Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my Adventures in Elementary Education

Weekly Learning Goals Feb. 12th-15th


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


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


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

Long Division’s Coming to Town and Our Weekly Learning Objectives 12/8-12/12


This week we are going to spend time with long division.  In honor of this learning goal, I wrote a Christmas Carol about it and recorded it using Powtoons.  Fortunately for you, my vocals did not come through!  Sing along to the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town!”

In addition to long division this week we will also be working with determining the main idea in informational texts.

Our vocabulary words are:








In science we will be continuing our study of magnets. Check out the video below to review the basic magnetic concepts we will be covering.


Weekly Learning Goals and Tools Oct. 6-9




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!


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.



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.


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!


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



Welcome October- Learning Goals and Tools for Sept. 29th-Oct. 3rd




Wow!  Where did September go?  This week begins October and as the image above states, we are going to make it AWESOME!!!!!!!  Last week, I spent some time in the evenings learning about the website and taking some tutorials online to become Flip Classroom Certified.

flipped classroom 2

What is a flipped classroom?  Does that mean I am now teaching gymnastics?  No gymnastics lessons (although back in the day I had a killer back handspring- just saying), but rather a way to have students learn the lesson for homework so that when they are in class with me they can apply the skills rather than sit through a lecture.  Starting Monday, I will be assigning a flipped assignment each night.  Students will need access to a computer, tablet, ipod touch, smart phone, or any other device that has internet connectivity.  If you do not have internet access at home, don’t fret!  Students can also look at the lesson in class if necessary.  They will watch a short video or view a website or presentation about a concept.  Once they are done, they will take a short quiz online.  I will look at the quiz results first thing in the morning or as soon as they finish for those who don’t have internet at home (they are graded on completion not how they scored as they can retake the quiz as many times as necessary to pass it- so it’s either a 100 or a 0).

flipped classroom


For students who got the concept quickly and are ready to move on, I will assign them the practice sheet to complete independently and then they will work on an enrichment lesson.  For those, who got it but still have a few questions, we will meet in a small group to clarify what needs working on and then they will move on to the independent practice sheet.  For those students who are really struggling, we will meet and I will reteach the lesson and we will complete a guided practice sheet together before they move on to working independently.  I am really excited to see how this works!  All students have their Sophia log-in information and we have practiced in class a number of times last week.  If you have any questions or encounter problems, please do not hesitate to email me at

This weeks learning goals and tools:


This week will be reviewing author’s purpose.  This is a concept we covered a few weeks ago, so at the end of this week we will be having a short quiz to check for mastery.  We are also working on combining simple sentences into compound sentences.  For example:

The dog was very tired.  It had been running all  morning.  = The dog was very tired because it had been running all morning.

Vocabulary  Words for the Week: bargain, favor, lassoed, offended, prairie, riverbed, shrieked



This week we are wrapping up our review of addition and subtraction.

Examples of regrouping when adding three digit numbers:

Regrouping twice when subtracting three digit numbers:


Last week we learned about the elements of an ecosystem.  This week we are going to focus on the ecosystems in the United States.  Students will learn about them via a Sophia tutorial and then use the information they’ve gained through taking notes to create a Ecosystems of the USA poster.  Check back next week to see our work!


Bacon Turns 85! Weekly Objectives and Resources Sept. 22-26


happy birthday


Happy Birthday to our home-away-from-home, RM Bacon Elementary School!  On Friday, we celebrate our building’s 85th birthday.  Imagine the history this building has seen and what it could teach us if only the walls could talk!  In addition to another jam packed week of learning, I am challenging my students to join me in completing 85 laps around the playground by Friday.  I did the math for us- we need to walk/jog 17 laps a day to reach that goal.  If we can do this we will also have walked over 10 miles!  Bring your sneakers if you’re up for the challenge!  I know I am!  What a way to help me reach another one of my goals- getting my fitness in daily!  This week’s objectives and resources are below!

Language Arts:

This week we will be wrapping up our study of sentence types and moving onto dissecting a sentence to identify the subject (who or what the sentence is about) and predicate (what they subject is feeling or doing).  I have created log-ins for for each student to use to view a lesson and take a quick check to see how we are understanding this concept.  They will get their log-in information on Monday.  I am super excited to use this tool as it will help me to better assess and work with students on concepts.  (Thanks Andy Bingham, my daughter’s 5th grade teacher for introducing this to me!)

The reading strategy we are working with this week is identifying literary elements such as characters, setting, and plot.  The prezi below will help to support the lesson we will be doing in class.

Our vocabulary words for the week are:

badger, bank, bristled, jointed, patched, ruffled, rushes

We will be using the mentor text The Diary of a Fly,  to help us work on creating a narrative writing piece that has both a sequence that is easy to follow and all of the narrative elements that we are learning about this week.


This week we will be wrapping up our review of place value and taking a unit 3 assessment on Tuesday.  Topic 4 will start on Wednesday with a review of addition and subtraction using mental math and estimation.  The Educreations lesson below will help to review the concept at home.  Students may also work on at home to brush up on both math and language arts skills.  All students were given a log-in sheet last week.  This is a great way to keep learning and reviewing at home.


Social Studies:

This week we will be taking a trip WAYYYYYYYYYY back in time to discover what NJ was like during the age of reptiles.  Take a peek below to see what some of our very, very, very old neighbors looked like!



This week we will continue working with our study of weather, but delve deeper to understand how weather effects the ecosystem.

Lesson Objectives and Tools for Sept. 15-19


I am looking forward to meeting all of you at Back to School Night!  We will be hosting our parents beginning at 7:00 on Tuesday, September 16th.   All families are asked to report to the gym for Dr. Cook’s opening remarks and then you will be dismissed to the classrooms to visit ME!  For those of you who can not make it, I will post our Back to School Night Prezi on Wednesday so that you can have the same information.

back to school night
Your kids ROCK!!!!!!!  We completed a full week last week and let me tell you, I held nothing back!  We completed almost an entire chapter in Math and our first story in Language Arts.  Students learned how to log in to our Math and Reading website which we will use daily in class, Below are our objectives for the week as well as some tools to help support what we are learning in class.

Reading:  This week we will be focusing on determining the Author’s Purpose.  We will also continue working with Sentence Types focusing this week on Exclamatory and Imperative Sentences.

Vocab Words: Docks, migrating, scan, scent, warf, yearned

Math: This week we will be taking our first math test on Tuesday, covering multiplication facts and how they relate to division.  After that we are moving into exploring Place Value and how it helps when comparing and ordering numbers.  

Social Studies:  We are continuing our study of New Jersey this week focusing on the 4 regions of NJ as well as some of the Tourist Stops that have historical importance.

Science:  We will be starting an investigation about what goes into forming our weather.  The link below will lead you to an informative webiste that we will be using during our science lessons and centers this week.

Whew!  I’m exhausted just reading over this!  4th Graders, I hope you’re ready!!!!!!

Weekly Objective September 8-12


This week starts our first full week of the school year!  I hope you are as ready as I am to jump in and learn!  Every Sunday I will post our learning objectives for each subject for the week as well as helpful and informative videos, Power Point presentations, Prezis, or other helpful links to ensure that you have as many resources as possible to help your child be successful.  Before I jump into our objectives for this week, I want to let you know that Thursday, September 11th, we will be wearing red, white, and blue in honor of Patriot Day.  Any student who wears all 3 colors will earn 5 extra credit points on the social studies quiz this week!

patriot day

Language Arts:

This week we will be reading and excerpt from Because of Winn Dixie.  Our vocabulary words for the week are as follows:

Grand, memorial, peculiar, positive, prideful, recall, selecting

Our reading strategy of the week is identifying the sequence, or order of events, in a story.

We will also be using sequencing in our writing lessons this week as we begin writing our first personal narrative.  In grammar we will be working to identify the different types of sentences.

In math this week, we will be spending quite a bit of time reviewing our multiplication tables as well as the properties of multiplication.  In addition we will be beginning to link multiplication to division and working with patterns.

Social Studies:

This week we will be working to learn about the counties of NJ as well as where we are located in our region of the country.  We will also be working on understanding the difference between weather and climate.


We will be reviewing Science Safety this week and creating posters to hang around the room to remind us how to be safe while we conduct experiments!

As you can see, it’s going to be a busy week!  Expect homework assignments for Monday- Thursday nights in the form of a short math worksheet (10 problems covering many areas of math) and a short reading passage with 4-5 comprehension questions.  Also, any classwork that is not completed in class is the student’s responsibility to complete for homework.

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


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!



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!



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