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!

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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

Pay it Forward- A Lesson in the Gift of Kindness

February4

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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!

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Happy New Year! The Impact of Mindset on Goals

January4

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New Years is a time when many people reflect back on the past year and analyze their choices in life and begin to think about how to make the next year better.  I usually set goals for myself rather than resolutions.  Resolutions are defined as the answer to a problem.  I think we can all admit that there are problems in our lives we’d like the answers to, but just making a resolution is not the answer.  I’ve made what I thought were resolutions in the past (to go to the gym more, to eat healthier, to not procrastinate on assignments, to get the laundry done quicker, etc).  These are not answers to a problem though.  Technically they are goals I’d like to achieve.  I’d like to go to the gym more and in order to do that, I will have to take steps to make it happen such as schedule time, arrange childcare, and pack my gym supplies.  I’d like to eat healthier and in order to do that I will need to shop with purpose for healthier ingredients, prepare food at home instead of getting take out, and skip out on some of those not so healthy snacks.  

This week, we will be spending some time learning about setting goals for ourselves.  We will work to set goals for both school and home.  We will think about the steps we will need to take to ensure that we can follow through on these goals and be successful.  While we are doing this we will also examine a theory in a book that I read last year, Mindset.  In this book the author, Carol Dweck, identifies 2 different ways of thinking, or mindsets.

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 The first is a fixed mindset.  Those with a fixed mindset believe that they are who they are, can do what they can do, and think the way the think because they are born that way.  For example if you always struggled with math that is because you were born with a limited knowledge of math and once you hit that point you couldn’t learn any more.  Those with a fixed mindset believe that they are the way they are and that is that.  They will continue to prove that they are what they believe until they experience a failure.  For example, if you always believed you were the fastest person and then you were beat by someone else you would be crushed.  Your beliefs were ruined!  You would start to feel horrible about yourself.  This mindset is not wrong- but it can be detrimental to learning.  If you immediately think that you are a failure because you fail one test think of how that can impact your willingness to learn more or different ways in the future!

The Second mindset is the growth mindset.  In this mindset, people believe that they can be and do anything that they want.  It may not be easy.  They may not be able to do it right off the bat.  It may require failing a few times before getting it, but with hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to try new and different ways to achieve their goal they will eventually get it.  I have been working very hard to develop my growth mindset.  

Let me give you an example from my life.  Many years ago, I had a teacher that told me I was not good at math.  I would never be able to be good at math because I just couldn’t get it.  I started to really believe this about myself.  I thought I was dumb.  She was right, I would never get it.  This impacted my career choices.  I had hoped to be an engineer like my grandfather.  If I wasn’t any good at math though, I could never do that.  I believed this until I was an adult.  I did very well in college math classes and could do all the math I needed in real life with no problem, but I still thought of myself as a failure.  When I was hired as a teacher in Millville, I was hired to teach 7th grade math- this was a nightmare for me!  How could I teach kids if I was a failure?!  Fortunately, I was working with an amazing team of math teachers at Lakeside.  They helped me to see that there are many ways to teach concepts and that not every student gets it the first time around.  Through teaching and working hard to ensure that all of my students were given the tools and strategies they needed to be successful in math class, I changed my mindset from fixed to growth.  I watched kids struggle but not give up and cheered with them when they finally got it.  If these kids could try and try and try until they were successful, then so could I.  I decided I would never limit or label myself as one thing again.  Now I look forward to someone telling me I can’t do something so that I can prove them wrong!  I never thought I’d achieve my master’s degree (neither did some other people) but I did.  I never thought I’d be getting certified to be a principal, yet by July I will be.  Next up on my challenge list- earning my doctorate degree.  I’m not a person who is going to be limited by others opinions of myself or limitations I used to believe about myself anymore.  MINDSETS CAN BE CHANGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We will be learning about the mindsets in class this week as we set goals for ourselves for this year.  We will be signing a contract as a class to promise to aim for growth and not become fixed in any one area.  The TEDX video below explains the powerful impact of mindsets on our lives.  It is a little long, but very much worth it!

So, will you join us and grow?

Holiday Lunch Party Information

December17
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Happy Thanksgiving from Our Class to Yours

November26

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Thanksgiving is truly my FAVORITE holiday!  There are not pressures of gift giving or costume creating.  It is a time to celebrate friends, family, food, and gratitude for what we have instead of worrying about what we do not have.  Each year my classes learn about the 1st Thanksgiving thanks to virtual fieldtrips provided by Scholastic.  This experience helps to set the tone for our week of gratitude.  We have spent this short week focusing our efforts inward and learning different ways we can show our gratitude to others.  Some students wrote lists or essays about what and whom they are thankful for.  Others drew pictures or asked to visit old teachers with whom they’ve made lasting connections to show their gratitude.

I have created a video to express my gratitude to the parents of my students.  I am so very grateful for the time I get to spend with your children each day.  I am so honored to be one of the many professionals that has a hand in shaping them into the adults they will become.  I am especially thankful to all of you who came out to conferences this week so that I could meet and discuss your child’s progress with you.  This was a record setting year for me in terms of parental attendance at conferences.  Please take a few minutes to watch the video I created for you, the parents, as a way to express my thanks in entrusting your children to me each day.  It is not an responsibility that I take lightly, and I thoroughly LOVE my job!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Love,

Mrs. Sinone and family

A Day in Room 11

October22

I decided to dedicate this blog to answer the question, “what did you do today?” If your child is anything like any if mine they reply, “nothing.” As parents we know that they did a lot more than nothing but aren’t quite sure what “a lot more” actually is. So today I documented what a day in room 11 looks like. Enjoy!

All of our lessons and centers are designed around our daily objectives.
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We begin our day with language arts. A few students needed to finish publishing their Diary of a Spider books.

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Why did we write these books? We learned from a mentor text, The Diary of a Fly, about sequence, humor, and intertwining facts into a fictional narrative.

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Other students were working on their personal narrative rough drafts in the writing center.

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After language arts we had gym. Since the weather did not cooperate we held recess inside and just “Let it Go!”

 

Following lunch, we have our math lesson. Today we were multiplying 2 digit by 1 digit numbers.

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Finally, we wrapped up our day reviewing for our social studies quiz on the NJ Social Studies Weekly Website.

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As you can see we work extremely hard everyday! Make sure to stop by and check out our “scary smart skills” the next time you visit our school!

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We Will be Author’s this Week- Goals and Tools for Oct. 14-17

October14

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I hope you all enjoyed your LONG weekend!  I know I did!  The family and I went and picked up some pumpkins at the pumpkin patch this weekend and then spent all  afternoon today carving them and roasting the seeds for a nice healthy snack!  This week is another short week thanks to our holiday today, but it will be packed with review activities and our first unit test in Language Arts.

Language Arts:

This week we will be reviewing our grammar skills and reading strategies to get ready to complete our first unit assessment.  We will be taking this test on Friday.  Instead of loading this post up with review lessons, each night this week, your child will have a flipped language arts lesson as part of their homework to review the skills needed to be successful on Friday.  Remember flipped lessons are lessons that the students view at home via the internet to better prepare to practice this skills in class the next day.  The results I get from these lessons will help me to better plan which topics we need to review as a whole class and which lessons only a few people need extra help with.

 

Writing:

We will be published authors by the end of this week.  We are wrapping up our Diary of a Spider books (stay tuned for a special blog post Friday!) as well as working on our first portfolio piece.  Below is a short video explaining the 6 Traits of Writing that we will be working with this year to produce the best writing pieces that we can.  All of our work will be scored using these 6 categories.

 

Math:

This week will be working with multiplying 2 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers using the standard algorithm (the way us old people learned how to do it!).

 

Social Studies:

We will be learning about NJ’s first inhabitants this week, the Native Americans.  Many of us think Native Americans are mainly located in the central and western parts of the country.  NJ however is home to many Lenni Lenape tribe members.  The video below features some of the Lenni Lenape from right here in Cumberland County and details their struggle to hold on to their heritage.  We will be focusing on the Native Americans of NJ this month in our social studies lessons.

Weekly Learning Goals and Tools Oct. 6-9

October5

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Brrrrrrrr!  I am sitting in front of a fire as I type this!  Fall is definitely making its presence felt today!  Don’t worry, however, because we will be learning so much this week we will work up a sweat!  This week we begin our month of Respect.  Over the weekend, you had a chance to review our school’s bullying information and sign our anti-bullying contract with your child.  We take this very seriously at RM Bacon!  Ms. Spanbauer will be in this week to speak with the class about respect and get us started on an activity that we will complete as a whole 4th grade class.   There is NO SCHOOL ON FRIDAY due to a teacher inservice day.  Enjoy your day off!

Reading:

This week we will be working with determining main idea and supporting details.  We will also be starting our first novel for the year, The Chocolate Touch.

Vocab words for the week:  glacier, impressive, naturalist, preserve, slopes, species, wilderness

The Chocolate Touch Chapters 1-3 will be covered this week.

 

Math:

This week we will be working with Multiplying by Multiples of 10 and 100 as well as breaking apart 2 digit numbers to find the product.  The prezi below may be helpful to reinforce what we are doing in class.

Writing:

We are working on our first book this week.  By the end of next week all of my students will be published authors!  We used the model text The Diary of a Fly as a guide and we all came up with our own versions of “The Diary of a Spider.”  Be sure to stop by the third floor hallway and read our creations next week!

Science:

We are finishing our study of ecosystems by creating poster representations of the 5 major ecosystems in the USA.

 

 

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