Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my adventures in elementary education

Mrs. Sinone’s Not Bummer Summer Challenge

June18

judy moody

 

Welcome to 4th grade!  I’m hoping you have a super-rare-not-bummer-summer!  To help us prepare for next year, I’ve created a Not Bummer Summer Challenge.  In the book, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,  Judy and her friends planned an awesome, adventure, and fun-filled summer.  Unfortunately, her friends left her for trips to camp and family vacations.  Judy felt  very left out and predicted that her summer was ruined until, with some help from her aunt and brother, she realized she could have a Not Bummer Summer at home too.  I’m giving you the opportunity to earn some Cool Points this summer that you can use next year as extra credit on tests, towards ipad or computer time, or for other reward opportunities in class.  Here’s how you can earn your cool points:

  1.  At least once a week draw a picture and write at least 1 paragraph about something awesome you did each week. ~10 cool points
  2. Read the book Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer and create a collage in your notebook of all pictures that would make your summer Super Rare! ~10 cool points.
  3. If you have internet access, Visit my Blog www.cultivatingmindswithoutlosingmyown.com and click on the link for Moby Max and brush up on your skills!  Your user name is your first name and your password is also your first name (no caps) ~10 cool points for every badge you earn!
  4. Practice your multiplication time tables by having an adult or older sister or brother write problems in your notebook for you to solve. ~10 cool points.
  5. Visit a relative or neighbor and offer to help them with a chore.  Write about it or have the person you helped write what you did in your notebook ~10 cool points for each person you help.

Just like in the book and movie, keep your eyes peeled for me around town.  Find me and have me take our first 4th grade selfie and you earn 50 cool points!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t wait to get to work with each of you next year!  I hope you have an awesome summer and can’t wait to hear about all your super-rare fun times!

All Not Bummer Summer Journals are due back the first day of school!

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Where Did the Year Go?

June3

Holy moly, it’s June!  Where has the time gone?  We are spending this week getting ready for our musical, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Many of the students from our class are participating as special soloists and actors.  I am really looking forward to seeing all of their hard work pay off on the stage!  We also have a number of students who will be performing with the band.  I had a chance to listen to some of their rehearsal yesterday and was quite impressed!

willy wonka

In addition to  prepping for the play, we are also wrapping up some of our end of the year assessments.  While that sounds like we are done learning for the year, the truth couldn’t be further from that!  We will spend the rest of this year prepping for 5th grade!  I am so impressed with the progress this class has made this year!

 

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Easing Test Anxiety- Tips to Help Your Child Feel Prepared and Stress Free on Test Days

May5

It’s that time of year again- NJASK time.  We will be testing from Monday, May 12th to Friday, May 16th.  The first two days will be focused on Language Arts, the second two days on Math, and the final day on Science.  While this one week out of the entire year really shouldn’t get the fanfare that it does as it is only one of MANY ways students are assessed each year, it still manages to cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for many (teachers too!).  There are many things you can do at home to help prepare your child for the test each day.  Below are a few easy tips to help make next week less stressful!

Tip #1- Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

good sleep

 

As if testing and sitting still for the morning isn’t hard enough, imagine doing that while tired!  Try to get between 7-8 hours of sleep the night before the test.  Wake up on time so that you don’t feel rushed or panicked as you start your day.

Tip #2- Eat a Healthy Breakfast!

healthy breakfast

Try to avoid sugary cereals or treats in the morning.  The sugar may give you energy initially, but it will cause you to tire out quickly!  Also, try not to eat too large of a breakfast if you are not used to that.  We don’t want to have to worry about a sore stomach while we are giving our brain a workout!

Tip #3- Wear Comfortable Clothes!

comfy clothes

Make sure you keep an eye on the weather report and dress appropriately.  You don’t want to be too hot or too cold.  You can bring a lightweight hoodie to wear if you think you will be chilly, but you will not be permitted to wear heavy coats.  Also, remember you will be sitting for the majority of the morning.  Wear clothes that will be comfortable around the waist.  I suggest sweats or elastic waist bottoms and loose, comfortable fitting tops.

Tip #4- Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Any One Problem

time management

Pace yourself!  If you begin to get frustrated with a question, skip it and come back to it if time allows.

Tip #5- Use ALL of the Time Given!

keep writing

Remember if you finish early to go back and check your work.  Did you use the Writer’s Checklist?  Did you answer every question?  Did you record your answers in the correct spot?  Can you add anything to your written responses or open ended questions?

Tip #6- TRY YOUR BEST!

try your best

Remember this is just one test!  You’ve learned everything you need to complete this throughout the year.  Your teachers are rooting for you!  WE KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS!

As parents we often feel helpless during test week.  Please keep a positive attitude and encourage your child to try their best as that’s all they can do!  Also, when your child comes home,  if the weather  and your schedule allow, please give them some down time to decompress!  Let them play!  I will not be assigning homework at all next week as we are working super hard all day.  We will be working a fun science activity in the afternoons- dissecting owl pellets!  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s teacher!

 

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:

 

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