Assessments and hello to the new by welcoming a new student and a new science unit!  Please take a peek at our weekly goals and lesson reviews below:

Math:

This week we will be exploring patterns in numbers, shapes, and pictures.  We will be getting a bit crafty and creating patterns out of pictures called tessellations as well to help brighten our dreary winter hallways.  Learn more about tessellations below:

 

Reading:

Since we do not have a full week of reading time to work with due to Unit 2 Testing, we will be using the Storyworks magazine to help us learn how to find information in short articles, use the pictures, and deal with new vocabulary words.  Click on the link below to view copies of the articles, listen to the audio versions of the stories, and access selected videos that help to develop the concepts.

Storyworks Magazine

Science:

This week we will begin our investigation into the States of Matter.  We will be conducting a number of short experiments to help demonstrate each of the states of matter as well as working with our groups to complete some activities to help us with our understanding of this concept.  We will all be the authors of our first Non-Fiction books by the end of next week.  Be on the lookout for more information about that.  In the meantime, here is a short video to help you review the states of matter:

 

The Weather Outside is Frightful, but the Learning in Room 11 is So Delightful!

December8

blog pic snowI hope you all enjoyed our first snowfall of the season!  I know my kids did!  We even got to go horseback riding in the snow!  While that was a pretty cool way to end the weekend, I’m afraid I may be suffering for the next few days with a nasty cold.  Don’t worry though, I will be here for the awesome activities planned this week!  For a preview of what we are going to be learning this week take a peek at our objectives below!

 

 

Math:

This week we will be continuing our work with fractions by comparing and ordering them on a number line.  Please take a peek at the video below to help preview or review this topic as it can be a bit tricky.

 

Ordering fractions: Finding common denominators of multiple fractions to order them

 Reading:

We will be continuing our novel study of The Chocolate Touch this week.  In centers we will be defining new words, answering open ended questions, and comparing and contrasting the plot in The Chocolate Touch to that of King Midas and the Golden Touch.

Monday- Chapter 6  (Quiz Monday afternoon on Chapters 4-6)

 

Tuesday- Chapter 7

 

Wednesday- Chapter 8

 

Thursday- Chapter 9 ( I will upload this chapter when I get my voice back!  By the end of Chapter 8 I was barely whispering!)  Quiz Thursday afternoon on Chapters 7-9

Friday- Chapter 10 ( I will upload this chapter when I get my voice back!)

Also on Thursday and Friday I have built time into our schedule for students to work on their projects in class if necessary in the afternoons.

Finally we are going to sneak in some writing into a creative project this week!  Students will be applying to be elves in Santa’s workshop.  As part of the process they will need to fill out an application, prove creativity by designing a new toy, pass a math test by calculating the 12 Days of Christmas costs, and persuade Santa with a letter.  The Prezi below will help students to write a good perusasive letter.

 

Monday Begins Our Chocolate Touch Unit! It’s Going to be Sweet!

December1

I hope you and your families enjoyed a relaxing Thanksgiving and you got some good deals for those of you brave enough to go shopping on Black Friday.  I enjoyed every minute of time with my family eating delicious food, decorating the house (the day after Thanksgiving of course!), and picking out and cutting down our Christmas tree.  Although I was busy this weekend, I made sure to get my plans done for the coming week.  I am so excited to start our novel study of The Chocolate Touch this week.  So that you can follow along with what we are doing in class, I have created educreations lessons with the vocabulary words for each chapter, comprehension questions, and a narration of the story by yours truly.  Enjoy!  Here are this weeks goals and objectives:

Math:

This week we will be review factors, multiples, prime and composite numbers and beginning to work with equivalent fractions.  The video below will help you to review at home:

 

Recognizing prime numbers: Recognizing Prime Numbers

This link will help to understand the concept of equivalent fractions.   Fractions by Math is Fun

Reading:

Monday- We will be starting our Chocolate Touch Adventure today with chapter 1:

 

Tuesday we will cover chapter 2:

 

Wednesday we will be reading chapter 3:

 

Thursday we will be reading chapter 4:

 

And finally on Friday we will be almost half way through our novel when we complete chapter 5:

 

Science

This week we will be continuing working with electric circuits and taking it to the next level by adding switches to control the flow of energy.  I’m also excited to try out our new ipad app that simulates electric circuits!

Social Studies

Students will begin working on a study of winter holidays celebrated by the many cultures in our area with a concentration on Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.

Cooking 1621 Style- Our Experience Making Ship’s Biscuits

November27

This morning we ventured back in time to make a historically accurate Thanksgiving food item- Ship’s Biscuits (also known as Hard Tack).  Ship’s Biscuits would have been served at most meals.  They were traditionally made so that they were rock hard (or as Rachel puts it they should have been called Brick Biscuits) so that they could be stored for long times.  To eat them, settlers would have placed them in milk, tea, gravy, or water to soften them up.  They were also sometimes used as utensils in that they could push food on to their spoon using them therefore not wasting any delicious gravy. 

To get started we assembled our ingredients (all traditional) as well as some modern day cook utensils.  

hardtack ingredients

 

First we added 4-5 cups of flour.

 

ht 1

Next, we added a few dashes of salt for flavor.

ht 2

Then we added enough water to moisten the dough and make it stick together, kneaded the dough, and rolled it out to a half an inch thick.

ht 3

We baked them for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

ht 5

Dr. Cook agreed to be our taste tester (after we offered him some honey to sweeten the deal!)

cook ht

The reason we offered honey and not jam or butter is that the Wampanoag Indians could have brought native honey to the first Thanksgiving and we wanted to be authentic.   Dr. Cook gave us a thumbs up and declared our hard tack (ok it was more like medium tack and not as hard as the pilgrims would have made it since I didn’t want anyone to break a tooth!) not only edible, but yummy!

cook ht 1

Feel free to experiment and make some Ship’s Biscuits to your Thanksgiving Feast!  Happy Thanksgiving from my class to yours!  May you enjoy time with family and friends, feast until your full, and be grateful for all that you have.

Love, Mrs. Sinone and the Room 11 Crew

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